Holden SSV Ute: The Big, Butch, Manly, Hairy Chested Aussie Muscle Car.

2011 Holden Commodore VE Series II SSV Ute

 

The Ute is a peculiarly Australian invention. A farmer’s wife wanted a vehicle to take her to church on Sundays and the pigs to market during the week. And lo, the Ute came. Think about it, they don’t exist in any other market. Sure there are the Hi-luxes and F series Fords but no sedans with tray backs.

It means a bear –chested tradie can have his tools in the back all nice and safe and look sexy as hell while he is doing it. Mind you the gorgeous SSV ute may have a hard time getting onto a building site, or off it, should it fluke negotiating the mud and rubble in the first instance. It rides so low that the front air dam wouldn’t last five minutes so as a useful conveyance for builders bits and bobs, the SSV ute might not be too flash, but as a sexy-as-hell 2 seater coupe with the added advantage of a huge cargo capacity, it can’t be bettered. Just look at it, it’s stunning. From the back of the front door forward it is pure SSV saloon but from the door backwards is 100%tradie.

The metal is pretty much the same as the humble Omega ute but the SS body kit includes some mighty impressive wheels, 19” of course, and other assorted bits of plastic glued on for good measure. The effect of this and the lowered suspension means the SSV looks more stealth bomber than plumbers van. Since the photos were taken of our test car, Holden bunged on some rolls bars with high mounted brake light and the new 3 piece tonneau cover. The clever cover unlocks with the central locking and at least gives the impression of securing your expensive knick knacks in the rear. The roll bars are purely decorative. I loved the metallic Kermit green which harked clear back to the 70’s, the heyday for muscle cars the world over and an era upon which I look back with great fondness. The pictures tell the story outside.

You can see the difference inside between the SV6 (V6) and SSV (V8) ute is minimal. The blue ute is the Thunder which we hope to take for a thrash later in the year. You’ll notice the IQ, which is standard in all VE II’s is present and accounted for. I love this system. It’s one of the few infotainment setups which doesn’t require a degree in advanced electrical engineering and computer science. I’ve driven a few of these now and can Bluetooth my phone and tune my favourite radio stations in a thrice. While I’m ginning around I also adjust the arrival and departure lighting and the door security. It probably sounds rather OCD but if the thoughtful people at GMH put customisable features in I feel obliged to try them out. I love a jolly good fiddle. Naturally you get the MP3/Ipod input and audio streaming and for some reason a CD player via which you store 15 CDs although I’m not sure who actually still owns CDs. If you don’t fancy plonking your shopping in the tray you might like the bins behind the seats. All in all the cabin is simple yet tasteful.

Amusingly, I tried starting the beast but, nothing happened, zilch, nil, nada because I had completely failed to notice the extra pedal on the floor. Imagine the kafuffle if Holden allowed their cars to start without your foot on the clutch, and I had bunny hopped across the carpark and into the newly refurbished service department! In a blonde moment I had assumed my conveyance was automatic and did not have shift-em-yourself gears. The manual feels clunky to begin with.

Driving automatics, DSGs and the frankly awful CVTs has an air of sameness about it so shifting my own gears is a joy. The first few changes can be a bit hairy but stick with it because a few kilometres bring reborn confidence to you shifts. There were a few “bum-clenching” moments as I pulled onto the street a little too enthusiastically. When y6ou have 270 willing kilowatts at your disposal, you just can’t mash your foot mindlessly with the floor regardless of how much traffic is bearing down on you. The electronics sort out your misdemeanours leaving you to the pleasure of that glorious visceral growl from under the bonnet.

You don’t get the level of advanced features that the Euro makers throw at their products and it’s this level of simplicity is, in a way, the Holden’s biggest charm. You feel like you’re actually driving the car. There is no need of the nannies which tell if a drunk yobbo has wobbled out in front of you or if you have drifted over a lane marking because Holdens have windscreens which seem to work much better anyway.

The best thing apart from the looks is the superb handling which keeps the rear end nailed to the road in all but the most extreme mistreatment. The engine is loud, very loud, and the temptation is to sink the boot just to hear that fabulous Wagnerian crescendo but beware, you might find yourself having more than your fair share of serious conversations with a little man in a blue uniform. Track days aside, you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on that errant speedo.

As you would expect, the fuel consumption goes stratospheric at the merest hint of enthusiasm but Holden claims 12L/100 k’s of combined highway/city driving. The best we could manage was 10.5 on the Sydney ring-road even with the engine management shutting down un-needed cylinders. Still, you don’t buy a V8 of any description and expect to get Prius fuel figures.

The week was marred only very slightly by the 3 piece tonneau cover. It looks brilliant and functions very well but it almost completely blocks the rear window. The ute comes sans rear-view camera and parking sensors. Perhaps they think those who buy and drive Holden utes never look back!

The last few things worth mentioning are the rear tray liner with built in stubby holders on the rear tailgate and the interior of the tray has tied owns should you need to secure that big load.

With the sad demise of the much loved Monaro, the SSV Ute might just the be the best alternative for the man who wants a muscle car. After all what other 2 door, 2 seat 6.0L V8 can you get for under 60k?

 

*** NOTE ALL COMMODORE, UTE AND CAPRICE V6 AND V8 ENGINES ARE E 85 (85%ETHENOL) COMPATIBLE

Engine

Power

Torque

Fuel

Co2

Consumpt

0-100

price

6.0 GEN IV V8 270kw 530NM petrol 291g 12.3 comb

6 sec

$44,990

 

2011 Holden Commodore VE Series II SSV Ute2011 Holden Commodore VE Series II SSV Ute2011 Holden Commodore VE Series II SV6 Ute interior2011 VE Series II Thunder Ute.2011 VE Series II Thunder Ute.

When Cars Talk to Each Other. Car-to-x – The Communication Platform of the Future

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The key to intelligent driving, which is synonymous with energy-efficient and safe driving, is forward thinking. To help drivers plan ahead, vehicles from the BMW Group are already fitted with a large number of sensors designed to improve safety, comfort and efficiency. Often, however, these sensors have only a limited predictive capability or “horizon”. “Car-to-x” communication extends this horizon significantly, and will in future allow drivers to “see” long distances ahead, into areas currently hidden from view, and even around not just one but many corners.

Car-to-x communication means electronic networking of vehicles and roadside infrastructure, with the aim of exchanging information directly both between road users and between road users and roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights. Car-to-x communication is a comprehensive communication network which any road user can take part in.

Car-to-x communication usually operates via WLAN or mobile phone connections. For standard automotive application, car-to-x communication at present uses high-speed WLAN networking based on the high-frequency WLAN IEEE802.11p/ G5A standard, which is designed to allow real-time communication. The protocol allows large numbers of participants to communicate simultaneously without interference. At the same time the performance of mobile phone networks is improving steadily, with an increase in bandwidth and a reduction in data lag – the so-called latency times. Therefore, this type of medium, too, is becoming increasingly important for car-to-car communication, for example as a complement to direct communication via WLAN.

Connectivity brings added value.
Integrated and connected vehicle functions are nothing new within the BMW Group. Connectivity for infotainment applications already made its debut in the 1990s with BMW ConnectedDrive. For some years, the focus of development work in the BMW Group has been shifting increasingly towards integrated and connected comfort and, in particular, safety functions. Here, car-to-x communication opens up completely new potential. In the event of a hazard, extensive connectivity between vehicles allows oncoming and following traffic to be given advance warning of potential dangers, and therefore to react appropriately and in good time. But warnings are only one possible use of this communication platform. Since infrastructure data, too – for example about traffic light phases – can be integrated into this communication system, information is available which allows drivers to easily adapt their driving style for even greater efficiency, thereby significantly reducing vehicle emissions. This technology therefore offers new solutions not only for proactive safety and accident prevention but also for intelligent energy management.

“The more information I have about the rest of my journey – for example, if I know in advance when traffic lights will change, or if I know that an accident has just happened further along the route – the more promptly I can react, which means I have less stress and can either avoid hazardous situations altogether or at least reduce the risk.” (Karl-Ernst Steinberg, Head of Information and Communication Technologies at BMW Group Research and Technology).

In combination with existing vehicle sensors, car-to-x communication provides a valuable starting point or enhancement for a wide range of BMW ConnectedDrive driver assistance and information systems of the future. These technologies, combined with the driver’s own input, create an extremely high-performance macrosystem capable of ensuring a safe and efficient journey from start to finish.

BMW Motorrad ConnectedRide: active protection for motorcyclists as well.
The BMW Group’s ongoing efforts to achieve greater road safety take all road user groups into account. In addition to applications for vehicles of the BMW Group and for protection of pedestrians or cyclists, motorcyclists are a further group whose integration into the car-to-x communication platform is an important priority for BMW. BMW Motorrad ConnectedRide – the motorcycle equivalent of BMW ConnectedDrive – is looking to use car-to-x communication, in addition to handling control systems, driver assistance systems and a motorcycle emergency call function, in order to improve safety for motorcyclists. Motorcyclists face different dangers on the road from car drivers. Certain situations, such as fog, slippery roads or heavy precipitation, are much more of a challenge for these road users than for car drivers. What’s more, “single-track” vehicles like motorcycles, with their narrower silhouette, are unfortunately often more easily overlooked.

There are therefore big benefits for motorcyclists in having advance information about special situations. Often, cars play a pivotal role in this system as the original source of the warnings. For example, activation of car fog lamps or the highest wiper setting, or DSC intervention in an otherwise normal driving situation, may indicate adverse conditions in a certain area. This information is then supplied to the motorcycle, keeping the rider promptly and fully informed.

Car-to-x research of value only with industry collaboration.
Car-to-x communication has been an important topic within the BMW Group for almost ten years. But the BMW Group’s research is not carried out in isolation. After all, this is a field where teamwork between as many vehicle manufacturers as possible is vital. For example, the BMW Group was one of the first carmakers to join the “Car-2-Car Communication Consortium”. Founded in 2003 by a number of European car manufacturers, this consortium is researching potential applications and looking into a harmonised standard for transnational vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. That’s because this technology can only develop its full potential with a critical mass of participants: the greater the number of vehicles integrated into the system, the greater the amount of data that can be made available and used, and the greater the safety benefits.

The BMW Group is also participating in many other joint research projects in this field, such as “simTD” (Safe Intelligent Mobility – the German Test). The aim of this project is to test the functionality, everyday practicality and effectiveness of car-to-x communication for the first time under real-world conditions. The simTD project is putting into practice findings obtained in earlier research projects. Realistic traffic scenarios are being addressed in a large-scale test environment based on the infrastructure around the city of Frankfurt, Germany. The project is also intended to provide the necessary political, economic and technological foundation for successful implementation of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. Various companies in the automotive and telecommunication sectors, the government of the German State of Hesse and a number of leading universities and research institutes are partnering in this project and are committed to the above objectives. The project is sponsored and supported by the Federal Ministries of Economics and Technology, Education and Research, and Transport, Construction and Urban Development.

Following three years of intensive research, the groundwork has now been completed for the world’s largest car-to-x field trial, which will take place on German roads. On 11 October 2011, the simTD project consortium delivered a current status report at a project presentation in Friedberg, Hesse, at which it summed up the initial results of the first three years’ work on this car-to-x project, which began in September 2008.

Car-to-x functions from the BMW Group. Research into car and motorcycle applications.

The Intersection Assistant: greater safety at road junctions.
In Germany alone, a third of all accidents involving personal injury occur at intersections, due to failure to see, or to spot in time, another road user; poor visibility due to buildings or trees; or because drivers are not being sufficiently attentive. If we take a typical everyday driving situation as an example, the system functions as follows: the driver approaches an intersection and prepares to cross. On the road he wants to cross, which has priority, there is a continuous stream of traffic in both directions. At the same time, visibility into the priority road is impaired due to roadside parking. This is a situation for the Intersection Assistant, which detects the data emitted by other road users in the area of the intersection and can reduce the potential risks of the manoeuvre by communicating with other vehicles approaching the junction.

The Intersection Assistant analyses the incoming information about the speed, distance from the intersection and direction of travel of other road users, along with information generated by the driver’s own vehicle. If a collision risk is detected, the driver receives a warning in the form of visual and audible signals and gentle deceleration. The warning results in a reduction in vehicle speed so that either a crash can be prevented or at least, if this is not possible, the consequences are mitigated. If driver reactions alone will not be sufficient to eliminate or reduce the risk, the Assistant can intervene by priming the brakes and assisting with braking.

The BMW Motorrad ConnectedRide Intersection Assistant.
To improve intersection safety for motorcyclists as well, the BMW Group engineers have also incorporated Intersection Assistant functionality into the BMW Motorrad ConnectedRide technology for motorcycles, for the first time integrating motorcyclists into vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Car-motorcycle collisions are particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, who are roughly three times more likely to be seriously injured in such a collision than car drivers.

Like the Intersection Assistant for cars, the Intersection Assistant in BMW Motorrad ConnectedRide is a forward-looking active safety system which aims as far as possible to prevent, or at least to mitigate, critical situations at intersections. Based on road data and data about the position and speed of road users approaching the intersection, the system assesses which vehicles have priority in this situation and calculates the likelihood of a collision. It also evaluates the behaviour of the waiting car driver on the non-priority road.

If the Intersection Assistant calculates that there will be a collision if both car and motorcycle continue on their present course, it gives the car driver a graduated series of warnings about the collision risk, starting with visual and continuing with tactile and audible signals. An increasing collision risk also prompts a series of actions at the motorcycle: the headlight is gradually modulated, its intensity increased, and additional LED warning lights are activated at the side of the motorcycle to widen its silhouette. If the collision risk becomes acute, the motorcycle horn is sounded too. The aim is to draw the car driver’s attention to a potentially critical impending situation at the intersection. On the one hand the warning is issued early enough for the driver still to be able to halt the vehicle before the stop line. On the other hand, the warning is nevertheless issued late enough to avoid alerting the car driver unless there is a very real risk of a collision. It is assumed that emergency braking by the car driver will be able to prevent a collision.

The Traffic Light Phase Assistant – green lights all the way.
The Traffic Light Phase Assistant allows a vehicle to communicate with traffic lights. For example, traffic lights can supply information about their phasing, so that drivers can choose an optimal speed for catching lights on green, or are warned in sufficient time to avoid any risk of going through a light on red.

On board the vehicle, the Traffic Light Phase Assistant analyses a range of incoming data – for example information about current traffic light status and length of the individual green, amber and red phases, along with intersection- and vehicle-specific information. If the traffic light would be red by the time the car driver or motorcyclist reached the intersection if he did not change his current speed, the driver or motorcyclist receives this information early enough to be able to brake gently to a halt. On approaching the light the driver or rider may also, however, be given a recommended speed for reaching the traffic light on green – subject to compliance with traffic regulations, of course.

The Intersection Assistant allows the driver to see a short way “into the future” and to adapt his driving style effortlessly to the traffic light phasing. The result is increased safety and convenience, avoiding any need for sudden acceleration or abrupt braking. The driving style becomes calmer, safer and more fuel-efficient.

Local hazard warnings keep motorcyclists fully informed about fog, congestion etc.

The bad-weather warning informs motorcyclists in good time about adverse conditions such as fog, rain, snow or ice on upcoming sections of the route via a visual display in the instrument cluster – and optionally also by a voice message from the BMW Motorrad Communication System. The Assistant also tells the rider approximately where to expect these conditions. The engineers have in mind that the input for this warning would be provided, for example, by a given number of vehicles activating their fog lamps or windscreen wipers. This input, combined with information about the outside temperature in the vicinity of the vehicles affected, could be used to evaluate the likelihood of snow or hail in the affected area. In the event of ice, a warning or bad-weather alert could be triggered by the intervention of systems such as Dynamic Stability Control on vehicles in the affected area. Looking at this information in conjunction with outside temperature information and data from other sensors such as the rain sensor or video camera, or from weather reports, the algorithm can generate appropriate alerts in the instrument cluster and a voice message in the BMW Motorrad Communication System.

The obstacle warning function warns the motorcyclist – again via a visual display in the instrument cluster and optionally also by a voice message – to expect an obstacle on the road ahead. This could be anything from a stranded vehicle, an accident or roadworks to the end of a tailback. The warning comes with information about approximately how far ahead the obstacle is situated. The warning can be generated in a variety of different ways and by a variety of different systems. For example, it may be generated by a stranded vehicle or by a number of vehicles activating their hazard warning lights or braking at the end of a tailback and so transmitting a warning, and indicating their location, to approaching vehicles.

The emergency vehicle warning provides early warning of an emergency vehicle approaching from behind. The warning, which is provided by means of a visual display in the instrument cluster, allows the rider to make way for the emergency vehicle in good time and so avoid a critical situation. A clearly identifiable symbol – for example a blue light – provides an instantly recognisable warning and is combined with an approximate indication of where the emergency vehicle is currently situated. The displayed distance decreases in 50-metre increments, allowing the motorcyclist to adapt his driving accordingly, and if necessary to pull over to the side of the road. In addition to the visual information in the instrument panel, a warning can also be given via a voice message in the BMW Motorrad Communication System. The warning is automatically deactivated as soon as the emergency vehicle has passed. The development team are also looking into ways of integrating the planned route of the emergency vehicle into the warning strategy, so that the system could warn the rider when the emergency vehicle is about to change direction.

The electronic brake light is designed with the following hazard in mind: in very dense traffic, the brake lights of a vehicle that is braking sharply may not be visible to vehicles further behind on the road, leading to delayed reactions on the part of these drivers and potentially to rear-end collisions. The electronic brake light provides a way of informing motorcyclists at the earliest possible opportunity that a vehicle further ahead is decelerating sharply, so that they can react in good time. The warning takes the form of a display in the instrument cluster or an audible warning. The motorcyclist therefore knows in good time that he may soon need to brake, and so can react faster if the need arises.

The Left Turn Assistant: anticipation and good planning, for safe turning across traffic.
With the Left Turn Assistant (for left-hand-drive vehicles), BMW Group Research and Technology has developed a system to help drivers making a left turn at intersections by warning them if they have failed to spot another road user and preventing a collision by autonomous braking. The Left Turn Assistant takes into account the special hazards of this manoeuvre both for cars and for motorcyclists.

The Left Turn Assistant, which is currently being tested in the BMW 5 Series, is automatically activated when the vehicle’s sensors detect that the vehicle is entering the left-turn lane and the car registers that the driver wishes to turn off. The system detects the left-turn lane in two ways. Firstly, it uses the vehicle positioning function of the navigation system, which allows the location of the vehicle at intersections to be determined to within a metre. And secondly, a mono camera, similar to standard cameras already in use today, detects the turn-off lane markings on the road and also the lane boundaries.

As soon as the Left Turn Assistant has been activated, three laser scanners at the front of the test vehicle scan the area in front of the vehicle over a distance of up to 100 metres. The laser scanners are capable of detecting not only cars and trucks but also motorcycles. If the sensors detect that oncoming traffic is approaching yet the vehicle is still continuing into the intersection, the Left Turn Assistant automatically brakes the vehicle, provided it is not travelling faster than 10 km/h, in order to prevent a collision. At the same time, an audible warning and appropriate warning symbols in the instrument cluster and in the Head-Up Display advise the driver of the reason for the intervention. This automated braking is intentionally performed without prior warning, since fast response is vital in this situation to prevent the vehicle proceeding into the intersection and presenting an obstacle to oncoming traffic. By the time the driver received and reacted to a warning, the vehicle would already be in the collision zone and an accident would be unavoidable.

The Left Turn Assistant is designed to operate at speeds up to 10 km/h. In other words, the Assistant does not slam the brakes on when the vehicle is travelling at speed, but instead should be viewed as a system that prevents the vehicle from starting off, or from continuing to edge forwards. As soon as the driver himself steps on the brake pedal, the vehicle is “authorised” to move forward again and the Left Turn Assistant braking function is released. To maximise safety, the Left Turn Assistant can also be overridden at any time. For example, if the driver needs to clear the way for an emergency vehicle coming through the intersection, he can do so with a further brief press of the accelerator.

Left Turn Assistant: car-to-x communication further enhances safety
The functionality of the Left Turn Assistant can be extended by combining it with vehicle-to-vehicle communication. As well as the laser scanners and camera, the BMW 5 Series Sedan test car is therefore also equipped with a WLAN car-to-x communication system. This specification not only increases the range over which the vehicle is able to detect other vehicles – to 250 metres – but also allows similarly equipped road users to be detected even when they are not visible to the turning vehicle.

The additional potential offered by a car-to-x system is illustrated by a second test scenario involving the Left Turn Assistant, on the test car, and a motorcycle equipped with car-to-x communication. The BMW Motorrad test motorcycle is currently a BMW R 1200 GS. Again, fused sensor data from a camera-based image recognition system and laser scanners detects the lane markings and the left-turn arrow, along with the distance from the centre line and stop line – if these markings are present. As soon as the direction indicator is operated, the vehicle registers the driver’s wish to turn left and the assistance system is activated. “As the motorcycle approaches, the car and motorcycle communicate with each other via their car-to-x systems. They exchange information about vehicle type, position and speed, as well as dynamic data such as the current steering angle and whether the direction indicator is activated,” explains Udo Rietschel, development engineer in BMW Group Research and Technology’s Left Turn Assistant project.

From this information, the motorcycle is aware that the car wishes to turn left. Based on the data communicated between car and motorcycle, an algorithm projects the future trajectories of both vehicles and identifies any risk of collision. If a critical situation is detected, the motorcycle draws attention to itself in order to warn the car driver, in the same way as with the Intersection Assistant. These warnings are progressively extended as the collision risk increases – the motorcycle’s headlight is gradually modulated, its intensity increased, and side- and mirror-mounted flashing lights and LEDs are activated to give the motorcycle a broader silhouette. If the collision risk becomes acute, the motorcycle horn is sounded too. If the car continues to move forward into the intersection regardless, the Left Turn Assistant automatically brakes it to a standstill. Again, during and after the automatic braking, the system also generates an audible warning and appropriate warning symbols are displayed in the instrument cluster and in the Head-Up Display, to inform the driver of the reason for the intervention.

“Ko-FAS” research initiative – successor to the “AMULETT” project.
The aim of the “Ko-FAS – Cooperative Vehicle Safety” research initiative is to significantly increase traffic safety through efficient and reliable sensing of the traffic environment using cooperative sensory and perception systems, and through comprehensive scenario assessment to precisely evaluate collision risks, with subsequent activation of appropriate advance protection systems where necessary.

Ko-FAS comprises three joint projects: Ko-TAG, Ko-PER and Ko-KOMP. The Ko-TAG and Ko-PER projects are being managed by BMW Group Research and Technology.
The focus of the joint project Ko-TAG is on transponder systems for precise object location-sensing and classification using cooperative sensory systems (car-to-TAG communication). In the future, this technology will be used to help protect vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists) and to enhance vehicle-vehicle safety. Engineers from BMW Group Research and Technology already developed a first pedestrian protection system based on car-to-TAG communication as part of the earlier project “AMULETT”. This system was used in a test vehicle which wirelessly exchanged data with an active RFID-type tag, at a frequency of 2.4 GHz. This tag would be capable of being fitted in such everyday articles as school satchels or walking sticks. Cooperative sensor technology makes it possible even to detect people who are not visible to the car driver at the time of the hazard, and to classify them as vulnerable road users. The results of the AMULETT project are now feeding into the Ko-TAG project and the work is continuing – now with the accent on enhancing car-to-x communication with transponder-based location-sensing functions. The researchers are particularly interested in how this technology can be extended to more complex scenarios involving large numbers of participants. “In future applications, this location-sensing technology will provide data from which we can draw very precise and very reliable conclusions. This will allow us to achieve a further substantial improvement in road safety,” says Daniel Schwarz, Ko-TAG project spokesman for BMW Group Research and Technology.

The Ko-PER project – which is again based on car-to-x communication – is researching cooperative perception systems for use in both “parallel” traffic and at intersections. “We are incorporating into this project the results of the successfully concluded EU research project ‘PReVENT’, and are also seeking an active exchange of information with the national research project ‘simTD – Safe Intelligent Mobility – the German Test’. The various research activities all have a common goal: greater safety on our roads,” says Dr Felix Klanner, Ko-PER Project Manager at BMW Group Research and Technology. In the Ko-PER project, the BMW Group researchers are studying ways of using cooperative sensor networks to scan the traffic environment. The aim is to use vehicle-to-vehicle communication, and fusion of data from a variety of vehicle environment and roadside infrastructure sensors, in order to generate a complete picture of this environment. A particular focus is on detecting currently concealed road users and on tracking traffic dynamics over time. This will provide a basis for continuous and comprehensive evaluation of collision risks.

The focus of the joint project Ko-KOMP is on researching vehicle protection systems that can be activated when a collision risk arises and that are intended to help prevent an accident or at least mitigate its consequences. In particular, the systems being investigated include expanding the vehicle’s external shell or timely automatic activation of autonomous emergency braking functions. Also planned is the development of a virtual test environment for simulating communication interactions in a wide variety of traffic scenarios.

Initial findings from the Ko-FAS research initiative were presented to the public in late September at presentations in Alzenau and Aschaffenburg.

 

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Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV Electric Vehicle Sparks Public Interest

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Mitsubishi’s all-electric i-MiEV city car is now on sale to the Australian public. The model year 2012 i-MiEV combines performance and comfort with the latest electric vehicle technology to provide a sustainable transport solution now and in the future.

The i-MiEV, which stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle, first arrived in Australia in July last year, when 110 were leased to local, state and federal governments and selected innovative organisations.

The i-MiEV went on sale to individuals in September this year, making it the first volume-produced, fully electric vehicle for sale in Australia. MMAL’s president and CEO, Genichiro Nishina, said the recommended retail price of $48,800 gives Australian consumers the opportunity to own the latest EV technology while reducing their carbon footprint at an affordable price.

The MY12 i-MiEV includes additional features over the previous model, boosting the vehicle’s occupant safety and comfort levels. 

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With a four-star ANCAP safety rating, the i-MiEV offers comprehensive safety features including driver, front passenger, side and curtain SRS airbags. The addition of Electronic Stability Control to the previous model’s Active Stability and Traction Control and braking system helps the i-MiEV maintain traction on slippery or rugged surfaces and ensures stability and prevents loss of control when cornering.

The In-Cable Charging Circuit Interrupt Device provides an extra safety precaution when recharging and the vehicle is secured by the MiEV OS (MiEV Operating System), an advanced integrated vehicle management system that will instantly shut down all high voltage electric system should an impact occur.

The European-styled MY12 i-MiEV’s exterior features a large rear bumper which adds a stylish finish and complements the vehicle’s smooth lines. Rear passenger privacy glass provides enhanced occupant comfort and the heated driver’s seat is the ultimate luxury in cooler climates. Auto lighting control, multimode keyless entry and front and rear power windows complete the overall i-MiEV experience.

The i-MiEV’s spacious interior comfortably seats four and offers a host of features including leather wrapped steering wheel, air-conditioning, AM/FM radio and CD tuner, MP3 compatibility and Bluetooth hands-free phone operation.

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Customers looking for extra convenience can choose to add the optional AVN package which includes DVD-Video, a seven inch wide-screen monitor, navigation, GPS traffic updates and built-in Bluetooth wireless technology. The optional AVN package has a recommended retail price of $2000.

Mr Nishina said there had been strong interest from the public since the i-MiEV officially went on sale.

“Considering that about 95 per cent of commuters in urban Australia travel less than 100 kilometres per day, the i-MiEV is perfect for environmentally-aware city commuters, who want a stylish, zippy vehicle. We are pleased with the level of enquires we have received from customers wanting to test drive or find out more about the i-MiEV,” Nishina said.

The i-MiEV is available in six colours; White, Black, Cool Silver, Ocean Blue, Raspberry Red and Titanium Grey. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is available from selected Mitsubishi dealers in all capital cities.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited recommends that the i-MiEV electric vehicle always be charged using renewable or green energy.

The New C 63 AMG Coupé – Emotion and High Performance at its Most Attractive

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Mercedes-Benz presents the new C 63 AMG Coupé, a stand-alone, highperformance car that appeals to all the senses: unmistakable design is teamed up with a high-performance drive system and dynamic handling. The new Coupé rounds off the successful C-Class AMG model range, which includes the classic Saloon as well as the practical Estate models. The C 63 AMG Coupé also enhances the AMG family of Coupés: in addition to the CLS 63 AMG and the CL 63 AMG, Mercedes-AMG GmbH is now able to offer another dream car featuring a high-performance eightcylinder engine. The market launch commences in October 2011.

The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine in the C 63 AMG Coupé has a maximum output of 336 kW and peak torque of 600 Nm, delivering powerful traction and firstclass performance figures: the Coupé accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds and the top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited).

The new Coupé variant benefits from all the technology updates that have served the C 63 AMG Saloon and Estate models so well. Fuel consumption is reduced through the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission with its “Controlled Efficiency” mode as standard and a new power steering pump: overall combined consumption figures for the C 63 AMG Coupé are 12.1 l/100 km.

AMG Performance package for a maximum output of 358 kW

This fuel consumption figure also applies to the performance version generating 358 kW, courtesy of the AMG Performance package. Available as an option, this package improves acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h to 4.3 seconds, with technology transferred from the SLS AMG responsible for the 22 kW increase in output. The forged pistons, connecting rods and lightweight crankshaft adopted from the gull-wing model’s high-tech drive system save three kilograms in weight. This reduces inertia and enhances the agility and responsiveness of the high-revving, eight-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine.Visually, the AMG Performance package can be identified by the variable intake manifold in titanium grey under the bonnet, the AMG high-performance braking system with composite front discs and red painted brake callipers all round, the carbon-fibre spoiler lip on the boot lid and the AMG Performance steering wheel in nappa leather with an Alcantara® grip area.

Key data at a glance:

 

C 63 AMG Coupé

Displacement

6208 cc

Bore x stroke

102.2 x 94.6 mm

Compression ratio

11.3 : 1

Output

336 kW at 6800 rpm

358 kW at 6800 rpm*

Max. torque

600 Nm at 5000 rpm

Engine weight (dry)

195 kg

192* kg

Fuel consumption NEDC

12.0 l/100 km

CO2 emissions

280 g/km

Fuel consumption NEDC 12.0 l/100 km

4.4 s

4.3 s*

Top speed

250 km/h**

* with the AMG Performance package; ** electronically limited

AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission as standard

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission provides direct and dynamic power delivery. Rather than using a torque converter, it has a compact, wet start-off clutch which reduces the losses associated with conventional automatic transmission and thereby significantly lowers fuel consumption. The Controlled Efficiency “C” mode also plays a significant part in this. By providing earlier and more comfortable upshifts while maintaining the lowest possible engine speed and “soft” accelerator characteristics, the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission helps the driver achieve better fuel economy figures.

At the same time, the power transmission, which is exclusive to Mercedes AMG, excites with its high level of variability and scintillating dynamism: the “S”, “S+” and “M” transmission modes make the vehicle even more responsive and can be selected using the new rotary transmission switch familiar to many from the SLS AMG. Shorter gear shift intervals and higher engine revs assure the ultimate in emotional appeal. The double-declutching function is also activated in the “S”, “S+” and “M” modes, thereby further increasing driving enjoyment. The gear shifts take just 100 milliseconds in “S+” and “M” transmission modes. Using the RACE START function the driver can explore the vehicle’s full acceleration capability.

Specific AMG sports suspension for great dynamism and ride comfort

It is not just the engine and power transmission which characterise the C 63 AMG Coupé’s dynamic quality – the AMG sports suspension and AMG high-performance braking system are also key here. In contrast to the series production suspension system, the top-of-the-range AMG model has a specially designed three-link front suspension, reinforced multi-link independent rear suspension and a wider track all round. The stiffer elastokinematics, the autonomous axle kinematics with more negative all-round camber and stabilisers with a larger cross-section all give greater responsiveness and greater lateral acceleration. Selective damping with specially modified spring and damper rates optimises both the response characteristics of the springs as well as the ride comfort.

The AMG sports speed-sensitive power steering with direct steering ratio (13.5 : 1) gives excellent road surface contact and makes a significant contribution to the vehicle’s direct, responsive handling. This is complemented perfectly by 3-stage ESP® : the Electronic Stability Program gives three individual control strategies at the touch of a button: the ESP® button in the centre console allows the driver to choose between “ESP ON”, “ESP SPORT HANDLING MODE” and “ESP OFF”. The AMG high-performance brake system has internally ventilated and perforated brake discs on all wheels: it is characterised by outstanding responsiveness, short stopping distances and excellent fatigue strength.

Confident and athletic: the design of the C 63 AMG coupé

The Coupé version of the C 63 AMG is compelling in visual terms as well, with an assured, athletic presence that is reminiscent of the high-performance SL 63 AMG Roadster. All AMG-specific design features have been skilfully combined with classic coupé proportions. This compact two-door Coupé excites with its low profile, powerful-looking shoulder line and slimline C-pillar. The short overhang, long engine cover, steeply sloping windscreen and long, stretched-out roof are also striking elements of its overall style.

The distinctive, strikingly arrow-shaped front section is characterised by features typical of AMG: a new AMG front apron including lower cross-struts finished in high-gloss black, LED daytime driving lamps specifically created for AMG and side air outlets. The large Mercedes star is positioned on a wing-shaped horizontal grille slat in the new radiator grille and, together with the newly-designed aluminium engine cover which has powerdomes, underlines the masculine feel of the vehicle. The new clear glass headlamps, in particular in combination with the Intelligent Light System (ILS) as an optional extra, are further eye-catching features.

When viewed from the side, the wide front wing bearing the “6.3 AMG” legend, the AMG side sill panels and the new, high-sheen AMG 5-twin-spoke light alloy wheels in titanium grey finish all stand out. Good contact with the road is provided by the wide 235/40 R 18 (front) and 255/35 R 18 (rear) tyres. Attention is drawn at the rear to the distinctive AMG rear apron with a striking black diffuser and three diffuser fins as well as the two chrome twin tailpipes of the AMG sports exhaust system.

High-quality, dynamic interior

On opening the door of the C 63 AMG Coupé passengers enter a specially designed, dynamic interior of quality. The instrument panel with integrated screen immediately recalls the new CLS 63 AMG. Three sporty, separate round instruments provide information on speed, engine rpm, fuel level and coolant temperature. Other display options are incorporated into the AMG main menu. This can be accessed via the multifunctional buttons on the steering wheel. Located in the middle of the speedometer, the three-dimensional, colour TFT display welcomes the driver by showing an AMG logo when the vehicle is unlocked.

The specially shaped AMG Performance steering wheel is familiar from the CLS 63 AMG: amongst its special features are the steering wheel rim, flattened at both the top and bottom; the metallic trim, the grip areas which are covered in perforated leather; and the aluminium shift paddles. Trim elements in highgloss, black piano lacquer look on the instrument panel and doors emphasise the high quality of the interior. Situated on the centre console is the rotary control for selecting the C, S, S+, M and RACE START drive programs.

The new AMG sports seats with integral head restraints, EASY ENTRY system and high-quality AMG badges have sporty, horizontal seamlines. The ARTICO/ DINAMICA black upholstery combination comes as standard. DINAMICA is an innovative, breathable man-made fibre which is easy to grip and skin-friendly and distinguishes itself through its low emissions and high degree of lightfastness. While the side seat bolsters of the AMG sports seats are upholstered in ARTICO, the DINAMICA can be seen in the centre panels. The C 63 AMG Coupé is a fully fledged four-seater with the rear seats featuring the same style of horizontal seamlines as the AMG sports seats. To enlarge the luggage compartment, the backrests in the rear can each be folded down as standard.

Available as an option, designo leather appointments give the interior an even more exclusive character: four single-tone colours and three two-tone combinations are available. These can also be complemented with “extended black designo leather appointments” for the top section of the instrument panel.

Other attractive optional appointments are also exclusively available for the C 63 AMG Coupé from the AMG Performance Studio:

AMG five-spoke light-alloy wheels, painted in titanium grey with a high-gloss finish, with 235/40 R 18 (front) and 255/35 R 18 (rear) tyres

AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels, painted in titanium grey with a high-gloss finish, with 235/35 R 19 (front) and 255/30 R 19 (rear) tyres

AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels, painted in matt black with a high-gloss finish on the rim flange, with 235/35 R 19 (front) and 255/30 R 19 (rear) tyres

AMG Exterior Carbon Fibre package

AMG rear axle differential lock

AMG trim elements in carbon fibre/high-gloss black piano lacquer

AMG door sill illuminated in white using LED technology

High level of safety and new assistance systems

With seven airbags as standard, belt tensioners and belt-force limiters for all seats, the C 63 AMG Coupé has extensive safety features. The airbags, which can deploy in milliseconds in the event of an accident, include front airbags for the driver and front passenger, a kneebag on the driver’s side, sidebags, pelvisbags and windowbags for the driver, front passenger and rear

passengers. The side protection system – comprising headbag and sidebag – optimises the level of protection afforded to individual parts of the body.

With numerous driving assistance systems ranging from ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection to DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control, the C 63 AMG Coupé provides a comprehensive level of driver support and protection. The assistance systems are familiar from the flagship S-Class and the trendsetting CLS, and are based on the latest radar, camera and sensor technology. They cover frequent accident causes such as driving too closely, fatigue and darkness.

An overview of the assistance systems:

ABS anti-lock braking system (standard)

Adaptive Highbeam Assist (optional)

Active Lane Keeping Assist (optional)

Active Blind Spot Assist (optional)

ATTENTION ASSIST (standard)

DISTRONIC PLUS including BAS PLUS (optional)

Electronic Stability Program ESP® (standard)

Headlamp Assist (standard)

Intelligent Light Systems ILS (optional)

PARKTRONIC including Parking Guidance (standard)

PRE-SAFE® system (standard)

PRE-SAFE® Brake (standard)

Lane Keeping Assist (optional)

Cruise control with SPEEDTRONIC variable speed limiter (standard)

Blind Spot Assist (optional)

The new telematics generation featuring enhanced ease of operation

The C 63 AMG coupé also features a new telematics generation which received its global premiere on the Saloon and Estate models. Major new features include greater operating convenience, larger displays, phone book transfer, display of SMS messages, wireless music reproduction via Bluetooth and a USB interface now accommodated in the centre armrest.

The multimedia system COMAND Online now provides internet access for the first time. When the car is stationary, customers are able to browse freely or surf to a Mercedes-Benz Online service whose pages load particularly rapidly and are also easy to use while on the move. The integral services include weather information and a special destination search via Google, as well as the option of downloading a route that has been previously configured on a PC using Google Maps and sent to the car. The navigation system of COMAND Online also has added functions. New features include routes covered can be recorded and repeated later, specific personal destinations can be imported via an SD card and four alternative routes can be displayed on the navigation map, one of them a particularly economical variation.

The market launch of the new C 63 AMG coupé starts in October 2011.

C 63 AMG – Manufacturers List Pricing (MLP)

C 63 AMG Saloon: $152,800

C 63 AMG Coupé: $154,800

C 63 AMG Estate: $154,800

AMG Performance package: $14,900

Important note to editors – The price detailed in this document is the current Manufacturer’s Recommended List Price (MRLP) for the C 63 AMG range range. As you may be aware, the MRLP includes GST and any LCT applicable to the base / standard specification model but EXCLUDES DEALER DELIVERY AND ALL ON ROAD COSTS such as, for example, registration fees, stamp duty, CTP and the like. Accordingly, please ensure that when you publish the details contained in this document, your publication makes it clear to its readers that:

The attached pricing is an MRLP

That the MRLP excludes on-road costs and dealer delivery, and

For drive away price information, consumers should contact dealers

Whilst we are unable to provide you with drive away pricing due to the wide variation in on-road costs between states and territories, and the different ranges of dealer delivery imposed by dealers, we encourage you to contact one of our authorised Mercedes-Benz passenger car dealers in order to obtain relevant and accurate drive away information for your specific audience.

Mercedes-Benz Wins in Four Categories

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The Mercedes-Benz CLS, the SLS AMG Roadster and the various models in the C-Class are the most attractive vehicles in their respective classes. Furthermore, the legendary 300 SL Gullwing of the 1950s has earned the right to be called a design icon of recent decades. Such were the results of a survey of readers undertaken by leading German motoring magazine “auto motor und sport”.

22,916 readers submitted votes in this year’s Autonis design awards, which are made each year by “auto motor und sport” to honour the most beautiful new cars. The survey’s only criterion is to establish which car readers find the most visually appealing. The clear winners in the medium-size category, with more than two thirds of all readers’ votes, were the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the coupé of the same model family. Readers showed themselves impressed by the dynamic design of the new generation C-Class. This was especially true in the case of the C-Class coupé, with its classic coupé proportions.

I’m not sure I agree with all the choices those readers made. The CLS I’ve always thought to be particularly hideous but no one can deny the stunning SLS makes up for the massive deficiencies in some of the other Benz models.

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In the luxury segment, the magazine’s very percipient readers voted the Mercedes-Benz CLS four-door coupé into first place in the beauty contest. Like its predecessor, the new version of the CLS offers a very convincing package of captivating design and refined sportiness.

When it came to the cabriolets, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster was the car that found most favour with readers. The open version of the super sports car features the same technical highlights as the coupé model with gullwing doors that caused such a stir in this same competition back in 2009. With its compact soft top, which opens and closes in just eleven seconds, the new SLS AMG Roadster combines excellent driving dynamics with breathtaking roadster fun.

Even after almost 60 years, eyes light up when one of the legendary 300 SL models appears on the scene – Gullwing or Roadster, the effect is the same. This reaction serves to underline the longevity of the car’s stunning design. It also underpins “auto motor und sport” readers’ decision to award the title of “Design icon of recent decades” to the 300 SL – a “lifetime achievement award”, as it were.

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E 63 AMG Saloon and Estate Pricing Announced

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Initial Australian orders for the powerful E 63 AMG will begin to arrive over the coming weeks and will be available as a Saloon or Estate from launch late 2011. Though the latest E 63 AMG arrives with a new engine, improved fuel efficiency and additional standard equipment – Mercedes-Benz Australia is pleased to announce that the Saloon price will remain the same as the outgoing model.

The E 63 AMG delivers an output of 386 kW to 410 kW (when fitted with the optional AMG Performance pack), together with an impressive reduction in fuel consumption: the E 63 AMG consumes 10.0 litres per 100 kilometres (Estate 10.1 litres) combined, a massive 21 percent decrease when compared with the outgoing model.

This eight-cylinder powerhouse, designated internally as the M 157, boasts a combination of innovative high-tech components: in addition to spray-guided direct petrol injection with piezo injectors, these include a full aluminium crankcase, four-valve technology with camshaft adjustment, air/water intercooling, generator management and a stop/start system. With a displacement of 5461 cc, the eight-cylinder engine develops a peak output of 386 kW and torque of 700 Nm. In conjunction with the optional AMG Performance package, these figures increase to 410 kW and 800 Nm. Both variants of the E 63 AMG achieve exceptional performance: acceleration from zero to 100 km/h takes 4.3 and 4.2 seconds respectively (Estate: 4.4 and 4.3 seconds), and the top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited).

Key data at a glance:

E 63 AMG

E 63 AMG Estate

Displacement

5461 cc

5461 cc

Bore x stroke

98.0 x 90.5 mm

98.0 x 90.5 mm

Compression ratio

10.0:1

10.0:1

Output

386 kW at 5250-5750 rpm
410 kW at 5250-5750 rpm*

386 kW at 5250-5750 rpm
410 kW at 5250-5750 rpm*

Max. torque

700 Nm at 1750-5000 rpm
800 Nm at 2000-4500 rpm*

700 Nm at 1750-5000 rpm
800 Nm at 2000-4500 rpm*

Engine weight (dry)

204 kg

204 kg

Fuel consumption combined

10.0 L per 100 km

10.l L per 100 km

CO2 emissions

234 g/km

236 g/km

Acceleration 0-100 km/h

4.3 s 4.2 s*

4.4 s 4.3 s*

Top speed**

250 km/h

250 km/h

* with AMG Performance package; ** electronically limited

AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission helps save fuel
A major contribution to the car’s exemplary consumption figures is also made by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission. In place of a conventional torque converter, this uses a compact wet start-up clutch.

The E 63 AMG also features a stop/start function as standard: this is active in the Controlled Efficiency (“C”) transmission mode and switches the eight-cylinder engine off when the vehicle comes to a standstill. The stop/start function can be activated or deactivated using the ECO button on the centre console. When in transmission mode “C”, the vehicle will always start up in second gear. The system will also change gears noticeably early and avoid high engine speeds. Demand-driven delivery of fuel and a generator management system with braking energy recuperation during deceleration add further to the economic use of fuel.

AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension and new steering system
The E 63 AMG features the AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with a specially designed front axle: the track has been widened by 56 millimetres and includes independent wheel carriers, for increased negative camber at the front, giving clear benefits in terms of grip when driving fast through bends. Further features include steel suspension struts on the front axle and air suspension struts on the rear axle, with an automatic level control system. Also standard here is an electronically controlled damping system, which automatically adjusts the damping characteristics depending on the driving situation and reduces the roll angle of the body. The result: lightning-fast adjustment between optimum driving comfort and the best possible agility. The driver can switch between the three suspension modes of “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Sport plus” at the touch of a button.

The steering system on the E 63 AMG is also new: the electromechanical AMG speed-sensitive sports steering features a more direct ratio of 14:1 and variable power assistance that adapts according to the suspension mode. The steering also helps to reduce fuel consumption, since the power assistance system only draws power when the vehicle is actually being steered.

As well as the 3-stage ESP® system with Sport mode, the standard equipment package includes an AMG high-performance braking system, with composite technology on the front axle. Optimum grip comes courtesy of the new 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a 10-spoke design, fitted with 255/R35 R 19 tyres on the front and 285/30 R 19 on the rear as an Australian standard.

Decidedly dynamic exterior
Externally, the E 63 AMG with the new M157 engine is identifiable by its new light-alloy wheels and by the “V8 BITURBO” lettering on its distinctive, wider front wings. Further characteristic features to aid recognition include AMG body styling with a specific design for the front and rear, along with AMG side sill panels and an AMG sports exhaust system with two chrome-plated twin tailpipes.

Significantly upgraded interior
A striking feature of the high-quality, exquisitely crafted interior is the new AMG Performance steering wheel in a three-spoke design. The rim of this wheel, which is already used in the CLS 63 AMG, is flattened at both top and bottom to facilitate even better control of the vehicle. Further identifying features of the new steering wheel: aluminium shift paddles, the perforated leather in the grip areas and the three-dimensional design of the airbag cover with its “Silver Shadow” metallic trim element. This is complemented by the new E-SELECT shift lever with embossed AMG badge.

Similarly adopted from the CLS 63 AMG is the three-dimensional full-colour TFT display in the centre of the speedometer. The driver is welcomed by a striking AMG logo that shows here as soon as the door is opened.
The E 63 AMG with the new AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine is available in either Saloon or Estate versions, with the market launch beginning in November 2011.

  • E 63 AMG Saloon: $240,985 (MRLP)
  • E 63 AMG Estate: $244,500 (MRLP)
  • AMG Performance package: $17,900 (Saloon) $16,900 (Estate)

Important note to editors – The price detailed in this document is the current Manufacturer’s Recommended List Price (MRLP) for the E 63 AMG range.

As you may be aware, the MRLP includes GST and any LCT applicable to the base / standard specification model but EXCLUDES DEALER DELIVERY AND ALL ON ROAD COSTS such as, for example, registration fees, stamp duty, CTP and the like.

Accordingly, please ensure that when you publish the details contained in this document, your publication makes it clear to its readers that:

  • The attached pricing is an MRLP
  • That the MRLP excludes on-road costs and dealer delivery, and
  • For drive away price information, consumers should contact dealers

Whilst we are unable to provide you with drive away pricing due to the wide variation in on-road costs between states and territories, and the different ranges of dealer delivery imposed by dealers, we encourage you to contact one of our authorised Mercedes-Benz passenger car dealers in order to obtain relevant and accurate drive away information for your specific audience.

Audi Introduces a New Dimension of Efficiency to the Class-Leading A6 Sedan

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  • Powerful, efficient 2.0 TDI and 2.0 TFSI engines launched in Australia for all-new Audi A6 saloon 
  • Audi A6 2.0 TDI is the most fuel efficient vehicle in its segment
  • Low fuel consumption and low emissions, combined with excellent performance signals strong future for 4-cylinder models 

Audi Australia has introduced two brand new, ultra-efficient front-wheel-drive, 4-cylinder variants of its A6 business class sedan, once again proving that efficiency comes standard in any car bearing the four rings.

Joining the three existing V6-engined A6 variants, both the new petrol 2.0 TFSI and diesel 2.0 TDI are clear examples of Audi’s successful downsizing philosophy which sees large engine capacity replaced by smart forced induction techniques to achieve outstanding fuel consumption while maintaining performance and driving enjoyment.   

However, increased efficiency does not come at the expense of the luxury, safety or technology expected of an Audi. The new A6 four-cylinder models are second to none for safety and offer a raft of cutting-edge driver assistance and infotainment technologies, including Audi’s MMI Navigation Plus with touchpad technology as standard on every model. 

 

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Audi A6 2.0 TDI

The most fuel-efficient engine in the new A6 is the 2.0 TDI. Almost entirely redeveloped, the four-cylinder unit generates 130 kW and puts out 380 Nm of torque between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm.

This combination of Audi’s proven TDI technology, in partnership with a seamless multitronic transmission and front-wheel-drive, results in outstanding fuel consumption of just 5.0 L/100km, and C02 emissions of just 132 g C02 per km. For all of this efficiency, the 0-100km/h sprint is still dispatched in only 8.2 seconds.   

The turbocharger with adjustable vanes provides for spontaneous torque buildup at an early stage in the cycle. Excellent thermodynamics mean that the four-cylinder can run on a higher rate of recirculated, highly cooled exhaust gas, thus significantly reducing levels of untreated nitrogen oxide emissions.

 

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Audi A6 2.0 TFSI 

The 132 kW and 320 Nm four-cylinder 2.0 TFSI engine uses Audi’s advanced valvelift system, which varies the lift of the exhaust valve. Paired with the multitronic transmission and front-wheel drive, this engine propels the A6 from zero to 100 km/h in just 8.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 226 km/h. The engine consumes only 6.4 litres of fuel per 100 km and emits 149 grams of CO2/km.

The 2.0 TFSI engine embodies Audi’s downsizing philosophy – substituting engine
displacement with forced induction. The engine is compact and lightweight and achieves power and torque figures that were reserved for six-cylinder engines just a few years ago. The 2.0 TFSI combines a high level of cultivation with low fuel consumption and meets the most stringent emissions standards.

Both of these new four-cylinder A6 variants utilise Audi efficiency technologies, including an innovative thermal management system that lowers fuel consumption by approximately 0.1 litres per 100 km.

A start-stop system is also standard across the A6 range and shuts off the engine after the Audi A6 has come to a stop. In a standard driving cycle, the start-stop system lowers fuel consumption by as much as 0.4 litres per 100 km.

The energy recovery system utilises the kinetic energy of the car as it decelerates.

As with all A6s, the body is extremely light in weight, owing to a significant proportion of aluminium components and the range of assistance and multimedia systems is extensive, and operation is intuitive and friendly.

Among the benchmark technologies the A6 boasts across the model range is the latest version of Audi’s Drive Select dynamic handling system, which now includes an additional mode – the Efficiency program.

Thanks to its sophisticated design, the chassis of every A6 combines sporty precision with supreme comfort. Its links are made of aluminium, and the power steering features a new electromechanical drive, making it highly efficient. The executive sedan has wheels ranging from 17 to 20 inches in diameter, with powerful brakes behind them.

 

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The Audi drive select dynamic handling system is standard for all engine versions. For enhanced comfort, Audi also offers adaptive air suspension with controlled damping as an option. Dynamic steering will be available soon, also as an option.

Every detail of the interior is a testament to the care that Audi invests in premium manufacturing. All materials, including an innovative layered-wood veneer, have been selected and crafted with the utmost care. As an option, the front seats can be equipped with ventilation and massage functions.

The new Audi A6 features the logical ergonomics concept that distinguishes all of the brand’s models. The efficient deluxe automatic air conditioning and the latest-generation MMI radio operating system are standard. Also standard is the cutting-edge touch pad with numeral and letter recognition function.

Other hugely desirable highlights include the top of the line Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System and among the cutting-edge driver assist technologies available are head-up display, night vision and Audi lane assist.

Audi A6 Manufacturers List Price:
(MLP excludes dealer delivery and government statutory charges)

  • Audi A6 2.0 TFSI multitronic: $77,900
  • Audi A6 2.0 TDI multitronic: $78,900
  • Audi A6 2.8 FSI quattro: $93,900
  • Audi A6 3.0 TDI quattro: $116,500
  • Audi A6 3.0 TFSI quattro: $121,500

THE HURRICANE: TOMORROW’S HOLDEN REBORN

 

 

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Holden has gone back to the future, restoring its very first concept car – the 1969 Holden Hurricane.

The futuristic research vehicle described as an experiment “to study design trend, propulsion systems and other long range developments” has been restored to its former glory as a labour of love by a dedicated group of Holden designers and engineers.

Code named RD 001; the Hurricane is a mid-engined, rear-wheel drive, two-seater sports car which incorporates a remarkable array of innovative features and technology, much of it way ahead of its time.

Features such as electronic digital instrument displays, station-seeking radio, automatic temperature control air conditioning, rear vision camera and an automated route finder were all showcased in this ground-breaking vehicle 42 years ago.  Many of these technologies have only recently made their way into mass production, demonstrating Holden’s remarkable foresight into both design and engineering technology.

The Hurricane stole headlines and dropped jaws nationwide when it debuted at the 1969 Melbourne Motor Show.

Michael Simcoe, Executive Director GMIO Design, said it was fantastic to see such a significant vehicle restored.

“At Holden we have always prided ourselves on our ability to look into the future through our concept cars,” Mr Simcoe said.

“It’s amazing to think that the features we take for granted today were born out of creative minds over 40 years ago.”

As its code name suggests, the RD 001 was the first product of the GMH Research and Development organisation, staffed by a small squad of engineers working in conjunction with the Advance Styling Group at the Fishermans Bend Technical Centre in the 1960s.

The team that designed and built the original Hurricane employed some advanced technologies and techniques when it came to the powertrain. Powered by an experimental 4.2-litre (253 cubic inch) V8, this engine was a precursor to the Holden V8 engine program which entered production in late 1969.

The Hurricane’s V8 engine featured many advanced design components such as the four-barrel carburettor – a feature which wouldn’t be seen on a production 253ci Holden V8 until the late 1970s.  The end result was approximately 262hp (193kW), a towering power output in 1969 and one that ensured the Hurricane had the go to match its show.

But perhaps the two most innovative features were the “Pathfinder” route guidance system and the rear-view camera.

The “Pathfinder”, essentially a pre-GPS navigation system, relied on a system of magnets embedded at intersections along the road network to guide the driver along the desired route.  A dash-mounted panel informed the driver of which turn to take by illuminating different arrows, as well as sounding a warning buzzer.    

The rear-view camera was also a ground-breaking innovation.  Engineers using a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system with a camera mounted in the rear bumper feeding vision to a small black-and-white TV mounted in the centre console.  

Former Holden Chief Studio Engineer Rick Martin led the modern-day Hurricane team in researching the vehicle’s components, systems and history in order to restore it.

“There are some genuinely remarkable ideas and technology in the Hurricane,” said Mr Martin.

“From the automatic air-conditioning and magnet-based guidance system, to the inertia-reel seat belts and metallic paint, this was a car that was genuinely ahead of its time.  

“The hand-picked team of engineers and designers who built the original Hurricane worked in strict secrecy and began Holden’s now proud tradition of ground-breaking concept cars.”

RD 001 stands just 990mm high and has no doors in the conventional sense.  A hydraulically-powered canopy opens upwards and forward over the front wheels, combined with twin “astronaut type” power-elevating seats which rise up and pivot forward, along with the steering column for ease of access.  Occupants are then lowered to a semi-reclining position before the roof closes over them.

The wind tunnel-tested fibreglass body consists of three segments; the canopy, the engine hood and body shell and was finished in an experimental aluminium flake-based metallic orange paint.

Safety innovations included a foam-lined fuel tank, integrated roll-over bar, digital instrument readouts, ignition safety locks, interior padding and a fire warning system.

The project to restore RD 001 began in 2006 and has been a genuine labour of love for some very dedicated Holden employees.  The entire restoration process has been driven primarily by volunteer labour from Holden designers and engineers in their spare time.

But the Hurricane first entered Holden Design in less than immaculate condition.  RD 001 had a residency in a trade school where apprentices practised their welding on the priceless concept.

After being returned to Holden in 2006, the Hurricane restoration project has taken many thousands of painstaking man hours to lovingly restore RD 001 to concourse condition.

Holden’s Manager for Creative Hard Modelling, Paul Clarke, has been largely responsible for managing the restoration of RD 001.  He ensured as many of the original parts as possible have been used or remade using modern techniques to 1969 specification, in order to preserve the authenticity of this hugely important Holden.

“The entire team has done a fantastic job in bringing this beautiful concept back to life,” Mr Clarke said.

“The talent we have within the Holden organisation is simply outstanding.  Every time we take on a project I’m constantly amazed by the passion and talent in this company, making it a genuine pleasure to work on these projects.

“The Hurricane plays a crucial role in Holden’s story and the company has such a great sense of history and heritage that it was very important to bring RD 001 back to life.  It’s been a challenging but incredibly rewarding process.”

Since the debut of the Hurricane in 1969, Holden has continued to build a global reputation for envisioning and executing world-class concept vehicles.  Holden is recognised globally within General Motors as a centre of excellence for concept vehicle and show car development and is one of only three GM design studios that are capable to design and build concept cars.

Michael Simcoe added that the Hurricane holds a particularly special place in Holden’s history as it kick-started Holden’s long love affair with concepts that has since seen the likes of the iconic GTR-X,  Torana TT36, Coupe 60, the GMC Denali XT (which was requested specifically by GM for the North American market) and the award-winning EFIJY.

The Holden Hurricane will be on display to the public at the classic car show Motorclassica, held at the Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building from October 21 – 23.

Peugeot 508: A little French Kissin

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508: A posh French Kiss.

We spent a week with the stunning Peugeot 508 GT. Yes I said stunning. I know stunningness has been missing from the Peugeot line up in recent times. Until the gorgeous RCZ turned up you would be forgiven for thinking that the designers were on holiday leaving the kids in charge. Now the 508 follows in the sexy trend set by the gorgeous RCZ and takes Peugeot into a new world of desire and pleasure and naughtiness. Even the 308 has had its front end de-uglified. Things are going very well at the house of the Rampant Lion so let’s get the keys and get the 508 onto the tarmac.

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OUTSIDE

The simple lines are elegant and tasteful. The rear end sits high but the light hand of the designer has kept the adornment simple too. The lights sweep diagonally up and over the side to give a little illumination in the side as well as the back. The front too has a light touch. Gone is the gaping mouth grill and instead something entirely more understated and classic. The headlight array is high tech with the light looking like something off the Enterprise D. The GT does score a few embellishments that the lower models don’t have but it doesn’t detract from a stylish concept for the whole model range. I particularly like the mirror mounted indicators and puddle lights.

The GT gets big fat wheels the size of Tasmania on low sleek tyres and our test car had the optional 19”ers. I’m told he had borrowed the bosses car so there were a few extra bells and whistles installed. I don’t think I’d like to be the one cleaning them though. Peugeot tell me there have been a fistful of extra quality control points along the production line and this really shows. There is no doubt about the vastly improved standard Peugeot now holds itself to. There is a nice solid feel, and although the metal doesn’t quite look as futuristic and gangster-like as the drawings, its nonetheless gorgeous.

The keyless entry gives you the option of simply lifting the door handle to unlock the car as touching the inside of the doorhandle activates the mechanism. To lock, caress the grooved pad on the outside the door handle and like magic, the lights flash and bobs-your-uncle. As with all proximity keys, the range shortens considerably as the battery dies which is annoying in a lonely carpark at night, in the dark? You can just press the buttons on the key if you like. The Peugeot system is very easy to get used to.

INSIDE27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com

27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com - FOR PEUGEOT AUSTRALIA 2011

The keyless entry also means you don’t need a key to start or stop the engine. That’s done just by a gentle caress of the large friendly button to bring her to life. The HUD (heads up display) rises from the dash board and the instruments and infotainment systems awaken. There’s even a gentle light wrapping around the gear knob. At night the whole cabin is bathed in a soft warm glow that seems to hug you gently. The electric leather seats are firm and supportive but I miss my old Peugeot seats which were huge and super-soft. They were so comfy it was like sitting in a post lounge room. 508_1007PC008

 

The quality of the fittings and design inside is another quantum leap in both quality and ergonomics. And in a touch to make my heart truly leap with joy, those pesky and rather silly auxiliary control stalks have been banished to the “unsuccessful Trials” bin. The new steering wheel controls are laid out in a way that’s easy to use without having to read the manual every 5 minutes unlike some infotainment systems which require advanced degrees to operate. My only beef was I simply could not get the Ipod function to work. The streaming option always played from the same spot and couldn’t be advanced and the USB option didn’t seem to have any controls. I have no doubt it was user error but the most important requirement f the infotainment system is ease of use. No amount of cursing made any difference. I wasn’t fussed on the sound either. I seemed unable to get much base out of it. Again it was no doubt user error but an incredibly annoying thing not to be able to sort out.

The Dash and instruments have a crisp new look. The siting of the infotainment screen means everyone can see it clearly but under the screen sit 2 concealed cup holders. I’m all for cup holders but they’re sitting directly above all those lovely electronic controls which makes me slightly nervous. I gave them a whirl but the thought of my freshly brewed coffee spilling down the shiny new console was too much and the idea was abandoned fairly quickly.

The rear seaters have their own controls for the quad zone air and an extra power outlet to keep your iPhone alive and kicking. The back has a surprising amount of room. The roof might make you think that the head room might be tight but there is plenty of room. We had the usual 4 beefy lads onboard all of whom are around 183cms and none was pushed for space which is something you can’t say about the previous model.

Peugeot tell me they want to aim the base model (E-hdi) at the fleet buyers, a market hitherto untapped by any of the French car makers in Australia. Most foreign brands cost far too many bikkies to have in the garage of a mere businessman unless of course you’re the exec with a 100k car allowance paid for by the tax payers.

The Drive

Car makers are reducing the size of the engines but increasing the power thus is the magic contained in the box of tricks that is modern technology. The GT has a 150KW 2.2 Diesel. You would be very lucky to find a second hand diesel older than 6 years old but as petrol went up in price and, we became greenies looking for a more efficient mode of transport. This weekend the e10 petrol was around $1.50 a litre so the frugality of an oil burner looks pretty damned good. Is it any good though? Yes it is. Peugeot have been making diesels since the early days. I remember a certain 505 Turbo-diesel that had a great deal of trouble pulling the skin off a custard. An anaemic 70KW 4 pot pulling an 1800kilo car around simply didn’t cut the mustard. The 508 is 200 kilos lighter and has more than twice as much power. That says it all really.

The 6sp auto is extremely smooth and responsive. I used the paddle shifters in through those tight mountain passes and left it in sports the rest of the time. After all that it still returned brilliant fuel figures and I struggle to think why Holden haven’t stuck a gorgeous little diesel like this in a Commodore.

The power off the mark makes the GT feel faster than it is, not that there is anything wrong with 8.2 secs 0-100kp. The GT scores double wishbones up front. Does it make a difference? It certainly drives like a smaller sportier car, the Allure wagon felt far less responsive in the steering. It wasn’t terrible by any means but the GT feels brilliant.

Before you ask, yes we took the GT south of Sydney to the fabulous Grand Pacific Drive. The mix of tighter than tight corners, breathtaking straights through heavily forested stretches of coastline, and goat tracks clinging to cliff tops, are the perfect place to show any errant tendencies. This is the same road where only a few weeks before the RCZ had excelled itself. Despite the fact the 508 is a large 4 door executive saloon, it handled the road likes a sports car. The Europeans have a certain something in their DNA that other makers just can’t duplicate. Perhaps it’s the fact that fuel costs almost twice as much in Europe as it does in Australia, or the brilliant high speed roads to be found all over the continent, but they manage more power and better handling from smaller engines with better economy. On the highway the big 508 sips only 4.4 l/100k with a combined average of only 5.5l/100k. Of course the 72L tank is going to cost 100 bucks to fill but going on 4.4l/100k you would expect around 1,600 kilometres on a trip. That’s Sydney to Brisbane and back to around Newcastle before you have to top up the tank. Imagine what the Ehdi will do!

Conclusion

There are far too many things I could say about this fabulous great looking car, but we would still be here in a month talking about it so let’s not do that. Let’s instead talk about the price which starts at around 36k. The GT is around $52,000 but the upgraded infotainment system includes the Satnav and centre console control system. I am saying this more and more these days that the Satnav systems from the car makers are becoming better and better. This is mainly because of the inclusions in the package such as upgraded controls and easier to use Bluetooth integration. Most makers charge around 4 grand for the privilege but that is becoming a better deal every day.

After the catastrophically ugly 407, I really wanted the 508 to be brilliant, and it is. I’d have one!

 

Engine

cyl

fuel

aspir

Perf

trans

Co2

price

2.2L

4

diesel

Turbo

8.2 0-100

6sp auto

150 gms 52,990

* price range from $36,990 to $52,990 excluding extras like Satnav

 

27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com - FOR PEUGEOT AUSTRALIA 2011508_1007PC016508_1007PC019508_1007PC020508_1007PC013508_1007PC015508_1007PC010508_1007PC004508_1007PC003508_1007PC00227/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com - FOR PEUGEOT AUSTRALIA 201127/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 27/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 508_2010_124_FR.img508_1101NC00827/6/11 - PEUGEOT 508 - PHOTOS BY: JACK ATLEY/www.jackatley.com 508SW_1007PC007508SW_1007PC012508SW_1007PC013508SW_1007PC017508SW_1007PC018508SW_1007PC014508SW_1101NC010508sw_2010_jfb146508SW_1007PC022508SW_1007PC035image_80035_19455872508_2010_112_FR.img508SW_1101NC011508_2010_199_ACC.img508sw_1007PC001508SW_1007PC002508SW_1007PC005508SW_1007PC006508_2010_126_FR.img508GT1508_1101NC007508_1009STYLE_03508_1009STYLE_05508_1007PC0281508_1009STYLE_01508_1007PC022508_1007PC023508_1007PC026508_1007PC027508_1007PC021

Audi A1 1.6 TDI Off to a Strong Start in the 2011 World Solar Challenge

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Audi’s brand new, ultra frugal A1 1.6 TDI manual led away the field in the 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge today (Sunday) leaving Darwin’s State Square and heading south across Australia enroute to Adelaide.

Ahead lies 3028 demanding kilometres along the Stuart Highway through sub-tropical and desert country with road hazards varying from wandering stock and kangaroos to camels as well as massive wedge-tail eagles feasting on road kill. Temperatures on the journey are expected to reach 40C although at the start it was a comparatively mild 32C – but with a steamy 80% humidity reading. Dwarfing the natural hazards, and the weather, are those man-made hazards including the 50m long thundering road trains that frequent this part of the world.

The 8.30am start in Darwin’s State Square, near the imposing Parliament House, came almost as a relief to the record number of 37 teams entered in the solar car race. In their sights is the 100.54km/h average speed for the 3028km distance set in the previous, 2009 event by the Japanese Tokia team which is defending its title this year.

Crews spent the previous three days at the Hidden Valley Raceway testing and fine-tuning their vehicles. There was one tip-over and several wheel and tyre failures which had team technicians working on running fixes. Last-minute calibration of solar panels and batteries were carried out in sweltering, humid conditions.

Starting positions for the solar race were determined by the time taken for a flying lap of the Hidden Valley racing circuit, with the Netherlands four-time winning tem Solar Team Twente posting fastest time narrowly ahead of compatriots, Nuon Solar.

The University of NSW Superswift IV, one of four Australian entries, was fourth fastest.

The Audi A1 1.6 TDI went through a rigorous scrutineering program to ensure it was in standard specification – including tyre pressures – and the detailed first fuelling sequence was carried out on Saturday by independent adjudicators appointed by the event organisers.

The first official check of consumption will be tomorrow (Monday) morning after an  overnight stop in Katherine, the first official control point in the event. The first day was a comparatively short run of 316km but included some of the most punishing terrain of the whole route and including the steepest climb, up Hayes Hill. The unofficial consumption of the Audi A1 on Day One was 3.6 litres/100km. Day Two to Tennant Creek will be double the distance, at 633km.

Audi has gained approval from the organisers of the Veolia World Solar Challenge to run the Audi A1 in conjunction with the solar car race to demonstrate the car’s low fuel consumption and low carbon dioxide emissions in everyday driving. The Audi A1, which is about to go on to the market in Australia, is powered by a four-cylinder, 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel engine producing 66kW of power and 230Nm of torque.

The car’s lightweight construction – with fuel, it weighed in at 1187.5kg – is complemented by a low, 0.32 drag coefficient. It runs on low rolling resistance tyres and incorporates “start-stop” technology which turns off the engine when the car is stopped in traffic and restarts it when the clutch pedal is depressed.

The A1 1.6 TDI will be available with a choice of five-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed S tronic transmission.

The Veolia World Solar Challenge will finish in Adelaide on Friday.