Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Subaru turbodiesel to debut in Legacy and Outback


Oil burner versions of the Subaru Legacy and the Subaru Outback will be unveiled at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, and it will feature Subaru’s new turbodiesel boxer, which has so far been displayed as an engine with specifications released.

The aluminium alloy inline-4 boxer common rail turbodiesel puts out 150 PS at 3,600rpm and 350Nm of torque at 1,800rpm, with relatively lag-free operation thanks to a Variable nozzle turbocharger (what other manufacturers call VGT or VTG). Installed in the Subaru Legacy, it produces 148 g/km of CO2 emissions.

The new turbodiesel boxer is one of the smoothest diesels around thanks to the horizontally opposed design, as the right and left pistons negate each other’s inertia. In the Legacy and the Outback, it is matched with a new electric power steering system and a symmetrical all-wheel drive system.

New Acura TSX: US market Accord Euro


Acura has released a single frontal three quarter photo of the new Acura TSX based on the new Accord Euro. While the new Accord Euro will be unveiled at Geneva 2008 in March, the TSX based on that car will be unveiled at the 2008 New York International Auto Show, also to be held in March.

Under the TSX’s hood is a 2.4 liter i-VTEC inline-4 engine that puts out about 200 horses, should be rather similiar to the European engine. More details later when the car makes its public debut.

New Honda Accord Euro details and photos revealed


Honda has released a collection of 4 photos of the new European Honda Accord as a teaser before the car is unveiled to the public for the first time at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. We get to see the Tourer’s front and rear, the sedan’s rear, and a shot of the car interior which looks rather similiar to the American Accord/Japanese Inspire at first glance, then you notice the more gadgety meter panel with integrated LCD displays in the center of the dials, as well as the different more vertically-shaped air cond vents.

The 2.0 liter petrol engine in the Honda Accord Euro will be putting out 156 PS, and the 2.4 liter engine will be putting out 200 PS at 7,000rpm and 233Nm of torque at 4,500rpm which is up from 190 PS and 223Nm of torque in the previous generation Accord Euro - This 2.4 liter engine in the Accord Euro is a higher powered version compared to the low compression 170 horsepower version that we get locally in our previous generation facelifted Accord. The 2.4 liter has also had its engine’s compression ratio upped from 10.5:1 to 11.0:1. A 2.2 liter i-CTDi turbodiesel engine option is also available naturally, with 150 PS and 350Nm of torque - 10 PS more than before.

A new feature in the Accord Euro is called Motion Adaptive EPS, which detects instability in slippery conditions both during cornering and under braking and automatically creates steering inputs prompting the driver to steer in the correct direction. It is not an outright override of the driver’s inputs but more of a supportive steering torque to prompt the driver to act intuitively.

New dual-clutch 7-speed AMG SPEDSHIFT MCT


Mercedes-Benz, or more like Mercedes-AMG GmbH joins the ranks of car manufacturers with dual clutch transmissions with their new Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG. The 7-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT (Multi-Cluch Technology) uses twin clutches to swap gears and moves off with a wet start-up clutch instead of a torque converter.

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed gearbox has 4 drive modes - C (Comfort), S (Sport), S+ (Sport plus), and M (Manual). Throttle response and shifts in comfort mode are “softer”, while in S mode shifts are faster and the clutches bite quicker. Shifts are approximately 20% faster than in Comfort mode, and for a further 20% speed improvement you can use S+. Using M mode, a further 10% is cut down for a total of 50% over the C mode - shifts only take 100 milliseconds in the M mode.

Downshifts in S, S+ and M modes use precise double-declutching and can downshift multiple gears, straight from 7th down to 3rd for example. This gives the drive a more sporty feel as the engine and exhaust sound great during double declutching, and also serves to minimize load-change reactions during downshifts.

The gearbox also has a Race Start function. It’s basically a way to get off the starting line with maximum acceleration, and everything including optimum launch revs, the launch itself, and then subsequent shifts are taken care of you, all the way to top speed.

This gearbox is only available in the new SL 63 AMG in which it is mated to a 6.3 liter normally aspirated V8, producing 525 horsepower at 6,800rpm and 630Nm of torque at 5,200rpm. The engine revs up to 7,200rpm, one of the more higher revving V8s around until BMW’s new V8 in the E90/E92 BMW M3 was unveiled.

The SL 63 AMG’s high performance sibling is the force inducted SL 65 AMG powered by a 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged V12 putting out a colossal 1,000Nm of torque and 612 horsepower. This engine is only paired with the 5-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT, as I don’t think the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT or the Mercedes-Benz 7G-Tronic can take that huge amount of torque, and I don’t think many gears are needed with that amount of torque anyway. As it is the SL 65 AMG can go from 0 to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds.

Renault Koleos SUV to debut at Geneva 2008


Renault has taken a similiar step as its fellow French manufacturers Citroen and Peugeot in producing an SUV with the help of a Japanese car manufacturer. Citroen and Peugeot recently launched the Citroen C-Crosser and Peugeot 4007 twins, which are essentially reskinned Mitsubishi Outlanders.

The new Renault Koleos (to be sold as the Renault Samsung QMX in South Korea) is based on the Nissan X-Trail platform and even uses the same suspension system, which is a MacPherson-type front suspension and a fully-independent multilink rear suspension. The Koleos is basically another fruit of the Nissan-Renault Alliance.

It is marketed as a crossover and has crossover-like styling instead of outright rugged SUV styling, and like most crossovers that are intended to stay in the urban jungle, comes in 4X2 as well as a 4X4 drivetrain. The design first made its debut as a concept at the 2006 Paris Motor Show.

Hyundai HED-5 Concept to debut at Geneva 08


Hyundai will be exhibiting a 6-seater MPV concept at the 2008 Geneva Auto Show called the Hyundai HED-5 Concept, a joint project with Recaro, LG and Bayer. The HED-5 Concept is an attempt at making one of Hyundai’s most environmentally responsible vehicles so far, with a 29% reduction in CO2 emissions over an equivalent vehicle. Only concept drawings have been released at the moment, but we will see the concept vehicle in metal at the Geneva show pretty soon. Are we looking at a preview of the future of the Hyundai Matrix?

Suzuki Equator based on Nissan Frontier unveiled


The new Suzuki Equator was unveiled at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show and as expected thanks to earlier leaked images and an already established relationship between Nissan and Suzuki, it is revealed that the Equator is essentially a badge-engineered Nissan Frontier, and is even built alongside the Frontier at Nissan’s Smyrna plant.

The Suzuki Equator is aimed at Suzuki bike and ATV lovers, who might want a truck with a matching badge for their vehicles. It will come in both Extended Cab and Crew Cab body styles, and power will go to either the two rear wheels or all four wheels via a selectable 4WD system.

There are no diesel powertrain options, instead you have a 2.5 liter DOHC inline-4 putting out 152 horsepower and 232Nm of torque, or a larger 4.0 liter DOHC V6 engine with 261 horsepower and 381Nm of torque. These are both Nissan engines and they are mated to a 5-speed auto for both engines, or a 5-speed manual for the inline-4 and a 6-speed for the V6.