Subaru Rally Concept Car

2 10 2007

The Subaru World Rally Championship Concept car, which in its five-door form points to the future direction of the Subaru WRC competition car, debuted at the Frankfurt International Motor Show.

Boasting a striking all-new Subaru World Rally Team livery, muscular, widened fenders and twin exhausts, the World Rally Championship Concept car’s body type, according to Subaru, is in line with the continuing growth in world demand for sporting five-door models and has been designed to further improve the Subaru World Rally Team’s performance in future rally series.

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The WRC Concept car benefits from many potential advantages in its five-door design. Subaru engineers have determined that this body style, with its reduced front and rear overhangs and rigid yet flexible chassis, provides the driver with increased body control while also reducing the moment of inertia during high-speed cornering—both essential aspects of rally racing.

Another feature of rally racing, the “tail slide” is also affected by the five-door design that allows the car to power through corners on a variety of surfaces in a more controlled way.

The widened front fenders with powerful flares conceal 18-inch tires, and, with the wheels on the five-door model pushed out to the corners, the driver’s control and understanding of the vehicle’s positioning is improved. The elimination of body overhangs further reduces the likelihood of impact during high-speed maneuvers.

Other features of the WRC car include Subaru’s boxer engine, which due to its geometry provides natural handling characteristics with the torque levels associated with this layout, Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, and a large rear spoiler that has been designed to improve airflow and increase downforce.

Subaru has been involved in rally competition through Subaru Tecnica International, which has managed Subaru Motorsport activities, including competitions series such as the World Rally Championship and the American Rally Series, for almost 20 years and has claimed multiple victories in drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships.

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Mercedes – 18 alternative-fuel vehicles

2 10 2007

Daimler AG unveiled 18 alternative-fuel vehicles at the Frankfurt auto show, 17 of which will go into production by 2010. A half dozen or more of them will come to the United States.

Hybrid versions of the Mercedes ML 450 and S 400 will go on sale in the United States in 2009, Klaus Maier told AutoWeek’s sister publication, Automotive News. He is executive vice president of sales and marketing at the Mercedes Car Group.

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Mercedes will launch clean-diesel versions of the GL and ML SUVs and the R-class crossover next year. Those light trucks will meet emissions requirements in all 50 states.

Currently, the E 320 Bluetec passenger car’s diesel engine is sold in 42 states. When that car is redesigned in 2010, it will be eligible for sale in 50 states.

Alternative-power versions of the Smart city car also could cross the Atlantic.

A trial with 100 electric Smart ForTwo cars has begun in London. Roger Penske, CEO of Penske Automotive Group, wants the experiment extended to the United States. His company is Smart’s U.S. distributor.

“We think it is the next step for Smart,” said Penske, who has driven the electric car.

Europe will get a Smart hybrid this fall, as well as diesel hybrid versions of the E and S class in 2010.

The unveiling of the 18 alternative-fuel vehicles came at a DaimlerChrysler extravaganza.

Said CEO Dieter Zetsche: Every one of the cars “demonstrates breathtaking design, driving pleasure, safety, dynamism and responsibility for the environment – all of which belong together at Mercedes-Benz across our entire model range.”

Maier says Mercedes put on the extravaganza to demonstrate that “we want to be in the forefront with the environment.”





BMW X6 concept

2 10 2007

With its X6 concept, BMW is looking to add more sport to the SUV segment.

BMW unveiled the X6 concept today at the Frankfurt auto show — a vehicle that melds the ride height and ground clearance of an SUV with the sleek roofline of a coupe. Yet the X6 has four doors to make it easy for rear passengers to get in and out.

But that sleek roofline bites into the cargo area found in BMW’s X5 SUV, which serves as the base for the X6. So there’s seating for only four people in the X6.

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Under the skin, the X6 Frankfurt concept is equipped with BMW’s version of the Two Mode rear-drive hybrid powertrain the automaker developed in cooperation with General Motors and DaimlerChrysler. BMW’s marketers have dubbed the technology ActiveHybrid, and say it will result in a 20 percent gain in fuel economy. ActiveHybrid will eventually make its way into most BMW vehicles.

BMW’s press materials did not give any information on the X6’s engine.

The X6 concept also marks the debut of BMW’s Dynamic Performance Control system. The system senses potential understeer or oversteer, and redirects torque to individual wheels for added driving stability, BMW said.

The production version of the X6 is expected to go on sale next summer. BMW is clearing room out of its factory in Spartanburg, S.C., for X6 production by moving the Z4 to a factory in Regensburg, Germany.