Monday, September 14, 2009

Volkswagen E-UP Electric Concept

Volkswagen has released its latest Up concept. This time the E-UP features all electric propulsion. The lithium ion battery of the E-UP is good for 80 miles of travel before requiring a recharge. VW expects to sell the all electric Up in 2013. The E-UP concept also foreshadows the styling of the upcoming Up cars which will likely come with conventional engines before 2013.

The 135 km/h fast 3+1 seater is driven by an electric motor with a peak power output of 60 kW (continuous power: 40 kW). The motor of the front-wheel drive car, which is mounted in front, develops a maximum torque of 210 Newton-meters right from rest. The driver activates forward or reverse gear via a rotary knob in the centre console. The fact that the E-Up! will also quite clearly offer driving enjoyment is demonstrated by a look at the car's classic 0 to 100-km/h sprint time: 11.3 seconds. The E-Up! develops even greater responsiveness in the intermediate sprint from 0 to 50 km/h in city driving: 3.5 seconds. This dynamic performance is based first on the electric motor's excellent torque characteristic and second on the low kerb weight of the E-Up!, which is just 1,085 kilograms.

Lithium-ion battery: The car's low weight is quite astounding, given the fact that 240 kilograms are taken up by the lithium-ion battery. The implemented battery's energy capacity of 18 kilowatt-hours (kWh) enables driving distances of up to 130 kilometres, depending on driving style – enough for the city and the drives of most commuters. The E-Up! will be "refueled" in the garage at home, in a parking structure or on the road at one of the future municipal recharging stations that will be enabled by chip card. Depending on the available charging infrastructure and the battery's momentary charge state, the storage battery could be charged to up to 80 percent of its total capacity within an hour.

If the batteries are recharged in a home garage, for example, by plugging it into a 230-Volt household outlet, this would take a maximum of five hours. Generally, off-peak night-time electric rates are very inexpensive. So refueled at night the E-Up! could be driven 100 kilometres for just two Euros in electricity costs (about 14 Euro cents / kWh).

The batteries themselves are housed in the underbody of the E-Up! To optimally distribute the weight of the battery system, it is housed in a special, crash-protected tray in the underbody frame. Air cooling ensures a constant heat balance within the batteries. The fans and heat exchangers needed for this are housed in the front section of the underbody.

Volkswagen Golf R

Here are the first images of the Golf R. A successor to the previous R32 editions of the Golf, the R will come with a 265 horsepower 2.0 turbo engine and all wheel drive. Aside from the all wheel drive and more powerful engine, the R also gets exterior changes from the standard Golf. It has larger air intakes, unique headlights and taillights with LEDs, and signature center mounted twin tailpipes like the ones on the R32s.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Audi A3 2.0 TDI Priced

Audi has announced that the 2010 A3 2.0 TDI pricing will start at $29,950. The A3 TDI gets an EPA fuel economy of 30 mpg in the city and 42 on the highway. The A3 will be available for purchase at Audi dealerships in late November.

HERNDON, Va., Sep 3, 2009 - Audi today announced pricing for the 2010 A3 TDI, its second U.S. clean diesel offering launched this year. Expected to begin arriving at U.S. dealers in late November 2009, the 50-state certified A3 TDI delivers the highest highway fuel economy in the luxury car category – 42 mpg, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

The competitive set for the A3 TDI clean diesel is unique. Only one competitor is currently playing in the field of fuel-efficient compact luxury vehicles, but does not offer the driving experience or the 5-door flexibility that includes 40/60 split rear-folding seats. The Lexus HS 250h offers similar combined fuel economy with hybrid technology, but not superlative highway mileage range. The A3 TDI offers more superlatives in value, including a standard S line exterior sport appearance for 2010, a tighter steering turning circle, a top speed of 130 mph, as well as a 12-year limited warranty against corrosion.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Porsche 911 Sport Classic

The folks at Porsche Exclusive have created an extremely limited edition 911 Carrera S with additional horsepower, double bubble roof, wider rear body, along with other touches. The 911 Sport Classic will be limited to only 250 examples, each one commanding a substantial premium over a regular 911 Carrera S.

Official press release follows below.

Stuttgart. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, has refined the DNA of the 911 to what must be the most supreme standard of class and style in the 911 Sport Classic available to a strictly limited number of very special 911 enthusiasts. Creating this unique model, Porsche is bringing back the tradition of exclusive small series built in very small numbers. The 911 Sport Classic will be presented at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and is limited in production to just 250 cars.

This very special 911 from Porsche Exclusive has been developed over a project period of about three years, with lots of love for detail, catering especially for the most demanding group of genuine aficionados. Porsche Exclusive is Porsche's Specialist Department for the most outstanding customised versions of Porsche cars going beyond even the highest standard of the Company's regular production models.

The unique character of this very special 911 comes out at very first sight in the newly developed double-dome roof. A further highlight of this sports car based on the rear-wheel-drive Carrera S is the wider rear body up by 44 millimetres or 1.73" and the wider track on the rear axle. The striking SportDesign front apron with its unique spoiler lip and the rear spoiler fixed in position like the legendary ducktail on the 1973 Carrera RS 2.7 round off the unmistakable look of the 911 Sport Classic. Power comes from Porsche's 3.8-litre with Direct Fuel Injection, increased in this case, also through the introduction of a newly developed resonance intake manifold with six vacuum-controlled switching flaps, by 23 bhp to 408 horsepower for even more outstanding performance.

The 911 Sport Classic comes exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox. PCCB Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes ideally reflecting the sporting character of this exclusive 911, PASM sports suspension lowering the entire car by 20 mm or 0.79", as well as the mechanical rear axle differential and custom-made 19-inch wheels with their rim star painted black all come together to offer a perfect match for the character of this most exclusive car.

The very special, highly sophisticated interior of the 911 Sport Classic bears powerful testimony to one of the core competences of Porsche Exclusive and is characterised by new materials never used before even by Porsche. One example is woven leather made up of smooth leather strips and woven yarn featured on the seat centrepieces of the newly designed adaptive sports seats complete with light-grey piping and on the door panels.

The dashboard including a wide range of inserts and add-on components is finished in Espresso Nature natural leather, providing a distinctive contrast to the exclusive body paint in Sport Classic Grey.

Marking the introduction of this special limited edition model, Porsche Design Driver´s Selection is likewise introducing a range of new and very special products at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The limited edition AluFrame Trolley as well as a polo-shirt, a cap and a personalised lanyard take up the colour concept of the 911 Sport Classic, and in good time for the introduction of the new car a top-quality 1:43 model will also be available.

Sales of the Porsche 911 Sport Classic are starting in January 2010.
The Euro base price of the car without value-added tax and national specifications is Euro 169,300.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

August 2009 Sales

As expected the CARS program elevated car sales in the United States. Automaker's August sales reports make this clear with most brands having best monthly sales of the year, some brands produced best sales numbers in years while Hyundai and Honda had their best month ever. Luxury automakers, were not as lucky as the CARS program did little to raise their figures. The only exception was Audi which was able to lift its sales by 26%.

Overall Toyota lead all brands with 202,196 cars sold followed by Chevrolet, Ford and Honda.

Kia, Subaru and Hyundai lead all with sales increases of 60.4, 52 and 47 percent respectively. Saturn was the biggest loser of the month with a 58.4% drop.

August 2009 Sales by Automaker

Click on graph to enlarge.

First Official Lexus LF-Ch Photo

Lexus has released the first official photo of its upcoming hatchback concept. The hybrid powered concept will preview a Lexus vehicle that would compete with the Audi A3 and BMW 1 series. Expect the actual production car to have a normal rear bumper, bigger rear window and perhaps different taillights.