Thursday, February 28, 2013

The new Audi A3 Sportback g-tron

Audi is taking a large step towards sustainable mobility with the A3 Sportback g-tron. The compact five-door car, due to make its debut at the end of the year, is powered by the CO2-neutral fuel Audi e-gas. The fuel will be produced in the power-to-gas plant in Werlte, Germany. This new car innovatively combines ecological balance, economy and high-tech solutions.
The Audi A3 Sportback g-tron comes with the full gamut of Audi’s technology expertise – from ultra-lightweight technology, and infotainment, to driver assistance systems. But first and foremost it showcases state-of-the-art CNG drive technology, starting with the fuel storage. Its two tanks under the luggage compartment floor can each hold seven kilograms (15.43 lb) of CNG at a maximum 200 bar pressure. In tune with the ultra-lightweight construction concept, each tank weighs 27 kilograms (59.52 lb) less than its conventional counterpart.
The tanks consist of a new type of matrix. The inner layer consists of gas-impermeable polyamide polymer, while a second layer of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) gives the tank its extremely high strength; a third layer of glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) provides rugged protection against damage from the outside. High-strength epoxy resin is used to bind the fiber reinforced materials.
A second highlight of the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron is its electronic gas pressure regulator. This compact and lightweight component reduces the high pressure of the gas flowing from the cylinders down to around five to nine bar in two stages.
It ensures that the right pressure is always present in the gas rail and at the injector valves – low pressure for efficient driving in the lower speed range, and higher when the driver calls for more power and torque.
If the pressure in the tank drops below ten bar, the engine management system automatically switches over to gasoline operation. The Audi A3 Sportback g-tron is fully bivalent, i.e. its performance figures are identical in CNG and gasoline modes.
CNG provides a range – based on standard fuel consumption – of around 400 km (248.55 miles), with gasoline providing another 900 km (559.23 miles) if necessary; the total range is approximately on a par with an Audi TDI. Two displays in the instrument cluster provide the driver with up-to-date information on the fuel level in each of the tanks. The driver information system also displays the current fuel consumption based on the particular operating mode.
The two filler necks are placed under a common fuel flap. After refueling, and whenever it is very cold, the engine is started with gasoline initially, then it is switched over to natural gas as quickly as possible.
The engine is based on the new 1.4 TFSI. Key modifications relate to the cylinder head, turbocharging, injection system, and the catalytic converter. Developing 81 kW (110 hp) and 200 Nm of torque, the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron has a top speed of 190 km/h (118.06 mph), with 0 to 100 km/h (0 - 62.14 mph) taking eleven seconds. The five-door car consumes on average less than 3.5 kilograms per 100 km of CNG or Audi e-gas – the fuel that is generated from eco-electricity in the Audi e-gas project. CO2 tailpipe emissions are less than 95 grams per km (152.89 g/mile) in gas mode.
The greenhouse gas balance is even more attractive in a well-to-wheel analysis that accounts for all factors from the fuel source to the car’s wheels. When the A3 Sportback g-tron is powered by Audi e-gas, no more CO2 is released than was chemically input in its production beforehand – creating a closed loop. When the energy required to build the e-gas facility and wind power generators is included in a comprehensive analysis, CO2 emissions are still less than 30 grams per km (48.28 g/mile).
Buyers of the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron will presumably obtain the e-gas at the public CNG refueling stations via an ecological accounting­ method, similar to the method currently in existence for obtaining eco-electricity.
With the e-gas project, Audi is the first automobile manufacturer to develop an entire chain of sustainable energy carriers. The start of the chain has electricity produced from renewable energy sources; the end products are hydrogen and the synthetic Audi e-gas. Construction of the world’s first industrial plant to produce synthetic methane (e-gas) from CO2 and renewable electricity is almost complete in Werlte (Emsland district of Lower Saxony), Germany.
The Audi e-gas plant uses the renewable electricity in the first stage for electrolysis – splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen (Audi e-hydrogen), which could one day power fuel-cell vehicles. Because there is not yet a widespread hydrogen infrastructure, however, the hydrogen is then reacted with CO2 in a methanation plant to produce renewable synthetic methane, or Audi e-gas. Chemically speaking, this e-gas is identical to fossil-based natural gas. As such, it can be distributed to CNG stations via the natural-gas network.
Thanks to the power-to-gas process, the electricity grid and gas network are being linked bidirectionally for the first time. Until now while you could generate electricity from gas, the reverse was not possible. The Audi e-gas plant therefore paves the way for tapping into the natural-gas network with its huge capacity as a storage and transport system for hitherto excess electricity capacity.
The CO2 used in Audi’s e-gas plant is a waste ­product from a nearby biogas plant, operated by power utility EWE. The CO2, which would otherwise pollute the atmosphere, is chemically bonded into the fuel at the Audi e-gas plant. The e-gas plant will annually produce about 1,000 metric tons of e-gas and will chemically bind some 2,800 metric tons of CO2. This corresponds roughly to the amount of CO2 that 224,000 beech trees absorb in a year.
The CO2-neutral e-gas from Werlte will power 1,500 new Audi A3 Sportback g-tron vehicles 15,000 kilometers (9,320.57 miles) every year. The power industry can also benefit from Audi’s e-gas project, as it addresses the nagging challenge of how to store large quantities of renewable electricity produced from wind turbines and photovoltaic systems efficiently and irrespective of location. The electricity-gas cogeneration technology could significantly foster the expansion of renewable energies.


Citroën has unveiled a World Rally Championship diorama to celebrate Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena’s unrivalled nine FIA World Rally Championship titles. The model was revealed at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on 18 February and will remain on show at the venue until 01 March.
From the snow and ice of Rally Finland to the iconic ruins of the Acropolis Rally, the 1:43-scale model, which has been moulded to a Citroën DS3 – the same model with which Loeb and Elena won their ninth title – showcases nine different rally terrains; one for every championship win.
The eye-catching model has been finished to the highest quality, with the utmost attention to detail. Each rally terrain features a 1:43 scale model of one of the duo’s championship-winning cars, dating back to 2004 and the Citroën Xsara.
Nothing has been left to the imagination as ice and dust clouds provide a sense of speed, while flowers, shrubbery, cameramen and spectators complete the scene.
Designed and built by Kieron Barter of Funky Lemon Design, the model took two months to complete.

Barter and his team of model-makers have been part of the project from the very beginning, from taking the initial moulds to putting the final touches to the entirely unique and staggeringly intricate artwork.
Describing the model-making process, Barter said how keen he was to be part of it, saying: “When I was initially approached by Citroën about this, I was really excited. It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience so I jumped at the chance. The most enjoyable, and perhaps most challenging part was working with a DS3 to get the mould for the car, purely because it’s not something that I’ve done before and it was very important to get the mould right.”
Marc Raven, Communications Director at Citroën UK said: “Sébastien and Daniel have a fantastic history with Citroën and have achieved an incredible feat that is unlikely to be replicated. To celebrate, we wanted to create something that was as equally unique as their achievements. We were keen for this to involve a DS3; the car that underpins their continuing success in the WRC, and this was the result! It’s a fantastic piece of art and truly befitting of Seb and Daniel’s amazing track record.”
The model will be on show at the SMMT until 01 March. Citroën is planning a dealer tour later in the year and the model will also be on show at various events throughout the summer.

Premiere in wind tunnel: Audi Sailing Team Germany tests in Ingolstadt

An extra gust of wind for the German sailors: Audi Sailing Team Germany trained yesterday in the wind tunnel of Technical Development (TE) of AUDI AG: where production cars, professional swimmers, skiers or cyclists normally come under the microscope, Audi assisted the national sailing team for the first time for an entire day to optimize their performances.
Two dinghies and a sea of data – things were quite stormy in the state-of-the-art Wind Tunnel Center in Ingolstadt. After extensive preparations, four young professional sailors from Audi Sailing Team Germany threw caution to the wind and weathered the gale winds in a 470 two-man dinghy and a 49er FX Skiff. Target of the activities: perfecting the posture of the helmsman and bowman and finding the optimum garments for the forthcoming competitions.

The 470er crew consisted of last year’s Olympic starter Patrick Follmann and young sailor Julian Stückl. Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke, winners of the German 49er FX Championships 2012, also travelled to the test. Under the watchful eyes of Joachim Hellmich, coordinator of Audi Sailing Team Germany, the four athletes were extremely enthusiastic about the training session: they ran through various wind scenarios, which had actually been recorded under real conditions at the Olympic summer games in London and during the Kieler Woche. Sometimes standing, sometimes sitting or hanging overboard in the trapeze – the sailors successfully defied the strong winds originating from the almost 2.6 Megawatt turbine and opposed wind speeds of up to 60 km/h in different sailing garments.

“That was a successful, but unusual training day. Perhaps the most unusual that we have ever had,” says Joachim Hellmich. “Thanks to the data we collected we now have a much better idea of which posture is the best for each activity on the boat. Our clothing partners will certainly also be able to benefit from the measurements in the Audi wind tunnel.” Susann Beucke, helmswoman for the 49 FX added: “After we jumped from the 470 into the new women’s 49er FX Skiff, tests with our boat like here in the Audi wind tunnel are a welcome opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the new Olympic class. A unique chance for Tina and me to optimize our trim considering aerodynamic factors.”

The Ingolstadt based automobile company supports the Audi Sailing Team Germany as main sponsor and premium partner since 2010. The test day in the wind tunnel was just one way of boosting the German national sailing team for the forthcoming challenges in international sailing. The work is already aimed at the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Among the promising candidates is also Laser sailor Philipp Buhl, who is also a squad member. He only recently received the ‘Sailor of the Year’ accolade at the presentation of the ‘Sailing Team Germany Award’. In addition to the European title, the 23-year old from Sonthofen also scooped double gold and bronze at the ISAF Sailing World Cup last year.


The organisers of the Silverstone Classic (26-28 July) are proud to announce a prestigious new Feature Race that is certain to be among the many highlights at this summer’s staging of the World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival.
The glamorous Piper Heidsieck International Trophy for Classic GT Cars in association with Chopard is a special one-hour, two-driver showdown for illustrious pre-1966 GT cars.  Befitting such an evocative spectacle, the race is being staged at dusk on Saturday evening and the winners will be awarded with an impressive silver trophy, an elegant Chopard wristwatch plus a dozen bottles of Piper Heidsieck champagne.
Harking back to the early Sixties, a full grid is predicted featuring an exceptional line-up of historically significant and authentic competition cars – these include a mouth-watering array of racing classics such as AC Cobras, Alfa Romeo TZs, Aston Martin DB4s, Ferrari 250LMs and Jaguar E-types.
“We are thrilled to be teaming up with Piper Heidsieck and Chopard to create what’s going to be a fantastic race between a world class field of such spectacular GT racing cars from the Sixties,” enthused Nick Wigley, event director, who is expecting the exciting new race to attract a capacity 58-car grid.
“We believe, in fact, the grid will be substantially oversubscribed to the extent that we are setting up a special selection committee,” continued Wigley. “All potential entrants are being asked to provide compelling photographs, information and provenance about their cars which will then be evaluated by the selection committee before a final entry list is confirmed in early June.” 
The prominent Piper Heidsieck International Trophy for Classic GT Cars will add further spice to a massive 24-race programme – starring more than 1000 entries – showcasing the full spectrum of glorious motor sport history.
Full details of the non-stop on-track action can be found on the official website as well as ticket information. All tickets must be purchased in advance and those booking before the end of March can take full advantage of special ‘Early Bird’ prices with adult entry starting from just £30 (plus fees). Enhancing the three-day festival’s ‘access all areas’ policy as well as its family-friendly appeal, all tickets give free access to all racing paddocks, trackside grandstands and live classic rock music concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings.


Stanley Steamer takes centre stage for spring sale
Brooklands will provide the backdrop for the ultimate MPV – built long before the category was even invented – when a 1917 20hp Stanley Mountain Wagon crosses the ‘block’ on Saturday March 9th for Historics’ spring sale.
Having sold their dry plate photographic business to Eastman Kodak, twin brothers Francis E. Stanley and Freelan O. Stanley decided to set up the Stanley Motor Carriage Company in order to manufacture steam powered vehicles.
Proving their project was not just a load of hot air, they produced their first car in 1897, and during 1898 and 1899 produced and sold over 200 cars; more than any other American auto maker at the time.
Production increased in the period up to 1917, with Historics’ 20hp Mountain Wagon one of 500 cars manufactured that year.
This ultimate utility vehicle could accommodate nine occupants and with petrol power unable to cope with both elevation and altitude, this steamer was originally deployed to take holidaymakers from a local railway station up to the nearby mountain lodge.
With the boiler housed under the front seat in early Stanley Steamers, by 1917 it had been moved to the front of the vehicle and a condenser added, but in both cases the boilers were far safer than one might expect, with not one documented case of a Stanley boiler exploding in use.
Steam was generated in a vertical fire-tube boiler with a vaporising kerosene burner underneath.  Boilers were fitted with safety valves, and even if these failed, a dangerous overpressure would rupture one of the many joints long before the boiler shell was in danger of bursting.
Equipped with a twin cylinder engine geared directly to the back axle, the Mountain Wagon utilised aluminium coachwork that resembled internal combustion cars of the time but retained many of the steam car features; for example no transmission, clutch, or driveshaft.
Purchased from a private collection in Salem, Massachusetts, USA in 2006, the current vendor commissioned a mechanical overhaul including the installation of an all-important new boiler.
The Stanley 20hp Mountain Wagon is finished in blue with black wings and black seats, and is ready to run, supplied with a V5C registration document and boiler inspection certificate.
A most unusual and very rare car, Historics estimates offers in the region of £58,000 to £68,000 at its spring sale on Saturday 9th March at Brooklands.
For more information call 01753 639170, e-mail:, or see the website,

Dacia to add fourth UK model

Dacia will add the Logan MCV to its UK line-up from the middle of the year to join Duster, Sandero and Sandero Stepway.
The new Logan MCV will make its debut at next week's Geneva motor show. The five-seater "will, in effect, be a Sandero estate," said Adam Wood, Dacia product manager.
The current Logan estate is a seven-seater and the thinking behind launching the new one with only five seats is so that it won't steal sales from the Lodgy, a compact people carrier not sold in the UK.
The launch of Dacia in the UK is going well, said Wood. Orders to date are 4,300 - 2,600 for the Duster and 1,700 for the Sandero - and there are 149 Dacia outlets putting 86 per cent of buyers within a 30-minute drive of a showroom.
Although Dacia is selling itself on affordability, buyers are ordering Dusters with an average price of £13,300 (the range starts at £8,995) and 40 per cent want four-wheel drive, well ahead of the 13 per cent forecast and also well up on the 25 per cent of buyers elsewhere in Europe who opt for 4x4 Dusters.

Driving fun earns immediate rewards: The new Driving Excitement Analyser from MINI Connected.

MINI provides the perfect stage for show-stealing driving fun, but it is down to the driver to deliver the perfect performance. And now the Driving Excitement Analyser from MINI Connected is on hand to highlight just how skilfully and safely drivers are exploiting the potential of their new MINI. This innovative and globally unique function assesses how safely drivers can accelerate and steer the car, and how well planned their gear changes and braking can be. The results are displayed on the onboard monitor, with Experience Points (XP) awarded for sporty but safe driving. The Driving Excitement Analyser is another addition to the existing Driving Excitement suite of features and therefore included in the MINI Connected App update, which drivers can access in their MINI via their iPhone. The free update will be available from March 2013 from the Apple App Store and can be uploaded into the car via an iPhone.
The Driving Excitement Analyser is the latest example of how MINI owners can enjoy a distinctive brand of driving fun through the intelligent link-up of the driver, car and outside world. The MINI Connected app is regularly updated to include new and innovative infotainment, driving fun and social network functions. In cars equipped with the MINI Visual Boost radio or MINI navigation system, MINI Connected already offers features such as a web radio function, the Google Local Search and Send to Car services, use of Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, the AUPEO! and Stitcher services, reception of RSS news feeds, use of the iPhone’s calendar, and the Driving Excitement, Mission Control, Dynamic Music and MINIMALISM Analyser functions. All are intuitive to use and presented with customary MINI flair with the help of the MINI joystick, steering wheel buttons and onboard monitor.
The Driving Excitement Analyser allows drivers to experience the hallmark MINI driving fun in even greater depth. In addition to the Condition Check function, Force Meter and digital sports instruments already included in the Driving Excitement app from MINI Connected, the new points system rates the driver’s ability to pilot the MINI with a sporty yet steady hand. Praise is given to particularly sprightly sprints, precise gear changes, controlled braking, smooth cornering and U-turns executed at well-judged speeds. For example, the system awards maximum Experience Points for upshifts carried out within the ideal rev range and in less than 1.2 seconds. Super-slick gear changes prompt a “Perfect change up” message on the on-board monitor, while a “Breathtaking U-turn” and a masterful touch with the anchors (“Well-balanced braking”) are similarly recognised with top marks and positive, MINI-style feedback. At the opposite end of the scale, no points are given for potentially dangerous manoeuvres. Instead, excessively sharp braking and precarious or erratic cornering cause a warning to be displayed on the monitor.
In other words, sustained poise and assurance at the wheel are the key to sending a driver’s points total skywards. Topping 100 points in any of the four categories results in promotion to the next level. Added to which, drivers can collect badges reflecting their accomplished acceleration, gear changes or cornering technique within the scope of special tests. Navigation-linked badges are awarded as a special bonus, lighting up on the onboard monitor if the MINI passes one of the essential destinations identified by the app – the MINI factory in Oxford, for instance.

Audi involved in standard for sustainable aluminum

AUDI AG is joining the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative to help develop a global standard for sustainable aluminum. As a pioneer of unitary aluminum car bodies, the company is taking the opportunity to influence the entire value chain of one of its most important materials – one of the objectives of Audi’s corporate-responsibility strategy.
“As a pioneer for lightweight construction, we are very interested in establishing a global standard for sustainable aluminum. This will allow us to further improve the environmental impact of our cars by using certified aluminum in the future,” explained Dr. Bernd Martens, Audi’s Board of Management Member for Procurement, with regard to joining the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative.
The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative was founded in the autumn of 2012 and aims to develop a sustainability standard for aluminum by the end of 2014, with the support of the environmental organization IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). It sets environmental and social criteria that apply to all stages of extracting the raw material as well as producing and processing aluminum. “Active responsibility is firmly anchored throughout our company. Also in our supply chains, we place priority on the integration of environmental protection and social responsibility,” emphasized Dr. Martens.
The new standard fits in well with Audi’s holistic approach to product responsibility: The premium manufacturer not only ensures that its automobiles are highly fuel efficient, but also analyzes the environmental impact of its products over their entire lifecycles – from the extraction of raw materials to production to operation to recycling. For each new model series, Audi has a certified environmental analysis prepared in order to assess the impact on the environment; the objective is to reduce it compared with each model’s predecessor. For example, the company has been able to demonstrate that both the current Audi A6 and Audi A3 have improved in all relevant environmental categories. The new Audi A3 has a better environmental footprint than its predecessor right from the first kilometer. In addition to sustainable materials and manufacturing processes, ultra-lightweight construction plays an important role. This makes the Audi A3 up to 80 kilograms lighter than the previous generation; the A3 Sportback is actually up to 90 kilograms lighter.
Audi has positioned itself as a pioneer for lightweight construction. At the Frankfurt Motor Show 20 years ago, the premium brand presented the Audi Space Frame, a shimmering silver show car with an unpainted body made of polished aluminum. In 1994, the first Audi A8 went into series production. The car was based on a unitary aluminum body with a weight of just 249 kilograms.
With its ultra-lightweight construction today, Audi applies an intelligent material mix – according to the motto of “the right material in the right place in the minimum required quantity.” Lower weight enhances driving pleasure, improves safety, and has less impact on the environment. After all, every kilogram saved means less fuel is consumed and less CO2 is emitted.
Corporate responsibility is firmly anchored as a guiding principle in the Audi strategy. As well as financial success and international competitiveness, equal priority is placed on responsibility for employees and society, as well as on protecting the environment and resources along the value chain. Audi’s vision is to make CO2-neutral mobility possible.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé Black Series: GT3 performance for the road

Mercedes-AMG presents the high-end super sports car version of its gullwing model, the new SLS AMG Coupé Black Series. Inspired by the SLS AMG GT3 racing version, the fifth Black Series model from Mercedes-AMG boasts an intoxicating mix of breathtaking design, outstanding driving dynamics and uncompromising lightweight construction in accordance with the "AMG Lightweight Performance" strategy. With a DIN kerb weight of 1550 kilograms, the SLS AMG Black Series achieves a power-to-weight ratio of 2.45 kg/hp. The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine generates a power output of 464 kW (631 hp) at 7400 rpm and propels the most dynamic road-going gullwing model ever to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds. A new AMG titanium sports exhaust system produces an emotion-stirring soundtrack to accompany the scintillating performance. The AMG RIDE CONTROL performance suspension, the AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system and the weight-optimised forged AMG light-alloy wheels with newly developed sports tyres combine to raise the handling dynamics of the SLS AMG Black Series to new heights, helped by the electronically controlled AMG rear-axle differential lock and the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission. The AMG Aerodynamics package is optionally available to further boost the vehicle's driving dynamics by optimising the aerodynamic balance and increasing downforce.
Black Series – a name that resonates with automobile experts and enthusiasts alike. Following on from the SLK 55 AMG Black Series from 2006, the CLK 63 AMG Black Series (2007), the SL 65 AMG Black Series (2008) and the C 63 AMG Coupé Black Series (2011), the fifth exponent sees the Black Series entering a new dimension with the gullwing model.
"The new SLS AMG Coupé Black Series is a perfect study in the one hundred percent transfer of technology and engineering from motorsport to the road. We have drawn inspiration from the example set by the SLS AMG GT3 customer sport racing car, which has enjoyed tremendous success worldwide. Boasting numerous lightweight components and sensational driving dynamics, our fifth Black Series model promises pure, unadulterated 'Driving Performance'. The SLS AMG Coupé Black Series is the ultimate choice for extremely quick lap times and highly emotional driving experiences," says Ola Källenius, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
"The most dynamic road-going gullwing model of all time goes by the name of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series. Fans of high-performance super sports cars will be thrilled by its high-tech package. Its stirring performance and supreme driving dynamics are underpinned by the numerous new developments that have been incorporated into the engine, power transmission, suspension and aerodynamics, but also by us giving top priority to our "AMG Lightweight Performance" strategy. Great efforts in the area of lightweight design have resulted in a DIN kerb weight of 1550 kilograms", notes Tobias Moers, Head of Overall Vehicle Development and member of the Management Board of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine: a byword for thrilling driving dynamics
The uprated AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine generating an output of 464 kW (631 hp) and 635 Newton metres of torque is a byword for thrilling driving dynamics, and makes the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series the most powerful high-performance car from AMG with a combustion engine at present. Only the SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive with a maximum output of 552 kW comes with greater power reserves.
The SLS AMG Coupé Black Series accelerates to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds, and goes on to attain a top speed of 315 km/h. The additional 44 kW (60 hp) of power in comparison to the 420 kW (571 hp) offered by the SLS AMG has been achieved by the following measures:
  • Increase in the maximum engine speed from 7200 to 8000 rpm
  • Redesigned valve gear for high-revving engine with modified camshafts, adapted cam geometry as well as optimised bucket tappets featuring a special coating normally only used in motor racing
  • Revised intake air ducting: dethrottling and adaptation to the new maximum engine speed
  • Completely reconfigured belt drive system that is resistant to high rev speeds, including all ancillaries and guide pulleys
  • Adjustment of the engine application and increase in peak pressure
The engineers at Mercedes-AMG have further optimised the crank assembly in the interests of optimum stability in tough racing use. The measures carried out here include modified oil bores in the crankshaft, new crankshaft bearings and high-strength screwed connections for the conrods. The entire water and oil cooling system for the engine and transmission has also undergone further optimisation. The AMG V8 engine in the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series is additionally provided with a special support system. A gas-filled strut braces the eight-cylinder engine against the body, effectively eliminating undesired load-change reactions during highly dynamic driving on the racetrack. The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine is hand-built at the AMG engine workshop in Affalterbach according to the "one man, one engine" philosophy. This is verified by the black AMG engine badge bearing the responsible engine fitter's signature that is a hallmark of the Black Series models.
The key data at a glance:
SLS AMG Coupé Black Series
6208 cc
Bore x stroke
102.2 x 94.6 mm
Compression ratio
464 kW (631 hp) at 7400 rpm
Max. torque
635 Nm at 5500 rpm
Max. engine speed
8000 rpm
Engine weight (dry)
205 kg
Fuel consumption, NEDC combined
13.7 l/100 km
CO2 emissions
321 g/km
Acceleration 0-100 km/h
3.6 s
Top speed
315 km/h

Brand new and exceptionally light AMG titanium sports exhaust system
Placed in a front-mid position behind the front axle, the naturally aspirated eight-cylinder power unit delights with its racing car-like responsiveness and by building up high revs more eagerly than ever. The mighty AMG V8 engine's racetrack pedigree is clearly reflected in its acoustic performance, too: the fully redesigned AMG sports exhaust system, built from weight-saving titanium for the first time, produces a sensational soundtrack, with the free-revving naturally aspirated V8 unit hitting the high notes to even more striking effect than ever. From 5500 rpm up to when the rev limiter cuts in at 8000 rpm especially, the high-revving concept makes its presence heard even more distinctly, allowing it to be experienced more intensely. The higher frequency tone when accelerating at full throttle is reminiscent of the sound made by racing car engines. The SLS AMG Coupé Black Series meets all of the specific AMG requirements while still offering its occupants the comfort on long journeys that Mercedes is renowned for: when driving at a constant speed, the AMG V8 unit produces a more restrained sound.
The AMG sound specialists were able to achieve the challenging acoustic targets by conducting elaborate simulations and in-vehicle testing. The AMG titanium sports exhaust system employs pipes with a diameter of 70 millimetres together with specially designed centre and rear reflection silencers. The system's unique acoustic qualities are down in no small part to the special titanium alloy with its high thermal resistance. The switch from steel to titanium has furthermore spawned a substantial weight saving: at just under 17 kilograms, the new AMG sports exhaust system is around 13 kilograms lighter than its predecessor. It continues to be fitted with the performance-enhancing exhaust headers used in the past. The presence of the AMG titanium sports exhaust system is given away by the two sets of chrome twin tailpipes with a square cross-section, which have been perfectly integrated into the rear apron with its black diffuser insert.
Systematic application of the AMG Lightweight Performance strategy
Lightweight through and through: with a kerb weight of 1550 kilograms (DIN), the new SLS AMG Coupé Black Series is not only 70 kilograms lighter than the SLS AMG, but also attains the best power-to-weight ratio of all AMG Black Series models to date by far. The figure of 2.45 kg/hp is impressive even by super sports car standards. Such a low ratio is made possible by systematic application of the "AMG Lightweight Performance" strategy. Numerous body elements, such as the bonnet, the rear panel behind the AMG sports bucket seats, the diagonal braces on the underbody and the torque tube between engine and transmission, are made entirely of the motorsport material carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic, or CRP for short. In contrast to its 26.6-kilogram counterpart with sand-cast aluminium housing, the carbon-fibre torque tube weighs just 13.3 kilograms.
As previously, power transmission between the engine and the dual clutch transmission, which is flange-mounted on the rear axle (transaxle principle), is effected by means of a CRP drive shaft weighing only 4.7 kilograms. A number of parts on the aluminium spaceframe have also been replaced by CRP components. A lithium-ion battery which is used in place of the conventional starter battery saves a further eight kilograms.
Optimised dual clutch transmission for even more emotion-stirring dynamism
The overall power transmission system is also a major contributory factor to the outstanding driving dynamics of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission is installed ten millimetres lower in order to achieve a lower centre of gravity for the vehicle and is braced against the body by means of gas-filled struts to eliminate load-change effects. The dual clutch transmission features four driving modes (C, S, S+ and M): "Sport plus" and "Manual" in particular provide for even sportier performance than with the SLS AMG and SLS AMG GT models. In addition to shortened shift times, the reduced response time to shift commands from the driver and the precisely defined shift firmness translate into pure dynamism and an emotion-charged driving experience.
An even more thrilling feature is the automatic double-declutching function during downshifting: the throttle blips when shifting gear are more pronounced and, thanks to the AMG titanium sports exhaust system, more distinctly audible than ever. The SLS AMG Coupé Black Series once again sets new standards here.
There is also a new "temporary M mode". In C, S or S+ mode, this enables the driver to activate manual mode without having to remove a hand from the steering wheel by simply flicking the "up" or "down" shift paddle once. In temporary M mode, the driver can experience all the dynamism and performance of gearshifts in the modified manual programme in any of the automatic drive modes, with the added benefit of automatic up- and downshifting. This allows the driver to devote his full attention to savouring the vehicle's stunning performance. The temporary M mode offers the best of both worlds: regardless of the currently activated drive mode, drivers can enjoy combining automated gearshifts and manual shift commands with the paddles as they please. The system deactivates the temporary M mode and reverts to the drive mode last activated (C, S or S+) fully automatically as a function of the current driving situation.
New, electronic AMG rear-axle differential lock
A newly developed, electronically controlled AMG rear-axle differential lock with a shorter final-drive ratio replaces the mechanical variant; it is integrated in the compact transmission housing. This system operates with a variable locking effect in acceleration and overrun mode; in addition, the electronics respond more sensitively than previously, enabling excellent traction for the driven wheels at all friction levels. The electronic AMG rear-axle differential lock also benefits driving safety: when weaving in and out or changing lane at high speeds, the system has a stabilising effect, as it is able to attenuate the vehicle's yaw rate around its vertical axis. The standard-fit 3-stage ESP® system featuring the functions "ON", "SPORT Handling Mode" and "OFF" is precision-tuned to the electronic AMG rear-axle differential lock. The same applies to the RACE START function, which provides for perfect traction when accelerating from a standing start in conjunction with the electronic differential lock, or "E-Diff" as it is known in technical jargon.
AMG RIDE CONTROL performance suspension and sports tyres
The chassis and suspension of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series have also been re-engineered. The basic layout with aluminium double wishbones all-round remains unchanged, but barely a component has gone untouched in the interests of greatly enhanced racetrack performance.
The new developments in detail:
  • AMG RIDE CONTROL performance suspension with tauter tuning and electronically controlled two-stage damping (Sport, Sport +) for individual adjustment to the preferred personal driving style
  • Spring retainers with threaded section to allow for adjustment of wheel loads, thereby enabling personalised racetrack setup
  • Elastokinematics around 50% / 42% stiffer (front/rear axle) for greater roll stability in fast S bends
  • Track width increased by 20 / 24 millimetres (front/rear axle) for more grip when cornering at speed
  • New hub carriers on front axle and new front stabiliser tuning for added grip and reduced roll angle when cornering at speed
  • AMG 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels featuring extra-lightweight forged design with optimised strength, painted in matt black with high-sheen finish, dimensions: 10x19 (front) and 12x20 (rear). Weight saving: 4.0 kg
  • Newly developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 sports tyres, size 275/35 R 19 (front) and 325/30 R 20 (rear), for more grip and sporty cornering limits
  • AMG speed-sensitive sports steering with modified power steering characteristic for optimum steering precision and outstanding control of the vehicle
AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system as standard
The brake system of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series boasts excellent stopping power and outstanding fade resistance. The AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system is fitted as standard. The ceramic brake discs, measuring 402 x 39 millimetres at the front and 360 x 32 millimetres at the rear, are characterised by enhanced thermal stability due to their increased hardness, accompanied by a weight reduction of around 40 percent. As a result of the reduced unsprung masses, they optimise both comfort and grip. The reduced rotating masses at the front axle provide for more direct steering response. The weight saving with the AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system compared to a conventional steel/aluminium brake system amounts to 16 kilograms. The SLS AMG Coupé Black Series comes equipped with high-performance brake pads as standard, which further enhance fade resistance when the vehicle is being raced hard on a racetrack.
Design inspired by the SLS AMG GT3 customer sport racing car
The design of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series derives a special fascination from its similarity to the SLS AMG GT3 customer sport racing car. Wide flared wings with an added width of 13 mm (front) and 26 mm (rear) on each side create the necessary space for the 275 mm and 325 mm sports tyres. Darkened headlamps and black surrounds for the tail lights give the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series a distinctly muscular and aggressive look. Besides the front apron with carbon-fibre front splitter and the carbon-fibre rear apron with diffuser, further visual indicators of the technology transfer from the world of motorsport include the side skirts with carbon-fibre inserts and the simulated air intakes in front of the rear wheels. The wing-like cross fin and the star recess in the radiator grille are finished in high-gloss black to match the exterior mirrors and the fins on the bonnet.
Matt black AMG forged wheels in Black Series-specific design
When viewed from the side, the eye is caught by the stylishly integrated side skirts, which combine with the feature line to stunning effect. The carbon trim elements fitted along the bottom at the sides extend the line traced by the carbon-fibre front splitter back to the rear. AMG forged wheels in an exclusive 5-twin-spoke design painted in matt black with a high sheen finish provide a clear view of the AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system behind. AMG forged wheels in matt black with a high-sheen rim flange are available as an alternative.
The rear of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series presents a beefy appearance on a par with that of the front end. The broad wings and the striking rear diffuser are the predominant features here. The two sets of chrome twin tailpipes with a square cross-section provide visual confirmation of the gullwing super sports car's power and dynamism – as well as delivering the soundtrack to match. The exclusive AMG logo with contrasting Black Series lettering in black adds a discreet yet unmistakable touch at the top right of the boot lid.
The dynamic styling of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series is beautifully complemented by the AMG solarbeam paintwork. This optionally available shade is exclusive to the Black Series model. Six other exterior paint finishes from the SLS AMG range are also available, including the matt paint finish designo magno allanite grey.
Optimum aerodynamic balance and effective cooling
The Black Series-specific design has more than just visual impact: it also serves to improve both downforce and cooling with only a slight increase in the coefficient of drag (Cd value). The front apron with carbon-fibre front splitter and the rear apron with diffuser help to optimise the aerodynamic balance. Giving the vehicle's underbody an even slicker form and extending the diffuser forward has lowered the Cd value while increasing downforce at the rear axle. The diffuser extends beyond the profile of the rear apron, which produces yet more downforce at the rear. The upshot of this is greater handling stability at high speeds. Visible air openings behind black grilles are designed to ensure controlled discharge of the hot air in the area between the transmission and the AMG titanium sports exhaust system.
The enlarged air intakes in the front end with carbon-fibre flics on the inside ensure an optimum air inflow into the cooling modules at the front. The carbon-fibre insert on the sides with air outlet and a black fin is also reminiscent of the SLS AMG GT3; the suction effect helps to dissipate hot air from the engine compartment and lower the temperature level. The result is supremely stable operation, even during rigorous use on the racetrack.
As on the SLS AMG GT3, the carbon-fibre bonnet features a central air outlet. Apart from effectively discharging the engine heat, this outlet also increases downforce at the front axle and improves the Cd value. The engineers at AMG have utilised the vacuum effect to deliver the the double benefit of dissipating the hot air from the engine compartment at the same time as drawing up the cool airflow from the vehicle's underbody.
AMG Aerodynamics package with carbon-fibre components
The exhilarating performance can be given an even more dynamic edge by opting for the AMG Aerodynamics package, which also has the effect of reinforcing the visual likeness to the SLS AMG GT3 customer sport racing car. This package replaces the standard-fit rear aerofoil that extends automatically at speeds of over 120 km/h with a fixed carbon-fibre aerofoil in the style of the SLS AMG GT3 that can be adjusted to two settings. The rear aerofoil is braced by aluminium elements on a special insert on the boot lid and provides for even greater contact pressure at the rear axle – not least as a result of the Gurney flap, named after its inventor, Dan Gurney, a former racing driver, designer and team owner. This eight millimetre-high spoiler lip fitted to the rear aerofoil at an angle of 90 degrees results in a further increase in downforce without significantly increasing drag.
The carbon-fibre rear aerofoil can be adjusted to any angle between 2 and
10 degrees in just a few steps. The two most aerodynamically efficient settings are aerofoil level 1 and aerofoil level 2. Level 1 is the aerodynamic configuration for everyday use: with an angle of attack of 2 degrees, the carbon-fibre aerofoil produces a light downforce at the rear axle. Level 2 is recommended for use on the racetrack: the aerofoil's 10 degree angle of attack produces 50 kilograms of contact pressure at the rear axle at a speed of 200 km/h, without a significant increase in lift at the front axle. The vehicle's handling stability benefits from the increased downforce at the rear wheels in fast corners especially. A look at the aerodynamic data furthermore shows that the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series with AMG Aerodynamics package achieves better wind tunnel figures at aerofoil level 1 than without the package.
The carbon-fibre rear aerofoil is complemented by carbon-fibre flics mounted on the sides in front of the front wheels as well as an additional spoiler lip fitted in the centre below the front splitter. Both of these aerodynamic-enhancing components bring about a further reduction in lift at the front axle. Even in aerofoil level 2, the aerodynamic balance of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series has been configured so as to still create a small amount of lift at the front wheels. This "pitching moment" as the aerodynamics engineers call it is desirable on a front-mid-engined super sports car, as it dampens the response to steering inputs at very high speeds. As a result of this aerodynamic set-up, critical driving situations that would otherwise be triggered by a sudden evasive manoeuvre at high speed, for instance, can be prevented by design, and the driver can enjoy an enhanced sense of safety and stability at the wheel.
Aerodynamic data for the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series:
SLS AMG Coupé Black Series
SLS AMG Coupé Black Series with AMG Aerodynamics package, aerofoil level 1
SLS AMG Coupé Black Series with AMG Aerodynamics package, aerofoil level 2
Drag coefficient Cd
Frontal area A
2.173 m²
2.173 m²
2.173 m²
Drag coefficient cd x A
0.85 m²
0.83 m²
0.91 m²
Sporty, functional interior exuding high quality
A functional, sporty racing-car atmosphere is prevalent inside the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series, with high-quality materials demonstrating precision workmanship and exquisitely designed details. There is a choice of two colour variants: Alcantara® anthracite or Alcantara® anthracite/red. With the two-tone variant, the door centre panels and the detailing on the centre console and above the glove compartment are finished in red. The AMG performance steering wheel with flattened bottom rim section is fully trimmed in Alcantara® for a good grip. It also features a sporty red 12 o'clock marking at the top. The solid metal curved insert features a high-gloss black paint finish to match the high-gloss black surrounds of the air vents. Further exclusive, high-class details include the "AMG Black Series" badge on the glove compartment and the so-called "3D seam" running horizontally along the dashboard: the dashboard's leather covering is punctuated by a fine Alcantara® strip in anthracite across its entire width. Red contrasting stitching in the leather lends an accomplished finish to the 3D seam, underscoring the handcrafted character.
The combination of high-quality designo leather and functional Alcantara® features throughout the interior – on the bottom section of the dashboard, for example, on the door centre panels and on the AMG sports bucket seats, whose centre sections are upholstered in Alcantara®. Embossed AMG emblems on the head restraints are further exclusive, eye-catching features. In addition to providing superb lateral support at high cornering speeds, the AMG sports bucket seats are also 15 kilograms lighter than the standard AMG sports seats.
The omission of the COMAND APS multimedia system reduces the vehicle's weight by an additional six kilograms as a further demonstration of the SLS AMG Coupé Black Series' uncompromisingly purist character. The carbon-fibre fascia fitted between the air vents in place of the screen adds to the racing atmosphere. COMAND APS is available ex-factory together with AMG Performance Media and the reversing camera as part of the optional "Infotainment System" package. The vehicle's occupants will find that the entire centre console incorporating the AMG DRIVE UNIT has also been encased in the motorsport material carbon fibre.
Bold highlights are added by red seat belts and red contrasting stitching on the AMG sports bucket seats, the centre console, the upper and lower section of the dashboard and the door panelling. The floor mats similarly feature red edging.
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system
One of the highlights among the optional equipment and appointments is the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system, developed by Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG together with renowned Danish audio specialist Bang & Olufsen. The sound system also offers playback in Dolby Digital 5.1 quality, of course, and enables an exclusive audio experience of the very highest standard.
This performance is made possible by a 1000 W amplifier and eleven high-end loudspeakers with neodymium driver in conjunction with precision distribution of the audio signals by the sound processor. This integrated digital sound processor (DSP) enables the driver to select a special B&O sound menu via COMAND. Individual Driver, Passenger and Central sound setups can be selected in True Image™ mode, resulting in a realistic audio experience in the selected listening position. Various sound modes are additionally stored in the "Sound Mode" menu, offering a choice between a "Reference" high-end studio sound and a wide-dispersion surround option. While "Reference" focuses on an unadulterated rendering of the artist's performance, the special surround sound mode with its wide sound dispersion is especially suited to live music or concerts, creating a unique panoramic sound stage in the vehicle without compromising the natural character of the recording.
The illuminated 50 W tweeters featuring Acoustic Lens Technology on the dashboard are a very special visual highlight. The 250 W‑subwoofer is accommodated in the rear shelf. Top-quality Bang & Olufsen aluminium loudspeaker covers in "silver chrome" bearing the Bang & Olufsen logo provide a further indication of the exclusive character of the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system.
The following optional extras are available for further customisation (selection):
  • AMG carbon-fibre exterior mirrors
  • AMG carbon-fibre engine compartment cover
  • AMG Interior Carbon-Fibre package
  • Convenience telephony
  • Media Interface


The last of only nine custom built ALFA Romeo Stradale TZ3s will make its debut on the 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance field on Sunday, March 10, 2013 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Known as the Italian sports car with "the heart of a Viper and the soul of an ALFA", this stunning automobile is sure to please car fans.

Just nine Stradale TZ3s have been constructed to celebrate the centenary of Carrozzeria Zagato in 2010. The Azzurro California hued example slated to appear at the 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is the final car in the exclusive series.

Built by Carrozzeria Zagato as a design exercise, the Stradale TZ3 wears the ancient traditional ALFA-Romeo badge of the serpent and the 1925 world grand prix champion's wreath. Under its elegant and sensuous carbon fiber bodywork the new Zagato TZ3 Stradale packs the brute force of another potent snake, the 8.3 liter 600 hp V-10 of the new SRT Viper.

"The Zagato Stradale TZ3 is a gorgeous car and one we feel honored to have debut at the Amelia," said Bill Warner, Chairman and Co-Founder of the Amelia Island Concours. "The car's American underpinnings and Italian design make it a perfect fit for our field."

Zagato calls the Stradale TZ3 "the first American ALFA in automotive history" combining "unbridled American power and Italian grace". Inspired by the motto "bellazza necessaria" (beautiful necessity) the TZ3's Kamm tail, "double bubble roof" and round taillights are all prominent Zagato design signatures.

"The TZ3 is a very serious machine and will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds," says the Stradale's Florida-based owner. "I chose the Azzurro California blue color to match the Florida Sky, and I'm looking forward to seeing it on Amelia's field on Concours day."
About The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
Now in its second decade, the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, "The Amelia" draws nearly 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show's Foundation has donated over $2 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other deserving charities on Florida's First Coast. The 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is scheduled for March 8-10, 2013. For more information, visit


The auto industry’s official start to the classic car event season, the 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance March 8-10, 2013, marks the first time in history that an extremely rare pair of the surviving ‘Prinz Heinrich’ Benz cars will meet in public at the same event.
Both Prinz Heinrich Benz models are presented in museum quality. The 21/80 horsepower 1910 racer comes directly from the Mercedes-Benz Museum collection in Stuttgart, Germany and the other, from Bruce McCaw’s private collection in the U.S.
Recently restored to its original condition by Mercedes-Benz Classic, the dark green 1910 21/80 Prinz Heinrich car wearing race number ‘38’ is considered by many automotive historians to be “the first true sports car”.
In the early 1900’s, at the dawn of the automotive motorsport age, one of the most significant race venues was the Prinz Heinrich Tour, named after Prince Albert Wilhelm Heinrich of Prussia -an automotive enthusiast and brother of German Emperor Wilhelm II.
In 1907, the German Imperial Automobile Club organized the first annual Prinz Heinrich Tour which is often seen as a precursor to what would later become the German Grand Prix. Unlike events like the
French Grand Prix, which attracted purpose-built racing cars, the Prinz Heinrich only allowed four-seater, production car based entries.
Among the races’ most notable winners were Fritz Erle who won the race in 1908 in a 50 hp Benz, and Ferdinand Porsche who in 1910 was successful in this endurance tournament in a 85 hp Austro-Daimler. Commemorating Erle’s victory, Benz produced the ‘Prinz Heinrich’ cars from 1908 to 1910 in various engine configurations. Still running strong, two of the cars from the Prinz Heinrich legacy will drive onto the field at the 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, March 10, 2013.
“History has been made when a vehicle fades into oblivion and can be salvaged and restored after more than 100 years of hibernation,” said Michael Kunz, manager at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California. “The presentation of two Prince Heinrich cars at the Amelia Island Concours not only reunites two vintage Mercedes-Benz vehicles from the early 1900’s, but also restores what is considered to be a major highpoint in the origins of racing history.”
Bruce McCaw’s Prinz Heinrich Benz is part of a pure breed of Benz factory racers with a pedigree that, according to the Indianapolis Hall of Fame Museum, also touches the earliest days of international motorsport competition. The 1908 Prinz Heinrich was fast enough and advanced enough that it was sent to the United States for the 1911 Vanderbilt Cup races. It was also raced by Billy Knipper in the inaugural Indy 500 on May 30, 1911.


Volvo Trucks is now introducing a new version of I-See, a system in the new Volvo FH that saves fuel when driving in hilly terrain. The new version remotely obtains up-to-date information about the road’s topography from a central server, so all trucks with I-See have access to the same fuel-saving information.
"Your own truck need not have driven on a particular hill even once - it will still be able to reap the full benefit of the system's potential.
It's enough that someone else with I-See has covered that stretch of road," says Christer Pehrsson, Business Area Manager for Long-Haul Operations.
I-See can be likened to an autopilot that takes care of gear selection, acceleration and engine braking on hills in the most fuel-efficient way possible. The fuel saving for the long-haul assignment may be as much as five percent.
The first time a truck equipped with the new version of I-See drives on a hilly stretch of road, information about the local topography is transmitted wirelessly to the Volvo Trucks server and is therefore not only stored locally in the truck's memory, as it was in the previous version of I-See.
When another truck with I-See drives on the same road, the system automatically receives topography information from the server and makes sure gear-changes and acceleration and braking take place fuel-efficiently the very first time it gets to the road.
With the new version all trucks with I-See, irrespective of which haulage firm they work for, always have access to current, updated information about the gradients they come across. The information is based entirely on actual topographical conditions, not on maps that may become obsolete over time.
The first version of I-See was launched as one of many innovative functions in the new Volvo FH. Even before delivery of the first new trucks to customers, it is time for an upgraded version of the system to be launched.
"Our aim is to continuously develop our offer to create customer benefit, not least by utilising the possibilities available with wireless communication, says Christer Pehrsson.
I-See offers fuel savings on small and big hills.
How I-See works
  • I-See is a software system that works together with the driveline and GPS. It requires that the truck's cruise control is activated.
  • I-See receives data about the topography of a forthcoming gradient from the Volvo Trucks server.
  • When I-See registers that the truck is approaching an uphill gradient, the vehicle's speed increases. Thanks to kinetic energy the truck can drive longer in a higher gear and thus reduce the need for fuel-sapping down-changes
  • When the truck reaches the brow of the hill, I-See avoids unnecessary acceleration. Just before the start of the downhill gradient, the driveline is disengaged and the truck is allowed to freewheel to save energy. I-See starts gently applying the engine brake well before the slope comes to an end.
  • When a downhill slope is immediately followed by an uphill gradient, the truck is allowed to freewheel to build up extra kinetic energy that is used to take it on the first part of the uphill stretch.


Land Rover is continuing to champion British innovation and cutting-edge automotive engineering by unveiling seven new electric Defender models at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The research vehicle delivers zero emissions whilst retaining its tough, go-anywhere capability.
“Investing in innovation has always been the lifeblood of our business and our engineering teams are working hard to develop innovative new technology to provide sustainable motoring solutions,” said John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director.
The standard diesel engine and gearbox in the 110 Defenders have been replaced by a 70kW (94bhp), 330Nm electric motor twinned with a 300-volt, lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 27kWh, giving a range of more than 50 miles. In typical, low speed off-road use it can last for up to eight hours before recharging. The battery can be fully charged by a 7kW fast charger in four hours, or a portable 3kW charger in 10 hours.
The electric vehicles (EVs) retain the Defender’s legendary four-wheel drive system and differential lock. Because the electric motor delivers maximum torque from the moment it starts, there’s no need for gear shifting and the transmission comprises a single speed, 2.7:1 reduction gearbox combined with the existing Defender four-wheel drive system. A modified version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response®System has also been incorporated.
The vehicles were developed by Land Rover’s Advanced Engineering Team following successful trials of the Defender-based electric vehicle, Leopard 1. The vehicles’ capability has been tested in extreme and environmentally sensitive conditions, demonstrating capabilities not shared by conventional road-going EVs. Trials included pulling a 12-tonne ‘road train’ up a 13 percent gradient and wading to a depth of 800mm.
In keeping with Land Rover’s ‘Tread Lightly’ philosophy the smooth, low-speed capability of the electric drivetrain makes the electric Defenders especially well suited to climbing obstacles without damaging the ground unnecessarily.
The battery weighs 410kg and is mounted in the front of the Defender in place of the diesel engine. Kerb weight is 100kg more than a basic Defender 110 and ranges from 2055kg to 2162kg depending whether the body style is a pick-up, hard top or station wagon.
All the major components in the electric powertrain - including the battery, inverter and motor - are air-cooled rather than liquid cooled, saving a considerable amount of weight and complexity and adding robustness. Regenerative braking has been optimised to such an extent that using Hill Descent Control, the motor can generate 30kW of electricity. Because the battery technology can be charged very quickly at a rate of up to twice its capacity of 54kW without reducing battery life, almost all of the regenerated energy can be recovered and stored. Up to 80 percent of the kinetic energy in the vehicle can be recovered in this way, depending on conditions.
“This project is acting as a rolling laboratory for Land Rover to assess electric vehicles, even in the most arduous all-terrain conditions. It gives us a chance to evolve and test some of the technologies that may one day be introduced into future Land Rover models,” said Antony Harper, Jaguar Land Rover Head of Research.
Although there are no plans for the all-terrain electric Defender to enter series production, the seven EVs will go into service in specialist real world trials later this year.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


For the 61st time in its history, a group of the world’s best sports car manufacturers and teams are gearing up to tackle one of the toughest challenges in all of endurance racing. The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida features a 42-car entry with a number of attention-grabbing storylines for the opening round of the 2013 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón:
  • A hybrid-powered race car will race at Sebring for the first time. Audi brings two of its factory R18 e-tron quattro prototypes that feature reigning Le Mans 24 Hours winners Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer in one car, and Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish – with 12 Sebring victories between them – in the other.
  • The revolutionary DeltaWing will compete in P1 class. With half the weight, half the fuel and half the horsepower of a traditional prototype, the radical race car competes for the first time at the 12 Hours. The DeltaWing finished fifth overall at Petit Le Mans as an unclassified entry to close the 2012 season.
  • The first tussle between Muscle Milk Pickett Racing, Dyson Racing and Rebellion Racing in P1. The three teams will vie for the 2013 class championship.
  • Extreme Speed Motorsports’ debut in P2 with a pair of Honda Performance Development ARX-03b prototypes. Level 5 Motorsports is the defending class and race champion, and is back at Sebring. Greaves Motorsport visits from Europe to challenge the American teams.
  • A battle-royale in GT. Twelve entries from six manufacturers dot the class entry including the racing debut of BMW Team RLL’s two BMW Z4 GTE sports cars. SRT Motorsports marks Viper’s Sebring return with two SRT Viper GTS-Rs – the first Viper factory entry at the 12 Hours since 2000.
  • The first ALMS race for Tristan Nunez, the highly touted rookie for Performance Tech Motorsports in Prototype Challenge. Nunez won the 2012 Cooper Tires Prototype Lights L1 championship, was part of the Team USA Scholarship program, and won the Walter Hayes Trophy grand finale in November.
  • Two high-profile entries into GT Challenge with Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars – Flying Lizard Motorsports and Dempsey Del Piero Racing. Flying Lizard moves into the class with a championship-winning history in the ALMS’ GT class. Dempsey Del Piero Racing – featuring team co-owner Patrick Dempsey – makes its debut at Sebring with a two-car lineup.
The 61st Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida is set for 10:45 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 16 from Sebring International Raceway. SPEED's live coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. ET.
The Series' website offers additional content such as live in-car cameras, and timing and scoring for all users around the world. Visit for current and future event information including tickets and area accommodations. Follow the Series on Twitter (#ALMS, #Sebring12), Facebook and YouTube.


The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance announced today that the supercharged, Miller 91, front drive Indianapolis 500 racer that set a speed record in 1928, will be making an appearance at the 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance on March 10, 2013. Leaving its permanent home at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, the historic car be part of the Concours' "Cars of Harry Miller" class, which will honor the work of legendary American race car designer Harry Miller.
Leon Duray was behind the wheel of the 1928 Indy 500 Pole Winner when it set a speed record of 124.018 mph during qualifying, and although he never won the race, he set a speed record that still has the experts scratching their heads 85 years later. Sadly, the Indy pole winner led the first 59 laps of the race, but retired with overheating problems. It took seven years of technological progress and a 55 per cent increase in engine size to outrun the Duray Miller's blistering record qualifying lap.
After the 1928 Indy 500, Duray took the car and his other Miller 91 front drive racer, a sister ship of the 1928 Indy 500 Pole Winner, to Europe for a record breaking season, setting four free-standing international records - one for the one kilometer, one mile, five kilometers and five miles. With his success, Duray then sold the pair to Ettore Bugatti who was investigating a four wheel drive project. Duray's record setting Millers spent World War II hidden in France and both cars were repatriated in 1959.
The 1928 Indy 500 pole winner was then sent to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum where a thorough and faithful restoration by the Museum's staff returned it to its exact appearance of May 30, 1928. Its sister ship received a similarly careful and detailed private restoration and was donated to the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History, where it is on display today.
"The Miller 91 front drive racer is a national treasure," said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. "It's the epitome of the American race car builders' art.
We're extraordinarily grateful that the Indianapolis Speedway Museum will send the 1928 pole winner to 'The Amelia' to help us honor the exquisite work of Harry Miller."

About The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
Now in its second decade, the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, "The Amelia" draws nearly 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show's Foundation has donated over $2 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other deserving charities on Florida's First Coast. The 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is scheduled for March 8-10, 2013. For more information, visit


ŠKODA’s multi award-winning Citigo line is about to be extended with the introduction of the SPORT, a new model with enhanced sports styling, lowered suspension and bespoke interior.
Available as a three or five-door hatch, the car’s trim is based on the current Citigo SE.  Under the bonnet of this seemingly powerful special model is a frugal 1.0 MPI 60PS petrol engine mated to a five-gear manual transmission.
From the outside, the Citigo SPORT boasts a dynamic look, underlined by black 15-inch ‘Auriga’ design alloy wheels, fog lights, tinted ‘sunset’ windows, a sports suspension – which lowers the ride height by 15 mm – and a bespoke styling kit which includes a front and rear spoiler and a rear diffusor. A racing stripe, contrasting in colour to the respective body, runs from the front to the rear of the car while additional stripes at the rear, on lower door frames and exterior mirrors further enhance the car’s sporty appeal.
The Citigo SPORT is available in three colours; Candy White with red stripes, Tornado Red with black stripes and Deep Black with red stripes.
Inside the Citigo SPORT, customers receive distinctive black and red sports seats, a three-spoke leather steering wheel with red stitching, leather handbrake and gearstick gaiter with red stitching and matching floor mats.  A two-tone grey and black dashboard and unique grey décor instruments add to the car’s exclusive appeal.
A highlight of the Citigo SPORT’s interior is the dashboard-mounted Personal Infotainment Device (PID). Featuring a five-inch touch-screen, this sleekly styled multi-function technology comes as standard on the Citigo SPORT.  The PID includes advanced satellite navigation, a Bluetooth hands-free telephone connection, vehicle and trip information, plus a media player which can be synced to an external music device.  To ensure owners get the most from their music the Citigo SPORT comes with four additional speakers.
The ŠKODA Citigo SPORT is on sale now.
 CO2 (g/kg)BasicVATRRPRecommended OTR
1.0 MPI 60PS (3-door)105£8,104.17£1,620.83£9,725.00£10,290.00
1.0 MPI 60PS (5-door)105£8,395.83£1,679.17£10,075.00£10,640.00
Since its launch last year, the ŠKODA Citigo has established a presence for ŠKODA in the fast-growing subcompact segment.  In 2012 alone, 30,000 customers in Europe purchased a ŠKODA Citigo.
Despite its compact dimensions, the ŠKODA Citigo is among the safest cars on the road. Citigo has been awarded the top score of five stars in the independent Euro NCAP crash test ratings. The highlight of the car’s safety package is City Safe Drive, an innovative emergency braking function which activates at speeds below 19 mph (30km/h).  Available as an optional extra across the range, it uses a laser sensor built into the windscreen to scan the road up to 10 metres ahead. If it detects an impending crash, depending on speed and traffic situation, automatic braking can reduce the severity of an impact or even prevent it altogether. This significantly lowers the risk of rear-end shunts in heavy traffic.
The Citigo boasts generous class-leading space. No other competitor outside Volkswagen Group offers more boot space (251 litres) and interior width (1.36 metres). Folding down the rear seats will increase boot volume to 959 litres in the five-door version. The car’s long wheelbase of 2.42 m means four persons can sit comfortably even on long trips. An Easy Entry function facilitates access to the rear seats in the three-door version.