Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tested: 2008 Cadillac CTS - Short Take Road Tests

Cadillac’s sharp, wedgy “art and science” design theme has fully matured on the latest CTS, and an aluminum, dual-overhead-cam V-6 with variable valve timing and direct fuel-injection finally brings the marque’s engine room onto the same high-tech plane as the styling department.

The 304-hp direct-injection V-6 gets all the attention for now while the automotive community eagerly awaits the appearance of the supercharged V-8–powered CTS-V. Meanwhile, the 258-hp base engine is basically a carry-over from the previous-generation CTS, in which it was the optional V-6. A six of equal size to the direct-injection engine—3.6 liters with port fuel injection and variable valve timing—the now-base mill checks in $2300 cheaper than the higher-tech (and higher-power) engine.

Down 46 horses and 20 pound-feet on the DI engine, the indirectly injected base mill still brings a hearty portion of power with 258 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. With the test gear strapped on, our six-speed automatic CTS managed a 7.0-second 0-to-60-mph romp en route to a 15.4-second quarter-mile at 91 mph. The more powerful uplevel engine (with a six-speed manual) achieves the same marks in 5.8 and 14.6 seconds at 97 mph.

2009 Honda Accord Diesel and New Honda Hybrids for 2009 - Car News

From the Tokyo auto show comes confirmation that Honda’s 2.2-liter diesel engine will come to the U.S. installed in the 2009 Accord. The aluminum engine is fairly conventional in that it has a balance shaft, dual overhead cams, and high fuel pressure. The redline should be around 4500 rpm; that’s where the Euro-spec diesel Accord we drove topped out.

Power and boost levels have not been specified yet, but we can expect at least 150 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Honda engineers say the diesel is about 44 pounds heavier than a similar gas engine, but they wouldn’t confirm the actual weight of either.

One interesting tidbit is the cast stainless-steel exhaust manifold, but the most compelling story here is the NOx converter. There are two substrate layers on the converter’s honeycomb matrix: an outer layer that stores NOx and a lower layer of platinum particles that, although it also stores a little NOx, mostly reacts with the exhaust to produce ammonia during rich combustion. The ammonia, which is described by the formula NH3, reacts with the stored NOx to produce nitrogen and water. The process is choreographed by the ECU.

Honda claims its system was developed in-house and that, unlike VW’s similar NOx trap that will be for sale soon, Honda’s is scalable to larger vehicles. In other words, Honda says it believes it can put a V-6 diesel in a Pilot or similarly sized vehicle that meets 50-state emissions without having to inject urea, as will be the case with the VW Touareg diesel. Three different engineers repeated these claims; that gives us the feeling that such a vehicle is in the works.

Official Photos and Info: 2007 Chrysler Sebring - Car News

Chrysler's Sebring was pretty hot when it debuted for 2001. Since then, every mid-size competitor has been redesigned—some more than once. These days, it seems fully half the Sebrings we see wear rental-car bar codes or "Official Use Only" government plates. So Chrysler redesigned the 2007 Sebring to challenge the perennially bestselling Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

Atop a platform that, for now, is specific to the Sebring, Chrysler built the boldly styled sedan seen here, which recalls several past and present Chryslers. The headlights and the grille evoke the defunct 300M, the upright windshield mimics the current 300C, and the hood ribs are reminiscent of the Crossfire. Sebring stylists say they looked at the Chrysler Airflite concept from the 2003 Geneva auto show for inspiration, an influence most visible in the shape of the greenhouse.

The Sebring’s underpinnings initially were developed with Mitsubishi, but Chrysler’s Japanese partner pulled out of the project for lack of funds. Consequently, the only sibling we anticipate on this platform in the imminent future is the 2007 Dodge Stratus, which we’ll see very soon.
Inside, the Sebring benefited from practicality lessons from Chrysler's successful PT Cruiser, with a high seating position-2.5 inches higher than that of the outgoing model-and a 60/40-split, fold-flat rear seat with an optional flat-folding front passenger seat to maximize cargo volume. If it's people you are carrying rather than cargo, Chrysler hopes to keep them interested by offering a bundle of gadgets including a voice-activated, touch-screen Harman/Kardon nav system with a USB port and 20-gigabyte hard drive for storing music files; a heated and cooled cup holder capable of heat-cycling a cappuccino from 35 to 140 degrees; and heated seats in leather or cloth.

Four engines will be offered, only three of which will see the U.S. market. The 140-hp turbo-diesel four-cylinder with 236 pound-feet of torque will not be offered here. We will get a choice of a base 172-hp inline-four capable of a claimed 31 mpg highway; a 190-hp, 2.7-liter flex-fuel V-6; and a line-topping 235-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 harnessed to a new six-speed automatic transaxle with manumatic control.
2007 Sebrings will start rolling into dealerships towards the end of 2006, with pricing similar to that of the Camry and Accord

Thursday, November 8, 2007


WorldCarFans sister site CarSpyShots.net has posted today these amazing shots of the all-new Hyundai rear-wheel-drive sports coupe. Snapped during a market research event, the Hyundai is standing next to its target competitor, the Ford Mustang. In an effort to minimize preconceived biases, both vehicles are painted exactly the same color as well as having all emblems covered. Additionally, participants are given a questionnaire about the two vehicles regarding their impressions in which they refer to the vehicles by a given letter. As seen in these photos, the Hyundai is wearing a sign on the front bumper with the letter F.

Although spy photos taken from research clinics are nothing new, these are the clearest photos we have seen from such an event. Normally, the specially selected participants of these market research events are obviously prohibited to have cameras. But judging by the vantage point of the photos it seems the spy photographer may have been an insider with access to the rest of the facility allowing a view from above the curtains.

The presence of the Mustang as the target competitor confirms the sports coupe will receive a V8 engine (the 4.6-liter from the Genesis) as previously reported. Codenamed BK, but often referred to as the Hyundai Mustang by Hyundai insiders, the sports coupe replaces the Tiburon but will most likely be given a new name since it has nothing in common with its predecessor as well as emphasizing a high performance rear-wheel-drive nature. The Hyundai sports coupe which is based on the BH/Genesis platform will first arrive in Asia in late 2008 or 2009, and arrive in the U.S. for the 2010 model year. A convertible version is expected to follow.

New information from NewTiburon.com. According to a participant of the focus group, two engines mentioned were a 2.0-liter trubo with 215hp and 217 ft-lbs of torque priced at $19,000 and a 3.8-liter V6 with 300hp and 280 ft-lbs of torque starting at $25,900. There was no mention of a V8 engine but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

However, the focus group was conducted in June of this year which leaves plenty of time for changes. Other features mentioned include Ipod integration in center console, bluetooth function through head unit, sunroof, mirror mounted LED turn signals and limited slip

First pic of Fisker plug-in hybrid luxury car released

Here we have the first image of the upcoming plug-in hybrid luxury car from Fisker set to debut at this year’s Detroit Auto Show in January. Developed in conjunction with Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, the plug-in hybrid will cost around $100,000 and initially be built in a run of just 100 units.

Fisker hasn’t given out any details on the car, like how much power it will produce or what its fuel economy will be, but from the picture above we can tell it will be a stunner. That’s not surprising, as the company’s namesake, Henrik Fisker, designed such cars as the BMW Z8, Aston Martin DB9 and V8 Vantage, among others.

Though the image is small, we can make out design elements from many other high-end autos including a Ferrari 599-esqe front end, some Maserati Quattroporte in the midsection and, of course, a little Aston in the rear. Check back here in January for some solid info on what this car’s all about.

Audi A4 2.0 TDI SE

We were impressed by the 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol version driven in Issue 982. But how does the model rate in 2.0 TDI diesel guise?

Audi expects this variant to be the biggest seller in the range. The longitudinally mounted direct-injection diesel produces 141bhp – up 3bhp on the old car – while torque is unchanged at 320Nm. And the unit is mated to a six-speed man­ual gearbox.

Crucially for company buyers, CO2 emissions are down from 159g/km to 144g/km, which means the A4 has dropped three tax brackets. Initially, the car will be available only in SE spec, although other trims will join the line-up throughout 2008.On the road, the oil-burner delivers strong performance and decent in-gear punch. Both engine and road noise are quieter than in the old A4, and the Audi is better to drive, too, with excellent composure in corners and impressive levels of grip.Steering is accurate and fluid, while the supple suspension does a fine job of absorbing bumps and imperfections.

For owners who want a more focused driving experience, the A4 is also available with the optional Drive Select system. This allows you to optimise the power-steering assistance, sharpen throttle response and adjust the dampers to suit your tastes.

Yet even without it, the six-speed gearbox offers a solid action, and while the A4 still lacks the driver involvement of the 3-Series, it’s more capable than its predecessor.


Honda has remained a formidable force at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, an annual event held at the Thunderhill circuit between Sacramento and Redding, California.

The automaker has campaigned a number of vehicles at the 25-hour enduro over the years, including a duo of Civic Sis and a handful of Acuras. This year, Honda’s bringing out its newest track slut, the S2000 CR, to compete in the Performance Touring C segment.

Not only is this a chance for the automaker to show how competitive the new lightweight variant of the S2000 can be on the track, it’s also rolling proof of how it can be adapted for serious competition. Two S2000 CRs have been outfitted with a McMahen Autosports cage, BF Goodrich g-Force R1 racing tires, a single outlet exhaust sourced from AEM, Cobalt Friction XR racing brake pads and Goodridge stainless steel brake lines.

We’re in the midst of contemplating coverage of the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, and if we do make it up there to live blog the event, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the Honda boys.

Nissan FORUM Concept Set For 2008 NAIAS Debut

Nissan has a new family-hauler concept lined up for the upcoming Detroit Auto Show called the FORUM. The vannish machine boasts trackless sliders, no B-pillar and maybe hints at what’s in store for car buyers when the current Quest ultimately runs its course.

In addition to the sketch you see above, Nissan made the world’s shortest press release available. In fact, it’s so short, we’re not even going to bother putting it after the jump. Here it is:

Nissan FORUM Concept Set For 2008 NAIAS Debut

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 30, 2007) – Nissan’s exploration of the next generation of family transportation, the Nissan FORUM Concept, offers distinctive styling with innovations including trackless sliding doors and no B-pillars. Created at Nissan Design America, the FORUM Concept makes its public debut at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

Seriously, it would’ve been just as effective to have it simply say, “This is the FORUM. It’ll be in Detroit.” Anyway, we’ll be in Detroit too, and we’ll tell you all about it then.

2008 Chevrolet Corvette Summary

2008 Chevrolet Corvette SummaryThe 2008

Corvette is a 2-door, 2-passenger sports car, or convertible sports car, available in 10 trims, ranging from the Coupe LT1 to the Z06 LZ3. Upon introduction, the Coupe LT1 is equipped with a standard 6.2-liter, V8, 430-horsepower engine. A 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard, and a 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is optional. The Z06 LZ3 is equipped with a standard 7.0-liter, V8, 505-horsepower engine. A 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard. The 2008 Corvette is a carryover from 2007.

Spycam: Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 at Laguna Seca

GM's upcoming Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 was at Laguna Seca Raceway today for a couple hot laps between American Le Mans Series practice sessions and we're told it's already been put back on the trailer to head back to Detroit. Luckily, we were trackside to get this exclusive shot (bottom two shots courtesy of the American Le Mans Series). While this prototype still wears some of its masking, it's the clearest shot we have yet of what the production Corvette ZR1 will look like.

What do we know so far about the Corvette ZR1? We know it will be producing some 650 horses from its supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine and massive carbon ceramic brakes may very well be used to keep that power under control. Carbon fiber is reportedly being used heavily in the body of the car to reduce weight, with A and B pillars as well as the blacked-out roof being made out of the lightweight yet massively strong material.

Best guesses are that the Corvette ZR1 will make the 0 to 60 mph sprint in under 3.5 seconds and will hit a top speed of over 200 mph. Heady stuff. The official ZR1 debut will come in January 2008 at the Detroit Auto Show with a production launch later in the year as a 2009 model at a price that will likely be upwards of $100,000.


CAR 2006 was held in Montpellier.

CAR 2008 will be held in Bourges.

Call for papers, journal JESA
As a follow-up to CAR 2006 and CAR 2007, a
call for papers for publication in the journal JESA is currently open. This call is not restricted to authors of CAR 2006 and 2007 but rather open to all contributions. To submit, an intention is due July 20, 2007, and the full paper is due September 15, 2007.

This second national workshop is aimed at addressing important aspects of robot control architectures, with a specific emphasis on distribution, verification and validation, languages and modeling, and implementation of control architectures. It brings together researchers and practitioners from universities, institutions and industries, working in this field. It intends to be a meeting to expose and discuss gathered expertise, identified trends and issues, as well as new scientific results and applications around software control architectures related topics, through plenary invited papers.

ThemeDue to their increasing complexity, nowadays intervention robots, that to say those dedicated for instance to exploration, security or defence applications, definitely raise huge scientific and commercial issues. Whatever the considered environment, terrestrial, aerial, marine or even spatial, this complexity mainly derives from the integration of multiple functionalities: advanced perception, planification, navigation, autonomous behaviours, in parallel with teleoperation or robots coordination enable to tackle more and more difficult missions.

But robots can only be equipped with such functions if an appropriate hardware and software structure is embedded: the software architectures will hence be the main concern of this workshop.

As quoted above, the control architecture is thus a necessary element for the integration of a multitude of works; it also permits to cope with technological advances that continually offer new devices for communication, localisation, computing, etc. As a matter of fact, it should be modular, reusable, scalable and even readable (ability to analyse and understand it). Besides, such properties ease the sharing of competencies among the robotics community, but also with computer scientists and automatics specialists as the domain is inherently a multidisciplinary one.

Numerous solutions have been proposed, based on the "classical" three layers architecture or on more "modern" approaches such as object or component oriented programming. Actually, almost every robot integrates its own architecture; the workshop will thus be a real opportunity to share reflections on these solutions but also on related needs, especially standardisation ones, which are of particular importance in military applications for instance.

Hence, this second national workshop on control architectures of robots aims at gathering a large number of robotics actors (researchers, manufacturers as well as state institutions) in order to highlight the multiple issues, key difficulties and potential sources of advances.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Motor journalists name Corsa "Top Car 2007"

High commendation for the Corsa: It was named "Top Car 2007" by more than 140 German, Austrian and Swiss motor journalists in the "City" category, ahead of renowned competitors like VW Polo and Mini Cooper.

"We are very honored to win this award because the Corsa was elected by car experts. The Corsa didn't just convince the journalists from Germany , Austria and Switzerland . Earlier it already won the "Car of the Year" award in Denmark and ranked second in the European "Car of the Year" election.

Our customers also like the Corsa very much: We received as many as 150,000 orders, more than 50 percent over of our forecast."

Beside the award-winning Corsa, the GT ("Fun" category), Antara ("Offroad") and the integrated Flex-Fix carrier ("Innovation") also ranked high in their respective category.

Budget Car, subcompact Honda Fit

Consumer Reports calls the Fit the "best overall in a new class of fuel-efficient cars."

Fuel economy, as measured in Consumer Reports' controlled tests, was 32 mpg with an automatic transmission and 34 mpg with a manual.
"Not only is it fun to drive, but its compact dimensions pack an impressive amount of interior room and versatility," the magazine said.
The Fit got top scores in "Reliability," "Crash protection" and "Satisfaction." Its road test score was good, but not the best.
This has become a crowded market segment with a number of good entries, said David Champion, head of auto testing for Consumer Reports.
"The Nissan Versa we thought was very good," he said. "The Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent were very good."

Hot List: 10 Significant All-New 2007 Cars - Features

New technologies and reshaped market segments define this year’s most important debuts.

Dozens of new-for-2007 cars will satisfy every taste and need. Fuel prices show no signs of abating, so inexpensive (but not cheap) small cars are proliferating. Nissan’s Versa is a new player here, while the car that brought premium compacts to the U.S., the Mini Cooper, gets a complete redesign—not that it looks much different.

The bread and butter of the American car market, the mid-size sedan, gets thoroughly revitalized with an all-new Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Chrysler Sebring, and Saturn Aura. While Toyota and Nissan improve on what were already successful sedans, Chrysler pins its hopes on bolder styling, and Saturn imports a European Opel to get noticed.

Two of our favorite sporty cars, the Infiniti G35 sedan and the BMW 3-series coupe, get thorough overhauls and more power. The Volkswagen Eos hardtop-convertible and the self-parking Lexus LS460 L will satisfy those on a more leisurely pace. Read on for more info and photos on these ten significant new 2007 cars.