Mazda to participate in Norwegian national hydrogen project

Mazda Motor Corporation and HyNor (Hydrogen Road of Norway) have announced they will collaborate in the development of hydrogen fuel and hydrogen vehicles. This was formally agreed at a signing ceremony held at the Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo today (Wednesday). His Excellency Mr Åge B Grutle, Norwegian ambassador to Japan, Mr Ulf Hafseld, chairman of HyNor, and Mr Seita Kanai, a director and senior managing executive officer of Mazda, all signed a memorandum of understanding for the collaboration and support in the development of a Hydrogen Economy.The memorandum states that HyNor intends to purchase a total of 30 Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicles commencing in the summer 2008. These will be the first hydrogen vehicles sold by Mazda outside Japan. "I very much welcome the agreement between Mazda Motor Corporation and HyNor. The agreement illustrates that HyNor's efforts to contribute to the development of hydrogen-based technologies are recognised by Mazda as a major global actor in this field,” said H.E. Mr Åge Grutle, Norway’s ambassador to Japan. “The partnership between HyNor and Mazda is also very encouraging for Norway's broader efforts to strengthen its cooperation with Japan in promoting research and technologies within the context of climate change mitigation, including a Hydrogen Society. For the Norwegian embassy it is a top priority to support these efforts, working in close collaboration with Innovation Norway and the Research Council of Norway." The chairman of HyNor, Ulf Hafseld, commented: “HyNor is very pleased to sign this agreement with Mazda and we think this cooperation will speed up the process of introducing hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel. "By using the internal combustion engine as a feasible technology to accelerate realization of the real hydrogen world, we can develop a hydrogen infrastructure much faster. HyNor is focusing on a carbon neutral infrastructure, and using hydrogen in the Mazda cars will ensure a complete carbon free line of fuel.”
Mr Seita Kanai, Mazda’s director and senior managing executive officer in charge of Research and Development, stated: “This will be the first time a Hydrogen RE vehicle will be sold outside Japan and will be a big step in Mazda’s hydrogen vehicle development history. "Perhaps Norway is one of the countries closest to the realization of a hydrogen energy society. By cooperating with HyNor and jointly supporting the development of a hydrogen economy, we hope that Mazda will be able to contribute to the establishment of a Hydrogen society." HyNor is a unique Norwegian joint industry initiative to demonstrate real life implementation of a hydrogen energy infrastructure along a route of 580 kilometres from Oslo to Stavanger in Norway. The project comprises all steps required to develop a Hydrogen society adapted to local conditions. The joint project is planning for various means of transport – buses, taxis and private cars – and varying types of transport systems: urban, inter-city, regional and even long-distance national transport. In August 2006, Mazda attended a ceremony which commemorated the opening of Norway’s first hydrogen filling station created by HyNor. This was also the occasion of the first on-road demonstration of a Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicle outside Japan.

New Ford Mondeo magic hits retail jackpot

Ford's newest models are catching the attention of increasing numbers of the car buying public, with the all-new Ford Mondeo leading the charge. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show how the Ford range is winning more retail business – and how more buyers are opting for top spec luxury models. Sales of the all-new Mondeo to private customers, as opposed to corporate fleet buyers, are up by over 20 per cent versus this time last year. And more than half of these retail orders are for top-of-the-range models.Since the latest Ford Mondeo went on sale in June, more than 16,500 have been registered and almost 52 per cent of customers have specified top trim levels such as Titanium. This compares with a share of under 35 per cent for equivalent high series Mondeos two years ago. Roelant de Waard, Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, said: "The surge of interest in Ford among private car buyers, triggered by new Mondeo, means our plants are operating at full capacity. "Ford customers are impressed by the new Mondeo's equipment list. They're delighted by high-tech features such as adaptive cruise, which adjusts speed relative to the vehicle in front, active suspension and adaptive front lights which beam around corners. These Ford converts are helping us to hit the retail jackpot this year." The Ford Focus joins Mondeo as another high performing retail favourite. Ford Focus volumes destined for private buyers are up more than seven per cent compared with last year. Ford's Multi Purpose Vehicle range of Galaxy and S-MAX continue to enjoy soaring retail registrations – doubling since October 2006. In total this year 306,054 cars and 80,789 commercial vehicles have been registered by Ford – almost 6,500 more than last year. Demand for the UK-built Ford Transit, making up the majority of the company's CV sales, has led to extra production at the Southampton assembly plant.


2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Review

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class happens to come in more flavors than Diet Coke -- literally. With two body styles, four engines and two drivetrains, this midsize luxury car provides buyers with a deep menu of choices. The Mercedes E350 and E550 are the most popular choices, as they provide ample power, an elegantly detailed interior and a suspension so smooth you'd swear its engineering inspiration was a canoe on a glassy lake. The wagon models provide a rear-facing third-row seat as well as interior space that rivals some five-passenger SUVs.

2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class2008 Mercedes-Benz E-Class-2The E320 Bluetec, meanwhile, is the only midsize luxury sedan to come with a diesel-fueled engine. Introduced last year, this V6 engine has a special additive that allows it to run exceptionally clean. And, being a diesel, it boasts superior fuel mileage and plentiful torque. For the ultimate in power, the manic E63, powered by AMG's 507-horsepower V8, can do zero to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds, quicker than most sports cars.

Powertrains and Performance
The E350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. A 0-60-mph sprint is accomplished in the mid-6-second range, while fuel economy for the rear-wheel-drive sedan is 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. The E550 features a 5.5-liter V8 that makes 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. In performance testing, the E550 went from zero to 60 mph in a quick 5.2 seconds. The E550 rear-drive model has a 15/22 mpg fuel economy estimate.

The E320 Bluetec features a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that makes 210 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. This engine gets the E320 from zero to 60 in 6.8 seconds, while fuel economy is exceptional at 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway. Already on sale throughout most of the country, the E320 Bluetec will be available on a two-year lease basis in the states with California's stricter emissions standards.

© Source: edmunds
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World Exclusive First Drive! Lamborghini Reventon

The "jet fighter for the street" concept has been around since the late 1970s, the ill-fated, never really worked Vector being the most obvious attempt. Three decades later it has finally arrived, thanks to Lamborghini.

Lamborghini Reventon

The otherworldly Reventon is named after a particularly feisty fighting bull. With just 20 production cars to be made (11 coming to the U.S.), it'll be Lamborghini's most exclusive road car ever. Other "mosts" include price ($1.4-plus million at current exchange rates), and speed (210-plus mph).

The main inspiration for this most arresting of automotive shapes was the F22 Raptor. Well, duh! Manfred Fitzgerald, Lamborghini's director of brand and design and the man who's carefully guided the company's resurgence over the past decade, was at a European NATO base with his design team.

"We had a good contact with the base manager (and) sat in Tornados and different aircraft to get some inspiration," Fitzgerald says. "We took these impressions of their world and came back here [to Lamborghini's Centro Stile design center]. Then we went, 'What is the most impressive aircraft to date?' For us it was the F-22, the Raptor. It is an incredible piece of art as well. This sort of kicked it off. Everyone on the team had a go at it and we then selected one (proposal) from the competition."

Lamborghini Reventon

Viewing the car outdoors makes the stealth-driven inspiration all the more obvious. Looking straight out of Area 51, sunlight dances off the sharp edged angles, creases and character lines that dominate the design and its details. If a picture is worth a thousand words, you could triple that count and not fully cover what the Centro Stile team created.

Like its 12-cylinder predecessors, the Reventon's doors open upward. After depressing the flush-fitting door handle on the door's upward-facing edge just below the window, you slide under the low-slung roofline into a deep, tight-fitting, very supportive bucket seat. With the seat all the way back, it's clear that linebackers, power forwards, and centers from either sport were not the design brief's target audience.

The interior is subdued and tastefully appointed with a mix of carbon, aluminum, Alcantara, and leather. The flat-bottom steering wheel is thick and nice to grip. Just behind it are the requisite E-gear up- and downshift paddles, although we're having a difficult time finding the switch for the afterburners...

The instrument binnacle is a housing milled from a single aluminum block that's then protected by a carbon-fiber casing. The instrument cluster looks lifted from some stealth aircraft and is different from that found on any production car. In place of conventional gauges are three TFT liquid crystal displays that can be modified at the touch of a button.

One setting features a "traditional" automotive layout with round analog instruments. The second is more in line with the Reventon's exterior and is innovative in the way it informs the driver of engine functions and speed. The left display has a tachometer of two inward-pointing lines that rise upward in unison as the revs increase. To its right is a large, digital speedometer. The small center gauge has a g-force meter, and supplemental gauges and other readouts are placed in the tachometer and speedometer nacelles.

This flat-screen instrument panel will keep any pilot or gadget geek smiling for weeks, and the overall effect is so impressive, so intuitively legible, that it's easy to see the concept starting a new trend in dash design where owners can scroll through variants to find their preferred configuration.

Lamborghini Reventon

Lamborghini Reventon

Like the standard Murcielago LP640, the Reventon has a 6496cc all-aluminum DOHC V-12 with four valves per cylinder that feature variable valve timing. Lamborghini quotes 650 horsepower at 8000 rpm for the Reventon, or 10 over the LP640.

Underpinnings are also from the Murcielago. The chassis is a rigid tubular steel frame with carbon-fiber components. The four-wheel independent suspension has double wishbones, electronically adjustable hydraulic shocks, anti-roll bars, and anti-dive and anti-squat characteristics. Brakes are large, ventilated discs with the requisite ABS.

There is no starter button, so give the key a twist and the engine erupts after a brief starter-motor whirr. The tach's two needles come to life, dancing up and down with each blip of the throttle. Tug the upshift paddle to engage first (the Reventon will only come with E-gear), and thanks to the accelerator's long travel, the pedal requires a good prod to get this handmade Lambo underway.

Lamborghini Reventon

Visibility is expansive out front, more limited to the sides and rear. Heads turn wherever you go, everyone barely casting a passing glance at the bright green LP640 chase car, before returning their unwavering gaze to the star of the day.

The Reventon handles slow-speed duties with nary a hiccup, thanks to the tractable V-12's 487 lb-ft of torque. The short front overhang can be a concern, especially on a steep driveway, so Lambo uses the LP640's system that automatically raises the front end at the push of a button.

The Reventon make grand entries like no other car, but you'll want to get away from pedestrians and prying eyes as quickly as possible. Its charismatic powerplant completely changes character at 4500 rpm, and the thrust is titanic when you cross that marker with your foot buried on the floor. The engine's sonorous growl and the exhaust's deep bellow overwhelm the cabin as you're pinned in your seat. The tach's two needles instantaneously jump upward past 8000 rpm, and the digital speedometer readout changes so rapidly that not one kph seems to be missed.

A quick flick on the upshift paddle and that colossal shove continues unabated. The steering is light and responsive, with quick, even turn in. The ride is composed and comfortable, even over a patch of rough surface.

Pushing the car through a series of tight turns, the Reventon's suspension doesn't feel quite as planted as the LP640 we drove earlier on the same roads. The rear gives a little twitch coming out of a sharp right-hander, but we aren't going fast enough to require large amounts of correction. This brief twitch can likely be chalked up to being the first person other than company's test drivers to try the development prototype before it's fully sorted.

Excellent Lamborghini Cars' Articles:
+ The Baddest Bull: Lamborghini Miura Vs Countach Vs Murcielago LP640 - Jalopnik
2007 Frankfurt Motor Show: 2008 Lamborghini Reventon - 1,000,000 Euro to own
Lamborghini Confirms "Very Expensive" Limited-Edition Sports Car For 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show
Faster than getting a coffee at Starbucks: GT2 laps the 'Ring in 7:32
2007 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 Photo Gallery
2008 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 Roadster Photo Gallery
2007 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640
Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera

Honda S2000 Type S at 2007 Tokyo Motor Show

The Tokyo Motor Show is about to burst at the seams and manufacturers are dropping names left and right. The latest of these is the Honda S2000 Type S which is based on the highly praised S2000 but adds a huge spoiler and a new aerodynamic package. In fact, it seems to be the US Honda S2000 Club Racer which made its debut at the New York Motor Show.

The Type S is powered by Honda's 237 hp 2.2 liter 4-cylinder DOHC engine and is, as the US press office so nicely stated, 'The S2000 CR is the closest thing you can get to a Honda-built racecar with license plate holders and a horn'.

Pricing in Japan starts at 3,800,000 (just over 23,500 EURO) and Honda hopes to sell 100 units every month and can be had in ten different colours with black and yellow interior, just like its US counterpart.

Honda S2000 Type S at Tokyo

Honda S2000 Type S at Tokyo Honda S2000 Type S at Tokyo Honda S2000 Type S at Tokyo

Honda S2000 Type S at Tokyo Honda S2000 Type S at Tokyo

[Source: WorldCarFans]

More Eecellent Articles about 2007 Tokyo Motor Show:
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+ Tokyo Motor Show 2007: Toyota Hi-CT
+ 2007 Tokyo Motor Show: Toyota’s unreal i-Real


Other Honda Cars:
+ Honda confirms production FCX and car based on CR-Z Concept
+ 2007 Tokyo Motor Show: 2008 Honda Fit gets Civic-minded makeover
+ LA Motor Show 2007: Honda Civic GX quick test drive
+ Tokyo Motor Show 2007 Preview:Honda CR-X is back
+ Tokyo Auto Show 2007 Preview: Honda CR-Z Concept Car
+ Tokyo Motor Show 2007 Preview: Honda DN-01 motorcycle features automatic transmission
+ A brand new version of Honda’s small car is set to hit the road
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+ Bigger, better Jazz ready to call the tune


2007 Ford Flex by Chip Foose

(from Ford Press Release) Star of Overhaulin’ and the hottest custom car designer on the scene, Foose gave the Flex a look of contemporary suburban luxury that accentuates its already stand-out good looks.

2007 Ford Flex 2007 Ford Flex -2Riding on Foose Design 22-inch wheels and Eibach springs customized for a lower appearance, the Foose Flex exterior features a custom-mixed, tow-tone blue and cream pearl paint job.

Inside, this color scheme continues with three-tone blue, gray and tan premium leather surfaces by Katzkin Leather.

Custom front and rear fascias and rocker panels are complemented by a custom wrap-around chrome beltline. Additional exterior details include painted appliquй door handles and a relocated license plate. With custom upper and lower grilles and bold FORD lettering across the front and rear, the Foose Flex reflects the right amount of expressive luxury appeal.

“When Ford called, I was quite excited to be one of the first to get my hands on the Flex,” says Foose. “I didn’t want the individual pieces I added to be the most eye-catching parts. I wanted it to look as if it came from Ford’s design studio.”

© Source: seriouswheels
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2007 Fiat Punto Abarth

There are few things in motoring more appealing than a small, fast Italian car, and this new Grande Punto Abarth is one of the best ever.

2007 Fiat Punto Abarth2007 Fiat Punto AbarthAll the ingredients are there: 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, light and sparky and free-revving and developing 155bhp, tight, well- honed chassis, good looks and plenty of chirpy Latin character. If you love cars, there's no way you could help but love a Punto Abarth, that's the bottom line.
The engine's powerful for a 1.4, but more importantly, it's torquey: 152 lb ft at 5000rpm, which increases to 170 lb ft at 3000rpm when you press the Sport Boost button in the middle of the dash. It's a good, useful button, that, firming up the steering at the same time. It transforms the nature of the car, with all of that boost punching in at lower revs.It really nails you into the seat: the 0-62mph time is 8.2secs, which is fairly brisk, and it's easy to zap through the six speed box because the change is quick and precise.

Throw it at a corner and the fun continues. There seems to be no understeer whatever, and the advantage of having such a small, light engine up front is obvious once you start changing direction in a manic fashion. You can turn the stability control system off, but it's never fully off, giving the fairly young potential buyers of this car a safety net. Idiotic hard-heads will be moaning at this, but it's a good idea - you can still have plenty of 'dorifto' fun before it cuts in.

So that's the standard Abarth - and then there's the Abarth Essesse kit. For Essesse (pronounced essay-essay) read 'SS' or Super Sport. That gives you a full 180bhp and 200lb ft of torque. Nice - it's a properly fast car and it's definitely the option to go for, judging by my brief run in a prototype. Expect prices to start at around £13K, with about £4K more for the SS, when the Grande Punto Abarth goes on sale early next year. That sounds like a proper bargain to me.

© Source: topgear
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Added diesel choice for Suzuki’s sport x-over

Suzuki’s SX4 sport crossover range, which blends the character of a sporty compact with that of a lightweight SUV, is now being offered with a second diesel option. The new 1.6 DDiS engine – supplied by Peugeot – complements the existing 120 PS 1.9 DDiS unit and its 90 PS output and 215 Nm of torque ensure lively, flexible performance characteristics matched by strong fuel economy.Mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and driving through the front wheels, the combined cycle figure is a frugal 53.3 mpg and CO2 emissions are 139 g/km, yet the latest SX4 clocks up 0-62 mph in 12.2 seconds and has a potential top speed of 109 mph. Equipment levels are similar to the SX4 1.6 GL but adds manual air conditioning, heated door mirrors, 16 inch alloys, roof rails, front fogs and wheelarch extensions. The on-the-road price is £11,999 and, in common with petrol-engined models, the new model qualifies for a 6D insurance grouping. Like the rest of the SX4 range, the 1.6 DDiS offers an exciting small car alternative, combining responsive driving dynamics, high levels of practicality and styling that suggests a freestyle approach to life. The roomy interior includes 60:40 split rear seats which tumble to create an almost flat floor and a boot capacity of 625 litres. An extensive array of safety features include front, side and curtain airbags, plus front seat pre-tensioners. As well as the larger 120 PS diesel, the SX4 also offers a 107 PS 1.6 VVT petrol engine with either two-wheel drive or – in the 4GRIP model – intelligent All Wheel Drive.


2007 Jay Leno E85 Chevrolet Corvette

(from General Motors Press Release)LAS VEGAS – “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno’s predilection for performance cars is no secret, but many fellow enthusiasts may not know that he is keenly interested in alternative fuels.

2007 Jay Leno E85 Chevrolet Corvette2007 Jay Leno E85 Chevrolet Corvette-12007 Jay Leno E85 Chevrolet Corvette-2To prove that red-blooded power mixes easily with a touch of green, Leno partnered with Pratt & Miller – the engineering company that builds and campaigns C6.R Corvettes – to develop a modified Corvette Z06 that is capable of running on E85 ethanol. It was unveiled at the 2007 SEMA Show.

More than merely a conversion of the stock LS7 engine to E85 capability, Leno’s alternative-fuel supercar is powered by a custom, 8.2L (500-cubic-inch) all-aluminum small-block V-8 that pumps out approximately 600 horsepower and 585 lb.-ft. of torque.

The engine is built around a custom aluminum cylinder block that was CNC-milled from a single block of billet aluminum. And while the cylinder heads, intake system and dry-sump oiling system are stock LS7 components, the engine – which has larger bore and stroke dimensions than the 7.0L (427-cubic-inch) LS7 – uses a one-off reciprocating assembly, including a forged steel crankshaft, forged rods and forged pistons. Katech Engines, the company that builds engines for the Corvette C6.R racing program, developed the engine.

The fuel system and engine control computer were modified to accommodate E85, and spent gases exit through a Corsa exhaust system. Supporting the 600-horse engine’s power is a blueprinted and strengthened T-56 six-speed transmission and a high-performance Centerforce dual-friction clutch.

© Source: seriouswheels
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Take That on tour with Volkswagen

The British pop band, Take That, have chosen a Volkswagen Caravelle to use on their current European tour promoting their new album, Beautiful World. The Volkswagen Caravelle is the perfect people carrier to take on tour, not least because the middle row of seats can swivel to face the rear. This creates a sociable lounge area with a multi-functional table for Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Howard Donald and Jason Orange to relax in before and after each concert.‘The Caravelle is stylish, comfortable and safe,’ commented Gary Barlow. Many other artists, including the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Chris de Burgh, have also found the Volkswagen Caravelle a popular choice for their recent tours. Apart from being the chosen vehicle for celebrities, the Volkswagen Caravelle is equally at home as a family vehicle or luxury limousine with seven seats, luxury SE and Executive specifications and the choice of 130 PS or 174 PS TDI diesel engines. Full details of the Take That Beautiful World Tour are available at www.takethattv.com; for information on the Caravelle, please visit www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk/caravelle.

Kia Unveils Spectra5 SX Concept at 2007 SEMA Show

Kia Motors America (KMA) displayed its sporty new concept vehicle, the Spectra5 SX concept, at this year's SEMA Show today in Las Vegas. A product with influences from KMA's design team, the Spectra5 SX sets the stage for future concept and production vehicles to be shown throughout the upcoming auto show season by putting into action some of the styling cues that will soon become part of Kia's new overall design language."Spectra5 SX concept hints at some subtleties of Kia's new design language," said Tom Kearns, chief designer of KMA. "This concept vehicle is only the tip of the iceberg of what is to come from Kia in the near future." The Spectra5 SX concept is finished in an edgy three-stage Amped Amber exterior color that changes shades and color depending on the vantage point. Based off of the production Spectra5 SX, the Spectra5 SX concept displays a more aggressive stance -- dropped 1.4 inches in front and 1.2 inches in the rear -- further accentuated by a unique front fascia with an expanded opening and mesh inserts, which also hints Kia's new design philosophy. A similarly- styled rear fascia and rear diffuser round out the back end of the vehicle, atop a catback exhaust with a 2.25-inch outlet. The headlamps and tail lamps are also tinted to complete the look. This spry Kia ride sits on 18-inch wheels fitted with 235/45R18 performance tires with a twin-spoke wheel design and black chrome finish. To demonstrate its abilities, the Spectra5 SX concept is outfitted with high- performance cross-drilled and slotted four-wheel disc brakes with front Rotora four-piston aluminum calipers and rides on a performance suspension with high- performance Eibach springs.