- Official: 2012 Bentley Continental GTC to debut at IAA in Frankfurt
- Win Scirocco R-Cup tickets on Facebook
- Audi defies market slump with 57% boost in A8 production
- Official: The new 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera
Posted: 23 Aug 2011 03:47 PM PDT
Taking cues from its GT coupe sibling launched last year, the new Continental GTC builds on the highly successful foundation of the previous cabriolet, which premiered in 2006. Bentley’s design and engineering teams have improved virtually every aspect of the iconic convertible with an uncompromising focus on quality.
While the first Continental GTC was elegant and understated, the sharper radii and assertive stance of the new model delivers a more contemporary and muscular presence. Advanced manufacturing techniques produce aluminum front wings without the need for seams or welds creating the look and feel of a coach-built car. Twenty-inch wheels are now standard with three styles of 21-inch wheel, a first for GTC, available as an option, reinforcing the distinctive, sporting stance of the new Bentley.
The four-seater luxury convertible features a new, even more spacious and sumptuous hand-crafted cabin, with soft-touch leather hides, an extensive range of wood veneers, cool-touch metals and deep-pile carpets. There are 17 standard soft-touch leather hide colors with six color split combinations, complemented by a range of seven veneers, all produced by Bentley’s talented craftsmen and women.
The GTC’s renowned coupe-like refinement is also enhanced. The tailored, multi-layered fabric hood is complemented by acoustic glass and under-body panels, for optimum noise isolation.
Superb everyday practicality for a luxury convertible was a hallmark of the original GTC and much valued by its customers. The cabin of the new GTC is now even more practical, with additional rear legroom, new storage solutions and innovative features such as touch-screen infotainment, automatic seat-belt presenters and a Bentley-designed Neck Warmer for comfortable roof-down motoring whatever the temperature.
A wider track, front and rear, sharper steering and retuned suspension provides a more exhilarating and class-leading drive. Bentley’s advanced all-wheel drive system features a new 40:60 rear torque bias (compared with 50:50 of the original GTC) minimizing understeer during hard cornering and allowing the spirited driver to manage the car’s line and balance via precise throttle control.
This compelling dynamic package is combined with a more powerful 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine as well as a new QuickShift transmission enabling faster gear changes than ever before. Power output is raised from 560PS to 575PS (567bhp/423kW) and the famed Bentley ‘wave of torque’ has been increased by a further 50Nm to 700Nm (516lb ft).
The Bentley Continental GTC is now available to order and first customer deliveries will begin in late 2011.
The New Continental Gtc – At A Glance
Sculpted exterior design
Luxurious, practical, hand-crafted cabin with class-leading infotainment
More powerful 6-liter W12 engine with FlexFuel capability
Dynamic Bentley driving experience
Wheels And Tires
Fuel Consumption (Eu Cycle) *
Fuel Consumption (Epa Cycle) **
- Bentley Motors
Posted: 23 Aug 2011 01:43 PM PDT
The Volkswagen UK Facebook page is currently running an exclusive competition, to win one of ten pairs of VIP tickets to the Scirocco R-Cup race weekend at Brands Hatch on the 3rd and 4th of September. Running until midnight on Tuesday 23rd August, it is the first time that Volkswagen Motorsport have offered tickets to a UK audience in a Facebook competition.
The prize is significant and includes:
The Scirocco R-Cup has returned in 2011 after a successful first season in 2010 where it took over from the Volkswagen Polo cup. The cup promotes and encourages young drivers and the cars are fueled by bio natural gas. The two-liter engine’s overall carbon footprint of racing plus logistics is reduced by 80 per cent compared with conventional racing petrol.
The season consists of 8 races starting in April at Hockenheim, moving around Germany, Austria and the UK through the summer and returning for a final race back in Hockenheim on 21st October.
Currently the British driver Daniel Lloyd is placed 2nd in the points standings and Brands Hatch will be a key race for him to try and take the top spot.
You’ll find the competition on the Volkswagen UK Facebook
Posted: 23 Aug 2011 08:50 AM PDT
Audi AG is hiring staff to increase car production, including a 57 percent capacity boost for the 69,600 euro A8 flagship sedan, on expectations that the luxury-auto industry will weather the stock-market slump.
“We’re extremely busy at the moment and have every reason to believe this uptrend will continue for some time, certainly through next year,” Albrecht Reimold, head of the carmaker’s factory in Neckarsulm, Germany, said in a telephone interview.
Audi’s second-biggest plant, where its 111,100 euro R8 sports car and the 48,900 euro A7 four-door coupe are built, is running extra shifts after adding about 500 workers this year, said Reimold. He expects output to jump 21 percent to a record 260,000 vehicles in 2011.
The busy assembly lines at the plant in southwest Germany are part of broader expansion at the Volkswagen AG unit, which is adding capacity in Spain and boosting production in China.
Audi, BMW AG and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz are adding shifts, shortening breaks and building new factories, even after economic gloom caused the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to tumble 23 percent from its February peak.
“We’re aware of expectations that conditions may change to the worse, but we trust our own forecasts suggesting that things will stay good,” Reimold said in the Aug. 17 interview from the plant, which employs 14,000 people.
BMW, Audi and Mercedes, the world’s three largest makers of upscale cars, are targeting record deliveries this year, boosted by growing wealth in China and a rebound in spending in the U.S. after the recession.
Last month BMW increased its 2011 sales forecast to 1.6 million vehicles from 1.5 million, while Audi, which aims to overtake BMW as the most successful luxury automaker by 2015, is targeting sales of 1.2 million cars this year. In July, Mercedes said that sales of its Mercedes and Smart brands will probably surpass 1.35 million in 2010, compared with an earlier forecast of 1.3 million.
Still, with U.S. consumer confidence slumping to its lowest level since the 2009 recession and Europe saddled with a government debt crisis, even high-end auto manufacturers will feel the bite of a slowdown eventually, said Marcus Kappler, deputy head of economic analysis at the ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim, Germany.
“BMW and other German high-end manufacturers are bucking the economy’s stagnant trend” for now, said Kappler. “Over the longer term, German carmakers won’t be able to decouple themselves from an economy that’s clearly normalizing.”
The slowing economy could hit demand for high-end models next year, said Henner Lehne, a Frankfurt-based analyst at research firm IHS Automotive. The research company may lower its forecast for western European luxury-car deliveries in 2012 from its current prediction of a 6.4 percent gain to account for the “new economic realities,” he said.
“Customers are becoming more cautious,” said Lehne. “Big-ticket items sell less well in difficult times.” IHS already reduced its projection for U.S. auto demand this year by 200,000 light vehicles to 12.5 million cars and trucks. It also lowered its forecast for 2011 German passenger-car sales by 25,000 vehicles to 3.24 million.
Next year could be tougher. Slowing economies, volatile financial markets and austerity policies to fight debt may cause world auto markets to stagnate in 2012, said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen. “This unfavorable constellation may bring about a distinct cooling of world car markets,” Dudenhoeffer said, adding automakers face excess capacities and shrinking profits after expanding production and hiring this year.
A slowdown may not hit luxury-car makers as hard because their customers have money to spend even during a downturn, IHS’s Lehne said.
For its part, BMW isn’t currently experiencing a slowdown and is expanding capacity to fend off Audi. “The demand for vehicles is still very high,” said Jochen Frey, a spokesman for the maker of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles.
BMW shortened the summer break at its Munich factory, and will run component factories in Austria, the UK and Germany without a halt, he said. The manufacturer is adding additional capacity in South Carolina and may build an assembly facility in Brazil after production bottlenecks restrained growth in the first half, CEO Norbert Reithofer said Aug. 2.
Mercedes is also boosting output. The carmaker added Saturday shifts and extended production hours at its largest factory in Sindelfingen, Germany, to meet demand for C-, E- and S-class models. Its factory in South Africa is producing on Saturdays this month to boost production of the C-class, which was updated earlier this year. The carmaker is also building a plant in Hungary to produce a new line of small cars.
Audi is adding 1,200 technicians, engineers, and other skilled workers this year to bolster its challenge to BMW. The unit, which accounts for more than 40 percent of VW’s profit, suspended summer holidays at its main factory in Ingolstadt to maintain output of the Q5 SUV. It also extended around-the-clock production of the Q7 SUV at a plant in Bratislava, Slovakia, until the end of the year.
At the Neckarsulm plant, a third shift for the A8 was added in July, taking daily production to 180 vehicles from 115. The plant is also being refitted to ramp up production of sporty “S” variants of the A6, A7 and A8 models, which will hit showrooms next year.
The plant is due to produce 300,000 vehicles in 2012, up from 260,000 this year and 180,000 in 2009, when the financial crisis hit sales. “The plant is buzzing,” said Reimold. “There’s no respite even though we’re in difficult times.”
Posted: 23 Aug 2011 06:07 AM PDT
The wraps are off, Porsche announces the new 911 Carrera for 2012. Porsche is set to debut the Carrera at this years IAA Frankfurt Motor Show. Lighter, longer, smoother and more power make this new version of the 911 outstanding. 20″ wheels sit under a 3.9in longer wheelbase and support a 100lbs weight reduction. With its new power the Carrera S the 3.8L Boxster engine uses less fuel and outputs less CO2. On a run from 0-62, the Carrera S with Sport Chrono on nails it in 4.1 seconds. No word on U.S dates but European ordering starts September 1st with a price of 88,038 euro ($127,000 USD).
At 48, the Porsche 911 Carrera is younger than ever: The completely redesigned generation of the sports car icon is stepping into the limelight with its flat, stretched silhouette, exciting contours and precisely designed details, yet from the very first glance it remains unmistakably a 911. True to the 911 tradition, the distinctive Porsche design language with its tendons and muscles exudes power and elegance.
The 100 millimeter (~ 3.9 inches) longer wheelbase and reduced height combined with the up to 20-inch wheels underpin the athletic appearance. At the same time, the typical sports car compact exterior dimensions were retained. Seen from the front, the eye is drawn to the 911’s trademark wide-arched wings. They emphasize the wider front track, so that the new 911 Carrera models sit even more solidly on the road. The remodeled exterior mirrors are accommodated on the upper edge of the door and not as before on the mirror triangle. Not only is this aerodynamically advantageous, it also emphasizes the new design line and visual impression of width.
The all-new, lightweight body is an intelligent aluminum-steel construction. It is responsible for a significant proportion of the weight reduction of up to 45 kilograms. Combined with significantly greater rigidity. Aerodynamic optimization – including a wider, variably extending rear spoiler – enabled the new 911 Carrera’s lift to be reduced yet further while retaining a very good Cd value.
To complement the modern exterior design, the Porsche designers created an interior, the architecture of which takes its cue from the Porsche Carrera GT. The driver is now even more closely integrated with the cockpit thanks to the centre console rising up to the front with the high-mounted shift lever or gear selector located especially close to the steering wheel in typical motorsport fashion. Classic Porsche elements are also to be found inside, as they are on the outside: the instrument cluster with five round instruments – one of them a high resolution multifunction screen, the central rev counter and the ignition lock to the left of the steering wheel.
Setting the standard in its class, as it has for generations, the new 911 Carrera and Carrera S raise the performance and efficiency bar yet another notch. All versions get by with significantly less than ten liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (28 mpg imp.). Fuel consumption and emissions are up to 16 per cent lower compared with its predecessor. Among other things, this is achieved by systems and functions such as auto start/stop, thermal management, electrical system recuperation, the world’s first seven-speed manual transmission and – in conjunction with the Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) – sailing as it is called. The new electro-mechanical power steering offers not only Porsche’s typical precision and feedback but also helps to increase efficiency and reduce fuel-consumption.
For example, the 911 Carrera with the new 350 hp (~ 257 kW) 3.4-litre boxer engine and optional PDK consumes a mere 8.2 liters per 100 kilometers (~ 34 mpg imp.) based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) – 1.6 l/100 km (~ 6 mpg imp.) less than its predecessor. Also, at 194 g/km CO2, it is the first Porsche sports car to make it below the 200 g/km mark. With the 911 Carrera S as well, with its 3.8-litre boxer engine and what is now 400 hp (~ 294 kW), fuel consumption when paired with the optional PDK is reduced by 14 per cent or 1.5 l/100 km (~ 5 mpg imp.) to 8.7 l/100 km (~ 32 mpg imp.) despite 15 hp (~ 11 kW) more power. That equates to CO2 emissions of 205 g/km.
At the same time there are performance improvements in both models. The 911 Carrera S with PDK manages to accelerate from nought to 100 km/h (~ 62 mph) in 4.3 seconds. Pressing the Sport Plus button on the optional Sport Chrono package cuts that to 4.1 seconds. The 911 Carrera with PDK needs only 4.6 seconds (Sport Plus 4.4 seconds) to sprint from a standing start to 100 km/h (~ 62 mph).
The new 911 doesn’t just offer better longitudinal dynamics, however, but top performance at an unprecedented level in terms of transverse dynamics as well. In addition to the longer wheelbase, the greater agility, precision and driving stability are based, among other things, on the wider front track, the new rear axle and new electro-mechanical power steering. Depending on the model, there are other standard or optional active control systems available as well that further enhance the driving dynamics. That is especially true for the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) active roll stabilization system, available for the first time on the 911 Carrera S. For example, the system reduces lateral inclination when cornering, the tires always being in the optimal position relative to the road surface and able to transmit higher lateral forces. Maximum cornering speeds are increased; even faster lap times on racing circuits are possible.
It has therefore been possible in the new model to extend yet further the span of apparently contradictory attributes such as performance and efficiency, sportiness and everyday practicality that has always typified the Porsche 911. That makes the 911 Carrera more of a 911 than ever. The new Porsche 911 Carrera celebrates its world premiere at the 2011 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show. The launch of the new 911 models gets under way on 3 December 2011, the new cars can be ordered from September 1st. Prices in Germany are 88,038 euro for the 911 Carrera and 102,436 euro for the 911 Carrera S, including 19 per cent VAT and market-specific equipment.
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