New 355 Hp 4.2 FSI V8 for the Audi A6 and A8

One of the world’s most modern eight-cylinder engines is now available for the Audi A6 and A8 model lines. The 4.2 FSI, closely related to the high-revving V8 in the Audi RS 4, develops considerably more power than its 335 bhp predecessor. With the aid of petrol direct injection, it now generates 350 bhp (257 kW). And at the same time, its fuel consumption is around 10 percent lower. The immense power of the eight-cylinder engine is transferred via 6-speed tiptronic transmission and quattro permanent four-wheel drive.

The new engine is available in the new 2007 model year for all A6 models and for the standard-wheelbase and long-wheelbase versions of the A8. The basic prices are € 61,300 for the A6 4.2 FSI quattro saloon and € 76,200 for the A8 4.2 FSI quattro.

The A6 3.0 TDI quattro will now also receive more power – in future, like the Audi A8, it will generate 171 kW (233 bhp, instead of the previous 225 bhp).

Also available for both model lines is the Audi parking system advanced, which aids the driver with a wide-angle rear-view camera when parking. The completely distortion-free images contain guidance lines which show the line the car should follow and the distance to obstacles based on the steering angle. This is a system which has already proved itself in the Audi Q7 and which received nothing but praise from the media on making its debut.

In the cockpit of the Audi A8, a 5-inch central display will be a standard feature of the driver information system, replacing the 3-inch monitor used up to now. This has the advantage of an improved and enlarged display of information on navigation, consumption and range. Further information can also be shown in parallel on the colour display.

Rear passengers can also enjoy a new perspective in the 2007 model year of the A8 and A8L if desired: with the Rear Seat Entertainment plus system from quattro GmbH, they will in future have the option of watching TV via monitors in the head restraints of the front seats while travelling. The system is operated via remote control from the rear.

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GM, DaimlerChrysler & BMW Premiere Hybrid Technology

GM, DaimlerChrysler & BMW Team up and Present a new Hybrid Technology that promises to put an end to Toyota's "monarchy"

The state-of-the-art full hybrid system, whose components are being co-developed by General Motors Corp., DaimlerChrysler and the BMW Group for production beginning next year, represents a major automotive industry milestone due to the unprecedented fully integrated combination of electric motors with a fixed-gear transmission.

As a result of its low- and high-speed electric continuously variable transmission (ECVT) modes, the system is commonly referred to as the 2-mode hybrid. However, the sophisticated fuel-saving system also incorporates four fixed gear ratios for high efficiency and power-handling capabilities in a broad variety of vehicle applications.

During the two ECVT modes and four fixed gear operations, the hybrid system can use the electric motors for boosting and regenerative braking. In summary, the four fixed gears overlay two ECVT modes for a total of six operating functions:

Input-split ECVT mode, or continuously variable Mode 1, operates from vehicle launch through the second fixed gear ratio.

Compound-split ECVT mode, or continuously variable Mode 2, operates after the second fixed gear ratio.

First fixed-gear ratio with both electric motors available to boost the internal combustion engine or capture and store energy from regenerative braking, deceleration and coasting.

Second fixed-gear ratio with one electric motor available for boost/braking,

Third fixed-gear ratio with two electric motors available for boost/braking.

Fourth fixed-gear ratio with one electric motor available for boost/braking.

The result is trend-setting hybrid technology that provides superior fuel economy, performance and load carrying capability. The full hybrid system being co-developed by General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and the BMW Group has an overall mechanical content and size similar to a conventional automatic transmission, yet this full hybrid transmission can operate in infinitely variable gear ratios or one of the four fixed-gear ratios.

A sophisticated electronic control module constantly optimizes the entire hybrid powertrain system to select the most efficient operation point for the power level demanded by the driver.

Key Advantages: When compared `to conventional hybrid systems, this avant-garde hybrid technology, relying on both the ECVT modes and the four fixed gear ratios, provides advantages in combined (city and highway) fuel economy, dynamics and towing capability.

Traditional hybrid systems typically have only one torque-splitting arrangement and no fixed mechanical ratios. These systems are often called "one-mode" hybrids. Due to their less capable mechanical content, one-mode hybrids need to transmit a significant amount of power through an electrical path that is 20 percent less efficient than a mechanical path. This requires usually substantial compromise in vehicle capability or reliance on larger electrical motors, which can create cost, weight and packaging issues.

General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and the BMW Group conceive a full hybrid system featuring four fixed mechanical ratios, within the two ECVT modes, to reduce power transmission through the less efficient electrical path. Consequently, the electric motors are more compact and less dependent on engine size.

This combination of two ECVT modes and four fixed gear ratios eliminates the drawbacks of one-mode hybrid systems to allow for efficient operation throughout a vehicle's operating range, at low and high speeds. It also allows for application across a broader variety of vehicles. It is particularly beneficial in demanding applications that require larger engines, such as towing, hill climbing or carrying heavy loads.

Existing internal combustion engines can be used with relatively minimal alteration because the full hybrid system imposes no significant limitation on the size or type of engine. It enables the three automakers to package internal combustion engines with the full hybrid transmissions more cost-effectively and offer the fuel-saving technology across a wider range of vehicles.

Initial applications are suitable for front-engine, rear- and four-wheel-drive vehicle architectures, but the full hybrid system has the flexibility to be used in front-engine, front-wheel-drive architectures in the future as well.

Global Hybrid Cooperation: General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and the BMW Group have formed a cooperative effort called the Global Hybrid Cooperation, which is actively developing this next generation hybrid powertrain system. In an alliance of equals, all three partners are pooling expertise and resources to jointly and efficiently develop hybrid technology. Each company will individually integrate the full hybrid system into the design and manufacturing of vehicles in accordance with their brand specific requirements.

In Troy, Michigan, the "GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW Hybrid Development Center" houses together engineers and specialists from all three companies to develop the complete hybrid system and the individual components -- electric motors, high-performance electronics, wiring, energy management, and hybrid system control units. In addition, the "GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW Hybrid Development Center" will be responsible for system integration and project management.

A key factor in ensuring optimum development is the focus on a flexible system design that can be scaled to the size, mass and performance needs of the various vehicle concepts and brands. The extensive sharing of components and the collaborative relationship with suppliers will enable the alliance partners to achieve economies of scale and associated cost advantages that will also benefit customers. Currently full hybrid systems are under development for front- and rear-wheel-drive passenger cars, and light-duty truck and SUV applications.

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Ford S-MAX and Galaxy MPV get straight A’s in Allergy protection

Ford S-MAX and Galaxy MPV receive German TÜV "Allergy Tested Interior" and British Allergy Foundation seals of approval

Allergies are on the rise, a fact that becomes evident this time of year to millions of people who suffer from breathing difficulties. So it's not by accident that the United Nations is calling attention to World Asthma Day on May 2.

With the all new Ford S-MAX and new Galaxy models, Ford Europe now offers two more vehicles to the increasing number of consumers looking for allergy friendly products. Following the Ford Focus and Focus C-MAX, the new S-MAX and Galaxy are the third and forth vehicles worldwide that have been certified by the German TÜV organization to minimise the allergy risk to the lowest possible level.

"Ford Motor Company takes the impact of allergies seriously. We are leading the industry in providing car interiors that are certified as allergy friendly," said Dr Wolfgang Schneider, vice president, governmental and environmental affairs, Ford of Europe.

"The positive public response to our initiative confirms that we are on the right track. We aim to get as many as possible existing and future vehicle models certified to these TÜV standards – and this at no extra costs for our customers," he added.

The TÜV is an independent, authoritative German testing and assessment organisation that controls and certifies quality standards for industrial and consumer products. An extensive series of scientifically verifiable tests was carried out on the S-MAX and Galaxy, as on the Focus and Focus C-MAX earlier, in accordance with strict TÜV examination procedures. More than 100 materials and components were tested for harmful substances and allergy causing potential. Additionally, all components likely to have direct and prolonged skin contact such as the steering wheel and seat covers, floor mats and seat belts were also dermatologically tested.

Ford development engineers decided to avoid using in these vehicles materials such as latex, chrome and nickel that can provoke allergic reactions in some people. Additionally, the vehicles are equipped with a high-performance pollen filter, which was also tested by the TÜV. The filter effectively prevents pollen – a particular concern for allergy sufferers – from entering the vehicle’s interior.

The TÜV tests involve an extensive analysis of the passenger compartment air quality, examining the concentration of organic substances such as formaldehyde, phenols, phthalates, and solvents. The measurement and assessment criteria are published on the Internet (, ID number: 0000007407).

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Russo-Baltique Impression

World presentation of Russo-Baltique Impression

A resurrected Russian brand, Russo-Baltique made its first public appearance at the Villa D'Este Concours d'Elegance over the weekend. In 2005, German Gerg GmbH became involved in the building of the Impression coupe bringing in the capabilities of its Munich-based production facility.

Russo-Baltique Impression is ready for a limited-series production – 10-15 cars – starting from Spring, 2006. Each car production, including the preparation and approval of its exclusive specifications, will take 12 to 18 months. The Impression uses a Mercedes AMG 5.5 V12 bi-turbo engine that produces 555 hp.

The company is able to build 2-3 Russo-Baltique Impression cars annually. The price of a car amounts to approximately 50 million rubles -or about $ 1.800.000 or € 1.450.000...

The official press release on the new Impression:

It is the honor of Russo-Baltique Company of Russia to present to the honorable public a coupe called Impression – the first model of the Russo-Baltique brand after a long intermission. On the eve of its 100th anniversary, the Russian antique car brand – the supplier of His Highness the Emperor’s Court – is returning to the market of luxury and high-powered cars with this model.

The Russo-Baltique car brand’s history begins in 1907 when a domestic autocar manufacturing was established by one of the largest industrial concerns in the Russian Empire. Two years had passed before the first car was built – a 30-hp open two-seater Russo-Baltique 24-30. First years of its existence were marked by outstanding performance in automotive sport competitions building up the reputation of a reliable, ideal and elegant model producer. In 1912, a special sport model, Russo-Baltique C24-50, won two first awards in the Monte-Carlo Rally, and the second award in the rally in San-Sebastian a year after that.

In 1913, Russo-Baltique was granted a title of an official supplier of His Highness the Emperor’s Court.In 1914, the Russo-Baltique concern built the biggest aeroplane in the world – Ilya Muromets – developed by a remarkable Russian engineer Igor Sikorsky.

The First World War became a turning-point in the Russian history in general and the Russo-Baltique future, in particular. The subsequent Revolution brought an end to the Russo-Baltique production for many years.

According to our estimates, there are 3 complete samples of different historical models of Russo- Baltique remaining in the world. In 2003, a decision to revive the legendary Russian brand and to resume the Russo-Baltique cars production was made in Moscow. In 2005, the Russo-Baltique Company was officially registered. The main office of the company is located in the historical center of Moscow, close to the old Church of the Ascension at Uspensky Vrazhek.

Today, the Russo-Baltique company, for the first time in its history, has the honor to present the prototype of its new model – Impression, a luxury comfortable 4-seater with classic set-up. It manifests perfect style and quality attributed to all subsequent cars and brands of Russo-Baltique. With the cars of this level of perfection, the company will strive for returning its position lost in 1917.

The Impression coupe has been under construction in Moscow since 2003. The style of Impression is a mixture of the Russo-Baltique designers’ impressions from the Golden Age of the automotive industry – the 1930s – when car shapes won hearts both by their elegance and by their monumental size. For comfortable boarding, the car is equipped with rear-hinged doors. The radiator grille of the Russo-Baltique Impression is crowned by the historical heraldic sign picturing the Russian two-headed eagle - the official emblem of a supplier to His Highness the Emperor’s Court. The dash board of Impression is hand-made of a one-piece exotic African tree trunk, Zebrano, with naturally alternating black and white stripes. The steering-wheel rim and interior side panels are made of the same material. In combination with white metal these parts create both a unique and ergonomic interior ensemble.

While in the 20th century the dominant feature of Russo-Baltique cars was the Russian heritage of all their parts and their unique adaptation to Russian bad roads, in the 21st century the priority has shifted to innovations, perfection, and high technology of the car design and materials. The car quality, as it was before, will be a match to its unique title of the Court’s supplier reinforced today by new technological capabilities.

Technical data on Russo-Baltique Impression

Engine 555 hp bi-turbo V12

Gearbox 6-speed automatic

Suspension pneumatic, adjustable ride height

Wheels R22 inches, wheel rim of original design

Length 5.183 m

Wheelbase 3.150 m

Width 1.847 m

Height 1.433 m

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Lamborghini Gallardo protagonist in Mission Impossible III

How do you get 3 Hollywood stars into a two-seater Lamborghini? Mission: Impossible?

In what is sure to become one of this summers big blockbuster hits, the Lamborghini Gallardo makes an on-screen appearance in the highly anticipated Mission: Impossible III (Paramount Pictures). Italian moviegoers were treated to an extra performance, when the cast arrived in 10 Lamborghinis at the movie’s spectacular world premiere in Rome.

Under the direction of J.J. Abrams, of the famous TV series "Lost" and "Alias", super agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) returns with a bang in the third installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise. The high-performance Lamborghini Gallardo, styled in a vibrant orange, is just the car to complete the IMF team.

The Gallardo is named after one of the five main breeds of bulls used in Spanish bullfighting. Just like the powerful animal after which it is named (and like the women Ethan Hunt loves and battles!), the car is the most beautiful specimen within the race.

So how do you get Tom Cruise, Maggie Q and this year’s Academy Award winner for best actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, into the two-seater Lamborghini Gallardo? Go see Mission: Impossible III to find out!

A few facts about the Lamborghini Gallardo:

Permanent 4-wheel drive

Engine: 5 liter, 10 cylinder V90°, DOHC four valves

Power: 520HP at 8000rpm

Torque: 510 Nm at 4250 rpm

0-62 mph in 4.0 sec.

Top speed: 196 mph

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2007 BMW 3 Series Coupe Videos

A few days after the official unveiling of the 2007 BMW 3 Series Coupe, the Bavarian company released some videos of the 335i model where all you bimmer fans can get a live glimpse of the car but also… hear the sweet humming of its turbocharged in-line 6 cylinder engine.

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Zagato Ferrari 575 GTZ

Undoubtedly, the biggest highlight of the 2006 Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza was the world premiere of the Zagato built, Ferrari 575 GTZ which draws back to the historic Ferrari 250 GTZ from the late 50’s.

This unique, Ferrari 575M Maranello based, exotic was custom ordered by the famous Japanese Ferrari collector, Mr. Hayashi. Zagato redesigned every exterior panel with the car body being completely custom-built from aluminium. The final car took around five months to construct, but each successive car will take closer to two months to build as the first car is always the most difficult and demanding in terms of construction.

The interior of the 575 GTZ remains largely based on the 575 M Maranello, however it has been exquisitely re-trimmed in custom leather. Technically, the car remains the same as the standard 575M Maranello, something that was required by Ferrari for the car to carry the “Prancing Horse” badge.

Zagato Press Release:
Two months ago at Geneva, we surprised almost everyone by presenting a 1956 Ferrari 250 GTZ on our stand, rated as the tenth most sought after car amongst collectors and, perhaps, the most valuable car in the show.

Until now, no details have been released regarding our latest car, except for the fact that it is destined for a famous Japanese Ferrari collector. Your press pack contains the first official photo of the car together with its proud owner.

At Villa d’Este, the Ferrari 575 GTZ will be making its debut. The car, commissioned by Mr.Hayashi, is inspired by the 1956 250 GTZ, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The bold decision not to present the car at Geneva was made in light of the fact that a true handcrafted gem such as this Ferrari Zagato would be in its ideal element at Villa d’Este.

This is also a tribute to the rebirth of the Italian Concours d’Elegance which, it is my sincere hope, will be repeated over the years to come.”

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2006 Toyota Avensis Facelift

ALTHOUGH Toyota tried hard to keep it a secret, unfortunately, the first photographs of the 2006 facelifted Avensis have leaked in the internet.

The light restyling seems to be concentrated at the front end which looks a bit more dynamic thanks to the redesigned bumper, the different light clusters and the new mask. Also, the turning lights are now incorporated in the exterior mirrors.

In the cabin, among others, the facelifted Avensis gets better quality plastics and a refreshed centre console which stacks a new MP3 system.

As for driving dynamics, changes in the design of the rear axle promise to improve Avensis’s mediocre road handling. Finally, the 2.0 Turbo Diesel gets a power lift, producing 125 Hp (from 116 Hp). Sales of the facelifted Avensis should start in Europe at the end of June.

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New Sports Pack for Aston Martin DB9 Coupe

From July, Aston Martin will offer the option of a factory fitted ‘Sports Pack’ specification for the DB9 Coupe, combining revised suspension characteristics with a new alloy wheel design to give subtly different driving dynamics.

The new five-spoke forged aluminium alloy wheels are lighter than the standard wheels, the springs and front anti-roll bar are modified and the ride height lowered.

Taking the DB9’s VH architecture as its foundation and retuning some of its key components, the DB9 Sports Pack offers an even more focussed driving experience, with improvements to both high-speed body control and steering response. That means a DB9 Coupe specifically for the enthusiastic driver with a high level of driving skill, who likes to drive quickly, safely and with precision.

The first key to the sharper dynamic balance is a significant reduction in ‘unsprung’ mass which indirectly allows the suspension to react more quickly to inputs such as bumps and cornering forces – resulting in improved grip, steering response, body control and ride quality.

With the DB9 Sports Pack, each five-spoke light alloy wheel gives an unsprung weight saving of more than 1kg, with a small but significant additional saving from the use of titanium wheel nuts. In total, that equates to more than five per cent reduction in unsprung weight on each corner of the car. The new, lighter 19-inch wheels are the same size as the standard wheel and use the same Bridgestone tyre.

The DB9 Sports Pack’s spring rates are increased by 68 per cent at the front of the car and 64 per cent at the rear. The front anti-roll bar is modified, and the dampers are revised to support the new spring and anti-roll bar characteristics. Together, the changes optimise body control and front-end grip without compromising ride quality or adding weight. The ride height is reduced by 6mm, lowering the car’s centre of gravity and further reducing body roll while leaving ample ground clearance and backed up by modified bump stops.

The composite undertray is also replaced, by a load-bearing aluminium panel that performs the same function in managing underbody airflow while adding further structural stiffness, to resist larger lateral loads fed into the front of the car by the uprated front springs and anti-roll bar.

The cumulative effect is significantly improved dynamic response, and especially steering feel - making the DB9 feel lighter, more positive on turn-in, more agile and more involving for the enthusiastic driver. Body control is especially enhanced during high speed manoeuvres, giving the DB9 a more neutral handling feel.

Aston Martin Sales & Marketing Director, Bill Donnelly, says: "This optional Sports Pack will offer driving enthusiasts the opportunity to tailor their DB9 Coupe to deliver an even more rewarding dynamic experience. The Sports Pack offers another addition to the Aston Martin range and provides customers with an even greater choice and the ability to further personalise their DB9."

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Making its public debut at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham and available as either a window van or panel van the Fiesta SportVan seems ideal for dual-use customers who require a van for both business and domestic purposes.

Like all Ford Fiestas, the SportVan combines driving quality with functionality and practicality. Powered by Ford's lively 1.6-litre 90PS 204Nm Duratorq TDCi diesel engine, it boasts the acclaimed Durashift 5-speed manual transmission, power-assisted steering and anti-lock brakes.

Fiesta SportVan comes in one of four colours: Colorado Red, Panther Black, Moondust Silver and Diamond White – all with a dark Pewter and ebony Gun Metal interior.

Externally, distinctive styling elements communicate the vehicle's on-road prowess. These include body-coloured front and rear sport bumpers, 16-inch 12-spoke alloy wheels with 195/45 R16 tyres, tapered body-side mouldings and a rear spoiler. The front end is distinguished by a high intake front grille, sports fog lamps and a rear spoiler.

The style continues inside, with sports front seats, a sports leather gear knob and leather-wrapped steering wheel with silver spokes. An available option pack includes air-conditioning, MP3 connectivity, a heated front windscreen, and electrically-operated and heated door mirrors.

"The small delivery van market is buoyant, thanks to a growing trend toward customers who require a stylish dual-use van for both domestic and business purposes." said Phil Collareno, Vehicle Line Director, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe.

"The new Fiesta SportVan has been developed to meet the needs of drivers who want more car-like performance, style and fun in combination with the practicality and durability of the Fiesta van."

The Fiesta SportVan will go on sale in markets across Europe towards the end of the year.

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2007 BMW 3 Series Coupe Official Press Release & Interior pictures

The third generation of compact coupé marks the introduction of the first ever twin-turbo petrol-powered engine in a production BMW as well as pioneering Direct Injection technology. Two models will be available at launch. See more pictures

Designed for sporting elegance
Despite its close technical ties with the 3 Series Saloon and Touring variants, designers set out with the goal of differentiating the two-door model more than its predecessors. From the front, side and rear, the car is clearly related to other 3 Series models but has its own, classically elongated, shape. Adopting BMW’s typical Coupé proportions of long wheelbase, short overhangs, long bonnet, cabin set to the rear and a low, sleek roofline, the new 3 Series Coupé has an elegant profile.

Key highlights in exterior design are the kidney grilles and restyled headlamps that give a bold yet elegant frontal view. At the rear, the broad rear lights use horizontal light rods with bright LED illumination to accentuate the low, wide appearance of the rear of the car.

Another change from the other models in the 3 Series range is the use of lightweight materials in the body construction in the Coupé. While all 3 Series models use Tailored Blanks that increase panel thickness where structural rigidity is needed, and reduces thickness where it’s not, the Coupé variant also uses plastics in construction As a result of the lightweight plastic front wings used on the 3 Series Coupé the new car is an average 10kgs lighter than the Saloon variant.

Twin-turbo in-line six-cylinder
The all-new Coupé bodyshell clothes the twin-turbo 3.0-litre engine in the new BMW 335i SE that develops 306hp and 400Nm of torque between 1,300 - 5,000rpm. With such performance statistics, the 335i forms the pinnacle of the new 3 Series range.

The 335i SE Coupé accelerates from zero to 62mph in 5.5 seconds, and, if left unchecked, would travel on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. This level of performance is made possible by two turbochargers, each supplying compressed air to three cylinders each. The use of two smaller units ensures that the turbochargers react more quickly to changes in the throttle position all the way to the 7,000rpm red line while also eliminating the previous scourge of turbocharged engines – ‘turbo lag’.

The turbocharged engine is also considerably lighter than a normally aspirated powerplant of equal power. In the case of the 335i, the new twin-turbo six-cylinder engine weighs approximately 70kgs less than an eight-cylinder engine of corresponding performance. This weight advantage benefits both fuel economy and weight distribution.

BMW’s all new high-precision Direct Injection system also aids these high levels of performance while also benefiting economy. Piezo injectors, located centrally in the combustion chamber between the inlet and exhaust valves, deliver atomised fuel in a conical burst into the chamber to ensure a smooth, efficient burn.

Piezo crystal injectors work when an electrical current is passed through the crystal to create a very precise and consistent fuel delivery. The result? Only the exact volume of fuel required is delivered into the combustion chamber on each cycle guaranteeing that all the vapourised mixture is burnt. This method of injection also serves to aid combustion chamber cooling, thus offering a higher compression ratio. As aconsequence, the new car delivers an average fuel consumption of 29.7mpg on the combined cycle.

Entry-level six-cylinder
At the launch in September, the new 325i SE Coupé will form the entry point to the range. Delivering 218hp and 250Nm of torque from its 2.5-litre in-line six-cylinder engine, zero to 62mph is achieved in 6.9 seconds and the top speed is 153mph. However, performance does not compromise economy with the 325i SE Coupé delivering 33.6mpg on the combined cycle. This is made possible thanks to BMW’s patented VALVETRONIC variable induction technology and VANOS variable valve timing that, when combined, balance the requirements of performance and economy.

This level of economy is also made possible as a result of a number of weight and power saving measures in the engine. The 325i Coupé is the latest BMW to benefit from the magnesium – aluminium composite cylinder block first seen on the BMW 630i in Spring 2004. The lightweight combination of materials reduces the overall mass of the car and helps achieve the near-perfect 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution for improved handling.

Finally, the 2.5-litre engine uses an electrically-powered water pump. This not only eliminates the engine power normally needed to drive a conventional crankshaft driven unit but also reduces the engine heat-up time to improve engine efficiency and occupant comfort.

Gearbox options
All new BMW 3 Series Coupé models come with a close ratio six-speed manual gearbox as standard. Those drivers who prefer the convenience of an automatic transmission, but the driver involvement of a manual, should opt for BMW’s new automatic gearbox option. Using an innovative torque converter and software set up, the new automatic gearbox offers a 40 per cent improvement in the response time to throttle inputs and a gear-shift time nearly half that of a conventional automatic transmission. Whenever a driver wants to take control of gear changes a pair of selection paddles located behind the steering wheel can be used to change gears

Practical and ergonomic interior
Internally, all controls fall easily and ergonomically to hand. The seatbelt is now a
lso delivered to the driver courtesy of a feeder arm integrated into the B-pillar. This only operates on the passenger side when the airbag’s seat detector recognises an occupant.

Both driver and passenger in the 3 Series Coupé sit comparatively lower in the car than they do in its Saloon counterpart. This ensures the maximum headroom for occupants, even with the lower roofline of the Coupé, and also gives occupants a safe, cosseted feeling in the car. Practicality is also a priority with the new 3 Series Coupé offering up to 440 litres of boot space in conjunction with convenient storage solutions in the interior.

Chassis and body – a sound basis
In common with all BMW models, the new 3 Series Coupé benefits from a near-perfect 50:50 front to rear weight distribution and rear-wheel-drive for the optimum in driving dynamics. A double-joint tie bar front axle with spring struts made almost entirely from aluminium and a five-link rear axle work in combination with a rigid body structure to provide very high levels of stability and comfort.

The 3 Series Coupé also comes as standard with Dynamic Stability Control +, BMW’s latest traction control system. With DSC+, the highest levels of traction and stability are complemented by the latest comfort and safety systems including brake pads that are dried in wet weather conditions and brakes that are applied harder when any possible brake fade is detected. This ensures the car remains under maximum control at all times.

To enhance the chassis and suspension set up, the 3 Series Coupé comes with a rack and pinion steering system as standard. Customers can also opt for BMW’s innovative Active Steering system that varies the steering ratio as a proportion of road speed. The Active Steering system additionally links into the DSC+ system, adding small amounts of steering correction without driver input when oversteer is detected.

Extensive safety systems
All of the passive safety systems of the new Coupé are controlled by a restraint and support system. The six standard air bags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and belt force limiters are all activated by the type and severity of a collision.

Recognising that the majority of accidents occur in the dark, the new 3 Series Coupé comes with Xenon headlights as standard. Customers wanting to improve visibility yet further can specify BMW’s Adaptive Headlights that, using the steering angle, aim in the direction the car is travelling rather than the direction it is pointing.

Drivers following a 3 Series Coupé might also notice BMW’s Brake Force Display at work. When the driver of the Coupé needs to execute an emergency stop, or when the ABS system is in operation, the driver behind is warned of the danger ahead by an additional illumination of the LED brake lights in the lamp cluster.

Future Coupé models
Other engine derivatives start production in September to broaden the 3 Series Coupé range. The new BMW 330i Coupé will develop 272hp from its normally-aspirated 3.0-litre six cylinder engine that, like the smaller engined 325i Coupé, uses magnesium alloy in its engine construction. Acceleration to 62mph is dispatched from standstill in 6.1 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. The 330i Coupé still delivers 32.1mpg on the combined cycle.

At the same time as the 330i, the new BMW 330d Coupé will start production, offering 231hp and 500Nm of torque. Performance and economy are both top priorities for the diesel-powered Coupé, with the car posting a zero to 62mph time of 6.6 seconds while still delivering 43.5mpg on the combined cycle. Details of the future entry-point BMW 320i and 320d Coupé models will be announced at a later date.

See the 2007 BMW 335i Video

Infiniti coming to Europe in 2009

The announcement was made in Tokyo by President and CEO Carlos Ghosn during a press conference for the 2005 fiscal year results.Launched in the U.S. and Canada in 1989, Infiniti is currently sold across North America, Taiwan, the Middle East and Korea. In 2006, Infiniti will be launched in Russia, followed by China and Ukraine during 2007.

“In 1999 we made the decision to re-invest heavily in the Infiniti brand, focusing on outstanding products and a premium ownership experience,” said Ghosn. “That investment has made Infiniti the fastest-growing luxury brand in the U.S. and one that is recognized globally for its blend of design, performance and luxury. We are now ready to bring this unique brand to consumers in Europe,” continued Ghosn.

Infiniti will be distributed in Europe through a dedicated sales and service network that will start operations during 2008. Full details of the final product range, ownership experience and business structure will be disclosed closer to launch.

“This is the ideal time for Infiniti to launch in Europe,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Nissan Europe. “This timing allows us to bring the next generation of Infiniti models, including a fully competitive line-up of petrol and diesel engines, specifically designed for the demanding needs of our European premium customers,” Carolin added.

Infiniti has built a reputation for top-ranking customer service, contemporary design and driving performance. Since the company renewed its focus on Infiniti in 1999, sales in the U.S. grew from 72,637 vehicles to 136,401 vehicles in 2005, an 88% increase.

Infiniti range in the US

Infiniti G35 Sedan
The all-new 2007 Infiniti G Sedan is the second generation of Infiniti’s groundbreaking sport sedan. It is designed to create a more powerful driving sensation – from its rewarding performance and sophisticated exterior, to the finely crafted interior and intuitive technology.

The heart of the G35 remains its advanced engine, platform and drivetrain, anchored by the "next generation" of the award-winning VQ-series 3.5-liter DOHC V6, now rated at an estimated 300-plus horsepower. The standard V6 is mated to a choice of a 5-speed automatic transmission. Steering wheel-mounted solid magnesium paddle shifters are standard on the G35 Sport A/T model.

Available advanced technologies include RearView Monitor, a touch screen navigation system with available real-time traffic and the audiophile-quality Infiniti Studio on Wheels™ by Bose®, combining the industry’s first 3-way front door speaker array using 10-inch woofers with an audiophile quality head unit incorporating a 24-bit Burr Brown® Digital Audio Converter.

The 2007 G35 Sedan is offered in five models: G35, G35 Journey G35x AWD, G35 Sport and G35 Sport 6MT.

Infiniti G35 Coupe
The Infiniti G35 coupe, since its introduction in 2003, has offered sports coupe lovers a powerful, rear-wheel drive performer – one that combines a racing-inspired platform and advanced technology, all draped under a sensuous, aerodynamic body.

For the 2006 model year, the G35 coupe continues to add refinements, including available Rear Active Steer; new bi-xenon headlights and revised taillights; additions to the Premium Package, including available Intelligent Key system and Bluetooth? Hands-Free Phone System; a new exterior color; and new Sport Package styling features, including unique front fascia and side sills and revised optional rear spoiler.

The rear-wheel drive G35 coupe is powered by an advanced, 280-horsepower V6 engine mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and Downshift Rev Matching. The G35 coupe is also available with 6-speed manual transmission delivering 298 horsepower. The G35 coupe’s performance is enhanced by a 4-wheel independent suspension with lightweight aluminum components and highly aerodynamic styling.

Infiniti M
The all-new 2006 Infiniti M, which is scheduled for sale in spring 2005, captures essential elements of both the Q45 luxury performance sedan and the award-winning Infiniti G35 – and takes them to a new level of engaging luxury and performance.

At the heart of the Infiniti M is the high-performance power of a choice of advanced V8 or V6 engines, with the vehicles badged M45 or M35 accordingly. The M45 features the 4.5-liter DOHC V8 currently used in the Infiniti Q45 and FX45. For use in the M45, it produces 335 horsepower. The M35 is powered by a 3.5-liter DOHC engine producing 280 horsepower. Both the M45 V8 and M35 V6 are mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with short-throw performance shifter and manual shift mode.

Advanced technology is abundant on the Infiniti M – starting with a new Rear Active Steer system, which helps improve vehicle handling performance by adjusting the geometry of the rear according to steering input and vehicle speed. Also featured on the Infiniti M is a new Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system, which helps warn the driver of a pending, unintended lane departure.

Infiniti Q45
he 2006 Q45 provides a vast array of standard and available performance and technology features, including a 340-horsepower 4.5-liter V8 engine, voice-activated controls, DVD navigation system with 7.0-inch LCD information display screen and RearView Monitor. Other available features include climate controlled seats, Intelligent Cruise Control with Preview Braking and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system.

The 2006 Q45’s advanced 5-speed automatic transmission has been revised with wider gear spacing, Downshift Rev Matching and a new torque converter design for better shift quality. The 2006 Q45 adds a new Sport Model, which adds a sport-tuned suspension with Rear Active Steer and cast alloy 19-inch wheels and performance tires.

Infiniti FX
The Infiniti FX, Infiniti’s dramatic premium crossover SUV, enters the 2006 year with an exterior facelift with new grille, bumper, wheel design and three new exterior colors. In addition, all 2006 FX models add numerous standard features, including a 300-watt Bose? audio system, RearView Monitor, 7-inch color display Advanced Air Bag System (AABS) and more. The 2006 FX35 adds leather seating surfaces with heated front seats, 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support and 8-way power passenger’s seat. Additional features include driver’s seat memory and power tilt/telescope steering wheel. And the FX45 adds the Premium Package contents as standard features for 2006.

The FX is again available in both FX45 and FX35 designations. The all-wheel drive FX45 comes with a standard 320-horsepower* 4.5-liter DOHC V8 (based on the Infiniti Q45 powerplant) and includes new 20-inch wheels and tires, leather-appointed seats and a revised sport-tuned 4-wheel independent suspension with new dampers. The FX35 features a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and is available in all-wheel or rear-wheel drive. All FX models utilize a modified version of the advanced FM (Front Mid-ship) platform, enhanced for SUV duties.

The 2006 FX continues to serve as a showcase for Infiniti’s technology and engineering leadership with the available Land Departure Warning (LDW) system, Intelligent Key and Intelligent Cruise Control with Preview Braking.

Infiniti QX
The QX56 is designed to provide luxury on a grand scale, with eight-passenger seating (seven-passenger with 2nd row captain’s chairs), standard equipment such as leather-appointed seating and navigation system, RearView Monitor, Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone System and an independent rear suspension (IRS) with load leveling.

Every QX56 comes equipped with a standard 5.6-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine, producing 315 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, mated to a refined 5-speed automatic transmission. All QX56 four-wheel drive models feature an advanced, All-Mode 4WD full-time design with infinitely variable torque split (maximum 50:50 front/rear).

The 2006 Infiniti QX56 also offers bold, advanced exterior and interior styling, with a large, Infiniti-style grille, xenon headlamps and LED taillight treatment, along with a sophisticated and refined look and feel inside.

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