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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS Class (my favorit car)

For just a fraction of the cost of upgrading from the CLS 550 to the CLS63 AMG, you can add an AMG Sport Package, which brings staggered AMG wheels, an AMG sport steering wheel, and shift paddles like those on the more expensive model.

Mercedes-Benz dubs the CLS a “four-door coupe.” That’s not much of an exaggeration, as the CLS has a very aggressive, coupe-like profile even though it’s mechanically related to the more traditional E-Class sedan.

In just its fourth model year on the market, the sensual Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class gets a mild face-lift for 2009, with a dramatic two-bar grille and a sleeker nose. New dual-five-spoke 18-inch wheels, a new rear bumper with trapezoidal dual exhaust pipes, and arrow-shaped LED taillights round out a few changes that make the CLS models quite eye-catching.

The thoroughly modern exterior styling is met with a more traditional appearance inside, with plenty of real wood veneers; a new three-spoke steering wheel and white-faced instruments have silver backgrounds to give the instrument cluster a more dashing appearance for 2009. A center-console display incorporates Bluetooth for hands-free cell phone operation, voice control of audio and phone, and a six-CD changer.

The CLS line includes two models: the CLS 550, powered by a 382-horsepower, 5.5-liter V-8 engine, and the high-performance CLS63 AMG, which sports an AMG-designed 6.2-liter V-8 that produces a muscular 507 hp and 465 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy is less than that of most sedans; teamed with a slick-shifting seven-speed automatic, the CLS 550 gets 14 mpg city, 21 mpg highway—not a stunning achievement. The 507-hp CLS63 AMG is blurringly fast but even less efficient.

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS 550 has a well-balanced rear-drive chassis and an air suspension, but the ride is almost too living-room-sofa-like and the steering a little slow to respond. The AMG version is a welcome improvement, offering firm yet supple handling without much of a sacrifice in ride quality. Overall, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS 550 has an appealing luxury feel that's the opposite of the taut, tightly drawn handling of a BMW 5-Series, for example.

Interior room is at a premium, especially in back—the price paid for the sleek roofline, which tapers downward. The heated and ventilated front seats sit low, and the higher dash cuts down on visibility in front, as do the thick rear pillars. The rear bucket seats are quite comfortable, but headroom is at a premium and the CLS's bodywork draws in close, making the backseat feel claustrophobic.

Because the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is made in very limited numbers compared to other luxury sedans, it hasn’t been tested by either of the two U.S. crash-test programs. But both versions of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class come with all the expected safety features, including traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, side and curtain airbags, and even a Pre-Safe collision preparation system that senses if an accident is about to happen and tightens seatbelts before impact.

A premium Harman/Kardon audio system, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and an iPod interface are among the standard features on all Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class sedans, while options include the Distronic cruise control system and Parktronic parking aid.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

2009 Cadillac XLR

On Friday Cadillac revealed its midcycle face-lift of the 2009 XLR, along with the news that it will no longer offer a base version of the roadster. For 2009, the cheapest version of the XLR will be the Platinum edition, which starts at $83,530, including an $840 destination charge. The 2009 Cadillac XLR will go on sale in July. The base price of a standard 2008 Cadillac XLR was $81,490, including shipping. Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell points out that pricing on the 2009 XLR Platinum actually reflects a price cut of $2,120. The 2008 XLR Platinum was priced at $85,650; the 2009 XLR Platinum is priced at $83,530, including shipping. Caldwell said the pricing on the 2009 XLR-V remains unchanged at $100,000, including shipping. Caldwell noted that the base 2008 Cadillac XLR accounted for a small amount of total sales. Without giving exact numbers, he said Cadillac sells about 2,000-3,000 XLRs a year. The XLR-V accounts for about 20 percent of sales, while the XLR Platinum is the best-seller, making up about 60 percent of sales. The base XLR accounted for approximately 20 percent of sales. For 2009, the XLR gets such changes as a new front fascia, new rear fascia and new side fender vents, perhaps the most striking new design cue. Caldwell said that design cue "came from the [Cadillac] Sixteen concept.... It's not just like that on the XLR," he said, referring to the brightly colored chrome vents. "But it's similar. The overall idea is to put jewelry on the side of the car." For 2009, both models get the hood with the raised center section that was previously exclusive to the V-Series. The 2009 XLR Platinum gets a revised rear fascia with "more pronounced" exhaust tips and a new 18-inch wheel design. The sole option on this version is a brighter chrome wheel finish for $1,000. Caldwell said there are no options on the 2009 XLR-V. The 2009 XLR Platinum gets the 320-horsepower 4.6-liter Northstar engine; the XLR-V gets the 443-hp 4.4-liter supercharged Northstar V-8. What this means to you: The entry-level Cadillac XLR bites the dust as the GM luxury brand aims for the elite with its restyled roadster

2009 Honda Accord Coupe

Eighth generation of Honda Accord is very near to its release. So how would 2009 Honda Accord Coupe that is going to be launched around the spring or summer of 2008 look like. We have very little information on that but what we could claim is that it would very much resemble 2009 Honda Accord Coupe Concept, revealed in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

We could very much expect a choice between 4-cylinder engine and a V6. The next generation V6 (with Honda’s i-VTEC variable valve timing) is going to be more fuel efficient as claimed by company. V6 with its Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology will surely make it possible as the technology de-activates every other cylinder when the car is cruising under light load to reduce fuel consumption. Once higher power is required engine runs with its all the cylinder activated.

There is no doubt for the safety features of the future Honda Accord Coupe due to Honda’s Safety for everyone initiative. Honda has set up a baseline of safety features for all its future models. 2009 Honda Accord Coupe will be for sure have front and side-impact airbags for people sitting at front seats, the curtain style head protection airbags for both front and rear would fall in the basic safety features. The electronic stability control and advanced anti-lock brakes presence could not be denied. ACE i.e. Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure would be present which incorporates a front-end frame structure primarily designed to wholly soak up and dissolve crash energy over a big area in case of a frontal collision.

We wish that 2009 Accord concept Honda will make it to production without too many changes.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Toyota Corola 2009

when even the radical weenies over at HuffPo were making hay about auto sales in June, the big obvious story was a step beyond the "death of GM, Ford and Chrysler" crapfest. Yes, truck sales took another swan dive last month. HUMMER down nearly 60 percent? Check.

The big story is the symbol of the times: the Toyota Corolla. Toyota's sales were down 24 percent, too, but the iron horse Corolla continues to surge. Even in a year of changeover, from the bland 2008 model to the tastier 2009 version, Toyota's kept enough Corollas coming out of California and elsewhere to feed its sales machine--and to become the first vehicle to trump Ford's F-Series in 20-odd years of counting.

The bigger tectonic moves in car sales are easy to see--just look at the monthly tea leaves compiled by AutoData. Last year's champ was the Ford F-Series; this year, June sales of the big truck were off 40 percent and the Ford truck ranked behind two Hondas and two Toyotas. SUVs and pickups are way, way down--and only Honda seems immune to the huge monthly drops in numbers right now.

A little then and now will tell you how dramatically your tastes have changed in just 12 short months--and show you more evidence for the magnitude of change at showrooms and boardrooms

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

2009 Chevrolet Corvette

2009 BMW Z4

Thursday, 13 November 2008

2010 Nissan 370z

The Deal: Nissan called us late last week with a special offer. In an effort to quiet speculation sparked by recent leaks of spy photos and videos, the Nissan PR department offered us special access to a camouflaged preproduction prototype of the next generation 2010 Nissan 370Z sports car—as long as we followed a few rules.

The Rules: Nissan allowed us to crawl all over the car as well as shoot photos and video of it. But as part of the agreement, we cannot disclose anything related to how the new Z drives since the car they showed us is not a final production model. We are also forbidden to show or discuss any part of the interior (although we have some spy shots of the interior for you below) or what’s under the hood.

It’s shorter: Compare profile shots of the new Z the current 350Z and it’s pretty clear the new car is significantly shorter. The present 350Z has an overall length of 169.9 inches (173.6 for the NISMO version) with a 104.3-inch wheelbase.

We had heard rumors Nissan might be replacing a few of the high tensile steel body panels with either composites (a la BMW M3) or aluminum (used for the 350Z’s hood). To confirm what is steel and what is not on the new Z, we used a simple test: running a magnet over all the major body panels.

Our magnet did not attach to the front or rear fascia or hood—which wasn’t surprising as these have traditionally been made of non-ferrous materials (urethane/aluminum). It stuck to the front and rear fenders, as well as the roof, which wasn’t surprising either. When we got to the doors and rear hatch, our magnet failed to attach. Tapping these panels revealed a definite metallic tone. What does this mean? While they could be composite, they are more than likely aluminum. Either way, this would mean significant weight savings. If you’ve ever hoisted the rear hatch of a 350Z, an aluminum piece could mean a big difference.

It’s more aggressive, but clearly a Z: Despite the light camouflage, more compact dimensions, and reworked profile, there is no mistaking the Z heritage, and several current Nissan design themes.

Most striking is the new Z’s roofline and fastback. The A-pillar appears to be straighter and sharper. The windshield looks to be the same (as these are expensive pieces to manufacture), but the supporting A-pillar seems straighter and sharper. Instead of swooping towards the tail in a graceful curve, the A-pillar meets the leading edge of the roof at a point, which is similar to the design found on the Nissan GT-R. But unlike the GT-R, the roofline curves back in what looks to be constant arc before flattening out a touch for the tail (and attachment point for rear spoiler). From the front three quarter angle, the smaller Z rump disappears as the curving roofline merges into the wide rear fenders for a look reminiscent of a Porsche 911.

It’s more powerful—probably: Here again, we must rely purely on speculation as Nissan would not confirm either the engine or the output of the vehicle it provided. We will say that the exhaust note sounds very similar to current 350Z, supporting the rampant rumors that the next Z will have a derivative of the current car’s VQ35 engine.

With the new Z, it appears Nissan has done the opposite. When it could have simply slapped on new lights and thrown a bigger engine underhood, Nissan adopted the strategy applied to the 2008 Maxima. Instead of going bigger and heavier, Nissan made the new Z shorter, wider—and in all likelihood—lighter and more powerful. These are the kind of real and substantial changes that should get any red-blooded sports car enthusiast cheering.

Report by Auto Racing Daily.

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