Thursday, March 26, 2009

Steer a Ferrari Enzo Remote Control Car With Your Cell Phone Part of the magic of CES is seeing a bunch of wacky stuff ,as well as the more important products and technologies. Case in point: a remote control car that uses a Motorola cell phone as the remote. Now you can deplete your cell phone batttery and crash a Ferrari, all from the comfort of your couch. Uh…that’s progress, right?
It’s actually a collaboration between Motorola, Nikko and Freescale and is based on the Freescale Semiconductor wireless Personal Area Network (PAN) technology, which uses the IEEE(R) 802.15.4 standard. The phone does simulate the car’s movement, however, and vibrates when you start it up and turn the wheel. And the Push-To-Talk (PTT) button serves as a “turbo boost” for a sudden burst of speed. Wheeeeeeeeeee! The car is compatible with the Motorola iDen i265, i275, i560, i730, i760, i830, i850, i860, and i870 phones and runs on 4 AA batteries. Source: Gizmodo

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Geneva Review: Lamborghini Murcielago LP650-4 Roadster Limited Edition

Lamborghini has released official photographs of the limited edition Murcielago LP 650-4 Roadster that we first got the chance to see through a set of leaked presentations sheets just before the Geneva Motor Show. To be produced in a limited run of just 50 units, the Roadster version of the Murcielago comes with permanent four-wheel drive and is powered by an uprated 6.5-litre V12 engine producing 650HP (+10HP) and 660 Nm (486.8 lbs) of torque - hence the model's LP 650-4 moniker.


A set of scanned images that appear to have come from an official presentation sheet depicting a limited edition version of the Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster, have been leaked into the web. Dubbed Murcielago LP650-4 Roadster, the limited run model features a special two-tone paint job as well as a series of exterior and interior changes including alcantara trim, a transparent bonnet and blacked out alloy wheels.


If Lamborghini's naming system is anything to go by, the Murcielago LP650-4 Roadster's V12 engine should produce an output of 650-horsepower. Power will be channeled to all-four wheels through a six-speed robotized manual transmission with Lamborghini's e.gear remote shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. For more detailed information we'll have to wait for the opening of the Geneva Motor Show on March 3.












Limited Edition Edo LP 710 Audigier

Only five units of the Edo Lamborghini LP 710 Audigier will be produced, in collaboration with luxury fashion designer Christian Audigier - famed for his luxury streetwear - for its unusual makeover.
The limited edition car is based on the Lamborghini Murciélago LP 640, and Edo has modified it to deliver 710 horsepower and 700Nm of torque with its 6.5L V12 engine. The car has been enhanced aerodynamically and goes from 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds, with a top speed of 224mph. A stainless steel high performance exhaust system and 19-inch light alloy wheels, new high flow catalytic converters and high flow filters completes the fast car.
While quicker than the original base car, Audigier’s design influence is the noticeable difference for this car. The matte black LP 710 has a redesigned interior with diamante skulls and vines in yellow and white spread over the seats, dashboard, door panels and center console. 
Outside, the same themes abound all over the car body. Car owners get to choose from a wide range of themes to personalize their vehicles, and a chance for a test drive with pro racer Patrick Simon at Edo’s race tracks in Papenburg, Germany or at Nardo, Italy.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

No Snakes Were Harmed in the Making of this Viper…

Dodge Viper Snakeskin SRT-10

Dodge has teamed up with PREFIX for a special edition of the Viper SRT-10 called the Snakeskin. Your $23,800 US dollars gets you Crystal Slate paint and wheels, plus snake skin effect seats on the seats, interior trim, exterior stripes. Tasteful? Not really. Rare? Yes, as there’s only 20 in the world. Something this tacky really deserves to be extinct.

Bugatti Ups Veyron Output to Reduce Wait Times

Bugatti Veyron Production

What’s a Bugatti? If you’re not much into cars, you can be forgiven for not knowing about the legendary Bugatti name. If you’re a car enthusiast, mind you, an original Bugatti Royale, for instance, might be on the top of your all-time wish list.

One good reason to put a “Bug” high on the list is simple, really; to attain the ownership of a classic example or even the new Veyron you’d have to be a multimillionaire. Of course, normally people don’t become wealthy merely by dreaming of cars, though it’s plausible that Bugatti’s latest has inspired many to riches over the half-decade of its pre-launch stage.

Yes, the Veyron has the distinction of not only being the most expensive new car on the planet with the highest horsepower rating in stock trim, but also holding record to enduring through the longest and most tumultuous gestation period of any modern-day vehicle. Even recently, just before news came out that the supercar is being built and would be released to eager customers later this year, some industry insiders still questioned whether or not it would ever see the light of day.

On its side is the fact that it’s not backed by Malcolm Bricklin or Gerald Wiegert, although the two entrepreneurs did manage to eventually build a small run of cars apiece. Rather, Bugatti falls under the VW AG umbrella, and therefore doesn’t suffer from an immediate cash problem.

The latest news is that Bugatti is increasing output at its Molsheim, France production facility in order to reduce waiting times for the Veyron.

“We want to take our annual capacity to 70 units, up from the 50 that were originally planned,” commented Bugatti President Thomas Bscher, during an interview at the Geneva auto show. “We are hoping that will sharply cut waiting periods, which are now at 14 to 15 months. That’s much too long.”

Bugatti Veyron Production

Veyron sales, for a car that will cost its new owner 1 million euros, or just over $1.2 million USD ($1.4 million CAD) at current exchange rates, are stronger than initially expected. As of the end of March, Bscher confirmed Bugatti had in excess of seventy definite orders.

Not surprisingly, U.S. customers are pushing hard to get the earliest possible deliveries, and surprisingly Bugatti has responded with a promise to ship the largest portion of the first fourteen Veyrons across the Atlantic. And why isn’t Bscher placating European and Middle Eastern buyers first? The Bugatti boss sees North America as having the greatest sales potential, especially in greater New York and, of course, Southern California, two areas Bscher says “are immensely important for Bugatti.” Bscher only expects to sell fifteen Veyrons per year in Germany.

The new Bugatti features a spectacular 16-cylinder engine connecting through to a seven-speed dual-clutch paddle-shift actuated transmission, plus a carbon fibre composite chassis, making it one of the more expensive vehicles to build, and therefore own.

And yes, if you have achieved financial security and are willing to wait in line, you can purchase a new Veyron at one of twenty Bentley centres globally; Bentley is also owned by Volkswagen Group.

These facilities will also be Bugatti service points, but as Bscher pointed out, Bugatti technicians will also fly to any location throughout the world to service the Veyron.

Interestingly, Bscher commented that there is a good change Bugatti will grow the brand to include an additional model. Unlike the marque’s previous management, which wanted to add a high-priced sedan to complement its supercar, Bugatti would go down-market and produce a higher volume model to compete with top-line Ferraris and its own Lamborghini nameplate - yes, VW also owns Lamborghini through its Audi division. And just in case you’re not up on the latest news, Porsche owns about twenty percent of VW AG, further complicating its premium brand offerings.

Before talking about a “Baby Bug”, mind you, it would be good to see a Veyron on the road, proof-positive that dreams of a less expensive Bugatti are worth fostering.

Bugatti Veyron Production

Video-Based Safety Features For Mercedes

Mercedes video safety

The future of safety features involves preventing accidents before they happen. Over the past couple of years, the introduction of radar-based technologies has ushered in features such as adaptive cruise control that automatically slows the vehicle down to keep a steady distance. From there, radar technology has been applied to collision mitigation systems, such as those brought out by Volvo and Mercedes-Benz which are capable of warning the driver of an impending accident, and if necessary can apply the brakes, close the windows, adjust the seatbacks and more to lessen the damage. Other systems feature what’s called a “lane keeping assist” which monitors the lines on the road, and can warn, or actively prevent the car from unintentionally drifting. Mercedes’ forthcoming version will employ vibrations through the steering wheel and single-wheel braking to keep the vehicle on course.

Mercedes video safety

Mercedes-Benz is looking at taking collision mitigation one step further with new video-based systems designed specifically to reduce the number of collision incidents at low speeds, around intersections and construction zones, areas where a large number of accidents occur. The cameras also have the ability to measure the size of the vehicle that’s on course for impact, and can therefore cater the amount of protection to offer. For instance, the Mercedes-Benz Pre-Safe collision mitigation system would choose a much more forceful setting on the airbag if the impending collision was with a large truck than it would with a subcompact vehicle, taking into account speed and angle of course. One such application is preventing vehicle-bicycle accidents; the system is effective at not only picking up quick moving bicycles, but can detect and warn the driver of an accident with a two to three second gain, which is often enough time for the driver to identify and react.

Mercedes video safety

Another use for the camera system is to monitor and “read” road signs. The system could then send a warning to the instrument panel registering speed limits, yield signs and so forth. Eventually, the system is said to even be able to “stop” when it reads a sign that says “stop”, should the driver not heed it. So far, these features enable the car to not only “react” better, but could there be a day when cars also “speak” to each other?

The final feature, and arguably the most advanced yet is Mercedes’ car-to-car communication systems which use a WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) to communicate and relay information from car to car. Information gathered by a car’s ABS and ESP sensors would be able to detect slippery surfaces, and send that information to other Mercedes-Benzes nearby. Now, since not everyone drives a Mercedes-Benz, the company is looking to set up roadside beacons that can transmit and send such information.

Little by little, Mercedes-Benz is making vehicles safer by interacting with the driver, and by reducing the chance for human error to exist. Like it or not, these systems should help make the roads just that little bit safer.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lamborghini Murcielago LP650-4 Roadster : spy photo from dealer showroom

The Lamborghini Murcielago LP650-4 Roadster has been spotted inside a Lamborghini dealer showroom in Geneva. Have a look!
SSC Ultimate Aero TT: The Fastest Car in the World

The title of World’s Fastest Production Car is back on the table. Over the past five years, this title has changed hands time and time again, going from Britain’s McLaren to Sweden’s Koenigsegg to the king of supercars, the Bugatti Veyron. Its next move will see it travel across the Atlantic Ocean to a small super car maker founded in Washington State, SSC.

SSC, or Shelby Super Cars (unrelated to Shelby Automobiles of Carroll Shelby fame) has more or less one goal as a carmaker: to make the world’s fastest cars. A close look at their Ultimate Aero TT shows how serious the brand is, making few concessions to luxury or convention in order to claim the highest top speed. The slippery, wind-tested-to-perfection carbon fibre body weighs just 60 kilos (132 lbs), while the car has a curb weight of just 1,250 kg (2,012 lbs) and is moved along by an engine that could be described as making nothing short of brute force.

The powertrain that SSC has chosen for the Ultimate Aero is in direct contrast to the ultra-complicated setup used in the Veyron, with its four turbochargers and special 7-speed twin-clutch DSG gearbox. Mounted midship is the LS6 engine found in the previous generation Chevrolet Corvette Z06, but with a larger displacement that’s been bumped to 6.3 litres. With pushrods and two valves per cylinder, the engine doesn’t boast any new-fangled technologies, but it’s tried, tested and true, and what’s more it’s capable of providing the power reliably. The engine also receives two high-pressure turbochargers to deliver its astronomical output of 1,183 horsepower and 1,094 lb-ft of torque. The Veyron makes “only” 1,001 horsepower and 922 lb-ft of torque.

All of this power is fed through the rear wheels by a regular non-automated manual transmission (with a clutch, no less), and the car doesn’t have any fancy electronics to help aid the driver along to its top speed. No, it doesn’t have launch control, stability control or even traction control, features that you’d see in a Ferrari, Maserati or Lamborghini.
This has therefore allowed the Ultimate Aero TT to attain a top speed of 411.89 km/h (253.88 mph) over a two-way average with a peak one-way speed of 413.94 km/h (257.11 mph). What is interesting is that the record wasn’t set at the Nardo high-speed bowl, the Ehra-Lessein VW test facility or even the Bonneville Salt Flats, the usual locations for record setting. No, SSC broke the record on a regular public road in Washington State that was cordoned off by police.

For now the record hasn’t been officially verified by Guinness, but when it does SSC will become the new world record holder. The Ultimate Aero TT also happens to be the world’s most powerful production vehicle.