Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Unlike nearly every naked bike we can think of, Ducati has created a stripped-down, super-sporting roadster without excuses – no tuning for torque, and no dumbed-down suspension.

The Streetfighter’s engine is ripped nearly unchanged from the 1098 sportbike, differing only in shorter intake tracts that knock off a scant 5 hp. The result is a claimed 155 hp at 9500 rpm, aided by a midrange-inducing exhaust valve. The use of the 1198’s Vacural cast-aluminum crankcase shaves nearly 7 pounds from the engine.

“It’s like 100 liters of adrenaline,” Giulio Malagoli, the Streetfighter’s project leader, told Motorcycle.com about his latest creation. Malagoli is also the inspired mind behind the recently launched Monster 696 and 1100 air-cooled models. The new Streetfighter is now the most radical of Ducati’s naked bikes, replacing the discontinued Monster S4RS that measures up 25 hp short of the SF’s 1099cc Testastretta Evoluzione powerplant.

The standard Streetfighter retails for $14,995, and it boast a fully adjustable Showa suspension and lightweight magnesium for the headlight bracket and clutch and cylinder-head covers - magnesium is about 30% costlier than aluminum but is about 20% lighter, says Malagoli. The higher-end S version’s V-Twin powerplant is in an identical state of tune, but it includes top-shelf Ohlins suspension, lighter forged-aluminum Marchesini wheels and tasty carbon fiber for the front fender and cam-belt covers.

The Streetfighter’s riding position lives up to its name, with a tapered-aluminum handlebar placed sportily forward yet several inches higher than the 1098/1198 model. There’s more distance between the seat and its footpegs than the old Monster S4RS, but that’s mostly because the seat is way up at 33.1 inches. This is surprisingly tall for a bike without undertail exhaust pipes, but the Streetfighter’s lean and unfaired design forced the tailsection to contain the electronics, battery and exhaust valve servo. The SF’s fuel tank is an inch shorter than the 1198, allowing a rider to get closer to the front wheel, and its extra height isn’t a problem with the taller bars.Pulling out of the pits at Ascari reminded me that the ’Fighter uses a dry clutch system, as it proved to be a bit grabby when taking off from a stop. Toggling through the transmission requires considerable effort in relation to a Japanese literbike, but gearshifts are nonetheless positive. Dialing on the throttle reveals the massive torque (a claimed 87.5 ft-lbs at the crankshaft) offered by the booming V-Twin that easily lofts the front wheel in the first two gears.

The SF’s wider and taller handlebar offers much more leverage than the 1098’s low clip-ons, and this enables the ’Fighter to ably carve up the variety of corners offered up on the Ascari circuit’s 26-turn layout. And the forged-aluminum wheels on the S model we tested are a few pounds lighter than the cast-alloy rims of the standard model (and are in fact mostly responsible for the 4.5-lb reduction from the base model’s 373-lb claimed dry weight). The reduced gyro effect of the lighter wheels can readily be felt by a rider (, and they also have a beneficial effect on a suspension’s control of the wheels.

The benefit of the Streetfighter’s more conservative chassis geometry becomes apparent while riding the several fast sections of the Ascari racetrack. Unlike most streetfighter-type bikes, this new Ducati remains sure-footed at high speeds.

The Streetfighter’s only high-speed problem is the complete lack of wind protection. This was quite unsettling in our first track session during startling wind gusts. It wasn’t until we adjusted our riding positions by laying on top of the tank that we were able to become comfortable at highly elevated speeds. It would seem unfair to condemn an unfaired bike for the lack of a fairing, but the wind deflection offered by the small proboscis of the Aprilia Tuono is an excellent compromise for this category.

The powerful Streetfighter is capable of Big Speed (Guareschi reportedly got up to an indicated 168 mph at Ascari), so it’s helpful the bike comes with the superb brakes of the 1198. Brembo radial-mount 4-piston monobloc calipers squeeze huge 330mm rotors up front and are actuated by a radial master cylinder and braided-steel brake lines. They deliver immense strength and major-league feedback. The rear brake needs a good stomp to lock the tire, which is just how we like ’em.With all this high-spec, high-performance capability, it should be no surprise this bike shines when ridden hard. We’re confident there isn’t another naked that will lap a track as quick, except perhaps the MV Agusta Brutale 1078RR. MV claims 154 hp and 86.3 ft-lbs of torque for the Brutale, figures nearly identical to the Streetfighter.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

2010 Chevy Camaro

With the $22,995 V6-equipped 2010 Chevy Camaro LS producing 304 HP, nearly as much as the V8-engined 2010 Ford Mustang GT, and the 426 HP 2010 Chevy Camaro SS starting at just $30,995, initial impressions of GM's new muscle car are extremely good. It's faster than its competitors and benefits from more svelte looks than the Dodge Challenger and less familiar styling than the 2010 Mustang. It's even more fuel efficient, with the V6 returning an impressive 17 city, 29 highway MPG-rating, while the V8 returns 16/25 MPG when equipped with the slightly higher-geared automatic transmission.
But this Camaro's also supposed to be about more than just numbers , one very important reason: it's based on the 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP. When we drove that car last November, we couldn't believe that a $40,000 Pontiac was like the new E39 M5, only better. That impression was the result of a driving experience that wasn't so much about the 415 HP Corvette-derived LS3 V8 as it was the car's subtle ability to read your mind, then react to what you wanted faster than we thought possible from a big sedan. In short, the G8 GXP is a handler before it's a muscle car and that's saying something for a vehicle that can hit 60 MPH in 4.7 seconds.
The opposite is true of this new Camaro. Based on an updated version of the G8's Zeta platform (here called Zeta II), the Camaro gets a 2.5" shorter wheelbase thanks to bringing the front wheels forward 6", then moving the A-pillar rearwards 3.5" to create a longer hood and new front suspension chosen to make that hood lower. Unlike the class-defining Mustang, suspension is also independent all the way around. The V6 starts with GM's FE2 coil-over suspension package, before moving up to standard FE3 on the V8-equipped SS. Wheels start out at a smaller-than-GXP 18x7.5" on the base LS, before moving up to a standard and massive 20x8" front, 20x9" rear on the SS. The G8 GXP's are 19x8". Most of the SS's standard equipment is available optionally on the V6 models, while the RS-package essentially looks like an optioned-up SS, but with a V6 under the hood.
Well that and the incredibly successful styling. Chevy knows it looks good too, displaying a level of self-assuredness that would be absurd in any other segment. Here's a great example. Our co-driver asked a GM engineer whether the new Camaro increases "length or girth?" His straight-faced response? "It increases opportunity." Cocky, right? But they're right. Where the G8 looks like a rental car, the ZR1 looks like a bass boat enthusiast won the lottery and the CTS-V, even with its classy chrome mesh grille, looks like a tuner conversion, the Camaro strikes exactly the right balance between the mass appeal of its aggression and a more sophisticated retro futurism that successfully references the original while adapting wholly new forms that are completely contemporary. Even though we've been staring at pictures of it for what seems like years, in person it's still surprising how good it looks.
The other defining characteristic of the Camaro's driving experience is the interior. Hop in one and like a classic Camaro, the first impression is of claustrophobia. It feels like Chevy's designers have purposefully set out to make the interior, which is actually surprisingly large with adequate space for four adults, feel surprisingly small. Most of that comes from the slit-like windshield; its top sits at about the height of your forehead, something that will be familiar to Lotus Exige owners. Out through that narrow strip of glass, the hood bulge and fenders are prominently visible, accentuating the power under the hood. Unlike the Exige, there's almost 8.5" of vertical seat movement to accommodate a wide range of drivers. All of them will end up with their head in the exact same place: about a half inch from the ceiling as that's the only position that affords adequate forward visibility. Strangely, the wheel and instruments sit very high, never affording the wheel-in-lap arrangement that I prefer, even with the seat all the way up and the wheel all the way down.
That interior is also going to be a bugbear for the Camaro. While the overall shapes are appealing, the materials are mostly cheap plastic, even on the big knobs that you use to adjust the HVAC and stereo (Nav isn't an option). A huge swath of that cheap plastic runs from the steering wheel all the way to the right door. The standard-on-SS auxiliary gauges, mounted down low in front of the gear lever, are largely worthless on the move due to their positioning, but look really cool, providing a false sense of driver/machine integration that just isn't born out in the driving experience. Believe it or not, the 2010 Mustang with a few options is actually a nicer place to spend time.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mitsubishi MMR 25- concept for 2025

The Mitsubishi MMR25 showcases a shocking look, with multi-terrain, omnidirectional wheels which consist of eight independently-controlled motors, allowing for “8 x 4” wheel drive so that the car can be driven forward while pointing in any direction.

The center wing acts as a spoiler, actuated by pneumatic and fabricated from Memory Metal Alloy while the front and rear spoilers double as suspension blades which are able to control stiffness and ride height.

Yes, the MMR25 will have nine motors in each wheel, one to spin the main structure and eight more to control smaller embedded wheels for traction while deftly maneuvering along the highway, maybe even driving sideways. Special "oblique aerodynamics" mean that the sideways driving won't be penalized by wind resistance, either.

"The MMR25 drives sideways into a corner and points the nose of the car outwards before even reaching the apex of the curve while driving sideways or backwards."

The MMR25 also uses special Oblique Aerodynamics to give the vehicle aero advantages.

There's no glass: It's too damn heavy, and you won't need it, what with visual information coming in via a crazy camera array that feeds a 360-degree panoramic screen that surrounds your "pod."A driver sits inside a windowless pod just below the center wing. The center wing spoiler is located directly over the cabin, which rises and lowers as the vehicle moves sideways. This pod is surrounded by a seamless, 360-degree panoramic screen displaying images from outside cameras. Removing the heavy glass windows significantly reduces vehicle weight and enables the driver to see changing environmental and track conditions throughout the day. Special Memory Metal Alloy is used in fabricating the sophisticated front and rear spoilers, which also act as suspension blades.

It's plenty power efficient, too, getting 1,000 miles per charge out of lightweight composite-nano-fiber-jiggied lithium-based batteries. (No word on explodeyness, but presumably that's solved too.)

We're gonna go one step further and guess that the electric charge itself will come from just an hour or two under the hot sun, thanks to efficient solar cells. But ha ha, that would just be ludicrous, right?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Apache RTR With Racing Kit

This is for the first time that a bike manufacturer in India, is providing performance upgrade kits to its customers. Yes, TVS is doing just right that. According to this report, the company shall be offering kits to allow customers to modify their bikes, rather than getting it done in grey market and loosing their warranty.

The move is to re-strengthen their position in the 150/160 segment along with the laucnch of their new Apache RTR 160.

“This is the second level of customisation that we are looking at, allowing customers to enhance bikes. This programme will roll out first in 10-12 cities across the country, when we will begin selling such kits,” TVS Motor Company senior vice-president (sales and service) R Chandramouli said. He added that approximately 20% of buyers went in for enhancements, which they got done in the grey market, leading to a loss of the manufacturer’s warranty. These kits will be manufactured by TVS Motor, based on the research of its racing team, ensuring the manufacturer’s warranty remains intact.

The Race Performance kit fitted RTRs will be shelling out nearly 19bhp of sheer power to leave u spellbound.The "Race Performce Kit" as TVS likes to call it consists of a Free Flow Exhaust (shown here as Chrome tipped), and some changes in the valves, spark plugs (shown with yellow spark plug cover to differentiate) and the cylinder (according to the TVS guy present there). The modifications will result in an bhp increse from around 15 .2 to18.5 BHP..!!The race performance kit is expected to be out in the market in atleast a couple of months with a price tag of about 10k.

TATA Prima Concept

Tata Motors seems all set to take its next big step ahead in the passenger car segment. Designed by Pininfarina, the Prima looks absolutely fabulous – it definitely wouldn’t look out of place parked next to a Toyota Corolla Altis or Honda Civic.

Prima, the concept luxury sedan is an iteration of the next generation luxury sedan from Tata Motors. It combines the fundamental design characteristics of the Tata brand, as seen in the Tata Indigo, with sporty curvatures to create a coupe-like silhouette, simple yet refined with an inherent premium.

The Tata Prima’s large wheelbase of 2.70 metres endows it with excellent interior space that a luxury sedan demands. The subtle treatment of the C pillar, the hallmark of a Pininfarina design’s gracefulness and sporty characteristic, brings forth a coupe-like sloped cabin and tapering back without compromising interior space.

The result is that the Tata Prima concept exudes an overall elegance, endowed with style, luxury and comfort and proportions that are classical yet modern. Of course, the Prima is only a concept car at this stage and we don’t know when Tata Motors will actually launch a production car based on this concept.

But we’re willing to bet it would be in the not too distant future – perhaps even as early as mid-2010. Fitted with a 1.6 or 1.8-litre petrol engine or a 1.8-litre common-rail diesel, a Prima-based luxury sedan could actually be the car with which Tata Motors can take on competition from Germany and Japan.


With a length of 3.29 metres and width of 1.58 metres, the Tata Nano Europa continues to be stylishly petite but surprises with its spacious interior and generous leg space. The slightly longer wheelbase of 2.28 metres combines excellent space and manoeuvrability, further improving on the benchmark standard set by the Tata Nano. The enhanced spaciousness is complemented by redesigned interiors, marked by smooth curves and a high tech yet gentle feel.

To meet the driving needs of its target customers, the Tata Nano Europa will be powered by a 3-cylinder sporty all-aluminium MPFI engine matched with a 5-speed automatic transmission, and electric power steering. The gasoline engine will be class-leading, providing high fuel efficiency and low CO2 emission of less than 100 gm / km meeting the twin goals of being environmentally friendly and stylish – just like the Tata Nano.

The Tata Nano Europa meets all safety regulations. In addition to the all sheet-metal body, its energy absorbing design, use of advanced restraint systems, ABS, ESP and Air Bags will enhance passenger safety.

Just like the Tata Nano, the Tata Nano Europa incorporates exterior compactness with interior comfort and seeks to provide motorists the pleasure and utility of personal mobility combined with affordability and environment-friendliness, in a world where smaller, fuel-efficient cars are emerging as a preferred choice.

The Bugatti Tiger V14 Edition Especiale Louis Vuitton Bilbo Baggins-Etranger Bvlgari Prete-a-Bourgouise Bouger-A-La-Bordel Veyron

The Geneva Motor Show brought one more reveal late in the Western night. The official name? Well, as you can see above, the latest Bugatti Veyron Special Edition is the most Mustang-like special edition ever.

2011 Opel Ampera

The five-door, four-seat Opel Ampera is influenced by Opel's award-winning design language of sculptural artistry meets German precision, incorporating several styling cues from the innovative Flextreme and GTC Concept show cars.

The Opel Ampera's wheels are turned electrically at all times and speeds. For journeys up to 60 km (MVEG), it runs on electricity stored in the 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery, and emits zero CO2. When the battery's energy is depleted, electricity from an engine-generator extends the Ampera's range to more than 500 km.

The Opel Ampera can be plugged into any household 230v outlet for charging. GM Europe is analyzing the requirements of a recharging infrastructure for plug-in electric cars with energy companies, including Iberdrola of Spain.

Opel Ampera Gets Power and Refinement from Voltec Propulsion System

The revolutionary Opel Ampera will be the first emission-free, electrically driven automobile in Europe suitable for everyday driving. With its Voltec electric propulsion system providing lively acceleration and high levels of refinement, the five-door Opel Ampera seats four passengers in comfort, offers a useful trunk for their luggage, and features an extended range of more than 500 kilometers.

"Driving electrically is not only about ecology," said global vehicle line executive and chief engineer, Frank Weber. "Driving electrically is also great fun. Instantaneous, silent torque of 370 Newton meters under your right foot feels like flying!"

Electricity drives the Opel Ampera's wheels at all times and speeds. For trips up to 60 km (MVEG), power is supplied by the electricity stored in the cutting-edge, 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery.

While driving on electricity delivered by the battery, the Opel Ampera emits zero CO2. When the battery's energy is depleted, a gasoline/E85-fueled engine-generator seamlessly provides electricity to power the electric drive unit while simultaneously sustaining the charge of the battery. This mode of operation extends the range to 500 kilometers, until the battery can be charged by plugging the vehicle's on-board charge system into a standard household 230v outlet.

Opel Ampera gives driver confidence and peace of mind

Unlike a conventional battery-electric vehicle, the Opel Ampera eliminates "range anxiety," giving the confidence and peace of mind that the driver will not be stranded by a depleted battery.

"An advanced lithium-ion battery system is the key to getting the Opel Ampera into the hands of consumers", said Hans Demant, GME's vice president of engineering. "The engineers at our research and development center in Mainz-Kastel, Germany are testing the battery around the clock, 365 days a year to ensure that it meets the expectations of our customers."

The Opel Ampera's battery pack will be manufactured by GM at the first lithium-ion production facility to be operated by a major automaker in the United States. More than 220 lithium-ion cells in the T-shaped pack provide ample power. The nearly silent electric drive unit delivers 370 Nm of instant torque, the equivalent of 150 horsepower, zero to 100 km/h acceleration in around nine seconds, and a top speed of 161 km/h.

The Opel Ampera will be well-suited to the daily driving schedule of most European customers. For example, approximately 80 percent of German drivers travel less than 50 km daily.

Opel estimates that an electrically driven kilometer in the Opel Ampera will cost about one-fifth compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle, at current fuel prices.

Technical Specifications

* Vehicle type: 5-door, front-wheel-drive hatchback
* Category: Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV)
* Chassis: independent McPherson struts front, compound crank twist axle rear, four-wheel disc brakes, full regenerative brakes to maximize energy capture, electric power-assist steering
* Seating capacity: four
* Performance
o Top speed: 161 km/h
o EV range: 60 km (MVEG cycle)
o Total range: >500 km
* Dimensions
o Wheelbase: 2685 mm
o Length: 4404 mm
o Width: 1798 mm
o Height: 1430 mm
o Cargo volume: 301 l
* Battery system
o Type: lithium-ion
o Energy: 16 kWh
* Electric drive unit
o Power: 150 hp (111 kW)
o Torque: 370 Nm
* Exterior
o Tire and wheel size: specially developed low rolling-resistance tires on 17-inch forged aluminum wheels