Archive for the 'News' Category

02
May
10

AK Recap: apps, gullwings, and GT’s

Here’s whats going on over at www.auto-kinesis.com:

SYNC AppLink Debuts on 2011 Ford Fiesta

In Depth: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3

New Hotness: Audi R8 GT

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24
Mar
10

Aston Martin Rapide: at a glance


It’s been known for some time that a few of the more luxurious sports car brands have been mulling around the idea of adding a 4-door sedan to their coupe-heavy lineup, with various degrees of progress. Only whispers of Ferrari’s interest have wafted from Modena, and Lamborghini had constructed the Estoque concept. Porsche was the only company to follow through to actual production, but the Panamera has an official contender with the official announcement of the Aston Martin Rapide.   One of the most eagerly awaited cars of the year at the 63rd Frankfurt Motor Show last September, The Rapide, is touted to be a  functional yet luxurious 4- door sports car that will seat four full bodied adults and still provide the engaging driving experience synonymous with all Aston Martins.

As the marque’s first production four-door sports car, Rapide encapsulates core values of Power, Beauty and Soul; four ‘swan wing’ doors provide access to cosseting sports seats both front and rear bestowing occupants with ample accommodation. A 317 litre (11 cubic ft.) luggage compartment affords generous space for the active lifestyle equipment of four people, creating an Aston Martin which can be enjoyed on any occasion, anytime, anywhere.

Rapide’s rear environment has been desinged to be a place where passengers feel a part of the driving experience, with clear views to the front and sides. Comfort and support is supplied in the form of two hand trimmed individual seats and a personal face-level heating and air conditioning system. Aiding the practicalities of everyday use, the luggage compartment features a movable bulkhead to permit access from the rear cabin while the rear seats fold flat at the touch of a button to create a flat loading space increasing the luggage compartment from 317 litres to 886 litres (31 cubic ft).

The bellowing heart of this Aston Martin is an evocative, hand-built 6.0-litre V12 engine producing 470 bhp (477 PS / 350 kW) with peak power being delivered at 6000 rpm and 600 Nm (443 lbft) peak torque at 5000 rpm. A specifically tuned six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission features as standard, allowing the driver to change gear automatically or manually via the steering column-mounted magnesium paddles.

First shown in 2006 in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show, the Rapide project received an immediate green light from Aston Martin’s new shareholders in mid-2007 following the sale of the marque by the Ford Motor Company. In a little over two years, Aston Martin’s design and engineering team have delivered a new car from the ground up. Rapide has been developed from the ‘V/H Architecture’ platform which already forms the backbone to Aston Martin’s critically acclaimed line-up: the DBS, DB9 and Vantage.

Chief Executive, Dr. Ulrich Bez said: “Rapide is the culmination of the Aston Martin range of sports cars, a car that seals the revival of a truly admired marque. There is now an Aston Martin for every taste and for every use.

“With Rapide, the entire family can enjoy their Aston Martin together in unison, in an invigorating yet comfortable environment, sitting low, with plenty of visibility from every seat and with new levels of comfort, refinement and entertainment.”

Director of Design, Marek Reichman who led the in-house design team which penned the Rapide said: “Like a race horse standing still, you can see its power and elegance, the shape of Rapide’s rear haunches are muscular conveying the power that lies beneath while its low stance produces a powerful look.

“There is a real sense of proportion with this car, akin to a tailored suit; the new double grill gives more presence on the road while the iconic signature side strake has been lengthened through to the rear doors to enhance its lateral proportions in a subtle, yet elegant way. The car’s purity makes it look right from every angle.”

Customer deliveries will commence at the beginning of the second quarter of 2010.

-Alex K-

17
Feb
10

2011 Lotus Elise: pics and specs

Lotus (which we really should talk more about here) has bestowed upon us news on the 2011 Elise, the latest version of the consummate roadster from the Norfolk gents. The bog standard model will feature a 1.6 liter Toyota engine that puts out roughly 134 HP, while the top of the range, the Elise SC, will sport a 1.8 supercharged engine that produces 217 HP.  That gives the SC a 0-60 of 4.3 secs, with a top speed of 145 mph.

The key to the performance and efficiency of the new Toyota engine is the Valvematic system (a variable valve lift mechanism), which is combined with the dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent). The engine continuously controls intake valve opening/closing timing and the intake valve lift to vary the volume of the intake airflow, giving significant improvements in efficiency and fuel economy. This ensures optimal performance based on the engines operational condition,  helping the Elise achieve both high fuel efficiency and high performance.

Max power output is achieved at near 6800 rpm and maximum torque (a respectable 160 Nm, 118 lb.ft) is reached at 4400 rpm. This makes for a good combination of mid range pull but also encourages the driver to rev the engine to the redline of 7000 rpm . Like all Elise sportscars, there are three shift up lights, on the binnacle cumulatively lighting when the driver is getting closer to the rev limiter. When all three light up, they’ll flash, signaling the ideal upshift moment.

If Lotus cars are synonymous with anything, it’s most definitely handling. The entry level Lotus Elise weighs 876 kg, making it one of the lightest fully homologated sportscars in the world. The low weight translates into efficient performance with minimal fuel consumption, and a little horsepower goes a long way. The delicacy and accuracy of the steering, throttle and brakes of the Elise and all of these factors are what contribute the “rides on rails” reputation.

Some key changes to the 2011 models are the body design changes (more on that in a moment), new all in one headlights with LED day running lights and indicators, new cast and forged wheels, and an extended warranty.

The body changes not only update the Elise to match the Evora’s style, but also reduce the drag coefficient by 4%, improving speed and fuel economy. It may not seem like much, but a little goes a long way in racing.  What I can’t shake is that, yes, the Elise’s new look has been evolved from Evora design, but I can’t help thinking that the front end looks more closely related to a different sports car…

I dunno, I could be alone in thinking this. If you agree that the new Elise is the milkman’s kid, drop me a comment. And if you think I’m way off, do the same, I’m eager to see what your thoughts are.

-Alex K-

28
Dec
09

Mustang Madness! 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 and BOSS 302R

You may have heard rumblings about Ford’s engineers in Dearborn tinkering away at something special, but now we can say without a doubt: the 5.0 is back. In 2011, the Mustang GT will be powered by an all new 5.0 liter V8 that will deliver 412 horsepower and 390 ft-lbs of torque. The naturally aspirated feat owes much of its efficiency to the 4-valve Twin independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT), producing a substantial amount of power while still upping the fuel economy to 25 miles per gallon.

This double-overhead-camshaft configuration employs two camshafts per cylinder bank – one camshaft to operate the intake valves and one camshaft to operate the exhaust valves. Ti-VCT rotates the camshafts to advance or retard the cam timing, based on several measures including throttle opening. An element unique to the Mustang GT 5.0-liter V8 is that Ti-VCT is actuated by camshaft torque, with assistance from pressurized oil. Using camshaft torque energy should provide faster throttle response and maximize use of existing energy, aiding fuel economy.

An additional element is the increased capacity and baffling of the deep-sump stamped steel oil pan to enable sustained high-rpm use and keep the oil change interval at 10,000-miles. Piston-cooling jets also were incorporated for performance-minded customers and for faster oil warm-up on cold start.

Specially designed tubular exhaust headers were developed to maximize exhaust pulse separation and improve flow. This was a response to customers immediately swapping the headers out for 3rd party replacements for an easy performance boost, so the engineering team sought to make them the best from the get-go.

To manage all the new grunt and help along the miles per gallon, the Mustang GT will gain a new 6 speed transmission. With the automatic, the estimated miles per gallon is 25 highway and 17 in the city. The manual will match the current estimated 24 mpg highway and 16 mpg city numbers, but getting an extra 112 horses with no compromise is very much getting your cake and eating it too.

Driving dynamics have been sharpened up as well, as Stabilizer bar diameters, spring rates and dampers all have been tuned for improved dynamics, and a Brembo brake package will be finally available, something that Mustang enthusiasts have been itching for. The package will include the 14-inch vented front discs from the GT500, 19-inch alloy wheels and summer performance tires. Hopefully I can get Ford to slap a pair on this guy.

The look of the Mustang GT won’t change dramatically from the recent refresh, but 2011 GT’s will proudly sport 5.0 fender badges, as well as a host of new colors such as Yellow Blaze Tri-Coat, Race Red and Ingot Silver.

Inside, the driver will notice the speedometer increased to 160 mph, and the tach redline is upped from 6,500 to 7,000 rpm.

Those who may feel left out of the V8 party shouldn’t fret, as with these developments, the 2011 Mustang V6 will have its horsepower increased to 300, matching the current V8.   and if that weren’t enough, there’s more:

Hot on the tail of the news of the 2011 5.0 Mustang GT is the announcement that Ford Racing is returning the road racing legend back to the track.

Dubbed the BOSS 302R, this factory-built race car is set to go fro Grand-Am, SCCA, and NASA classes.  “From Shelbys to Bullitt, Mach and Cobra Jet, it is now time for BOSS to join the list of America’s most coveted Mustangs’ says Jamie Allison, director of For North America Motorsports.  The BOSS 302R will come equipped with the new 5.0 –liter 4-valve engine like the 2011 GT, a 6-speed manual transmission, roll cage, race seats, harness, data acquisition, and race dampers/springs, plus a Brembo brake and tire package. I had a brief chance to hop inside one, and I’m so very much looking forward to sitting in one on the move.

A Grand-Am Homologation Package (M-FR500-BOSS R1) will also be ready to compete in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Daytona on January 29th, 2010, where five BOSS 302R’s will be delivered for the opening race.  These will feature a sealed high-output race engine with an upgraded cooling system, a close-ratio six-speed transmission with integral shifter, a seam-welded body, race suspension/KONI dampers and ABS brake tuning, race performance exhaust and a high-speed balance one-piece driveshaft.

The BOSS 302R will be replacing the highly successful Mustang FR500C (this one)that has won three Triple Crown championships in five years in KONI competition, and has also seen success in FIA GT4, winning the driver’s championships in ‘07 and ‘08.

“Racing has long served as a technical proving ground for production engines,” continues Allison, who echoes the belief of many that great road cars stem from excellent race cars.  The great part is, you don’t have to be left out of the action: the BOSS 302R is available through any Ford dealer. While obviously not street legal, anyone can walk in, go straight to the Ford Racing performance parts counter, and place an order for their track day or SCCA races. The base package starts around $79,000, while the Grand-Am packages will start at about $129,000. It’s best to get a move on, however, as only 50 will be built this year, so if you have the means and the proper forum for make this car shine, now is the time to get a hold of one.

Read this post and more over at Autosavant.

-Alex K-

01
Dec
09

2011 Audi A8: News and Pics

We’re at the tail end of ’09 and already Audi has planted the seeds of excitement for 2011 with the reveal of the new Audi A8. While not all of us can take trips to Miami for the big reveal, we still have some details and pics for your enjoyment here.

The 4th Generation of the A8 looks to continue the trend of sophistication and engineering that Audi has come to be known by, judging by the looks of the aluminum body built with the Audi Space Frame architecture, that maintains modern strength and safety demands while still being light for the sake of sporty agility and fuel efficiency. Official numbers on this are scarce as of yet, but the 2011 A8 is expected to weigh as much as the current gen model (3,682 lbs), despite being a few inches wider and longer.

Under the hood is a 4.2 FSI V8 that produces 372 hp, a 22 hp increase as well as 328 ft-lbs of torque. Fuel efficiency has been increased by 15% due to thermal management and kinetic energy recuperation systems. This promises a 0-62 time of 5.7 secionds and is electronically limited to 155 mph.

The transmission is an 8 speed tiptronic shift-by-wire setup with a dynamic shift program (DSP) that handles it all in cruise and sport mode. an interesting note is that the DSP communicates with Audi’s MMI navigation system, and if route data is supplied, it will incorporate this data as you speed along, intended to avoid unnecessary gear changes.

AWD is of course standard as the A8 sports Audi’s current quattro AWD system that features the 40/60 torque split with rear wheel bias. The sport differential is an option as well if you plan to truly give the A8 the business, as well as dynamic steering. This all sits on an adaptive air suspension with adaptive damping to give the optimum ride comfort and smoothness depending on the situation.

On the inside is the quality styling we expect from Audi, with an emphasis on giving the interior a more spacious feeling than its predecessor. The latest MMI navigation and console will be incorporated, which displeased me in the R8, but came to appreciate with more current incarnations. A prevailing design element is the “wrap-around” curve that forms “an elegant belt line as on a yacht” and that the instrument panel is “neat and tidy” and “shaped like a gentle wave,” descriptions which I can conjure James May in my mind saying aloud and then following with “I don’t know what all that means, but I quite like it.” In any case, the interior is to be just as stylish and comfortable as current models, if not better.

Expect pricing details to effervesce nearer to the fall of 2010 when they will begin to appear in dealers in the U.S., but have in mind that it will be one of its factors in competing with cars like the Mercedes-benz S Class and Jaguar XJ. As always, of the utmost importance is the experience behind the wheel, and if Audi’s latest offerings are anything to go by, the 2011 Audi A8 should be one hack of a ride.

 

-Alex K-

14
Jul
09

Tesla NYC & Roadster Sport

IMG_4992

Amongst the Chelsea art galleries in NYC, you’ll find Tesla Motors’ latest showroom and New York presence. You may be thinking that a car dealership would be a garish addition to such a charming district, but you needn’t worry. Tesla, mindful of the fact that building structures willy-nilly is slightly antithetical to their whole environmentally-responsible nature, has integrated itself comfortably within the neighborhood.

The facility itself is nothing wild, just a simple space with a couple of floor models, places to sit, have coffee, and pick options for your soon-to-be ride. When asked if they plan to make good on the statement at the Model S reveal that the dealership would facilitate a functioning art gallery, a representative stated that they will indeed do so, but slowly progress into it. Oh, and expect the works to have an automotive slant. The rep I spoke to also conveyed a desire to have projectors broadcasting images from other Tesla facilities, so say the California location has an event, they can share the festivities across the globe. Also significant is that this location broadens Tesla’s service network on the east coast, having a place to bring your Roaster in to for any issues, and making more service techs available for house calls.

IMG_4955

Also available was the opportunity to grab a first drive in the Roaster Sport, the 2010 Roadster with upgraded specs for your electric-sliding pleasure ( I went there).  Differences in this model are several little tweaks that make for a substantial improvement overall. Ergonomics in the 2010 models in general have been altered, such as moving the touch screen from the far left, near the driver side door, to the center, beneath the radio console. Gone is the vestigial gear-shift which has been replaced with push-button inputs that light up to inform you what “gear” the car is in. A removable hard-top is now available apart from the standard soft-top. The interior is imbued with stitching to match one of the varieties of color options available for the Roadster. Bluetooth connection is now available, and new sound dampers are in test that will make it usable with reducing the cabin noise.

IMG_4982

Among the many new options, the Roadster Sport features a customizable suspension (mechanically, not on the fly) and an upgraded motor, upping the Roadster’s 0-60 speed from 3.9 to 3.7. not a drastic change, but improvement nonetheless. That’s also frighteningly close to Ferrari F430 territory, by the way, and that’s with perfect gear shifts. There’s also optional carbon fiber accents that do wonders to make the already sporty Roadster look more menacing. Yes, a menacing EV car. you heard it here first. The lack of power steering is still apparent, and the tiny steering wheel doesn’t help matters, but this is all minutia when you’re punching it down Manhattan roadways in a blur, stopping only for lights and inquisitive motorists. While it may be hard to notice the slight improvement in motor output, with the many colors, options and upgrades to the Roadster, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Tesla’s flagship model is shaping up to be a definite winner.

-Alex K-

Check out this review and many others at Autosavant.com

For more information, visit teslamotors.com, or visit the new site yourself at 551 w25th st. New York, NY 10011

11
Jun
09

AutoKinesis is 2!!!

autokinesis collage copy

A year ago, there wasn’t even an AutoKinesis, it was just a blog that didn’t want to be called “blog,” a journal of all the things I had happen to me, which all changed thanks to some delectable apple pie.

What was once a silly blog with a silly name, then became something slightly serious, has become a chronicle of adventures and stories, a photo gallery of gorgeous cars, a forum of news and discussion, and more to the point, my own little slice of the internet that I get to hang out at and talk to you about cars.  Here’s a quick look back at all the things we got to share:

Whoo. I got tired typing that.

Many thanks to the people who make this blog happen, like Melissa for her editing (even if it’s just to point out misplaced caps and so forth) , and Victor for his photos (and both of them for being my partners in crime). Thanks for the commenters who give this blog life with their opinions, and most of all, a very sincere thank you all for reading. I am excitedly looking forward to what year 3 will bring, and I hope you all are as well.

Thanks Again!!!!

-Alex K-




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