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DRIVING YOUR DECISIONS

AN GOSSIP ON CARS @AUTOBLOID

COOLER C

The new coupé takes the C Class up a notch

PRESENTATION

SEP 2011 ISSUE 5 A FREE MID-MONTHLY

BEAST OF BAJA

FORWARD THINKING Mark Tomlinson talks about Mitsubishi’s future

GONE WITH THE WIND

The Huayra is the most advanced car Pagani has ever produced

We drive Ford’s latest off-road reptile


DASHBOARD Editor-in-chief Hatim al Taie Managing Director Abdullah al Taie General Manager Rathish Ramachandran Asst. General Manager Terry Mathukutty Asst. Content Head Malcolm X Crasta Senior Designer Shyniben Koyakkil Designer Muneeb Khan Photographer B G Hemanth Sales Mary Gonzales Sami Dalwai

Leticia Meneses

Produced by

deenar press and publishing LLC

a presentation of

Correspondence can be addressed to AUTOBLOID PO Box 139, PC 102, Al Qurm, Sultanate of Oman Tel: +968 24696868, Fax: +968 24693569 Email: info@autobloid.com

Going nuclear E

veryone knows that the world’s oil reserves won’t last forever. Most major companies and research institutions are already pumping in millions of dollars into various fields of research trying to find a worthy replacement. When it comes to automobiles, we are definitely not short on options. Solar power, battery operated electric power, bio fuels and even the current hybrids are feasible. However putting them into daily practice is far harder than most people realise. Either the necessary infrastructure is hard to put into place or the technology is just not efficient enough in its current state. However there is another alternative that not many people are aware of – Nuclear power. The fuel in question is Thorium, a mildly radioactive silvery-white metal with an atomic weight of just 90. And best of all, it is found in large quantities in India. According to researchers the thorium can be lased

and the resulting heat can flash a fluid to create pressurised steam inside a closedloop system. The steam could then drive a turbine that turns an electric generator. A unit producing the equivalent of about 335hp and weighing about 225kg would be small and light enough to put under the hood of a car. And just eight grammes of thorium in the unit could power an average car for 5,000 hours, or about 482,800km of normal driving and just a thin sheet of aluminium would be enough to shield us from the radiation. In case you feel this seems too good to be true, keep in mind that Cadillac introduced a thorium-powered concept car at the Chicago Auto Show in 2009 which should be enough to prove its credibility. A prototype is being worked on and if all goes well we may actually see a working model soon enough. So the future for performance cars may not be as bleak as it seems right now.

printed at Oman Printers and Stationers September 2011 Print Run: 10,000

© All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form in whole or in part without the written permission of the publishers; while every care has been taken in the preparation of this magazine, the publishers cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information here in, or any consequences arising from it. All figures and values used in the tests are the sole property of AUTOBLOID and shall not be used, copied or quoted without permission.

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NEWS Inspiring confidence The FIA World Motor Sports Council voted yesterday to approve shifting Bahrain’s 2012 Grand Prix from its originally scheduled date in October to earlier in the year. Under the current schedule, the race will be held April 22, a sign of confidence in the country’s improving stability and its ability to host the top tier race. CEO of the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) Sheikh Salman

bin Isa Al Khalifa welcomed the decision and confirmed that the country and the BIC will be prepared for the date shift. Sheikh Salman also thanked the government and the Bahraini people for their efforts in getting the country’s Grand Prix race back on the schedule. The updated Grand Prix calendar swapped Bahrain’s race with the Indian Grand Prix, which will now be held October 28.

Better driveability Joining the fleet International Heavy Equipment (IHE), part of the Zubair Automotive Group, has sold a number of new Volvo buses to Al Sumri Transport who is the leading transportation contractor in Oman to PDO, Oil and Gas Companies and tourism market in Oman. The new buses bring to 12 the number of Volvo B9R Marcopolo Luxury Coaches that the company has in its fleet since 2008 with all of them conforming to the strict international safety standards set by PDO for the transportation of their staff across Oman. IHE General Manager Ram Mohan handed over the keys of the four new buses to the Chairman of Al Sumri Transport, Salim Mohammed Al Harthy at the company’s premises in Seeb.

Breaking records On September 2, a standard Koenigsegg Agera R took several new production car world records at the Koenigsegg proving ground in Ängelholm, Sweden. All data was measured and collected by a third party with the officially accepted Racelogic VBox performance recorder. The Records truly show the Agera Rs phenomenal stability, acceleration and braking performance - and that presently its performance is in a league of its own. All results will be submitted to the Guinness Book of Records.

September 2011

The numbers are as follows: 0-300 kmph = 14.53 sec 0-200 mph = 17.68 sec 300-0 kmph = 6.66 sec 200-0 mph = 7.28 sec 0-300-0 kmph = 21.19 sec 0-200-0 mph = 24.96 sec

Amongst racing customers all over the world, the Porsche 911 GT3 R is extremely popular for its forgiving handling and basic speed. And it is exactly in this direction that the improvements for the 2012 model year have been targeted. The engine output has increased by 20 hp to now deliver 500 hp (368 kW). Paddle-shifts on the steering wheel ensure gear changes are even quicker and simpler, making it easier for pilots to concentrate on braking. Moreover, the transmission electronics, featuring an automatic throttle blip control, make it almost impossible to miss a gear and over-rev the engine. A softer anti-roll bar on the front axle reduces understeer. The new Porsche 911 GT3 R will be delivered to teams around the world from November 2011. The vehicle costs EUR304,500 (~RO164,826) plus the value added tax of respective countries. The Porsche 911 GT3 R from the 2010 and 2011 model years can be upgraded to the 2012-spec. An upgrade kit is available from Porsche Motorsport for EUR43,100 (~RO.23,330).

Hand-crafted

Graduates from Bentley Motors are staging an auction of unique collector’s items handcrafted in Crewe to raise money for The Prince’s Trust. Craftsmen and women from the Tooling, Woodshop and Styling teams at Bentley Motors have turned their creative energy into crafting a range of one-off collector’s items that will be put to auction to raise funds for The Prince’s Trust. The items range from display pieces such as a chess-set with pieces tooled from aluminium set on a beautifully veneered board, to a table created from a polished V8 engine from the Bentley Mulsanne and a cutlery-set commissioned by Robert Welch and engraved with the Bentley emblem. Around twenty different pieces have been commissioned. All of them, apart from the Robert Welch cutlery set, have been designed and created on-site at the Bentley factory in Crewe, showcasing the outstanding craftsmanship and attention to detail that typifies Bentley Motors. The auction will be hosted online at www.bentleybespokeauction.com with bidding opening from September 1 until October 10.


LETTERS

If you have any queries, mail us on info@autobloid.com, and we will try to answer them in the next issue.

Hi Autobloid Team, I have been having a problem with my car lately. The ABS warning light operates as normal when the ignition is turned on, but occasionally it comes on again as I’m driving along. Sometimes it just flickers on and off, but on one occasion it stayed on so I stopped the car and switched it off. On restarting everything operated as it should and all warning lights were normal. Any help would be appreciated. –Rahim Qazi Dear Rahim, Under normal operation the ABS warning lamp should initially light up when the ignition is switched on and the on-board computer carries out a self-check of the system. When driving along the computer continually monitors the operation of the ABS and if a defect is identified the system is shut down. In these circumstances the braking reverts to basic non-ABS manual operation. This is when the warning on your dashboard lights up. Unfortunately in your case the fault seems to be intermittent, making it difficult to trace. You should take the car to the dealer right away to check what is causing the fault. -Ed

Hi I needed some advice on a problem I have been having with my SUV. It is equipped with adjustable air suspensions and while I can set the ride height without any problems the left rear suspension is lower by two centimetres than the right rear side. What could be the problem and do I need to take it to the dealer? By the way, great job with the magazine. Keep up the good work. Thanks, –Deepak Mohan Dear Deepak, The problem is most probably a leak in the strut. If this is the case you will have little choice other than replacing the strut itself. Either way, do take it to the dealership to get their opinion on the matter.

Hello, I have been reading your magazine since the first issue and like it a lot. I just had a quick question for you guys. Is it eco-friendly, and hence more fuel efficient, to use cruise control on a motorway? Thanks in advance, –Moosa al Lawati

Dear Moosa, In the right circumstances, cruise control definitely will boost your fuel economy. This is because the more you maintain a constant pace the better your fuel economy. As such, on motorways it is more effective to use cruise control to maintain a constant speed which can be difficult due to your foot allowing the speed to vary slightly.

However there are some exceptions you should be aware of. On steep uphill gradients cruise control tends to cause wider throttle openings to maintain speed, and it may cause an unnecessarily downward gear change; conversely, on downward slopes, it may brake to slow the car to maintain the selected speed thus losing momentum. By not using cruise control in the aforementioned circumstances, you can maintain a steady pressure on the throttle giving a slight decrease in speed uphill which can then be offset by picking up speed on the downhill gradient. That said and irregularities not considered cruise control will probably improve your fuel economy by about five per cent. -Ed

-Ed

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JAWDROPPERS

Did you know? The Huayra name comes from Huayra Tata, the god of wind, from the legends of the Aymara

GONE WITH THE WIND The Pagani Huayra is a technical and performance marvel that supersedes the almighty Zonda in every conceivable way

The new central monocoque on the Huayra is an entirely new design made

from carbontitanium. However, with the gull wing doors cutting deep into the roof, much research was focused on achieving the highest levels of rigidity through the application of new advanced composite materials and technologies first tested on the Zonda R. The fuel tank is located integrally in the best protected area of the monocoque, behind the driver, reinforced by safety cell made of different composite and ballistic materials. The front and rear CrMo subframes offer an exceptional rigidity-to-weight ratio allowing the suspensions to work at their best while incorporating an advanced energy absorbing crash structure. The never ending quest for weight reduction has resulted in the vehicle weighing 1,350kg, making the Huayra the lightest sportscar in its class. Mercedes-AMG provides the heart for the Huayra. The 60-degree 12-cylinder turbocharged engine with a displacement of 5,980cm3 when

fully unleashed produces 700hp and 1,000Nm of torque. The turbos have been studied to offer immediate response to the slightest throttle input, giving the driver full control over the engine at any rpm and preventing unwanted delays in the delivery of power. Dry sump lubrication ensures an optimal oil feed to the engine even when the car is subjected to the most extreme lateral accelerations. The power and prodigious torque generated by the V12 are transferred to the wheels through a transverse sequential seven-speed gearbox and a dual plate clutch. The complete gearbox weighs only 96kg. Keeping the weight of the rear overhang as low as possible has been a priority as we aim for neutral handing at the limit. A further benefit of this layout is a better behaviour of the car during a rear impact. A dual clutch system was evaluated but ultimately not selected as it would have increased the weight by approximately 70kg, thus negating any minor improvement in shift-time. To ensure all the efforts are not lost when covering the power into active grip, Pirelli has developed the bespoke P Zero tyres, specifically for the Huayra. The aerodynamic concept of the Huayra is that of a wing. The vehicle can modify the properties of this wing by varying the front ride height, which can be adjusted dynamically, and by adjusting the four control flaps on each of the four corners of the car. The goal is to have neutral vehicle behaviour under all conditions and control body roll via aerodynamic means. The behaviour of the flaps is managed

September 2011

by a dedicated control unit that is fed information from the ABS and ECU, which pass information about the car’s speed, yaw rate, lateral acceleration, steering angle and throttle position. The system improves aerodynamic efficiency in a variety of driving conditions, where a low drag coefficient is not the determining factor. During braking, for example, the rear flaps and the front suspension are raised to counteract the weight transfer and balance the weight distribution between front and rear axles, allowing a better use of the rear brake force.

Pagani Huayra

W

ind, while gentle and refined, has the strength to erode even the toughest of materials, giving birth to distinctive shapes known in nature. Using this as an inspiration, the styling of the Pagani Huayra was perfected over the course of five years to find each line’s beginning and end. During this study, eight scale models were created, as well as two 1:1 models, each an evolution of the previous in a never ending quest to perfect the form and refine the substance. The bi-xenon headlamps are just one of the many precious gifts from the Zonda R, and LED daytime running lights are integrated in the elliptical shape ofthe design. The rear bumper integrates with the diffuser and is dominated by an elliptical frame that surrounds the four central exhaust outlets, now becoming a characteristic Pagani element.

SPECS Engine: 6.0l Mercedes-AMG M158 V12 twin-Turbo Power: 700hp Torque: 1,000Nm Gearbox: Transverse sequential sevenspeed gearbox Dimensions(lxbxh): 4,605x2,356x1,169mm Dry weight: 1,350kg

As soon as the doors are closed the Huayra transports the occupants to a new dimension; a world that pleases and surprises the senses. Having everything at arm’s length is not close enough for a vehicle with the capabilities of the Huayra. Consequently, the driver will find all primary functions directly on the steering wheel. The gearshift paddles are mounted directly to the steering wheel so the driver never needs to take his hands off the steering wheel. The seats provide both the comfort to make long trips enjoyable as well as the lateral support required when the g-forces build up on extreme driving. And with such prodigious power figures, these are welcome features that will be utilised to their fullest.


LOOKOUT

FRANKFURT MOTOR SHOW PREVIEW The 64th International Motor Show (IAA) will be held in Frankfurt, Germany, from 13 to 25 September 2011. Many companies have already started giving us a taste of what to expect from the show. Here are some of the more interesting revelations so far.

SUZUKI SWIFT SPORT

VOLKSWAGEN UP!

Volkswagen has set itself some key goals to achieve. They wanted to develop a small car with charisma, maximum space on a minimal footprint, the most fuel-efficient engines or an electric drive, intuitive infotainment and operating systems, and the safety of a large car. The result is the new up! It measures a short 3.54 metres and is a specialist for everyday urban living that was thought through to the last detail. This car – like the larger Polo and the even larger Golf – should appeal to people of all ages and mobility wishes.

The new Swift Sport is a refined sport compact resulting from the first full model change since the launch of the original Swift Sport in 2006. It has a more aggressive and dignified exterior look thanks to a low-slung form and a big front grille. Higher power and lower fuel consumption are delivered by the 1.6-litre M16A engine, which Suzuki developed exclusively for the Swift Sport. The engine is mated to a specially developed six-speed manual transmission.

KIA’S SPORTS SEDAN CONCEPT

AUDI URBAN CONCEPT

MERCEDES-BENZ SLS AMG ROADSTER

The Audi urban concept is a 1+1-seat, ultra-light car for congested urban spaces. The technical study does not fit under any of the conventional categories – it combines elements of a racing car, a fun car and an urban car into one radical new concept. It is not based on any previous model – its development is solely oriented on the strict principles of lightweight construction, efficiency and reduction. The result is a concept car with no unnecessary weight, and one that concentrates on the pure essence of sporty motion. And best of all, in addition to a Sportback model, Audi is also presenting a Spyder variant.

Almost every detail, apart from the price, of the SLS AMG Roadster has been revealed for some time now, but the official launch will take place at the IAA. The technological highlights of the car include an aluminium spaceframe body, an AMG 6.3-litre V8 front-mid engine with dry sump lubrication developing a peak output of 563hp and 479 pound-feet of torque, a seven-speed dual clutch transaxle transmission and a sports suspension with aluminium double wishbones. The compact fabric soft top opens and closes in just 11s, and can be operated on the move at speeds up to 31mph.

Not much has been revealed about KIA’s new sport sedan concept, but what has will keep us in anticipation for more. What we know so far is that it will be based on Hyundai’s Genesis saloon platform, will be rear wheel drive and be equipped with a powerful V8. Also, it is absolutely stunning to look at and signals the company’s distinctive new design direction.

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TEST DRIVE

SPORT TANK Ford’s new F150 SVT Raptor gives new meaning to the term ‘Sport Truck’

September 2011

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hen you first see an F150 SVT Raptor, you can feel your hair rising from your skin. We can’t blame you. With some flamboyant, seven-foot-wide bodywork plastered with digital mud, long-travel FOX suspensions, and the feeling of intimidation from the black matte finish of the front grille with a massive ‘F-O-R-D’ spanning from one headlight to the other, the Raptor looks and feels like a road legal tank. The Raptor does not know the difference between road and dirt. Mother Nature is just in its way. It’s got the muscle and the power. And it’s tough. You don’t take a Raptor to work, you take it to war.


Ford F150 SVT Raptor

Obstacles

While tank-tracks are not standard, FOX Racing Shox and BFGoodrich all-terrain wheels are. With about 12 inches of usable airspace in the rear and 11 inches in the front, you can be assured the Raptor can climb or drive through any obstacles. Ford has even made the Raptor about seven inches wider than the original F150 to help its off-road capability. The only thing worse than hearing a vehicle crack against a rock is hearing it drive off of one. Luckily, Ford has included massive skid plates that protect the Raptor’s underbody. The suspension may feel soft on tarmac, but that’s exactly what you’d need to crawl over obstacles.

Engine and transmission

The SVT Raptor comes with a 6.2-litre V8, which produces about 400hp and 400lbs of torque. Take a few moments to listen to the engine rumble to life. Rev it. Repeat. The engine is backed up by an electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission. The transmission automatically adapts to off-road conditions when ‘off-road mode’ is engaged. The inclusion of ‘Hill Descent Control’ allows the driver to utilise an ultra-slow pace while going down steep grades without using brakes.

The look

On the road, the Raptor is certainly noticeable. There are cool details like functional heat extractors on the hood and fenders, beefy black bumpers, and LED marker lights in the grille and on the flared wheel arches – a distinct marker for your ‘obstacles’ on an open road. While we tested out a white vehicle, available colours include orange, black and blue.

Interior

The cabin is quiet and comfortable enough. The seats are unique and comfy up front. But the rear ones are a bit small for tall adults, though capable of holding three. The Sony stereo was excellent coupled with a screen in the dashboard that gave us options for satellite radio and in-dash cd-changers. Due to its high tailgate, Sony navigation package includes a backup camera which aids in backing up the truck in tight spaces. Ford also included an auxiliary switchboard across the centre console to easily connect any after-market accessories. Some roof lights and a winch might be useful. Now getting into the vehicle is a feat of its own as it requires a little adjusting. Because of its height, you would have to grab the steering wheel and hoist yourself up. But from up there, you can almost feel the action hero transformation take place inside your body.

SPECS Engine: 6.2l, V8 Power: 411hp@5,500rpm Torque: 434lb-ft@4,500rpm Available features: FOX Racing Shox, Electronic six-speed automatic transmission, 4.2-inch LCD in cluster, Sony Audio System, Removable tailgate ENCAP: not tested Base Price (may vary): RO20,000 RO23,000 Highs: Decent on the road, almost untouchable off it Lows: A bit too big for tight city roads Verdict: Thoroughbred off-road monster

The drive

The drive was smooth. The FOX Shox kept a floating feel over every road imperfection. It gets tippy while taking hard corners or roundabouts at speeds above normal. But that’s normal keeping in mind the suspension is built to accommodate nearly a foot up front and over a foot in the rear. Since it’s almost as wide as a school bus, driving on narrow streets is tricky and parking is a nightmare. But then again, who would want to park a tank in a regular parking spot? Off-road is where the Raptor came alive. It ate up the landscape like a kid eating ice-cream on a hot day. Dust, dirt, dunes, mud, stones and rocks – none could stand up to the Raptor.

Conclusion

The Raptor is the superhero of modern trucks out there. You don’t drive one, you pilot it. The F150 Raptor gives you the power. With both brain and brawn, it is civilised enough to drive every day. Now who wouldn’t want to own such a beast?

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INTERVIEW

FORWARD THINKING Mark Tomlinson assures that Mitsubishi has some great things in store for us in the near future

M

itsubishi Motors is one of the largest automakers in the world and is definitely one of the most prominent automotive brands in Oman. General Automotive Company, a part of the Zubair Automotive Group, is the sole dealer of the brand here in Oman. And looking after the dealership and ensuring the brand’s prominence is Mark Tomlinson, the general manager of General Automotive Company, Mitsubishi. Mark began his career in the UK and has worked his way up the ladder to hold a number of senior managerial positions, most of which were with prestigious franchises. He has now garnered more than 20 years of experience in the automotive sector, the last three of which have been spent in Oman with the Zubair Automotive Group. Oman is quite a different market from the UK, but Mark was up to the challenge and claimed it to be a very interesting experience. “While a lot of the basic fundamentals of car retail are constant, the Oman market itself is both individually dynamic and unique in its own right,” said Mark. “I don’t think it is directly comparable to the UK or more mature western markets at present, but the speed at which the change in demographic of the population is occurring is already and will continue to create some fantastic opportunities for the automotive sector in the coming years,” he added. There is also a difference in the taste of vehicles. From his past experience in the UK, he has noticed that buyers there tend to lean towards German and prestige brands and aspiration models. While the mentality and approach in the Middle East in general, and certainly Oman, has historically been more towards Japanese brands, given the high returns on technology, quality and reliability. Mitsubishi’s sales figures are definitely proof of this fact. At only the half year point Mitsubishi already has a double-digit percentage increase in retail sales over the previous year and this trend will only increase through

September 2011

Ramadan and towards the end of the year. “As always, sales within the SUV segment has been very strong with the Pajero once again proving to be the public’s preferred choice of 4WD and being supported by the ASX, introduced towards the end of 2010, providing an ideal small SUV alternative for many customers,” said Mark. “Furthermore, 2011 has seen very strong sales from our range of sedans with the Lancer EX and Galant ranges performing particularly well,” he added. Mitsubishi is also well known for their enthusiast-driven Eclipse and

Evolution models. However, there was a recent announcement that the current Evolution X and Eclipse would be the last of their respective models. Thankfully, the former announcement of the Evolution was pulled back and the beloved Evo models will continue to be produced. However, the Eclipse hasn’t fared so well. “The Eclipse finished its final production run this month and at present no replacement has been planned for this sports coupe,” said Mark. That said, considering the vehicle’s niche following, the overall

sales volumes of the brand will not be adversely affected by the removal of the model. However, Mitsubishi does have plans to thoroughly reenergise the brand in the coming three to four years with the introduction of a number of new models. Mark added, “This will include the entrance into new market segments for Mitsubishi in combination with reinforcing the brand’s already strong presence in other segments.” These developments represent significant opportunities for Mitsubishi to grow and herald a bright future for the brand in Oman.


CAR TECH Camping with bricks SIGHTS ON SUCCESS If you are an auto aficionado and a fan of LEGO than this model is a must have. It is LEGO’s interpretation of the famous VW Westfalia camper van and it’s simply amazing. The amount of detail that has gone into this model will leave you speechless. Not only does it manage to mimic the exterior, at least to the best extent of what is possible with bricks, but it also manages to recreate the iconic interior complete with working doors, working pop-top, bed, tables, chairs, a painting, lava lamp and even a modelled engine. The model should go on sale in October.

To mark one year of co-operation, Bentley Motors and Estede have announced that orders for the initial collection of a limited series of solid gold sunglasses are exceeding expectations. The initial styles are available in either 18ct solid gold, silver palladium or platinum. The characteristic Bentley “B” settled in hand-polished enamel coating, as well as carefully engraved surfaces, reflecting the quilted leather design, are some of the unique elements of this first collection. All the frames and sunglasses are made to order, individually numbered and limited to 100 pieces per colour variation. The Bentley Eyewear collection uses special sunglass lenses, which not only offer 100 per cent UV protection but also reflect the latest in lens technology with state of the art lens coatings. Prices start at EUR10,000 for the limited edition 18ct gold sunglasses and at EUR7,700 for other 18ct models in the range. Platinum sunglasses start at EUR31,500.

ELECTRIC MOBILITY The smart ebike is being developed and built in cooperation with the renowned e-bike manufacturer GRACE, based near Berlin. The ebike will be launched in the first half of 2012 and will initially be marketed by dealers in Europe (including the UK) and North America. The main components such as the frame, battery housing, handlebars, lights or mudguards have been designed and developed specifically for smart. The plastic battery housing forms a striking contrast to the aluminium frame of the smart ebike and the dynamic look is rounded off by 26 inch wheels, the headlamp and rear light which features LED technology. A near-series version of the smart ebike will be on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show (13 - 25 September 2011).

BEHIND THE LOGO

Vauxhall

The company was founded by Alexander Wilson in the Dusian Road, Vauxhall, London in 1857. Originally named Alex Wilson and Company, then Vauxhall Iron Works, the company built pumps and marine engines. In 1903, the company built its first car, a five-horsepower model steered using a tiller, with two forward gears and no reverse gear. The griffin emblem, which is still in use, is derived from the coat of arms of Falkes de Breauté, a mercenary soldier

who was granted the Manor of Luton for services to King John in the thirteenth century. By marriage, he also gained the rights to an area near London, south of the Thames. The house he built, Fulk’s Hall, became known in time as Vauxhall. Vauxhall Iron Works adopted this emblem from the coat of arms to emphasise its links to the local area. When Vauxhall Iron Works moved to Luton in 1905, the griffin emblem coincidentally returned to its ancestral home.

The logo used to be square, but is now circular, to enable it to fit in the same recess designed for the circular Opel emblem

Since the 1920s, the griffin has been redesigned and released nine times

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TEST DRIVE

THE COOLER C

The new coupe takes the already impressive C Class to a whole new level

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he C Class is one of Mercedes’ most popular models. This year, Mercedes has added a C Class Coupé to the C Class line-up while improving its styling, powertrain and enhancing many features. The C Class Coupé will be pitched directly against the BMW 3 Series Coupé and the Audi A5. The youthful, sporty two-door car has had a facelift to reflect Mercedes’ latest design language. The new model includes the technology featured on the latest generation C-Class sedans in an impressive Coupé format that combines pure fun at the wheel with great efficiency. Attitude wise, this model is tailored to a customer group between the ages of 25 and 45 who love life, have a strong sense of responsibility and professional success.

Interior wise, the dashboard instrument panel features a strong, sporty and high-quality design. Three tube rings with a galvanised finish portray the car’s sporty credentials to the driver. As standard, the coupé comes with the new generation of three-spoke steering wheel with its chromed central spoke, galvanised touch surfaces of controls and air vents. The control panel of the new generation communication and information unit has silvercoloured keys. The combination of matte keys, high-gloss areas and a new thumbwheel design underlines the high perceived value of the interior. The coupé is strictly a four-seater. Under the hood, the C250 Coupé once again features a four-cylinder engine. The turbocharged inline-4 engine produces

about 201hp coupled with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The engine sounds nice and raspy under heavy throttle. All the engine variants are classed as BlueEFFICIENCY units, showing that they are particularly efficient and environmentally friendly in their use of fuel. The C Class Coupé comes with standard sports suspension. We could switch from standard to sport with a click of a button. Not only does this provide stiffer suspension, but Sport mode also sharpens throttle response and adds some weight to the steering. We were happy to see that the Sport setting made a real difference in the way the car handles. It goes from a slightly vague, light steering car with light body roll to a flat riding and sharp sports coupe that is glued to the road. It was impressive and perfect for some real mountain road driving. Mercedes wants to attract new target groups to the C Class, presumably younger ones. Coupés are always good for that and this C-Class does the job.

Mercedes C250 BlueEFFICIENCY

From the side, the new coupé amazes onlookers with its low, compact proportions, powerful shoulders and a narrow C-pillar in a classic three-box design. Typical coupé features would include a short front nose, a long bonnet, steep windscreen and long stretched roof. The front view is dominated by

a prominent AMG radiator grille. The side air intakes in the bumper features horizontal daytime running lamps and are positioned low to give the coupe a road-hugger appearance.

September 2011

SPECS Engine: 1.8, I4 Power: 201hp@5,500rpm Torque: 229lb-ft@2,000-4,300rpm Available features: THERMATIC automatic climate control, Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system, Adaptive brake light, Coupé seats ENCAP: not tested Price (as tested): RO21,995 Highs: Smart and compact with flexible performance Lows: Rear headroom is a little lacking Verdict: A very likeable coupé that fits its role well


CONCEPT

FLAKEY IDEA This design concept by Da Feng could be the future of aerodynamics

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lot of budding designers put out car concepts online depicting their notion of the perfect car. Some gain the visibility and popularity they seek, while some go even so far as to make one-off concepts or custom projects. Here is one that has garnered significant popularity, both positive and negative, over the past couple of weeks. It is from a designer that goes by the name of Da Feng. Whether you like it or not, there is no denying its ‘shock factor’ and one can’t help but have a second look at what exactly it is. The idea started around mid 2008. While most would think inspiration came from the Transformers movie, it actually came from Pixar Cars. It was the designer’s wish to replicate the way the cars leaned into the corners into a realistic vehicle. The flakes idea came from the designer’s habit of smoking and his interest in forms created by ash; the way in which it is so random and yet all fitted together. The original concept was actually a lot more complicated. It was a mass of flakes that when closed, formed a sleek and elegant shape, but when it wakes up its doors would open up like jaws. Unfortunately, the level of detail was a problem for his modest home computer to handle. So, taking a step back he stripped the design to its basics. Two revisions later he ended up with result you see on these pages – the Flake MK3. Unlike the previous two, the MK3 got new wheels. It utilises a design called D-wheels. These track ground surface and adjust accordingly, making the wheel a part of the suspension system. They can also expand into buggy-type wheels allowing it to go off-road, thus making this a true next generation all terrain vehicle.

The number of flakes has also been reduced from over 400 to exactly 250, making this slightly more manageable to rig and animate. One of the biggest arguments against the car is aerodynamics. When travelling at speed, the car will contract to its closed position to help control airflow, and when under braking or turning the flakes will spring open to dynamically adjust down force. The open flakes will also allow the car to lean into the corner for better handling; meanwhile the inner chassis is designed to channel the airflow around the car. They also dissipate heat from a liquid cooling system around the chassis. To move the flakes, there are hundreds of mini solenoids within the car which pull on carbon nano-tube wires that are strung around the car. The solenoids can also detect how much air pressure is applied on each flake, allowing the on-board computer to dynamically adjust the flakes. As good as it looks now, the project is still unfinished. The designer is currently working on more interior details, a refuelling rig with station, a physical model and animation tweaks. Ironically, the design was never intended to be a practical solution, rather an inspiration for others. The D-wheels track ground surface and adjust accordingly making the wheel a part of the suspension system; they can also expand into buggy-type (topmost image) wheels allowing it to go off-road

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Did you know? In February 1968, the Cobra GT500KR debuted with a 428 cubic-inch Cobra Jet V8 under the hood; ‘KR’ stood for ‘King of the Road’

LEGENDS

1967 Shelby GT 5OO It was back in 1965 when Shelby-tuned versions of Mustangs were first introduced. They soon garnered a reputation for being thundering thoroughbreds ill-suited to everyday driving. They were perceived to be ‘all-race’ versions of the Mustang for the road. But it wasn’t until 1967 that Carroll Shelby rolled out the car that was to be his most famous creation for years to come – the Shelby GT 500. With the introduction of the 1967 models, Shelby GT 350 retained its original 289-cid V8 with its 306hp rating. However, this was also the year that the GT 500 was added to the lineup, equipped with a massive 428cid ‘Police Interceptor’. The 428 ‘which was otherwise reserved for bigger Fords’ were modified with a cast-aluminium mediumrise intake manifold from Ford’s 427, twin 600-cfm Holley four-barrel carburettors, and

other tweaks for a rating of 355hp. During manufacture or through dealers, a handful of 1967 Shelby GT 500s were even equipped with Ford’s near race-ready 427-cid V8. The 1967 GT 500 had a four-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic. The suspension was a fortified version of the Mustang GT’s, with standard front disc brakes. Shelby outfitted the GT 500s with fibreglass body pieces, including an elongated nose, a hood with functional scoops, and four body side intakes. The fibreglass tail had a moulded spoiler and sequential turn-signal lamps borrowed from the Mercury Cougar. Highbeam headlights were mounted in the centre of the grille. Twin “Le Mans” stripes were dealer-applied options for any 1967 Shelby GT 500. The 1967 Shelby GT 500 cost just USD200 more than the GT 350 and outsold its smallblock companion by 875 units.

Procedure for obtaining a driving licence • For light vehicle driving licence an applicant must be a minimum 18 years of age • An applicant must be fit and free from any handicap or disease that hampers his ability to drive. Persons with certain disabilities may be medically examined in order to decide whether they are able to drive or not. A vision test must also be passed. • Application of a licence requires two photographs and a copy of the identity card or passport. Female applicants also require their guardian to come in person with a letter of no-objection addressed to the Director of Licensing. A married lady must produce her marriage certificate or the birth certificate of one of her children. Additionally, non-Omanis will require their sponsor’s non-objection, their blood group, a copy of the labour card and copy of the passport. An unemployed lady must produce copy of her husband’s labour card and a letter from his sponsor confirming that she is in Oman in the company of her husband. The total cost, including the learner’s book, is RO8. • It is advisable to take a minimum of 10 hours practice before giving your test.

September 2011

• Each test costs RO5, and are split up into two parts. The first part contains the road sign test, drum test and slope test. Failure to pass this test will require the payment of RO5 again for a retest. • If passed, you will move on to the second part of the test – the Road Test. Failure to pass will once again require the payment of RO5 for a retest. However, only a road test is required this time. There is no need to redo all tests. • Once the tests are passed, the applicant must return to the place of issue of the learner’s permit and produce his identity card to obtain the licence, the cost of which will total to RO20. *Information courtesy Ayisha Salim Khamis al Hasani, driving instructor


CARtoon Corner>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

DIRECTORY CAR BRANDS

Aston Martin.....................................................24694436 Audi........................................................................24584500 Bentley.................................................................24584500 BMW......................................................................24567108 BYD..........................................................................24523200 Cadillac.................................................................24561788 Chevrolet..............................................................24561788 Chrysler.................................................................24584530 Citroen...................................................................24584500 Daihatsu..............................................................24578000 Dodge...................................................................24584530 Ferrari....................................................................24699060 Ford.........................................................................24578000 GMC........................................................................24591261 Harley Davidson.............................................24489428 Honda...................................................................24560391 Hummer..............................................................24561788 Hyundai...............................................................24561788 Infiniti.....................................................................24560111 Isuzu......................................................................24563287 Jaquar...................................................................24523200 JEEP.........................................................................24584530 Kawasaki............................................................24489428 Kia...........................................................................24578000 Lamborghini......................................................24484700 Land Rover.........................................................24523200 Lexus......................................................................24578000 Lotus.......................................................................24484700 Maserati..............................................................24699060 Maybach.............................................................24562077 Mazda..................................................................24526650 Mercedez............................................................24562077 MG...........................................................................24523200 MINI........................................................................24567108 Mitsubishi...........................................................24584500 Nissan...................................................................24560111 Peugeot................................................................24584500 Porsche.................................................................24492544 Renault.................................................................24560111 Rolls Royce........................................................24567108

Car in shiny armour

This is either an awesome prank or one of the most ingenious replacements for a car cover we have seen in a while. Either way it is simply brilliant.

BUMPER STICKER Hard work never killed anyone. But why take the chance?

AUTOQUiZ

SsangYong.........................................................24561788 Skoda....................................................................24584500 Subaru..................................................................24561788 Suzuki....................................................................24571110 Toyota....................................................................24578000 Volkswagen.......................................................24584500 Volvo......................................................................24523200 Yamaha...............................................................24584500

CAR RENTAL

4X4..........................................................................24798437 Avis..........................................................................24400888 Budget..................................................................24683999 Europcar...............................................................24700190 Elegant..................................................................24571951 Hertz.......................................................................24625200 Mark.......................................................................24562444 Thrifty.....................................................................24489248 Value Plus..........................................................24817964 Zubair Leasing & Rental............. 24500859/844

POLICE STATIONS

Muscat Police Headquarters..................24560021 Al Amerat Police Station............................24875999 Al Azaiba Police Station............................24521099 Al Qurum Police Station............................24560099 Baushar Police Station...............................24600099 Darsait Police Workshop..........................24799492 Muttrah Police Station................................24712211 Nizwa Police Station....................................25425222 Port Sultan Qaboos Police Station.....24711499 Quriyat Police Station..................................24845555 Ruwi Police Station.......................................24701099 Salalah Police Station.................................23290099 Seeb Police Station.......................................24420099 Wattayah Police Station............................24566538

OTHERS

Arabian Automobile Alliance.................24605555 Car Care Centre...............................................24545224 Oman Automobile Association.............24510630 Sayarti Autocare..............................................24500777

#5

Find the ten words hidden within the puzzle and send them to us for a chance to win an attractive prize. The word list on the left will show you all of the words that are hidden on the board. The hidden word can be found in all directions, written from left to right, right to left, horizontally, vertically and diagonally, but is always on one straight line. HUAYRA

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Solution to AUTOQUiZ

#4

N T I E T J I P A A A L K O J N A O X U B Z L K U S C I I W U A D E Q C C E J L F L R R C M C Y L Z R K A T G O I J P Q B Y W C H F N P F N U U R P F A X O K F I J G U A R Z L M R A C T R A J B S E B T M C L A R E N U F F P L V K T Y L M I S P Y A I M E E U Y B P A G X B P V N D N B W D

Fax your entries to 24693569 or email to autoQUIZ@autobloid.com before 5th of October

WIN

Name............................................................................................................. Age.............................Mobile....................................................................... Email.............................................................................................................. Occupation................................................................................................... Company...................................................................................................... Car Owned....................................................................................................

Last issue’s winner

Sameer Hasan Navde gets his Maisto

Employees and their families of AUTOBLOiD / DPP, Zubair Automotive cannot participate in the quiz. Judges’ decision is final. Correspondence after the entry deadline will not be entertained. Please write clearly. Incomplete or illegible entries will be disqualified. Winner must provide valid ID to claim prize. Allow up to two weeks to process. The image shown for the gift is for illustrative purposes only. Actual prize may differ.

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Autobloid Issue 5  

Beast of Baja, September 2011