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DRIVING YOUR DECISIONS

AN

PRESENTATION

FEB 2012 ISSUE 9 A FREE MID-MONTHLY

Gossip on cars @Autobloid

STI-MULATION

The more powerful STI tested inside

HEALTH WARNING

How lazy have we really become? Take a read

ADRENALINE RUSH We ride the coolest 600cc there is

The new Peugeot RCZ: what a hot-hatch becomes when it’s buffed up


DASHBOARD Editor-in-chief Hatim al Taie Managing Director Abdullah al Taie General Manager Rathish Ramachandran Asst. General Manager Terry Mathukutty Asst. Content Head Vinod Chandran Senior Designer Shyniben Koyakkil Photographer B G Hemanth Sales Mary Gonzales Leticia Meneses

Aaron Davidson

Produced by

deenar press and publishing LLC

a supplement of

Thou shall love thy car

T

here was this line that was printed somewhere, which read, “Today, we love things more than we love people.” At first it makes you feel that this unfair world has changed us all into monsters who are so materialistic. We’d have to agree. That’s until one of us goes into the garage where stands your Shelby Cobra 427 in all its blue and white glory. You become all too easily encompassed by its aura and its significance. It seems almost limbic that the flow of sheet metal secured together by rivets and bolts can stir emotions deep in your soul. And as you walk around ‘her’, the light glistens off a corner and she could as well be letting out a grin. “Would you like to take me

out,” she seems to say. Your response could only be an unequivocal “yes.” It then begs the question, if men did not feel this way about their cars, would the world be what it is today? If Wright didn’t ‘love’ the fabric covered exoskeleton of his masterpiece, would we have lived a smaller, closer world with travel distance measured in hours instead of months? What about astronomers’ fascination of the stars and the moon? And we could go on. We suppose that this comes down to just one thing: having a commodity to pursue, to win, to own, after putting up a fight in all fairness and come on top. For some, their ultimate goal would be ‘just a car’. If only it was written as one of the commandments, things would indeed appear righteous!

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

Printed at Oman printers and stationers February 2012 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.

3


NEWS Big One

New Effects The 2012 Infiniti FX, launched recently in Oman by Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA), in the presence of SBA management Ahmed Suhail Bahwan, chairman, Divyendu Kumar, managing director and Atul Dhagat, chief operating officer of Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, with Juergen Schmitz, general manager, Infiniti Middle East. The event was held at the Infiniti IREDI Showroom in Qurm. “SBA is totally committed to Infiniti brand. We are putting a lot of efforts in our sales and service network and manpower quality to ensure customer experience is special at all touch points always. I think a personalised service with the human touch will definitely offer a Total Ownership Experience to our esteemed customers,” said the chairman. The iconic FX design has been given an aggressive new front grille and fascia – featuring a heavy influence from the stunning Infiniti Essence Concept – as well as a new 20-inch wheel design and an updated instrument cluster. “We are continuing with various strategic initiatives for the consistent enhancement of the brand equity of Infiniti,” said Divyendu Kumar. “The Infiniti brand is so loaded with glamour and engineering competence that it truly reflects excellence in performance.” The 2012 Infiniti FX is available with a choice of a 390hp, 5.0-litre 32-valve DOHC V8 engine with VVEL (Variable Valve Event & Lift) or with a 303hp 3.5-litre 24-valve DOHC V6 engine. Both engines are paired with a standard 7-speed automatic, complimented by Continuous Damping Control (CDC) and Rear Active Steer as standard on FX50.

Kia to make noise As part of Kia’s push to attract more buyers, the South Korean brand wants to be known for motorsports success and for building credible performance vehicles. Kia’s big challenge: It has little experience in both areas. “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” was the motto the Big 3 used successfully for decades to sell cars. Performance and racing parts were available to the weekend racer, and powerful models could be bought at the local dealer. Some import brands that followed have used the same approach.

Kuwait: Windshields to be untinted. Really?

We heard over the great wide Web that Francois Bancon, Infiniti of Tokyo head of advanced planning, has recently mentioned the strong possibility of an Inifiniti ‘Supercar’ based on the Nissan GT-R platform. “It’s too good a platform to use only on one model,” Bancon said. The GT-R based model would be a flagship sports car for the luxury brand.

February 2012

Brembo fits the One-77 with its so-called CCM discs and brake calipers. The discs are made from a carbon fibre compound that is impregnated with silicon then baked in a mould at 1,700 degrees Celsius. Brembo says the carbon fibre discs are much tougher than conventional cast iron discs and that they can dissipate heat much more rapidly. The supercar uses Italian supplier Pirelli’s PZero Corsa tyres. Gti of the UK helps keep the One-77’s interior quiet by providing seals for the doors, windshield, rear window, inner and outer waist belt, hood and trunk lid. Aston Martin plans to make just 77 units of the One-77 vehicles at its factory in Gaydon, England.

Now it’s Kia’s turn. “It is a natural progression for a young brand like ours,” said Michael Sprague, Kia’s US marketing boss. “Mazda, Ford, Honda – they have all gotten into motorsports at some point. They recognise that if you compete in motorsports, you win over those true enthusiasts. We wonder how an open-ended Kia exhaust sounds.

GT-R to have sibling?

He also added that they had three or four proposals that they were looking at. Once they launch the 2015 “smaller Infiniti”, the time would be right to have a flagship. It will be at least two years before we know

Italian suppliers Brembo, Pirelli and Oerlikon Graziano have big roles in the new Aston Martin One-77. The 750-hp supercar has a high-performance automated manual transmission that Oerlikon Graziano exclusively designed for the One-77.

Infiniti’s plans for sure, so if the brand does decide to move forward with the project, it would be at least another five years before production. And

yes, if are wondering why we even bothered to print this news – we will tell you next year.

Finally Kuwait police wakes up and decides to fine vehicle owners who tint the windshield – yes the one up front! Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister and Defence Minister, Sheikh Ahmad al Hamoud, issued a decision to amend Article 46 of the traffic law. It stated, as per decisions taken by GCC interior ministers, that shaded glass on all vehicles is now allowed, provided that shading does not exceed 30 per cent of the transparency of all windows. This is except for the window shield in front of the driver, which should be transparent and in accordance with the GCC specification. Al Hashash said the ministry intends to conduct an informative campaign to explain the decision with respect to conditions, specifications and penalties. Violators can be fined KWD15 (RO11 – ugh!) and traffic patrolmen have the right to impound the vehicle.


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TEST DRIVE

CONCEPTUAL

The Peugeot RCZ is easily the most breathtaking thing to come out of France since Bardot

T

here’s little point jumping into the coupé market against competition as strong as the Audi TT or VW Scirocco unless you’ve got a strong product. Peugeot actually has a rather illustrious history in motor racing and hence had offered some very iconic performance cars in the past. Peugeot has won so many WRC and titles that it is actually the fourth most successful brand ever in the top echelon of rallying. Their WRC exploits and success has spawned cars like the 205 T16, a Group B rally car made for the road as well as the iconic 205 GTI and others. For Peugeot, the RCZ

February 2012

coupé is one of the best cars it has produced in recent years. The French firm may still not be regarded as a premium brand by some, but the RCZ certainly looks and feels like a quality car. From a distance its curvy outline resembles that of the TT, but this stylish coupé is based on the 308 Hatchback. The RCZ sports a typical Peugeot ‘face’, with the familiar lion motif on the bonnet. The rest, however, is stunning – from the beautifullyexecuted ‘double bubble’ roof to the pushed-forward cabin, unusual

kinked window line and classy rearend styling. Notable features include the bulbous wheel arches as well as sweptback headlamps up front. At the rear, the tail lights are reminiscent of a Nissan 350Z while an active spoiler that can be operated manually via a button on the centre console is a standard. The roof is inspired by designs from Zagato in the 60s. It features a double bubble design while the roof’s profile is further accentuated by the aluminium arches.

plant. The RCZ delivered a fairly lively performance. Peugeot quotes a zero to 100kmph time of nine seconds and a top speed of 212kmph. The RCZ’s automatic gearbox offers six forward ratios, a far cry from the automatic gearboxes of old which featured only four forward gears. Shifts felt precise and well timed. While the gearbox offers a +/- manual mode, there are no steering-mounted paddle shifters for the driver to impersonate his favourite F1 driver.

The model we tested was a 1.6L THP turbocharged four-pot lump, a cousin of the Mini Cooper S’s power

On the road, the RCZ’s performance felt eager and punchy. The exhaust note is tuned to sound sportier than


in other models and the tailpipes make a purposeful growl when the engine is given some revs. The car’s dynamics certainly felt different from the models like the 308 it is based on. It is surprisingly adept in the corners. Body roll is well contained by the stiff suspension. The RCZ corners with a near neutral stance at moderate speeds thanks to the grip offered by a well set up chassis. We really couldn’t oversteer the RCZ at any cost.

a pair of seats but hardly any adult will feel comfortable in the rear for more than a few minutes as space is at a big premium at the back. Headroom is also scarce despite the double bubble roof design. As the RCZ features a conventional boot lid rather than a hatch at the rear, the load area isn’t exactly very accessible while the floor is rather shallow.

The chassis has been tuned to provide a sporting drive. There’s commendably little roll through corners, at the cost of a firm, though never harsh, ride. The RCZ is a fine effort from Peugeot and those seeking a dramatically-styled coupé with decent performance and looks – and all at a reasonable price – will find it here.

Peu geot RCZ

REALITY

SPECS Engine: 1.6L, Inline-4 Power: 197hp@5,800rpm Torque: 203lb-ft@1,400rpm Top Speed: 233kmph Acceleration: 0-100kmph @ 7.6s ENCAP: Not tested

IMPRESSIONS

Highs: Practical sporty car with space… Lows: … resulting in a fixed roof Verdict: Those who have never got the top off their 308CC buy this one

Inside, the RCZ shares its basic dashboard architecture with the hatch. It is made from soft, high quality plastics and materials. The dash features several noticeable detail changes over the hatchback’s though – the switchgear are all similar but the central air-con vent is replaced by an analogue clock while the main instruments feature a racy carbon fibre look for the dials. The instrument cluster also features a large multifunction screen that displays readings for the trip computer as well as a digital speedometer read out. The rear offers

7


AWARDS

And the winner is…

Strong initial quality of 2009 model-year vehicles — which were produced during one of the most challenging years for the automotive industry — has translated into historically high levels of vehicle dependability in 2012, according to the J D Power

Sub Compact Car

and Associates 2012 US Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). The study, which is based on responses from more than 31,000 original owners of 2009 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership, measures problems experienced during the previous 12 months by those original owners. Overall dependability is determined by the level of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. According to the study, the dependability of three -year-old vehicles has improved by 19 PP100 from the 2011 dependability study, and averages 132 PP100 in 2012. Further, vehicle reliability as measured in the VDS has improved at an average annual rate of eight per cent from 2009. In fact, overall long-term vehicle dependability is the strongest it has ever been, and the gap between initial quality and long-term dependability continues to close.

Compact Sporty Car T O E N ER H

W

hile little has been done in the Mid-East, let alone Oman, our only source of understanding the quality and userexperience of the vehicles we drive still have to come from high-volume countries like the US and Europe from where our vehicles are made.

Here is a look at how your vehicle fared in the 2012 J D Power VDS Awards. You will read below how the 2009 models were measured

Scion tC

1st

Mini Cooper

2nd

Volkswagen GTI

3rd

For more information, visit: http://www.jdpower.com/ autos/articles/2012-Vehicle-Dependability-Study-Results

Scion xD

2nd K IN Z TH AZ J

Honda Fit

February 2012

Chevrolet Equinox

1

Honda CR-V

2nd

Toyota RAV4

3rd

2nd

Toyota Camry

3rd

3rd

Midsize Car

Ford Fusion

Compact Crossover/SUV T O E N ER H

1st T O E N ER H

Toyota Yaris

1st

Mitsubishi Galant

st


Large Car T O E N ER H

Buick Lucerne

1st

2nd

Toyota Avalon

Entry Premium Car

Midsize Crossover/SUV

1st

Acura TL

3rd

Ford Explorer

1st

Nissan Murano

1st

Toyota Highlander

3rd

Midsize Premium Car

1st

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2nd

Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV

Lexus RX 350

T O E N ER H

Hyundai Genesis

TIE

T O E N ER H

Lincoln MKZ

TIE

1st

TIE

TIE

Lexus ES 350

3rd

Ford Taurus

1st d e Think Fordg E

Volvo S80

3rd Lincoln MKX

Midsize Van

2nd

Mercedes-Benz M-Class

1st

ler Think ys ger a Chroy V

T O E N ER H

Toyota Sienna

3rd

Honda Odyssey

2nd

Dodge Grand Caravan

3rd 9


STI-mulated

DRIVING

A lot can be said about owning an automobile that delivers world-beating performance without breaking the bank

K

eeping everything in mind, the Subaru Impreza STI is one stubborn little gas guzzler of a little car there is. It’s a brash, pheromone swilling show off, with a hood scoop ready to inhale pigeons and all that earsplitting braaap from the four exhaust tips. This is a car that acts like an out-ofcontrol teenager and is priced for a wellpaid man in his 30s, albeit a single and slightly nerdy guy who likes a good deal. For all its tackiness, the person who

buys an STI does know everything about it. He’s getting a street-legal racecar, and all the gut wrenching performance of a Porsche 911 for half the price. Using all those scoops and fender bulges, they widen the regular Impreza’s body for improved stability, add downforce at high speeds, channel air to the massive intercooler, and cool the huge brakes. In rally competitions, this makes the STI fit to barrel through narrow mountain

roads against maniacs in similar cars. Launching the Subaru from its lumpy, rumbling idle to a ferocious 7,000rpm whine is a wild time. While heavier than the race car, the street STI actually makes more power. The 2.5L fourcylinder engine – its pistons horizontally opposed, or flat like on the Porsche – makes a screaming 300hp that’s only tapped by tearing the six-speed gearbox to shreds. Of course, that won’t happen. Whatever metal Subaru left out of the doors they packed into the manual transmission, stiff suspension, and beefy all-wheel-drive system. But easy speed is not achievable in any gear. You have got to wind this thing absurd to go fast, as peak power and torque occur close to redline. At most times, the STI feels kind of sluggish. But that’s because the car’s SI-DRIVE system is desperately trying to save fuel by reducing power. That’s the ‘intelligent’ mode. Flip the rotary knob to ‘Sport’ and you’ll get the ride you paid for. Flip it again to ‘Sport Sharp’ and a pack of fire ants run onto the throttle, instantly making the STI frenzied and jumpy when getting on and off the pedal. While not a great

February 2012

Impr eza WRX STI

TEST DRIVE

SPECS Engine: 2.5L, Inline-4 Power: 300hp@6,000rpm Torque: 300lb-ft@4,000rpm Top Speed: 240kmph (limited) Acceleration: 0-100kmph @ 5.0s ENCAP: Not tested

IMPRESSIONS

Highs: Probably the most powerful car in that size Lows: No one cares if it’s a WRX or STi at resale Verdict: If you are not a muscle-car fan, this is by far the most powerful toy you could buy

idea in traffic, on a clear stretch the Subaru is unstoppable. Subaru even lets the driver fiddle with the torque split, with a multitude of settings designed to either push more power to the front or rear. No other car company lets you do that. Overall grip is astounding, the suspension firm yet surprisingly compliant, and the brakes phenomenal. Only drawbacks we found were the shifter’s throws to be a bit long and a little vague. But these aren’t deal breakers by any means. With suede-lined Recaro seats, leatherwrapped steering wheel and classy aluminium pedals added to the mix, the STI is the most approachable and userfriendly all-wheel drive speed demon on the market that wants to be your friend in a million different ways.


CARS CAUSE

Viewpoint

HEART DISEASE

Cars have now become living-room couches on wheels

W

ait, don’t panic just yet. Let’s deduce this claim a step at a time and start with the most obvious question of why the car was invented. One would believe that it was to make long distance commutes much quicker – given that flying was considered ridiculous. It is interesting to note that at the time, using horseless carriages over short distances was considered foolish, as it was much easier to walk to your aunt’s house just a kilometre west and to the community fair further south. Or else you’d have to prime the fuel, set ignition, crank the engine by hand (oh, what a dreadful thought) and listen to the ear-splitting noise from the unmuffled exhaust along with the smell of burnt oil. All this only applied to the wealthy who could afford the early contraptions that transported people without munching fodder or falling sick. As for the rest, only travelling farther than a few kilometres necessitated disturbing Seabiscuit (or a slower horse).

was tiring too. Even a few decades ago you had to use a lot of upper body strength to turn the steering, a good left foot for the heavy clutch and of course a quick right hand for the gear change. Professional drivers back then were quite fit oddly enough. Today, we have yet another statuselevating qualification for the car – a ‘fully automatic’ car. We have power steering so we can use just the fingers, we have the automatic transmission so the left leg can be folded comfortably under your right knee and also frees up your right hand

for sending text messages (possibly to say you are on your way). Then there is the power window that eases the suffering of winding down the glass or the electric seat that tilts and slides without using your body weight. Oh and it’s a pain to take the key out and open the door so we have the remote, and in fact it’s even better that you can start your car even before you get in – which is not unlike a kettle that turns itself on as you get out of bed. Let’s not forget the cruise control that gives your tired right-foot a rest, and the auto-dimming rear-view mirror so you didn’t have to stretch.

We burn less than 80 calories driving a car for a half-hour – the same energy to brush your teeth. We aren’t recommending that you buy the basic, no-frills model. But when was the last time you came up to your BMW and asked yourself if you could walk the distance; or perhaps to take the empty spot on the far side of the City Centre parking lot? We have a lot of miles left in our feet. We can put them to more use, and they get better with the routine unlike the machines. And you know what they say about what a good, 140-calorie, walk does to the heart.

In the time before automobiles, everyone lived on a 100-mile diet – that is, everything that a society needed was produced, distributed and consumed within that radius or less. Of course we had the boats, but that was for spices and live (or half-alive) animals which made the bobbing ocean journey. On a horse-drawn cart, it would have taken you two nights to reach Nizwa. And here we are over 100 years later. We take the car to buy toothpaste from the shop a block away, drive to the park so we can walk, and drive because it’s just boring to sit doing nothing. However, that is just the start of the problem. You see, once driving a car 11


LEGENDS The Ferrari TR, or 250 Testa Rossa, is a race car model built by Ferrari in the 1950s and 60s. These cars dominated their arenas, with variations winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1958, 1960 and 1961. They were closely related to the rest of the Ferrari 250 line, especially the legendary 250 GTO.

Most expensive and valuable Ferrari by far

In all, thirty-four 250 Testa Rossas were built, from 1956 through 1961. The phrase ‘Testa Rossa’ means ‘red head’. The most well known, the 250 TR, was produced from 1957 to 1958; only two factory cars and 19 customer cars were built. After the 250 GTO, the 250 Testa Rossa is the second most valuable Ferrari model, often valued at more than USD8,000,000. A 1957 250 Testa Rossa sold on 20 August 2011 for USD16,400,000, a new world record auction price for a car when inflation is ignored. Named for the red valve covers, the original 250 TR had unorthodox bodywork by Scaglietti.

The front fenders are visually separated from the central ‘nacelle’ body, a design that inspired Formula One racers, with air ducting across the front brakes and out through the open area behind the wheels, this model is often called the ‘Pontoon’ TR. Olivier Gendebien and Phil Hill won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with this car in 1958. The 250 TR’s aerodynamic design was successful in racing but nonetheless controversial: Ferrari began changing the look soon after its production. Other, more conventional bodies were designed by Ferrari stalwarts, Pininfarina and Carrozzeria Touring. The engine had the same displacement as the rest of the 250 series but was tuned to produce far more power. The front styling of the 250 TR61 served as inspiration to the current Ferrari F430 road car.

Off-road safety Here are a few basic off-road safety precautions • Make sure you know your vehicle well; it’s important to recognise your limits and those of your vehicle and not to exceed them • Know how your 4WD system works and how to use the controls • Know where the spare tyre and jack are located and how to use them • Know your vehicle’s dimensions – height, width, length, approach angle, departure angle and ramp angle – so that you can pass through tight areas without damage

February 2012

• Know the lowest point of clearance • Practice using low ratio gearbox • Have emergency supplies at hand • Travel with at least one passenger and at least one other vehicle whenever possible • Make sure the vehicle is in good condition and ready for off-road experience • Always know where you are and where you are going and which route you intend to take


TEST DRIVE Honestly, you wouldn’t have had this much fun on any Supersport motorcycle ever. We hadn’t reach to the bars. Even with three-wayadjustable footrests and new clip-ons angled outward an extra degree, tall or big-footed riders still feel cramped. Average-sized riders will find it easy to move around at speed.

One figure practically leaps off the page. Claimed curb weight is 187kg – 10kg lighter. Similar fairing and specifications conceal the fact that the new GSX-R has been painstakingly pared down. Examples are almost ridiculous: new starter windings save 28g. A reshaped airbox shell is 34g lighter than before. Tedious, but this emphasises the extreme measures taken to cut the GSX-R600

down to fighting weight. Other massreducing efforts were more profitable. Revised bodywork, reduced from 40 to 32 pieces saves a whopping 3.4kg. The end result is the best power-to-weight ratio in the 600cc class. Bore and stroke remain unchanged, but milder cam profiles that reduce valve overlap and more efficient crankcase vents enhance midrange. Titanium valves have been re-angled for improved gas flow and secondary injectors now spray further down Suzuki’s Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV). The new bike feels more different than it looks. Like previous GSX-Rs the cockpit is tight, with scant legroom and a short

The 2011 GSX-R600 is more improved than you would ever guess from a glance. It felt like a woman who let you do what you liked, yet coaxed you into anything that you dared to even attempt. And just when its time to party, she can show you a thing or two: how wild she can really go if only you had the finesse.

Suzu ki GSX R60 0

W

ith over 360,000 Gixxers sold across the US its not surprising to find a fan following that even compares to cars like the Mustang. Here however, sportbikes were generally called CBR or sometimes Ninja. Suzuki has been with a few dealers now, from Towell to no one to now Shanfari. Oman’s motorcycle market size is perhaps 20-30 Superbikes a year – and that is mostly in the cooler four months. But since 2001 introduction of the GSX-R1000, folks here have been taking notice of the Blue and White rockets. It had been a while since those Suzuki came back to our roads. What shock would this little Supersport behold…

The 599cc inline-four makes adequate power and with a pumped-up midrange it pulls hard from 8,500rpm until just shy of the 15,200-rpm redline. Injection calibration is seamless, throttle response instant, and vibration is minimal, only surfacing well into doubledigit revs. Suzuki’s Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS) lets you toggle from unrestricted A-mode to B-mode that decreases power by 30 per cent. This is one less drive mode than last year.

SPECS Engine: 600cc, Inline-4 Power: 126hp@13,500rpm Torque: 51lb-ft@11,500rpm Top Speed: 264kmph Acceleration: 0-100kmph @ 3.3s

IMPRESSIONS

Highs: The best riding 600 ever built – for everyone Lows: Its summer for nine months here Verdict: Surely will make you a convert off the CBR or Ninja

13


CAR TECHforward Looking

Automobiles have come a long way in the last decade. We take a look at a few technologies to be integrated into cars in the near future

GM’s CUE While CUE isn’t out yet (it won’t arrive until next spring, in the new 2013 Cadillac XTS), it shows the direction of in-car touchscreen interfaces and packs several industry firsts. It’s not just the first automotive touchscreen system to use a

capacitive screen (think iPad); it’ll also be the biggest (12.3 inches) and brightest at launch. It will be the first auto interface to recognise ‘gestures’ – think the tap, flick, swipe and spread motions we’re now used to making with phones. But it goes beyond what the iPad has. Haptic feedback pushes back lightly against your finger to give the menu options a ‘texture’ and proximity sensors see when your hand is approaching, with the screen then showing more options, to minimise distraction the rest of the time. A strong processor should keep it all quick. Match with this a completely new naturallanguage data set, and CUE is looking like one of the most important new pieces of car tech in 2012.

Integrated Pandora and Stitcher Satellite radio might give you plenty of listening options already, and HD Radio is finally making it into production vehicles this year, further broadening your possibilities beyond traditional FM. As custom streaming sites like Pandora and Stitcher have shown us, the way we listen is changing with the technology; programming in your own ‘radio’ – beamed in from the cloud – is most likely the way of the future. Over the past year we’ve seen a rapid revolution, with a host of models offering integrated controls of your custom ‘stations,’ while you use the data connection from your smartphone. Pandora seems to have a leg up on rivals for the moment – Hyundai is even offering it standard in its affordable Veloster – but the market has by no means shaken out.

Headlights go LED… and laser Lasers are much better known as surgical devices – or even sci-fi plot devices – than lights themselves. But now BMW, Mercedes-Benz and other automakers are working to build laser-based headlights, to arrive within just a few years. The potential: very compact packaging and greater intensity, all with better energy efficiency (which might make them great picks for electric cars). Laser headlights bode well – and they make the somewhat bluish light of pricey xenon lamps look so... 2001.

Wireless charging mats They charge your smartphone – and might just charge your vehicle. Away with the wires! Earlier in the year, we reported that GM had struck an agreement to feature Powermat inductive charging devices in the automaker’s vehicles – allowing wireless charging of smartphones or other mobile devices in about the same time as with a conventional wired charger. The next step is taking it up to vehicle scale; several automakers, including Nissan (Leaf), are working on the idea of an inductive wireless charging mat, and it could just be a couple of years away.

Meanwhile, the white beams of light-emitting diode (LED) running lamps and brake lights first hit the market in a few exotic and luxury cars many years ago now, but they’re just starting to reach the mainstream and be used for the headlamps themselves. Look for them now in the 2012 Toyota Prius, as well as many luxurybrand vehicles.

BEHIND THE LOGO

AUDI

German engineer August Horch founded his automobile company A Horch & Cie in 1899. A decade later, he was forced out of his own company and set up a new company in another town and continued using the Horch brand. His former partners sued him, and August Horch was forced to look for a new name. When Horch was talking to his business partner Franz Fikentscher at the latter’s apartment, Franz’s son was quietly studying Latin in a corner

February 2012

+ 1909 of the room. Several times he tried saying something but instead swallowed his words. He finally blurted out, “Father, wouldn’t it be a good idea to call it Audi instead of Horch?” ‘Horch’ in German means ‘listen’, which is ‘Audi’ in Latin. And so Audiwerke GmbH was born in 1910. In 1932, four carmakers Audi, Horch, DKW, and Wanderer merged to form Auto Union. The logo of Auto Union – four interlinked rings became the modern Audi logo.

+ 1902

+ 1899

= 1885

1932

+ 1949

1978

NSU

= 1873

1985

1969

2009 onwards


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

DIRECTORY CAR brands

BUMPER STICKER An Apple a day keeps Windows away

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 Jaguar...................................................................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 SsangYong.........................................................24561788

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

CAR RENTAL

4WD........................................................................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 Qurm 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


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1/26/12

4:06 PM

Accessories/features shown in the visual may not be part of the standard model.

mideast.chrysler.com

FOR MORE INFO CALL 24584530

Join us at Chrysler Middle East

To know more, visit Qurum Gardens during the Muscat Festival or visit any of our showrooms in Oman.

5-years / 100,000 km Comprehensive Warranty and Maintenance

• The Most Luxurious Vehicle in its Class • Best-in-Class Standard V6 298 hp engine • Largest-in-Class Panoramic Dual-Pane Sunroof System • Largest-in-Class 8.4" Touchscreen Uconnect™ Infotainment System

INTRODUCING THE ALL-NEW CHRYSLER 300C.

WHEN QUALITY COMPLEMENTS BEAUTY. THIS IS LUXURY.

300C-AUTOBLOID-310x220-ENG.pdf

Chrysler is a registered trademark of Chrysler Group LLC.


Autobloid Issue 9