Page 1

gothenburg goer Volvo’s spritely S40 – class in a tidy package

tempting phaeton Can VW really make a luxury sedan?

rep theatre The salesman’s trusty Mondeo gets a touch of drama

g-whizz

Infiniti’s G37S – that’s ‘S’ for sport and style

PRICES - KSA SR 15 UAE AED 15 OMAN RO 1 BAHRAIN BD 1.5 LEBANON LL 10 000 QATAR QR 15 KUWAIT KD 1.5

volume 4 \\ issue 06 \\ aug - sep 08


Publisher Kalimat Group International FZ - LLC

Motormouth First of all, this isn’t a complaint directed at the Roads and Transport Authority. Well, not exactly…However, while driving round several of the new developments in Dubai I’ve noticed recently that at all the locations where you might need that extra bit of grip under your tyres – such as approaches to traffic junctions and on many roundabouts – the road surface is inevitably cobbled stone which incidentally has the traction qualities of butter. This is made even worse if you happen to be driving lolloping 4x4s which aren’t renowned for their stopping or cornering ability. These crossings and the roundabouts with their floral or water displays may look very pretty, but it only takes a slight miscalculation of your approach speed to suddenly find yourself sliding out of control like a hippo on ice. Another peculiarity of regional road design, this time outside our cosy new communities, applies to the locations where you leave one highway and follow a clockwise off- or on-ramp to join another highway passing either over or underneath. Invariably, when you leave the fly-over and circle downward to join a highway below, the curvature of the on-ramp tightens as you drive over an increasing frequency of extremely spine-shattering rumble strips. Again, if you’ve misjudged your speed at the top, this tightening turn can force your vehicle into a situation where body roll becomes increasingly more and grip becomes increasingly less, making understeer more likely and braking more dangerous. If, however, the on ramp was designed so the curve gradually opens out (as it does when you drive from a lower off-ramp to a fly-over carriageway) the likelihood of such incidents disappears, especially for fully loaded trucks and vans. OK, the intersection doesn’t look as pretty or symmetrical from the sky, but as a road user and not a pilot, I could live with that. My final gripe is less to do with road design per se. It’s street lighting. In most countries people write to their local council or authority to complain about the lack of street lighting. I’m doing the opposite. Here in Dubai we have so much street lighting that many people have forgotten what night time looks like, and half the time they don’t switch their car lights on at all. There are roads which disappear into the wilderness with nothing around them except desert, but you can see them like an endless string of pearls in the distance because they are lit every 10 metres by street lights. We could quite easily survive with half as many lights on our roads – a quarter even. Not to mention the energy we’d save. And besides, accidents don’t happen because of the dark – they happen because of bad driving. Phew, glad I got that off my chest! If you’ve got any gripes, concerns or suggestions, then let us know…

Car Xpress Head Office Office G4, Building No.1, Phase One, P.O. Box 502408 Dubai Media City, UAE Tel: +971 4 391 0410/1/2/3 Fax: +971 4 391 6619 e-mail carxpress@kalimatgroup.com General Manager Hekmat el Zein Assistant Editor Eugene Correia Designer Altaf Hussein df Asst Designers Qaiser Nawaz Mohd. Noufal Contributors Gordon Torbet Matt Carroll Alistair Weaver Marketing Account Manager Alie Jaber Photographer Wahb Mabhkout Car Xpress Lebanon Office Riad el solh 11072070 P.O.Box 11-1197 Beirut, Lebanon Tel: +961 3 208 528 Fax: +961 1 924 440 Car Xpress Disclaimer The material used in this publication is intended for informational purposes only. A sincere effort has been made to report details accurately, however, as specifications and models vary over time and upgrades are constantly appearing on the market, readers are advised to seek specialist assistance before acting on information offered in this publication. All text and layout remains the copyright of Kalimat Group International FZ LLC, unless stated otherwise. Car Xpress is fully independent, and its views are not those of any company mentioned herein. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. © 2008 Kalimat Group International


news contents

news FEATure

news

Conquering Caterham For those really serious about their driving, the famous supercar-slaying R500 moniker is back with the arrival of the all-new Caterham Seven Superlight R500. The latest model from the British sportscar manufacturer takes the minimalist, lightweight Seven philosophy to a new level with more power, sharper handling and for those venturing on track the option of launch control and the Caterham Motorsport engineered sequential gearbox. Weighing just 506kg and producing 263bhp, the R500 is the most potent race-tuned production Seven yet. The Series 3 chassis flagship model blasts out 520bhp-per-tonne and is capable of propelling itself from 0-100kph in 2.75 seconds, delivering a pure adrenalin fix for those committed enough to strap themselves into the Kevlar race seats. The original R500 was legendary, with the old Rover K-series powered machine rewriting performance records for 0-120kph and 0-160-0kph times. This new variant has been equipped to supersede its predecessor by embracing the very latest in lightweight engineering techniques and technology.

T-Rex re-born Young industrial designer Johnathan Côté has proposed this slick re-design for the legendary T-REX 3-wheeler, retaining an updated variation of the distinctive recessed headlights and above seat air in-takes, dropping the exposed roll-bars and adding a heavily sculpted feel to the vehicle’s low-slung aerodynamic profile. With the first prototype released in 1994, the T-REX is a pioneer in the rapidly expanding world of modern 3-wheeled transport that has now spawned such

exotic gems as the Can-Am Spyder, Brudeli’s Three-Wheel Leanster, TriRod’s F3 Adrenaline and the upcoming ZAP Alias highway electric car. The design has not been endorsed or commented on by the manufacturers of the T-Rex, but Côté, who works at Morelli Designers, believes that after an impressive 14 years of commercial life, the T-REX would benefit form a stylistic overhaul that still respects the 3-wheeler’s DNA. His new design also integrates several

storage areas into the vehicle, blending cargo space into the vehicle’s outline and adding a small storage space and two smaller glove compartments in the front. Two windshield versions are also catered for, raised or F1 style. Given that the proposal is purely a design concept, it’s difficult to comment on anything but the aesthetics of the work (the lack of roll-bars for example, may be seen to compromise the safety of the existing design). But it looks great!

Lurking under the lightened bonnet is the all-alloy 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine. Fed by its roller barrel throttle bodies, the normally aspirated, 4-cylinder mill is tuned by Caterham Powertrain (CPT) to unleash a monster; 263bhp with a heaving 17 7lb-ft of torque transmitted to the rear wheels. The relentless acceleration is transmitted through each ratio by either the standard 6-speed gearbox or the optional Caterham Motorsport engineered sequential transmission. To help reign in such extreme performance are race-developed Avon CR500 tyres and a suspension set-up that includes weight saving aero wishbones and fully adjustable dampers. Bringing things ferociously to a halt are four-piston calipers clamping on vented discs at the front and lightweight twin piston rear calipers. Performance upgrades for the R500 aimed squarely at the track day market include a sequential transmission, launch control, a gulping Carbon Induction Airbox and Eibach Springs and dampers derived from the Caterham C400 race series.

sports car

Volvo’s spritely S40 sedan is class in a tidy package The Scandinavians have a word: ‘hyggeligt’ (pronounced ‘hooge-lit’). They like to boast that it has no equivalent in English, but it’s a combination of ‘cozy’, ‘relaxed’, ‘peaceful’ and ‘secure’. Drive an S40 for an hour or so, and you’ll realize how much that word applies.

‘Flying’ in BMW’s sleek Z4 coupe Did you know that BMW started out in the 1920s making aircraft engines? That aeronautical and engineering past has culminated in the Z4. With a cockpit as compact as a single-engine aircraft and the aerodynamics to match, who better to see how BMW’s sprightly little coupe shapes up than a couple of local flyers.

news

04

t-rex re-born

08

marque of distinction

16

gothenburg goer

24

forward thrust

32

g-whizz

38

fuel for thought

46

rep theatre

52

cruiser control

60

tempting phaeton

68

flying machines

76

Motorsports news

80

sports car

Infiniti have tagged an ‘S’ on the G37, and for once it makes a difference

Aston Martin’s state of the art UK production facility Volvo’s spritely S40 sedan – class in a tidy package ‘Flying’ in BMW’s sleek Z4 coupe The ‘S’ on the G37 does make a difference Where are we heading with alternative fuels?

38 Aug - Sep 2008

Car Xpress

Car Xpress

Aug - Sep 2008 39

The salesman’s trusty Mondeo gets a touch of drama special feature

special car

FUEL FOR THOUGHT

Don’t think the FJ Cruiser is just for wannabes Can VW really make a luxury sedan?

Where are we heading with alternative fuels?

F1 – new season, new rules, new regs, new buzz

What car will you be driving in 10, 20 or 30 years time? More importantly, what will you use to propel it down the highway or skyway? As global oil reserves continue to be sucked out of the earth’s crust and the debate about global warming becomes evermore heated (excuse the pun!), where will our motoring fuel of the future come from?

The salesman’s trusty steed is given a touch of drama

HSBC Acadmey drivers on track suv

luxury car

If there’s one thing you mustn’t do, it’s think that the FJ Cruiser is just for wannabes

The FJ Cruiser is the one that got away. The concept that managed to escape the drawing board and become a reality. There is no denying that as SUVs go, the FJ Cruiser is a welcome change.

Can the makers of the Beetle really produce a Luxury Sedan?

2 APR 2008

Car Xpress

www.car-xpress.com


news

Citroen C2 it The C2 hatchback stands apart for its original styling and functions that combine appeal and performance. Today, Citroën is giving new emphasis and muscle to the thoroughbred lines of the C2, which has sold in more than 480,000 units across Europe since its launch in 2003. The front end gains several changes, designed to highlight the dynamic and elegant exterior lines that have contributed to the C2’s success. Changes include a more imposing bumper and a new radiator grille with wider and bigger chevrons. Engines available are a 61bhp 1.1-litre injection, a 75bhp 1.4-litre injection, and a 110bhp and 125bhp 1.6-litre 16-valve injection. From May 2008, depending on the country, the C2 diesel range will be available with the 110bhp HDi engine and particulate filter. Allied with a well balanced chassis setting remarkable standards in dynamic behaviour, this powerful but frugal engine consumes just 4.4lt/100km for CO2 emissions of no more than 119g/km. As a result, the C2 HDi 110 DPFS carries the Airdream® label identifying Citroën’s most ecological models.

4 Aug - Sep 2008

Car Xpress


news

Audi’s double home win Audi once again scooped a double win in the readers’ poll conducted by German trade journal “AUTO BILD ALLRAD.” Two Audi models won the title “4x4 Car of the Year 2008”: the new Audi A4 quattro in the category “4x4 car from € 25,000 to 40,000” and the Audi R8 in the category “4x4 coupes and sports cars.” Audi also took a few more podium places: the Audi A5 quattro, for example, finished

6 Aug - Sep 2008

Car Xpress

runner-up behind the R8 in the coupe and sports car category. The Audi A6 quattro finished second and the Audi A8 quattro third in the “4x4 cars over € 40,000” ranking. Jörg Felske, Head of Sales for Germany at AUDI AG, accepted the trophies yesterday evening at the Auto Mobil International (AMI) show in Leipzig. The brand with the four rings already won

two of these coveted 4x4 awards in 2007, for the Audi A4 and the Audi A6. Another double win and three additional podium places this year once again make Audi one of the most successful brands in the “Allrad” readers’ poll. Readers were able to choose from a total of 114 vehicles in ten categories this year. Around 40,000 readers took part in the vote.


Car Xpress

Aug - Sep 2008 7


news

The Mégane Coupé Concept show car foreshadows a compact production coupe to be released by Renault in the near future. Like the new Laguna, it points to an evolution towards more fluid, sportier styling from Renault and targets drivers who are not only drawn by the notion of driving pleasure but who also seek to express their personality through their vehicle, offering character and dynamism, two traits epitomized by the show car’s door-opening kinematics. “This show car showcases the evolution at Renault Design. Its squatter proportions and powerful, energetic styling talk directly to the driver’s senses. The spectacular, dooropening kinematics add that little touch of magic which contributes to the dream factor associated with the automobile,” explains Renault’s Patrick Le Quément, Senior Vice President of Corporate Design. The Mégane Coupé Concept features a modern, dynamic silhouette with taut lines

8 Aug - Sep 2008

Car Xpress

that seem to suggest perpetual movement, while its alert, expressive front-end points to a truly dynamic personality. The juxtaposition of headlamp modules with aluminium-finish air-intakes also conveys an impression of fluidity and movement. The headlamps use high performance light-emitting diodes which are both long-lasting and extremely efficient. The shoulder-lines flow along the curvaceous sides before culminating in a squat rear-end

French fancy

which expresses power and movement. The interior is redolent of the world of contemporary furniture with independent, asymmetric front seats, which rise up from the sills and seem to float in mid-air. Their wafer-like forms express an airy lightness. The centre console extends through

to the rear seats while the futuristic, ethereal dashboard features expressive, flowing lines and can be divided into two distinct sections: the red lacquered main structure and black nubuck inserts. Here the sophisticated instrumentation takes its inspiration from aviator-style watches, including a speedometer which displays the speed in analogue form on the periphery and in digital form in the centre, plus an analogue rev-counter. The Mégane Coupé Concept is powered by a 200bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine which delivers torque of 206lb-ft at 2,600rpm and peak power of 200bhp at 5,800rpm to ensure punch and flexibility at all engine speeds for everyday motoring pleasure. Mated to a manual 6-speed gearbox, the powerplant drives the front wheel drive Concept from a standstill to 100kph in just 7.2 seconds, yet it returns economical fuel consumption of just 6.5 lt/100km.


Car Xpress

Aug - Sep 2008 9


news

T-Rex re-born Young industrial designer Johnathan Côté has proposed this slick re-design for the legendary T-REX 3-wheeler, retaining an updated variation of the distinctive recessed headlights and above seat air in-takes, dropping the exposed roll-bars and adding a heavily sculpted feel to the vehicle’s low-slung aerodynamic profile. With the first prototype released in 1994, the T-REX is a pioneer in the rapidly expanding world of modern 3-wheeled transport that has now spawned such 10 Aug - Sep 2008

Car Xpress

exotic gems as the Can-Am Spyder, Brudeli’s Three-Wheel Leanster, TriRod’s F3 Adrenaline and the upcoming ZAP Alias highway electric car. The design has not been endorsed or commented on by the manufacturers of the T-Rex, but Côté, who works at Morelli Designers, believes that after an impressive 14 years of commercial life, the T-REX would benefit form a stylistic overhaul that still respects the 3-wheeler’s DNA. His new design also integrates several

storage areas into the vehicle, blending cargo space into the vehicle’s outline and adding a small storage space and two smaller glove compartments in the front. Two windshield versions are also catered for, raised or F1 style. Given that the proposal is purely a design concept, it’s difficult to comment on anything but the aesthetics of the work (the lack of roll-bars for example, may be seen to compromise the safety of the existing design). But it looks great!


Car Xpress

Aug - Sep 2008 11


news

More cash, more Qashqai As market rivals start to catch up with the segment defining Qashqai, Nissan has already moved the goalposts: the top selling compact Crossover has expanded its offer with a seven-seat version. Called Qashqai+2, the newest Nissan builds on the success of the original Qashqai by adding space and versatility to create the first Family Crossover. Called Qashqai+2, the new model is seen by Nissan as the first Crossover for busy, active families and with the imminent arrival of the second generation Murano, helps to extend Nissan’s Crossover offering to three distinctive models. Qashqai+2 shares clear family design DNA with the original, but is subtly different from virtually every angle. Created by designers at

12 Aug - Sep 2008

Car Xpress

Nissan Design Europe in London’s Paddington, the new model is essentially identical to Qashqai from the A-Pillar forward… but everything else behind has been changed. With a wheelbase extended by 135 mm – taking it to 2,765 mm – the overall length of Qashqai+2 has risen to 4,526 mm, an increase of 211 mm over the five-seat version. To ensure there’s ample headroom in the third set of seats, the roofline has been lengthened and re-profiled at the rear of the vehicle, adding 38 mm to the overall height and taking it to 1,643 mm. Headroom in the front and middle row of seats has increased by 16 mm and 10 mm respectively, while knee room in the middle row has improved by 23 mm.

At the same time, both front and rear doors have been restyled: the window frames of the front door are squarer in line with the re-profiled roofline, while the rear pair are completely new – longer and also with squarer window frames. Another exterior feature found as standard on Qashqai+2 is a huge panoramic glass roof to give the same light, airy feeling that is so popular with customers on the existing Qashqai. The fixed roof is 140 mm longer than the equivalent sunroof offered on Qashqai and has a one-touch electric operated sunshade. Availability dates for the Qashqai+2 in the Middle East have not been announced yet, but it is likely to be in 2009.


Land Rover’s 60th celebrations in Australian were held at Cooma, in the Snowy of New south Wales over the 2008 Easter weekend. Over 750 Land Rover vehicles and 1,300 enthusiasts from Denmark, England, New Zealand, the USA and every part of Australia descended on the region. Even the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made an unscheduled stop at Cooma to see what all the excitement was about. The event was sponsored by Land Rover Australia and organised by the Land Rover Clubs of Victoria, Sydney and the ACT, as well as the Range Rover Club of Sydney. The event culminated in a Grand Parade which consisted of 560 Land Rover’s, with examples from right through out the company’s 60 year history, driving through the streets of Cooma. The Parade was led by the first Land Rover ever registered in NSW, Chris Baker’s 1948 Series 1. Roger Jory, Land Rover Australia’s General Manager, commented on the event, “It was fantastic to see so many enthusiasts celebrating this company’s anniversary together, and what makes it even more special is that we are here, in Cooma, the birth place of the Land Rover legend in Australia.” Cooma is the spiritual home of Land Rover in Australia. In the 1940s and 1950s Land Rovers were used to build the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, cementing their reputation for tough all-terrain 4x4s. One was even stripped and converted to rail use on underground tunnels, and four others were converted to fire engines. In the early days Land Rovers were used to survey roads and tracks, and once the roads were cut the vehicles were indispensible ferrying workers between sites. It was in 1948 that Land Rover created a new segment in the automotive industry when it introduced to the market to a totally new concept in motoring. On the 30th April the company that pioneered go-anywhere transport, that helped to open up Australia, and the world, officially turned 60.

Active Drive from Renault

e Renault The stylish, expressiv new Active the es Laguna GT introduc el steering he r-w fou h wit Drive chassis nault and Re y by (4WS), developed jointl yield to s gie olo Renault Sport Techn ndling, ha s ard reg as , driving pleasure y calling ort sp ion. Its response and precis ility of ilab ava the by is further enhanced gines en ce an rm rfo pe h two exclusive, hig its to Thanks (180bhp and 205bhp). d driving pleasure ce van ad of n tio ina comb nault Laguna GT Re ce at an affordable pri ovative offer in the stands out as an inn t. sports saloon marke is with four-wheel The Active Drive chass benefits, starting steering brings many vrability, rigorous with improved manoeu d steering precision dynamic response, an intuitive control over ver which gives the dri improve driveability the cornering line, to ced roll control, and active safety. Advan d reinforced seat an s ng with specific setti ression that Renault support, gives the imp

t, Laguna GT corners fla e tiv Ac e Th . nd be without leaning into the r-wheel steering also Drive chassis with fou y, both under difficult excels in active safet th good control over braking conditions (wi ESP matched to d an asymmetrical grip, and during avoidance sporty driving styles), (‘elk’ test). manoeuvres at speed

Car Xpress

Aug - Sep 2008 13


news FEATure

14 Aug - Sep 2008

Car Xpress


Conquering Caterham For those really serious about their driving, the famous supercar-slaying R500 moniker is back with the arrival of the all-new Caterham Seven Superlight R500. The latest model from the British sportscar manufacturer takes the minimalist, lightweight Seven philosophy to a new level with more power, sharper handling and for those venturing on track the option of launch control and the Caterham Motorsport engineered sequential gearbox. Weighing just 506kg and producing 263bhp, the R500 is the most potent race-tuned production Seven yet. The Series 3 chassis flagship model blasts out 520bhp-per-tonne and is capable of propelling itself from 0-100kph in 2.75 seconds, delivering a pure adrenalin fix for those committed enough to strap themselves into the Kevlar race seats. The original R500 was legendary, with the old Rover K-series powered machine rewriting performance records for 0-120kph and 0-160-0kph times. This new variant has been equipped to supersede its predecessor by embracing the very latest in lightweight engineering techniques and technology.

Lurking under the lightened bonnet is the all-alloy 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine. Fed by its roller barrel throttle bodies, the normally aspirated, 4-cylinder mill is tuned by Caterham Powertrain (CPT) to unleash a monster; 263bhp with a heaving 17 7lb-ft of torque transmitted to the rear wheels. The relentless acceleration is transmitted through each ratio by either the standard 6-speed gearbox or the optional Caterham Motorsport engineered sequential transmission. To help reign in such extreme performance are race-developed Avon CR500 tyres and a suspension set-up that includes weight saving aero wishbones and fully adjustable dampers. Bringing things ferociously to a halt are four-piston calipers clamping on vented discs at the front and lightweight twin piston rear calipers. Performance upgrades for the R500 aimed squarely at the track day market include a sequential transmission, launch control, a gulping Carbon Induction Airbox and Eibach Springs and dampers derived from the Caterham C400 race series.

Car Xpress

Aug - Sep 2008 15


company profile

Marque of distinction

Handbuilt, crafted low-volume high-performance sportscars – that’s Aston Martin’s 21st century thinking

16 Aug - Sep 2008

Car Xpress


When was the last you went and watched your new car being built at the factory? If you’ve recently bought a new Aston Martin then that’s exactly what you are invited to do. When you are paying that kind of pricetag, the company believe that a visit to their state of the art facility in Gaydon, UK is your absolute right.

It’s quite an exclusive club, being an Aston Martin owner. If the company have their way, that’s exactly how it is going to stay. And the new construction facility in the heartland of British motoring history is quite a clubhouse. Forget austere and long brick factory walls. Your winding drive to the main entrance takes you past a pond with a ‘No Fishing’ sign on its banks. To your left as you pull into the car park is Aston’s new cutting edge design studio, still under wraps but due for completion before new year. Once you’ve walked over the ornate moat that takes you between the gently curving architectural frontage that is Aston Martin, Gaydon, sliding doors reveal the main reception area. Kim Palmer our official guide tells us the airy atrium with its display of three Aston’s facing us like automotive sculptures on the travertine marble floor is indicative of all 125 dealers around the world. On the walls are large artworks by German automotive photographer Rene Schadt, the guy behind the global ‘Fire and Ice’ campaign for the V8 Vantage Roadster. From here the tour begins. “Every customer is treated the same”, says Kim. “It doesn’t matter if you’re royalty or John Smith from the corner shop; nobody can jump the queue. We want customers to not just buy a car, but buy an experience, which is why we invite customers here.” Street racers Turning the corner we are faced with ‘the street’ as they call it: a line of classic Astons parked before a wallsize chronology of the company and its founders. All the cars are privatelyowned and are proudly loaned to Aston Martin so visitors can see in glorious 3D some of the eras the company has gone through. The first is a 1920s 1.5-litre trials car – one of several which won the Aston Clinton hillclimb event from which the ‘Aston’ of the company’s name was born. (The ‘Martin’ of the name is after Lionel Martin who founded the company with Robert Bamford. Moving along the street we are met by the famous DB models named after the renowned chairman from the late 1940s David Brown. At this point Kim comments: “Many people ask ‘why did you go from DB7 to DB9, without DB8?’

The DB9 was such an incredible leap over the DB7 that we felt it was apt to miss out a version to show that it was a completely new architecture, a completely new car from the ground up, and much more of an Aston Martin than the DB7.” Across the street is the pulse of the company: the sales and marketing departments, PR, HR, IT and brand communications, and then upstairs are all the designers and engineers. “We’re very self-contained here at Gaydon,” says Kim, “We can do both the design and production here. The Rapide concept was designed here and prototyped here and that has been an incredible success as a concept.” Hands on Next we pass through a set of white doors and onto the factory floor. The first thing you notice is the spaciousness and the number of people. In a stateof-the-art factory you’d expect to be surrounded by robotic production lines with lightning welding sparks shooting in all directions, but not here. When you are constructing bespoke hand-built machines, robots can’t create the same quality of finish. As one example Kim comments: “there are no shutlines going into that headlamp; it’s one piece. You couldn’t do that on mass produced cars because you have to get the lamp underneath, up and fitted in with a person underneath getting it all right. They alone take 40 minutes to put in.” The welding robots are also made redundant because there is no welding. For a company producing 7,000 vehicles it’s very unusual to have a platform rather than a chassis, especially a platform which is glued together and made of aluminium. There are several benefits to this: it is modular so you can make it longer. You can build a 5-metre Rapide on the same platform as the short squat V8 Vantage, allowing you to react quickly to market trends; unlike steel, which is spot-welded and where you don’t get a clean join, gluing aluminium across the whole join allows you to get a very stiff underbody; it also doesn’t corrode and lasts a long time. The gluing is carried out by the only robot in the plant,

Car Xpress

Aug - Sep 2008 17


company profile

A Ford Fiesta takes about 18 ½ man hours to build from start to finish - A DB9 will take 50 man hours just to paint

18 Aug - Sep 2008

Car Xpress


appropriately nicknamed ‘James Bonder’. Kim explains, “In the DB9 and V8 Vantage we developed a 3-stage crash structure where the 3 orange beams (located at points on the front beams of the underbody) have kinks in them so they collapse first to absorb the energy. And, in fact, there is a 4th stage: the engine is on a yolk. In the case of a serious accident the yolk lets the engine drop down allowing the car to go over the top, so you won’t end up with a massive V12 on your knees.” Time well spent The fabrication of lightweight and strong materials is carried over to the bodywork as well with panels made of both aluminium and composite materials such as magnesium alloy.

Aston Martin is thankful for the technologies that they were able to share under Ford’s ownership. They were pretty much able to cherry pick the very best in the group, so for the safety systems such as the ROPS (Roll-over Protection System) in the V8 Vantage Roadster they adopted Volvos renowned technology. On a daily basis around 40 cars roll off the production line – 20 of each model. Kim puts the numbers into context: “A Ford Fiesta takes about 18½ man hours to build from start to finish, so very quick and mass produced. A MINI will take 24 man hours to build. A Porsche 911 will take between 40 and 60 man hours depending on specification, and it’s built with robots as well. A DB9 will take 50 man hours just to paint. A V8 Vantage will take 185 man hours

in total to build, a DB9 202 man hours and the Vanquish S at Newport Pagnell took 318 hours to build.” Once in the paintshop the process is basically two guys with water-based paints and spray guns either side of the car spraying in the same direction. There is no dipping or spraying by robots. When the cars are painted they are matt and the paint only becomes gloss when you put the first layer of lacquer on. This is where most car manufacturers stop. “Of those 50 man hours,” Kim continues, “we spend 25 of them doing a very traditional process called ‘flat and polishing’ where you take a very fine grain sandpaper and sand back a very fine layer of lacquer. This process eradicates ‘orange peel’. Then you use a cutting polish to finish it off.”

Car Xpress

Aug - Sep 2008 19


company profile

Hide and sleek We then move onto the three rows of sewing machines and machinists whose job it is to stitch the upholstery – the Recaromade seats, dash, centre console and door panels. The leather used is from the Bridge of Weir Leather Company, based in Scotland who use Scandinavian cows kept in fields that are lined with electric fences rather than barbed wire. This means that the cows can’t nick their hides. (Also Scandinavian mosquitos don’t bite as harshly as in other countries, resulting in almost perfect hides.) Seven hides are used in each DB9; in a V8 Vantage it’s only five. There are over 160 trim components per car, all hand stitched

20 Aug - Sep 2008

Car Xpress

together. Only one person sows the topstitch for each car because everybody stitches differently and consistency is vital. In final assembly you really start to see the car being built up. It’s a ‘multi line’ producing both Volante and Coupe. It is also indexed, which means it’s not constantly moving. In mass manufacture you have a guy putting on a part as the line continually moves, but here the line moves about every 40 minutes which gives each operator enough time to put on the parts they need to. The first is the Vehicle Identification Number stamped into the chassis. Then the wiring harness goes in. There is also the build sheet which hangs from the bonnet to tell

the operator what options are required in that specific car. Everybody is responsible for their quality and everybody is also allowed to stop the entire line if there is a quality issue or problem. “What we don’t want to do is build bad quality into the car”, adds Kim, “because it makes it much harder at the end to solve that issue. Instead of inspecting quality into the car at the end, we are building quality into the car during the process.” Signed and sealed When the car comes off the production line it goes into geometry, where lasers align toe-in, toe-out and cambers on the car.


Aston Martin Fact File:

· To twist the understructure of an Aston through 1 degree you have to apply 27,000Nm of pressure, making it ideal for a sportscar. · Jaeger LeCoultre has shared a relationship with Aston Martin since the 1920s, supplying the dials for the early hillclimb cars. · Approximately 40% of customers change their order after they visit the factory, which is why the visit is scheduled before the customer’s car goes online. · There are 20 standard colours, 60 optional, but the paintshop will paint to sample, and all cars are painted to order · Nobody in the factory will lift 15kgs. If they need to then they use a hydraulic assister located on the line · The DB9 has perfect weight balance – 50% rear and 50% front · The DB9 has a carbon fibre propshaft to handle the powerful torque from the V12 engine · The sound system on the Vanquish S was always tested using a James bond theme tune CD · The patented side mirrors of the Vantage are designed so that when you’re on the track you can see the apex of the corner · Swan-wing doors which open up at 12 degrees on all models prevent scratches when you pull up against pavements

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company profile

Every car literally has to earn its wings, and this can only be done when it is ready for the customer

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There is nothing fake about Astons. If it looks like metal, it is metal. If it looks like leather, it is leather

Then it goes on the rolling road for the first time where the engine is tested and alignment is checked. Every car goes down the CAL (Customer Audit Line) line to have its quality checks. None of the cars on the line will have their wheel caps or the wings badge on the bonnet or boot. That’s because every car literally has to earn its wings, and this can only be done when it is ready for the customer. It is a bit of a tradition at Aston Martin and it’s a seal of approval. There is no such thing as a zero mile Aston Martin. Every car that is picked up by a customer will have around 100 kilometres on the clock because every car is road tested on the test track behind

the facility where NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) is appraised, the brakes are bedded in and the silicon taken off the tyres, so the customer will drive off with a road-ready car. After the rolling road the car comes back for a water test where 4,200 litres of water is pumped through 360 degrees just to make sure it’s watertight – especially important with the Roadster and Volante models. Having seen every step of the process in the creation of each Aston Martin, you are left in no doubt about the pride that is taken in applying the skills of bespoke automobile construction to all aspects of these cars. There is nothing fake about Astons. If it looks like metal, it is metal. If it looks like leather, it

is leather. That’s design integrity. And of course, both image and quality are extremely important. Hence the facility’s ‘goldfish bowl’: a quality appraisal room with lights that mimic the showroom. Every day two cars are taken randomly off the line and they go in there for the quality managers to appraise them. If you choose to buy an Aston Martin – which wouldn’t be such a bad decision – then you won’t just pick up a hunk of metal on wheels from your local dealer. You will experience a ‘birth’. From conception to final hand-over your Aston will truly be your creation: you will decide its genes, it will grow on you and you will want to be with it and keep it for life.

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Volvo’s spritely S40 sedan is class in a tidy package The Scandinavians have a word: ‘hyggeligt’ (pronounced ‘hooge-lit’). They like to boast that it has no equivalent in English, but it’s a combination of ‘cozy’, ‘relaxed’, ‘peaceful’ and ‘secure’. Drive an S40 for an hour or so, and you’ll realize how much that word applies.

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city & town car

With the S40, Volvo now has a range of vehicles which should suit everybody’s needs, if not everybody’s purse. They now have a trendy 2-door hatchback in the C30, the S60 executive sedan, the S80 ‘prestige sedan’, the V50 and V70 medium and prestige family estates, the XC70 and XC90 medium and prestige 4x4s, and the C70 drop-top coupe. The S40 fits into the picture between the C30 and S60. One could say that it is a conservative family sedan, but conservative only in exterior dimensions. Don’t let that put you off, though. The cabin space of the S40 is by no means frugal. Four adults can quite comfortably – in fact, very comfortably – fit in its sculpted slimline seats (a delicious soft leather in our test drive car). A fifth person wouldn’t want to sit in the middle of the rear bench for a long journey and I dare say the driver wouldn’t want their ‘mug’ staring back at him through the rearview mirror, either. The trunk space is also ample for two large suitcases, hand luggage and a copious amount of duty free – trust me, we tested it!

Wood is good There is no doubt that the S40 is a very cozy car. The seats envelope and support your backside and spine, and there is a simplicity and calmness about the colours and textures you can choose to surround you, from Spring Green upholstery and door inserts (which may sound a bit odd, but actually offers a rather grounded, earthy feel) through to the Quartz Grey, Dark Beige and the Leather OffBlack. Then there is the delightful ‘floating’ centre console, inspired by the uncluttered flowing lines of Scandinavian furniture design, available in Bauxite, Virtual White, Aluminium or Nordic Light Oak. Personally, I’m not a great fan of wood in vehicle interiors, but I am a fan of Scandinavian design and so the Nordic Light Oak instantly grabbed me and made me feel like I was about to sit down to a smorgasbord of treats. And in a way, I was – because the S40 is also a real pleasure to drive. The suspension may be a bit on the stiff side and you feel it most rolling over speed humps, but this does result in very impressive roadholding (also thanks to the grippy front wheel drive) even when the car is fully-laden with passengers and luggage. Although it is built on the same platform as the Mazda3 and Ford Focus, it feels both more planted on the road and more responsive.

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city & town car

This could very well be down to the top-ofthe-range 2.5-litre 5-cylinder T5 turbocharged engine under the hood of the car we tested. It produces a very respectable 230bhp which will carry it to 100kph in around 7 seconds. In a car of this class, the turbo means that rapid acceleration at highway speeds is also impressive, making overtaking manoeuvres far less of a chore. Not only this, but control elements such as steering, throttle and braking all have a crispness which gives you confidence as a driver. The electro-hydraulic steering is especially quick with a system allowing the slight turn of the rear wheels to aid in cornering.

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Feature presentation Although our test car was the most powerful engine and did feature BLIS (BLindspot Information System), Park Assist, Rain Senor, Bi-Xenon headlights, powered front driver’s seat adjustment, powered glass sunroof, Dynaudio high performance sound system, and cruise control, as well as the obligatory safety systems for which Volvo is the pioneer, we didn’t have many of the host of options that the S40 can accommodate: integrated phone, satnav and road traffic information system, Premium Sound 12-speaker system,

remote unlocking and start, or Bluetooth. Still, the standard package is still a cut above the others in this segment, both in terms of what you get and the quality. Many journalists have argued that Volvos in general can’t quite aspire to Audi or BMW, but I don’t see that they are trying to. Volvos are equally as iconic on our roads as both of the German marques but do not demand the high pricetag of either, or for that matter the Lexus IS300. Also, neither Audi nor BMW give you a sense of relaxation and sanctuary when you get behind the wheel, or an appreciation of organic design,


as you do with the Volvo. When it comes down to it, the choice is a matter of taste. In Europe the S40 is an ideal size of sedan, but out here people like to think bigger – even if parking spaces often reduce such grandiose status symbols to embarrassing backward and forward jigs. Personally, I like the S40 because it is unpresumptious and understated, yet offers real comfort and quality in its interior environment, as well as confidence in its safety record. With a starting price from around AED76,000 and a current offer of one year’s free fuel, you’ve got to at least give it a go.

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Specifications Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Acceleration Top speed Economy

2.5-litre T5 turbocharged 230bhp 236lb-ft 5-speed auto with Tiptronic 0-100kph in 7secs 235kph 9.5lt/100km

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sports car

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‘Flying’ in BMW’s sleek Z4 coupe Did you know that BMW started out in the 1920s making aircraft engines? That aeronautical and engineering past has culminated in the Z4. With a cockpit as compact as a single-engine aircraft and the aerodynamics to match, who better to see how BMW’s sprightly little coupe shapes up than a couple of local flyers. Car Xpress

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sports car There is something distinctly plane-like about the Z4. Whether it’s the snug leather-clad cockpit, the long nose, the propeller-style grille bars, the angular lines flowing effortlessly down its flanks, or the tight revvy 3-litre engine that gets you ‘off the ground’ in a matter of seconds, it’s hard to say. But if you want feedback on aerodynamics and nippy handling, you talk to people who make it their living. So we approached Captain Habib Ollaik, a pilot and instructor and Derrick Murray, an aircraft engineer to give us their impressions of BMW’s sleekest coupe. For me, the first thing you notice about the exterior of the Z4 is its shape from a low angle. It has the proportions of classic art deco transport posters – the forced perspective of the nose dropping elegantly away to the tail-end, reminiscent of a thrusting ocean liner or thundering trans-continental steam train. The angular lines, such as that which runs from the front edge of the bonnet, through the wheelarch and along the base of the door, or the line that dissects the BMW badge on the front wing, suggest the ‘simple’ stylized artistry of the art deco era. Geometrically, the Z4’s front end is very distinct. It has far more pronounced ‘nostrils’ than its predecessor the Z3, allowing for better engine cooling and a more ‘business-like’ presence. The light clusters a more shark-like – in fact the whole face is testosterone-charged, and a good job, too. The Z3 was the hairdresser’s car. The Z4 is the skinhead barber. This new model is available as both coupe and convertible, but I would happily sacrifice the top-down, wind-in-the-hair enjoyment you could get in the few months of winter, for the teardrop hardtop design of the coupe. Even though our guest reviewers were in disagreement as to whether the front end of the Z4 was too aggressive or not aggressive enough (possibly the difference between looking head on and in profile), they were both in agreement about one thing at the rear: ‘Get rid of the aerial’. It looks like an afterthought and completely undermines the precision design of the exterior concept. You don’t expect a car the size of the Z4 to be a drawing room inside, but it’s surprisingly roomy, as small sports coupes go, as both our guest drivers agreed. And the trunk could easily hold two golf bags. However, even though Habib and Derrick liked the comfortable leather seats and the driving position, as well as the surprisingly efficient air conditioning, other aspects didn’t impress so much. Both disliked the faux ‘machined metal’ along the fascia, and Habib specifically commented “I don’t like all the plastic”, referring to the black swathes of the dash and behind the seats. In fairness to BMW this sort of compromise on interior quality does help keep the price down. If you want the skin of various mammals adorning your dash, you look at an Aston Martin brochure. Other interior niggles include the uneven armrests on the door and centre console; the lack of space for your wallet and cellphone; the bright red leather seats and door panels – which are possibly a concession to the more flamboyant hairdressers 34 Aug - Sep 2008

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among us (you do have the option of 7 other colour combinations); and the irritating voice of the satnav which you can’t seem to switch off, at least not that we could locate. I also had problems with the position of the seatbelt which passes through an ‘eye’ on the left side of the driver’s seat. Its low position means continual rubbing against my neck with no way of adjusting it. But besides these irritations, both Habib and Derrick were itching to drive the Z4 – it’s that sort of car. The 265bhp 3.0-litre 6-cylinder engine of our 3.0si has won the ‘Engine of the Year’ award several times and is the lightest engine in its class, with torque peaking at 232lb-ft consistently all the way from 2,500-4,000rpm. In layman’s and pilot’s terms this means it flies. 100kph arrives in just under 6 seconds which put a smile on our drivers’ faces and both commented on how planted the Z4 feels all the time – under hard acceleration, through corners and at high speed, adding to their feeling of safety and driving confidence. Habib did comment on the minor wind noise we were getting but then glanced at the speedo and added “Mind you, we are doing 180”. The delightfully smooth 6-speed automatic sports transmission also seemed to impress, making for effortless acceleration and predictable cornering power. In Auto mode the Z4 feels no less responsive than in Manual paddle shift mode, although the paddle change takes a bit of getting used to – unlike your average paddle shift mechanism where one paddle changes up and the other changes down, in the BMW up and down changes can be made using both paddles by pulling up and pushing down, respectively. But for the real fun to start you have to switch off the DTC traction control and press the button that says ‘Sport’. Unlike many other cars, entering Sport mode in the Z4 actually makes a significant difference to the drive. You can feel the engine’s attitude change. It feels much ‘tighter’, and more responsive and sensitive to throttle pressure. It’s like flicking the ‘Afterburner’ switch. However, the near perfect balance of the Z4 only inspires you to confidently push the limits, and for a rear-wheel drive it is very ‘sticky’ with or without the Dynamic Traction Control on thanks in part to the 225/45 tyres on 17-inch 5-spoke alloys (‘Better than some of BMW’s other rims,’ according to Derrick) which have been pushed right to the corners of the car. There is also ample engine braking which, balanced with the responsive throttle, is ideal for controlled cornering. The long nose can take a little getting used to, not so much when performance driving but more when you’re parking up to those irritating low concrete kerbs in all our shopping malls. But this isn’t where the Z4 belongs. Much like our guest drivers who spend a lot of their time looking to the horizon, the Z4 is designed for the open road. Once you are settled in its secure cockpit with the Professional 10-speaker sound system enveloping you in audio glory or switched off so you can revel in the sporty rough-edged rasp of the 3-litre engine, the wide strip of tarmac that opens up in front of you like a runway has rarely seemed more inviting. Car Xpress

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Specifications Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Acceleration Top speed Economy

3.0 litre inline 6-cylinder 265bhp at 6,600rpm 232lb-ft at 2,500-4,000rpm 6-speed automatic with paddle shift 0-100kph in 5.7secs 250kph (electronically governed) 8.6l/100km

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sports car

Infiniti have tagged an ‘S’ on the G37, and for once it makes a difference

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sports car

You know when you find a good pair of shoes because as soon as you slip them on they feel right. Just as when you find the right off-thepeg suit, as soon as it’s on your body your bearing changes and you’re just ‘kool’. That’s how the Infiniti G37S feels as soon as you slink down into the driving seat. Loosely based on the Nissan 350Z – moreso in terms of the underpinnings than the styling – the G37S is a little hermaphrodite in proportions. The rear-end is very sexy and powerful with muscular shoulders that taper out from the top of the door line as well as the wide-mouthed twin exhausts just emerging from the lower rear valance. In profile you see a classic simplicity in the flow of the lines up over the bonnet and roof and down over the rear boot and off the flick of the rear spoiler. Like a cat, the G37S looks perfectly balanced on its four 19-inch low profile Potenza rubber ‘paws’, and nothing obstructs or complicates the aerodynamics, resulting in the illusion of constant forward motion. But then we come to the face of the G37S. For me, all the great design work that has gone into the building of character, from the macho rear-end to the sleek profile, and even to the taut metalwork that stretches over the front wheelarches and houses the xenon headlight clusters, all sags like a wilting orchid in the face of the impotent and uncharismatic grille and curve of the bonnet. Especially on the ‘S’ version of the G37 which should have sports appeal. There is a mild concession in the low Maserati-esque front air intakes, but otherwise the face simply lacks punch. So, whereas the rear looks like an Olympic decathlete, the front would struggle in an egg and spoon race.

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sports car

Fortunately, Infiniti have redeemed themselves in all other aspects of this car. The interior is very appealing. Dark cosseting surfaces surround you, making the physically spacious cabin still feel intimate. The limited and judicious application of matt varnished rosewood veneer in our test car on the section of centre console around gear lever, A/C and sound system controls, and as a simple accent to the door trim, raises your perception of quality above most other cars in the G37’s segment and allow it to punch above its weight. Sportiness abounds inside: the infinitely adjustable 8-way electric driver’s seat with thigh, lumbar and side bolster adjustment so you can be as relaxed or ‘gripped’ as the occasion requires also has a forward

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extension to rest your legs on during long journeys (although the concertina’d leather would just become a depository for crumbs and fluff if it was my car). The seat has such a range of adjustment, but even in its lowest position, as a 5’ 10’’ man my head was pretty close to the roof. I also found the seatbelt clasp to be quite obtrusive by my right elbow, although it wouldn’t be when the seat is in its highest position – which would suit possibly the oddest shaped midget you could imagine. This aside, everything is in easy reach including the satnav controls which feature artfully contoured black plastic buttons and an aluminium knurled rotating menu selection knob. The system over-all is very intuitive even though the map data for Dubai on the DVD was already out of date –

but that’s a challenge for any manufacturer bringing vehicles with satnav to this region. The electrically adjusted steering wheel and instrument panel is all one unit to prevent the wheel from obstructing any of the dials regardless of position. The G37S also features possibly the most sculpted and tactile paddleshifters of any vehicle fitted with this manual gear-changing system. The levers are also longer and more elegant than those found on far more expensive cars, which means that if you are a manual freak like me the G37S gives you greater flexibility and allows you to shift up and down even under gentle cornering. What really stands out about the G37S is the unity of the interior styling: high quality leather seats front and rear, solid and grippy


sports steering wheel, race-style pedals, large magnesium blue and white dials, push button Start/Stop – it all contributes to preparing you for a performance driving experience. And you won’t be let down. Out on the road the 3.5-litre V6 is exciting and confident. The 306bhp engine is very responsive and revvy. A very competent 5-speed automatic gearbox intiutively reads your driving style and allows late upchanges under acceleration so you’re able to get more out of the engine’s powerband. There is a slight delay under manual shift but not enough to complain about and besides the transition up and down is smooth enough. You also get decent engine braking on downshifts which, when you’re driving ‘sporty’, is a real assist on the run into

corners. Unlike several other coupes in this segment, the G37S also comes with rearwheel drive excitement built in, as well as the VDC off button (read “FUN on”) which allows you to get the tail a bit squiffy for those joyous moments of youthful exuberation, against an exhaust tone which sounds subtly performance rather than outright street racer. This car can just as easily be driven sensibly in town – once you get used to the grippy brakes. The suspension feels almost perfectly balanced – soft enough for comfortable city driving, but stiff enough for throwing confidently into corners without producing any destabilizing body roll. The G37S coupe is for the mature driver who appreciates build quality, comfort and

technology, but who also still has a boyish imagination and wants a car that can be as much a toy as a sensible A to B mode of transportation. And with alloy wheels, fog lamps, heated mirrors, LED taillights, automatic climate control, six-CD stereo with seven speakers and wheel-mounted controls, cruise control, automatic headlamps, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, power windows and variable intermittent wipers as standard you get a whole lot for AED160,000. Add another AED4,000 to the pricetag and you can throw in extras such as a power sunroof, dual HVAC controls and a DVD-based navigation system. So, if you don’t mind a front-end that is the equivalent to putting a perm on Brad Pitt, then the G37S will exceed your expectations.

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Specifications Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Acceleration Top speed Economy

3.5 litre V6 306bhp 267lb-ft 5-speed auto with manual shift 0-100kph in 6secs 255kph 10.5lt/100km

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special feature

FUEL FOR THOUGHT Where are we heading with alternative fuels?

What car will you be driving in 10, 20 or 30 years time? More importantly, what will you use to propel it down the highway or skyway? As global oil reserves continue to be sucked out of the earth’s crust and the debate about global warming becomes evermore heated (excuse the pun!), where will our motoring fuel of the future come from?

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special feature

It has been estimated that to drive a standard ’06 model Honda Civic from New York to California uses just under 5 barrels of crude oil. At an average of 7 litres per 100km at current US pump prices that would cost around $212. With the current technology available, driving a similar weight and size hydrogen fuel cell car, such as the GM HY-WIRE concept, along the same route would cost around $800 and require 16,000cu.ft of hydrogen. However, take an average electric car again of the same size and weight fitted with NIMH batteries on a full charge, and you could do the journey for $60, although you would use the equivalent of around 1 ton of coal which in itself would be contributing to airborne pollutants. So, as you can see, just from taking these three examples, the costs of different fuels vary hugely. For your information, the other fuel alternatives for the same pan-

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continental journey stack up as follows: Ethanol ($425 using 53 bushels of corn and ½ a barrel of crude oil), Methanol ($620 using 18,190cu.ft of natural gas and ½ a barrel of crude oil), Biodiesel ($230 using 16.5 gallons of used vegetable oil), and Compressed natural gas ($110 using 10,650cu.ft of natural gas). Pooling resources It has taken quite some time, but finally the giants of the automotive industry have finally woken up to the fact that a) crude oil is not going to last forever, and b) the public would prefer not to see their grandchildren walking around in gas masks and anti-UV suits. But the cost of the conversion to alternative fuels is immense. Research, prototyping, testing, viability analyses, launches etc. all require vast resources. As a global market we have become so dependent on oil and the internal combustion engine that to consider any other form of

fuel to drive vehicles has, until recently, been considered utterly absurd. The shift in thinking towards adopting an alternative source of propulsion is akin to re-inventing the wheel. But many of the auto manufacturers’ current agendas are predicated on the use of ‘flex fuel’ vehicles – those which can use both ordinary petrol as well as ethanol. One reason is that ethanol can be home grown (made from corn, sugar cane and other feedstocks) which reduces dependency on oil-rich nations, as well as allowing the manufacturers to appear proactive on the issue of climate change because biofuels can help reduce carbon emissions. However, the large oil companies foresee a host of increased costs involved in the different transportation and distribution methods required for ethanol and this is putting a real strain on relations with their erstwhile cohorts. U.S. policymakers are calling for upward of 36 billion gallons per


year of annual ethanol use. At that rate, ethanol could bite around a 20% chunk of the conventional petrol market by 2022 – at the moment it is only 4%. Alternative thinking As well as the US, countries such as Japan and Europe are also pushing the use of ethanol or biodiesel following Brazil’s lead in its adoption – 84% of all new vehicle sales in Brazil are suited to flex fuel. Brazil is also the world’s largest producer of cane-based ethanol, and it has estimated that in about five years it could provide 70-80% of the world’s needs. Besides ethanol models, all of the ‘big’ carmakers currently have alternative fuel concepts well under development: Ford’s Econetic range, PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicles) and Plug-In Hybrids; General Motors’ E-Flex and Project Driveway hydrogen fuel cell experiment; Fiat’s methane-powered vehicles;

Toyota’s FCHV (Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles); Mercedes’ F-Cell and DiesOtto petrol engine; BMW’s Hydrogen-7 project; Honda’s NGV (Natural Gas Vehicle); and VW’s HTFC (High Temperature Fuel Cell). Toyota has also kicked off trials with gas-to-liquid (GTL) fuel cars in Europe. In GTL, natural gas is converted to a relatively clean form of fuel for diesel cars. The process is similar to the one for converting coal to diesel fuel, but cars running on GTL emit far fewer particulates. Humans, in fact, can drink GTL fuel: You might get sick, but you won’t die, one Shell executive said last year.

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special feature

Lean and green At a recent meeting of FISITA (The International Federation of Automotive Engineering) which coincided with the Frankfurt Motor Show, former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Dr Klaus Töpfer addressed senior executives from 57 of the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers, technology suppliers and energy companies with his vision for ‘Mobility in a De-carbonised World’. He commented that developments such as hybrid engines and bio-fuels were just ‘initial steps in the right direction’. The public’s growing awareness for environmental issues would be just as much a driver for change as stricter emissions legislation, and a de-carbonised world would not result in an immobile society. On the contrary, by harnessing the talent and ingenuity of the global engineering community, he believes, it will be possible to ensure high levels of mobility as well as a

cleaner environment for future generations. Just as engineers need to accelerate the development and adoption of green technologies in vehicles, politicians need to do more to tackle energy and mobility concerns. And policymakers need to become much more innovative with urban planning and public transport in order to bring about a decrease in ‘forced mobility’ now that more than 50% of the world’s population are living in cities. Price of change But is there truly a future fuel which has zero effect on our planet either in terms of its sourcing or its pollutant qualities. Any form of chargeable electric vehicle will need to receive its current from some form of generation plant, which in itself will produce pollutants. Hydrogen gas can be extracted from thousands of compounds, including natural gas, water, sugar and many petroleum products. However, there still need to be

processes set in place for its extraction and this will place an extra demand on these resources. Hydrogen has been termed the least efficient and most expensive possible replacement for petrol, and it still produces greenhouse gases and would contribute at least in some degree to oxygen depletion. Natural gas is possibly one of the cleaner alternative fuels but, on an industrial scale, from the time it is sourced from the Earth until it reaches your vehicle it has to undergo extensive processing to remove ethane, butane, propane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, helium and hydrogen sulphide to leave just methane, or natural gas. Even ethanol and methanol, such as that produced in Brazil from cane plants, will have the knock-on effect of increasing the price of cane in line with growing demand, potentially taking one of the cheapest ingredients out of the diet of millions of poor South Americans. Anywhere that is suitable for the

Alternative fuel sources

Biodiesel a form of diesel produced from biological sources as opposed to petrochemical sources

Butanol a gas commercially processed from fossil fuels but also obtainable from fermentation of biomass

Compressed natural gas derived from fossil fuels, natural gas is primarily methane which has built up in undergrounds seams over millennia due to the decomposition of plant material

Ethanol alcohol derived from fermented plants usually high in sugar, such as sugar cane and grain

Hydrogen fuel cell an electrochemical energy conversion that runs on hydrogen gas and air

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Methanol similar to ethanol it is produced from the metabolism of plant matter and bacteria Propane (commonly sold as liquid petroleum gas - LPG) a gas compressible to a transportable liquid that is derived from other petroleum products during oil or natural gas processing

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agricultural expansion of cane or oil crops will become a potential target. As global forestland already struggles to keep carbon emissions at safe levels, deforestation either to the harvest the crops or to make way for new plantations will inevitably have a disruptive and possibly destructive effect on the surrounding ecosystems, resulting in the possible extinction of already threatened animal and plant species. E-mission control So who decides what fuels we use? Ultimately, we all do. Scientists produce the research, governments and policymakers sign the papers, manufacturers design and produce the cars, but we have the power to choose which vehicles we buy and which party’s environmental policies we prefer. It is in the manufacturers’ interests to produce vehicles that the public will purchase, just as it is in governments’ interests to stay on the side of public opinion, especially with policies which

relate to the environment and the quality of the lives of their electorate’s children. There will be opportunities in the future for several fuel sources to be accessible, just as you can drive into stations now that serve various grades of petrol, diesel and, in some cases, hydrogen. There may even be technologies developed for the individual to produce fuel at home, in the case of ethanol, methanol and solar power for electric fuel cells. Finally, will the use of alternative fuels in our cars, trucks and buses really have a decisive effect on the environment? Only if big industry, other major

users such as the airlines, and the energy producers themselves make a paradigm shift in the methods they employ in their production. We also need to embrace the non-invasive renewable energy sources such as solar, wind power, hydro-electric and wave energy, and develop technologies to make these sources as efficient as possible. Vehicles seem to be the obvious target because it is easy to see the fuel go in and the exhaust fumes come out, but energy usage as a whole needs to be reassessed, redesigned into all aspects of industry and society, and efficiently implemented. In a world that is becoming more and more mobile on a daily basis and which requires more and more energy to drive its societies, time is increasingly becoming an important factor. But implementation of any new energy strategy – at least enough for it to have any significant effect in the long term – will take several years…and the clock is ticking.

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special car

The salesman’s trusty steed is given a touch of drama 52 Aug - Sep 2008

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special car

It starts on your approach. The first thing you catch sight of is the dynamic ‘look at me’ face and the strong angular lines and creases that flow down its body like a predatory shark. This can’t be a Mondeo, surely? What’s being described here is ‘character’. Where did that come from? Well, either Ford’s designers have been put on some pretty good medication or this is Ford executives saying, “Sod it, if this doesn’t work we’re stuffed.

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Let’s do it!” and handing over the reins to the young bloods. Fortunately, it’s paid off – well, in design and desirability terms anyway. Financially, we’ll have to wait and see. The vanguard of the rep, the old Mondeo was more common on our highways than the cat’s-eye. And there is a good reason for that – the combination of price and reliability. But within that there was also a compromise – build and quality of finish. But step

into the new Mondeo, especially the Ghia with its leather heated and ventilated front seats and cosy rear contoured leather and you’ll feel instantly like you’re in a much classier level of car. There is a consistency of interior quality and design that is very appealing. All the surfaces are pleasantly tactile, and the aluminium and even wood trim look and feel as if they are there for a purpose and designed specifically for this car.


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Design icon The new Mondeo is for the rep who sells DeLonghi espresso machines, Konica Minolta photocopiers or Birkenstock footwear, not bic pens or toilet paper. Style and functionality have become implicit in the design giving the cabin a cosseting sensory atmosphere. Externally, the Mondeo is very pretty. Gone is the indistinct front end, replaced by a rally-inspired upper and lower grille, chamfered corners and a deep offset between the top of the bonnet and the front wings. A muscular shoulder line runs through the side of the car to a high point at the rear, and a slightly concave trunk lid emphasizes its aerodynamism. All this gives the Mondeo a thrusting appearance,

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a result of Ford’s kinetic design principle. The headlamps comprise the largest surface area ever used on a Ford passenger car and feature distinctive styling cues of their own; special blue filters on the optional Halogen and Bi-Xenon Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) headlamps give gem-like qualities even when the headlamps are on the lowest sidelight illumination. Distinctive rear lamps also feature carefully designed graphics that enhance the overall feeling of premium quality. A strong undercut line runs from the bold front wing wheel lips through the side of the car. Under this, full surfacing extends down to strong rocker panels to ensure the vehicle maintains a dynamic road presence

Moving targets The attention to detail inside is carried over to the drive and the ride quality. Although the 2.3-litre engine is a bit reticent in automatic from the off, it does pick up pretty smarty once on the move and shows its eagerness when you use the manual shift mode. With two engine options available in this region: the 143bhp 2.0-litre mated to a 5-speed automatic gearbox and the 160bhp 2.3-litre coupled to a 6-speed auto, the Mondeo won’t be a burden on your wallet either while offering creditable performance. For a start this new model feels very stable thanks to a wider track, optimized front suspension design and new rear suspension. This means that it is very responsive during


cornering and for a car of its size hangs on to the tarmac surprisingly well. It also feels capable of surpressing the vibration and general disruption of a variety of road surfaces, and in this respect the NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) of the ride is similar to that of a car twice its price. I feel I should also be saying something negative about the Mondeo Ghia we test drove, but apart from the lack of Bluetooth or phone connection (although there is a ‘mute’ button with a phone symbol on the sound system) and the rather plain dials of the instrument cluster (I’m struggling now!) there really is very little to complain about. The Sony entertainment system with 6-CD changer has a very competent sound throughout the cabin and can be controlled

from the steering wheel with ease. Space is ample front and rear, although the contoured rear seats would mean a fifth centre passenger would get a numb backside after a very short time. And the trunk – I’ve seen plays performed in smaller spaces.

Executive relief The new Mondeo also features an impressive array of active and passive safety technologies. The basic foundation for these features is the car’s ultra-stiff body structure, which reduces the deformation of the passenger safety cell. It also features a new airbag for the driver’s knee area. So, if you are a company manager and you are considering a new fleet car for your

team of salespeople, then my advice would be if you’re going to get the new Mondeo, make sure your sales figures are good – not because the Mondeo is expensive (in this region the price ranges from AED70,000 to AED89,000), but because you’ll be spoiling your staff and they’ll much rather sit in the cosy cabin listening to their favourite CDs than get out and do some work. This Mondeo almost feels like an anomaly: having got used to the swathes of plastic and mediocre design or gas guzzling performance of American Fords, this European designed and built car is a breath of fresh air from the blue oval. Whether executives will actually get onboard with the Mondeo and leave their more expensive Beemers and Audis is another matter.

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Specifications Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Acceleration Top speed Economy

2.3 litre inline-4 163bhp 153lb-ft 6-speed auto with manual shift 0-100kph in 10secs 202kph 9.5lt/100km

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suv

If there’s one thing you mustn’t do, it’s think that the FJ Cruiser is just for wannabes

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The FJ Cruiser is the one that got away. The concept that managed to escape the drawing board and become a reality. There is no denying that as SUVs go, the FJ Cruiser is a welcome change.

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suv

It is also quite unmistakeable: from a distance there’s no question as to what you are looking at. An aggressive, big-wheeled, wide-eyed, smooth-looking and innovative 4x4. You won’t see many 50+ year olds driving this beast because they are as likely to buy the FJ Cruiser as they are to listen to ‘Woof’ Doggy Dog (as my Mum would call him) on its boombox sound system. The original Toyota FJ was a diminutive but serious workhorse first produced in the 1960s. The new FJ, on the other hand, is a party wagon for the young urban/outdoor 62 Aug - Sep 2008

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twenty-something. It ticks all the right boxes: distinct design, road presence, big enough engine to match the testosteronecharged ego, easy maintenance interior, load space for beach bag and barbecue, and a thumping subwoofer built into the rear. Not only that but it is well-equipped in terms of gearing and off-road options to tackle the smoothest of beaches or the toughest of dunes. Being a young-at-heart forty-something, I am torn when it comes to the FJ Cruiser. The young-at-heart side of me loves the

design statements and the re-interpretation of the SUV rules: the vibrant two-tone colour schemes; the aerodynamically sloping roofline; the wrap-around windscreen and rear quarter windows inherited from the original ‘60s FJ40; the semi-suicide doors that allow access to the rear seating; the 16-inch alloy wheels with black pudding shaped off-road tyres, the sub-woofer in the back and the artistic intention behind the industrial interior elements. But the forty-something side of me really doesn’t like the cheap execution with the plastic


imitation steel plate of the centre console and the adhesive enhancements – like the embarrassing fuel filler cap sticker. If anything, these seem to detract from the ‘street cred’ of the FJ Cruiser. Based on the Land Cruiser Prado chassis and suspension which offer both high rigidity and plenty of wheel travel, and with its versatile gearbox and drivetrain allowing selection of either 2WD or 4WD and Hi/Lo gearing options, the Cruiser definitely has the off-road underpinnings to take on the very best in the marketplace. The 4-litre V6 VVT-i

engine is also powerful and torquey – enough to travel effortlessly at speed as well as pull you over even the toughest of rocky terrain. So why Toyota has chosen to add these cheapening elements is beyond me. It’s like dressing up your pet alsatian in a tu-tu. However, all this does is make you underestimate the FJ Cruiser, which you might regret. Once you step inside and start to drive, it is pleasantly surprising. The manually adjusted driving seat is both comfortable and supportive with a sporty structure and materials. And the driving

position gives you a feeling of control with a steering wheel which is well-proportioned to be both sporty and good for leverage, although the power steering is weighted well enough that you don’t strain to turn the 16-inch wheels and off-road tyres at any time, either on or off road. The wrap-around windscreen and large side mirrors give you excellent visibility right to your peripheral vision, however over the shoulder all you can see are the very thick B and C pillars, and the rear mirror view is obscured by the intrusive spare wheel housing. Car Xpress

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suv

To add these cheapening elements is like dressing up your pet alsatian in a tu-tu.

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Specifications Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Drivetrain Acceleration Top speed Economy 4WD man 4WD auto

4.0-liter V6 DOHC 24-valve SFI VVT-i 239bhp @ 5,200rpm 278lb-ft. @ 3,700rpm 5-speed electronic automatic or 6-speed manual Rear-wheel 2WD or part-time 4WD for autos Full-time 4WD for manual transmission models 0-100kph in 8secs 180kph 2WD: 13lt/100km 14lt/100km 13lt/100km

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luxury car

Can the makers of the Beetle really produce a Luxury Sedan? 68 Aug - Sep 2008

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luxury car

On the outside, the Phaeton’s design is very reminiscent of a stretched Passat with a thick rear pillar and a protruding angular nose, but that might be expected purely from a mass production perspective. Yet it still presents a character of its own, being more heavily set on a choice of standard 17- or 18-inch wheels, with an option of 19’s as well. It may lack the exterior smoothness and charisma of its cousin, the Audi A8, but the Phaeton is no less classy in the simplicity and confidence of its design with many subtle exterior ‘touches’ such as the low 70 Aug - Sep 2008

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‘hammerhead’ front foglights, alloy wheels, chrome window surrounds, and subtle but obvious twin chrome exhaust tailpipes. But if you are of the mind that the Phaeton is a little dull and unassuming on the outside, then be prepared for a very pleasant shock on the inside. As soon as you close the driver’s door you could forget completely that you are sitting in a VW if it weren’t for the logo slapping you in the face from the centre of the steering wheel. If you remember that VW is part of the VAG (Volkswagen Audi Group) who also own

Bentley, then you’ll know that interiors are something they do pretty well. Whether you like wood veneers or not, there is something about the Phaeton’s opulent interior that is very attractive and instantly comforting. If you can see past the plastic buttons on the steering wheel and the control panel in the centre console, you’ll notice that the wood veneer is quality with depth and substance, and is not too over-played. It frames the centre console, gear lever and start/stop button, runs across the centre of the front fascia and


trims the upper door panels. I would prefer not to have wood on the steering wheel (especially as it only serves to emphasize the cheapness of the plastic cruise control and volume switches), but otherwise it’s the minor touches which impress, such as the roll up veneer which raises and lowers when you turn the ignition to reveal air vents. When not required (more in Europe than here) the veneer strip adds class and the perception of luxury to the fascia.

The idea of VW making a luxury sedan, to some people, may sound a little incongruous. VW has always been ‘of the people’, not of the elite. But the Phaeton seems to be suggesting that the company has higher ideas and intends to enter the league of Audi A8s, BMW 7s and Mercedes CLS and S Class. But just how well does the Phaeton perform the duties of a luxury sedan? Car Xpress

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luxury car

Comfort zone But for a car like the Phaeton to be accepted in the ranks alongside its competitors it needs to be physically comfortable as well. And it is. Quality leather finished upholstery dresses the seating and door panels, even though I wouldn’t say the dashboard surface is particularly tactile. The electric front seats are very comfortable with lumbar support and memory function, while the rear seat passengers have a football field of legroom, especially in the long wheelbase version. As a driver, my problem was with the height of the accelerator and

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brake pedals, especially when driving in traffic; my right shin frequently began to ache purely because I had to lift my toes so far to move from one pedal to the next. I also dislike the foot operated parking brake which is too awkward to use when sitting at traffic lights, so therefore means you must sit with your foot on the brake pedal. Apart from this, for the most part the Phaeton is a delight to drive. Dynamically, the Phaeton feels more like a limousine than a sports saloon, wafting away long journeys and cruising amazingly quietly on highways. You want passengers in the rear so they can experience the smoothness of your driving

ability, and the Phaeton makes it very easy for you in either auto or manual shift mode.

Technical knockout The 4.2-litre V8 is rapid and the 6.0-litre W12, which uses a version of the same engine fitted to the Audi A8 and Bentley Continental, is ridiculously fast. All come connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission and VWs 4Motion four-wheel drive. It also features adjustable air suspension and ride height which is surprisingly perceivable – in a good way. With both the sports suspension setting and Sport mode on the 6-speed Tiptronic auto box, the Phaeton


becomes pleasantly agile. At highway speeds the ride in standard setting is sublime and wind and road noise is barely audible. It becomes even less so when you turn on the 270-watt 12 loudspeaker high-end audio system which can be tuned to any seating position in the car, ideal for the chauffeur-driven experience. However, just the size of the Phaeton makes it a chore to park in many of our underground mall car parks – but you’ll have the same problem with any sedan of this class. What you do get this the size, though, is comfort and storage space. The Phaeton has a very sizeable trunk even though the rear seats don’t fold down, and has plenty

of in-car storage such as expandable door pockets, glove box and the centre armrest compartment. And depending on the options you choose you can have anything from an electric sunroof or solar roof (which contains solar cells to power the ventilation so the car stays cool even when locked and unoccupied), to rear seats with massage function, automated rear window blind, powered trunk lid, and DVD system with rear-mounted screens and infra-red headphones.

Genetic engineering Sadly, consumers seem far less able to think outside the VW box than VW

themselves, and so paying AED285,000 for a Phaeton V8 still seems way too much for a ‘people car’. And for no other reason than the Phaeton is ‘not what VW do’ – although it shares a lot of its underpinnings with the large Audis and Bentleys – it will suffer from significant depreciation. This is a real shame, because with the on-tap power of the 4.2-litre V8 under the hood excellent comfort levels and possibly one of the best sound systems in a car of this calibre, traffic becomes nothing more than something that prolongs the delightful driving experience.

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Specifications Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Acceleration Top speed Economy

4.2 litre V8 335bhp 317lb-ft 6-speed Tiptronic auto 0-100kph in 6.9secs 250kph 13lt/100km

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motorsports

F1 is back on track with plenty of changes to pump up the drama

For the 2008 F1 season there are a number of significant changes which have been introduced by the FIA, F1’s governing body, to both the Sporting and Technical regulations. Here we give you a brief overview of what they are and how they will affect the spectacle of the world’s most exciting race series. 76 Aug - Sep 2008

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motosports

As a result of these rule changes, there has been an increase in the weight of the F1 car. In the Ferrari 569 or F2008 car, for example, all aerodynamic surfaces have been completely revised. The monococque has been further cut away from the 2007 car under the driver’s legs, and the side pods and engine cover are more tapered. The suspension system has been reworked and developed around the new aerodynamics.

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Traction and launch control Traction control: these are systems which prevent the rear wheels spinning if a driver applies too much power. In previous years former F1 drivers berated traction control for helping the driver too much. These systems are no longer permitted. This will place more emphasis on driver skill and should lead to more overtaking, as drivers are more likely to make mistakes. Similarly, systems that help the driver hold the clutch at a specific point to ensure an optimal getaway at the race start, have also been outlawed.

software – will allow the FIA to monitor the cars’ performance more closely.

Engine changes As in 2007, drivers must use the same engine for two consecutive events. If that engine fails in final practice or qualifying and has to be changed ahead of the race, the driver will be given a grid penalty of 10 places if the change was made before qualifying, or the back of the grid if it was made following qualifying. However, in an amendment for 2008, each driver is allowed one ‘free’ change per season, unless that change takes place at the final round. In other words, he will not incur a penalty for his first engine failure of the year, as long it is not at the last event.

Gearboxes In a bid to further improve reliability and cut costs, gearboxes must now last for four

increased from 15 to 20 minutes, while that of third session has been cut from 15 to 10 minutes. Second qualifying remains 15 minutes. Furthermore, cars participating in the final qualifying session will no longer get back the fuel used in that session – they must now start the race with whatever fuel was left in the car at the end of qualifying, thus eliminating the need for the infamous ‘fuelburning’ phase at the start of the session.

Cockpit safety One of the slightly more visible differences to the cars this season will be an increase in the height of the cockpit padding – and hence the cockpit sides – on either side of the driver’s helmet, a change that has been implemented to further increase head protection in the event of an impact. There is also a limit being placed on the types of composites that are used in the construction of the car.

Biofuel As part of moves to make F1 racing ever more environmentally friendly, the FIA has introduced a new rule governing fuel. From 2008, at least 5.75% of all fuel must contain biomatter and, as a result, all cars must be designed to be biofuel compliant.

Electronic Control Units (ECUs) From 2008, all teams must use a standardized, FIA-approved ECU to control their cars’ electronics known as SECU (Standard Electronic Control Unit) and produced by MES (McLaren Electronic Systems.). It consists of a single control unit and a software system, the development of which ends as the season begins. As well as providing a more level playing field in this area of development, the new ECU – which must run FIA-approved

consecutive Grand Prix meetings. Every unscheduled gearbox change will require the relevant driver to drop five places on the grid at the start of the race at that meeting. If a driver fails to finish a race, he may start the next meeting with a new gearbox without incurring a penalty.

Qualifying In a very slight tweak to the familiar knockout qualifying format, the duration of the first qualifying session has been Car Xpress

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motorsports news

HSBC Academy Drivers

Academy Drivers

on track

After an arduous selection process whittling down over 600 aspiring drivers to just 3, the HSBC Racing Academy, under the patronage of Crown Prince of Dubai and Dubai Autodrome President, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, managed to select its new recruits: 21 year old Saeed Al Mehairi, 16 year old Mohammed Al Awadi and 15 year old Mohammed Al Mutawaa. These three young Emirati drivers will be trained at the Dubai Autodrome, home to the HSBC Racing Academy, to contest the Formula Academy in France for the 2008 season. The 600+ entries for this year’s Academy more than double the total drivers who tried out for last year’s selection process. From this list of hopefuls the selection committee earmarked 25 drivers to pass through to the second phase of the programme. This group was put through a two-day intensive training and evaluation programme at the Dubai Autodrome’s Race & Drive Center. 80 Aug - Sep 2008

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The candidates were evaluated by Dubai Autodrome instructors overseen by team coach David Terrien, himself a ex-karting world champion and FIA GT veteran race driver. On hand to provide advice and inspiration to the contenders were the 2007 HSBC Racing Academy drivers Khalid Al Mutawaa, Mohammed Al Abdooli and Thani Al Thani. Terrien explains, “For Phase 1 we experienced an impressive turnout and surge of interest from local drivers. Nine finalists, from this group, were selected in November to undergo further training in single seater and Formula Academy cars in order to choose the final three drivers.” Since the three “new kids on the block” were chosen they have been put through their paces at Dubai Autodrome and abroad where they experienced the professionalism of the Auto Sport Academy during intensive testing sessions. All three improved each day of the testing, but they have a great deal to learn to attain the

level of the pace setters in the series. The trio impressed with their commitment and dedication as they embarked on the steep learning curve that will ultimately see them line-up on the grid for the opening round in Ledenon, France at the end of April. Dubai Autodrome Chairman Saeed Khalfan observes, “There was a remarkable increase in interest which shows that the HSBC Racing Academy under the patronage of Crown Prince of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is attracting a broader range of aspirants. We have witnessed more young drivers trying out in the first phase. Motorsport in the region is growing rapidly. In the end we are left with three drivers who emerged as the most appropriate candidates for the challenges ahead. We wish the three youngsters of the HSBC Racing Academy the best of luck and assure them full support during this exciting programme that they have been selected to undertake.”


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motorsports news

Awadi Mohammed Al age is a at 16 years of r the big prospect fo his future. Despite s a couple belt, young age he ha rting under his of years of Ka ational races while including intern d in the Gulf Radical reer having compete s pursuing a ca Cup. He intend and is heading in the in motorsport right direction.

Awadi Mohammed Al Full Name: 91 19 13 June, Date of Birth: UAE y: lit School Nationa Student, Rashid Profession: Lewis Hamilton Heroes: Only racing : Other Sports Diving t the Hobbies: Everything abou t: or Why motorsp sport am McLaren F1 Te t: dium Wish to mee po e th on be To Asia 2 Season wish: GP 3, a Formul Objectives: Series HSBC, Dubai Yacht lm Sponsors: Autodrome, Pa ey gr d Black an S Colour: Aston Martin DB : s) r( ca ite Favour

Mohammed Al Mutawa a is youngest of the team at 15 years of age. He has shown ma and dedication beyondturity despite a lack of racin his years and his youth and ability tog experience, will count in his favou learn rapidly r. Full Name: Mohammed Ahmed Al Mutawaa Date of Birth: 2 December, 1992 Nationality: UAE Profession: Student, Universal American School Heroes: Fernand Other Sports: Footb o Alonso all and motorbikes Hobbies: Biking and karting Why motorsport: Spee d and the challenges Season wish: To learn and improve my racing skills Objectives: To reach the top in motorsport, Formula 1 Sponsors: HSBC, Dubai Autodrome Colour: Red Favourite car(s): Maser ati Turismo

Saeed Al Mehairi is a 21 year old who started Karting a couple of years ago and these l days is a front runner in the locaand ted mit com is He Karting scene. as dedicated to establishing himself is e itud att his and a racing driver perfect for the challenges ahead. Saeed Salah Al Mehairi Full Name: March 26, 1987 Date of birth: UAE lity: iona Nat Bachelor of Business Profession: Administration, Al Ghurair University Ayrton Senna, Keiichi : oes Her Tsuchiya (Drift King) Escalade rts: Spo er Oth Video games Hobbies: Ron Dennis t mee to h Wis To finish in the Top 3 Season wish: 2007 24 Hours s: orie Mem t Bes endurance challenge Reach highest level in es: ctiv Obje motorsport HSBC, Dubai rs: nso Spo Autodrome Orange ur: Colo 1967 Favourite car(s): Pagani Zonda and GT tiac Pon

If you would like to become involved with the sponsorship of any of these three young drivers then please contact Paul Velasco on +971 367 8700 ext. 330

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Car Xpress


Car Xpress Aug Sep 08  

Car Xpress combined issue of August & September 2008, by Kalimat Group International.

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