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volume 4 \\ issue 11 \\ feb 09


World’s best loved motoring icon

The G37 Convertible

Infiniti’s most seductive car so far

Maserati Gran Turismo S Sporty look with a menacing growl

New jaguar An extremely impressive beast

Publisher Kalimat Group International FZ - LLC

Motormouth If all goes well and the UAE government sees no problem with it, we could be having an official record for the first off-road trip across the country done in seven days by three Italian brothers who started the expedition on Jan. 16, and covered 1,000 kms., taking turns riding five to six hours a day on two quad bikes. The Rossetti brothers—Paolo, Andrea and Marco—had originally planned to cover 1,200 kilometers in an attempt to secure a page on the Guinness World Records, but were cut short after they were stopped by UAE border police as they were nearing a restricted military zone near the border of Saudi Arabia during the early stages of their expedition. Nontheless, the amazing feat was a first; and, ergo, should land a section in UAE’s history books—all things considered. **** Brace yourself for a three-day lollapalooza of all things two wheels—the Gulf Bike Expo 2009, which starts March 19 at Dubai Festival City. Over 30 exhibitors and nine bike clubs—the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Harley Owners Group, Abu Dhabi Exiles, Buell Riders Club, Black Eagles Club, BMW Caravan, Emirates Suzuki Club, Phoenix Riders and the Desert Warriors—are expected to participate. This, not to mention the 20,000 people estimated to take part in what will be the first-ever regional motorbike exhibition in the Middle East. See you all at the shindig! **** Car dealers and manufacturers in the region reported brisk sales for last year. Al Habtoor Motors’ Bentley Emirates division said it has emerged as the number one dealer of Bentley Motors worldwide for the year 2008. Al-Saif Motors, the official Land Rover and Jaguar importer for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, reported a third consecutive record sales year. Audi Middle East likewise announced that its sales increased last year; while BMW Group Middle East said its 2008 sales achieved a five percent increase over its 2007 record-level figures. General Motors said their car sales in the region have increased by 6 percent over 2007; while Mercedes-Benz Middle East & Levant said the company hit its sixth annual sales record in a row in 2008, despite softening sales in December. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars said its 2008 sales in the Middle East increased by 48 per cent; while Jaguar announced record sales figures for the Middle East and North Africa, selling a total of 2,356 cars, up 35 percent compared to the same period in 2007. Volkswagen Middle East said the company wrapped up 2008 by setting a new record with regional deliveries exceeding 11,000 vehicles, marking a sales increase of 23 percent compared to 2007 Worth noting, especially considering that economic surveys have shown that people living in the UAE have now started going back—albeit, gradually—to the bare essentials when it comes to expenditures because of the global financial crisis that has started to be felt in the region.

Jojo Dass Editor

6 February 2009 Car Xpress

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 General Manager Hekmat el Zein Editor Jojo Dass Senior Designer Altaf Hussein df Asst Designers Noufal Contributors Eugene Corriea Matt Carroll Alistair Weaver Marketing Account Manager Shaza el Zein Photographer Maher el Zein 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




the g37 Convertible


Suzuki expose


Porsche Carrera


Caterham Superlight


Maserati GranTurismo S






Gulf Bike expo

An extremely impressive beast Infiniti’s most seductive car so far A taste of things to come

Dr. Ing.’s latest ragtop is perfectly suited to sun The world’s best loved motoring icons

Sporty look and that menacing deep, throaty growl Back to the future In-car entertainment system

8 February 2009 Car Xpress


Toyota eyes first grand prix glory

Leaner, meaner and focused on winning, Toyota’s contender for the 2009 Formula 1 World Championship has broken cover. Panasonic Toyota Racing has unveiled its new TF109 racer at its Cologne headquarters in a ceremony broadcast on-line around the globe. Designed and engineered in line with new FIA regulations, it carries Toyota’s hopes of securing its elusive first grand prix victory. Team president John Howitt says: “After eight years in Formula 1 we have gained a huge amount of knowledge and improved considerably. We are hungry to win and ready to win, there should be no doubt about that. The new regulations pose an extra challenge, but at the same time offer an opportunity. We have everything we need to win, some exceptionally talented people and a huge motivation to succeed, so now it is down to us to actually make it happen.” The car is new, but there is continuity in Toyota’s driver line-up, with Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock and third driver Kamui Kobayashi looking to build on the successes they achieved during 2008. Work began on developing the TF109 in October 2007, as soon as the new regulations were announced. At the same time as helping cut the cost of racing, these should increase the spectacle on the track thanks to design restrictions that reduce the car’s level of downforce and make overtaking easier. The most notable changes are in the wings: wider and lower at the front, narrower and smaller at the back. Aerodynamic add-on devices, such as winglets, are now banned, and for the first time in 12 years, slick tyres - Bridgestone Potenza - will be used. Engines will have to last for at least three races, which means each driver can use no more than eight of the 2.5-litre V8 units during the full season.

10 February 2009 Car Xpress


New Volkswagen Golf now available Check your local dealer. The sixth generation Golf is now on the market. Styling of the sixth generation Golf represents the evolution necessary to create a modern Golf, but not so much that it will either date rapidly or drive away the many customers who make the Golf Europe’s most successful car. The new model is the safest, most refined, most technically advanced and most dynamic iteration yet. At launch the new Golf is available with a choice of four advanced petrol and two common rail diesel engines.  Petrol power outputs range from 80 to

Special edition Splash

Citroën has introduced a nautical new special edition of the best selling sub 110g/km CO2 emitting car in Europe. The C1 Splash has extra equipment like air conditioning, front electric windows and remote control central locking, as well as two funky new body colours exclusive to Splash.

12 February 2009 Car Xpress

Customers can style their C1 Splash in the new colours – metallic Electra Blue or Lipizian White. In contemporary contrast to the striking body colours, the Splash has been fitted with custom coloured door mirrors; Lipizan White models feature metallic black mirrors and the Electra Blue will have white door mirrors.

160 PS, while the two diesels, offering 110 or 140 PS, both have a standard diesel particulate filter as well as low consumption and emissions credentials. Three trim levels are offered at launch – S, SE and GT – while GTI, GTD (high performance diesel) and BlueMotion variants will follow later in the year. Standard equipment on every Golf includes air conditioning, a CD stereo system and body-coloured exterior trim, plus ABS, ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) and seven airbags, including for the first time a knee airbag to enhance safety.

The frugal C1 Splash’s outstanding fuel economy (62.8 mpg on combined cycle), ultra low CO2 emissions of just 106g/km and group 1 insurance make it the ideal city car to cruise through the credit crunch. The C1 Splash is based on the new 1.0i 68hp VT model and is available with 3 or 5 doors.


Abu Dhabi, Dubai among top 5 Rolls Royce dealers worldwide The United Arab Emirates’ Abu Dhabi and Dubai were among 2008’s top 5 dealers of Rolls-Royce worldwide, a media release from the luxury car manufacturer’s public relations company in the region has stated. Beverly Hills, London and Beijing were the three other ones, it further said. Rolls-Royce also listed UAE as third among five largest markets for Rolls-Royce in 2008, the first being the United States, followed by the United Kingdom. Fourth and fifth were China and Russia respectively. According to the media advisory, North America remained the biggest single market for Rolls-Royce in 2008, accounting for 38 per cent of sales. Exceptional performances were seen in Northern Europe and in the Middle East which grew by around 95 and 48 per cent respectively. The Asia Pacific region saw continued sales growth in markets such as Australia, China, India and Singapore. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has seen its 2008 sales in the Middle East increase by 48 per cent. This result exceeded the record 40 per cent growth achieved in 2007, and marked the fifth consecutive annual sales increase since 2003. There was strong demand across the Phantom range. However the continued

14 February 2009 Car Xpress

popularity of the four-door versions was evident with the Phantom saloon and Extended Wheelbase models accounting for more than half of all sales. Continued interest in the Phantom Drophead Coupé and, in particular, the introduction of the Phantom Coupé in the summer of 2008 saw Rolls-Royce attract new buyers, boosting retails to record levels. “This is a tremendous result and particularly strong considering the challenging economic environment that all manufacturers faced in the second half of 2008,” said Peter Schoppmann, regional director for Middle East of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. He continued, “It is very rewarding to see that Rolls-Royce is once again confirmed as the most desirable brand in the super luxury market.” Looking ahead, preparations are now fully underway to prepare the company for the introduction of a brand new model series, currently named RR4, due later this year. Rolls-Royce has 81 dealers around the world and currently nine showrooms in the Middle East region—Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Jeddah, Kuwait City, Lahore, Manama, Muscat and Riyadh. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have joined the top ten list for the first time.


United States President Barack Obama rode on an all-new Cadillac presidential limousine which graced Pennsylvania Avenue to lead the parade during his inauguration on Jan. 20. “Cadillac is honoured to again provide a new presidential limousine,” says Mark McNabb, North America vice president, Cadillac/Premium Channel. “This is a great American tradition that we’re delighted to renew with an all-new car featuring the best of Cadillac’s dramatic design and technology.” The image of an American president greeting crowds from a Cadillac limousine

dates to President Woodrow Wilson and the early days of the automobile, and continues into a historic new era. The latest Cadillac presidential limousine is a completely new design, succeeding the DTS Presidential limousine that debuted in 2004. The new car incorporates many of the dramatic design and technology features of new and highly acclaimed Cadillac vehicles in a purpose-built format tailored to specific and exacting specifications befitting presidential transport. The car was designed, developed and tested by specialists who adhered to an

extensive set of specifications. It was subjected to an extreme testing regimen to ensure performance that achieves precise functional requirements. In doing so, security provisions were undertaken at all times during development to ensure the car’s functional capabilities are preserved and confidential. An embroidered presidential seal is positioned in the centre of the rear seat back panel, as well as on each rear door trim panel. Presidential seals are also affixed to the exterior rear doors. The U.S. flag is placed on the right front fender, and the presidential standard is located on the left front fender when the president travels in the vehicle. High-tech LED spotlights illuminate the flags at night. Cadillac has built limousines and special vehicles for U.S. presidents, diplomats, ambassadors and foreign dignitaries since the early 20th century, an iconic aspect of the brand that continues today. Cadillac’s central role began during World War I, when many Cadillac engines and cars were transferred to military and government service because of their superior durability and power. One of the first chief executives to use a Cadillac was President Wilson, who rode through the streets of Boston during a World War I victory parade in 1919. A lavish 1928 Cadillac town car was used in the Calvin Coolidge administration.

Etihad Airways flies Formula 1 branded aircraft

Etihad’s services from Abu Dhabi to London, Sydney, New York and Toronto, the design will also ensure that motor racing fans from around the world can see the eye-catching design and share in the excitement of the UAE’s first ever F1 Grand prix. Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways’ executive vice president marketing and product, says: “The inaugural 2009 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is only 10 months away and we are delighted to fly our own F1-themed aircraft across the world to build awareness and generate excitement to what will be a thrilling event for Abu Dhabi and the UAE.” In addition to the A340 F1-branded

aircraft, Etihad also has an A320 aircraft painted in the livery of an F1 racing car. The A320 has flown since last year to every destination in Etihad’s short haul network including Amman, Cairo and Beirut. The seven-figure, three year, title sponsorship deal sees the Formula 1 race in the UAE’s capital city named the “Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix” until 2011. It also provides Etihad with a major trackside advertising package and podium branding for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Etihad Airways is the national airline of the United Arab Emirates based in the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi.

Obama rides in a new Cadillac

With the inaugural Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix taking place on Nov. 1 this year, Etihad has accelerated towards the starting grid by painting one of its wide-body Airbus aircraft with an iconic special F1 livery. The A340-600 aircraft has a dynamic design with white at the nose leading to red at the end of the plane. The official F1 logo is featured on the engines and motor racing’s famous chequered flag is on the tail fin. With the aircraft set to operate on

16 February 2009 Car Xpress


Bahraini royal family Region’s first Hummer receives Middle East’s driving school package first Corvette ZR1 Chevrolet Traverse opens hits Middle East showrooms

The first Corvette ZR1 has landed in Bahrain at the National Motor Company after being specially air freighted to a member of the Royal Bahraini Family. The first ZR1 in Bahrain will pave the way for other V VIPs in the Middle East to join the exclusive club of ZR1 owners. The mightiest Corvette ever created will break Middle East grounds, hammering down and outperforming competitors like Porsche 911 GT2, the Ferrari 599 and even the Lamborghini LP640. Despite the intimidating performance figures, the Corvette ZR1 is as much about power as it is about handling and exceptional drivability. Says Fadi Ghosn, chief marketing officer at General Motors Middle East: “This year, a limited number of vehicles will be available in the region and we are extremely delighted that the Bahraini Royal Family was the first on our exclusive list. Those few fortunate customers will experience the scintillating performance and revolutionary technology and engineering of the new 2009 Corvette ZR1. This vehicle is a unique multi-dimensional performance machine that lives up to the legendary Corvette reputation.” The ZR1 boasts a brand-new LS9 V8 engine, rated at 638 hp @ 6,500 rpm and approximately 819 Nm of torque @ 3,800 rpm propelling it from 0 to 100km in a breathtaking 3.4 seconds. This is alongside a 6-speed, close-ration, race-hardened manual transmission and new, high-capacity, dual-disc clutch. True to its heritage, the ZR1 builds on the highly respected Corvette Z06’s blistering performance in every category featuring this specific suspension tuning that provides more than 1G cornering grip from the 20-spoke, 19inch front and 20-inch rear wheels. 18 February 2009 Car Xpress

The all-new 2009 Chevrolet Traverse is now available at Chevrolet dealers region-wide, offering customers a new alternative in the burgeoning crossover utility (CUV) segment. Chevrolet’s first entry into the crossover utility segment was revealed to the public in a regional premiere that took place at the 2008 Abu Dhabi International Motorshow in December of last year, where it received numerous accolades on design, interior space and comfort from the public. “The Traverse is a stylish 7-8 seater alternative for families in the region, and goes to show that practicality and aesthetics can indeed go hand in hand, with great value for money,” says Karim Corm, marketing manager for Chevrolet SUV’s in the Middle East. The Traverse’s design integrates refined details with strong proportions, and boasts the bold new global face of Chevrolet. Taut body lines and minimal overhangs convey the image of a smaller vehicle, reinforcing the Traverse’s feeling of a large crossover that drives small. In a car designed squarely around family needs, the functionality and comfort of the interiors are of utmost importance. In order to deliver exceptional interior refinement and functionality, the Traverse designers combined a confluence of attractive design, cutting-edge technology and excellent attention to detail. Middle Eastern families will most certainly take to the tasteful styling, outstanding quality and detailed workmanship of the materials in the cabin.

Banyan Tree Al Areen has opened the first Hummer Driving Academy Package in the Middle East, offering outdoor-loving adrenaline seekers something truly unique and thrilling whilst ensuring them worldrenowned Asian hospitality and the finest Spa facilities available. Located in the stark desert landscape of Bahrain, just a five-minute drive away from the world’s most premier motorsport facility, Banyan Tree Al Areen has collaborated with the Bahrain International Circuit to present an off-road adventure like nothing else. Boasting the most dramatic off-road 4x4 course ever made, the Bahrain International Circuit is home to the Hummer Driving Academy which offers a purpose-built desert course boasting over 30 obstacles guaranteed to test both skill and confidence levels. The magic of the Arabian Desert comes to life as Banyan Tree Al Areen now offers the chance to become a true explorer and enjoy two days of fun filled adventure whilst staying in one of the world’s finest resorts with the new Hummer Driving Academy Package. Extending over a minimum of two nights, the package includes accommodation in a luxuriously appointed private Pool Villa, one daily 90-minute treatment at Banyan Tree Spa, a welcome gift upon arrival and the complete Hummer Driving Academy course at the Bahrain International Circuit. The Hummer Driving Academy course covers a variety of off-road skills in a Hummer H3, including off-road driving techniques, vehicle recovery, introduction to navigation with GPS, basic desert survival skills and first aid.

t s a E le d id M in e iv r r a 6 S R New Audi A6 and

fast, s but blisteringly rived. e Audi A6, has ar rtable and luxuriou fo th m n, co loo ly sa on g t llin no e. Audi’s best se executive saloon t at the same tim e their four door 6, into the marke on the Losail RS es di Au hin e ac For those who lik th m , w ion test the ne racing vers to ’s s A6 er e th om st s handling ing cu ing P er VI Audi is br well as num ou invited 850 as st e Ea tim le odels k ac idd M tr di us ugh serio on board, both m For the launch Au y and innovations putting them thro r, log ta no Qa ch in te w uit ne rc Ci International design and lots of evolved exterior mance engines exercises. With an in higher-perfor t. ng ke lti ar m su e re th 0 d in te s da es cc s been up th its 580 bhp V1 are set to be a su e engine range ha from the RS 6 wi tir en ide e e As th th ly. e, n us gin tio eo ra en an tely new ion simult In its new gene p 2.8 and a comple er fuel consumpt mic bh na low 0 dy % 22 ed a 10 e, nc of va e gin ad ag en 6 are the 0 bhp 2.0T with an aver RS 17 d a an th wi A6 le di ab Au ail e t A6 is av e lates ions on th engine, the Audi and agility, and th nological innovat 6.5” color cellent handling g the many tech ex on erface (MMI) with th Am Int distinction wi T. ia ty ed 3.0 ali M p qu i bh e ult rid M 290 e ing th r ensure a clear nd of rio ta n te ts tio ex ou ra e s th ne re ge as su ll ul en rf we ich we as ll as the latest en more po the interior suspension, wh D rear lights as we LE r example, the ev sign changes on fo ce , De . of pie nt orm ta fo tw sis d in as s t lights an electronic atic high beam the new LED fron ation and autom e among others lud inc display, 3-D navig d an r so oy wheels. from its predeces generation of all

Bridgestone gives POTENZA driving lessons

Bridgestone has demonstrated that sports driving is for all who are willing to step from the sidelines to the race track with a test drive session for the layman— the POTENZA Driving Lesson, held at the Dubai Autodrome last December. Bridgestone will also be having two more such activities to be held also at the Dubai Autodrome during Spring/Autumn 2009, while four events have been plan ned for Spring/Autumn/Winter 2010. In the first test drive session held on Dec. 16, 2008, Bridgestone invit ed opinion leaders to experience POT ENZA Driving Lessons firsthand. During the event, the invitees were introdu ced to the right techniques of speed driv ing in the right environment, using the right tyre—POTENZA. The occasion cele brated POTENZA’s rich history in sports driving,

owing to its 20 years as the tyre of choice for almost all high-performance sports cars and its long exclusive associa tion as the official tyre supplier to FIA, Formula 1 World Championship. The driving experience for the invit ees began with a quick review on$ POT ENZA and why it is the tyre of choice for exclusive high-performance sports cars. Following this, a qualified instructor briefed them on safe driving techniques, racing disciplines and speed driving. They then wer e driven around the circuit for several dem o laps, before they were allowed to take the wheel and put theory into practice. Dur ing the course, the participants learnt to drive, bearing in mind the key per form ance factors for sports driving: stab ility, precision, response and informa tion. “Sports driving requires you to take

complete control of your vehicle. To master sports driving, one mus t first have a true knowledge of its pra ctice. The main objective of POTENZA Driving Lessons is to maximize driving plea sure in a safe environment with profess ional guidance. It is a must-do experie nce made possible by a great tyre, great circuit, and great instructor,”, says Shu ji Itasaka, general manager for Marketing & Business Development, Bridgestone Middle East & Africa FZE, Dubai. POTENZA is Bridgestone’s line of sports tyres. Over 20 years ago, Porsch e began equipping its cars with POTENZ A as original equipment. Ferrari, Lam borghini, AstonMartin, and other leading marks soon followed suit, confirming POTENZ A as the tyre of choice for almost all exc lusive highper formance sports cars. Car Xpress February 2009 19

news feature

Gulf Bike Expo 2009 3-day lollapalooza of all things two wheels By Jojo Dass Editor

Once again, the UAE takes global centerstage as leading companies in the motorbike industry, local biking clubs, top musical performers and an estimated 20,000 people gravitate to the Dubai Festival City on March 19 for a three-day lollapalooza of all things two wheels. To be showcased in the event dubbed, Gulf Bike Expo 2009, are the latest in motorbikes, ATVs, apparel, accessories, custom-designed bikes and motorcycle-related products of major international brands from Europe, the USA, Canada, Italy and Japan. Coinciding with Harley Davidson’s 4th Annual Dubai Bike Week to be held at the same venue, the shindig is a guaranteed galvanic blast, with professional stuntmen doing acts bordering on the chimerical; and thundering, crackerjack two-wheelers blinging for the biking dilettantes and cognoscentis to take zestful pleasure in. Local and international bands put together by Live Nation will also be performing at this celebration of the motorcycle’s evolution, as fashion shows and bike movies run throughout the day with that ubiquitous waft of barbecue hanging thick in the air at the festival grounds. Christopher Hudson, managing director of Middles East Communications & Forums, a Dubai-based company internationally recognized as a leading pioneer of businessto-business (B2B) exhibitions and which

20 February 2009 Car Xpress

organized the event, says there could be no better place in the Middle East to hold Gulf Bike Expo 2009 than in Dubai. “Dubai and the UAE are renowned for some of the world’s most successful exhibitions and events. The UAE is the gateway to the Middle East. The UAE acts as the natural epicenter for import and export to the rest of the region, a natural trading hub. Therefore, Dubai is the ideal location for such a show,” Hudson tells Car Xpress. He adds, “We have from a trade show perspective, Cityscape for Real Estate, Arab Health for Health, The Big 5 for Construction, Gitex for computers. We have, as a region, one of the world’s leading international Boat Shows. Gulf Bike Expo will become a major global consumer and trade bike show for the whole of the region.” Obviously upbeat about this first-ever Middle East bike show, Hudson says the event will soon become an annual date on the global biking calendar. “In line with the strategic plans of Dubai and the UAE, Gulf Bike Expo will rightfully take its place as one of the worlds leading bike exhibitions. It will raise awareness on a regional level for bike safety both on and off road; it will have a further impact on environmental issues and ultimately will raise

awareness. The Middle East in general has one of the world’s most perfect environments for bikes and the show will further support this status,” Hudson says. The UAE bike market, according to Hudson, is estimated be worth US$100 million a year with steady growth of around 25% year on year. “Quite simply, it is one of the fastest growing markets in the world for bikes, ATVs, offroad bikes, accessories, clothing and associated products,” Hudson says. On the regional level, according to him, GCC’s bike market is worth some US$1 billion a year. Concept for the bike expo has been in the market for a while, Hudson says, with bike companies already exhibiting within motor shows. “We began reaching out to the market in September 2008, engaging with the key manufacturers and distributors internationally and within the region such as Kawasaki, Aprillia, Suzuki, Yamaha, BMW,

KTM, Ducati, Triumph, Harley Davidson, Buell, Confederate and many more. “We worked closely with the key players to ensure that we put together an industry led event and one that reflects the growth and changes in the region. This of course then enabled us to attract additional international companies and some of the big global custom-made bike companies such as Zeel and Scorpion from Canada and the US respectively. The festival is attracting a great deal of attention and we will continue to engage with the whole industry right up until and during the show,” Hudson says. Certainly, organizing a three-day, regional event like the Gulf Bike Expo 2009, is an Olympian task not for spiffy people used to doing things perfunctorily. Says Hudson, “The Gulf Bike team did this very much the old fashioned way! We began by speaking in person to visitors, bike clubs, sports clubs and or buyers to shape the show. This was followed by close consultation with the industry both regionally and internationally. It’s an old fashioned approach but really there is no substitute for speaking and engaging with your core market. We now have a solid platform to further build and develop the festival and again it has very much become an industry event.” He says industry leaders threw in their support right at the onset. “We are delighted with the industry support for the show. We have most of the world’s major manufacturers and distributors of bikes, off road, bikes, ATVs street bikes and custom bikes. The show is a who’s who of the industry with leading regional and international companies.The show would not have been possible without the support of the industry,” Hudson says.

luxury car

The new XF heralds the beginning of a new era for Jaguar

22 February 2009 Car Xpress

Car Xpress February 2009 23

Challenging convention and setting its own rules, the new Jaguar XF fuses the style and performance of a sports car with the refinement, space and sophistication of a luxury saloon. This is the beginning of a new era for Jaguar. The new XF: A dramatic expression of a bold new Jaguar design language, with a driving experience that exceeds expectations created by the striking appearance—relaxed and confident, with outstanding ability and control. Resolutely true to the Jaguar philosophy of creating beautiful, fast cars, the XF goes further, adding a new dimension to the mark. The four-door XF has the visual excitement of a coupe, but room inside for five adults to enjoy an interior wholly contemporary in style yet uniquely Jaguar. As well as space, the new XF’s interior ambience is enriched by crafted, luxurious materials,

24 February 2009 Car Xpress

sophisticated instruments and calm interior mood lighting. Engineering excellence and attention to detail mean the XF’s interior matches the best-in-class for refinement, while Jaguar’s intelligent use of technology and driverfriendly Touch-screen controls add new layers of comfort and ease of use. Every XF model has shift-by-wire transmission control, with Jaguar’s class-leading sequential shift system – its popularity already confirmed by feedback from XK sports car customers – used for the first time in a saloon. Shift-by-wire replaces manual shift linkages with electronic commands and gives every XF rapid and very smooth gearshifts – faster, even, than the acclaimed XK’s transmission. The Jaguar Sequential Shift™ System gives the driver the option of one-touch

manual gearchange control via steeringwheel mounted paddles. There are also multiple JaguarDrive Control™ transmission modes, including Dynamic and Winter settings, which interact with throttle progression, Dynamic Stability Control thresholds and shift strategy to match mood and conditions.

Intuitive control But the most exciting feature of the XF’s transmission control is the all-new JaguarDrive Selector™ – an industryfirst rotary shift interface that combines precise, intuitive control with space-saving packaging, to allow maximisation of interior storage options. Other innovative functional features add more surprise and

Car Xpress February 2009 25

delight. Air-conditioning vents present a flush dashboard surface until the ignition is switched on, at which point they elegantly rotate to the open position. Another new technology - JaguarSense™ - introduces touch or proximity-sensing control for overhead console lights and the glovebox release. Every level of audio system features at least eight speakers, with a premium system designed in association with highly respected 26 February 2009 Car Xpress

audio specialist Bowers & Wilkins available on range-topping models. Radio options now include a Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) system and Sirius Satellite Radio for the North American market, while the XF technology count includes Bluetooth® communications technology, plus optional iPod® and MP3 player connectivity with fullfunction control through the Touch-screen – and an auxiliary port on every car for other portable audio devices.

Other available features include JaguarVoice™ control to operate audio and telephone functions, Blind Spot Monitor, Front and Rear Parking Aids and Rear Camera Parking Aid, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Speed Limiter, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System and Electronic Parking Brake. Mick Mohan, XF Chief Programme Engineer comments: “The interior of the XF is a combination of style and substance. It

bristles with innovative, industry-leading features. From the smart technical solution of the JaguarDrive Selector™, through the seamless efficiency of rotating vents, to the simplicity of Touch-screen control, the XF proves aesthetics and function can work together in perfect harmony.” Engineering excellence Engineering excellence and class-leading structural rigidity are at the heart of the new XF’s construction. The advanced

body structure, which comprises hightech materials and new-generation design techniques, maximises strength and minimises weight to give the XF superb performance, refinement and efficiency across its range of V6 and V8 engines. These engines include the quietest diesel engine in its class and a supercharged V8 that delivers outstanding levels of performance. The new XF is best in class for torsional stiffness, and with a wide rear track displays

excellent handling characteristics. These elements underpin a dynamic ethos that is driver-focussed yet supremely comfortable and refined. Just as its looks promise, the new XF excels across the board, in every role from a sports car to a luxurious longdistance cruiser. Awards The Jaguar XF has won “Best Luxury Car” and “Best Diesel” at the 2008 Scottish Car of the Year Awards, as voted for by the Car Xpress February 2009 27

28 February 2009 Car Xpress

The most exciting feature of the XF ’s transmission control is the all-new JaguarDrive Selector™ – an industry-first rotary shift interface that combines precise, intuitive control with space-saving packaging, to allow maximisation of interior storage options.

Association of Scottish Motoring Writers (ASMW). Bill Caven, ASMW president, said: “The new Jaguar XF is an extremely impressive beast in more ways than one. It not only looks strikingly different from anything currently on the market but has all the classic Jaguar qualities of luxury, refinement and power. “The entire judging panel was left mesmerised by this magnificent machine and it is a worthy winner in both the luxury and diesel categories.” Geoff Cousins, UK managing director for Jaguar commented: “It’s always great to receive such recognition within the industry, particularly in Scotland which continues to be a significant market for us. “Our eight Scottish dealers have sold more than 500 XFs since launch, contributing to the UK’s total of 7,500 units. Worldwide, we have sold 27,000 XFs meaning Jaguar is currently ‘bucking the trend’ as overall sales were up 3.4% in September and 10.3% year-to-date.” Jaguar’s Scottish born Design Director Ian Callum attended the award ceremony in St. Andrews. He said: “It is always an honour to receive recognition from the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers and I feel very proud to have led the team that designed the award-winning XF. “We are creating a new generation of cars that started with XK – ASMW ‘Car of the Year’ winner in 2006 – and now continues with the XF, a four door saloon that has the heart and soul of a sports car and the looks of a grand tourer.” These latest accolades from the ASMW bring the tally of awards to 19 for the XF since its global debut in Frankfurt last year. More recently, a panel of female judges named the XF ‘Best Executive Car’ in the 2008 honours.  The XF is available with a choice of engines – 3.0 litre V6; 2.7 litre twinturbocharged V6 diesel; 4.2 litre V8; 4.2 litre supercharged V8 – and specification. All XFs have a six-speed automatic transmission which features Jaguar Sequential Shift™, allowing drivers the option of one-touch manual gearshift using steering wheel-mounted paddle controls.

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30 February 2009 Car Xpress


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city car

Infiniti’s most seductive car so far

32 February 2009 Car Xpress

A rare event among coupĂŠ convertibles.

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What could possibly epitomize charm and seduction better than Infiniti’s G37 Convertible? First internationally showcased at the 2008 LA Auto Show, the G37 has a rare “dual beauty” three-piece folding metal roof designed to look cool with the top up as it does down; a 320PS, 3.7-litre V6 with choice of 6MT and 7AT transmissions; a Bose® open air sound system; an adaptive dual zone climate control system and climatecontrolled seats; a unique exterior and interior trim options; and a standard rear parking camera and wind break. All this makes the G37 Infiniti’s most seductive car yet—the latest expression of inspired performance and beautiful styling that makes for a rare event among coupé convertibles. The G37 Convertible offers an all-new design from the A-pillar back compared to the G37 Coupé, with extensive structural reinforcements, a wider rear track, modified rear suspension and a special convertiblefocused interior with rear pop-up bar and available headrest audio speakers, wind deflector and climate controlled front seats. The engine is backed by a choice of an electronically controlled seven-speed automatic transmission with magnesium paddle shifters or a responsive close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. The G37 Convertible maintains a coupé-like silhouette with the top up through use of

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a special three-piece clamshell retractable hardtop, which allows for use of a shorter rear overhang and low boot lid. Compared to G Coupé, the G37 Convertible utilises all-new body panels from the A-pillar back, along with a 28mm wider overall width, broader rear track and modified rear suspension. The automatic top opening/closing sequence takes approximately 30 seconds from start to finish. The open/close switch is located on the centre console, just behind the gearshift lever. Along with its G Coupé-like proportions, the G37 Convertible offers signature Infiniti styling cues such as flowing front curves, a wave-style aluminum bonnet, expressive front face with double-arch grille and L-shaped High-Intensity Discharge (HID) bixenon headlights with integrated fog lamps. At the rear, the taillights are unique to the G37 Convertible, incorporating an inner ‘circle of light’ for added distinction at night. The chrome rear boot-lid finisher incorporates both an integrated high-mount brake-light and the small camera for the standard parking monitor system. Infiniti’s advanced self-healing Scratch Shield paint is standard with two G37 Convertible-exclusive colours, Midnight Garnet and Pacific Sky. The interior design combines sophistication, craftsmanship and thoughtfulness with unique, available systems created to enhance the open-air

driving experience. The driver-oriented cockpit features an Infiniti signature ‘double wave’ instrument panel design with Infiniti electroluminescent instrumentation with white-and-violet illumination, integrated multi-function information drive computer display and analogue Infiniti clock. The double hand-stitched leather-covered steering wheel is designed for maximum comfort and usability, with standard wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. Genuine magnesium paddle shifters are standard for the 7-speed automatic transmission. Special ‘Silk Obi’ aluminium interior trim, inspired by fine Japanese silk, is located across the instrument panel, on the centre console and on the door panels in a shape redolent of Japanese spears. Also available are two choices of genuine wood trim. Leather-upholstered seating is standard and is offered in three colours shared with the Coupé – Graphite (black), Wheat and Stone – and a fourth that will be unique to the Convertible. Heated 8-way power driver/8-way front passenger seats are standard, with climatecontrolled seats (with heating and cooling functions) available as an option. A power walk-in device with position memory provides easy access to the 2nd row seats (the front seats move forward automatically at the touch of a button to allow passengers into the rear seats). A rear wind deflector helps reduce wind turbulence when the top is down.

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The G37 Convertible’s long list of comfort and convenience features includes standard Infiniti Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition and an Adaptive Dual Zone Climate Control System includes an advanced air conditioning system that adjusts to provide optimal comfort with the top up or down. Two audio systems are available, starting with a standard 6-speaker AM/FM/6CD system with MP3 playback capability, Radio Data System (RDS) and centre consolemounted auxiliary input plus 7-inch colour display. The second option is a 13-speaker Infiniti Bose® open air sound system that automatically optimises EQ settings for open/closed top positions. The system’s special Bose® Personal Headrest Speakers, mounted in the front seat headrests, enable superior front audio quality regardless of the top position. Liberating Dynamic Performance Like the G Coupé and G Sedan, the new G37 Convertible’s outstanding dynamic performance credentials start with a combination of its advanced FM platform and award-winning V6 engine. Every G37 Convertible comes equipped with a standard 3.7-litre V6 engine with VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift), rated at 320PS. The VVEL system combines hydraulicallycontrolled variable valve timing and electronically controlled variable valve lift on the intake side, helping to improve

36 February 2009 Car Xpress

not only performance and response but also emissions and fuel efficiency (over a non-VVEL system). It also provides cleaner emissions by allowing for quicker warm-up of the catalyst and by stabilising combustion when the engine is cool. The G37 Convertible is available with a choice of an electronically controlled 7-speed automatic transmission with manual mode, downshift rev matching, Drive Sport (DS) mode and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) that allows for quicker shifts in sporty driving situations and magnesium paddle shifters; or a responsive, lightweight close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission. The G37 Convertible’s responsive handling and ride performance is provided by its advanced FM (Front Mid-ship) platform design, which optimises front/rear weight balance and creates a rigid, stable foundation for the 4-wheel independent suspension. The front suspension is a double wishbone design, with a single pivot lower wishbone and a long upper link. The multilink rear suspension separates the shock absorbers and springs, locating the shock absorber in-line with the wheel centre. These designs help minimise alignment changes and reduce suspension friction for nimble handling and smooth riding characteristics. Responsive steering is provided by a vehicle-speed-sensing system. Also standard

on the G37 Convertible is Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with cancel switch and Traction Control System (TCS). Braking performance is provided by standard 4-wheel vented discs with 4-channel, 4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. The G37 Convertible will also be available with larger ventilated rotors (14.0-inch front/13.8-inch rear) and aluminium four-piston callipers front/two-piston callipers rear, embossed with Infiniti lettering. Infiniti’s Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) with Brake Assist, which helps in maintaining a consistent following distance from the car ahead, will be optional. It also identifies sudden braking situations with laser sensors to determine distance and relative speed of the car ahead in the same lane and ‘prepressurises’ the Brake Assist system before the driver steps on the brake pedal. Split 5-spoke 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with P225/50VR18 front and P245/45R18 rear tyres are standard on the G37 Convertible, while special 19-inch cast aluminum-alloy wheels with high performance tyres (P225/45WR19 front and P245/40WR19 rear) will be optional. The rear seat includes fixed head restraints with a rear pop-up bar. The G37 Convertible also features reinforced front side members, front pillars and body sills.

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38 February 2009 Car Xpress

Specifications Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Acceleration Top speed

3.7-litre (3,696 cc) V6, alloy block and heads. 320 hp @ 7,000 rpm 360 Nm @ 5,200 rpm 6-speed manual & 7-speed automatic 0-100kph in 5.8 secs 250 kph

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concept car

40 February 2009 Car Xpress

A taste of things to come

Suzuki expose their dynamic Kizashi concept Kizashi is Japanese for “prelude” or “foretaste,” and this concept represents what Suzuki’s says is their “passion for challenges, its future direction and the competitive strength that is unique to the company.”

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First revealed at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Kizashi concept illustrates Suzuki’s progress toward developing a new D-segment entry. Suzuki is primarily known in the compact car and sport utility vehicle segments and the Kizashi opens up a whole new range of possibilities for the carmaker enabling it to respond to ever-changing customer demands and expectations and diverse lifestyles. The design theme for the Kizashi is “a dynamic athlete in motion.” In creating the Kizashi, Suzuki made a particular effort to express the car’s prowess as a “highway standout” with large wheels and wide treads, expressing a capacity for high performance. From the front it looks like something straight out of a futuristic Stallone movie, with the bonnet shape suggests abundant engine power, while its aerodynamic stance enables the car to cut through the air while firmly gripping the road. Suzuki says their “Way of Life!” brand promise translates into this new sedan based on five principles: “straightforwardness”, “value”, “sportiness”, “spirit” and “excitement”. Although the Kizashi looks anything but straightforward it has definite sports, spirit and excitement DNA. Suzuki sees its development as a three stage strategy, with the third stage focusing on “status” as a sign of the maturity of the brand, and this is embodied by Kizashi’s entry in the D-segment. It illustrates a high degree of status by featuring an appealing blend of cabin roominess, graceful styling, dynamism, character and a passionate spirit matched to Suzuki’s user-centered functionality and performance engineering.

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From the front it looks like something straight out of a futuristic Stallone movie

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sports car

Dr. Ing.’s latest ragtop is perfectly suited to sun, city and sexiness There’s no mistaking the vibrato thrum of a flatsix Porsche engine resonating off walls, glass or rock as it accelerates into the distance. The advantage of the 911 S Cabriolet is that, with the top down, you can enjoy the open air symphony along with everyone else.

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The Carrera has always looked unique: slim arched bonnet (trunk) sitting between pronounced ogling headlamps set into distinctive wings, and then a simple flowing doortop crease which opens out onto the rear wheel arches. It has to be said that the 911 isn’t the prettiest of sports cars, especially the cabriolet whose roof only seems to make the car look more squat and emphasize the bumble-bee bottom rear end where all the grunt and gubbins is housed. It definitely looks better with the top down where the simplicity of the shape becomes reminiscent of a delicate shoe. Of course, any rear-engined Porsche will always have that awkward rear overhang and there is only so little space into which you

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can cram 3.8-litres and 355bhp of wallop. But whereas the 911s of yesteryear were infamous for their pendulous tail which would swing out if you sneezed and which drew enthusiastic survivors together in the same way that a stubborn old rodeo bull might do, technology has stepped in to pull everything inline, even when you are deliberately trying to get ‘squiffy’. Lower centre of gravity, greater torsional stiffness, improved aerodynamics, more rubber on tarmac, better active damper control, Porsche Active Suspension Management, and a compact aluminium boxer engine and either 6-speed manual or 5-speed auto Tiptronic gearbox all serve to create a better balance between front and rear weight distribution.

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Performance art The result brings a smile to your face every time you turn in. The 911 is now very predictable when cornering, and it takes a lot to find its limit – most drivers will lose their ‘bottle’ before the car starts to seriously oversteer. This makes for a very exciting and exhilarating drive. With 0-100kph times purportedly around 5 seconds – although with all the gadgets switched to ‘fast’ we could only manage around 6 – the Carrera S is no slouch, especially with a top speed of over 290kph. With the top down that must feel like being inside a hoover. Although the main difference is, quite obviously, that a hoover doesn’t have a racing style five-pot instrument cluster where the rev counter takes pride of place with a digital speed read-out positioned

50 February 2009 Car Xpress

just below. A hoover also doesn’t feature an analogue stopwatch mounted centre dash for lap timing, or body hugging racestyle adaptive sports leather seats with adjustable lumbar support and bolstering for both upper body and thighs, or a BOSE Surround Sound system with 12 speakers, or beautifully finished interior appointments made from complementary leather, quality plastics and metal trim. I’m not sure I would necessarily choose the silver metal steering wheel, although it does complement the other metallic elements such as the tubular cut away door handles, vents surrounds and dash trim. While the front seats are roomy with enough adjustment to comfortably accept a six-footer, the 911 is not, as the literature would have you believe, a 2+2. The rear benches

separated by the transmission tunnel have no padding, no legroom and have 90 degree upright seatbacks. Your most hardened pet bull mastiff would find it claustrophic, so don’t expect your children to love you after even the shortest of shopping trips. Track quality And if you are going shopping, it might be best to stick to condensed soups and dried noodles, because even though the front trunk does hold 135 litres, the over all storage is significantly less than many of its front-engined hatchback competitors. But if you are going to use your Carrera S to pick up the groceries, you’ve bought the wrong car. If, on the other had, you’re going to use it for the daily highway commute and as a weekend track-day car, then it’ll be

money well spent. The Carrera feels more like a track car that has been adapted for everyday road use rather than the other way round, and the cabriolet is no less aerodynamic than the coupe. It also has plenty of gadgets to make your performance driving more rewarding. The Sport mode not only adjusts the engine mapping and gearshifts to make maximum use of the Boxer’s power band, but it also hardens the suspension to reduce body roll for improved road-holding. As part of the optional Sports Package you also get the dash top chronograph and digital stopwatch linked to the onboard Porsche Communication Management computer, allowing you to measure lap times, save and evaluate your results. If you choose to flick the gear lever to

Manual, the steering wheel shift buttons offer slick and forgiving changes and allow for controlled selection and engine braking both on and off the circuit. If you prefer to stay in Auto then you might be occasionally disappointed under rolling acceleration as the gearbox doesn’t always kick down as quickly as you might want, even in Sport mode. Safe haven On the whole, the Carrera S is a taut and racy drive. In fact, the character of the car is such that it is actually difficult to relax. It is more pronounced in the cosseting cabin of the coupe and that is the advantage of the cabriolet – there is something about having the wind in your hair that ‘chills you out’. And there is nothing quite as relaxing as knowing that your car is engineered for

outstanding safety. Four-piston swing calliper brakes all-round grip 13-inch vented highperformance discs with optional 13.8-inch ceramic discs. Passive safety measures include six airbags: driver and passenger frontal head and thorax, as well as cushionshaped head airbags in the door sills specially designed for an open top car and featured by Porsche for the first time as standard. In the extremely unlikely event that your Carrera should go belly up on the move, the cabriolet features two high-strength steel tubes in the A-pillars and two roll-bars which automatically raise in a split second from behind the two ‘rear seats’ while pre-tensioners in the sporty scarlet seatbelt mechanism grip the occupants firmly in their seats. The most difficult decision you will have with the Carrera is which variant to buy.

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special car

52 February 2009 Car Xpress

This pure racing-bred, special sports car is one of the world’s best loved motoring icons

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Caterham’s famous Superlight family is now complete with a new generation of its Superlight R300. The Caterham is the original British lightweight sportscar. Created by legendary F1 World Championship constructor Colin Chapman, and launched as the Lotus 7 in 1957, the low mass of the car makes it inherently agile, gives startling performance, and most of all, imbues the driving experience with an unparalleled sense of purity, control and reward. It is one of the world’s best loved motoring icons. Following in the rear tyre tracks of the motorsport-derived R400 and R500, the

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latest Seven punches from 0-to-60mph in 4.5 seconds courtesy of a new 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine, tuned by Caterham Powertrain (CPT) to deliver a responsive 175bhp. Originally launched in 2002 and fitted with a Rover engine, the previous R300 was Caterham’s best-selling Seven—thanks to an addictive character fuelled by its perfect blend of performance and driving pleasure. The new Ford-powered model builds on this platform with increased engine performance and chassis developments, all whilst retaining the R300’s winning personality. The latest 515kg interpretation of Colin Chapman’s famous “lightweight minimalist”

philosophy beautifully balances power and chassis to perfection, delivering an impressive 339bhp-per-tonne. Among many developments, the new R300 benefits from styling cues and technical evolutions first seen on its big brother—the explosive Superlight R500 – with the addition of a similar flush button dash design and keyless ignition system, fitted as standard. Hardened enthusiasts will also be able to add Stack data logging instrumentation, a dry sump oil system and, for track-day regulars, a limited slip differential. Translated through Caterham’s proven 6-speed gearbox, the 2.0-litre powerplant’s 175bhp and 139 lbs-ft of torque is able to

spin the R300’s bespoke Avon CR500-shod Superlight aluminum wheels to a top speed of 140mph. With more power, more torque and more immediacy, the Superlight R300 will start delivery in spring this year. In the GCC meantime, Caterham has appointed GulfSport Racing as its official dealer. With increasing global demand, Caterham exports more than half of its UK production to enthusiast drivers around the world. Many of these hand-built two seat sportscars are high performance racing versions destined for championships in 11 countries. Dubai based GulfSport Racing ( www.Gulf- ) specialises in British sportscars and owns the region’s leading sportscar race series, the Gulf Radical Cup. Managing Director, Barry Hope said, “The Seven has been the must-have quintessential British lightweight road legal sportscar for as long as I can remember. It’s the ultimate antidote to all the stresses and strains of modern life. Interestingly, we were approached by both Caterham and existing Seven owners in Dubai to consider representing them here. “It wasn’t a difficult decision and I’m confident it will contribute to the development of a new generation of young

racing drivers as it has in other countries.” Hope added “Most Caterham drivers like to enter competitive driving competitions. They certainly won’t be disappointed. The Dubai Autodrome ( runs both an auto test and a sprint series and is now looking at allowing Caterham drivers to compete in the national race series.” According to Hope, the Bahrain International Circuit ( offers their “Caterham Xtreme” track driving experience. He said GulfSport hires the Dubai race circuit on a regular basis for exclusive customer testing.

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Specifications Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Acceleration Top speed

2.0-litre Caterham Powertrain (CPT) Duratec 175hp @ 7000rpm 139lbs-ft @ 6000rpm NA 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds 140mph

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sports car

Maserati GranTurismo S Sporty look and that menacing deep, throaty growl


he GranTurismo S is the ultimate expression of the Trident coupÊ’s sportiness. The new interpretation of the perfect balance between sportiness and comfort shifts the emphasis onto performance and driving enjoyment.

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The new 440hp V8 4.7 litre engine, electro-actuated gearbox with fast MC Shift, transaxle layout, sporty exhaust and brakes made with dual-cast technology make the GranTurismo S the new flagship for Maserati sporting flair, with acceleration from 0 to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds and a maximum speed of 183 mph, the highest ever reached by a standard production Maserati. The compact and lightweight 4.7 litre V8 engine develops its maximum power output of 440hp at 7,000 rpm and its peak torque of 490Nm at 4,750 rpm. It features a high specific power output and more torque at lower speeds, with a fantastic dynamic capacity to reduce and increase the revs quickly, typical of racing engines. The increase in power output and torque has not affected the versatility of the power unit, which continues to be highly flexible and responsive in all driving situations. The power unit sounds deep and throaty, but the exhaust valve pneumatic control can also be activated to make it discrete and comfortable. An electro-actuated 6-speed gearbox is paired with the 4.7 litre V8 engine. It features MC-Shift software which harnesses the new engine’s power output, ensures gearshift speed and quality and represents a point of reference for the entire sports car range.

The engine and gearbox on the Maserati GranTurismo S are arranged in the transaxle layout, typical of highperformance sports cars: the technological DNA of all Maseratis. The front-mounted engine and the gearbox, located to the rear, are rigidly connected by a tubular element containing the driveshaft. This solution gives excellent weight distribution, 47% over the front axle and 53% over the rear axle, which translates into excellent driving dynamics and top performance. Looking through the spokes of the new 20” rims on the GranTurismo S, the highperformance braking system developed in collaboration with Brembo is instantly recognisable. The system features front brake discs made with dual-cast technology — a dual casting of cast iron and aluminium, paired with aluminium mono-bloc 6-piston brake callipers. This technology, introduced for the first time in the automotive field on the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S, unveiled at the 2007 Frankfurt Motorshow, optimizes the braking system’s performance, by emphasizing pedal feel and increasing resistance to fading, even in the most extreme conditions. From behind the wheel, the Maserati GranTurismo S feels taut and compact, thanks to the suspension layout developed specifically to support the new weight

distribution. Vehicle roll has been reduced significantly as a result of the modified springs, bars and dampers, and this has benefited handling and performance.

Exterior The exterior of the Maserati GranTurismo S is characterised by a number of aesthetic modifications that, although discrete, are highly effective and make the car body appear sportier without abandoning the sleekness of the lines masterfully designed by Pininfarina. The spoiler, integrated in the boot lid, and the new-design side skirts help to improve the flows around the car. On top of that, the Maserati GranTurismo S boasts new specially designed 20” rims, inspired by the Trident, Maserati’s symbol. The sporty look is complemented by the generously proportioned oval-section exhaust tailpipes, the grille and black headlamp parabola; the Trident on the grille and the Saetta logo on the “C” pillar are decorated with red prongs, following the tradition of Maserati race cars.

Interior The interior, upholstered in Poltrona Frau leather and Alcantara (used for the steering wheel and centre of the seat with the option of extending it to the whole of the

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headlining), reflects the sporty flair of the Maserati GranTurismo S; the figure-hugging front and rear seats are distinguished by their new dynamic design with horizontal piping on the seats and seatbacks. As an alternative to the standard leather/ Alcantara trim, interiors are also available in Poltrona Frau leather, for customers wanting a more classic flavour. Full-grain Peccary leather is also available, for a sportier, yet refined look and high lateral containment. The same extensive range of materials and colours available for the GranTurismo applies to the Maserati GranTurismo S: there’s a choice for standard interior trim between “Alu Grey” and “Smoked Quartz”, while three types of wood (Rosewood, Walnut and Tanganyika) and five varnished hues (Black Piano, Rosso Sigillo, Blu Laque, Bianco Ice and Giallo Decoro) are available as optional extras. There is even more. Dashboard and door panels/rear sides can also be upholstered in AluTex, an aluminiumcoated fibreglass fabric with a hi-tech, modern look. What makes AluTex so special is the autoclave process it undergoes during

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manufacturing — a fine powder of pure metal is applied to the surface giving fibres an unusual brilliance and three-dimensional effect.

The sporty exhaust The Maserati GranTurismo S gives a voice to its 440 HP with a special sporty exhaust system, designed to emphasise the deep throaty growl of the new V8 engine, and provide the level of on-board comfort expected from a granturismo. The steel exhaust system consists of two exhaust lines, one for each bank of cylinders, compensated with a central silencer. Two pneumatic valves, controlled electronically by the engine control unit and operated by the driver through the “Sport” button on the centre dashboard, are fitted close to the two rear silencers. In normal conditions the valves are closed forcing the exhaust gases along a long and tortuous route so that they lose their energy and are emitted outwards with very little noise. This all changes when the “Sport” button is pressed: the valves which were initially closed, open up through a pneumatic control and the flow of exhaust gases is channelled down a route that leads directly

to the outside. This provides enthusiasts with a distinctive resonance. In aesthetic terms, the modified design of the two exhausts with dual oval chrome tailpipes make the new system instantly recognisable. As on all Maserati models, the Maserati GranTurismo S adopts an exhaust system with metallic rather than ceramic catalysers. This solution reduces the density of the cells inside the catalysers and as a result lessens the section resistant to exhaust gas flow.

Electro-actuated transmission An electro-actuated transmission, is state of the art in its respective segment, is fitted to the Maserati GranTurismo S in order to harness the greater power output of the new V8 4.7 and provide a heightened driving experience. In technical terms, the electro-actuated gearbox fitted to the Maserati GranTurismo S, incorporates a dry twin-plate clutch and 6 ratios (plus reverse), with triple-cone synchronizers on 1st and 2nd, and dual cone on the other gears.

The dual-plate clutch is a solution derived from the world of motor racing and brings various benefits to sports cars: the reduced dimensions of the clutch unit (Ø 215 mm), and the small-diameter flywheel (Ø 240 mm), keep the weight of the unit down significantly, and clearly reduce the power unit’s total inertia compared to a singleplate system. This type of arrangement allows the top engine speed to be reached more easily, and results in a more immediate gearbox response, quicker gear changes and, finally, improved driving dynamics. The hydraulic control is managed by the control unit through the paddles integral with the steering column, the layout of which is highly ergonomic and effective in extreme driving conditions, as amply demonstrated. The paddles on the steering wheel of the GranTurismo S, just like those on all the other Maserati models, differ from the systems used by other manufacturers in that they are integral with the steering wheel column. This solution means that the driver never has to take his/her hands off the wheel, and so has better control of the vehicle. Thanks

to the excellent ergonomic layout of the paddles it is possible to change gear with a simple flick of the fingers. This improves safety, particularly on winding routes, and offers a more enjoyable driving experience. “Hill Holder” device and Electric Parking Brake (EPB) The Maserati GranTurismo S is equipped with a “Hill Holder” function, which aids the driver during hill starts. The device holds the car for a few seconds (the time varies depending on road incline), so that the driver has time to move his/her foot from the brake pedal to the throttle without the car moving. Like the model fitted with automatic

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transmission, the Maserati GranTurismo S is equipped with an Electric Parking Brake (EPB). This system, in addition to making handbrake actuation easier, means that the driver can forget all about activating/ deactivating the parking brake since it engages automatically when there is no engine power and deactivates when the accelerator pedal is pressed. In place of the traditional mechanical lever, the electric park brake can be switched on simply by activating an electric control located on the centre tunnel. Whenever the car has to be moved with the engine off, the automated switch may be disabled using the “Park off” button in the central portion of the dashboard.

Athletic look The Maserati GranTurismo S is recognisable on the outside due to a number of aesthetic details that really bring to the fore this model’s sporty credentials, without detracting from the elegance of the lines majestically designed by Pininfarina. The Maserati GranTurismo S is distinguished by the new-design side skirts, the rear spoiler integrated in the boot lid and the specially designed seven-spoke 20” rims. This instant recognition also extends to the opaque black grille (as against titanium on the GranTurismo); the same colour is applied to the interior parabola of the headlamps. As with all the sportiest cars, the Trident on the grille and the Saetta logo located in the “C” pillar are decorated with red prongs which match the colour of the brake callipers. The application of the side skirts and rear spoiler, which are, without a doubt, the most distinctive features of the Maserati GranTurismo S’s look, not only give the car a decidedly sportier and bolder appearance but were fine-tuned in the wind tunnel in order to increase the overall aerodynamic efficiency of the car. The side skirts help to streamline the flow of air towards the rear wheels, whilst the rear spoiler increases the car’s aerodynamic load at the rear, improving the balance between front and rear Cz. In order to emphasise the car’s handling qualities and dynamic performance, the Maserati GranTurismo S is fitted as standard with new-design 7-spoke 20” rims having distinctive spokes ending with a stylised trident. Car Xpress February 2009 63

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Specifications Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Acceleration Top speed

90-degree V8 440 HP @ 7,000 rpm 490 Nm @ 4,750 rpm 6-speed gearbox with hydraulic control 0 -62 mph in 4.93 secs 183 mph/295 kph

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company car concept profile

66 February 2009 Car Xpress

Before you start to dribble onto your shirt with automotive lust – no, you will never get your hands on this beauty. Sadly, the Holden Efijy won’t be made into a production model. Which begs only one question: Why not?

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God forbid we should ever start to drive around in cars that have real character, however eccentric that may be. Actually, two questions: Why place a thing of such beauty and temptation before us, only to whip it away from under our noses and deny us the possibility of ever experiencing it? Surely, the whole point of concept cars is to whet our appetites for what we have to look forward to in a few years time. Many of us never experienced the real design heyday of the ‘50s – the sweeping lines, the extravagant bodywork and the gasguzzling powerplants. We grew up with bland mass market metal boxes on wheels. The motor industry NEEDS cars like this – cars that inspire, that we feel emotionally bound to, that we would sell our granny for. Oh well, for now, sit back and enjoy….. The EFIJY is a radical pillarless custom coupe boasting V8 supercar power coveted under a voluminous bonnet, Chevrolet Corvette underbody and state-of-the-art automotive technology throughout.

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The ‘Soprano Purple’ paintwork highlights its curvaceous 5.2-metre body, reinterpreting the classic design cues of the iconic 1953 FJ Holden (top left, opposite page). It delivers retro, mumbo and gizmos in one glorious package. The technology matches the largerthan-life design cues with a 652bhp supercharged 6-litre V8 engine, airadjustable shock absorbers, touch control LCD screen and fan-cooled LED headlamps. Sadly, not intended for production, the EFIJY has been a passionate side project for some Holden Design team members otherwise dedicated to creating the all-new 2006 Commodore for the Australian market. A long-term dream for Chief Designer Richard Ferlazzo, EFIJY was developed as a collaboration with almost 20 suppliers in order to highlight the latest in mechanical, electronic and material products and ideas which would reduce impact on the company’s heavy work schedule and ensure the highest possible quality result for the showcar.

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concept car

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Engine: Max. power: Transmission: Extras:

6 litre GM LS2 V8 Supercharged 645bhp at 6400rpm 4-speed electronic auto with limited slip diff. Custom stainless steel 2.5-inch dual exhaust Height adjustable airbag suspension Billet aluminium wheels 381mm grooved and vented rotor brakes

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Simple upgrade or megabuck brand new installation? We give you the low-down on choosing the right parts for your in-car entertainment system The daily office commute has become more time-consuming than ever, which means we spend more time in our cars than ever before. Good thing if the drive is around the Eiffel Mountains and the famed ‘Ring, but it’s not. What we have here is the chaos on our city highways and the monotony of waiting at countless intersections and roundabouts. A good way to combat the resultant hair-pulling and road rage would be to slip in your favourite CD and soak up the music. Whether it’s classic jazz, boomy hip-hop or heart-stopping techno, common knowledge suggests that your favourite tracks act as stress busters.

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In-car audio entertainment has travelled a long way from simple radio tuners and tinny sounding speakers to glitzy LCD screens, MP3/DVD players and the ability to hook up your Playstations and iPods. Though many people are satisfied with the basic head unit and 4-speaker combo, there is actually a lot more to it. You might have often come across terms like component speakers, amplifiers, subwoofers, CD changers and so on. All these factors, when combined in the right

All in the Head Let’s take a peek into what makes a good head unit, what the features are that you should be looking for, and how to select one that’s right for you. First of all, we should identify what size fits our vehicle and the music format that we listen to most frequently. The standard opening that we find in the centre console of most cars uses the single DIN connector, while a smattering of newer cars come with a double DIN slot. Once you know which models will fit your vehicle, you’ll need to decide which features are most important on your in-dash CD receiver. For instance, if you have a huge collection of tapes and few CDs, it would be pointless going in for a CD/MP3 receiver. Of course, you can go in for a cassette receiver that can control a CD/MP3 changer, thereby enabling you the best of both worlds. Many options such as cassette receivers, CD/ cassette combos, MP3/CD combos, DVD/ CD combos and the like are available, and settling down on one shouldn’t be that much of a problem. In the case of digital music, it would be good to know what kind of discs to play. Most new CD receivers can play home-recorded audio CD-Rs, CD-RWs as well as CDs brought from stores. And an increasing number of CD receivers can, in addition to MP3s, playback WMA (Windows Media Audio) and AAC (Advanced Audio

way, reproduce sound that is rich, powerful and life-like. This is an impressive achievement, especially considering the fact that the acoustics of a car interior are way inferior from that of a living room, if not more controllable. Tastes and listening levels are different for different people – one man’s Megadeth may be another man’s BB King. In the following pages, we’ll look at how to choose and set up a system that’s perfect for you.

Coding) files. Many let you hook up your iPod and USB flash drives, while a few even feature integrated hard drives. Good specs For clean sound, go with a receiver that boasts a higher signal-to-noise ratio. Also, a receiver with a wider frequency response will have more detailed sound. These specs become especially noticeable when using component amplifiers, as the going gets loud. If you like tweaking the sound, many receivers come with some form of toneshaping, starting with simple bass and treble controls to complex equalizer controls for precise toning. Multi-band equalizers afford precision fine tuning while preset curves are good for easy, onetouch sound contouring. High power Today’s in-dash CD/cassette receivers all have built-in 4-way high power. When reviewing receivers be sure to check the RMS wattage, not the peak ratings. The former is a more truthful indication of a built-in amp’s real-world performance. For instance, if a salesman markets a head unit as having 200 watts, you can be pretty sure that it has a 50W x 4 rating, at peak power. The RMS wattage would come to around 17W x 4. Be sure to check it out before you buy.

Navigation and Search functions With around 200 songs in a single homeburned CD, you can go crazy trying to find a particular song. Even worse is the case with a portable music player where you have access to thousands of MP3 or WMA files. It’s important that we’re able to move quickly and intuitively from one folder to another and also find specific songs in a jiffy. Some receivers will skip from file to file, while others permit fast forward or fast reverse search through files and folders. Certain manufacturers offer rotary knobs that allow you to spin through titles quickly. Responsive AM/FM tuner Aftermarket AM/FM tuners often perform better than the ones that come pre-installed in our cars. As a rule of thumb, the lower the FM sensitivity spec, the better the reception. Preamp outputs The more, the better. Multiple sets of preamp outputs make it easier to install component amplifiers and subwoofers as and when needed. If you’re worried about someone nicking your expensive receiver, look for models with detachable faces or stealth-type faces that hide the receiver. Other options include built-in alarms, programmable security codes and ‘smartcards’ that must be inserted for the receiver to work. Car Xpress February 2009 75

Before buying, try listening to various makes and models, fiddle with the features and controls to make sure you’re comfortable with them and never let the salesman sell you on some useless feature that you’ll never use. And also be sure to go through the spec sheet.

Sound Check Tired of tinny, low quality music in the car? Replacing your factory-installed speaker is, by far, the easiest and most bang-for-the-buck way to upgrade your in-car audio system. They’ll make a difference that is immediately apparent; sound will be crisper and much more dynamic than the usual low-quality factory systems. Even while setting up a new system, utmost care should be given to choosing speakers because, in spite of having expensive head units and powerful amplifiers, sound quality will be pathetic if the speakers aren’t up to scratch. New-age speakers

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made from high-tech materials deliver the fine details, crystal clear highs and deep lows that you might have been missing from your original factory-installed ones. What are the features you should be looking at while choosing new speakers? What do components, co-axials and tweeters do? Let’s find out. While buying speakers, the obvious thing we should be looking at is size. Bigger speakers usually require the existing locations to be enlarged and that means drilling new mounting holes, cutting out bigger

holes in the parcel shelf, door panels etc. Try to go for speakers that fit in the existing locations or those which require the least amount of cutting and drilling. Speakers come in various sizes such as 4”, 5.25”, 6.5”, 6.75”, 4”x6”, 6”x8”, 6”x9” etc. Of these, the most commonly seen are the 6.5” size (round ones that are usually installed in the front door panel) and the 6”x9” size (ovals usually located in the rear parcel tray). Sensitivity This tells you how effectively the speaker converts power into volume or in other

words, how much sound it will produce from the power applied. If you have a low power head unit (like most factory-installed units) speakers with high sensitivity specs would be the best match. For instance, a speaker with a rating of 85dB will need 100 watts to reach a given volume, while another one with a higher rating 91dB will need only 25 watts to produce the same volume. Power handling This refers to how much power the speaker can handle. As mentioned earlier, be sure to check the RMS power handling and

not the peak value, as the former is a more real-life measure of how much power the speaker can handle on a continuous basis. Typically, with a low power system it’s not important that the speakers are capable of handling a lot of power. On the other hand, if you have a high power receiver or external amps hooked up, get speakers that have power handling ratings somewhat close to the output of the amplifiers. Full-range speakers or Components? The former is the more popular of the two as it is generally less expensive, allows

for easy and fuss-free installation and a better bet for the average audio enthusiast. Full-range speakers are able to reproduce the highs, mids and lows by virtue of having multiple drivers in a single basket. Each of these drivers is designed to accurately reproduce a specific segment of your music’s sound. The woofer is the speaker’s largest cone and is responsible for reproducing the lows, while the tweeter handles the highs. Mid-range drivers are dedicated to handling the mid-range frequencies, obviously. Most of them also have crossover circuits to ensure clean

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between the different frequencies sent to different drivers, so your woofer and tweeter don’t waste energy by trying to emulate frequencies they are not meant to reproduce, and consequently the result will be cleaner and more efficient sound reproduction. Component speakers, on the other hand, feature separate woofers and tweeters that can be placed independent of each other and external crossover networks for exceptionally dynamic and detailed sound. As equal path lengths are essential for good imaging, care should be taken to see that the woofer and

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the tweeter are placed as close together as possible so that the two drivers will function together as a single point source. Many component sets also let you swivel the tweeters so that the imaging can be further enhanced. Component speakers are usually more expensive than full-range speakers and require more time and patience in setting up, as improperly installed separates can, more or less, end up sounding like regular full-range speakers. Take your time finding out the perfect location that best suits your listening preferences.

What is ‘Imaging’? The accepted norm amongst many of us is to go for a good pair of ovals in the rear, with a pair of rounds in the front. While this set-up does provide for relatively good music, audiophiles would most likely be unhappy with it as the soundstage or the “imaging” of the sound would be far from accurate. While in the driver’s seat, we experience a form of side-biased listening - sound from the left front speaker will reach our ears faster than the ones on the right. For a natural and lifelike listening experience,

the path lengths between our ears and the speakers should not only be more or less equal, but unobstructed as well. What about rear speakers? Once you’ve made up your mind on the front speakers, it’s time to decide on what goes into the rear. While co-axials do not reveal a lot of high frequency detail, 5-way ovals do, and so the reason why choosing the rear speakers is entirely a matter of personal taste. Ideally, mids and highs should be handled by the front speakers, while the

rear speakers can be regular co-axials or low frequency drivers. The logic here is that if the rear speakers reproduce too much high frequency detail, they will tend to drag the stereo image to the rear of the vehicle, away from where you want it. But of course, this depends entirely on your listening preferences. Did you know…? Sound is influenced by materials that the woofer, tweeter and their surrounds are made of. Tweeters usually employ materials like

paper, silk, titanium and ceramic, while woofers are made of synthetics, composites or even treated paper. Paper is very light and more responsive than composites, which are more durable (an important feature, considering our generally hot and dusty climate). Top tip Make it a point to carry your favourite CDs along while checking out different types and brands of speakers. That way, you’ll be more likely to make a better choice. So put your listening skills to the test.

Car Xpress Feb 09  

Car Xpress Feb 2009 issue, by Kalimat Group International.

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