Chicago tech highlights by liwenting


									                                      Chicago tech highlights
                                      The 97th Chicago Auto Show featured a               Classified as “an exterior prototype”
                                      sweeping array of world debuts, includ-         by Don Esmond, Senior Vice President
                                      ing concept, production, and prototype          and General Manager of Toyota Motor
                                      vehicles.                                       Sales, the FJ Cruiser strays from the re-
                                         Toyota FJ Cruiser—With the first              lated concept SUV—shown at the 2003
                                      product reveal of the show, Toyota show-        North American International Auto Show
                                      cased the FJ Cruiser, a modern interpreta-      in Detroit—via dramatically downsizing
                                      tion of the company’s original FJ-series        the 35-in tires and nixing the front and
                                      Land Cruiser of the 1960s and 1970s.            rear winches. “Toyota’s goal was to main-
                                      The FJ Cruiser will ride on a modified ver-      tain the flare of the show concept with
                                      sion of the Toyota 4Runner chassis.             this prototype,” said Bruce Hunt, Product
                                                                                      Planner at Toyota Motor Sales, adding,
                                                                                      “The design is a huge departure from our
                                                                                      normal SUV.”
                                                                                          FJ Cruiser will have standard stability
                                                                                      and traction control as well as an anti-
                                                                                      lock braking system with electronic brake
                                                                                      force distribution and brake assist. An
                                                                                      automatic limited-slip differential will be
                                                                                      standard on 4x2 models. Optional equip-
                                                                                      ment will include 17-in aluminum alloy
                                                                                      wheels, rear differential lock, electronic
                                                                                      four-wheel traction control (4x4 models
                      Toyota’s FJ Cruiser has a preliminary towing capacity of 5000   only), rear sonar backup assist, front seat-
                      lb (2270 kg) and a 9.6-in (244-mm) ground clearance.
                                                                                      mounted side airbags, and front and rear
                                                                                      side-curtain airbags.
                                                                                          FJ Cruiser’s powerplant is the same 4.0-
                                                                                      L V6 engine offered on the 4Runner and
                                                                                      Tacoma, generating 245 hp (183 kW) and
                                                                                      282 lb·ft (382 N·m). For the FJ Cruiser, the
                                                                                      engine mates to a five-speed automatic
                                                                                      transmission on 4x2 and 4x4 models or an
                                                                                      optional six-speed manual on 4x4 models.
                                                                                          Rear access doors, wraparound rear
                                                                                      corner windows, and upright windshield
                                                                                      are among the exterior details. “The inte-
                                                                                      rior is unfinished, and there are still a few
                                                                                      features we haven’t yet confirmed,” said
                                                                                      Esmond. FJ Cruiser’s initial production
                                                                                      plans anticipate 40,000 units annually.
                                                                                      The 2007 vehicle will be in dealerships in
                                                                                      early 2006.
                                                                                          Dodge Nitro—If the concept Dodge
                                                                                      Nitro becomes a production reality, it will
                                                                                      mark a milestone as the first midsize SUV
                                                                                      for the brand. Nitro rides on the Jeep
                                                                                      Liberty platform, although the wheelbase
                                                                                      has been stretched 4 in (100 mm), and
                                                                                      the length gains about 5 in (125 mm)
                                                                                      because the Nitro does not feature a tail-
                      The 4115-lb (1870-kg) Dodge Nitro concept uses a V6
                                                                                      gate-mounted spare tire.
                      engine, and its interior features an instrument cluster
                      with electroluminescent lighting and a DVD-based                     Nitro was “crafted to spice things up
                      navigation radio.                                               in the midsize SUV market,” said Trevor

10 APRIL 2005   aei
The 2006 Mercury Mountaineer features 18-in aluminum wheels, side
mirrors with improved aerodynamic characteristics, a new liftgate with
flip-up glass, and an optional power-operated third-row seat that folds   The 2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab’s 145.2 ft3 (4110 L) of interior space
flatter.                                                                  includes the first reclining rear seats available in a pickup.

Creed, Senior Vice President of the              rear suspension, larger brakes, and up-         doors are opened/closed.
Chrysler Design Group. Riding on 20-in           graded steering with a new variable-flow              Mountaineer offers optional power-
cast aluminum wheels, the Nitro is fitted         steering pump.                                  folding 50:50 third-row split folding seat-
with an independent short/long arm front             Unlike the current Mountaineer’s two-       backs. “It’s new with this generation
suspension and a five-link solid rear axle.       valve V8 engine, the 2006 Mountaineer           Mountaineer,” said Brewer. Instead of an
It sports an integrated trailer tow hitch,       sports a 4.6-L three-valve powerplant           approximate 7° rise when seatbacks are
chrome dual exhaust tail pipes, and              with variable cam timing to produce 292         folded down, the new third-row seat-
brushed silver vents positioned on the           hp (218 kW) at 5750 rpm and 300 lb·ft           backs will have a “virtually zero” degree
front fenders. Full-time four-wheel drive        (407 N·m) at 4750 rpm. Compared to the          rise when folded. According to Brewer,
transmits the 3.7-L SOHC V6 engine’s             two-valve V8, the three-valver has a 22%        the resulting flatter load floor came about
210 hp (157 kW) at 5200 rpm and 235              gain in power and a more than 6% in-            via raising the third-row seating position
lb·ft (319 N·m) at 4000 rpm via a four-          crease in torque. The standard 4.0-L,           about 2 in (50 mm).
speed automatic transmission.                    SOHC, 16-valve V6 generates 210 hp                  Dodge Ram Mega Cab—Dodge un-
    Mercury Mountaineer—The next-                (157 kW) at 5100 rpm and 254 lb·ft (344         wrapped its Ram Mega Cab, which can
generation body-on-frame Mercury                 N·m) at 3700 rpm. In a Mercury brand            seat six adults. The Mega Cab is the result
Mountaineer brings with it a redesigned          first, the three-valve V8 engine will be         of re-proportioning the Ram 2500 cab
chassis, new V8 engine, and a re-sculpt-         matched to a six-speed (vs. five-speed)          and replacing the 8 ft (2.4 m) long box
ed interior. The SUV frame’s greater             automatic transmission.                         with a 6-ft, 3-in (1.9-m) box. “It’s the
component thickness and section height              The 2006 Mountaineer offers a sec-           largest pickup cab ever,” said George
translates to a 63% increase in bending          ond-generation version of power running         Murphy, Senior Vice President of Global
rigidity and a 55% increase in torsional         boards. “It’s quieter and faster to de-         Brand Management.
rigidity compared to the 2005                    ploy,” said Chris Brewer, Vehicle                    To avoid sacrificing vehicle stiffness,
Mountaineer. The vehicle’s body-mount            Engineering Manager of Mercury                  engineers did a lot of digital profiling.
brackets are 169% stiffer than the cur-          Mountaineer. The running boards auto-           ”The floorpan—from the midpoint of the
rent SUV’s. Other chassis changes in-            matically deploy and retract (fully inte-       rear door to the rear of the truck—had a
clude trailing arms for the independent          grating into the rocker panels) when            great deal of computer modeling done to

12 APRIL 2005   aei
The International RXT is a more than 5-ton (4.5-t),                              International’s ProjectXT concept has a “straight-through” pickup bed
22-ft (6.7-m) long pickup.                                                       design that eliminates wheel-well humps.

The 2006 Kia Sedona will offer power sliding
doors, liftgate, and adjustable pedals.

get the structure stiff enough and to ad-                The Hyundai Portico
dress NVH,” said Russ Ruedisueli, Senior                  concept is designed
Manager for Vehicle Development on                          to accept a hybrid
                                                            powertrain with a
Ram Trucks. Beyond substantial changes                 100-kW electric motor
to the floorpan, the Mega’s roof is new as              for front wheels and a
are the rear doors.                                     60-kW electric motor
                                                              for rear wheels.
   International RXT and ProjectXT—
The world’s largest production pickup
truck, the CXT, gains a sibling via the RXT.          dual glass roof panels and an aerodynam-           America, adding that Hyundai plans to
International’s RXT is a 4x2 Crew Cab                 ic rear roof spoiler to shade passengers           release a version of the minivan. In addi-
with an 8 ft (2.4 m) long bed. “We                    from sunlight. “This is the first time we           tion to the new platform, Sedona’s alumi-
brought the 4x4 CXT Crew Cab out last                 have shown the spoiler and dual skylights          num-block 3.8-L DOHC 24-valve V6 en-
year and had a great response. The RXT is             on an International vehicle. At this time,         gine is new.
a natural extension of the product line-              we have not decided whether to put                     Replacing a 3.5-L cast-iron V6 en-
up,” said Philip Christman, Vice President            those into production. Some engineering            gine, the new powerplant achieves an
of Product Development for International              would be required,” according to                   estimated 240 hp (179 kW) at 6000 rpm
Truck and Engine.                                     Christman. Concept ProjectXT is powered            and 250 lb·ft (339 N·m) at 4500 rpm.
   RXT employs an International V8 diesel             by an International V8 diesel engine put-          The 3.8-L engine, representing a 45-hp
engine, producing 230 hp (172 kW) at                  ting out 300 hp (224 kW) and 540 lb·ft             (34-kW) gain compared to the 3.5-L V6,
2600 rpm and 540 lb·ft (732 N·m) at 1600              (732 N·m).                                         will mate to a five-speed Sportmatic
rpm, that mates to an Allison 2200                        Kia Sedona—The lone minivan to                 transmission. The unibody Sedona is “a
Highway Series five-speed automatic trans-             debut at the show, the 2006 Kia Sedona,            few hundred pounds” lighter than its
mission. The truck, which has four-wheel              is a complete redesign. “This will be the          predecessor, according to Takayama,
disc brakes, will be available later this year.       first vehicle that will come out with this          due in part to the new aluminum block
   In addition to RXT, International de-              platform,” said Yumi Takayama, Product             engine.
buted ProjectXT, a concept truck that has             Strategy Manager for Kia Motors                        The minivan’s standard safety fittings
14 APRIL 2005   aei
The next-generation Honda Civic Si is still in its concept form, but door
handles will most likely make production.
                                                                              The Mercury Milan midsize sedan rides on a short/long arm front
                                                                              suspension that uses double ball joint lower control arms and coil-
                                                                              over shocks.

                                                                                                       Saleen S281E, employing a Saleen
                                                                                                       Racecraft suspension system and the
                                                                                                       same one-piece, 14-in front brake rotors
                                                                                                       as the Ford GT, is slated for production
                                                                                                       release in July 2005.
                                                                            The 2006 Buick
                                                                            Lucerne has a 60°
                                                                                                           Honda Civic Si—Honda’s Civic Si con-
                                                                            windshield, and a          cept shows 18-in cast aluminum wheels,
                                                                            70° rear window            four-wheel disc brakes with cross-drilled
                                                                            angle leading to the       rotors, four-piston Brembo calipers, and
                                                                                                       a helical-type limited-slip differential. A
                                                                                                       200-hp (149-kW) four-cylinder engine
                                                                                                       features 16 valves, DOHC, i-VTEC, and an
include six airbags; four-channel, four-            Hyundai’s Vice President of Product                8000-rpm redline and is mated to a close-
sensor antilock braking with electronic             Development and Strategic Planning.                ratio six-speed manual transmission.
brake force distribution; active front-seat            Saleen S281E—Leading the car-intro-                 From an exterior perspective, the con-
headrests; and a tire-pressure monitoring           duction onslaught—in terms of perfor-              cept car sports a full front and side aero-
system. Its new four-wheel independent              mance—was the 2005 Saleen S281E (E                 dynamic kit, rear deck wing, and a lower
suspension is comprised of MacPherson               for Extreme). Like its stablemates, the            rear bumper diffuser with an integrated
struts with coil springs and a stabilizer bar       three-valve, 325-hp (242-kW) S281 and              center exhaust system. “This vehicle gives
in the front. The rear suspension uses a            the supercharged 400-hp (298-kW) S281,             a very strong indication of where we’re
multilink design with coil springs and a            the S281E rides on the 2005 Ford                   heading,” said John Mendel, Senior Vice
stabilizer bar.                                     Mustang platform. But unlike its siblings,         President of American Honda. The sixth-
    Hyundai Portico—Hyundai calls its               the S281E serves up 500 hp (373 kW)                generation production Civic Si will make
Portico concept a crossover family trans-           and 480 lb·ft (651 N·m) via a 4.6-L                its world debut at the 2005 Specialty
portation vehicle. The vehicle sports a 24-         Saleen-built engine.                               Equipment Market Association (SEMA)
valve V6 engine but can provide all-                   The engine includes Saleen forged               show in Las Vegas, NV, this November.
wheel-drive capability via a hybrid-electric        steel crankshaft and connecting rods as                Mercury Milan—An all-new midsize
drive system. The vehicle, designed and             well as Saleen-patented forged aluminum            sedan joins the Mercury lineup in the
built by Hyundai in South Korea to cap-             pistons and aluminum cylinder heads.               2006 model year. The Milan, employing
ture the U.S. market’s attention, features          Rather than a separate intake manifold,            a lengthened and widened Mazda6
three seats in the first and second rows             blower housing/assembly, and intercooler,          platform, uses an independent short/
with the middle seats being able to slide           the patent-pending Saleen Series VI inte-          long arm front suspension with a 24-mm
fore and aft.                                       grated TwinScrew supercharger with two-            (0.94-in) antiroll bar. Rear suspension is
    Other features of the Portico concept           stage water-to-air intercooler integrates          an independent, multilink design with
are a panoramic glass roof, front-hinged            the pieces into a unit that fits between            coil-over shocks, lower control arms, and
front doors and rear-hinged rear doors              the heads.                                         a 16-mm (0.63-in) antiroll bar. “The sus-
that complement an unobstructed, pillar-               Saleen’s supercharger features an inte-         pension setup is basically the same as
less opening. Portico’s design and technol-         grated bypass for low-speed running as             the Mazda, but the Milan’s springs,
ogy features may influence future Hyundai            well as downdraft runners with minimal             shocks, and bushings are tuned differ-
products. “We’ll have two all-new                   turns versus the previous year’s design            ently,” said Mike Mullin, Program
Hyundai models—with seating for seven               that had two 180° bends. With the new              Manager for Milan. Due in large part to
and roomy, flexible cargo space—within               design, there is an approximate 50% air-           Milan’s tailor welded blank B-pillars, the
the next year or so,” said John Krafcik,            flow increase into the cylinders. The               Mercury sedan is approximately 13%

16 APRIL 2005   aei
                                                                                                       The 2006 Cadillac DTS uses a
                                                                                         body frame integral structure, and a direct-
                                                                                         mounted, double-isolated front cradle, and
                                                                                                      powertrain mounting system.

stiffer than the Mazda counterpart.           the successor to the Cadillac DeVille, the     Cadillac General Manager. The 2006
    The Milan’s base engine is a Duratec      DTS, and the Buick Lucerne. Both sedans        Buick Lucerne also sports the new dual-
2.3-L four-cylinder with DOHC and 16          are built off GM’s North American Large        depth airbag.
valves that produces 160 hp (119 kW) at       Luxury architecture. The front-wheel-drive         The Buick Lucerne is powered by the
6500 rpm and 150 lb·ft (203 N·m) at           Cadillac DTS offers two Northstar 4.6-L        275-hp (205-kW), 4.6-L, 32-valve, DOHC
4000 rpm. The up-level Duratec 3.0-L 60°      V8 variants. Both engines, rated at 275        V8. “It’s the first V8 to power a Buick
V6 engine with DOHC and 24 valves pro-        and 290 hp (205 and 216 kW), mate to           sedan in a decade,” said John Larson,
duces 210 hp (157 kW) at 6250 rpm and         the Hydra-Matic 4T80-E four-speed auto-        Buick’s General Manager. Lucerne also
200 lb·ft (271 N·m) at 4750 rpm. The          matic transmission. Compared to the            will be available with a 195-hp (145-kW)
base engine will be paired with either a      DeVille, the DTS has new front-end sheet       V6. The front-wheel-drive Lucerne marks
five-speed manual or automatic transmis-       metal, grille, front fascia, decklid, rear     the first Buick to be offered with
sion. The V6 will mate to a six-speed au-     quarter panels, and rear fascia.               Magnetic Ride Control. Buick’s standard
tomatic transaxle. Offered as a front-           The DTS chassis differs from the            QuietTuning system includes laminated
wheel-drive sedan in 2006, an all-wheel-      DeVille with a completely new front cra-       glass side windows employing Solutia
drive offering will appear in 2007, and a     dle design in which the DTS engine             Automotive’s Saflex polyvinyl butyral
hybrid version is planned for a later date.   mounts. Six airbags are standard on DTS,       (PVB) glass interlayer, which reduces noise
    Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne—           “including an industry-first, front-passen-     intrusion compared to tempered glass.
General Motors revealed two sedans,           ger, dual-depth airbag,” said Jim Taylor,                                   Kami Buchholz

BMW beats the lag
Turbo lag in greater or smaller proportion    what it describes as “the world’s first vari-   torque, 520 N·m (384 lb·ft), at 1500
has been the most significant downside         able twin-turbo engine in a production         rpm. As engine speed rises, the second,
to turbocharging car engines, particularly    car” designed to overcome the problem          larger turbocharger takes over, the
on luxury models for which smoothness         of lag. Initial applications are to power      smaller being increasingly bypassed, al-
of operation and linear power delivery are    the 535d sedan and Touring models.             though throughout the process, they
essential criteria. Since the early days of   Performance figures for the sedan include       consistently deliver 2.85 bar (41 psi)
modern turbocharged production cars in        0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 6.5 s and a top       pressure to the intercooler, helping to
the late 1970s (Saab was a pioneer),          speed limited to 250 km/h (155 mph).           ensure linear power delivery. The 3.0-L
power delivery has become markedly            The technology has also been applied to        engine produces 200 kW (268 hp) at
smoother thanks not only to mechanical        BMW’s already well established 3.0-L sin-      4400 rpm and maximum torque of 560
developments but also to major strides in     gle-turbo turbodiesel, which continues in      N·m (413 lb·ft) at 2000 rpm. After its
electronic engine management and trac-        production.                                    introduction in the 535d, the engine is
tion systems. However, some luxury car            Although bi-turbo engine technology        expected to be used in other models.
makers continue to treat turbocharging        is not new, BMW has elected to use two             Tested over lengthy and varied routes
with caution, still preferring to use in-     turbocharger sizes operating sequen-           in southern Spain, this AEI editor found
creased engine capacity to provide re-        tially. At low engine speeds, the smaller      the power delivery targets convincingly
quired levels of power and torque.            turbocharger is effective virtually imme-      achieved. The 535d incorporates the fea-
   However, BMW has now introduced            diately, producing 95% of available            tures of other high-end 5 Series models

20 APRIL 2005   aei
                                                                                                                     The Sport Touring
                                                                                                                     version of BMW’s new
                                                                                                                     535d is powered by
                                                                                                                     BMW’s latest twin-
                                                                                                                     turbo turbodiesel.

                                                                                              Simultaneously, a control valve on the
                                                                                              induction side opens to provide an easier
                                                                                              path for the compressed induction air,
                                                                                              thus bypassing the potential bottleneck
                                                                                              generated by the smaller unit as the vol-
                                                                                              ume of air increases.
                                                                                                  The engine’s maximum rev range
                                                                                              reaches 5000 rpm, before which a sec-
                                                                                              ond control valve (wastegate) on the ex-
                                                                                              haust side starts to open to allow some of
                                                                                              the exhaust gas to bypass both turbo-
                                                                                              chargers, exiting directly into the exhaust
                                                                                              system. The common-rail fuel injection
                                                                                              system runs at 1600 bar (23.2 ksi) with
                                                                                              fuel injected four times per engine cycle.
                                                                                                  Compared to the single-turbo 3.0-L
                                                                                              engine, fuel consumption is up 2.5% to
                                                                                              8.0 L/100 km combined, but maximum
                                                                                              power and torque are also up by 40 kW
                                                                                              (54 hp) and 60 N·m (44 lb·ft), respec-
The 535d’s variable turbocharger configuration differentiates progressively between
                                                                                              tively. The 535d’s exhaust emissions are
three operating conditions.                                                                   211 g/km. The car’s maintenance-free
                                                                                              particulate filter helps it meet all known
including hybrid body shell construction        efficiency, the smaller turbocharger elim-     forthcoming EU emissions legislation.
using aluminum ahead of the A-pillars           inates lag as the air passes immediately      Essential to the turbodiesel’s manage-
and steel behind them to make a major           into the intercooler and on into the in-      ment is BMW’s Digital Diesel Electronics
contribution to 50:50 weight distribution,      duction system. A small volume of air         (DDE) system, which is now in its sixth
a balance achieved by the 535d.                 passes through the larger turbocharger        generation (developed over 18 years).
    The development program for the en-         by about 1500 rpm (when 95% of maxi-              The 535d version of the 3.0-L diesel
gine included a version being installed in      mum torque is achieved), but not a suf-       engine has received some modifications,
racing versions of the BMW X5 operated          ficient amount to affect performance.          with strengthened crankcase and fuel-
by the X-Raid privateer motorsport team             However, with the smaller turbocharg-     injection nozzles developed for additional
and entered for the Dakar Rally in 2002.        er operating at its maximum efficiency         output. The engine drives through a ZF
The two cars powered by the engine fin-          and with engine rpm increasing, the larg-     six-speed automatic transmission. The
ished fourth and eighth, respectively,          er turbocharger starts to take on the lead    535d gets 7Jx17 in alloy wheels and
overall. In the 2003 event, one of the          role, a control valve in the exhaust system   225/50R-17 Goodyear NCT5 run-flat
special X5s became the first diesel-pow-         opening progressively to allow gases to       tires capable of being driven when flat at
ered vehicle to record a stage win. In pro-     bypass the smaller turbocharger and           50 mph (80 km/h) for more than 90 mi
duction form, the 535d produces more            reach the larger. With increased throttle     (145 km), although in tests the tires have
torque than BMW’s new V10 in the high-          and speed, the larger unit is now working     lasted for several hundred miles. A short
performance M5 sedan, which achieves            in tandem with the smaller, compressing       test over a slalom course at about 40-45
520 N·m (384 lb·ft).                            and driving more inlet air to the inter-      km/h (25-28 mph) and around a small
    According to BMW, the variable turbo        cooler. At 2000 rpm, peak torque is           traffic circle, with all four tires running
system differentiates progressively be-         reached, and by 4400 rpm, maximum             flat, demonstrated good control levels,
tween three operating conditions. At            power is achieved. In the higher rev          supported by the chassis’ electronic sys-
low engine speeds, exhaust gases pass           range, the exhaust control valve is fully     tems, which prevented any damage being
directly through the vanes of the small         open, directing most exhaust gas to the       caused to the Spanish scenery.
turbocharger. As a result of its size and       vanes of the larger turbocharger.                                                Stuart Birch
22 APRIL 2005   aei
Porsche opens up the latest 911
The Cabriolet versions of Porsche’s new       control unit in the middle of the car re-         The Carrera Cabriolet is powered by a
997 series 911 Carrera and Carrera S          leases the arrester hooks on both rollbars     3.6-L 239-kW (320-hp) flat six or a more
Coupes are only 85 kg (187 lb) heavier        in the event of a rollover, the rollbars de-   raucous 3.8-L 261-kW (350-hp) unit in
than their hardtop counterparts and share     ploying upward in one-tenth of a second        the S. Porsche has tuned the sounds to
those models’ powertrain and chassis          under spring pressure.                         express the difference between the two
technologies, keeping performance dif-            The folding roof can be opened or          versions, and the Cabriolet has a different
ferences to a minimum. The best Cd            closed at speeds up to 50 km/h (31 mph).       sound pattern than the Coupe. Top
(aerodynamic coefficient of drag) of the       It has a mass of 42 kg (93 lb) including all   speeds of the Carrera and Carrera S are
Cabriolet is 0.29 with the roof closed (the   system features, “just about half the          285 and 293 km/h (177 and 182 mph),
same as that of the Carrera S Coupe),         weight of a collapsible metal roof,” states    respectively, with 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)
and lift forces on the axles are said to      Porsche, meaningfully underlining its de-      acceleration of 5.2 and 4.9 s. A six-speed
remain “consistently close to zero” up to     cision not to follow the folding-hardtop       manual gearbox is standard, five-speed
the car’s top speed.                          design course. This is said to significantly    Tiptronic optional. The Cabriolets get the
    Safety elements include a cushion-        lower the car’s center of gravity. The         Porsche Stability Management (PSM) sys-
shaped head airbag in each doorsill spe-      Carrera Cabriolet’s unladen mass is 1480       tem, the S version also having active sus-
cially designed for open-car applications,    kg (3260 lb),1505 kg (3320 lb) for the S.      pension.
complementing the usual airbag posi-
tions. Rollover protection includes two        Just 20 s is needed for
                                                   the 911 Cabriolet’s
high-strength steel tubes in the A-pillars
                                                  roof to be raised or
and two automatically deploying rollbars         lowered—and it can
behind the occasional rear seats. A new              be done at up to
rollover sensor integrated in the airbag            50 km/h (31 mph).

Porsche’s new 911 Cabriolet was designed
from conception alongside the Coupe.

24 APRIL 2005   aei
                                                                                                a magnesium frame. The roof fastening
                                                                                                mechanism in the center of the front roof
                                                                                                frame has a steel-plate mechanical sys-
                                                                                                tem, instead of gear segments used on
                                                                                                the previous 911 Cabriolet. The roof
                                                                                                structure comprises 10 main components,
                                                                                                26% of which are of aluminum and 20%
                                                                                                magnesium. Other materials are steel and
                                                                                                fabric. An optional 33-kg (73-lb) alumi-
                                                                                                num hardtop is available, fixed on the
                                                                                                new car via two bolted connections in-
                                                                                                stead of rapid-action catches, which is
                                                                                                said to reduce cabin noise. Specially de-
                                                                                                signed water ducts above the doors help
                                                                                                prevent rainwater from dripping, but
                                                                                                guide it into a door-seal drain in the A-pil-
                                                                                                lar. The folding roof has a similar system.
                                                                                                    The body structures of the 997 Coupe
                                                                                                and Cabriolet were designed in parallel,
                                                                                                resulting in the Cabriolet shell being only 7
                                                                                                kg (15 lb) heavier than that of the coupe
                                                                                                despite added stiffening. Compared with
                                                                                                the previous 911 Cabriolet, torsional stiff-
                                                                                                ness of the body-in-white is increased by
                                                                                                5%, with static flexural stiffness improved
                                                                                                by 9%. Specific reinforcements to increase
                                                                                                body stiffness of the Cabriolet include
                                                                                                three-dimensional junction plates inte-
                                                                                                grated in the sills at the transition point
                                                                                                from the sill to the A- and B-pillars, plus sill
                                                                                                reinforcements in twice the usual panel
                                                                                                thickness. Reinforcements in the window
                                                                                                shafts behind the B-pillars make up for the
                                                                                                stabilizing effect of the (missing) fixed roof
                                                                                                in an offset collision. Forces are conveyed
                                                                                                from the A- to B-pillars by the upper load
                                                                                                path above the door. An additional sup-
                                                                                                port at the side rests on the wheel arch to
                                                                                                take up further longitudinal forces.
                                                                                                    The extra-firm sports suspension avail-
                                                                                                able for the Coupe is not fitted to the
                                                                                                Cabriolet. Minor suspension changes
                                                                                                have been made for the Cabriolet com-
                                                                                                pared to the Coupe; the support bearings
                                                                                                on the Cabriolet’s rear axle are stiffer than
                                                                                                the Coupe’s. The occasional rear seats
                                                                                                have almost vertical backrests to make
The 911 Carrera Cabriolet is powered by a 3.6-L (top) or 3.8-L flat six, both tuned to sound     space for the folding roof compartment.
different from each other and from the same engines in the Coupe.                                   Although the 911 contains plenty of
                                                                                                advanced technology, Porsche says that it
   Top speeds are the same as those for           specific preset levels, improving the supply   carefully considers what is really required
the Coupe equivalents. Both Cabriolets            of air to the compartment. A cockpit wind     in a sports car and “maintains a more
have a rear spoiler that extends 20 mm            deflector is standard.                         reserved attitude in electrics and electron-
(0.8 in) further than that of the Coupes.            The roof opens and closes in 20 s,         ics.” But what is essential, it says, is CAN
The spoiler is also used to support engine        folding in a Z configuration to help pro-      and most-bus technologies that, on the
compartment temperature control. It               tect the glass rear windshield. The front     911, allow up to 29 control units to com-
moves up at a lower speed than its normal         roof section between the windshield and       municate with one another.
120-km/h (75-mph) setting if the engine           the first roof bracket extending across the                                       Stuart Birch
compartment temperature increases to              roof between the B-pillars is tensioned by

26 APRIL 2005   aei
Honda two-wheeler injected with innovation
Motorcycles and scooters, though pow-
ered by smaller engines, have had diffi-
culties escaping the label of environmen-
tal polluter because of their sheer num-
bers, especially in developing countries.
Major two-wheeler population regions
are tightening their exhaust emissions
laws, many banning smoke-belching two-
stroke engines. Honda, the world’s larg-
est motorcycle producer, is acutely aware
of environmental concerns and is vigor-
ously pursuing the four-stroke route in
motorcycles and scooters as well as per-
sonal watercraft and power equipment.                                                                                     Honda’s Dio Z4
                                                                                                                          scooter is powered
                                                                                                                          by the new PGM-FI
                                                                                                                          50-cm3 engine.

                                                       Honda introduced fuel injection to        and developed a new four-valve unit, be-
                                                  large motorcycles in the early ‘90s. Then      cause it would have to be launched in an
                                                  it tried a two-stroke scooter fitted with       extremely competitive market segment
                                                  fuel injection, but it was short-lived.        for which the new bike would inevitably
                                                  Then-President and engine guru                 be priced higher than a comparable car-
                                                  Nobuhiko Kawamoto posed a vital ques-          bureted model; the performance equiva-
                                                  tion to Honda R&D’s two-wheel team,            lent of a two-stroke engine must be pro-
                                                  “For small displacement engines, can you       vided. They also suspected that archrival
                                                  do it (fuel injection) with the two-stroke     Yamaha was also developing a multivalve
                                                  or will you go the four-stroke route?” The     50-cm3 engine, but with three valves.
                                                  team responded in 1998 by taking the               No components could be utilized from
                                                  four-stroke route. Succeeding President        the 125-cm3 system. Everything had to be
                                                  Hiroyuki Yoshino declared in December          scaled down in size. A bypass valve in the
                                                  1999 that his company would offer a            throttle body is motor-actuated, the micro
                                                  small-displacement, fuel-injected model        motor borrowed from a camera’s zoom
                                                  in 1999. Earlier in the year at the biennial   lens. The ECU (electronic control unit) is a
Honda miniaturized its programmed fuel            Honda Technical Meeting, the team
injection (PGM-FI) for its smallest two-wheeler                                                  16-bit unit, controlling fuel injection and
engine, a 50-cm3 single-cylinder unit. PGM-FI     showed a prototype 100-cm3 model fed           ignition for the single-cylinder applica-
(left) is compared to a similar carburetor.       by fuel injection, but it used an injection    tion. A new supplier, Shindengen, was
                                                  unit from bigger and more expensive            recruited. This was the supplier’s first fuel-
                                                  models. However, demonstrating a proto-        injection ECU. Keihin developed a two-
                                                  type and selling a product are different       hole injector with a 0.18-mm (0.007-in)
                                                  propositions. Serious development efforts      hole diameter. The tank had to fit into
                                                  began in late 2000 with a team of just         the tighter space of the small scooter,
                                                  three engineers.                               and required low height with a specific
                                                       In March 2003, an Italian 125 model       single-stage filter system. Fuel is pressure-
                                                  was launched, followed by a Thai step-         fed by a motor-driven pump, another
                                                  through version, powered by the same           miniaturization achieved by Mitsuba. The
                                                  125-cm3 fuel-injected engine. “Why not         team praises the suppliers’ efforts to
                                                  Japan, our home market?” asked                 work together in the uncharted course
                                                  Yoshino. It would have been expeditious        where rewards (volumes) were unknown.
                                                  if the European 125 was brought in, but            Honda’s new liquid-cooled, OHV, four-
                                                  the team based at Honda’s motorcycle           valve fuel-injection engine, displacing all
                                                  R&D Center in Asaka aimed higher, more         of 50-cm3, powers the stylish and sporty
                                                  precisely smaller, at the bulk of the          Dio scooter.
                                                  Japanese light two-wheeler market, the                                      Jack Yamaguchi
                                                  50-cm3 segment.
                                                       Honda’s base 50-cm3 engine had al-
In the process of redesigning its two-wheeler
engine for PGM-FI, Honda’s designers              ways employed two valves. For this new
squeezed in four tiny valves.                     fuel-injected engine, the team designed

28 APRIL 2005   aei
Colt Plus gets MDC Power
For their jointly developed B-platform       powered by Mitsubishi’s own 4G15 iron-        respectively—with resultant enlarged
cars, Mitsubishi Motors and                  block inline four-cylinder engine, but the    luggage volume and a rear headroom
DaimlerChrysler established a joint en-      car’s introduction in Europe brought in       gain of 30 mm (1.2 in). The car is 4185
gine manufacturing company called MDC        the new MDC Power 4A91 I4.                    mm (164.8 in) long, 1680 mm (66.1 in)
Power in Koelleda, Germany, on Rudolph          Since then, Mitsubishi had been going      wide, and 1550 mm (61.0 in) tall, with
Caracciola Strasse, the street named after   through tough times following the revela-     mass ranging from 1070 to 1150 kg
the legendary pre-WWII Mercedes-Benz         tion that it concealed some serious prod-     (2360 to 2540 lb).
racing driver.                               uct defects and DaimlerChrysler’s decision        The Colt and Colt Plus follow modern
    DaimlerChrysler’s aim was to provide     against further infusions of financial sup-    small front-wheel-drive car design trends
its subsidiary MCC Smart with the plat-      port. So two long years had to pass be-       with an all-steel welded unitary body,
form and engine for its forfour small car.   fore Mitsubishi could launch a new car        four conventional hinged doors and up-
The Smart forfour has since been             model, the Colt Plus, on the jointly devel-   swinging tailgate, transverse powertrain,
launched in Europe, and in Japan in          oped B-platform and powered by the            front MacPherson-strut suspension, and
September 2004. The 2005 North               MCD Power engine.                             rear twist-beam axle (a live axle located
American International Auto Show saw            The Colt Plus is a stretched version of    by trailing arms and lateral rod for all-
the formore crossover concept car based      the original Colt, a front-wheel-drive        wheel-drive models). In addition, there is
on this model.                               five-door hatchback on the same 2500-          electrically assisted rack-and-pinion steer-
    Mitsubishi debuted the platform with     mm (98.4 in) wheelbase. Length increas-       ing and a front disc/rear drum brake com-
the Colt five-door hatchback in               es are in the front and rear overhangs—       bination, with all discs for the Rallyart
November 2002. The original model was        by 15 and 285 mm (0.6 and 11.2 in),           turbo model. While the Colt’s body con-
                                                                                           struction is conventional welded-steel
                                                                                           integral with stamped steel outer panels,
                                                                                           the forfour employs a unique stamped
                                                                                           and welded space frame structure clad
                                                                                           with polycarbonate outer panels.
 Mitsubishi’s Colt                                                                             Mitsubishi led the design team for the
Plus is a stretched                                                                        4A91 engine, the first I4 from the com-
    version of the
  Colt hatchback,                                                                          pany to adopt a high-pressure die-cast
          sharing a                                                                        aluminum block. Like the car, the engine
     platform and                                                                          is thoroughly contemporary in design and
       engine with
DaimlerChrsyler’s                                                                          construction. It is a front-intake, rear-ex-
    Smart forfour.                                                                         haust transverse four-cylinder unit. Dual
                                                                                           overhead camshafts are driven by a sin-
                                                                                           gle-stage roller chain of 8.0-mm (0.3-in)
                                                                                           pitch and 12.5-mm (0.5-in) width instead
                                                                                           of the previous 4G15’s cogged belt drive.
                                                                                           Camshafts act directly on bucket-type
                                                                                           tappets. The intake camshaft is fitted
                                                                                           with a continuously variable cam-phasing
                                                                                           device, altering timing up to 50º. Valves
                                                                                           are inclined at an included angle of 34º
                                                                                           vs. the 4G15’s wider 45º.
                                                                                               Internal dimensions are on the long-
                                                                                           stroke side, with a bore and stroke of 75
                                                                                           and 84.8 mm (2.95 and 3.34 in), obtain-
                                                                                           ing a 1499-cm3 displacement. Port-type
                                                                                           fuel injection is employed and the engine
                                                                                           produces 77 kW JIS (105 hp) at 6000 rpm
                                                                                           and 141 N·m (104 lb·ft) at 4000 rpm on
                                                                                           a 10.0:1 compression ratio and with reg-
                The Colt Plus                                                              ular-grade gasoline. The engine for all-
         interior has its CVT                                                              wheel-drive models is slightly detuned,
     (continuously variable                                                                rated at 75 kW (102 hp) and 138 N·m
      transmission) selector
           lever on the floor                                                               (102 lb·ft) at the same engine speeds and
         (shown), while the                                                                compression ratio.
           shorter Colt has a                                                                  In addition to the 4A91 1.5-L unit, the
                    CVT lever.
                                                                                           original Colt received a heart transplant in

30 APRIL 2005   aei
MDC Power manufactures the new DOHC 16-
valve 1.5-L four-cylinder engine that powers               Colt Plus suspension is by ubiquitous MacPherson struts in front
the Colt Plus.                                             and a torsion-beam in the rear.

the form of a smaller, 1.3-L version of the       The original engine has not faded              transmission called softtouch plus.
4A91. This engine has nearly “square”          away, making a powerful comeback in               Mitsubishi’s CVT operations have been
bore and stroke dimensions of 75 x 75.4        the Colt and Colt Plus Rallyart perfor-           merged with JATCO’s; however, the
mm (2.95 x 2.97 in) for a total displace-      mance models. The iron-block 4G15’s               IVECS-III are still very much a Mitsubishi in
ment of 1332 cm3, and it produces 68           performance has been boosted by a tur-            design and operation. It should only be
kW (93 hp) at 6000 rpm and 124 N·m             bocharger to 108 kW (147 hp) at 6000              logical (and economical) that before long,
(91 lb·ft) at 4000 rpm on a 10.5:1 CR.         rpm and 180 N·m (133 lb·ft) at 2500               this transmission and the Nissan-origi-
   The Smart forfour shares both 4A91          rpm.                                              nated CVT of the same torque capacity
engines, but in slightly more powerful            Choices of transmissions in the Colt           be “integrated” into a common unit. The
tune. The manufacturer quotes 80 kW            and the forfour reflect Japanese and               Sports-mode version of the Mitsubishi
(109 hp) and 145 N·m (107 lb·ft) for the       European preferences. Mitsubishi’s stan-          CVT allows manual selection of six ratios
1.5 L and 70 kW (95 hp) and 125 N·m            dard transmission is the INVECS-III CVT,          by the lever in the +/- gate.
(92 lb·ft) for the 1.3 L, rated by European    while the forfour adopts the latest auto-                                     Jack Yamaguchi
standards.                                     matically shifting six-speed mechanical

Ford convertible approved
Ford’s Focus-based Vignale folding hard-
top concept seen at the 2004 Paris Motor
Show is to be developed into a series pro-        In September, Ford’s
                                                 2005 MY Focus-based
duction model, slated for launch in late               Vignale folding
2006. Lewis Booth, President of Ford of         hardtop was a concept
Europe said media and public reaction to       seen at the Paris Motor
                                                  Show; by November,
the four-seat concept had confirmed the              it was planned for
company’s decision to go ahead with the                    production.
project, although full technical details and
                                                                                                 built at Pininfarina’s manufacturing facility
the name of the car will follow later.         and manufacturing relatively small-vol-
                                                                                                 in Turin. Some parts will be sourced from
   Ford will work with Pininfarina SpA to      ume production vehicles will be crucial to
                                                                                                 Ford’s Saarlouis plant, others by
develop and build the production Vignale.      the success of this latest venture and, in
                                                                                                 Pininfarina. In effect, the folding hardtop
The companies collaborated on the Ford         this case, Pininfarina will also be a signifi-
                                                                                                 design will provide Ford with a four-seat
Streetka two-seater, which is based on the     cant contributor to the final design of the
                                                                                                 coupe and a convertible in one vehicle.
three-door Ka hatchback. According to          vehicle.
                                                                                                                                   Stuart Birch
Ford in an announcement confirming the              The 2005 MY Focus provides the basis
plan, Pininfarina’s expertise in engineering   for the new convertible, which will be

32 APRIL 2005   aei
Rolls-Royce takes the lid off
Rolls-Royce has decided to build a con-
vertible for launch in 2007. It will be
based on the “same engineering prin-
ciples” as the current Phantom sedan,
which means an aluminum spaceframe
chassis. Rolls-Royce showed a four-door
convertible Centenary Experimental con-                          The 100EX concept
                                                             previews a production
cept car—the 100EX—at last year’s                          Rolls-Royce drophead or
Geneva Motor Show. At the time, the                          convertible, which has
company indicated that a production ver-                      been an integral part
sion was not planned and in fact the new                           of the company’s
                                                                   100-year history.
convertible, which has not yet been
named, will be “slightly smaller” than the       sembled at Rolls-Royce’s Goodwood               million buying the rights to the Rolls-
100EX.                                           plant in southern England. The BMW              Royce Motor Cars name and the Spirit of
    Rolls-Royce has confirmed that, like          Group, which includes Rolls-Royce, in-          Ecstasy mascot.
the Phantom, the new convertible will            vested £65 million in establishing the                                         Stuart Birch
have a 6.75-L V12 engine. It will be as-         plant on a greenfield site and spent £40

Volvo 3CC is future-proofed

Volvo’s 3CC took part in Challenge Bibendum in Shanghai. Volvo won 10 gold and six silver medals at the competition, which encourages
development of future sustainable mobility technology and superior environmental performance.

“Future-proofing” has always been a              of production Volvos, notably its waist/         energy storage makes the concept future-
challenge for the automotive engineer           shoulder treatment. The car is compact,          proof in that the layout can be adapted for
and designer needing not only to keep           with an overall 3899-mm (153.5-in)               the most appropriate powertrain in the
pace with technological advances and            length, 1624-mm (63.9-in) width, and             future—gasoline, diesel, biogas, or hybrid-
fads in fashion and consumer expecta-           1321 mm (52.0-in) height. It has what            electric,” said Ichiro Sugioka, VMCC’s
tions, but also to attempt to look still far-   Volvo terms a “low profile” A-pillar, its         Science Officer. The concept car uses lithi-
ther ahead. Volvo has decided to focus          two side doors swing upwards when                um-ion cells placed in the sandwich floor
on one area of change by targeting a            opened, and a “floating” dashboard                to provide power for the electric motor.
“future-proof concept that would en-            moves forward to ease access. Dashboard          The drivetrain is a prototype designed spe-
hance sustainable mobility.”                    toggle switches for lights, climate, and         cifically for the 3CC and drives the front
   The 3CC concept, which emerged               audio systems have proximity sensors ac-         wheels. The concept has double-wishbone
from Volvo’s Monitoring and Concept             tivated by a finger within a 5-mm (0.2-in)        suspension front and rear, and a regenera-
Center (VMCC) think tank in California,         distance. Pedals are adjustable.                 tive braking system is fitted.
has an electric powertrain, a two-plus-             The car has a steel spaceframe chassis                                        Stuart Birch
one seating configuration, and a highly          with composite sandwich floor panels. The
distinctive body shape that tapers to the       outer body is one-piece carbon fiber. “The
rear but carries some of the styling cues       double floor used to house the electric

34 APRIL 2005   aei
Audi shows A2 fuel cell
                                                                                                with a rating of 66 kW continuous and
                                                                                                110 kW for a maximum of 30 s, using
                                                                                                energy from the battery and fuel cell to-
                                                                                                gether. Maximum attainable torque is
                                                                                                425 N·m (313 lb·ft). Electric current from
                                                                                                the fuel cell is either stored in the air-
                                                                                                cooled traction battery or supplied direct
 Audi’s new A2 fuel-                                                                            to the motor. Performance simulation has
 cell hybrid uses PEM
 technology.                                                                                    shown a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of
                                                                                                less than 10 s and a top speed of 175
                                                                                                km/h (109 mph). The car can carry 1.8 kg
                                                                                                (4 lb) of liquid hydrogen, giving a range
                                                                                                of 137 mi (220 km). The A2 is of all-alu-
                                                                                                minum construction and has a Cd figure
Audi took its new A2-based fuel-cell hy-       facility, the A2-H2 uses a PEM (proton           of 0.28.
brid study to the Challenge Bibendum           exchange membrane) fuel cell and NiMH                                              Stuart Birch
event in Shanghai. Developed by the            (nickel metal hydride) traction battery. It is
Volkswagen Group’s central research            powered by a synchronous electric motor

Bentley Arnage loses lid
Bentley has announced a “production            (double wishbones front and rear) and            gineering and design were combined
viable” convertible version of its Arnage      powertrain are the same as those for the         with fast-track technologies. “Right up
sedan. Unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto        Arnage R, including 6.75-L twin-turbo            to the end of engineering the car, digital
Show, the Arnage Drophead Coupe could          336-kW (450-hp) V8 engine with 875               data was taken from the clay’s surfaces
be in production by early next year.           N·m (645 lb·ft). It has the “comfort” sus-       on a day-by-day basis—even while some
   The concept is a four-seater and has        pension of the R version of the Arnage           parts of the clay were evolving,” he said.
greater interior space than Bentley’s previ-   sedan.                                           “This ensured that we could transfer the
ous convertible, the Azure, which ceased          It took Bentley only a year to get the        right design feeling directly to the CAD
production in 2002, having been intro-         two-door convertible ready for its first          surfaces for the tooling.” New technolo-
duced in 1995. The new car has added           public showing. Bentley’s Chief Engineer,        gies include body panels pressed from
chassis stiffening, but otherwise chassis      Ashley Wickham, says simultaneous en-            resin-based tools that could be machined
                                                                                                in days.
                                                                                                    Achieving high levels of stiffness on
                                                                                                such a large car called for strengthening
                                                                                                in several areas. These included the sills,
                                                                                                which extend into the A-pillars, and chas-
                                                                                                sis cross-bracing. The body structure be-
                                                                                                hind the rear seats, where a rollover pro-
                                                                                                tection system is fitted, also has added
                                                                                                strengthening—two hoops integrated
                                                                                                into the rear headrests being deployed
                                                                                                when sensors indicate a possible vehicle
                                                                                                    The hydraulically operated three-layer
                                                                                                canvas roof can be raised or lowered in
                                                                                                about 25 s. It folds into a well behind the
                                                                                                rear seats that is separate from the trunk
                                                                                                area. Interior design includes a curved
                                                                                                rear seat backrest.
                                                                                                                                 Stuart Birch

An open-and-shut case: Bentley’s “production viable” Arnage Drophead Coupe.

36 APRIL 2005   aei
4x4 for Panda
                                                                                                    Fiat has given its little Panda—voted
                                                                                                    European Car of the Year in 2004—four-
                                                                                                    wheel drive. The previous Panda was also
                                                                                                    available as a 4x4, and Fiat planned an
                                                                                                    all-wheel drive version of its replacement
                                                                                                    from design concept. Engineered in part-
                                                                                                    nership with GKN, the system includes a
                                                                                                    front power transfer unit, two-piece
                                                                                                    propshaft, a viscous coupling ahead of
                                                                                                    the rear differential, and a rear differential
                                                                                                        Key to the system’s efficiency is the
                                                                                                    viscous coupling, says GKN. It is auto-
                                                                                                    matic and entirely mechanical, requiring
                                                                                                    no electronic control. It has a benign
                                                                                                    effect on driving dynamics and provides
                                                                                                    good compatibility with antilock braking
                                                                                                    and stability control systems. The com-
                                                                                                    pany adds that the NVH penalty is mini-
                                                                                                    mized despite a significant increase in
The 4x4 version of Fiat’s Panda was engineered in collaboration with GKN Driveline.
                                                                                                    the number of driveline components
                                                                                                    compared to the two-wheel-drive Panda.
                                                                                                                                     Stuart Birch

Less design “brutalism” from MG Rover
                                                                                                    MG Rover’s latest concept cars, the
                                                                                                    Rover 75 Coupe and the MG GT, may
                                                                                                    signal a new design direction for the
                                                                                                    company. Design Director Peter Stevens
                                                                                                    says that, with the coupe, he wants
                                                                                                    “people to turn away for a moment from
                                                                                                    post-modern brutalism.”
                                                                                                        The elegant-looking Rover Coupe has
                                                                                                    a luxurious interior of yew wood and tan
                                                                                                    leather hide. The MG GT, based on the
                                                                                                    MG TF, has a 2.5-L V6 (designated KV6)
                                                                                                    engine producing 200 bhp (149 kW) for a
                                                                                                    predicted 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) time of
                                                                                                    less than 6 s and 145-mph (233-km/h)
                                                                                                    top speed. The Cd figure for the GT is
                                                                                                    0.31 compared to 0.35 for the TF. The
                                                                                                    company says that many of the warmer-
                                                                                                    climate markets in the world prefer sports
                                                                                                    cars to have integrated coupe styling and
                                                                                                    air conditioning to cope with high sum-
                                                                                                    mer temperatures. Also, recent models
                                                                                                    like the Audi TT have shown that hard-
                                                                                                    tops can be highly popular for customers
                                                                                                    who prefer the style of fixed-head coupe,
                                                                                                    says the company. The GT has 17-in
                  MG Rover’s 75 Coupe concept (top) is about style and luxury, while the V6 MG GT   “Gunsmoke” five-spoke OZ alloy wheels,
                  concept is about performance.                                                     extended front aerodynamic splitter, and
                                                                                                    longer tail spoiler integrated into the
                                                                                                    trunk lid.
                                                                                                                                     Stuart Birch

38 APRIL 2005   aei

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