The R-designated big cat is back. And packing increased power, uprated looks and a host of expected enhancements over the standard XF, the R version will have its sights firmly set on de-throning the M5. These first spy shots, taken by a car magazine photographer, reveal the first prototype XF-R to not be a modified from an S-Type-based XF mule. They follow the car's Frankfurt debut and first production roll-off just yesterday.

Using a further tuned version of the V8 model's 416 hp 4.2-litre supercharged unit with higher boost pressures, the XF-R is expected to gauge power of nearer to 500 hp. With the 0-62 mph sprint with the present supercharged unit in just 5.4 seconds, expect M5 levels of performance for the XF-R. Uprated R suspension and brakes will feature in addition to an upgraded styling package.

In these spy shots, the game is given away for Jaguar somewhat clearly, with quad exhaust pipes featuring where the standard model boasts only two, a blackened front mesh grille and a noticeably lowered ride height. Residing under arches designed to cater for larger wheels, there are attractive 20" rims, behind which lie R ventilated discs. According to car's photographer, this XF sounded like no other XF he had ever photographed. Unsurprisingly, when approached by the magazine, Jaguar refused to comment.

With standard models hitting the market in March, the tuned XF-R won't be seeing the light of day just yet, with sales expected to start early 2009 with a possible late '08 motor show debut.

aunch coincides with 40th anniversary

The all new, up-market Hyundai Genesis (or endearingly still referred to by Hyundai as BH) is set for a 29 December release party, coinciding with Hyundai's 40th anniversary. Of course, the luxury sedan will be released on home soil first before its world conquest commences.

To commemorate Hyundai's 40 years of growth, they will use a new official emblem for the year which will grace all advertising, product as well as corporate and in showrooms and sales / marketing events. The logo is made up of two brush strokes, combining elements of the past and future into one silhouette.

The Hyundai Genesis will be powered by a newly developed DOHC 32-valve V8 engine producing well over 300hp, should be able to hit 60mph within 6 seconds and is rear wheel driven. The Genesis is entering new territories for Hyundai, territories where BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Infiniti are well represented.

Press Release

Hyundai Celebrating 40th Anniversary

  • Dec. 29th will mark forty years of growth

On December 29 this year, Hyundai Motor Co. will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of its foundation and to mark this major milestone, the company is releasing an official emblem.

Executed with two simple but elegant calligraphic brush strokes which combine elements of the past and the future into the dynamic silhouette of car, the emblem symbolizes 40 years of growth and progress in the automotive business. It expresses the spirit of a forward-looking, progressive organization which prizes responsiveness and responsibility: Hyundai will always remain responsive to the needs of our customers and will adhere to the highest standards of responsibility to our stakeholders, the community and the environment.

The anniversary emblem will be incorporated into all Hyundai Motor advertising, product as well as corporate, and in signage displayed in showrooms and sales/marketing events.

Coinciding with the anniversary celebrations will be the Korean market launch of the company's all-new luxury sedan codenamed BH.

Since its concept debut at the New York Auto Show this past April, numerous spy photos of the new rear-wheel-drive 3.8-liter V8 sedan known internally as BH, have been taken during its development. But these latest detailed shots found on South Korean hi-fi stereo forum site,, show it completely in the buff. Aside from some interesting design details on the exterior, one particular detail which was speculated but unconfirmed, until now, is the BMW 5 Series iDrive like controller in the center console just below the gear lever.

Hyundai has already announced a release party for the upmarket Genesis on December 29th, coinciding with their 40th Anniversary, and then making its public debut just two weeks later at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. With pricing expected to come in well below $30,000 USD, the Genesis is sure to turn a lot of heads.

Free passes for London

While ZAP is in Californian courts battling Daimler and smart, they are also expanding their markets. After opening a Chinese factory, now the 40 mph (64 km/h) ZAP Zebra 'city car' has been approved for UK roads.

But besides just being street-legal, the ZAP Zebra will also be one of the first (if not the first) car to be eligible for 'free passes' from London daily congestion tolls and parking. ZAP CEO Steve Schneider: "Here is a unique electric vehicle that will help drivers save significantly on fuel costs as well as free passes for the daily congestion tolls and parking.”

A very noble attempt, and most definitely a step in the right direction in regards to saving the planet but we'd still not want to be caught in a Zebra, let alone the pick-up truck version.

As expected, the Detroit Motor Show this January will see the debut of the new Corvette ZR1 packing an all new engine, the LS9. As previously suspected, these leaked photos confirm the 6.2-liter LS3 V8 engine gets supercharged. The photos show the supercharger in its two main components, the twin intercooler which integrates on top of the main supercharger unit sitting underneath. The LS9 engine is expected to produce approximately 650 hp.

Related entries:

Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 Spied
Corvette ZR1 Caught On Video Ahead of Debut
Chevrolet Joins Supercar Realms with Corvette ZR1 at Detroit

After being on the market for 6 years, the current generation R230 SL-Class is set for its midlife major facelift. Here now are photos showing the next SL without any disguise, just a few pieces of black tape were removed from the car by computer. Besides a revamped interior design, the most dramatic change will be the CLS-Class style headlamps together with a new front bumper fascia in addition to a new front grille with a single bar moulding/emblem. On the rear, new LED tailamps and a restyled rear bumper fascia. Engines are likely to remain the same, but rumours are talking about a turbocharged version of the 350 engine with 354 bhp. Top of the SL range will be the well known biturbo V12 SL 65 AMG with 612 bhp. The 2009 SL-Class with its debut expected for this March at the Geneva Motor Show will have its market launch towards the end of 2008. The next generation SL-Class is expected to hit in 2012.

BMW has finally released the photos and all the details in the BMW X6 concept. The BMW X6 is a combination of sporty coupe and BMW X DNA. The BMW X6 features Dynamic Performance Control for unique directional stability and precision under all driving conditions as well as BMW’s intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive technology. BMW Press Release:


- Concept innovation of the world’s first Sports Activity Coupe.
- As the founder of the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) segment, BMW is now once again presenting a new, consistently developed concept.
- The most sporting and dynamic interpretation of a BMW X model, with the emphasis above all on the car’s active driving potential. Superior driving dynamics taken up by typical BMW design language and authentically visualised in the car’s design.
- Extravagant body design combining the sporting elegance of a BMW Coupe with the striking DNA of BMW X.
- Clear orientation to the wheels, generous ground clearance and extra-large wheel arches give BMW X6 the powerful presence so characteristic of a BMW X model.
- BMW X6 is the first car in the world to feature Dynamic Performance Control for unique directional stability and precision under all driving conditions as well as BMW’s intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive technology.

Exterior design:

- The powerful presence of the car’s body merges smoothly and harmoniously with the low-slung roof
of the greenhouse. This flowing roofline is indeed a characteristic element of the coupe silhouette, just like the short front overhang, the long wheelbase and long rear overhang.
- In its design, BMW X6 expresses all the DNA so characteristic of BMW X. The optical balance of the front and rear wheels clearly visible from the side bears convincing testimony to BMW’s intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive technology.

The second dominating element in the design of the body is the clear orientation to the car’s
wheels, muscular wheel arches and large wheels providing a particularly impressive look and sign of stability.
- The exterior is characterised by exciting interaction of convex and concave surfaces.
- The side contour line rising up dynamically to the rear and the growing distance between the shoulder and the sill-line as the car moves to the back generate a dynamic wedge shape.
- The striking front view with clear focus on the car’s width bears out the ,expression so typical of a BMW X model. This powerful look is further enhanced by the extra-large BMW kidney grille serving as the air intake with robust slats, the headlights cut in a sharp profile, and clear accentuation of the side panels highlighting the flared contours of the wheel arches.
The large air intakes, in turn, characterise the significant demand for cooling air in the engine, make the car look longer and underline its sporting character also from the front.
- The engine compartment lid comes with clear contours subdivided by sharp lines tapering out towards the BMW kidney grille. The elegant look created in this way is also characterised by bumper elements finished in body colour with discreet plastic appliques in the typical style of a BMW X model.
- The unique design of the D-pillars expresses sheer power and stability, the innovative design of the rear lights emphasising the width of the car. Positioned far to the outside, the exhaust tailpipes and horizontal lines of BMW X6 accentuate the wide track of the car.
- The dark paintwork standing out clearly form the chrome elements symbolises the sporting and technical character of BMW X6, with sophisticated highlights being added by the sill trim at the side, the chrome-coloured slats, the foglamps with their special surrounds in the outer air intakes, as well as the chrome-plated tailpipes.
- The underfloor protection front and rear is made of milled aluminium.
- White direction indicator lines are integrated in the rear lights and the special night design of BMW X6 is characterised by light bodies with a homogeneous light effect.

Debut of the World’s First Sports Activity Coupe:
The BMW X6.

Inventing the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV), BMW has established a highly innovative and, indeed, trendsetting segment in the automobile market. And now the time is ripe for another brand-new concept: The Sports Activity Coupe combining an elegant, dynamically flowing roofline with the typical features of a BMW X model – a truly fascinating combination now borne out for the first time in the guise of BMW X6.

Presenting this concept car, BMW is proudly demonstrating the vision of a unique vehicle developing the striking design language of BMW X cars with a clear and consistent focus on sportiness and elegant presence.

BMW X6 captures the eyes of the beholder through its highly innovative combination of design and concept features. The car combines four doors and a dynamically flowing coupe roofline with a high sill-line, muscular wheel arches, and a strong centre of gravity positioned right in the middle and making a clear reference to four-wheel-drive technology.

The result is a unique vehicle clearly presenting the DNA of a BMW X model but interpreting the character of such a vehicle in a unique and truly sporting manner. The design of BMW X6 is the authentic visualisation of outstanding driving qualities borne out by the car mainly through BMW’s intelligent xDrive technology as well as Dynamic Performance Control.

Unique, aesthetic look: dynamic coupe line and the typical features of a BMW X model.

The front end of BMW X6 is dominated by highlights in design clearly symbolising the car’s dynamic orientation to the road. From the side, in turn, the proportions are definitely elegant, the short front body overhang emphasising the dynamism of the car, the long overhang at the rear, its stretched and sleek look. The long line of the engine compartment lid merges smoothly and gently into the elegantly rising A-pillars, the greenhouse moved far to the back and the roofline tapering out clearly and consistently from the B-pillars interacting with the high window line to provide low and, indeed, almost flat window graphics.

The roofline, in turn, flows down gently to the rear spoiler, finally moving up again slightly in a small upward swing perfecting the overall line of a coupe and at the same time optimising the car’s aerodynamic qualities.

The dynamically stretched side lines highlight the aesthetic effect of this concept car, with BMW X6 obtaining its impressive presence clearly through the unique combination of these lines and the design elements of a BMW X car.

Apart from the high window line, the large wheel arches and the centre of gravity visibly in the middle of the car, particularly this distinctive and powerful interaction of convex and concave surfaces, of the muscular side-sills with running boards made of drilled aluminium beneath the doors and the strong underfloor protection elements front and rear also made of aluminium express all the genuine DNA of BMW X.

Consistent focus on sporting performance.

BMW X6 combines the design features so typical of a BMW X model with a truly individual, aesthetic look. In its character and design, this concept car stands out clearly from BMW’s highly successful SAV models, although the core features of those models provide a strong and sound foundation for the development of a unique personality in the guise of BMW X6 as the Sports Activity Coupe.

With its impressively dynamic driving characteristics, the BMW X5 already excels as a true exception in its segment, and was indeed the forerunner creating the entire segment in the first place. Now BMW X6 provides a clear impression of how an even more consistent focus on sporting performance in this class is able to set standards once again.

Through its design alone, this new concept car arouses the greatest expectations of the driving experience in a Sports Activity Coupe, bearing out the robustness and superior traction of a BMW X model in combination with dynamic driving qualities never seen before in this segment of the market.

World debut: Dynamic Performance Control in BMW X6.

Dynamic Performance Control making its world debut in BMW X6 provides ideal qualities for experiencing new dimensions in driving dynamics. This drivetrain and chassis control system, combined with BMW’s intelligent xDrive all-wheel drive technology, offers a truly unique standard of driving stability in every situation, benefiting both driving dynamics and safety at the same time.

Dynamic Performance Control, a truly innovative system, spreads out drive forces as required in all situations, feeding a varying degree of power whenever required to the two wheels at the rear.

Dynamic Performance Control is the only system of its kind in the world able to provide its stabilising effect both under power and with the engine in overrun.

As soon as the system detects possible over- or understeer of the vehicle, for example in a bend, it will vary the distribution of drive forces between the wheels for perfect stability, dynamic traction, and forward motion. And in the process Dynamic Performance Control improves driving stability at all speeds, this unique chassis and suspension innovation ensuring not only safe traction when setting off and precise control when entering a bend, but also higher lateral acceleration and optimum directional stability when accelerating out of the bend.

BMW – setting the standard in a dynamically growing market segment.

Launching BMW X6, BMW is once again proving the company's outstanding competence in the development of new car concepts. First, this fascinating study shows how the range of BMW X models highly successful the world over might be extended by yet another exclusive version; second, BMW X6 presents the possibility to experience the sporting performance so typical of the brand in entirely new style and with brand-new features. The highly innovative Sports Activity Coupe created in this way is therefore once again paving the way into a dynamically growing market segment.

BMW X6 is beyond comparison with any existing series production vehicle the world over. But at the same time it creates clear references and associations through its unique, sophisticated design, the world’s first Sports Activity Coupe guiding the fantasy of the particularly demanding motorist in a clearly defined direction: this car promises driving dynamics in a dimension never seen before.

Yet a further point is that BMW X6, through its extravagant look and appearance, opens up very tempting perspectives for the future, this Sports Activity Coupe boasting design ideally suited to prove individual style and character.

Unique, innovative – and BMW all the way.

BMW X6 is unique and brand-new in the world of the automobile. But it nevertheless stands out as a genuine BMW at first sight, all design features of this concept study clearly reflecting the particular language of BMW design. Indeed, through its design language alone BMW X6 makes a number of clear and highly recognisable statements simply because they are quite unique in this constellation: The car expresses sporting elegance, superior presence and stylish extravagance as well as the symbiosis of superior power and outstanding robustness so characteristic of a BMW X car and now enhanced to a significantly higher standard in BMW X6.

Clear orientation towards the product features characterising the concept of a Sports Activity Coupe gives BMW X6 a fascinating look right fromthe start. Through its design alone, this car expresses the features essential to such an innovative vision of a completely new car. Conversely, this design principle now arouses the expectation that a BMW Sports Activity Coupe may well develop precisely the outstanding sportiness and superior power both on the road and offroad clearly borne out by this concept study.

So it is precisely the unique features of the vehicle that lead to its unmistakable design. And it is this authentic design so typical of a BMW which gives the BMW X6 its individual style and character and also reflects the image of the brand. In other words – only BMW is able to create a Sports Activity Coupe, and BMW X6 shows what such a car must look like.

Front end with dynamic orientation to the road.

BMW X6 stands out clearly as a genuine BMW from every angle. This is ensured primarily by the sculptural shape and design of the car characteristic of all BMW X models, the front, side and rear areas merging smoothly into one another, the car’s shapes and surfaces forming one common unit.

Individual details also bear out the design so typical of the BMW brand, ranging from the BMW kidney grille with its dual round headlights cut away at the side and the powerful contour line along the flanks of the vehicle all the way to the horizontal lines accentuating the sheer width of the car.

Like on the BMW X5, the fundamental look and impression of the front area of this concept car symbolises powerful presence right from the start. But given the large share of surfaces finished in body colour, the front end nevertheless creates an impression of lower height, emphasising the dynamic, road-going orientation of this Sports Activity Coupe.

The DNA of BMW X is also to be admired on the engine compartment lid and the structure of the almost vertical BMW kidney grille, with its slats finished in high-quality titanium colour. In addition, clear signs of distinction to be admired in many details serve to accentuate the sporting potential of this high performer.

Large air intake scoops positioned far to the outside not only bear testimony to the cooling requirements of an engine one can rightly expect to be particularly powerful, but also show a clear orientation, together with the side panels extending far to the inside beyond the headlights, to the wheels, emphasising how stable the car is on the road.

The air intakes are split horizontally by chrome-coloured bars also supporting the surrounds on the round foglamps. The contour of the central air intake, finally, is characterised by lines oriented to the outside, again providing a clear optical orientation to the road as such.

Through their design sharply cut across at the top, the dual round headlights typical of BMW express a particularly intense and focused look. Hence, the entire vehicle will appear to be concentrating even more on the road ahead.

The outer contours of the headlight units, in turn, extend far into the side panels, making the front overhang look shorter than it really is and giving the vehicle an even more sporting and dynamic appearance from the side.

Side view: characteristic wedge shape, dynamic roofline.

The unique proportions of BMW X6 are particularly clear from the side, the gently tapering roofline and the long body overhang at the rear giving the car its stretched and sleek coupe silhouette.

The roofline itself reaches its highest point directly behind the steering wheel, highlighting the driver' position and creating an effect most appropriate for the extravagant design of BMW X6. The chrome surrounds on the side windows, in turn, made of one piece, accentuate the sheer elegance of the vehicle, while the absence of pillars dividing the side area gives the window graphics a completely homogeneous look making the entire vehicle appear lighter and almost transparent.

The counter-flowing line at the bottom of the D-pillar so characteristic of BMW and well-known to the connoisseur as the “Hofmeister kick” stands out clearly towards the rear of the window frame, while slender plastic protection panels at the bottom edge of the bumpers, the side-sills and wheel arches discreetly allude to the robust character of BMW X6.

The side-walls are split by two intuitively contoured lines merging slightly towards one another at the front of the car and thus creating a wedge shape signalising the forward-pushing motion of BMW X6.

The contour line extending to the rear at the level of the door openers comes out particularly clearly, emphasising the dynamic wedge shape of the car further accentuated by the growing distance between the shoulder line and the sill-line towards the rear end extending all the way to the rear lights to give the entire vehicle an even sleeker and more stretched-out look.

The second character line runs parallel to the side-sills, half-way between the contour and the sill-line. Both front and rear, this second character line ends where the large and muscular wheel arches bulge strongly out of the side panels.

Reflecting the usual style and character of a BMW X model, the wheel arches are almost square in their contours, offering sufficient space for light-alloy rims measuring no less than 21 inches, with Y-spoke design created specifically for BMW X6.

The exterior mirrors on BMW X6 likewise come in brand-new, innovative design. They are made up of two units with a white-glistening strip of lights between the lower unit finished in body colour and the upper section of the mirror cap made of aluminium. This row of lights supplements the corona rings in the headlights so typical of BMW and serving as daytime driving lights.

BMW X6 provides particularly powerful interaction of concave and convex surfaces between the characteristic lines of the side panels. The play of light and shade created in this way gives the entire vehicle an unusually muscular look, visualising the agility so typical of a Sports Activity Coupe in a particularly fascinating manner. And the generous surfaces also emphasise the powerful presence of the vehicle, while the elegant lines structuring these surfaces are a clear expression of its elegance.

Strong shoulders and powerful roadholding distinguishing the rear end.

The rear end of BMW X6 offers a fascinating combination of elegance, sportiness and robustness in one smooth and harmonious symbiosis. The muscular bumper and the protective underfloor panel are classic design elements of a BMW X car. In addition, the proportions typical also of a coupe are borne out here in design language again characteristic of BMW X, with the greenhouse featuring an unusually angled rear window tapering out to the rear.

The stable grip on the road emphasised by the powerful rear section is expressed above all by the equally powerful and elegant shoulder sections, another feature typical of a coupe being the rear lid integrating a striking air flow contour lip.

The entire rear end is split and characterised by horizontal lines making the rear end look even wider and emphasising the powerful stance of the car on the road, in the process creating attractive interplay of convex and concave surfaces.

The rear end reaches its full width in the area of the wheel arches, the two exhaust tailpipes positioned far to the outside and featuring high-quality surrounds together with a trapezoidal contour guiding the eyes of the beholder to the wheels.

The distinctive light edge along the lower section of the bumper provides yet a further highlight referring in particular to the ground clearance of BMW X6 so typical of a BMW X car. Again, it is details of this kind that characterise the exclusivity and refined nature of the world’s first Sports Activity Coupe.

The rear lights, in their design, likewise reflect the unique character of BMW X6, re-interpreting the L-shape so typical of BMW’s X models and adding a dynamic, sweeping line. Extending far into the side walls, the rear lights again express the full width of the car also through its night design.

Extravagance and dynamic design for a unique driving experience. In its design and looks, BMW X6 sets new standards and leaves a lasting impression, the concept study presenting brand-new options in expressing sportiness and modern elegance. Creating a car which combines the dynamic lines of a coupe with the superior power and refined robustness of a BMW X car, BMW is once again entering new terrain in the market segment of all-wheel-drive luxury cars, where the BMW X5 has already shown how dynamic driving qualities may well become a decisive criterion in a new segment. The BMW X3 then added outstanding agility as a further factor for success, and now BMW X6 stands for the ongoing continuation of these priorities.

Despite its consistently sporting orientation, BMW X6 retains the full character of a BMW X model, which indeed makes this concept study particularly appealing. Hence, BMW X6 features not only the dynamic flair of a coupe, but also four doors, a large rear lid and a wide range of attributes, that is all the fortes of a BMW X model. And it is precisely this combination that expresses the extravagance and thrill of a brand-new car concept as well as the innovative power of the BMW brand.

Since the last batch of V-Series spy photos back in September, some new spy photos of the BMW crossover variant dubbed Progressive Activity Sedan (PAS) have emerged from our neighbors to the left, Sweden's In addition to the spy photos, AMS Sweden also has a couple of interesting computer renderings of what the vehicle could look like. Check them out.

The Gran Turismo model based on the CS Concept, which was recently announced by Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW AG, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, as approved for production, serves as the design basis for the PAS crossover. The V-Series' underpinnings and engines will be based on the future 5-Series. Similar to the X6, the V-Series will be a strict 4 seater with two buckets in the rear. The V-Series is expected to launch in 2010.

The Audi Q7 V12 TDI: Majestic power

Audi is advancing to the cutting edge of diesel technology development. The Ingolstadt brand already has a host of landmark achievements to its credit – and the list is about to be extended with the advent of the first ever V12 TDI passenger car engine. The six-litre unit under the bonnet of the Audi Q7 V12 TDI study delivers a majestic 368 kW/500 bhp and a formidable 1,000 Nm of torque. This injects the high-performance SUV with the dynamism of a powerful sports car.

The colossal power of the Audi Q7 V12 TDI takes it into a whole new dimension. A time of 5.5 seconds for the sprint from a standstill to 100 km/h and an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h put the performance SUV from Audi on a par with high-calibre sports cars. The engine limits its consumption to an average of just 11.9 litres/100 km.

The new V12 TDI is the crowning glory of an engine line-up brimming with dynamic performance – each and every one of the diesel engines from Audi generates a high output and tremendous pulling power for a sporty drive. This character has emerged over and over again in the brand's models, not least in the form of the six- and eight-cylinder 2.7 TDI, 3.0 TDI and 4.2 TDI models.

The pioneering role that Audi assumes in the field of diesel technology stems from the peerless expertise it has amassed over a period of decades. Since the 1970s, the Audi engineers have been responsible for one vital breakthrough after another, the most important being the world's first ever TDI engine to be fitted in a passenger car which made its debut in 1989. And in 2008, Audi intends to start making inroads into the US diesel market with Bluetec technology: thanks to Bluetec, TDI models bearing the four-ring emblem are not just sporty and economical, they can also run so cleanly that they comply with the emissions legislation in all 50 US states.

A year ago, Audi added yet another new chapter to the ongoing diesel success story on race tracks around the world. Developing over 650 bhp, the V12 TDI fitted in the R10 TDI sports prototype left its petrol-powered rivals trailing in all of the races it participated in, including the most challenging of them all, the classic Le Mans 24 Hours. The R10 TDI also triumphed in the LMP1 category of the American Le Mans Series with an impressive string of victories.

The V12 TDI – the new flagship V engine

When working on the road-going version of the V12 TDI, which will be built in its Györ plant in Hungary, Audi drew on all of the know-how that underpins the racing engine. The range-topping diesel is the new flagship model in the Audi range of V engines, spanning petrol and diesel units with 6, 8 and 10 cylinders.

The V12 TDI's cylinders actually sweep a greater volume than the racing engine, which has a capacity of 5.5 litres. Its 5,934 cc are produced by a bore of 83.0 millimetres and a stroke of 91.4 mm, the same dimensions as the six-cylinder 3.0 TDI. The two banks of cylinders are positioned opposite one another with an offset of 17 millimetres. Measuring just 684 mm long, the V12 diesel has an extremely compact design. Indeed, its compact size was one of the key prerequisites for integrating the V12 into the Audi Q7.

The V12 TDI features the same 90 mm spacing between cylinders as the other models in the V engine series. However, the cylinder banks are placed at an angle of 60 degrees to one another instead of the customary 90 degrees. This particular V12 configuration suppresses all of the inertial forces and mass moments which would otherwise cause vibrations. Consequently, the engine's smoothness is flawless in every regard.

Lightweight construction: crankcase made from vermicular graphite

The V12 TDI's crankcase is made from a mixture of cast iron and vermicular graphite – Audi already uses this high-tech material, known as GJV-450, in the manufacture of the V6 TDI and V8 TDI. GJV-450, which is produced using a patented casting method, is around 40 percent more rigid than cast iron and twice as resistant to fatigue.

This enabled the development team to make the walls thinner, paving the way for a potential weight-saving of around 15 percent compared to conventional cast iron.

The crankshaft is forged from chrome-molybdenum alloy steel and is mounted with the aid of an extremely rigid main bearing bridge made from nodular cast iron. The forged connecting rods are cracked, and the pistons are made from aluminium.

The two cylinder heads each comprise three main elements. The bottom section, incorporating the intake and exhaust ports and through which the coolant flows, is made from a low-pressure die-cast aluminium alloy that has a high-strength, lightweight construction. The top section, which conducts the oil, is pressure-cast. The cylinder head is crowned by a reinforcing ladder-type frame which holds the two camshafts.

Perfect air ducting: flaps in the intake ducts

The valves are actuated by four camshafts acting via low-friction roller-type cam followers, the compression ratio is 16.0:1. The map-controlled swirl variation of the combustion air deployed in the V6 and V8 TDI models has been retained. With this system, one of the intake ports for each cylinder is either opened or closed by means of an electrically operated flap, depending on the engine's operating point. Intermediate flap positions are also possible. This allows the swirl to be adjusted for optimum exhaust emissions combined with high power delivery.

As is customary on V engines from Audi, the maintenance-free chain drive is fitted in a space-saving location on the rear face of the engine. The developers devised a new layout for the V12 TDI, however. The crankshaft's sprocket wheel meshes with an intermediate gear which in turn drives the camshafts by means of two simplex chains. Two additional chains drive the oil pump as well as both high-pressure pumps for the common-rail injection system.

2,000 bars of pressure: ground-breaking common-rail technology

The injection technology featured in the V12 TDI is every bit as revolutionary. The high-pressure pumps both form part of the common-rail system supplied by system specialist Bosch. The twin plunger pumps are capable of building up pressures as high as 2,000 bar in the rails, considerably more than the previous usual maximum of, at most, 1,600 bar.

The piezoelectric injectors with their eight-hole nozzles have also undergone a thorough reworking. The tiniest quantities of diesel fuel are injected into the combustion chambers through their eight-hole nozzles, whose diameter has now been reduced to a mere 0.12 millimetres. The high pressure produces an optimum spray pattern inside the combustion chamber, which makes for a faster, more homogeneous and, as a result, more acoustically refined ignition process. What's more, the improved combustion efficiency increases power output whilst reducing both fuel consumption and pollutant emissions.

Ultra-fast and ultra-precise: the piezoelectric injectors

The latest generation of inline injectors employs the piezo effect: piezo crystals expand slightly when an electrical voltage is applied to them. Over 300 piezo discs are packed into each of the V12 TDI injectors, which transmit the minimal expansion to the valve needle directly (inline) without the need for any form of transmission mechanism between the two. Each actuation takes just a few milliseconds – by comparison, a wink of the eye lasts 100 ms.

The fuel pressure and quantity can be adjusted according to requirements; the number of injection phases per power stroke can be varied up to a maximum of five with the piezoelectric technology in the V12 TDI. Main injection can be accompanied by both pilot and post-injection phases. Pilot injection lessens the harshness of the combustion sound, which is particularly noticeable at low engine loads. The delayed post-injection of fuel serves to increase the temperature of the exhaust gas – this allows any particulate residue to be burned off in order to regenerate the two particulate filters which are included as standard.

Supercharging: a turbocharger for each bank of cylinders

Attached to the outside of the engine's V are the two turbochargers which each supply compressed air to one bank of cylinders. Their variable vane geometry ensures that the full exhaust flow is directed through the turbine at all times – the turbochargers offer fast response even at low rev speeds and attain a high degree of efficiency.

Both turbochargers generate up to 2.6 bar of absolute boost pressure and therefore have a vital role to play in achieving the formidable peak torque of 1,000 Nm which the new V12 TDI constantly has on tap between 1,750 rpm and 3,000 rpm. The diesel's 368 kW/500 bhp equates to a specific output of 62.0 kW/84.3 bhp per litre.

Cooling effect: two intercoolers to reduce the temperature of the air

The temperature of the compressed air is reduced by two large intercoolers. The V12 comes with a double-flow exhaust system featuring two particulate filters. The intake system is similarly structured – for each bank of cylinders there is an air cleaner followed immediately by a hot-film air mass meter. Two control units operating based on the master-slave principle orchestrate proceedings inside the engine.

The Audi Q7 V12 TDI already complies with the Euro 5 emissions standard, which is due to come into force in mid-2010 and will make especially tough demands in terms of reducing nitrogen oxides. It was with this in mind that the Audi engineers devoted particular attention not only to the new common-rail system and its high-precision fuel metering, but also to the exhaust gas recirculation system.

At partial throttle, up to 50 percent of the exhaust gases are fed back into the intake air in order to reduce NOx emissions. The extensive recirculation system incorporates a water cooler which reduces the temperature of the exhaust gases sharply.

The awesome V12 TDI directs its power as standard to a fast-action, smooth-shifting new six-speed tiptronic transmission. From here, the forces flow to a quattro driveline, which splits the drive power 40:60 between the front and rear wheels under normal driving conditions. This results in slightly tail-heavy, sporty handling characteristics, exceptional agility and exemplary steering precision.

To ensure that its phenomenal performance can be safely harnessed, the Audi Q7 V12 TDI is equipped with powerful, ventilated disc brakes. The ESP dynamic handling control system features a hill descent assist as well as a special off-road mode. The safety specification is rounded off by the pairs of front, side and head airbags in the interior.

An elaborate double-wishbone independent suspension has been used for each of the four wheels, while the majority of the axle components are made from aluminium. The adaptive air suspension, incorporating an electronically controlled damper system, comes as standard, creating a perfect synthesis of sporty handling on the one hand and silky ride comfort on the other. The body's ride height can be adjusted from its starting position of 180 mm above the ground up to the lift mode offering a whole 240 mm of ground clearance. The Audi Q7 V12 TDI study rides on 20-inch cast aluminium wheels.

Design: the best of both worlds

The Audi Q7 V12 TDI is just as fascinating to look at as it is to drive. The principal feature which distinguishes it from its lesser-powered siblings is the contrasting paintwork of the underfloor panels at the front and rear. The striking, almost vertical single-frame radiator grille has a chromed finish and echoes the dynamic Audi S6 and Audi S8 models, which both head their respective ranges powered by V10 FSI engines. Flanking the grille are wide headlight units with visible light tubes.

The Audi Q7 styling has a thrilling air of elegance blended with dynamism, and displays both tremendous sportiness and the robustness of an accomplished off-road vehicle. The Audi Q7 cuts a powerful, elongated figure, boasting the sportiest proportions in its segment, with a length of 5,086 millimetres, a width of 1,983 mm and a height of 1,737 mm.

The high side panelling gives the vehicle's body a muscular feel, particularly in the way it contrasts with the flat, sporty styling of the window area. The dynamic line above the wheel arches, the powerfully contoured shoulder section and the flowing roof line combine with the standard-fit roof rails to emphasise the car's athletic looks. The distinctive tapering at the front end and the tail with its steeply angled D-pillars form the end markers of a distinctly coupé-like silhouette.

The Audi Q7 offers outstanding levels of spaciousness courtesy of a wheelbase measuring 3,002 mm. The three rows of seating accommodate up to seven people. The seats in the second row can be specified with fore-and-aft adjustment as an option and offer occupants a class-beating footwell length. Both of the rear rows of seats can be folded down flat, increasing load capacity to a maximum of 2,035 litres. The 5-seater version of the Audi Q7 offers 775 litres of load space in its luggage compartment, while the 6-seater version features individual second-row seats. The tailgate of the Audi Q7 V12 TDI opens and closes electrically at the push of a button.

Amply sized interior plus innovative operating concept

The interior and cockpit area of the Audi Q7 create the impression of a light and airy expanse, flawless ergonomics and top quality. The standard-specification deluxe automatic air conditioning regulates heating and ventilation separately for the driver's and passenger's side, taking sunlight levels into account in the process. The Audi Q7 also comes equipped as standard with the MMI operating system which has already earned high praise in the A8 and A6 and can be expanded to include numerous additional functions.

A number of state-of-the-art driver assistance systems may be specified as an option. These include the radar-assisted "Audi side assist" for lane-changing manoeuvres, the "Audi parking system advanced" featuring both visual and acoustic guidance as well as a rearview camera, plus the latest-generation automatic proximity control system, Audi cruise control with braking guard, which is capable of braking the vehicle to a standstill if required.

The seats are upholstered in leather, and the front seats are heated. Carbon panels give added emphasis to the interior's sporting flair. And to ensure that drivers can enjoy supreme operating convenience there is a cruise control system, a driver information system and a multifunction steering wheel.

Audi already offers the Q7 with a choice of three engines: the 3.6 FSI has an output of 206 kW/280 bhp, the 4.2 FSI generates 257 kW/350 bhp and the 3.0 TDI delivers 171 kW/233 bhp. The eight-cylinder 4.2 TDI is due to be added to the model line-up in mid-2007.

Low-emission TDI engines for the USA: Green power

The trend towards diesel engines is becoming ever more pronounced in the United States too. Audi, the inventor of the modern-day TDI, is going on the offensive in an effort to bolster this tendency. 2008 will see the arrival of the Q7 3.0 TDI in US showrooms. Thanks to the exceptionally low emissions resulting from its cutting-edge Bluetec technology, this engine is able to meet even the most stringent emissions limits.

In Europe, diesel-engined cars have been enjoying an inexorable rise in popularity for years now – in Germany, for instance, they accounted for over 45 percent of new car registrations in October 2006. Today's diesel engines are powerful, fast, efficient, smooth and dependable – virtues which Audi, in its capacity as a pioneer of diesel technology since 1989, has been instrumental in achieving.

The diesel market is also beginning to take off in the USA. In 2006, diesel-powered passenger cars and light trucks secured a market share of around 3.5 percent, and this figure is widely predicted to keep on rising. Firmly convinced that the TDI engine represents the powerful and economical alternative for the future of motoring, Audi is seeking to reinforce this trend: the Ingolstadt brand is embarking on its US diesel initiative.

Strict LEVII standard in California

The stringent legislation governing emissions represents a key criterion for all passenger car engines in the USA. The emission standard entitled US Tier II Bin 8, which is in force in 45 of the 50 US states, limits emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) to 0.20 grams per mile and particulate emissions to 0.02 g/mile. The LEVII standard, which is enforced in California and a number of states in the north-east, goes much further again, restricting emissions of nitrogen oxides to 0.07 g/mile and particulates to 0.01 g/mile.

The LEVII limits are simply beyond the capabilities of the emission control technologies required to meet the current Euro 4 standard in Europe.

This is why Audi has teamed up with Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler to develop a revolutionary new technology – it is called Bluetec and denotes exceptionally clean-running diesel engines.

The Bluetec technology is built around a dedicated catalytic converter which goes under the abbreviation of SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) and is positioned downstream from the oxidation catalytic converter and the particulate filter. The second system component is an auxiliary tank containing an aqueous carbonyl diamide solution. The solution, which has been labelled "AdBlue", is injected into the exhaust system in small doses. Once in the hot flow of exhaust gases, it decomposes into ammonia which in turn breaks down the nitrogen oxides into nitrogen and water.

The "AdBlue" reducing agent is routinely topped up at the workshop each time the vehicle is serviced, without the customer having to lift a finger. Audi ensures that there is sufficient "AdBlue" to safely cover the distances between services. Additional benefits include the fact that "AdBlue" is biodegradable and the system's guaranteed effectiveness for the duration of the vehicle's service life.

Audi is a driving force behind the advancement of diesel engines

The ultra-clean Bluetec diesel engines see Audi hold true to its tradition of always being at the cutting edge of diesel technology development. The Ingolstadt brand developed direct injection technology back in 1989 – since then, the fuel efficiency of diesel engines has been improved by around 30 percent on average. Compared to 1989 levels, the European emission standard Euro 4 heralds a 93 percent reduction in passenger car particulate emissions; long before the standard came into effect, Audi had already brought out models onto the market which complied with the stipulated limits, even without a particulate filter.

The Audi philosophy has always been to offer customers the best possible solution. And as the only good emissions are those which are not created in the first place, Audi engineers gave top priority to implementing internal engine measures that would further refine the combustion process.

The common-rail technology in the new Audi Q7 V12 TDI with an injection pressure that has now reached the 2,000 bar mark is, for the moment at least, the last link in a long chain of diesel developments.

Others include the four-valve-per-cylinder technology and the accompanying swirl and inlet ports for controlling the airflows, as well as the controlled and cooled system of exhaust gas recirculation; the latter of these innovations is of great importance for the future of diesel engines at Audi.

Higher fuel prices, improved diesel infrastructure

The growing trend towards diesel power which is emerging in the US has been prompted by a number of developments. The sharp increase in energy prices has raised public awareness of the importance of making economical use of resources.

The infrastructure of filling stations stocking diesel fuel for passenger cars is growing, at the same time increasing availability of the low-sulphur diesel fuel (containing less than 50 ppm sulphur) that is one of the fundamental requirements for using Bluetec technology and particulate filters. Irrespective of this, Audi is promoting the development of sophisticated synthetic fuels derived from biomass or natural gas, which by their nature contain considerably fewer pollutants.

The Q7 3.0 TDI will be the first model from Audi to showcase the all-new, ultra-clean Bluetec technology when it is launched in the US in late 2008. Further models are set to follow. And other countries apart from the United States have voiced an interest in the new, extra-green diesel engines, including Japan, China and, not least, the Europeans.

High-tech diesel engines from Audi

Technical superiority

The new V12 TDI with its supreme performance is a trademark Audi engine. Ever since it first invented the TDI engine 18 years ago, the brand has played a pivotal role in advancing technology in this field. Diesel engines from Audi are powerful, efficient and smooth, and they have demonstrated their superiority both on the road and the racetrack.

368 kW/500 bhp – the new V12 TDI engine in the Audi Q7 is a veritable pageant of technology and represents the new pinnacle of passenger car diesel development. The twelve-cylinder power unit provides unquestionable proof of the pre-eminent technological expertise at Audi. 18 years after the Ingolstadt brand invented the modern-day TDI engine, it is presenting it in an all-new high-tech, range-topping guise.

The wide-ranging pool of know-how at Audi is also plainly in evidence in the brand's other large diesel engines which likewise succeed in fusing sheer power with excellent efficiency. The two V6 TDI units summon 132 kW/180 bhp and 171 kW/233 bhp respectively from their capacities of 2.7 and 3.0 litres, with the V8 TDI drawing 240 kW/326 bhp from its 4.2 litres. The TDI engines from Audi are full of power and torque, yet they are also efficient and economical, as well as being quiet and smooth.

TDI engines are full of power

The three-litre TDI unit propels a variety of Audi models, ranging from the mid-size A4 up to the Audi Q7 high-performance SUV. Its 171 kW/233 bhp equates to an output of 57.6 kW/77.9 bhp per litre – a figure which up until just a few years ago was unprecedented outside of the sports car faction. In all of the models it is fitted in, the 3.0 TDI drives all four wheels via the quattro permanent four-wheel drive system, yet another Audi technology whose tremendous potential for motoring pleasure and driving safety underscores the brand's sporty essence.

The three-litre diesel engine ensures dynamic performance. It powers the Audi A8 luxury saloon, for example, to a majestic top speed of 243 km/h and from nought to 100 km/h in just 7.8 seconds. Yet more evidence of the Audi brand's exclusive expertise can be found in the A8 3.0 TDI quattro: its body tips the scales at a mere 222 kilograms thanks to its state-of-the-art Audi Space Frame (ASF). ASF reverses the weight spiral. Recently, Audi received the European Body Car Award for the TT body with its hybrid construction that makes intelligent use of aluminium combined with steel.

TDI engines are full of torque

The great strength of all diesel engines from Audi is their immense torque. The pulling power of diesel engines clearly surpasses that of comparable petrol units. What's more, their power is on tap at very low revs, just above idling speed in fact – meaning that the driver merely has to coax the accelerator pedal for a smooth yet persistent build-up of thrust. Consequently, the pulling power is there whenever it is needed, making for a composed and relaxed driving style.

Built in the vein of a classic American small block, the three-litre V6 transmits as much as 500 Nm of torque to the crankshaft at engine speeds as low down as 1,400 - 1,500 rpm. The diesel powerplant generates an exceptional 168.5 Nm for each litre of capacity.

TDI engines are efficient and economical

Diesel engines make more efficient use of the energy contained in the fuel they run on than petrol engines do. Audi has played a decisive role in the development of the many different solutions that have been devised to capitalise on this fundamental principle of physics – four-valve-per-cylinder technology for an optimum cylinder charge in any operating situation is just one example, as is the principle of variable turbine geometry used in turbochargers.

The A8 is a saloon of stately proportions, measuring 5.06 metres in length, but even in such a large car the 3.0 TDI demonstrates astounding restraint in terms of fuel consumption. On the EU driving cycle, it limits itself to an average of 8.5 litres per 100 km, while the 2.7 TDI in the Audi A4 is even more frugal, burning just 6.7 l/100 km.

Such high efficiency heralds more than just financial benefits for drivers, especially on long journeys: thanks to the 90-litre tank capacity, motorists adopting a relaxed driving style can cover far in excess of 1,000 km between refuelling stops – not only does this cut costs, it saves time and nerves too.

TDI engines are quiet and smooth

The sound from Audi's latest direct-injection diesel units is barely perceptible to passengers' ears, as they run every bit as quietly as their petrol counterparts. This is partly down to the extensive development work carried out by the acoustic engineers at Audi. Carefully positioned finning on the cylinder blocks nips vibrations in the bud, while all of the potential paths via which vibrations could be transmitted into the interior have been eliminated from the engine mountings and bodyshell.

One of the key advances can be attributed to the common-rail technology, as it virtually gives the control unit free rein over the injection of fuel, which can take place up to five times during each power stroke. The pilot injection phases take place well in advance of the main injection to produce a more gradual pressure build-up for smoother combustion. The innovative piezoelectric injectors used by Audi in its large diesel engines heighten this effect with their extremely fast, high-precision actuation, finally putting an end to the harsh knocking and metallic rattling sounds normally heard at partial throttle.

Audi – drawing on a wealth of TDI expertise

The engine unveiled by Audi at the Frankfurt Motor Show in the late summer of 1989 was nothing less than an absolute sensation: exhibited in the Audi 100, the five-cylinder turbodiesel mustered 88 kW/120 bhp and 265 Nm of torque from its capacity of 2.5 litres. It was the first ever passenger car diesel engine to feature direct injection and fully electronic management – in short, the world's first TDI.

The beefy power of the five-cylinder drive unit redefined standards in the diesel segment when it went into series production in 1990. And Audi has been consolidating its head start ever since with one new development after another.

1991 marked the debut of a four-cylinder TDI model which extracted 66 kW (90 bhp) and 182 Nm from its capacity of 1.9 litres. Four years later its output was upped to 81 kW/110 bhp, thanks partly to the inclusion of a brand new turbocharger with turbine vanes that could be adjusted flexibly to match current requirements. The advertising slogan "Where's the tank?" made the TDI's proverbial economy and its tremendous operating range famous in Germany – the 66 kW/90 bhp variant of the 1.9 TDI made do with a mere 5.1 l/100 km in the Audi A4.

The five-cylinder engine's output was uprated to 103 kW/140 bhp in 1994; coupled to a six-speed gearshift and optional four-wheel drive, it advanced to the status of the first TDI quattro. With vital statistics reading 290 Nm of torque at 1,900 rpm, a top speed of 208 km/h, 9.9 seconds for the 0-100 km/h dash and a Euromix fuel consumption of 6.0 l/100 km, it set a new benchmark for sporty touring saloons to measure themselves by.

The world's first V6 TDI passenger car engine followed in 1997. Fitted with a four-valve cylinder head – yet another major innovation on the TDI front – it had an output of 110 kW/150 bhp. Audi premiered its first diesel engine with the pioneering common-rail injection system in 1999 when it unveiled the 165 kW/225 bhp V8 TDI. The very same technology is employed by the current family of V diesel engines, ranging from the 2.7 V6 TDI and the 3.0 V6 TDI to the 4.2 V8 TDI and finally the new six-litre V12 TDI.

For 18 years now, Audi has been harnessing all of the innovative flair it has amassed in this field to constantly push back the limits of what is possible. The TDI engines have been pivotal in the Audi brand's rise to the rank of sporty premium manufacturer; today, every second Audi that is sold worldwide has a diesel engine under the bonnet. The TDI engines have enjoyed an unparalleled triumph – and the success story is set to continue apace.

TDI on the racetrack: a quiet, efficient, dominating force

Initially, even the drivers could not believe their ears – seasoned professionals of the likes of Tom Kristensen and Frank Biela suddenly had to change their habits. Previously, they had used the engine noise emanating from their open sports cars as an important yardstick – and now the engine noise faded out altogether above a certain speed, so quiet was the V12 TDI in the new R10.

The V12 diesel race car from Audi has taken motorsport into a whole new era. Designed in accordance with the regulations that govern the Le Mans 24 Hours, the 5.5-litre TDI racing engine is a cut above the rest. With its prodigious torque of over 1,100 Nm, it comfortably outperforms any petrol model. At its rated engine speed, over 478 kW/650 bhp is on tap – translating into a top speed in the region of 330 km/h.

A further forte of the V12 TDI is its low fuel consumption. Measured against its already extremely efficient predecessor, the R8 with petrol direct injection, the R10 TDI burned considerably less fuel at Le Mans. This was despite the fact that the diesel was unable to make the very most of its strengths on the Sarthe circuit with its long straights and a full throttle ratio approaching the 75 percent mark.

The high range was crucial to victory

The high range and the resulting reduction in the number of refuelling stops proved to be a crucial factor in the victory at the classic 24 Hours. Frank Biela (Germany), Emanuele Pirro (Italy) and Marco Werner (Germany) only had to call in at the pits 27 times in their car with start number 8.

They completed 380 laps – 5,187 km – at an average speed of 215.409 km/h.

Spurred on by its triumph at Le Mans, Audi went on to achieve something that no other manufacturer had before it – the R10 TDI won all eight of the races it competed in over the course of the 2006 season. The sequence of victories spanned the breadth of the United States, starting in March at the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida and culminating at Laguna Seca in California in October.

In the American Le Mans Series, Scotsman Allan McNish together with Dindo Capello from Italy emerged as the overall champions of the large LMP1 category long before the season had drawn to a close. With a total of 23 wins under his belt, Capello is the most successful ALMS driver of all time. Audi also took the constructors title in the large LMP1 category by a substantial margin after racking up 215 points ahead of Lola in second on 160 points.

A panel of judges from the British magazine "Race Engine Technology" voted the V12 TDI in the Audi R10 TDI "Race Engine of the Year 2006" and "Alternative Race Engine of the Year". The engine's design engineer Ulrich Baretzky, Head of Engine Technology at Audi Sport, and the Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich perceive the V12 TDI as a perfect illustration of motorsport and series production cooperating closely with one another.

Transfer between motorsport and series production

"We can avail ourselves of the expertise and test facilities of our colleagues in series development," remarks Dr. Ullrich. The know-how flows both ways though, with technological highlights from the racetrack often injecting vital new stimulus into series development.

Audi performed a similar technology transfer back in the late 1980s. At that time, the touring cars from Ingolstadt were dominating the TransAm and IMSA races thanks to their quattro drive and turbocharged petrol engines that generated in excess of 700 bhp in some cases. 20 years on, large-scale series development is once again reaping the benefits of motorsport technology.

The data and the performance and fuel consumption figures stated here refer to the model range offered for sale in Germany. Subject to amendment; errors and omissions excepted.

Related entries:

Audi Q7 V12 TDI Revealed
Audi Q7 In Depth
Audi Q7 4.2 TDI Revealed
Audi Q7 V12 TDI to launch in 2008

Audi subsidiary, Quattro GmbH, is responsible for production of Audi's low volume performance cars such as RS models, S-Line models as well as Audi Exclusive customization packages and lifestyle accessories. In 2007 the number of vehicles coming out of the Quattro GmbH stable included 5300 RS4's, 4000 R8's, 50.000 Exclusive models plus 300.000 S-Line packages making a total of 360.000 vehicles. Compared to only 2500 vehicles back in 2000, its fair to say demand for bespoke and exclusive products from Quattro GmbH are in high demand.

According to German enthusiasts magazine, Auto Motor und Sport, Werner Frowein, Director of Quattro GmbH, stated slight increases in production will take place in 2008 despite their position of always producing enough product just below demand. Currently, production of the Audi R8 mid-engine sports car has been increased to maximum capacity of 27 additional units per day, which will continue throughout 2008, giving a total production of 5500. Also planned for 2008 are 5000 RS 6's, only 1000 RS 4's since production is concluding, and the addition of the 12-cylinder diesel Q7.

Sounds good, but it gets even better. Typically, RS cars are released in the last two years of a vehicle's six year life cycle, however, quattro GmbH have now changed this policy which will see future RS models coming to market after the first two years. Although it is unknown which RS model this new production schedule will apply to first, we can speculate based on recent spy photos that it will most likely be the TT-RS followed by the RS 5. Additionally, with consideration to Quattro GmbH's policy of having only one RS model on the market at a time, this accelerated cycle of RS cars explains why we have been seeing spy photos of the simultaneous development of RS cars (linked above).

Related entries:

Audi RS 5 Engine Speculation and Rendering
Audi RS5 Latest Renderings
Audi TT RS Spied

Four new architectures

Volkswagen has big plans, really big plans. So ambitious that even the mighty Toyota get caught in between the crosshair's of VW's board. VW hopes to catch up to Toyota by 2018 with 10 million sales. Volkswagen tallied up 5,7 million sales in 2006.

Key to the VW plans are four new architectures, of which the transverse-engined MQB platform will be a cornerstone. The MQB platform will be used for small, lower-medium and upper-medium models, possibly totalling a grand total of 6 million cars, and is rumoured to be the logical platform replacement of up to 20 models. Current record holding platform is the VW PQ35/46 platform with 2,3 million units, underpinning, amongst others, the VW Golf.

According to an insider, the first model based on the new MQB platform could be launched by 2010 as the next generation VW Touran. Ulrich Hackenberg, VW Board Member, was quoted: “MQB is planned for a broad application, from small cars up to and including upper-medium. The first model to emerge can be expected in 2010.”

The second architecture will be called the rear-engined MHB platform and is destined to underpin VW's New Small Family minicar range, of which the Up! concepts are forerunners.

VW also has a mid-engine sports car platform in mind for the R8 and Lamborghinis. There are even some rumours floating around that Bugatti may come with a more-affordable model.

Last, but certainly not least, is the MLB platform with longitudinally mounted engines taken over from Audi. The MLB is currently used for the new Audi A4 and A5. Hackenberg said: “But MLB could be used for models up to the largest in our group.” Which would not just be the larger Audis (A6 and A8) but also the VW Phaeton and even the Bentley's.

All this sounds very logical, but besides that it will also be highly efficient. Four major platforms to cover every model in the VW Group can cut development costs by up to 40%, for instance safety technologies like crumple zones can be shared across many models. But besides cutting costs, it will also enable Volkswagen to develop new and niche models very quickly in order to respond to market demand.

In time for the market introduction of the new Mercedes C-Class wagon BRABUS presents an exclusive sport program. The product lineup for the S 204 model series comprises powerful engine tuning for gasoline and diesel models, an elegant aerodynamic-enhancement program, light-alloy wheels up to 19 inches in diameter with corresponding suspension modifications, and custom interior options.

For the CDI models BRABUS offers its BRABUS PowerXtra kits. They start with the D2 (III) kit that boosts power output of the C 200 CDI by 39 hp (28 hp SAE net) / 28.7 kW and bumps peak torque to 385 Nm (284 lb-ft). BRABUS D3 S tuning in the C 220 CDI model increases power output by an extra 50 hp (49 hp SAE net) / 36.8 kW to 220 hp (217 hp SAE net) / 162 kW. Peak torque is 480 Nm (354 lb-ft).

The top-of-the-line turbodiesel model C 320 CDI adds 48 hp (47 hp SAE net) / 35.3 kW with the D6 (III) power kit. Peak torque grows to 590 Nm (435 lb-ft). Thus equipped, the new V6 wagon turns into one of the liveliest diesels on the market: The sprint from 0 - 100 km/h (62 mph) takes just 6.9 seconds, top speed is 250 km/h (155 mph).

For the gasoline-powered V6 models C 280 and C 350 there is the BRABUS 4.0 displacement engine. Displacement of the V6 engine is increased with the help of a special crankshaft with longer stroke and larger cylinder bore with correspondingly larger pistons. The four-valve heads are optimized for mixture flow and fitted with custom camshafts. Newly programmed engine electronics and a stainless-steel high-performance exhaust system with metal catalysts round out the conversion.

The BRABUS 4.0 engine produces 332 hp (327 hp SAE net) / 244 kW and a peak torque of 420 Nm (310 lb-ft) at 4,200 rpm, giving the five-door excellent performance: The wagon accelerates from 0-100 km/h in just 5.9 seconds, top speed is 275 km/h (171 mph).

The BRABUS stainless-steel quad sport exhaust systems - available custom-tailored to each C-Class model with or without engine tuning - were developed to further improve power yield.

BRABUS stands behind the exceptional quality of all its products including engine tuning with the one-of-a-kind BRABUS Tuning Warranty of three years, up to 100,000 kilometers or 62,000 miles (see BRABUS warranty conditions as of November 2006).

A major contribution to even further improved driving dynamics comes from BRABUS tire/wheel combinations with diameters of 17, 18 and 19 inches and corresponding BRABUS sport suspensions, lowering kits and sport sway bars, all custom-developed for the new wagon. The largest wheel option features BRABUS Monoblock VI, E or S light-alloy wheels in size 8.5Jx19 in front with size 235/35 ZR 19 tires. The rear axle is fitted with size 9.5Jx19 wheels and tires up to size 265/30 ZR 19.

BRABUS high-performance brake systems - available in two versions - offer maximum endurance and stopping power on the level of a sports car.

BRABUS design is synonymous around the globe with sporty elegance. The aerodynamic-enhancement kit for the new C-Class wagon continues this tradition. Custom-tailored components that offer excellent aerodynamic properties and precise fit were developed in the wind tunnel.

The BRABUS front spoiler with four auxiliary headlights lends the Mercedes a more striking front. But that's not all: By reducing aerodynamic lift on the front axle the spoiler also further optimizes directional stability.

The BRABUS rocker panels create an optimal aerodynamic transition between front and rear wheel houses. The rocker panels are optionally available with integrated LED entrance lights that are activated with the keyless fob or by pulling on a door handle. BRABUS also offers custom-tailored covers for the exterior mirrors made from exposed carbon fiber.

The BRABUS components for the rear bumper of the wagon feature cutouts on both sides that frame the two dual tailpipes of the BRABUS sport exhaust system.

Exclusive BRABUS interior design adds value to the new C-Class wagon as well. The product lineup includes an ergonomically shaped sport steering wheel, aluminum pedals and a speedometer with 300-km/h dial. In addition there are stainless-steel scuff plates with illuminated BRABUS logo, and precious-wood and carbon fiber trim sets.

Requests for even more customized interiors are fulfilled by the company-own upholstery shop. The upholsterers create exclusive interiors made from especially soft and breathable BRABUS Mastik leather and Alcantara, perfect down to the last detail.