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Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class

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The all-new G-Class makes its public debut at the Detroit auto show in G550 form. Completely redeveloped and fitted with a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gasoline engine offering 427ps and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm to 4,750rpm, despite near-identical looks to its predecessor plenty has changed for the Mercedes-Benz SUV.


Ford’s F150 pickup gets its first diesel motor

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Developed by the powertrain team behind the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine for super duty trucks, the all-new 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke unit promises 250ps, 440 lb-ft of torque, and an anticipated 5175kg of towing capacity.


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In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 

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Covers come off i8 Spyder

BMW’s i division has presented to the world the stunning i8 Concept Spyder, which represents the third debut from BMW’s future mobility sub-brand following the i3 Concept and the i8 Concept shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year.

BMW says that the i8 Concept Spyder represents a vision of the future where intelligent thinking, advanced materials and innovative construction techniques fuse together to create a high performance roadster that is efficient and environmentally aware.

Although closely related to the original i8 Concept, the new i8 Concept Spyder is strictly a two-seater, with a shorter wheelbase and new, upward swivelling, windowless doors. But underneath the athletic and futuristic exterior skin, the i8 Concept Spyder is as advanced as its Coupé relation, built, once again, around the innovative LifeDrive architecture and underpinned by lightweight, modular construction.

The i8 Concept Spyder uses the modular LifeDrive architecture as developed by BMW i, joining together the various independent functional units of the vehicle in the most efficient way possible. The Spyder’s occupants sit in a very light but immensely strong carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) cell, while the various Drive modules (mainly constructed from aluminum components) are those of an operational nature – powertrain, chassis and the safety structures.

A further example of the LifeDrive concept is the housing of the car’s lithium-ion batteries in an energy tunnel that joins the front and rear axles, thereby maintaining a low center of gravity and ensuring BMW’s trademark 50/50 weight distribution.

Strictly a plug-in hybrid, the i8 Concept Spyder is powered by an eDrive drivetrain combining a high performance electric motor with a turbocharged, three-cylinder petrol engine. The lithium-ion batteries are stowed centrally for the benefit of weight distribution, and can be charged quickly from a domestic power socket. The i8 Concept Spyder uses a 131hp electric motor to power the front axle, and a 223hp turbocharged three-cylinder engine to power the rear axle. Both have been developed in-house by BMW. With its lightweight construction the combined power output of 354hp propels the Spyder from zero to 62mph in just five seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph, yet delivers an outstanding combined fuel consumption of 94mpg.

The electric motor gets its energy from the car’s lithium-ion batteries and can be fully charged via a domestic plug socket in under two hours. The Spyder has a range of 19 miles running on electric power alone, while a high voltage generator hooked up to the combustion engine can generate additional power if needed and store it in the battery. Due to the arrangement of the power sources, the Spyder can run in front-wheel, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the vehicle’s electronics deciding on the optimum configuration depending on the situation.

BMW i is founded on the principles of inspiring design, purpose-built solutions and sustainability. The sub-brand has demonstrated its work previously through two concept cars and this third vehicle gives the clearest indication yet of how BMW’s fourth brand will appear when it is revealed in 2013.



5 April 2012


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