Ford 1.0-litre EcoBoost powers Formula Ford at Nürburgring

Ford have placed their new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine into the latest Formula Ford race car and sent it round the Nürburgring circuit, Germany, as a marketing exercise to showcase the engines fast yet frugal attributes.

Roelant de Waard – vice president of Marketing and Sales, Ford of Europe – said “We wanted to prove that size doesn’t matter by showing everyone what an amazingly capable engine we have developed in the 1.0-litre EcoBoost”. He added, “What better way than by beating some of the best supercars in the world on the Nordschleife, while using a fraction of the fuel.”

After several months of work led by Ford engineers, the three-cylinder direct injection and turbocharged engine, (specially tuned to produce 205PS by Fords boffins, rather than the standard 100PS or 125PS forms found in the new Focus), was used to replace the 180PS 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine usually found in Formula Ford race cars.

The resultant car, was a one-off road legal machine (complete with front and rear lights and indicators, wheel covers and a horn), that completed a lap of the Nürburgring track in 7 minutes, 22 seconds on road legal tyres. This registered as being the 11th fastest time on the circuit ever posted. And the fastest posted by either a three or four-cylinder engine. It was faster than many supercars with more than 600PS on tap – such as the Ferrari Enzo, Pegani Zonda and Lamborghini Aventador.

Ford claims that from its in-house testing, that the Formula Ford achieves a 0-62mph time of under 4sec and a top speed of 158.8mph, whilst returning 118mpg at 35mph and 57mpg at 75mph. But the standard 1.0-litre EcoBoost, (designed in the UK by Powertrain engineers located at Dunton and Dagenham, in Essex, but produced at Ford’s Cologne Engine Plant in Germany from 2011),  now accounts for 30% of all new Focus’s sold in recent months. It will return 58.9 mpg (combined) for the 100PS and 56.5mpg (combined) for the 125PS.

It will also be available in the all new Ford B-max and C-max, and the face-lifted Fiesta later on this year. But for all those wanting a single-seat race car for the road (or for those special track days), yet worry about the running costs of a race car. Sorry, but the Formula 1.0-litre EcoBoost isn’t for sale.

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Citroën DS3 goes Cabrio

Citroën are to launch a new Cabriolet version of its successful DS3 range. Since the cars launch in 2010, it has become a familiar sight, with appreciable numbers of them on the roads, having sold over 180,000 worldwide. These include special editions and new versions such as the DS3 Racing and DS3 Ultra Prestige.

Now Citroën hope to build upon that success with a Cabrio. In recent years the manufacturer hasn’t really being known for producing convertibles; their last effort being the Pluriel. But the blurb from Citroën says “the DS3 Cabrio features all the hallmarks and thrills of the DS3, with bold styling, sophisticated refinement, extensive personalization and enjoyable handling, combined with the pleasure of al-fresco driving”.

With the fabric roof in place, the car looks the same as the conventional tin-top. The roof then glides back on rails to either the rear (the mid position), or fully back (full open position), forming a concertina effect at the rear of the car. The car does not offer a full top and sides down experience of other convertibles. The side windows and frames (with the now distinctive shark-fin B-pillar) remain in place, making the design more comparable to the Fiat 500 cabriolet rather than a VW Golf CTi.

As a result of the cabrio design, the structure of the car is pretty much the same. The car’s rigidity, strength and agility are retained from the conventional hatchback due to the identical architecture for the sides. There is only aditional structural reinforcements around the boot. Citroën claim that “the model’s handling will remain eager and pleasurable whilst maintaining the same high levels of comfort, control and safety”.

Citroën also claim that with the top in place, the car retains identical aerodynamics. The top can retract in just 16 seconds at speed of up to 70mph, and that due to soundproofing material and aerodynamic deflectors – which eliminate noisy air buffeting – the 5-seat cabin will be as quiet as a hard-top hatchback. The DS3 will also offer the largest boot space (at 245-litres) in its class. And that the design of the convertible employed only adds 25kg to the weight of the car. That’s a quarter of that of more conventional top and sides down designs.

The DS3 has always been about being able to highly personalize your ride, and the fabric roof of the Cabrio becomes and added source for personalization. It’s available in three options – black, Infinite blue, and a DS Monogrammed design. The Infinite blue comprised of three different threads, each reacting different to lighting conditions, creating  hues of blue and violet. The monogramme design sits within two contrasting Jacquard gray tones with Moondust grey.

Outwardly, other design features that mark out the Cabrio from the tin-top are new three-dimensional LED rear lights with DS signature, inspired by Citroën’s Revolte and Survolt concept cars. The central part of the light is comprised of a rectangular set of 31 LEDs and semi-reflecting mirrors. In addition there’s a new chrome-finished handle that also highlights the top of the tailgate. This employs a circular opening action for ease of use in circumstances of limited rear access.

Inside, there have been additions too. Such as white LED ambient lighting on the ceiling-mounted roof opening console. The white lighting theme continues around the instrument cluster and automatic air conditioning displays. There is also new upholstery, including Granit blue leather and Akinen weft available in Mistral (dark grey), Chic brown and Infinite blue. There’s new decors on the dashboard strip, air vent surrounds and gear stick knob. These are colour-coded to the body paint and soft-top. Six decors are available –  grey, Brillant black, white, Carbotech, Infinite blue and Moondust grey.

The DS3 will be unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, before going on sale in early 2013, to compete with its established retro-designed rivals from Mini and the Fiat 500.

Trident Iceni to display 6.6-litre Turbo diesel GT at Salon Privé

The Trident Iceni GT, produced by the small company Trident Sports Cars (located in Swaffham, Norfolk) is to display the Grand Tourer at this year’s 2012 Salon Privé. Now in its seventh year, the event is the UK’s premier Supercar Show & Concours d’Elégance. Among the exotica on display this year, will be home-grown talent from several new British debuts.

The Iceni Grand Tourer – a further development of their Iceni coupe – certainly has a uniquely styled form; with sweeping curves, sculpted bonnet with louvered air outlets, and muscular rear wheel-arch haunches. There is also a seamless sculpted central spine roll-bar that runs from the windscreen to the back of the passenger compartment.

The body, is a composite design (using carbon fibre and Polyester), that sits on a folded stainless-steel chassis with side outrigger baffled pontoons to give side impact protection. But it’s the engine that is the car’s main feature. It’s a front mid-mounted 6.6-litre V8 turbo diesel engine, (featuring common-rail technology, direct injection and variable vane turbo), was designed by Isuzu for use in GM trucks. But allied to the Trident company’s own 6-speed gearbox and patented ‘Torque Multiplication Technology’ and their own ECU, the engine is fettled to produce 430bhp and an amazing 950lb ft of torque at under 3250rpm. An option to upgrade to 660bhp is also available, delivering 1050lb ft of torque.

This impressive power accelerates the car from 0-62mph in 3.7sec and onto a top speed of over 190mph. All this using a choice of either conventional mineral diesel fuel, biodiesel, or palm oil and linseed oil.

Yet with such fuel diversity and performance figures, it’s claimed that the car – when running at a constant 70mph (the specially tuned engine runs at just 980rpm), produces 700lb ft of torque, returning an impressive 68.9mpg. And it’s claimed that the car will keep going for over 2000miles on one full tank of diesel.

With such impressive performance and near 200mph top speed, the car can be had for a lot less than other exotic supercars with comparable performance. Prices start from a modest £75,000. A useful tool for those who want a unique supercar, yet worry about fuel economy – and the planet.

Two wheeled Aston Martin at Salon Privé – What ?

That’s right. Aston Martin will be displaying its latest wares at this years Salon Privé from the 5th to 7th of September at West London’s Syon Park. This will include the Aston Martin one-77 cycle. The event (now in its seventh year), is the UK’s most prestigious Supercar Show & Concours d’Elégance show.

Aston Martin have confirmed that they will be displaying their One-77 hypercar, V12 Zagato, new Vanquish super GT, Rapide four-door sports car, and this – a bicycle called unimaginatively, the One-77 cycle. Like the hypercar namesake, the cycle is fully bespoke, incorporating cutting edge race technology and materials, and limited to 77 examples only.

The bicycle is a joint project with Factor Bikes, and is fully handcrafted and made to measure (each customer must visit the manufacturer for the engineers and technicians to take their dimensions in order to precisely tailor the bicycle like a Savile Row suit).

The bicycle dispenses with UCI regulations to focus on the riding experience, and is designed from the ground up, almost every part being bespoke. It has a rigid light-weight diamond form frame, uses hydraulic brakes, bespoke wheels, concealed sensors that give laboratory-quality data and recording on rider performance. There is even electric gear-change.

The bike is also ergonomically designed for comfort and Aston Martin’s influence is evident in the hand-stitched trim of the handlebars and saddle. So what does the One-77 cycle cost? It is the most technologically advanced bike on the market, with an equally advanced price tag of £25,000 for the limited edition machine.

So who should have one? Well if there are any rich men out there who want to reward the Olympic cycling team, here’s what to buy’em. Go on somebody; buy one as a retiring present for the legendary and beautiful Victoria Pendleton.

BMW Zagato roadster – Automotive art

After the unveiling of the BMW-Zagato coupe a few months ago, the collaborative efforts of the German motor manufacturer and the Italian automotive design house Zagato have born further fruits in the form of a roadster. This design, which will be on display at this year’s 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in sunny California, only took six weeks to turn into a reality. But the one-off creation isn’t simply a roof-chop-job. It has a bespoke design all of its own with a new tauter and lower-squat rear end.

The blurb from the designer and manufacturer are that the design language incorporates design DNA from both groups. A fusion of design flourishes that have produced a car with a distinctive silhouette resulting from the highly sculpted dramatic lines and creases. It certainly has a WOW factor.

Thanks to the long sweeping bonnet and long wheel-base, the driver sits low and far-back in the low-slung roadster. There are large air-scoops in the bonnet to help supply air to the engine. Similarly there are dramatic air outlets in the side wings that are scalloped – the scalloped shape continuing into the door panels. There are also little “Z” motifs within the BMW kidney grille, as well as other places you’d usually find them (side wings and stitched into the seat head-rests) that stamp on the identity of the Zagato company. (A Milanese company that has being going since 1919, and the last automotive design house to still be independently owned).

The cockpit is swathed in brown leather that wraps round the interior, seats, and roll-bar-loops that give a cossetted secure feeling that breaks up the otherwise black interior. The dash and fascia are all BMW, punctuated with flashes of metallic alloy finish. Particularly nice, is the alloy brace across the centre consul that extends over the driver’s side – punctuated by circular instruments.

If you thought that because it’s a roadster, that there is no trademark double-bulge roof – seen on almost all Zagato cars – you’d be wrong. There is a soft-top cover, with double bulge elements that serve to accentuate and extend the lines of the bonnet to the rear of the car.

Finally, the rear-wheel-drive car sits on 19-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels that are slightly reminiscent of propellers – a nod to the heritage of both automotive companies. But sadly as it’s only a one-off design concept, this beautiful car’s skin sits on standard Z4 mechanicals. But this is no bad thing is it.

Tushek Renovatio T500 – Slovenia’s new Supercar, set for UK debut

This is the Renovatio T500, a new supercar offering from Eastern Europe that is set to make its UK debut at this year’s Salon Privé on 5th September 2012. The event, established seven years ago, is now the UK’s premier Super Car Show & Concours d’Elégance event, placing it among the leading automotive shows of the world, alongside the U.S.’s Pebble Beach and Italy’s Villa d’Este.

There have been a plethora of new supercar names over relatively recent years – such as the Ascari,  Koenigsegg, Mosler, Pagani, Spyker, et al. And this, the Tushek Renovatio is the latest to join their ranks.

Founded by Slovenian race driver Aljosa Tushek – who retired in 2003, who was dissatisfied with the offerings by Porsche – developed the Renovatio to be a race track car that had the civility for use on the public road. The car comes with suede interior, a glove box, and all mod cons including air conditioning.

The car has a jutting forth gapping air intake scoop, and has many angular lines and bonnet openings, giving a powerful brooding, even bellicose (war-like) appearance. It has a removable hard top roof and side windows, and has lambo-style scissor doors. It employs the use of race spec materials, (most of the bodywork is carbon-fibre), to produce a powerful yet relatively light weight car. It is nearly 2 meters wide and 4.3 meters in length, but only weights 1,090kg  (about the same as a Ford Fiesta or VW Polo).

Power comes from a mid-mounted 4.2-litre V8 found in the Audi R8, that’s been fettled to produce 450bhp and 428Nm @ 3,200rpm, which propels the car to 0-62bhp in 3.7sec and onto a claimed top speed of 193mph.  The car uses double wishbone suspension all round with ceramic brakes supplying the stopping power.

But the car isn’t cheap at €300,000. For this price there are other cars that will do 200mph. But it’s the cars ride and handling that are claimed to be among the its greatest assets. The car will also certainly be exclusive with only 30 examples for sale. The T500 is the Tushek company’s first offering. But there is a second car already in development, the Forego T700, that promises to be lighter, faster and even more powerful.

Vauxhall Adam – A first for Vauxhall

This is Vauxhall’s Adam, a new trendy A-segment super-mini to be unveiled at this year’s Paris Motor Show. Vauxhall describe the car as being its ‘Urban Chic’ small car, which is to boast a million different trim and colour combinations to ensure that its unlikely that two examples will be the same. This modern trend in individualised customisation or ‘pimping up’ your ride, started with the Mini. This was later joined by the Fiat 500. But whereas these competitors draw on iconic retro inspiration (with a historic lineage), the Vauxhall Adam is an all-new fresh contemporary design. Though there is one other car already offering this – Citroen’s DS3.

The Adam developed from British design team boss Mark Adam’s in Europe (hence the name ADAM), has bold contemporary styling, with design cues evolved from other cars across the Vauxhall range. Such as the crisp line around the door handle from the GTC, the chrome grill bar from the new Astra.

The upmarket car is a three-door hatchback with four seats, and features a ‘floating roof’ appearance thanks to its two-tone paint work and invisible C-pillar bases. There are three distinct spec levels; JAM (fashionable/colourful), GLAM (elegant/ sophisticated), and SLAM (racy/sporty). But the car will boast an impressive number and range of materials and finishes to create a high degree of personalisation. There is the option of day-running lights and even ‘Starlight’ LED lit interior headlining. The alloy wheels available range from 16 – 18 inch.

The Adam will sit on a shortened version of the Corsa platform, and will have an overall size between the Mini and Fiat 500, having dimensions of nearly 3.7 meters in length and 1.72 meters in width; ADAM’s footprint is relatively broad, with front and rear tracks of 1485 and 1478mm respectively, and a wheelbase of 2311mm. (With such small dimensions, perhaps it should have been called the Vauxhall ‘Ant’).

From the off, the Adam will be available with a choice of three fuel efficient ecoFLEX four-cylinder petrol engines – 1.2 litre (70PS), or two 1.4 litre units (87PS or 100PS), available with optional Start/Stop technology. Later on, a 1.0 litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine will be available mated to a six-speed gearbox.

The Adam will also benefit from premium sector safety technology and infotainment systems. An Advanced Park Assist II system will feature for the first time on a Vauxhall production car. This system tells the driver when there is a parking space large enough to accommodate the car and automatically steers it into the space using ultrasound sensors and works in conjunction with a Side Blind Spot Alert (SBSA) system. The driver controls the pedals and gears. The car is engineered to form a high-strength steel safety cell, with front, side and curtain airbags on the inside.

The infotainment system supports new media devices, having Bluetooth connectivity, and connectivity for Android and Apple IOS smartphone apps. So updated internet based GPS and maps can be accessed and displayed on the seven-inch touch-screen.

The Adam will cost from around £11,000, placing it between the Fiat 500 and the entry level Mini. But whether the Adam will stand and deliver against its pedigree rivals, when it has no pedigree of its own to distinguish it from other Vauxhall’s – while Citroen’s DS3 benefits from separate branding – only time will tell.

After the cars preview in Paris in September, the first customers for the Adam will take delivery of their cars in the UK in January 2013. The cars will benefit from Vauxhall’s first owner lifetime warranty or up to 100,000 miles.