Lexus commences production of new NX crossover

The arrival of the first NX with UK customers is a little closer following the official start of production ceremony at Lexus’s Miyata plant in Japan.

Lexus has already taken over 6,500 orders for the NX in Japan alone, with many more globally. Over 350 UK customers have submitted their orders for the NX 300h, and deliveries will commence in October.

Lexus NX Miyata

Lexus NX at Miyata assembly plant

While the Miyata plant has responsibility for building the finished vehicle, the neighbouring Kanda engine production plant has had a new lease of life thanks to the start of NX production.

Following the decline in the global car market after 2008, production was reduced at Kanda with the shutdown of one of its two production lines. Now the second line has returned to life and will supply the new 2.0-litre petrol turbo unit for the NX 200t variant. Lexus expects this engine to be popular in the US and Chinese markets.

Lexus Kanda engine plant

Lexus Kanda engine plant

One-litre Ecoboost is success for Ford

  • One in five all-new Ford vehicles sold in Europe in first half of 2014 were equipped with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost; customers opt for 1.0-litre in a third of Focus and Fiesta cars
  • Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is Europe’s best-selling turbocharged petrol engine
  • The 1.0-litre EcoBoost is the first engine ever to win International Engine of the Year three times running
  • Output of 100PS and 170Nm, with a 140PS version to follow

Fresh from an unprecedented third successive International Engine of the Year award, Ford’s compact one-litre EcoBoost engine is Europe’s best-selling turbocharged petrol engine for the first six months of the year, according to Ford figures.

So far this year, one in every five vehicles Ford sold in Europe were equipped with a 1.0-litre EcoBoost,* the engine block of which is small enough to fit on a sheet of A4 paper.

From January to June 2014, Ford sold approximately 120,000 1.0-litre EcoBoost vehicles, compared with 104,000 during the first six months of 2013 – an increase of more than 15 per cent. For the first half of 2014, 1.0-litre EcoBoost models made up 47 per cent. of all B-MAX multi-activity vehicles sold, 33 per cent. of Focus sales, and 30 per cent. of Fiesta sales.**

“Customers are clearly enjoying the benefits from a small engine that offers great fuel efficiency with no compromise to refinement or performance,” said Barb Samardzich, chief operating officer, Ford of Europe. “The range of models offering the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine will rise to 11 when the all-new Mondeo is launched in the coming months, and the new 140PS version in the Fiesta Red Edition and Black Edition shows there is even more potential.”

* Ford Sales Reporting figures. Ford’s 20 European main markets are Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

** JATO Dynamics results are based on information provided by JATO Consult, the company’s bespoke consulting service. Figures are based on 30 European countries. For more information please visit

New: Audi TT

Two engines will be available at launch: a 2.0 TFSI 230PS in conjunction with front-wheel-drive or quattro all-wheel-drive, and a 2.0 TDI 184PS exclusively with front-wheel-drive. A 310PS TTS version will follow, with first deliveries in March 2015.

There will be Sport and S line specification options. Highlights of both include the fully digital Audi virtual cockpit, MMI touch, xenon or LED headlights, Audi Music Interface, Audi drive select, Alcantara/leather sports seats, and ‘keyless go’.

Audi TT series III

The aluminium and steel hybrid construction helps to reduce the entry level model’s kerb weight by 50kg compared with the old model.

The efficiency-focused TT ultra combines 67.3mpg capability with a CO2 output of just 110g/km, yet it can also reach 62mph in 7.1 seconds and top out at 150mph.

The Audi virtual cockpit is based around a 12.3-inch, high resolution LCD display that completely fills the driver’s instrument binnacle and replaces the traditional analogue dials. Its brilliantly sharp images are courtesy of a powerful Tegra 30 graphics processor from Nvidia’s Tegra 3 series.

Drivers can choose between two display modes. In the classic view, the speedometer and rev counter are in the foreground; in “infotainment” mode, the virtual instruments are smaller. The space that becomes free as a result provides ample room for other functions, such as the navigation map. At the lower edge of the Audi virtual cockpit, the displays for outside temperature, time and mileage are permanently visible. Warning or information symbols are also displayed there.

Audi TT virtual dash

Audi TT virtual dash in “infotainment” mode

Interior technology highlights from the equipment list for Sport models also include the Multi Media Interface with the MMI touch pad for fingertip data entry, navigation preparation, Audi Music Interface and Bluetooth connectivity, the Audi drive select adaptive dynamics system and keyless go. Complementary comforts also include Alcantara and leather combination upholstery for the standard sports seats and manual air conditioning with controls integrated into the air vents in another break with convention. Outside the cabin, 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights and a speed-dependent active rear spoiler all also feature as standard.

LED headlights come as standard for S line models

The S line specification is the most comprehensive and the most performance-oriented in the initial TT line-up. It adds larger 19-inch alloy wheels with a five-arm star design, all-weather LED headlights and LED tail lights flanked by dynamic rear indicators with a directional sweeping function and S line body styling. It also offers particularly committed drivers the no cost option to swap to tauter S line sports suspension bringing a 10mm reduction in ride height.

From the options list, even more of the remarkable Audi virtual cockpit’s potential can be unlocked by the Technology Package, which includes hard disk-based navigation mapping that can completely fill the 12.3-inch TFT monitor, and also beams the Internet to the car via Audi connect.

Audi TT heater controls

Quirky heater controls incorporated in the air vents

This brings features such as Google Maps, Google Street View, Audi traffic information online, price-graded refuelling locations in the vicinity and the latest news, flight and train information to streamline every journey. It also adds Audi music stream and access to social media services such as Facebook and Twitter. For sound, a 680W twelve-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system can be specified in addition.

Outside, matrix LED headlights are optional. Each features 12 separate LED bulbs which dim individually when sensors detect oncoming or following traffic to automatically divert light around obstacles without the need to deactivate the high beam setting.

At 4.18 metres long, the Coupé is almost exactly the same length as its predecessor, though its wheelbase has grown by 37mm to 2505mm, making for especially short overhangs. It is 1832mm wide, and has the same height as the previous model at 1353mm. As a 2+2 seater, it is a sports car that is suitable for everyday use, with a load area capacity of 305 litres – 13 litres more than before – which can be increased to 712 litres by folding the rear seat backrests forwards.

The car is built using Audi’s Space Frame composite construction, which has been carried over and further evolved for the all-new model. Blending steel with a high proportion of lightweight aluminium in areas such as the side sills and side sections, roof, bonnet, doors and hatch lid has helped the 2.0-litre TFSI model to tip the scales at 1230kg – 50kg less than its equivalent predecessor.

The 2.0 TFSI – one of two engine options available at launch – is EU6-compliant. The four-cylinder unit combines direct and indirect fuel injection, the Audi valvelift system (AVS) to control valve lift on the exhaust side, and thermal management, which uses a rotary valve module and an exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head.

In the TT this power unit is combined with either front-wheel-drive and a six-speed manual gearbox or quattro all-wheel-drive and a six-speed S-tronic twin-clutch transmission. Developing peak torque of 370Nm from 1600 to 4300rpm, it powers the front-wheel-driven version from 0 to 62mph in 6.0 seconds, and on up to a top speed of 155mph. Combined economy is a creditable 47.9mpg, delivered with CO2 output of 137g/km.

S-tronic with free-wheeling function

In the version with six-speed S-tronic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive, performance is even more brisk: the sprint from 0 to 62mph takes 5.3 seconds; top speed is 155mph; in this version combined economy tops out at 44.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 149g/km. The dual-clutch transmission shifts through the six gears without any noticeable interruption in traction, and in manual mode it can be controlled by paddles on the steering wheel. When the Audi drive select system is set to its ‘efficiency’ mode, the S-tronic transmission decouples and ‘free-wheels’ each time the driver takes his or her foot off the throttle pedal.

The second engine option – the 2.0 TDI – powers the exclusively front-wheel-driven and six-speed manual-equipped ultra model. It features two balancer shafts in the crankcase, adjustable camshafts and a common rail injection system delivering maximum pressure of 2000 bar.

Helped by a torque peak of 380Nm it accelerates from 0 to 62mph in 7.1 seconds and reaches a top speed of 150mph. Over the NEDC rolling road fuel economy test it returns 67.3mpg, which translates into CO2 emissions of 110g/km, a new record low in the sports car world.

The front suspension uses the MacPherson system, and integrates aluminium components which reduce the unsprung mass. The four-link rear suspension processes longitudinal and transverse forces separately.

A progressive steering system is fitted as standard to all versions – its rack is set up in such a way that the ratio becomes more direct as the steering wheel is turned, enabling the TT to be steered precisely with little movement of the steering wheel in urban traffic and on winding country roads. The electromechanically driven steering adapts its assistance to speed and forms the basis for the Audi active lane assist system – which is standard for the TT 2.0 TFSI – and for the various park assist options.

Customisation of settings

The degree of steering assistance is one of the elements that can be controlled via the standard Audi drive select adaptive driving system. Offering Comfort, Dynamic, Efficiency, Individual and Auto modes, Audi drive select can also influence the operating parameters of the engine, the S tronic transmission and, when Efficiency mode is selected, the operation of the air conditioning and start-stop system.

Quattro permanent all-wheel drive delivers additional high speed composure and traction in the new TT, but the multi-plate clutch-based system has evolved. A newly designed hydraulic pump reduces weight by around 1.5 kg compared with the previous model, and the software that determines the level of torque distribution between the front and rear axles has been completely redeveloped. The control system continuously senses the driving conditions and the driver’s wishes and adjusts torque distribution accordingly in real time.

Networking quattro drive with the standard Audi drive select system has given the driver greater control over the operating parameters of the all-wheel-drive system. In “auto” mode, optimum traction and balanced driving dynamics are given priority. In “dynamic” mode, torque is distributed to the rear axle earlier and to a higher degree. And in another new departure for the new TT, when the “efficiency” mode is selected the system can precisely determine driving conditions and driver type and can temporarily shut down the quattro system if conditions suit this. In this operating state, the intelligent software monitors the driving situation and can reactivate all-wheel drive as soon as it is required again.

Electronic stabilisation control (ESC) is fitted to all versions. The system can also be switched off either partly or completely. When negotiating bends, it redistributes torque from the inside front wheel to the outside front wheel (front-wheel drive) or, on quattro models, to the rear wheels, if required. Thanks to the difference in propulsive forces, turn-in to corners is very easy, which is helpful for the driver. In this way, bends can be navigated with great precision and neutrality. ESC also offers a Sport mode which supports more committed driving, facilitating steering and control at high speeds.

Braking is by discs at both ends, ventilated at the front. Disc diameters are up to 338mm depending on the model. A button-operated electromechanical parking brake acting on the rear wheels is another new TT feature which is standard across the board.

A portfolio of driver assistance options

To minimise stress in everyday driving, a portfolio of advanced electronic aids is also available for the new TT. Audi side assist uses rear-mounted radar sensors to help drivers change lane more safely; camera-based traffic sign recognition can alert the driver to speed limits even when they have been temporarily imposed; the park assist system with display of surroundings independently guides the car into suitable spaces; and the Audi pre sense basic safety system takes protective action such as closing the windows and tensioning the seatbelts if sensors detect an impending collision.

And finally,  Audi active lane assist helps the driver if required by steadily correcting steering or warning if there is a danger of unintentionally drifting out of lane – this feature is standard for the 2.0 TFSI model and optional for the 2.0 TDI ultra.

Bridgestone chosen as exclusive supplier to the BMW i8

Following on from Bridgestone’s selection as exclusive development partner for the electric BMW i3, this latest agreement is further confirmation of the strong, long-term partnership between Bridgestone and BMW.

BMW i8

Bridgestone set out to develop a tyre for BMW’s i8 electric hybrid vehicle, that could match both its efficiency and dynamic handling characteristics. In the event, Bridgestone’s existing Potenza S001 high-performance sports tyre and a specially developed one were approved by BMW for fitment on the i8. Several combinations of summer sizes and patterns have been approved, each linked to a specific tyre specification that is developed to deliver optimum performance out on the road.

The BMW i8 owner will be able to choose between the following sizes:

  • Front: 195/50 R20 Potenza S001-I 93W XL
  • Rear: 215/45 R20 Potenza S001-I 95W XL
  • Front: 215/45 R20 Potenza S001 95W XL
  • Rear: 245/40 R20 Potenza S001 99W XL

A winter tyre option – Blizzak LM-32 in 215/45 R20 95V XL – is also foreseen .

Bridgestone’s exclusive supplier agreement is part of a long-standing collaboration with BMW both on and off the racing track. Over the past 17 years, that partnership has grown to include a long list of factory fitments, exclusive collaboration with the BMW Driving Experience programme and joint technological developments such as Run-Flat Technology tyres.

Trouble finding a parking space?

Mini might have the answer, in the shape of a new app. that’s linked to 100,000 parking spaces across the UK.

JustPark is an on-line service that lets you park wherever and whenever you need to. The service has revealed that Mini will be the first car brand in the world to allow drivers to reserve parking directly from their dashboards.


Using the new app., drivers who have registered with JustPark can find, book and navigate to a parking space. The complete parking process is integrated into the vehicle’s navigation system.

How does it work?

Using the app., drivers can choose whether to input their final destination or search for parking around them while driving. Drivers can then browse a selection of convenient parking spaces, from car parks and hotels to homes and pubs. They can explore location details, pricing and reviews left by other drivers.

The driver chooses and pays for a space, and is then directed to their destination by the car’s navigation system. The app. is designed to be used on the move, and has undergone safety testing by BMW laboratories in Munich.

JustPark and BMW

The JustPark app. is the latest product of the partnership between JustPark and BMW i Ventures, the venture capital arm of BMW that invests in startups that are working to improve mobility in urban areas. BMW i Ventures took a strategic stake in JustPark – formerly known as ParkatmyHouse – in 2011.

JustPark founder, Anthony Eskinazi, said: “In 2014, no driver should have to experience the stress and uncertainty of circling the streets for that elusive parking space. JustPark gives drivers the convenience of finding and reserving an affordable parking space in moments. Just as we use apps to order taxis and takeaways, parking is finally being brought out of the dark ages.”

Chris Brownridge, Director for Mini UK, added: “Mini Connected is all about helping owners to interact with the outside world whilst on the move. Not only does our in-car system allow people to talk, listen and engage in a convenient way, but now it also helps them to find a place to park.”

JustPark has also today announced that it has secured an investment from Index Ventures, the investor who has backed many of today’s leading online brands including BlaBlaCar, Just-Eat and King.

Aston Martin: Improvements to Vanquish and Rapide S

  • Performance, emissions and fuel economy improvements
  • New eight-speed Touchtronic III automatic gearbox
  • New engine management system
  • Improved trim and specification options   

Aston Martin has revealed details of a raft of improvements to two of the marque’s most successful sports cars: the Vanquish GT and the Rapide S four-door, four-seat sports car.

With the arrival of 2015 Model Year cars in markets around the world over the next few months, Aston Martin has announced improvements to performance, fuel economy and emissions, and handling.

Aston Martin Vanquish

Aston Martin Vanquish

The new Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic gearbox, a derivative of the ZF 8HP design, is now fitted to both Vanquish and Rapide S – the first time that this gearbox has been used in a transaxle layout.

Acceleration is quicker than before. In the case of the Vanquish, 0-60mph is accomplished in a brisk 3.6s (4.1s previously) — 3.8s to 100km/h. The Rapide S will now reach 60mph in 4.2s (4.4s to 100km/h) – again, down by half a second. These gains confirm the Vanquish as the quickest accelerating series production Aston Martin in the company’s 101-year history.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

The new eight-speed ZF gearbox, along with changes to the final drive ratios, allows the cars to be not only quicker but also more economical, with with consequently reduced emissions. In both cars the CO2 figure drops by an average of ten per cent – down to 298g/km for the Vanquish and 300g/km for the Rapide S. Economy over the NEDC Extra Urban test cycle is boosted to 31 mpg, on average an 11% improvement, for both the Vanquish and the Rapide S. Aston Martin has not yet published a figure for the Urban cycle.

Revisions to the final drive and gear ratios mean that both cars are, for the first time, now capable of top speeds of 200mph or above.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

A reduction in exhaust gas back-pressure benefits peak power, which rises by up to three bhp to a peak of 568bhp (576PS) in the Vanquish, and by two bhp, to 552bhp (560PS), in the Rapide S. Peak torque is up by 10Nm, to 630Nm at 5,500rpm in both models.

The new ZF eight-speed transmission is three per cent  lighter than its six-speed predecessor, and also more efficiently packaged, occupying precisely the same space within the car.

Touchtronic III delivers very competitive shift speeds, with a figure of 130ms quoted.

Aston Martin Rapide S

Aston Martin Rapide S

Ian Minards, Product Development Director at Aston Martin, said in a statement: “We have a long and successful technical partnership with ZF and so it was a natural step for us to adapt and integrate their world class 8HP transmission into our transaxle layout.”

This involved consideration of many technical parameters including gear ratios, software integration and shifting strategies.

Gearbox software offers a variety of modes: ‘Drive’ and ‘Drive Sport,’ along with ‘Paddle Shift’ and ‘Paddle Shift Sport’.

Multi-ratio downshifts are available by pulling and holding the down shift paddle, allowing for the car to select the lowest available ratio under braking. Adaptive Drive Recognition (ADR) tailors shift points to the individual driver’s style. Thus a more spirited driver in standard ‘Drive’ mode will ultimately experience a shift map more akin to the settings found in ‘Drive Sport’. As the programming is reset during each key cycle – when the car is locked and unlocked – the perceived ‘changes’ to the car’s nature are similarly reset.

Engine management upgrade

Aston Martin Vanquish and Rapide S models of the 2015 model year benefit from the latest Bosch Engine Management system. The new chip delivers more precise control over the engine and the new gearbox.

A revised torque tube reduces transmission noise transfer into the passenger compartment, while the DSC is retuned for the new gearbox. A revised steering ECU delivers a more crisp and precise steering response.

Dampers are uprated on the new Vanquish – 15 per cent. stiffer at the front and a full 35 per cent. stiffer at the rear. The Rapide S gets larger front brakes. Both cars benefit from a retuned brake booster and revised rear suspension bushes that are now 20 per cent. stiffer than before.

Aston Martin Rapide S

Aston Martin Rapide S

There are also styling changes, both inside and outside the cars. Outside there are new ten-spoke forged alloy wheels, available in a variety of finishes, that save almost seven kilos in weight versus the standard wheel. There are also new paint colour options. Inside, the cars get new leather trim colour options.

McLaren Special Operations returns to Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance

Three years after launching at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, McLaren Special Operations (MSO) will return with examples of the McLaren P1 and the recently launched MSO 650S Spider.

McLaren 650 S SpiderMcLaren 650S Spider

The bespoke McLaren Special Operations division was launched in 2011, and offers a full personalisation service for McLaren owners. The division grew out of McLaren’s Customer Care programme, which goes back more than 20 years to the days of the McLaren F1 road car. It continues to look after servicing and maintaining cherished F1s for owners, as well as undertaking personalisation work for all McLaren models.

Commissioned by a North American customer, the McLaren P1 to be shown features a host of bespoke features, and is on display publicly for the first time. Using the famous McLaren Orange paint throughout to accent the car’s aerodynamic form, the Pebble Beach debut is a showcase of what MSO can offer on the P1.

McLaren 650 S SpiderMcLaren 650S Spider

The unique example of the 916PS, 217 mph hypercar is subtly modified to mark this example out from the other 170 examples which have been built to date. At the front, silver finishing to the aluminium radiator grilles sit below the gloss carbon fibre bumper. Above this, a McLaren Orange speedmark adorns the bonnet. On closer inspection, these subtle changes run throughout the entire car.

The bodywork is finished in exclusive Stirling Grey, with the rich metallic finish complemented by gloss carbon fibre, and punctuated by further McLaren Orange accents. Along the profile of the car, brake callipers finished in the heritage colour are mounted behind body-coloured alloy wheels, while an orange ‘P1’ logo on the leading edge of the rear wheelarch is inspired by the labelling used on the test mules during the development of the McLaren P1.

McLaren P1

McLaren P1

The rear of the car is enhanced by the fitment of 24 carat gold heatshields around the engine bay and inconel exhaust. The material, famously used on the no-compromise McLaren F1 of the 1990s and still used today on McLaren Formula 1 cars, due to its reflective and heat resistance qualities, is a contrast against the dark paintwork and Satin Nickel-finished Stealth Pack.

The upper surface of the twin element rear wing is finished in body colour, while the lower is bare carbon fibre. This sits on top of McLaren Orange detailing, with the upper sections of the wing pistons adding further contrast. A bespoke aluminium grille is fitted above the carbon fibre bumper, and is framed by the LED tail light design.

The interior has been tailored with extensive use of carbon fibre and Alcantara, with this material used on the bespoke MSO steering wheel. The lightweight carbon shell racing seats are fitted with a four-point harness, while further subtle contrasting details feature throughout with Stone Grey binding and stitching on all upholstery, and McLaren Orange accents on the centre console. Custom Satin Nickel-finished air-vents mimic the finish found on the exterior exhaust finisher.

McLaren P1

McLaren P1

MSO will also be showcasing a one-off version of the MSO 650S Spider, which has been designed in collaboration with McLaren Newport Beach and McLaren Automotive Design Director Frank Stephenson. This unique example of the MSO 650S Spider is based on the already exclusive MSO 650S, which made its debut last month at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and is one of just 50 examples with unique styling upgrades, including extensive satin-finished carbon fibre.

The exterior has been finished in Cerulean Blue, a bright and eye-catching paint designed by MSO which includes a heavy metallic flake and promises a deep gloss shine under the Californian sun. This special colour contrasts against the satin carbon fibre detailing seen on the front bumper, side air intakes, and on the centre section of the rear bumper and large MSO rear diffuser. The exterior design is complemented with the use of chrome on the exhaust finishers and the 10-spoke Super Lightweight alloy wheels.

McLaren P1

McLaren P1

The cabin is upholstered with carbon black leather with a contrasting blue stitch throughout, extending on to the steering wheel, dash and doors. The seats feature a McLaren speedmark embroidered in to the head-restraints and continue with the blue contrast stitch on the outer edges.  Opening the dihedral doors shows the MSO branded carbon fibre sill panel, highlighting the lightweight MonoCell chassis, while satin lacquered carbon fibre upgrades are present throughout the driver and passenger zones.

The MSO 650S Spider also features a dedication plaque, signed by Frank Stephenson, and is presented with a hand-made luxury McLaren Special Operations leather holdall.

About McLaren Automotive
McLaren Automotive is a British manufacturer of high-performance sports cars, located at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking, Surrey.

Following the company’s global launch in 2010, McLaren Automotive launched the ground-breaking 12C and 12C Spider and followed this in 2013 with the limited-run McLaren P1. In keeping with its plan to introduce a new model each year, the company recently unveiled the 650S Coupe and 650S Spider. The brand continues to expand, operating through a dedicated global network of retailers in every major automotive market.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars confirms development of new model

The new car will build on the success of the Phantom, Ghost and Wraith. Its styling is described by Rolls Royce as ‘contemporary, graceful and sensuous’ — a description that cannot comfortably be applied to the Company’s other cars. It is intended to deliver effortless open-top motoring, and there is a hint that Rolls Royce is pitching at Bentley territory when it talks about ‘an engaging and exhilarating driving experience’.

Speaking from the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood, West Sussex, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, “I am truly delighted to confirm today the development of our new model which will open an exciting new chapter in the great story of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. We are currently developing an exciting and thoroughly contemporary interpretation of a pinnacle drophead tourer which will introduce even more discerning men and women to Rolls-Royce ownership.”

Peter Schwarzenbauer, Chairman of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, welcomed the announcement saying, “The announcement of a new Rolls-Royce model is always a seminal moment in the automobile industry. When it arrives in 2016, this elegant and sensuous new car will build on the success of our current models and will play a key part in fulfilling Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ commitment to long-term sustainable growth.”

The new car is currently undergoing prototype testing.

New: Mercedes S 600 Guard

Mercedes-Benz has updated its range of special protection models with the new S 600 Guard based on the new S-Class. The S 600 Guard provides all-round protection to the level of resistance class VR9 (both in transparent and non-transparent areas). With first-class comfort, an outstanding Airmatic suspension, a powerful V12 engine, intelligent driver assistance systems and unrestricted day-to-day suitability, the new flagship Guard model sets an unprecedented new standard in this segment, seamlessly continuing the long tradition of armoured special protection models from Mercedes-Benz.

With its Guard models, Mercedes-Benz has the world’s widest range of special protection vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz Guard range currently has models from the S, E, M and G-Class. The latest member of the Guard family is the Mercedes-Benz S 600 Guard.

No weak spots – integrated special protection

The armouring of the S 600 Guard follows the principle of integrated protection based on many years of Mercedes-Benz experience in building special protection vehicles. The major advantages are:

  • Outstanding strength and stability thanks to specific reinforcement of the base structure which is integrated into the bodyshell production stage.
  • The high level of comfort is maintained by sophisticated integration and intelligent overlapping of all protective elements.

Already at the bodyshell stage, protective components of special steel are integrated into the cavities between the body structure and the outer skin. Special aramide and PE components provide additional splinter protection. Intelligent overlapping systems at particularly critical points ensure comprehensive ballistic protection.

The glass areas are an essential part of the protective concept. They are coated with polycarbonate on the inside for splinter protection, and have outstanding visual characteristics thanks to their laminated structure. Particular attention is devoted to the protective performance of the glass areas, with an appropriate choice of materials and thicknesses.

Mercedes S 600 Guard

The interaction between all the components provides the occupants with a highly effective protective space which not only includes ballistic protection, but also comprehensive protection against explosive devices. The occupants are effectively protected by the armouring if a splintering explosive charge is fired at close range on either side.

With its sophisticated and strong protective system, the new S 600 Guard has immediately met all the personal protection requirements of the relevant authorities in Germany, and is the first vehicle to have been comprehensively certificated for highest ballistic protection in resistance class VR9 (according to BRV 2009, version 2).

Mercedes S 600 Guard

Where explosive charges are concerned, the new S-Guard has demonstrated its protective capabilities by meeting the requirements of ERV2010 and the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation. Innovative underbody armouring almost entirely covers the underbody for the first time, a unique feature in the civilian special protection segment.

Discretion as a matter of course

Despite the extensive protective measures, the S 600 Guard is externally hardly distinguishable from the standard model. Its exterior has the same emphatic lines that already suggest power and dynamism when at standstill, the same striking design of the LED High Performance headlamps and the same LED rear light clusters. As the S 600 Guard is hardly recognisable as an armoured saloon, it meets a further important requirement for special protection vehicles: maximum discretion thanks to unobtrusiveness.

Protection without compromises

The S 600 Guard has a generously spacious interior. Like the flagship S-Class model, the S 600 Guard excels with exemplary headroom and elbow room in the rear, and is also in a class by itself in this segment in terms of comfort dimensions such as entry height and door apertures. In addition, for the first time and as the only car in this segment, the new S 600 Guard is available both as a 4-seater and as a fully-fledged 5-seater, and offers unrestricted day-to-day usability by virtue of a 350-litre boot capacity and high payload.

Mercedes S 600 Guard

Thanks to the intelligently integrated armouring, the Guard version retains the first-class ambience of the S-Class Saloon for its occupants, and meets the highest expectations with regard to perceived quality, appointments and comfort. The comfort features of the standard model, and especially its innovations, are also almost without exception available for the S-Guard. These include:

  • The Chauffeur package, which has a chauffeur position for the front passenger seat, Easy Adjust luxury head restraints for the driver and front passenger, folding and removable on the front passenger side, and footrests electrically extendable on the front passenger side.
  • The Executive seat in the rear on the front passenger side has a legrest and cushionbag.
  • The Rear Pre-Safe package with illuminated belt buckle extenders, Pre-Safe belt tensioners and beltbags for the outer rear seats, assisted closing for the doors and boot lid.
  • The First-Class rear suite with a continuous Business console transforms the rear into a mobile office with two individual seats.
  • Business telephony in the rear features a handset with touchscreen and a separate hands-free zone in the rear.
  • The Warmth Comfort package pleasantly warms all surfaces with which the passengers come into contact.
  • The Air-Balance package, including ionisation, improved air filtering and fragrancing.

A rear reading lamp with newly developed LED lights is also optionally available for the S 600 Guard.

Twelve-cylinder powerpack

The S 600 Guard delivers superior performance thanks to its V12 petrol engine, which now generates 530PS and therefore has even more pulling power than the engine of the preceding model. Thanks to 830Nm of torque and the 7G-Tronic automatic transmission, which is available with the V12 engine for the first time, the S-Guard combines lower fuel consumption with impressive acceleration for a rapid escape from the danger zone when under threat. For weight reasons the top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph.

Highly efficient air suspension

The S 600 Guard offers its passengers outstanding ride comfort and excellent driving dynamics. This is ensured by the Airmatic air suspension with variable damper control, as well as reinforced, redimensioned suspension components and adapted control functions such as ESP or ASR to cope with the increased vehicle weight. The air springs at the front are reinforced, for example, and additional steel springs are used at the rear axle. As in the unarmoured S-Class, all-round level control also maintains a constant vehicle level irrespective of the payload in the S‑Guard. In the S 600 Guard it also compensates the reduced ground clearance caused by the underbody armour.

Mercedes S 600 Guard

The brakes of the S-Guard are considerably larger than those of the standard model, so that the extra weight can be safely handled. Larger 6-piston brake callipers and significantly larger brake discs are used at the front axle, for example. The rear brakes are also of larger dimensions than on the standard model.

Mercedes S 600 Guard

The heavy side windows are hydraulically operated

Standard equipment on the S 600 Guard includes Michelin PAX run-flat tyres with an additional tyre pressure monitoring system which allows an escape from the danger zone up to a distance of 19 miles even with damaged tyres.

Intelligent assistance systems

The S 600 Guard is also equipped with the latest technical innovations that make the Mercedes-Benz S-Class a shining example of passenger car development in general and the world’s best-selling luxury saloon. As part of Intelligent Drive, these optionally include assistance systems which considerably enhance comfort and safety.

The following options are available:

  • the Driver Assistance package PLUS – this includes the assistance systems Distronic Plus with Stop&Go Pilot, BAS Plus Brake, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist, Pre-Safe Brake with pedestrian recognition and ESP, and an electric parking brake.
  • Night View Assist Plus
  • LED Intelligent Light System
  • 360° camera

Guard-specific equipment for more comfort and safety

In addition Mercedes-Benz offers further optional extras which were specifically developed for the S-Guard. These include:

  • opaque roller blinds all-round in the rear
  • heated windscreen and side windows
  • easily operated panic alarm system
  • fire extinguisher system with automatic activation
  • emergency fresh air system protecting occupants from the ingress of smoke or irritant gases
  • hydraulic power for the heavy side windows
  • gimbal LED reading lamps in the rear
  • special cooling compartment in the rear

As in the case of standard production models, the full manufacturer’s warranty also applies to the S 600 Guard and the other models in the Guard family. All the Mercedes-Benz service outlets worldwide are also able to service, maintain or carry out any necessary repairs for the Guard models.

Mercedes S 600 Guard

The fire extinguisher is mounted in the boot

Mercedes S 600 Guard

Fresh air bottle and emergency start battery under the boot floor

The Guard family

The Mercedes-Benz Guard range currently has models from the S, E, M and G-Class. Mercedes-Benz offers the most extensive range of special protection vehicles, with a total of nine models.

Mercedes-Benz E-Guard

The Mercedes-Benz E-Guard models are available in three engine variants. With a six-cylinder diesel engine in the E 350 CDI BlueEfficiency Guard, a V6 petrol engine in the E 350 Guard and a 5.5.-litre V8 in the E 500 Guard. All E-Guard models provide high protection in resistance class VR4 (according to BRV 2009).

Mercedes-Benz G 500 Guard

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is also available in a special-protection version. The G 500 Guard is equipped with a 5.5-litre V8 engine and highest protection to VR6 or VR7 (according to BRV 2009).

Mercedes-Benz M-Guard

The M-Guard is available as the ML 350 BlueTEC with a V6 diesel engine and as the ML 500 with a powerful V8 petrol engine. 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive is obligatory for these models, ensuring maximum traction and enhanced handling stability. As a special protection vehicle, the M-Guard with its integrated protective components meets all the requirements for resistance class VR7 (according to BRV 2009).

Further information: Protection classes

High-Protection vehicles engineered to the VR4 protection level resist large-calibre revolver ammunition and offer particularly good protection against the increasing threat of drug-related and violent street crime.

Highest-Protection vehicles engineered to protection level VR6/VR7/VR9 provide effective protection against the threat posed by terrorist attacks. Their armour is designed to resist rifle-fire from military weapons, which has a velocity almost twice that of handgun bullets. They also offer resistance to splinters from hand-grenades and explosive charges.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster to debut at Pebble Beach

  • Most potent, fastest and fastest-accelerating series production roadster in Aston Martin history set for Pebble Beach bow
  • To be joined by stunning Design Prototype 100 – DP-100 Vision Gran Turismo
  • New cars shown at the exclusive Aston Martin Estate; host to more than 1,000 customers

Aston Martin’s new 2015 V12 Vantage S Roadster will make its global debut as part of the marque’s presence at the Pebble BeachAutomotive Week from 14 August, joined by the new Design Prototype 100 (DP-100), which makes a North American debut.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster

Providing the most visceral and engaging open-top experience in Aston Martin’s current range, the new V12 Vantage S Roadster delivers characteristic sporting agility underpinned by an enviable sports ‘soundtrack’ generated by its naturally aspirated V12 engine and expertly-tuned sports exhaust.

Equipped with the latest 565bhp Aston Martin AM28 6.0-litre V12 engine, featuring state-of-the-art Bosch engine management, the car is capable of reaching 201 mph and sprinting from rest to 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster & Coupe

When it arrives in markets around the world later this year the new sports car will become the luxury British marque’s most potent, fastest and fastest-accelerating series production roadster to date and follows in the broad tyre tracks of the V12 Vantage S Coupe that was launched to worldwide acclaim in 2013.

Developed in-house by the Design team at Aston Martin, DP-100 Vision Gran Turismo is a new, virtual-only GT racer that is available for Gran Turismo 6 (GT6) owners to download and will be shown as a full-size hand-crafted model at Monterey this month.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster dash

The speedometer is calibrated to 330km/h

Starting with nothing but a blank sheet of paper the design team and design engineers worked for six months to create the new addition to the Vision Gran Turismo stable of race cars. Clearly pushing the boundaries of what an Aston Martin could be, DP-100 not only looks beautiful but also boasts a high degree of engineering integrity. A twin-turbo V12 mid-engined racer, DP-100 offers up to 800bhp, endowing it with blistering performance fully in keeping with the high octane nature of the game.

Created utilising many of the same techniques as applied in the development of  Aston Martin production sports cars – hand sketches and 3D modelling, followed by full realisation in the virtual world – DP-100 provides an exceptional level of detail with a fully functioning suspension system and state-of-the-art electronics.

Aston Martin DP 100 Gran Turismo

DP-100 Vision Gran Turismo

The DP-100 will be exclusively available for viewings to customers and invited guests at the Aston Martin Estate (14-16 August) where it will be joined by the V12 Vantage S Roadster which will also lead the marque’s presence at Quail: A Motorsports Gathering (15 August).

Following a hugely successful 2013 Pebble Beach week, where Aston Martin was celebrated at a number of events as part of its centenary year, the British marque will again host guests at the exclusive Aston Martin Estate. This exquisite private venue, situated high above Carmel with panoramic views across the Monterey Bay, provides the ideal backdrop for showcasing Aston Martin’s latest sports car range to customers and friends of the brand.

This grand estate will also serve as the location for a myriad of exclusive events including private viewings of new Aston Martins with Design Director Marek Reichman and test drives of the marque’s current line-up of handcrafted high performance sports cars. Motorsport partners TRG-AMR will be presenting the Vantage GT4 race car which is currently spearheading the first Aston Martin one-make race series in North America.

Supported by Louis Roederer, Timothy Oulton, McIntosh, Davidoff, William Grant & Sons, Ghurka and Merrill Lynch, more than 1,000 customers are expected to visit during the week.