Berne Beck Engineering & Composits GmbH from Muri near Berne in Switzerland is presenting an exciting new product at the luxury motor show in Vienna: On 10 January 2007 the new Beck LM 800 will be shown to the world’s public for the first time.

The company is a small Swiss manufacturer that has specialised in the production of top class, super sports cars. The main features here are the lightweight construction and the associated use of the most varied of low-density materials, such as aluminium, magnesium, titanium, as well as the latest plastic and composite materials – Kevlar for instance. It goes without saying that, according to Swiss tradition, the highest demands in terms of quality apply here as well.

The company gets its name from Renй Beck, who can look back on a history of over 20 years in the construction of prototypes and vehicles. Even when he was a schoolboy, in every free minute he was already fiddling around with home-made sports cars and working on his dream. His motto then is still the same now: „We start at the point where others have already given up.“

Much in the fields of lightweight construction and highly refined aerodynamics has been borrowed from nature, as nature always demonstrates an enormously high level of efficiency in all its „designs“. Also, some solutions have their origins in Formula 1 when it comes to both technical components and the construction methods used in the car.

The very low drag coefficient (cw value) resulted from a reduction in the cross-sectional area of the vehicle to an absolute minimum. There is no superfluous material to impede the lines, so that the consistent implementation of „form follows function” has led to a very special appearance with its own highly technically- and performance-orientated, futuristic aesthetic.

The Beck LM 800 is a car that imparts a feeling of pure enjoyment of sport from within, has optimal driving characteristics thanks to its active, electronically controlled chassis and has enormous power reserves at its disposal as a result of its very light weight. In addition, the vehicle is very easy to maintain, thanks to its modular construction and telescopic jacking system.

The basic construction of the car is similar to a Formula 1 racing car with a central monocoque made of composite materials that protect the driver and provide the necessary rigidity. Fixed to this are the engine and gearbox support, as well as the front transverse control arms of the chassis.

The central monocoque takes all the static load and provides the car with its necessary rigidity. It is made up from an aluminium frame and the latest composite materials. The same material mix of carbon, Kevlar and aluminium that is used for the monocoque is also used for various bodywork parts. This has the big advantage that the new regulations governing personal protection have already been implemented.

All attachment parts are made of a high-strength aluminium alloy. They are milled out of solid pieces, undergo surface treatment and are then power coated.

The top four layers of the visible parts are made of carbon and the fabric and leather covered components are made of 100% Kevlar. All parts are screwed and/or glued together. The ergonomically shaped seats are produced specially and made of several layers of Kevlar which are then well upholstered. The digital instruments satisfy even the toughest demands.

The car has an electronically controlled, hydraulic active chassis, as normally used in Formula 1 cars, which reacts to all telemetry data. The wheels are also made from specially manufactured aluminium parts, milled out of solid pieces and then coated.

The engine is a V8 with a displacement of 4.2 litres, also equipped with a turbo-charger that has been specially produced for the Beck LM 800. A semi-sequential, 7-speed gearbox ensures smooth power transmission to the wheels via a limited slip differential, with plenty in reserve at 650 HP. Gear changing takes place either with a conventional gearstick or using a rocker switch on the steering wheel.

The built-in pneumatic jacking system, making tyre changing child’s play, is very innovative in a car approved for street use, as it is normally used on racing cars.

Aston Martin has confirmed details of its N24 race car, based on the critically acclaimed V8 Vantage road car, which will be showcased at the Autosport International Show this week.

The Vantage N24 is based on a standard European specification production V8 Vantage, with modifications undertaken to prepare the car for the competitive racing environment.

At the 2006 British Motor Show, Aston Martin Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez, announced that the company would build a limited production run of cars based on the V8 Vantage that completed the Nьrburgring 24-hour endurance race that June. The near standard V8 Vantage finished 24th overall out of 220 starters, completing some 130 laps of the 15.77 mile circuit – in a field of mostly specialised race-homologated entrants.

The Nьrburgring 24-hour race not only gives its name to the V8 Vantage N24, but provided a conclusive demonstration of its abilities; a near standard car capable of tackling the demands of one of the world's most arduous racing circuits.

The Vantage N24 subsequently went on to finish eighth overall in the inaugural 24-hour race of Bahrain in December 2006, again competing with highly modified race cars. During the course of the race, the Vantage N24 covered over 2600km, needing only fuel, brake pads and tyres.

With the formation of Aston Martin Racing in 2004, the company made a long awaited and successful return to international sports car racing firstly with the GT1 DBR9 in 2005 followed by the GT3 DBRS9 in 2006. However, the company also has a long history of racing near standard cars both at national and at international level. The Vantage N24 builds on this tradition - a factory built car proven and ready to race.

The Vantage N24 will be fastidiously hand built in a dedicated facility within Aston Martin’s Gaydon headquarters. The level of detail and finish conforms to Aston Martin’s exacting standards, fusing hand craftsmanship with advanced technology. The build of the first customer cars will commence in the coming weeks.

The Vantage N24’s engine is modified to enhance throttle response and performance; including the crankshaft, conrods and pistons being lightened and balanced, the cylinder heads re-profiled to optimise compression ratio and gas flow and the engine management system is calibrated for race use.

The N24 also benefits from a free flow exhaust system and improved air filters. The standard V8 dry sump lubrication system is retained helping prevent oil surges during extreme cornering. The result is 410bhp (305KW) at 7500rpm – a 30bhp increase over the standard car.

The N24 is available with a 6-speed manual transmission only. A Valeo twin plate cerametalic racing clutch and lightweight flywheel complete the powertrain specification.

At 1330kg the Vantage N24 weighs in at 250kg lighter than the standard car. The interior trim of the standard car is removed apart from the facia moulding which is re-trimmed in Alcantara. The console and door casings are replaced by new lightweight mouldings. The air-conditioning system is removed as are the airbags. The interior features a full high strength steel roll cage and Recaro Pole Position competition shell (a passenger seat and safety harness is an optional extra). A suede-trimmed steering wheel with a quick release mechanism is also fitted as standard. The Vantage N24’s safety features are completed with a Schroth six-point safety harness with a push button release and Lifeline Zero 360 gas extinguisher system.

The Vantage N24's underframe and body has also been discreetly modified to save weight and increase trackside practicality. Tapping plates have been included to accommodate the use of pneumatic jacks, and motor sport towing eyes are attached to the chassis. The side and rear windows have been replaced with clear polycarbonate, with a sliding opening on the driver's side. The bonnet and tail latches are now quick release items.

The V8 Vantage’s acclaimed suspension has required only minor adjustments to optimise it for track use. These include larger diameter front and rear anti-roll bars and adjustable ride height aluminium dampers, as well as single rate flat ground springs with separate helper springs. The front subframe has been modified for extra camber and castor, while Speedline cast magnesium front and rear wheels are standard, along with high performance Yokohama AO48 tyres.

The brakes have been up-rated with Pagid RS 29 race pads. As further endorsement of the standard V8 Vantage’s abilities, the active safety systems are directly carried over to the Vantage N24 including dynamic stability control, traction control, ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution, providing reassurance and control in slippery conditions.

The Vantage N24 provides an ideal base for a wide variety of Motorsport uses and is ideal for club racing amongst other categories. As supplied it is eligible for series such as the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nьrburgring, the Britcar endurance series, the Dutch Supercar Challenge, the Australian GT Championship and the European Endurance Championship. In addition, the Vantage N24 is also potentially eligible for the proposed European GT4 series, the Grand-Am Cup and SCCA Touring Car Class in the USA.

The Vantage N24 is on sale now with prices starting at Ј78,720 plus local taxes and delivery. The customer version of the N24 will make its public debut at the Autosport International Show at the Birmingham NEC from 11th January, as a guest car on tyre partner, Yokohama’s, stand.

The LF-A sports-car concept was originally shown at the 2005 NAIAS to express a bold new direction in styling for the Lexus brand. The goals for the new LF-A are no different than they were with the original concept: To build a supercar with world-class performance that is uniquely Lexus.

As with all new Lexus vehicles, the styling of the LF-A is rooted in a design direction called L-finesse. The concept of L-finesse was used to shape and detail the original LF-A, and it was used to reshape, redetail and redefine this latest version. Lexus has further refined the styling of the new LF-A to enhance its exotic nature with a greater use of curved surfaces and interesting details.

The running gear of the LF-A is just as it was with the original, powered by a high-revving 500-plus horsepower V10 engine. Its front mid-engine placement, along with a rear-mounted transaxle and rear-mounted radiators, allows for excellent weight distribution. The horsepower, superior aerodynamics, and revised styling makes a top speed of 200 mph not only possible but probable.

An "F" logo, indicating the vehicle's status as a part of the new "F" marque, is located on each front fender.

"The first LF-A was a pure concept, but one that we went so far as to conduct engineering analysis on," said Carter. "This latest concept is much closer to a vehicle that we would bring to market, and one in which we will be gauging consumer interest."

Lexus LF-A Sports Concept Preliminary Specifications

Engine: V10 (under 5.0-liters)
Horsepower: More than 500
Top Speed: Approximately 200 MPH

Tire Size
Front: 265/35R20
Rear: 305/30R20

Dimensions (inches)
Overall Length: 175.6
Overall Width: 74.6
Overall Height: 48.0
Wheelbase: 102.3

The Chevrolet Camaro concept was the celebrated star of the 2006 auto show season. You can only top that by literally and figuratively blowing the top off. That’s exactly what GM’s designers and engineers did to create the Camaro convertible concept. The introduction of the Camaro convertible concept was on the eve of the North American International Auto Show at GM Style, an exclusive, fashion-splashed event combining celebrities, couture and automobiles.

The Camaro convertible concept, wrapped in Hugger Orange pearl tri-coat paint with twin gunmetal gray sport stripes, is based on the original Camaro concept, with only minor changes required to accommodate the convertible body style.

“The best follow-up to last year’s award-winning Camaro concept is a Camaro convertible,” said Ed Welburn, GM vice president, global design. “The Camaro convertible concept instantly evokes an emotional response – it’s a vehicle that you want to make room for in your garage.”

The Camaro convertible concept embodies strong heritage while appealing to a new generation of customers who seek a distinctive statement in a new car.

“For some of us, an emotional bond was formed when we introduced the Camaro coupe last year,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “It is magnificent. But now this year, if this Camaro convertible doesn’t make your heart beat faster, you should see either your optometrist or your cardiologist, because you have a problem.”

Chevrolet already has announced production plans for the Camaro, which will go on sale in 2009. A production convertible model will be added later that year.

Fun spirit

Like the Camaro concept vehicle, the Camaro convertible concept blends a dramatic, forward-looking design that is mindful of the brand’s storied heritage. That design includes classic long hood/short deck proportions and a wide, wheels-at-the-corners stance that gives the vehicle the look of hugging corners even when stationary.

The Camaro convertible concept is motivated by a torquey V-8 engine that rightly sends power to the rear wheels via a manual transmission. It also features a four-wheel independent suspension system and four-wheel disc brakes.

“There is an undeniably fun spirit with the Camaro convertible concept,” said Peper. “The promise of fun made by the convertible top is reinforced with the Camaro’s ‘let’s go’ stance – it’s a car that begs to be driven.”

The Camaro convertible concept shares exterior dimensions with the Camaro concept, although the convertible concept’s windshield surround, which features a bright anodized finish, is changed slightly to accommodate the convertible top.

Additional design details include:

* Tonneau cover over the folded top
* “Halo” headlamps
* LED taillamps
* Rear spoiler with LED-lit CHMSL
* Racing-inspired fuel filler door
* Front-inlet hood scoop, inspired by the Corvette Z06
* Heritage-inspired rear fender “gills”
* Anodized aluminum door handles
* Bold 21-inch (front) and 22-inch (rear) wheels, with accent color

The Camaro convertible concept’s Hugger Orange pearl tri-coat color is a contemporary update of the classic hue, which was originally offered in 1969. It is complemented with twin gunmetal gray sport stripes. The modern interpretation of the classic color and its dark accent stripes simultaneously reflect the Camaro’s heritage and deliver a deep, lustrous and thoroughly contemporary appearance.

The Camaro convertible concept rides on 21-inch front wheels and 22-inch rear wheels. The wheels have a deep-dish, five-spoke design and feature charcoal center sections with bright outer edges and a red outline on the wheel edge. The charcoal wheels complement the gunmetal gray stripes on the body.

Inspired cockpit

Inside, the Camaro convertible features a simple yet purposeful interior that reflects design elements inspired by the muscle car era, including the first-generation Camaro. A new, light-and-dark color scheme enhances the airy feel of the convertible, particularly when the top is lowered.

The seats’ fronts feature platinum-tone leather surrounding suede-like Alcantara® inserts, with black, sculpted seatbacks. The use of light color only on the seating surface is reminiscent of vintage houndstooth interiors, while a matching, tri-coat platinum paint is used to accent the door panels and instrument panel, giving a modern, bold feel to the interior.

“The light-on-dark interior coloring makes a strong statement that conveys the spirit of freedom and fun that is embodied by a Camaro convertible,” said Micah Jones, interior designer.

As with the Camaro coupe concept, the convertible concept features an instrument panel inspired by first-generation Camaros, including an intricate “round-gauges-in-square-holes” design. The gauges have a deep, three-dimensional appearance, with white faces and red pointers.

“The instrument panel – including the four auxiliary gauges mounted in front of the shifter – pays homage to first-generation Camaros, while achieving a modern appearance through its refined integration of components,” said Jones.

Craftsmanship and attention to detail are evidenced throughout the interior, including the smoke satin aluminum finish on trim plates, vents, seat handles and safety belt buckles. The shifter and pedals are made of billet aluminum. The steering wheel has a detailed, deep-dish three-spoke design and the front seats are hinged at the center – rather than the sides – for an integrated appearance. A separate ignition button is used to start the engine and the speedometer and tachometer needles complete full-sweep indexing when the engine rumbles to life.

A “spine” motif runs through the center of the vehicle and on the seatbacks, including a prominent center console that stretches to the rear seat. The spine reinforces the symmetry of the Camaro convertible, as well as its precision.

An attainable icon

The original Camaro was introduced to the Baby Boomer generation, a large group of young, individualistic and mobile Americans that drove fundamental changes in the auto industry. The Camaro was personal, sporty and powerful – attributes that were typically found on more expensive, smaller and, often, foreign sports cars. The Camaro represented a real life-sized sporty car that was attainable for just about everyone. An almost endless list of optional features, colors and trim combinations ensured owners could tailor their Camaro to their exact taste.

As Boomers transitioned into larger vehicles to accommodate growing families, younger drivers embraced used Camaros as their first cars, and third- and fourth-generations of the Camaro continued to deliver affordable fun and performance to a new generation of enthusiasts. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of owners of all walks of life have found driving fun in a Camaro during the past 40 years.

The new Camaro concepts draw on their namesakes’ heritage, but also the global, youthful influences of the 21 st century. These influences are seen in the Camaro convertible concept’s bold proportions, tailored wheel-to-body relationship and detailed interior – including the multi-dimensional instruments. It’s a design that resonates with a generation of younger car buyers influenced by highly stylized “tuner” cars and import sports cars.

“Youthful buyers want a car that makes a statement in its design as much as its performance,” said Brian Smith, exterior designer. “The new Camaro concepts bridge heritage with contemporary style, with a design that is simultaneously admired among import-influenced youth and traditional enthusiasts.”

Along with style and performance, the timeless spirit of fun is woven into the new Camaro concepts.

“Camaro has always represented the American ethic that style and performance don’t belong exclusively to the wealthy,” said Smith. “Camaro has always been everybody’s sports car, and these new concepts demonstrate its spirit is relevant for a new generation.”

Lincoln is pulling the wraps off a head-turning new concept car at the North American International Auto Show next week, signaling its design strategy for the next-generation of premium American vehicles and launching a new engine family.

The Lincoln MKR concept introduces a new design language of “elegant simplicity” on a four-door coupe that also features environmentally friendly amenities and fuel-saving technology, including its TwinForce™ engine.

The concept’s 3.5-liter gasoline twin-turbocharged direct-injection V-6 performs comparably or better than V-8 engines, delivering 415 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque on renewable E-85 ethanol.

A New Era of Lincoln Design
The new design – created by a team led by Peter Horbury, executive director, Design, The Americas – showcases the visual elements that will influence a new generation of Lincoln products.

“We’ve reinterpreted the best of Lincoln designs over time, preserving the restraint and elegance synonymous with the brand,” says Horbury. “The Lincoln MKR concept is sophisticated and modern, resembling an athlete – extremely strong and fit but looks elegant in a tuxedo.

“This romantic, sporting coupe should turn heads at the show. And, ultimately, this new design language will help lead us forward in the growing premium segment.”

The Lincoln MKR concept features seven key exterior cues, which define modern Lincoln design:

* Clean, uncluttered surfaces
* Powerful, dynamic beltline
* Chamfered surface running parallel to the beltline
* Distinctive Lincoln bow-wave, double-wing grille opening
* Thin, horizontal taillamps that run from one side to the other
* Significant C-pillar smoothly transitioning into the cantilevered roof, and
* Powerful cantrail/roofrail

Three or four of these design elements are likely to appear on future production Lincolns, including the concept’s most dramatic feature: the double-wing grille inspired by the 1941 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet. The split grille is designed to resemble the bow of a boat cutting through the water, giving the oversize Lincoln star a proper home on which to stand proud.

The Lincoln MKR concept’s four doors and body side remain characteristically clean. A button concealed in the chrome door trim springs open the four ‘winged’ doors, slightly inclined for additional sophistication and a touch of drama.

From the rear, the coupe concept is instantly recognizable as a Lincoln, thanks to full-width LED taillamps stretching from side to side.

From above, this Lincoln proudly showcases its brand heritage with a large structural Lincoln star that punctuates the glass roof spanning the top of the car.

Modern, ‘Guilt-free’ Luxury Touches

Inside, the Lincoln MKR concept defines a new direction for modern luxury, with ambient lighting and contrasting colors and materials that offer both a new look and philosophy for future Lincoln interiors.

“The concept’s interior builds on the success of earlier Lincolns but stretches the boundaries even further,” said Gordon Platto, chief designer of the Lincoln MKR concept. “This unique combination of materials gives the Lincoln MKR a rich interior but features the environmentally friendly amenities that luxury buyers expect in premium goods, including vehicles.”

A black oak instrument panel engineered from recycled wood stretches from side to side and carries through to a twin-level floating center console that extends into the rear of the cabin.

This expansive ‘T-shaped’ panel houses the passenger information display system seamlessly disguised by the flush touch screen control surfaces and a navigation screen that can be concealed by a powered door.

The instrument cluster provides a jewelry-like focal point. Chrome-trimmed gauges illuminated with Ice Blue lighting can be easily viewed in harmony with the concave spoke steering wheel that includes retractable paddle shifters.

“Lighting is an important design element,” Platto said. “We know customers are paying more attention to the lighting in their homes than ever before, and we wanted to leverage it to create even more ambiance and drama inside the concept.”

Ice Blue lighting is carried throughout the high-contrast interior, emitting from the door panels, mohair-carpeted foot wells, seats, center console and perhaps most dramatically from the large Lincoln star above which is easily viewed from each of the Lincoln MKR concept’s four seats.

Each soy-foam based seat stands alone, looking as if suspended in air, wrapped in a creamy cashmere leather made through a more environmentally friendly chromium-free process. Seatbacks are finished with high-gloss, ceramic-looking shells.

The concept also features the THX II Certified Car Audio System, Lincoln’s signature audio system, which produces sound quality comparable to home theater systems.

Innovative TwinForce™ Powertrain

Under the Lincoln MKR’s sculpted hood is the exquisitely detailed TwinForce engine, finished in chrome and accented in the cranberry red metallic paint that dresses the rest of the modern exterior.

This marks the birth of the new TwinForce engine family that will power production versions of a range of future Ford and Lincoln products.

TwinForce uses direct injection technology and turbocharging. These technologies are common in diesel engines but have only recently been combined together in gasoline engines.

The Lincoln MKR’s engine also is flex fuel capable, providing the driver with the flexibility to switch back and forth between gasoline and E-85 ethanol. Combining the high octane found in E-85 or premium gasoline with TwinForce technology allows the MKR’s V-6 to deliver 415 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque – an impressive 118 horsepower per liter.

To achieve this type of performance from a V-8 would require an engine displacement of 6.0-liter or larger, nearly double the size of the 3.5-liter in the Lincoln MKR. As a result of the smaller V-6, the Lincoln MKR concept delivers 15 percent better fuel economy than a V-8 with similar performance.

The concept’s engine is mated to a six-speed transmission, and the concept features independent rear suspension for more refined road manners.

The car sits on 21-inch chrome aluminum wheels fitted with unique Michelin tires that feature the Lincoln star in its treads.

“The Lincoln MKR concept is important because it marks a new era for the brand,” Horbury said. “This is a showcase of modern design that marries power, performance and, essentially, ‘guilt-free’ luxury.”

Lincoln MKR Concept Specifications

3.5-liter V-6 TwinForce engine
Chassis lengths
Overall length .......................195.7 in.
Wheelbase .............................112.9 in.
Overall width ..........................75.4 in.
Overall height at curb ..............52.7 in.
Track width
Front .......................................63.7 in.
Rear ........................................63.8 in.
Brembo power 4-wheel disc with ABS and traction control Suspension
Front ............ MacPherson Struts and rear-facing L-shaped lower control arm and stabilizer bar
Rear .............Independent Rear Suspension
Front .......................................37.8 in.
Second Row ............................36.9 in.
Front .......................................42.7 in.
Second Row ............................33.7 in.
Luggage capacity ..............13.0 cu. ft.

The Team

The Lincoln MKR concept was developed by the following team members, led by J Mays, group vice president – Design, and chief creative officer:

Peter Horbury, executive director – Design, The Americas
Patrick Schiavone, director – Design, Truck (formerly responsible for developing NA cars)
Gordon Platto, chief designer
Dave Mahoney, exterior design manager
Xitij Mistry, exterior designer
Soo Kang, interior design manager
Jason Baldas, interior designer
James Kuo, interior designer
Jennifer Hewlett, Color and Materials designer
Andy Fulford, project manager

Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With approximately 300,000 employees and more than 100 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit

Detroit - At the North American Auto Show Detroit, Mercedes-Benz is adding to its reputation as a pioneer and design trendsetter among premium carmakers with the presentation of its Concept Ocean Drive four-door convertible. This study is a one-off creation by Mercedes-Benz which revives the tradition of large luxury convertibles. Not having to work to a design brief or production specifications left the designers free to get on with the job of developing the world's most comfortable and elegant convertible.

The Concept Ocean Drive is an awe-inspiring jewel on wheels. As a four-door convertible, it belongs in a luxury genre that has almost disappeared from our roads. Like the luxury convertibles of years gone by, this showpiece from Stuttgart features the maximum in elegance, lifestyle sophistication and exclusiveness. To put it another way, it represents automobile culture at its most attractive and desirable.

The one-off special has an all-new body with an almost classic flavour and with clearly defined lines and vibrant two-tone paintwork which are exceptionally charismatic. Although on one level the Concept Ocean Drive displays the restraint of an elite and aristocratic automobile, it is also an open invitation to go on a "topless" cruise along the world's finest ocean promenades. Luxurious, exotic materials have been crafted with consummate skill to create a showpiece of unparalleled perfection.

Mercedes-Benz design studies a stylistic journey into the future

The Concept Ocean Drive isn't just designed to inspire dreams and fantasies; it also serves a very practical purpose. Because design studies are always a good opportunity for designers to play around with less familiar themes, to see things from new angles and to explore new ideas. Not just a pure design exercise, they are also a way of stimulating a closer dialogue with customers and of trying out new ideas on the general public. This helps the designers get a feel for future styling trends and to develop and implement new design idioms.

The unique luxury convertible design study from Stuttgart turns a "dream car" vision into reality. At the same time it is also an affirmation of the design excellence and values of the Mercedes-Benz brand, including the brand's traditional basic principles like excellent build and quality, comfort, effortless superiority, value retention and safety. These values have now been joined by three further key messages: passion, fascination and innovation. The Mercedes-Benz design philosophy both perpetuate proven styling themes associated with the brand and at the same time combines them with new and surprising ideas and forms.

Styling conveys effortless superiority and elegance

Apart from the four doors, the outward distinguishing marks of the concept car include a very large and upright radiator grille, LED headlamps and taillights, two-tone paintwork and a striking interplay between taut lines and large, restful surfaces. This lends the one-off special an air of effortless superiority, power, elegance and forward-flowing energy.

The long side-window opening which, typically of a convertible, is not interrupted by a B-pillar or window frames, ensures seamless continuity between the exterior and the interior, even when the top is up. Extensive use of high-value materials such as finest-quality leather, 3D-effect materials and large bird's eye maple trim panels (in the interior and even on the soft-top compartment cover) and many other thoughtfully designed interior details, highlight the luxurious, unique character of this design study.

Top-level engineering

The design study is based on the twelve-cylinder Mercedes-Benz S 600, on account of this model's long wheelbase. The technical highlights include:

  • the innovative soft-top mechanism resulting in smooth operation and fast closing times;

  • the innovative AIRSCARF neck-level heating system, which is featured on all four seats, allowing occupants to enjoy top-down motoring even in the colder months of the year.

  • Needless to say, the on-board equipment also includes top-level Mercedes-Benz innovations, some of which are unique worldwide including Brake Assist PLUS, the innovative PRE-SAFE brake system (in combination with radar-based DISTRONIC PLUS) and the PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection system.

    Source: Serious Wheels

    Is it just a clever 3-D projection or maybe a mirage of a four-wheel art object? Or is it actually a real car sitting there? Some visitors to this year’s Geneva Auto Show (March 8th thru 18th) will ask themselves just these questions when faced with the new fully transparent Rinspeed creation “eXasis.” The insect-like body and even the floor pan of the seemingly “glass” concept car from the renowned Swiss powerhouse for new designs and ideas actually consist of a transparent high-tech plastic with a tinge of pale yellow.

    The “eXasis” has open wheels, a cigar-shaped body with fore and aft tandem seating, and has elements of the legendary Auto Union race cars from the first half of the last century combined with a modern Baja-1000 off-road vehicle.

    The transparency “dematerializes” the car to a large extent. Behind the seemingly fading matter the spirit of the “eXasis” reveals itself: The ideas, thoughts and imagination that were the basis of its development. For Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht the “eXasis” symbolizes this development process, a process that takes immaterial spirit and turns it into matter, transforms a mere vision into a concrete car: “And in all its transparency the “eXasis” still seems as if it hadn’t arrived fully yet in the material world.”

    Definitely part of the material world is the engine of the concept car: A compact and powerful two-cylinder 750-cc engine provides some 150 environmentally friendly horsepower for swift conveyance. Bioethanol that reduces CO2 emissions powers the tiny supercharged engine. With a projected vehicle weight of just 750 kilograms thanks to plastic lightweight construction each horsepower has to account for just five kilograms - on a level with a Porsche.

    Altogether these figures give plenty of reasons to expect of loads of driving fun and numerous visionary technologies and innovations from Rinspeed’s “eXasis.” A very special thrill will be the view through the transparent floor pan - it will be an absolutely unique anniversary ride.

    Audi TT CoupeGentex Corporation, the leading supplier of automatic-dimming rearview mirrors to the worldwide automotive industry, announced today that it has begun shipping a three- mirror, automatic-dimming mirror system for the 2007 Audi TT Coupe.

    The Gentex auto-dimming mirror system causes all three rearview mirrors to darken automatically in response to the headlamp glare of rearward-approaching vehicles. The brighter the glare, the darker the mirrors become, making nighttime driving safer.

    The three-mirror system is optional on the TT and consists of an interior auto-dimming mirror with compass display and driver- and passenger-side exterior auto-dimming mirrors.

    "Nearly 70 different vehicle models worldwide offer three-mirror auto- dimming systems, which provide complete glare elimination," said Enoch Jen, Gentex Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. "These systems represent one of the fastest-growing safety technologies available today. We're proud to help Audi bring this technology to the TT, a vehicle known for performance driving when protecting driver vision is highly important."

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