MINI motors to a different beat during October 2006 as the dynamic, young brand offers Sydneysiders a test-drive treat with an exciting difference.
MINI CHASE, a four-day seat-of-the-pants skilled driving exhibition will enthral all visitors to King St Wharf, Sydney, beginning Saturday 21 October, then reprising Saturday 28 October through Monday 30 October.

MINI CHASE takes over the WHARF 8 passenger terminal at Darling Harbour, turning it into a fantasy-meets-reality street circuit. Mini CHASE guests will be part of the action as they are taken on film-set style thrill ride around the purpose-built Mini CHASE track.

A trio of high-performance Mini Cooper S hardtops with the potent 154 kW John Cooper Works
Tuning Kit - similar to the Team Mini motorsport cars currently being raced and rallied around Australia - will be pressed into service.

MINI has chased down highly-skilled professional drivers to chauffeur passengers around the circuit, but the driving will be anything but chaste.

MINI CHASE has been designed to show off MINI’s legendary go-kart handling, explosive off-the-line acceleration and cheeky city style. The course has been designed to highlight the MINI’s leech-like grip and pin-sharp steering, in a max revs, max fun setting.

Based at the very fashionable and popular Bungalow 8 bar and restaurant within the King Street Wharf precinct, the Mini CHASE course will be set up at the end of Wharf 8.

The idea is to bring a new level of automotive dynamism to downtown Sydney at a time when the Harbour city is focussed on four-wheel fun.

On arrival at Mini CHASE, guests make a quick pit-stop to change into special event overalls. They will be given a full safety briefing, including a warning to beware of contracting a condition known as “Helmet hair”.

Crash helmets will prevent hair-raising driving crippling coifs as pulses are raced.

Then it’s out for a “Lap with the Gods of Driving” through the Mini CHASE course, which includes a super-twisty slalom section, a blast through wall of sheer delight, and a crafty Dodge through the switchback chicanes.

MINI expects to welcome around 250 guests a day during the course of the event.

And although the trick driving will remain firmly in the hands of the gifted drivers, guests enthused by the Mini CHASE experience will be able to sign up for a test drive on the spot.

In response to customer demand, Volvo Cars is expanding its popular XC90 range with a new variant -- the Volvo XC90 V8 Sport. With a dynamic chassis setting, unique appearance, interior specification upgrades, and sport-tuned suspension, the Volvo XC90 V8 Sport offers the driver more enjoyable handling and dynamic desirability.

"We have had numerous requests for a sportier XC90," says Susanna Johnsson, Product Manager of Special Vehicles at Volvo Car Corporation. "They are from customers who
appreciate the versatility and comfort of an SUV but who also want a bit more driving pleasure. We have developed the Volvo XC90 V8 Sport especially for them, with a dynamic sport chassis, stiffer anti-roll bars, firmer shock absorbers, a sport-tuned, speed-dependent steering system, and larger, 19" wheels," she continued.

"Pricing and positioning in this extremely competitive segment are integral to success," said Anne Belec, president and CEO, Volvo Cars of North America. "Volvo redefined the SUV segment with the introduction of the XC90, and we have continued to refine the process."

Sporty driving characteristics with a stiffened chassis

The Volvo XC90 Sport is not only sporty in aesthetic terms. The chassis characteristics have been refined to increase genuine driving pleasure. Both the shock absorbers and the anti-roll bars have been made stiffer to offer a high level of stability when cornering. The steering has also been adapted to offer quick steering response. Furthermore, Volvo''s self-leveling system, Nivomat, is standard in this seven Seat model. The system has been fine-tuned to offer great stability and driving control.

"We dare to promise a truly enjoyable experience behind the wheel of a Volvo XC90 Sport," says Susanna Johnsson. "The driving characteristics are of a caliber that few thought were possible in a Volvo SUV. And we have not had to compromise on riding comfort. We have succeeded in finding a balance between driving stability and the capacity to absorb unevenness in the road."

Distinctive and sporty exterior

The Volvo XC90 Sport will be launched with 2 colors that are unique for this XC90 variant -- Passion Red and Electric Silver -- plus double chromed exhaust pipes and larger 19" alloy sport wheels -- available in silver bright, with body color-matched wheel arch extenders, which help emphasize the presence of the large wheels.

Details and trim will have a matte silver finish rather than the standard chrome, and the lower skid plate, as well as the roof rails are also matte silver. The unique sill moldings are in brushed stainless steel.

Sport decor and upholstery

The interior design is customized with a more sporting character with a sport steering wheel and gear selector of perforated leather plus sports seats with additional lateral cushioning to support the driver during cornering.

The leather in the seats is a combination of two different choices of leather which provide a sporting, exclusive feel. The decor piping in a different shade also enhances the sporting impression.

The instrument dials have metal chronograph watch-style faces with a shimmering blue luster. The sport carpets with creme-colored decor piping complete the picture of a sporty interior with an exciting hi-tech feel.

V8 engine

The power train for the Volvo XC90 Sport is Volvo''s V8 (311 hp). This very powerful and energy-efficient engine contributes to the sporty driving experience. The engine, first seen in the 2006 XC90, is extremely compact and is transversely mounted in the engine bay for the best possible safety as well as cabin spaciousness.

In addition to the standard V8 option package offer, the XC90 V8 Sport adds one new option package, the Technology Package. The Technology Package complements the dynamic features of the XC90 V8 Sport by offering Active Bi-xenon GDL Headlamps, Dynaudio Sound System, and Sirius Satellite radio in one option package exclusive to XC90 V8 Sport.

The limited production 2007 XC90 V8 Sport arrives at Volvo showrooms during the 4th Quarter of 2006.

* pricing does not include destination charges of $695.

While more consumers are moving away from sport utility vehicles and opting for cars and crossovers, they aren''t willing to part with the confidence of all-wheel drive (AWD).

Ford has expanded its AWD lineup, introducing AWD versions of the Ford Fusion, the Mercury Milan and the Lincoln MKZ midsize sedans this month. All-wheel-drive versions of the 2007 Ford Edge and 2007 Lincoln MKX crossovers will hit dealer showrooms in November, bringing the total number of Ford
vehicles to offer conventional four-wheel drive or AWD to an industry-leading 36.

In a recent survey of current sport utility owners, 73 percent want all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive on their next vehicle. In the luxury market, 50 percent of owners want all-wheel drive on their cars or trucks. Ford is answering the call by expanding its lineup of AWD vehicles.

"Broadening the availability of all-wheel drive comes as a result of listening to our customers," says Brett Wheatley, Medium and Large Car product marketing manager for Ford Motor Company.

"Many drivers who are attracted to SUVs but who are concerned about fuel prices are considering alternative vehicles. Offering a broad range of AWD sedans and crossovers gives these buyers more of what they want."

Sport utilities and pickup trucks have long taken advantage of four-wheel drive. In 2005, Ford began extending those advantages from sport utilities such as the Escape and the Explorer to sedans and crossovers, with the introduction of the AWD Ford Five Hundred and Freestyle and Mercury Montego.

A recent report from J.D. Power and Associates forecasts that four-wheel-drive vehicles will make up 37 percent of all vehicles produced by 2008. That growth is expected to be fueled by all-wheel-drive systems based on front-wheel-drive vehicles, such as the Five Hundred sedan and the Freestyle crossover, which are expected to more than double to 32 percent by 2008 from the current 13 percent.

Ford is looking for AWD sales to exceed 500,000 units annually by 2007, with 400,000 of those being cars and crossovers. Those numbers should be easy to reach, as the company is making the technology more affordable. All-wheel-drive models of the Ford Five Hundred and the Mercury Montego sell for up to $5,400 less than nearest competitors, while the Ford Freestyle is priced more than $3,100 below the nearest crossover competitor.

The AWD Fusion and Milan are the only vehicles in their segment to offer an AWD option. The price for the Fusion AWD SE with the 3.0-liter V-6 starts at just under $23,000.

Opel’s elegant four-door Astra sedan makes its world premiere at the Istanbul Motor Show (November 3 − 12, 2006), becoming the fifth model in the bestselling Astra range alongside the five-door hatch, station wagon, three-door GTC and cabrio-coupé TwinTop variants. “This motor show is the largest in this region, and Turkey is also one of the most important sales markets for the classic compact sedan,” says Alain Visser, Executive Director, European Marketing for Opel.

The Astra sedan will be produced in Gliwice, Poland, an ideal location to serve the Central and Eastern European markets for which the car has been primarily developed. The new model features a range of two gasoline and two diesel engines with output between 90 and 140 hp, and will go on sale in autumn 2007.

Notchback sedans are highly sought after in these strong, thriving markets. 67 percent of Turkish customers who purchase a compact class car, for example, choose a notchback model. In Russia, this figure is 65 percent and in Poland and South-East Europe the total is around 15 percent. With a share of approximately five percent, this body variant plays a less significant role in the compact class in Western Europe.

The new four-door sedan matches the special needs of Central and Eastern European customers while retaining the excellent characteristics of the current successful Astra range, which passed the one-million production mark last spring.

Sales of the Astra in Central and Eastern Europe rose by over 20 percent to 60,000 units in the first nine months of this year, compared to the same-year period of 2005, with more than 10,000 of these vehicles sold in Turkey alone. Opel expects additional growth in these markets with the launch of the four-door sedan.

The new sedan boasts the Astra’s progressive, proportionally balanced design (length/width/height: 4618/1754/1458 mm), dynamic lines and characteristic driving dynamics, together with high safety reserves. The new model''s designers adopted the long wheelbase from the station wagon (2703 mm) for generous space in the rear and a large luggage compartment (500 liters). Technological highlights from the Astra's extensive equipment range include innovations such as bi-xenon headlamps, Hill Start Assist (HSA), and the electric heater “Quickheat”.

Opel continues a tradition with the new Astra notchback model, as both first-generation Astras were available with four doors and a large, separate luggage compartment.

GMC announced today that pricing for GMC''s first crossover SUV, the all-new 2007 Acadia, will begin at $29,990 for a well-equipped front-wheel-drive model.

"The next generation of GMC is here with the all-new Acadia," said John Larson, GMC general manager. "The fuel-efficient crossover has a sleek design and spacious interior that offers all of the people and cargo-carrying capabilities that you would expect in a utility vehicle, along with the smooth ride and responsive handling that feels more like a luxury sedan."

Acadia, which goes on sale at the end of the year, is available in front- or all-wheel-drive models. The base FWD model pricing includes the destination freight charge, is well-equipped, with GM''s all-new high-feature 3.6L V-6 engine with variable valve timing. It offers 275 horsepower (205 kW)
and 251 lb.-ft. of torque (340 Nm) and EPA ratings of 18 mpg city / 26 mpg highway on FWD models. The engine is backed by a new, fuel-saving Hydra-Matic 6T75 six-speed automatic transmission.

The Acadia comfortably seats up to eight adults and has a standard 60/40 split-folding third-row seat. It offers more space than many of its competitors, with nearly 20 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row.

Other standard features on the GMC Acadia include:

• StabiliTrak stability control system with rollover mitigation technology

• Six air bags - two frontal-impact air bags, two seat-mounted side-impact air bags; and head curtain side-impact air bags that help protect outboard passengers in all three rows

• Four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes

• OnStar Generation 7 hardware with one-year Directions and Connections service that features new voice-activated Turn-by-Turn Navigation

• GM''s exclusive Smart Slide feature on second-row seating, allowing quick and easy access to the third row

• AM/FM stereo with CD and MP3 players and six-speaker audio system

• Dual exhaust with chrome tips

• Rear spoiler

• 18-inch wheels

GMC is a division of General Motors Corp. The division markets Acadia, Sierra, Yukon, Envoy, Canyon and Savana. GMC''s lineup of Professional Grade trucks and SUVs delivers capabilities and unique features to fit every active lifestyle. GMC sold more than 566,000 vehicles in 2005, and has set divisional sales records 11 times in the last 13 years.

The most powerful version of BMW’s new generation of magnesium aluminium
VALVETRONIC six-cylinder petrol engines, boasting an impressive 200 kW, will lead a refreshed and re-invigorated performance-oriented X3 range, with improved ergonomics, extensively revised cabin and dashboard functions.

Offering the free-revving performance and smoothness as well as the exceptionally low weight and exemplary efficiency so typical of BMW, the new top-of-the-range 3.0si straightsix, one of the most advanced engines of its type in the world, will endow the new X3 with sports car performance and
a power output higher than any other 3.0-litre in the BMW family.

Even so, fuel consumption for the new petrol straight-six has improved by an impressive 15 per cent while the 3.0d model continues to boast a combined fuel consumption figure of 8.6 litres per 100 km.

The updated BMW X3 builds on the success of its predecessor which has proved itself to be a real high flier around the world, becoming one of the most popular all-wheel-drive vehicles in its segment in many countries.

More than 260,000 X3 Sports Activity Vehicle have been sold worldwide in two and a half years and this impressive success story has enabled BMW to sell more all-wheel-drive cars worldwide last year than any other manufacturer in the premium segment.

The new BMW X3 will be unveiled next week at the Australian International Motor Show, with the first customer deliveries arriving this summer. BMW has today announced pricing for the revised X3 range.

Visually, the BMW X3 maintains its rugged off-road looks and purposeful on-road stance that has established the premium SAV as a leader in its class, combined with even more efficient drive systems. The BMW X3 features new headlight and rear lights as well as reprofiled colour-coded bumpers with deep-set fog lights.

The cabin has been extensively upgraded with a redesigned instrument panel, new steering wheel, centre console, seats, revised trim levels and a new roof lining, as well as improved storage compartments. In addition, all models will be equipped with Bluetooth mobile phone preparation.

The BMW X3 has been given a subtle, yet comprehensive styling makeover at the front and rear. Front and rear bumpers are split into two levels, finished in body colour, with the more intentionally exposed protective elements made of robust black plastic.

Four new exterior colours are included in the updated specification including Crimson Red, Platinum Bronze, Monaco Blue and Montego Blue. In addition, a fifth interior colour scheme has been added to the already impressive standard interior leather and trims combinations. Customers can team their choice of leather upholstery with interior trims in either brushed aluminium, fine wood in poplar grain grey, ash grain or poplar grain light.

A striking feature of the X models is the so-called “six-eyed look” that lends a purposeful air to the front of the car, featuring new double circular headlights with redesigned reflectors behind clear glass.

Significantly, the BMW kidney grille has been increased in size and is now a very distinctive visual feature of the front of the car. At the rear the new light assemblies are covered with clear glass over horizontal rods of light fed by LEDs to ensure a striking night design, but also serve as an eye-catching feature of the new BMW X3 in daylight.

The rear profile of the BMW X3 boasts dominant horizontal lines that continue from the tailgate right down to the bumper, underscoring the car’s powerful appearance. From the side, a striking lower design line emphasises a discreet wedge-shape and ties in with both the front and rear aprons.

Importantly too, the BMW X3 cabin has been upgraded with high-quality materials. The instrument panel has a new décor strip that matches in colour and material with the decorative surfaces of the centre console. Galvanised metals on the door handles and switchgear of the air temperature control system, exclusive leather and textile variants, a high-quality colour scheme and new designs for the roof lining as well as plastic surfaces with a high-class texture clearly reflect the character of the robust, yet elegant interior.

BMW designers have also addressed the need for additional storage areas, with more spacious storage in the door trims. There is also a new three-spoke steering wheel design.

The X3 will be available with a new generation of in-line six-cylinder petrol engines of 2.5-litre and 3.0-litre capacity.

The new BMW X3 3.0si incorporates the most powerful version of the 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine so far, with a reputation for smooth running, reliability and performance.

Significantly, both the new BMW X3 2.5si and the 3.0si boast more power and torque than the previous BMW X3 2.5i and 3.0i six-cylinder engines, with gains also made in the area of fuel economy.

The BMW X3 3.0si gains a substantial 30 kW more power and 15 Nm more torque over the 3.0i, while the 2.5si gains 19 kW and 5 Nm over the 2.5i.

The BMW X3 3.0si accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in only 7.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 210 km/h. With average fuel consumption in the EU cycle of 10.3 litres per 100 km, it offers exemplary economy for this class.
The corresponding performance of the BMW X3 2.5si is just as impressive. It reaches the 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds and has a top speed of 210 km/h. The average fuel consumption is 9.9 litres per 100 km (EU cycle).

Both the 2.5si six-cylinder and 3.0si six-cylinder are equipped with a magnesium-aluminium composite crankcase, the variable valve-control VALVETRONIC and a coolant pump with demand-based control. As they weigh just 165 kg, they also contribute to the well-balanced axle-load distribution and outstanding driving dynamics.

Apart from the new petrol six-cylinder engines, the BMW X3 is also available with a lightweight in-line 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo-diesel. The BMW X3 3.0d boasts the latest generation Variable Turbine Geometry (VTG) turbocharger, all-aluminium crankcase, common-rail injection with piezo injectors and oxidation catalytic converter.

BMW X3 2.5si: Manual (Auto – opt)
• 2.5-litre six-cylinder.
• 160 kW at 6,500 rpm and 250 Nm from 2,750.
• Acceleration (0-100km/h) 8.5 seconds.
• Top speed 210 km/h.
• Average fuel consumption (EU cycle) 9.9 litres per 100 km.

BMW X3 3.0si: Automatic
• 3.0-litre six-cylinder.
• 200 kW at 6,600 rpm and 315 Nm at 2,750 rpm.
• Acceleration (0-100 km/h) 7.5 seconds.
• Top speed 210 km/h.
• Average fuel consumption (EU cycle) 10.3 litres per 100 km.

BMW X3 3.0d: Automatic
• 3.0-litre six-cylinder.
• 160 kW at 4,000 rpm and 480 Nm from 1,750 rpm.
• Acceleration (0-100km/h) 7.9 seconds.
• Top speed 210 km/h.
• Average fuel consumption (EU cycle) 8.6 litres per 100 km.

The X3 3.0si and 3.0d will feature the new six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission (available as an option for the 2.5si). The new transmission offers improved shift dynamics while the expected BMW passive and active safety systems are at the ready.

The BMW X3 offers Automatic Stability Control and Traction (ASC-X), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), Automatic Slip Control (ASC), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), increased braking readiness, fade compensation, dry brake function and Hill Descent Control (HDC).

One of the newest developments in the BMW X3 is a new parallel networking of the permanent, intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive system with DSC and engine control through Integrated Chassis Management (ICM).

The superb BMW intelligent permanent xDrive all-wheel-drive system, with variable and proactive torque distribution between the front and rear axles, carries over into the new BMW X3 range. In normal driving situations the torque is distributed 40:60 but can also be varied automatically between 50:50 and 0:100 for the best possible driving stability, dynamics and traction.

In special situations, up to 100 per cent of the engine torque can be directed briefly to the front axle. A differential locking function is activated with xDrive by selective application of the brakes on the wheel that’s spinning.

To help avoid rear-end collisions, the new BMW X3 is also equipped with an LED brake force display. In the case of particularly heavy braking and if the ABS is activated, the lightemitting surface of the brake lights at the rear of the BMW X3 increases.

As well as front and side airbags, the interior also has side curtain head-level airbags as part of the standard equipment. The BMW X3 is equipped with three-point automatic Seat belts on all five seats. The restraint systems have Seat belt force limiters and the front seats have seatbelt pre-tensioners as well.

Overall dimensions remain largely unchanged. The new BMW X3 is 4,569 mm long, 1,853 mm wide and 1,674 mm high. As the more compact member of the SAV model family from BMW, the BMW X3 provides superb agility and ease of handling while its cabin is spacious and flexible. The luggage compartment cover conceals a load area of 480 litres.

The large tailgate that swings up high and has a low load edge also make it easier to accommodate cumbersome goods. When the asymmetrically split rear bench Seat has been folded back, the rear section boasts a maximum storage volume of 1,560 litres.

Intelligent permanent all-wheel drive: BMW xDrive.
The BMW X3 range comes with the permanent intelligent xDrive all-wheel system that provides completely variable power distribution between the front and rear axle with remarkably fast and precise reactions. It always directs the driving power of the engine to where it can be most effectively used via a transfer box with electronically controlled multiplate clutch.

Not only does this lead to maximum traction on slippery surfaces, it is also good for the driving dynamics because it promptly counteracts any tendency to oversteer or understeer when cornering.

A differential locking function is realised via the braking action on the respective spinning wheel, providing superior and safe handling characteristics.

In normal driving situations, the drive torque is distributed in the ratio of 40:60 between the front and the rear wheels. xDrive can also vary torque between front and rear axles depending on the driving conditions and can distributed drive torque briefly to one axle in extreme conditions.

The BMW X3 can also react quickly to any tendency to oversteer during high-speed cornering. The multi-plate clutch is more strongly closed to direct additional power to the front wheels and to optimise the driving stability. In this way, up to 75 per cent of the torque can be transmitted to the front axle during extreme oversteering vehicle response.

Further developed: Integrated Chassis Management.
To guarantee these high-speed precise reactions, the xDrive all-wheel
system, the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and the engine control system are networked with one another via the Integrated Chassis Management (ICM).

The sensors of the suspension control also supply the control unit of the xDrive
with the data required to determine the current driving situation. This enables xDrive to pro-actively stabilised the vehicle to a certain extent.

Slip is detected and prevented, even before the affected wheels start to spin and become noticeable for the driver or any greater instability occurs. If there is a change in the power distribution brought about by the xDrive that is no longer sufficient to optimise the driving stability, then DSC intervenes with braking actions on individual wheels and by influencing the engine control system.

The new control structure of the Integrated Chassis Management ensures
an even faster and more precise co-ordination between the xDrive and DSC. Until now, engine and brake management influenced the self-steering characteristics of the vehicle almost independently of the longitudinal torque management, so the three regulating circuits now operate in parallel.

The exact networking with the DSC, the xDrive all-wheel system enables a rapid and precise reaction to changed driving situations and, therefore, even more driving dynamics.

The new DSC not only provides for driving stability and traction, it also optimises the overall performance of the braking system. It compensates for any drop in braking effort with a selective increase in braking pressure while also offering advanced application of the brake pads in readiness for spontaneous braking.

Regular dry braking optimises the efficiency in wet conditions and the Dynamic Braking Control (DBC) function automatically maximises the brake pressure when exceptional braking is required. In addition, a hill hold function eases moving away on inclines.

BMW X3: Popular around the world.
The BMW X3 has proved itself to be a real high flier around the world, becoming one of the most popular all-wheel vehicles in it segment in many countries.

More than 260,000 vehicles have been sold worldwide in two and a half years.

The improved engines and revised interior and equipment levels in the new BMW X3 offer optimum conditions for the continuation of this success story. With exception driving dynamics, a new design and modified interior, it will appeal to those enthusiasts seeking an exceptional driving experience in association with a robust, agile and extremely versatile vehicle.

The new BMW X3 offers multi-faceted driving pleasure of the highest calibre.

X3 2.5si Manual $65,900 (+ 19 kW, 5 Nm, $1,000 over 2.5i)
X3 2.5si Automatic $68,500 (+ 19k W, 5 Nm, $1,000 over 2.5i)
X3 3.0si Automatic $73,900 (+ 30 kW, 15 Nm, $1,500 over 3.0i)
X3 3.0d Automatic $75,900 (+ $500 over 3.0d)

Mazda Motor Corporation today announced that it has delivered one dual-fueled RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicle, which runs either on gasoline or hydrogen, to the Yamaguchi Prefecture government through a commercial lease contract. The Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE model’s duel-fuel system allows a driver to select either gasoline or hydrogen fuel with the flick of a switch.

To date, Mazda has supplied one RX-8 Hydrogen RE each to two private companies as well as the Hiroshima Prefecture and Hiroshima City government authorities in Japan. The four cars leased so far have
been used in both special events and for daily operations. The RX-8 Hydrogen RE that was handed over to Yamaguchi Prefecture today is the fifth vehicle to be delivered in line with Mazda’s plan to lease around ten vehicles to local governments or energy-related industries by the end of 2006.

Mazda developed this unique hybrid rotary engine technology as part of its effort to promote an environmentally friendly society. It attained approval to test the vehicle on public roads in Japan from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in October 2004, and began leasing in February 2006.

“Some of Mazda’s major facilities, like the Hofu plant and Mine Proving Ground, are located in Yamaguchi prefecture. Accordingly, we are very pleased to be working together with the Yamaguchi prefecture government authorities to further the promise of the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE and that they have introduced this vehicle into service,” said Mazda’s Executive Vice President in charge of corporate liaison and purchasing, Mutsumi Fujiwara. “In the years ahead, we will further our efforts in environmental technologies as it is a responsibility of automakers like Mazda.”

Christmas will come early for 50 North American Neiman Marcus customers who managed to place their calls into BMW to order the new 2007 BMW M6 Convertible that was featured in this year''''s Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, as it went on sale yesterday at 12.00pm.
As the clock struck noon, the phone lines were jammed with buyers who wanted to be sure they were among the first in the U.S. to own the just-introduced Limited Edition M6. The 50 Convertibles sold out in a mere one minute, thirty-two seconds.

Billed as the "must-have" automobile for the person who has everything, the luxury convertible made its U.S. debut at the unveiling of the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book in Dallas on October 3rd. Built especially for Neiman Marcus the U.S. limited-edition models feature custom Ruby Black exterior finish accented with Piano Black trim elements, and power sports seats wrapped in a custom Gold Brown shade of supple BMW Individual Merino leather.

BMW Individual allows customers to build an exclusive, personalised vehicle that matches their most exquisite requirements. This covers materials, finishes, colours and equipment, and stretches as far as their imagination can take them.

Australian BMW customers have long been supportive of the BMW Individual concept, and for 2007 delivery the BMW Individual M6 Convertible - as designed for the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book - can be specified for an Australian buyer, if requested.

The BMW M6 Convertible will be revealed in Australia by Chris Bangle, Chief Designer of the BMW Group, at the Australian International Motor Show at Darling Harbour next week.

Australians keen for a taste of the fastest accelerating convertible BMW have already snapped up the 2006 allocation of six M6 Convertibles, which arrive in December, just in time for Christmas.

The M6 Convertible is powered by the same 507 bhp Formula 1 inspired V10 5.0-litre engine as fitted to the M5 Sedan and M6 Coupé. In May, this engine was awarded the prestigious International Engine of the Year accolade for the second year in a row by a world-wide panel of eminent motoring judges.

The BMW M6 Convertible features further motorsport-bred technology such as the M Variable Differential Lock, and Electronic Damping Control as well as precision handling and steering.

The high revving V10 redlines at 8,250 rpm and is mated to a seven-speed Sequential Manual Transmission with Drivelogic, which can launch the car from 0-100 km/h in just 4.8 exhilarating seconds.

The M6 Convertible goes on sale in Australia on 26 October, priced from $295,000, with the first customer deliveries just prior to Christmas.

Australians will get their first peek at the fastest accelerating and most expensive example of open-top motoring in the BMW family, the M6 Convertible, next week when the Australian International Motor Show opens in Sydney.
Arriving just in time for the start of summer, the 373 kW V10 M6 Convertible is priced from $295,000 and the first Australian customers will be behind the wheel of their car in time for the holiday motoring season.

Recently awarded the title “Engine of the Year” once again, the high-speed power unit
accelerates the BMW M6 Convertible from 0–100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds.

“The BMW M6 Convertible is a dream car for the genuine enthusiast – the real connoisseur seeking to combine impressive driving dynamics with a stylish example of open-top motoring,” says Tom Noble, General Manager, Marketing at BMW Group Australia.

“The M6 Convertible is one of the most fascinating and exclusive cars ever built by the world-famous division of BMW, M GmbH, which is famous world over for producing ultra-performance luxury vehicles.

“The unique M6 Convertible will be a key attraction at the motor show. The open four-seater combines the dynamic performance of a super sports car with the exclusivity of a luxury convertible,” he said.

Taking up the usual policy of BMW M Cars, the dynamic driving qualities of the BMW M6 Convertible have been optimised on the race track. But through its high standard of motoring comfort, wide range of equipment, and unique flair, the BMW M6 Convertible is at home on all roads the world over.

The top-quality soft roof guarantees supreme driving pleasure throughout the year, in all seasons and in all kinds of weather. And, the BMW M6 Convertible also excels through its understated looks so typical of a genuine BMW M Car.

Unique at very first sight.
Considering the sum total of its features and qualities, the BMW M6 Convertible virtually ranks alone in the market, without any direct competitor. And combining the racing DNA of BMW M with the comfort-oriented elegance of the BMW 650i Convertible, the BMW M6 Convertible is most definitely a class of its own: a fascinating high-performance convertible in every respect.

Measuring 4,871 millimetres or 191.8“ in length, the BMW M6 Convertible is well over 5 centimetres longer than the BMW 6 Series Convertible, above all due to the aerodynamically optimised rear air dam giving the car an even sleeker silhouette. Widely flared side sills, in turn, add a further touch of dynamism, with the M6 Convertible almost crouching on the road as if it were ready to pounce.

The absolute eye-catcher at the rear is the exhaust system with four tailpipes typical of a BMW M Car sticking out of the powerfully designed rear air dam. In all, therefore, the BMW M6 Convertible comes in an aesthetic look based on dynamism and exclusivity equally thrilling with the roof up or down.

Fin look also with the roof open or closed.
The soft roof of the BMW M6 Convertible is made of three layers, a sound and temperature-proofing layer of polyurethane foam (PUR) coming between the rubberised outer cover and the interior lining. And through its unique fin look, the soft top retains the dynamic roofline also characteristic of the Coupé.

The wide C-pillar of the BMW M6 Convertible even boasts the famous Hofmeister “kick” so typical and visible on all BMWs. And although the roof stretches over a very large and generous passenger compartment, it folds up into compact dimensions when opened, the vertical rear window moving up and down electrically independently of the roof and thus taking up only minimum space.

Such separate operation of the rear window allows a draught-free supply of fresh air to the interior, while the roof itself opens and closes electrically either by remote control or by pressing a button in the instrument panel, taking less than 25 seconds to move from one position to the other.

The interior: a sports car openly presenting its class.
The BMW M6 Convertible offers a wide range of optical highlights also within the passenger compartment openly revealing all the class and style rightly expected by the connoisseur of such an exclusive convertible. Indeed, these features range from generous seats and space all the way to the most attractive comfort features. Yet a further highlight is the tasteful combination of the most exclusive materials, with the design of the interior combining sportiness and elegance all in one.

In the driver-oriented cockpit the essential functions required in driving the car are arranged in perfect ergonomics on or around the steering wheel. The controls for all functions also relevant to the front passenger, in turn, are housed in the centre console also accommodating the iDrive Controller serving to activate and mastermind comfort functions through the Control Display.

In its purist design, the iDrive Controller looks and feels quite different from the “regular” unit in the BMW 650i Convertible, while the Control Display itself comes with enhanced menu guidance also comprising MDrive management. The speedometer and rev counter are housed within chrome surrounds, the instrument faces as such are black, the numbers on the instruments come in white and the indicator needles are in traditional BMW M red.

Head-Up Display (HUD), as featured in the M5 and M6 Coupé, presents driving information essential to the driver directly in their field of vision, with the driver being able to determine at the touch of a button what information they wish to see – either the standard display or M specific details.

Perfect seats for sports motoring.
The front seats have been specially optimised for the BMW M6 Convertible, offering excellent support above all with a dynamic style of motoring. And considering the usual conditions in a convertible, the two passengers at the rear also enjoy a high standard of all-round comfort.

As on all M Cars, the battery and tyre repair system are accommodated in the luggage compartment. Offering capacity of 300 litres with the roof open and 350 litres with the roof closed, the luggage compartment is nevertheless unusually large, conveniently accommodating one large and one small hard-shell suitcase or a medium-sized hard-shell case plus two 46-inch golf bags.

Convertible with a V10 power unit: an open confession to supreme
Boasting a 373 kW V10 power unit, the BMW M6 Convertible makes a very open pledge to supreme performance. But even so, engine power alone is not everything. Rather, the fascinating potential of this drive unit is the result of supreme acceleration and outstanding muscle at all engine and road speeds.

On the BMW M6 Convertible, this ideal combination of engine torque and the overall transmission ratio ensures incredible thrust on the drive wheels in all situations, the performance character of the fast-revving V10 in the BMW M6 Convertible forming a perfect team with the transmission and final drive ratios for perfectly dosed transmission of engine power to the rear wheels.

The concept for generating this supreme power comes directly from motorsport: To develop its maximum power, the V10 power unit revs all the way to 8,250 rpm, a level of engine speed otherwise only found in a racing car. And specific output is also quite outstanding for a normal-aspiration engine, at more than 100 horsepower per litre.

Variable bi-VANOS camshaft adjustment ensures an optimum gas cycle at all times, while all-electronic control of the individual throttle butterflies on each cylinder is yet another feature typical of motorsport.

High-speed engine technology and seven-speed SMG.
One thing the driver will never miss on the high speed power unit is superior output and muscle. But since fast overtaking also requires a fast and precise gearshift, the BMW M6 Convertible comes complete with BMW’s Sequential M Gearbox (SMG) and Drivelogic, seven-speed SMG transmitting the power of the engine ideally via the drivetrain to the rear wheels and also offering the option to shift gears manually with extremely short shift times.

The automatic drive function, in turn, makes fast cruising an outstanding experience of both comfort and performance, SMG enabling the driver to shift gears either on the selector lever or via paddles on the steering wheel. And the interruption of power when shifting gears is reduced to an absolute minimum in both the manual and automatic mode.

Drivelogic in BMW’s SMG transmission offers the driver no less than 11 driving programs for an individual SMG gearshift tailored to his style of motoring. Six of these 11 programs my be pre-selected within the manual gearshift function (S mode), with the driver choosing gears by hand.

The only exception is Launch Control for maximum acceleration from a standstill. The shift manoeuvres required in each case are completed independently by the transmission at the ideal gearshift point and with optimum slip control.

Adding to this freedom in choosing gears manually, the D-mode offers another five driving programs with automatic transmission.

“M” for maximum muscle.
Interaction of the V10 power unit and seven-speed SMG offers the driver maximum driving pleasure at all times: Acceleration to 100 km/h comes in 4.8 seconds and the BMW M6 Convertible completes the standing-start kilometre in 22.9 seconds. This ongoing surge of indescribable power and muscle is finally limited electronically to a top speed of 250 km/h.

Lap times on the Nordschleife, the Northern Circuit, of Nürburgring, almost as fast as in the BMW M6 Coupé, clearly prove the sporting performance of the Convertible. Working consistently on the suspension, however, the engineers at BMW M have succeeded in making the Convertible a touch smoother and even more refined on the road. And indeed, this superior driving comfort comes to bear above all on “normal” roads away from the race track, where the BMW M6 Convertible handles even rough bumps with stoic supremacy. In practice this means that the occupants feel only appropriate feedback from the road of significance with a sporting style of motoring.

Variable M Differential Lock and DSC with M Dynamic Mode.
The variable, speed-sensing M Differential Lock gives the Convertible superior driving stability and optimum traction particularly when accelerating out of a bend. So even in very demanding situations, the car benefits from decisive advantages in traction, for example with the drive wheels running on different surfaces with very different frictional coefficients. In such a case the M Differential Lock immediately builds up a growing lock effect parallel to the difference in speed on the drive wheels, safely retaining superior thrust and drive power at all times.

The BMW M6 Convertible comes with BMW’s latest generation of DSC Dynamic Stability Control. While the first stage of DSC is conceived for maximum driving safety, the M Dynamic Mode is appreciated above all by the sporting driver, and the driver also has the option to switch off DSC completely.

EDC Electronic Damper Control likewise offers freedom of choice, three programs varying the suspension and chassis all the way from sporting and firm to relatively comfortable.

Clearly, the driver does not need all the muscle of the V10 power unit in every situation. In city traffic or when cruising at a brisk speed, for example, the P400 performance program is the ideal choice. Precisely this is why P400 is automatically activated when starting the engine, initially restricting engine output to 400 horsepower. But then all the driver has to do is press the Power button in order to unleash all the performance of the ten-cylinder, the extra power delivered in this way immediately ensuring significantly greater spontaneity and engine response.

High-performance brakes like in motorsport.
Reflecting the enormous power of the engine, the BMW M6 Convertible comes with a high-performance brake system featuring cross-drilled, weight-optimised compound brake discs. As a result, the Convertible comes to a halt from 100 km/h within just 36 metres, while its stopping distance from 200 km/h is less than 140 metres.

Two-stage brake lights at the rear help to prevent bumper-to-bumper collisions: Whenever the driver presses down the brake pedal hard, the area lit up in the lights is larger than usual, urging motorists following from behind to brake harder, too. And another safety feature is the use of very bright, fast-responding light-emitting diodes free of wear and not requiring
any maintenance.

Top quality all the way: perfect blend of the finest materials.
An excellent balance of weight contributes to the superior driving behaviour of the BMW M6. Indeed, this virtually perfect balance is based on an intelligent mix of materials on the bodyshell using modern plastics wherever appropriate. At the same time these advanced materials are stiffer and stronger than comparable components made of conventional materials, not only helping to enhance the car’s driving dynamics, but also to ensure supreme vibration control with a very high standard of crash safety.

Electronically controlled safety systems.
The Seat belts on all four seats come with belt force limiters, the integrated restraint systems on the front seats additionally featuring belt latch tensioners. Two-stage frontal and side airbags, in turn, also help to reduce the risk of injury.

All of these components are controlled and masterminded by the ASE Advanced Safety Electronics safety and information system precisely monitoring the intensity of an impact and activating exactly the right restraint systems quickly and with the desired effect.

A new ultra-modern V6 power unit with a displacement of 2.8 litres will be available for the Audi A6 and A6 Avant from 20 October 2006. The engine has an output of 154 kW (210 bhp) and achieves 280 Nm of torque, available constantly from 3,000 to 5,000 rpm. As well as FSI petrol direct injection, the V6 thus for the first time features a highly efficient but astonishingly simple valve control technology – the innovative Audi valvelift system. What this means for Audi drivers is even more driving fun, on appreciably less fuel.

The new technology has the purpose of controlling valve lift variably in two stages. The Audi valvelift system implements so-called cam pieces, which are located on the inlet basic camshafts and can be displaced longitudinally. They carry two cam contours, side by side, for small and large valve travel. Depending on their position, the inlet valves are opened in accordance with the prevailing load requirements via roller cam followers.

In conjunction with an array of complementary measures that promote reduced friction at numerous components, the Audi valvelift system reduces fuel consumption by around ten percent. The 2.8-litre FSI, which has plenty in reserve in every situation thanks to its substantial torque and high output, will use only on average 8.7 litres of premium-grade petrol in the Audi A6. The A6 2.8 FSI accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in only 7.9 seconds and continues on rapidly to reach its top speed of 243 km/h.

The Audi A6 2.8 FSI will be available to customers from the end of November 2006. The starting price of the saloon with 6-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive will be 37,300 euros; the A6 Avant 2.8 FSI has a price tag of 39,500 euros (both incl. 16 percent VAT).

The US highway safety authority National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the Audi Q7 its top rating of five stars for two separate tests. The NHTSA has awarded the same model four stars for rollover safety, the best score of any SUV. This result distinguishes the Audi Q7 as one of the safest vehicles in its category in the opinion of the US safety experts.

The performance SUV built by the brand with the four rings was put through two high-load crash
tests by the NHTSA: a frontal collision at 35 mph (56 km/h), and a side-on collision through a mobile barrier moving at a speed of 38.5 mph (62 km/h).

The tough test requirements of the NHTSA are even more demanding than the legal requirements in the US. The values recorded by the testers for both the driver and the front passenger of the Audi Q7 in frontal and side-on collisions nevertheless satisfy the criteria for a 5-star rating in every respect.

The Audi Q7 also boasts exemplary standards of active safety. It is equipped with the latest-generation ESP with brake assist, hill-start assist and rollover stabilisation as standard. The lane-changing monitor Audi side assist and the latest generation of adaptive cruise control, Audi cruise control with braking guard, which slows the Audi Q7 right down to a standstill if need be, are also available.

Walter de Silva, design chief of the Audi brand group, picked up an impressive four prizes at the Auto Bild Design Award ceremony. The Audi TT, the Audi Q7 and the Audi Shooting Brake concept car were victorious in their respective classes. The TT sports coupé celebrated a double success, also being voted the most beautiful car of the past twelve months by the readers of Auto Bild.

There was a choice of 146 cars in seven classes to vote for, along with the overall winner. The Audi models prevailed against some top-calibre competition. The Audi TT took victory in the sports-car and coupé category, the Audi Q7 high-performance SUV in the off-road and SUV class, while the Audi Shooting Brake won through against the other studies and concept cars.

The Audi Q7 has been well received not only by Auto Bild readers, but also by customers. The production capacities for the first Audi SUV model have been increased owing to great demand.

The Shooting Brake Concept provides a further innovative interpretation of the current Audi formal
idiom, blending the powerful dynamism of a sports car with a new sense of spaciousness and greater functionality.

The new TT, which has been at dealerships since September, posed a particular challenge to Walter de Silva and his team. Its predecessor is acknowledged as a design icon. The motto of the Audi designers when redesigning the second generation of the TT was “evolution not revolution”, and the TT should be recognisable as such from the start.

On the new TT, the geometric shapes merge fluidly into a uniform whole. A low, narrow greenhouse is supported by slim pillars sitting on broad, powerful shoulders. The base body beneath is compact in appearance, conveying a feeling of confidence and strength. The convex and concave curves of its surfaces lend it the character of an athletic sculpture straining forward.

The front end is more expressive and assertive in appearance. The single-frame radiator grille serves as its defining element. The large air inlets hint at the potential of the engines, and the sharply cut, sloping headlights emphasise the mature appearance of the car. The rear end, characteristic of the TT, conveys power and dynamism through its wide wheel arches. The vote of the Auto Bild readers, who voted the TT as the most beautiful car of the past 12 months, endorsed the work of the Audi designers.

The recent decline in gas prices has brought an increase in owner loyalty rates for pickup trucks and SUVS, which had been adversely impacted by higher fuel prices earlier in the year, according to real-time retail transaction data from the Power Information Network (PIN), a division of J.D. Power and Associates. To better reflect consumer demand for new vehicles, PIN data includes retail transactions only and does not
include fleet sales.

Owner retention rates for the large pickup, large utility and midsize utility segments have all risen in the seven-week period from mid-August to early October -- the time period during which gas prices steadily dropped and averaged $2.66 per gallon -- when compared to the prior seven weeks, when gas prices averaged $3.04 per gallon. Owner retention is measured by the percentof owners in any given category who trade for another vehicle in the same category.

PIN data shows that at the model level, four of six high-volume large pickup models, four of five large utilities and seven midsize utilities all have experienced increases in owner retention during the same time period (mid-August to early October).

List of Vehicles included in the Large Pickup, Large Utility and Midsize Utility Segments (in alphabetical order)

Large Pickup Segment
Chevrolet Avalanche
Chevrolet Silverado Pickup
Dodge Ram Pickup
Ford F-Series
GMC Sierra Pickup
Toyota Tundra

Large Utility Segment
Chevrolet Suburban
Chevrolet Tahoe
Ford Expedition
GMC Yukon/Yukon Denali
GMC Yukon XL/Yukon XL Denali

Midsize Utility Segment
Chevrolet Trailblazer / EXT
Dodge Durango
Ford Explorer
Honda Pilot
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Nissan Pathfinder
Toyota 4Runner

"It''s early, but this data suggests there still is life in these segments," said Tom Libby, senior director of industry analysis at PIN. "These segments are important because they include many high-volume, high-profit models. These findings are also relevant because Ford, General Motors and Toyota all have new products coming in these segments."

The large pickup, large utility and midsize utility segments account for almost one-quarter of new-vehicle sales -- a combined 23.5 percent year to date through September. They also include some of the most profitable models in the industry, such as the Chevrolet Suburban, Ford Expedition, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Toyota 4Runner.

"The effect of rising gasoline prices on sales mix and retention rates has been evident for some time now," said Bob Schnorbus, chief economist at J.D. Power and Associates. "It will be interesting to see if falling gasoline prices will have a completely opposite effect on the market, especially if prices remain above $2 per gallon. Most likely, consumers have fundamentally changed their perception of the importance of fuel prices in their purchasing decisions and will continue to shy away from larger vehicles."

Cadillac is bringing its iconic luxury style to South Africa in early 2007. Cadillac today announced that three models will initially be available – the BLS mid-size sedan, the SRX crossover SUV and the STS full-size sedan. Each of these vehicles embodies Cadillac''s distinctive bold design, innovative technology and outstanding performance.

"The portfolio we are offering in South Africa has been developed for luxury international markets," said James Vurpillat, director of International Marketing and Brand Development for Cadillac. "The STS and SRX have achieved success in North America, Europe and Asia, and the new mid-size BLS has
been an important addition to our Cadillac portfolio. South Africa is one of the fastest growing automobile markets in the world, and with our distinct portfolio of luxury vehicles, Cadillac is ready to further its expansion on the African continent."

Through the first half of 2006, Cadillac sales outside of the U.S. grew 13 percent compared to year-ago levels. In China, where the brand was introduced only two years ago, sales were up 93 percent in the same period. In Europe, the launch of the Cadillac BLS helped sales in the first half grow by 30 percent.

Sheer sportiness, a genuine driving experience plus high power reserves – cue the new TT Roadster from Audi. The open-top sports car retains the distinctive lines of its tremendously successful predecessor, but instils them with even greater emotion, performance and dynamism.

Audi offers a choice of two engines for its new TT Roadster. The 3.2-litre V6 power unit generates 184 kW (250 bhp) and is coupled to the quattro drive system as standard. The 2.0 TFSI engine, which blends turbocharging with petrol direct injection technology, delivers 147 kW (200 bhp) to the front wheels. Both model variants can be ordered with the innovative S tronic dual-clutch gearbox as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual shift.

The chassis of the new Audi TT Roadster is also built for impressive sporty performance. Its
highlight is Audi magnetic ride, the optional suspension damping technology that allows drivers to choose between an uncompromisingly dynamic ride or more comfort-orientated characteristics.

To mirror the puristic character of open-top motoring, the boldly styled body is crowned by a lightweight cloth hood. The Audi TT Roadster 3.2 quattro comes as standard with a quick-action, fully automatic softtop which is available as an option for the 2.0 TFSI.

The exterior design
With its rigorous geometry and clarity, the design of the first Audi TT Roadster elevated it to the status of a cult classic. Audi has preserved the charismatic design idiom and carefully honed it for the new model.

Whereas the tail end and the roof section seem to flow into one another at the rear of the Audi TT Coupé, the soft top of the TT Roadster forms a clear contrast that gives the overall design a more geometric look. The body''s lines brim with power and forward thrust. This impression is underscored by the athletic curves of the vehicle''s flanks just as much as by the rising dynamic line above the sill area and the taut, muscular shoulder line. The eye-catching fuel filler cap positioned above the rear right wheel sports a classic aluminium design. The face of the new Audi TT Roadster has an expressive feel.

Compared to the model it replaces the new TT Roadster has undergone a growth spurt, with the new proportions accentuating its sporty nature. Length is now 4,178 millimetres (+ 137 mm), width 1,842 mm (+ 78 mm) and height 1,358 mm (+ 8 mm), while the wheelbase has been extended by 46 to 2468 mm. Despite the extra size, however, the drag coefficient of the 2.0 TFSI is just 0.32 with the soft top up.

The soft top
Audi made a conscious decision to keep the cloth hood for the new TT Roadster. The soft top concept fits in perfectly with the philosophy of puristic open-top motoring and also offers a number of benefits over a folding steel hard top.

The cloth hood, incorporating reinforcements made from steel and aluminium as well as a large glass rear window, has a very lightweight construction – not only does this reduce the overall weight of the TT Roadster, it lowers its centre of gravity too.

The TT Roadster 3.2 quattro comes as standard with an electrohydraulically powered soft top, which is available for the 2.0 TFSI as an option. This version of the soft top opens in just 12 seconds at the push of a button, and can even be operated on the move at speeds of up to 50 km/h. The fully automatic hood incorporates an additional layer of soundproofing beneath the black headliner for even better acoustic and thermal insulation.

The body and safety
Like the TT Coupé, the body of the TT Roadster is also built on the principles of Audi Space Frame (ASF) technology, featuring a pioneering hybrid construction that showcases the brand''s tremendous expertise in lightweight design. The body is made from 58 percent aluminium and 42 percent steel.

To ensure that the load is distributed evenly between the axles, the steel components are located principally at the rear of the body – the bulkhead behind the passenger compartment, for example, is made from steel.

The side sills are also specific to the Roadster: they consist of extruded aluminium sections containing numerous reinforcing ribs. The A-pillars have been strengthened too and a high-strength steel tube integrated into the frame of the windscreen.

The interior
The interior of the TT Roadster is noticeably larger too, offering extra headroom and elbow room. The width at shoulder height is now 1362 mm, an increase of 29 mm.

Deep-set sports seats provide firm lateral support for both the driver and passenger. The standard-specification leather sports steering wheel features a flat-bottomed rim. The 3.2 quattro is upholstered in a combined Alcantara/Leather trim as standard.

The three circular air outlets and the dome shrouding the instrument cluster dials inject the cockpit with characteristic TT flair. As is to be expected of an Audi, the ergonomic concept is perfect and the workmanship of the very finest standard.

The increase in the body''s dimensions has also benefited luggage space, which has expanded from 210 to 250 litres in both the front-wheel-drive and the quattro variant.

The drivetrain
Like the TT Coupé, the new Roadster is available with a choice of two transverse-mounted petrol engines. Both generate high pulling power and impressive peak output, resulting in out-and-out sporty performance. The four-cylinder engine directs its power to the front wheels, while the V6 powers all four wheels based on the quattro principle offering dynamism and sure roadholding in equal measure. Apart from a sporty six-speed manual shift, both engines are also available in conjunction with the innovative S tronic dual-clutch gearbox for lightning-fast gear changes without any interruption in the power flow.

The four-cylinder unit bearing the initials TFSI musters up 147 kW (200 bhp) and a constant 280 Nm of torque between 1,800 and 5,000 rpm from its capacity of 1,984 cc.

When fitted with the S tronic shift, the Audi TT Roadster 2.0 TFSI accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in just 6.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 237 km/h. It burns an average of just 7.8 litres of fuel for every 100 km.

The V6 unit with its capacity of 3,189 cc delivers 184 kW (250 bhp) and a peak torque of 320 Nm which is on tap between 2,500 and 3,000 rpm. The sonorous, ultra-compact long-stroke engine features two continuously adjustable camshafts. The TT Roadster 3.2 quattro sprints from 0 - 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds with the S tronic gearbox and can, if necessary, go on to reach a governed top speed of 250 km/h. It returns average fuel consumption figures of 9.5 l/100 km.

The chassis
The sporty chassis has undergone complete redevelopment for the new TT Roadster. Its chief features are the complex four-link rear suspension, wide track widths, elastokinematics that have been heavily reworked, plus large wheels. The 2.0 TFSI rides on 16-inch and the 3.2 quattro on 17-inch alloy wheels.

The front wheel suspension, which is linked to a separate subframe, has a McPherson construction that has been refined by the use of lightweight aluminium components. The electromechanical power-assisted steering combines a direct ratio with sensitive precision.

The redeveloped electronic stabilisation program (ESP) has been optimised for a sporty driving style and to help produce the steering balance of the TT Roadster, which varies between neutral and slight understeer. If necessary, the brake assist system takes action to ensure that the four large disc brakes build up maximum braking power as fast as possible.

The optional Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping system is a high-tech feature that is unique in the roadster segment. At the push of a button, drivers can choose between either an extra-comfortable or a decidedly dynamic suspension set-up.

Rolls-Royce comes to Austria

It has been announced today that Karner&Grossegger GmbH Co. KG in Vienna will represent Rolls-Royce in Austria. A new sales and service facility will be opened officially in the first half of 2007, although customers can already see the Rolls-Royce Phantom at the Karner&Grossegger showroom.

Axel Obermüller, Managing Director of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Europe and the Middle East, said: “We see Austria as an important location in the heart of a growing European market for Rolls-Royce. We receive an increasing number of enquiries from Austrian customers every month. Karner&Grossegger has many years of experience in the luxury car segment and so is uniquely positioned to provide a service to these discerning individuals.”

In 2007, Rolls-Royce will have a three model line-up, with the new convertible set to join the two Phantom models. The Phantom remains the best-selling super luxury car in the world, with sales in 2005 at a 15 year high.

The addition of this new partner in Vienna, which will sell Rolls-Royce exclusively in Austria, brings the total worldwide number of Rolls-Royce dealers to 75, 18 of which are in Continental Europe.