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GERMANY

BY: Bix

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Laps Nürburgring In 7:37 (w/Video)

Suck on that, Lexus LFA.

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When the Chevy Camaro ZL1 set a Nürburgring lap time of 7 minutes 41 seconds two years ago, we were pretty impressed. The overgrown, overachieving muscle car's 'Ring time placed it in the company of such notable iron as Lamborghini Gallardo 570-4 Superleggera and the 997.2-generation Porsche 911 Turbo S. Well, Chevy's been teaching the Camaro Z/28 how to dougie at the 'Ring, too. And it's proving even more capable.

October 16, 2013 at 05:29 PM
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BY: Bix

Audi TT Ultra Quattro Concept Previews The TT's Lighter Future

Take TT, subtract weight, add power.

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Remember the Audi TT? The two-plus-two VW Golf-based coupe that helped lift Audi out of the luxury minor leagues and into the top tier of Germany's fancy brands? Yeah, it's still around. Bet you haven't thought of it in a while, have ya?

Well, not only is it still around, but Audi appears to be at work on the next generation of TT, if the Ultra Quattro Concept is any indication. Revealed at Audi's annual party for the brand's fans in Wörthersee, Germany, the TT Ultra Quattro takes the basic Audi TT and builds on it by subtracting mass. Extensive use of carbon-fiber reinforced polymer, fiberglass-reinforced polymer and magnesium means the Ultra Quattro is 660 pounds lighter than the closest equivalent production model. At the same time, the 2.0 liter turbocharged inline-four has been dialed up to 306 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque, routed to all four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission with an R8-like gated shift pattern. 0-62 mph goes by in 4.2 seconds, while the 2,442 pound Audi tops out at 173 miles per hour.

The host of weight-saving measures aren't just for concept-car fun—they're all explorations of potentially practical methods Audi might use to cut weight in future generations of their cars. Lightweight metals and composites, lithium-ion batteries—the Audi TT Ultra Quattro is like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner of sports coupes. Well, hopefully minues the whole "bursting into flames" part. [via Audi]

Press Release:

AUDI TT ULTRA QUATTRO CONCEPT SHEDS 300KG TO SHARPEN ITS FOCUS TT ultra quattro concept destined for the Worthersee festival sheds 300kg (compared with closest equivalent production model) and benefits from a power boost for its 2.0-litre TFSI engine 310PS, 400Nm between 1,900rpm and 5,000rpm 1,111kg weight yields 279PS per ton, 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds, 173mph top speed Extensive use of Carbon Fibre-Reinforced Polymer (CFRP), Fibreglass-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) and magnesium reduces bodyshell weight by 100kg Audi engineers are waging war on excess weight, and their latest victory is a TT 2.0 TFSI Coupe which has shed an incredible 300kg and gained a power upgrade to 310PS, giving it a 4.2-second 0-62mph sprint time and a top speed of over 170mph. The TT ultra quattro concept is, as its name suggests, essentially a study developed for next month's annual gathering of Audi enthusiasts in Wörthersee, Germany, but it demonstrates how an intelligent mix of materials can bring about considerable weight savings even in existing series-production models. Work on the deployment of these materials could conceivably inform the development of future low-volume Audi model series. The showcar tips the scales at a lean 1,111kg, an impressive achievement considering it combines its potent petrol engine with quattro all-wheel-drive. With 310PS and 400Nm of torque to propel this pared back mass via a six-speed transmission, the result is a highly impressive power-to-weight ratio of 279PS per ton, a blistering 4.2-second 0-62mph acceleration time and a top speed of 173mph. The four-cylinder engine raises its game thanks to modifications to the crankcase, the crankshaft, the balancer shafts, the flywheel, the sump, the bolts and certain ancillary units that help to reduce the unit's weight by 25 kilograms. No detail was too small to escape scrutiny during the optimisation process that culminated in the TT ultra quattro concept. With its innovative hybrid body shell the fully fledged production TT already boasts a low body weight of 206 kilograms (excluding detachable body parts amounting to 98 kilograms) which bears testament to Audi engineers' desire to account for every last gram. The concept's body structure sheds another 43 kilograms, and with the help of optimised detachable body parts achieves a total weight saving of 100 kilograms. The use of carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) in the rear end, the centre tunnel, the B-pillars and the roof contributes to this significant saving, as do magnesium components in the floor and in the hinge reinforcements. The front brakes with their ceramic discs and aluminium fixed calipers also make a contribution, and there are savings to be found in the titanium exhaust system with its single centrally mounted tailpipe and the CFRP wheels with their high-strength aluminium spokes, which shave off a particularly impressive 20 kilograms. Fibreglass-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) springs Fibreglass-reinforced polymer (FRP) also replaces more conventional steel for the coil springs in the suspension, helping to further reduce unsprung masses. The core of the all-new springs consists of long glass fibres twisted together and impregnated with epoxy resin. A machine wraps additional fibres around this core, which is only a few millimetres in diameter, at alternating angles of plus and minus 45 degrees to the longitudinal axis. These layers support each other and act in either compression or tension. The use of FRP at this point cuts weight by 40 per cent while still permitting good operating characteristics. To further hone the nimble handling which is already a TT trademark, the developers have also concentrated on distributing the remaining weight as effectively as possible by moving it to the centre of the car wherever it was practical to do so. The lithium-ion starter battery, for instance, is located in the interior under the driver's seat. It is much smaller than a lead battery and weighs just under four kilograms (8.82 lb). 300kg total weight saving Overall, these lightweight construction measures leave the concept car 300 kilograms lighter than the comparable series-production car, helping to minimise the inertial mass that the TFSI engine has to contend with during acceleration. The exceptional calibre of the TT ultra quattro concept is reflected in its even more emphatic styling, the focal point of which is the large spoiler which gives a nod to its motorsport genes. The base of the rear wing is manufactured as a supporting component from milled aluminium, while the wing itself is made of visible carbon fibre. The concept car is painted in the special colour crystal white, which is complemented by CFRP elements in the roof, the flanks and the tailgate. In the interior the same material also adorns the door trim, the centre console and the cross-bracing that replaces the rear seat bench. The standard front seats are also replaced by fibreglass-reinforced polymer (FRP) bucket seats from the R8 GT which help to reduce the all-up weight by a further 22 kilograms. There are no compromises on equipment behind the headline-grabbing figures - air conditioning, electric window controls and an electromechanical parking brake are all included, and there are even innovations such as compact cameras in the doors which replace the exterior mirrors and transfer images directly into the digital cockpit.

April 30, 2013 at 05:34 PM
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BY: Bix

You Know You Wanna See The Porsche Museum's Secrets (w/Video)

Part one in what's sure to be an exciting video series.

Only a few lucky people reading this are likely to have had a chance to tour Stuttgart's Porsche Museum—and since that doesn't include us, we're naturally jealous. But even those of you who've taken the Porsche Museum tour haven't seen every secret the car maker's museum hides.
August 09, 2012 at 04:29 PM
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BY: Bix

The Nürburgring Is Still In Serious Trouble

Famed track's bankruptcy deemed "inevitable."

Bad news, folks: The Nürburgring's trouble are only getting worse. The track's only hope of staving off bankruptcy is a €13 million cash injection—which is exactly what the European Union just vetoed. Unless a miracle comes through, the famed racetrack will go bankrupt by the end of the year.
July 18, 2012 at 04:42 PM
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BY: Bix

Audi R8 e-tron Sets Electric Car 'Ring Record

Not that there was much competition.

[gallery] Last month, the Audi R8 e-tron—you know, the eerily silent electric version of Tony Stark's ride—set a new Nürburgring Nordschleife record by becoming the fastest production electric car to ever lap the famed circuit. The only caveat to that little claim: No other production car has ever tried. So it's kind of like a high school junior claiming his girlfriend is the best lay he's ever had.
July 10, 2012 at 04:38 PM
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