2016 Volvo XC90 Review

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The Swedes don’t know luxury in the American sense.Well, to put in a better way it is basically dependent on the culture and the upbringing environment. The idea of luxury may differ from Country to Country and Culture to Culture and it is pretty understandable. Scandinavian culture shuns overt displays of wealth and indulgent lifestyles. The impressions of their ‘ down to earth’ and humble attitude is so prevalent that you can almost come across it in day to day interactions, regular path crossing, language used, products so on and so forth. To encapsulate, Swedes would be nothing but for their selfless attitude and omnipotent benevolence.  The notion of modesty and humility is so engrained in Swedish society that there’s a word, Jantelagen, to describe the scorn reserved for those who flaunt personal success. Of course, a $55,000, seven-passenger luxury crossover is hardly the people’s car. But relative to the status and image that come standard with a German SUV, the self-conscious Swedish influence makes the 2016 Volvo XC90 as humble as they come in this segment.

If nothing else, the Swedish way of thinking creates a luxury crossover that’s pleasingly, intriguingly different from anything the German competition sells. the Volkswagen’s, Audi’s, BMW’s and all the major powerhouses of the automotive industry come along with the similar kind of brochures. There is not much difference in what they would have to offer in terms of technology, style and performance. They could be easily gauged into a single cast. However, when we talk about Volvo, it brings along with it an entire new dimension and a sense of freshness. The offerings they have in sections like style and technology are vastly different from the regular off the shelf attributes. Is it for the better or is it for the worse, that is totally dependent on the end user and the consumer. All we can say is that it is definitely novel.  The XC90’s engine fires to life with the twist of a knob rather than the press of a button. Volvo’s new Sensus infotainment system eschews an iDrive-like control knob for a vertically oriented touch screen that’s as close as it gets to factory-installing an iPad in the dashboard without being sued by Apple (or buying a Tesla Model S). There’s an Off-Road setting in the drive selector, but Volvo buyers are more likely to be interested in the company’s “Run-off Road Protection” crash test, which highlights the new “Safe Positioning” function by pulling the vehicle down into a drainage ditch before launching it airborne off the embankment of an intersecting driveway.

Volvo’s new Drive-E engine family tops out with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which isn’t much motor when you consider that the XC90 weighs between 4600 and 5200 pounds. To make two liters feel like three and a half, a turbocharger and a supercharger inflate the so-called T6 engine’s peak power and low-end responsiveness for a total output of 316 horsepower and a zero-to-60 run in the low six seconds. Married to a polished eight-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive, the T6 delivers the no-drama, easygoing authority that you’d expect from a brand that’s more closely aligned with comfort than sport.

The only shortcomings are the same ones that plague all modern, boost-dependent engines with an abundance of gear ratios. There’s no in-gear passing power, so even modest acceleration starts with a pause as the gearbox shifts down and boost builds. Pressure chargers also make for thirsty engines, and the indicated 17-mpg average seen during our test drive is likely closer to an owner’s reality than Volvo’s claim that the XC90 will deliver best-in-class fuel economy when the EPA numbers come in.

The uplevel T8 Twin Engine is the no-compromise upgrade that allows you to have your fuel and burn it, too, assuming the estimated $5000 premium doesn’t compromise your ability to make the payments. This plug-in hybrid makes 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque and earns a 59-MPGe combined rating from the EPA.

The T8 uses the same dual-boost four-cylinder as the T6 but removes the driveshaft connecting the front and rear axles so the central tunnel can accommodate a 9.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. An 80-hp electric motor at the rear returns all-wheel-drive capability, while a smaller electric machine between the transmission and the block starts the engine, captures electricity during braking, and provides additional power during acceleration. A full battery charge should deliver about 20 miles of pure electric driving range. In our hands, the XC90 T8 reported an average of 27 mpg over a 90-mile drive that began with a full battery.

The electric motors smooth power delivery and enliven off-idle response compared with the gas-only T6. The T8 offers extra dollops of everything you want in a range-topping engine: refinement, power, and efficiency. The downside of this through-the-road hybrid system is that the engine’s 295 lb-ft of torque (plus that of the small front motor) is routed entirely through the front wheels. Goosing the throttle from a standstill invokes a slight wiggle of torque steer and a subtle scramble for traction that’s evocative of a front-wheel-drive vehicle.

 

The XC90 offers our first taste of Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) that will ultimately underpin everything from the next S60 mid-size sedan to a possible flagship sedan above the S80. Development of SPA began in the days of Ford ownership, so it’s not surprising that the XC90 employs a multilink rear suspension with an integral link similar to the designs used in the Ford Fusion and Mustang, the Jaguar XE, and the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Volvo’s design differs in that it uses a single composite leaf spring transversely spanning the two control arms instead of a pair of coil springs.

Unfortunately, we can’t comment on how that setup rides or handles because our test cars were fitted with $1800 worth of air springs and adaptive dampers that eliminate the rear leaf spring. Thus equipped, the XC90 delivers a compliant ride with competent handling. The selectable Dynamic mode cinches down a slight side-to-side rocking we experienced with no noticeable effect on ride quality, while accurate, nicely weighted steering makes the XC90 drive smaller than it is. Our only grievance with the chassis is a slight metallic clatter over big inputs such as speed bumps that suggests too much compliance in some of the bushings.

The Sensus infotainment system is quite clever, in part because millions of Americans will be familiar with the basic controls before ever using it. Also , one more interesting feature given out of the box is this; there’s an Apple-like home button just below the 9.0-inch touch screen, and below that is a volume knob and just seven buttons, three of which are required by law. On the map, you can pinch or double tap to zoom. From the home screen you swipe left for a panel of vehicle settings or swipe right to cycle through the audio sources and open apps such as weather or an efficiency monitor. Furthermore, the home screen is specifically designed to display four informational tabs—navigation, audio, phone, and the most recently used app—that expand for full functionality when tapped. Climate controls occupy the lower edge of the display regardless of which screen you’re viewing.

Yet the smartest aspect of Sensus is not the user interface, but the hardware. By providing enough processing power to keep up with your swipes and taps, Volvo excels where several have failed. This was tired and tested by many other automotive giants but the results did not occur as expected. The implementation techniques, with the thorough detailing of niches and intricacies, Volvo grabs the top spot leaving behind many a big name. Special message : Pay attention, Cadillac.

This was all about our experience and primary interactions with the giant Swede variant of Volvo. To sum up there are a few highlights and underlinings. Based upon these observations we could certainly come up with some solid conclusions. Perhaps the most significant distinguishing trait between the Volvo XC90 and the German competition is that the Swedes apparently missed the memo on bilking customers with a laundry list of options. (We recently spec’d a particularly sporty and desirable XC90 R-Design with just a few add-ons for $59,755.) Starting at $49,895, the XC90 includes a panoramic sunroof, passive entry, four-zone automatic climate control, lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert, and rear park assist as standard equipment. All cars are also equipped with the complete Sensus system and divinely comfortable 10-way power-adjustable front seats wrapped in real leather. So while the Volvo XC90 isn’t the best way to tell your neighbors that you’ve made it, it might be the best way to reward yourself sensibly if you have.

How to save extra gas with Vehicle Maintenance?

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Gas prices are continuing to drop day by day. This allows motorists to take advantage of their savings at the pump and they may invest it back into their vehicles. You can spend a little more now to increase fuel efficiency, and then you can multiply your fuel savings and save more money at the pump; it is possible.

The approximate average of the cost of a gallon of gas has been a bit more than $3 since 2010. The way global trends suggest right now, the rate is expected to dip further below that mark this year. The recent forecast by energy information service GasBuddy suggests the same.

“Gas prices are expected to fall below $3 per gallon on average, and that means motorists can think on fairly significant savings at the pump,” said an expert. “A small investment in simple and not so expensive auto care will add up to improve your fuel economy and add even more to your savings.”

The experts would always encourage the motorists to be aware of the car care and perform a few simple steps to improve fuel efficiency and save some more money.

Below listed are a few points to be considered that would help in your cause:

Engine Performance: Keep an on whether your car is properly tuned in. This would improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.

Tire Pressure: Keep tires properly inflated at all times. This would help improve the gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent.

Motor Oil: Improve gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent by using the high grade of the motor oil. But be sure that you get it recommended by the manufacturer before.

Air Filters: Check if your air filters are clogged. Replacing clogged air filters on older vehicles can surely improve fuel economy. The added advantage with this is, it will improve performance and acceleration on all vehicles.

Gas Cap: If the gas caps are damaged, loose or even missing, they allow the gas to vaporize into the air.

Fix It: It is very important to keep an eye on any maintenance related problem and address it as quickly as possible. Addressing a serious maintenance problem, like for an instance, a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve mileage by as much as 40 percent. Now this is a huge number. This tells you how important it is to address the issues instantly.

In addition to vehicle maintenance, there are a few more To Dos that help in fuel efficiency.  Modifying driving habits, such as observing the speed limit and avoiding quick stops and starts, can also increase fuel efficiency a great deal. Consolidating trips, avoiding excessive idling and removing unnecessary items from the trunk are also some of the easy ways to lower fuel consumption.

German Brand Borgward – As good as it was?

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The story of Preston Tucker and his car is as well known to us as the story of Aladdin and his magic lamp: Better-looking and technologically superior to the competition, the “game-changing” 48 (née Torpedo) was brought down by a combination of an obtuse and hostile press and mean-spirited competitors and government officials. Germany has an equivalent if not a superior brand to Tucker: Borgward. But while the Chicago-based American carmaker folded after just 51 units were completed, Borgward was the fourth-largest car company in Germany and employed more than 20,000 people in its heyday. Quite an achievement for any major competitor. Though, it would hardly seem that they were one of the top runners in the yester years, it is absolutely true.  They were sold under the Lloyd, Hansa, Goliath, and Borgward brands.

Conceived and named after  the charismatic industrialist who had a multi faceted personality,  Carl F. W. Borgward, the cars were stylish and brimming with cutting-edge technology. The Isabella is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful cars of its era as if it were the Marilyn Monroe of the automobile Hollywood; the Borgward 2400 was an early fastback sedan, available with an in-house automatic transmission; its successor, the P100, was one of the fastest cars in its segment and fitted with an air suspension, including an innovative anti-roll and anti-dive system. Some models were exported to the U.S.

The engineering passion that drove Borgward contributed to its downfall. It can be considered like the story of Narcissus who fell in love with the reflection of himself in water. The energy and enthusiasm which was a pillar and a major contributor in the company’s success; became the nemesis. Each brand had its own engineering and purchasing departments; there was little commonality among the cars and each model and variant was distinct from the other cohorts, and sometimes but more often than not, the company found itself short on cash.

In December 1960, a cover story in the magazine Der Spiegel ridiculed Borgward’s engineering-driven and impulsive style and highlighted the company’s financial travails. The senate of the city-state of Bremen, where Borgward was headquartered, seized the opportunity to renege on a pledge to vouch for a credit that Borgward needed to move forward. The move was informed by emotions as much as facts: The ruling Social Democrat Party in Bremen hated Carl Borgward, a feeling that the old-school industrialist reciprocated.

Given the alternative to close down immediately or hand over his company to the state, Borgward chose to give up his assets to Bremen; the senate put in charge Johannes Semler, a manager who simultaneously headed BMW’s supervisory board.

BMW, of course, was a direct competitor of Borgward and no need to mention it always has been a big name in the automotive industry. Semler’s half-baked attempts to save Borgward came to an end less than a year later. But after the company closed its doors, all creditors were paid off, casting severe doubt over the claims that Borgward was in desperate financial shape.

As a result of its moment of triumph and subsequent meddling with the company, the city-state of Bremen lost almost 20,000 jobs and millions in tax revenue; on a larger scale, Borgward’s downfall became the first ominous crack in the German postwar Wirtschaftswunder, or “economic miracle.”

Many assets were shipped to Mexico, and the P100 was assembled there until 1970. A late-1970s attempt to resurrect Borgward with a new car that put carry-over technology under the skin of an AMC Hornet never came to fruition.

Now Borgward is back. In 2008, the founder’s grandson, Christian Borgward, teamed up with former Saab and Daimler PR executive Karlheinz Knöss; last year, they sold the rights to the brand to Beiqi Foton Motor in China. At the Geneva auto show, Foton will give a glimpse of its future plans—which include launching a Borgward-badged premium model before the end of the year.

It’s good to see the great, if largely forgotten, Borgward nameplate back on the market. The older generations might remember the name or even some of them might still own it. The nostalgia beckons as the long lost name surges back into media. To live up to the company’s heritage, the new models—the first teaser for the Geneva car is pictured below—need to offer style and cutting-edge technology. Let’s hope Foton can pull it off and launch a few cars that Carl F. W. Borgward would be proud of.

Vehicle safety tips – Oil changes

 

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As the miles on the speedometer keep on adding up it becomes difficult to predict when one changes the engine oil of their vehicles. The engine is the heart of your vehicle. And this heart  requires oil in its veins. This oil helps in providing the cushion to reduce friction between moving parts and also helps in carrying impurities away by running the engine smoothly. Thus, it naturally becomes the most essential part that proper and clean supply of oil is provided.

Given below are few tips which would assist you when you could change your vehicles engine oil.

Take guidance from the manual

Generally oil change information is always there in the maintenance chapter of your owner’s manual. Many automakers also put their manuals online these days. In many instances, you will find that the owner’s manual lists at least two service schedules. These are based on the driving conditions. The “normal” and “severe” or “special” driving conditions are a few categories in which they are classified. Read the descriptions carefully to see which schedule best suits how you drive and then follow the procedures based on that.

Check your Oil life monitor

Your vehicle has an oil life monitor.  Its complexity would be varying. They are dependent upon mileage and your driving conditions. It switches on a maintenance light when there is a need for a change. They do this by constantly taking information from various sensors all through the vehicle.  Then afterwards they use the same to calculate the life of your oil. Taking consideration of your driving habits your oil progressions can also differ; keep an eye on that.

Use the time estimate

Do you have a weekend car or do you drive very rarely? If not then the average time estimated according to your manual will be anywhere from 3000-7500 kms. However the generally accepted practice suggests to change your oil in every 3000-4000 kms depending on your driving conditions. Again, define your driving conditions pretty well.
If you cannot get your oil changed on time, ask your service representative guy for a premium oil change. This would provide a superior and a long lasting protection.

Get your Oil analyzed

Oil examination is very important. An oil examination will let you know the state of your current, in use oil. It can additionally uncover any issues that your motor may be facing. Some sample tests can show some traces of fuel and coolant in the engine oil, which are early signs of engine problems. When you get back the results , you will also get a recommendation on how much further you can go between oil changes.

Remember, oil flows in the veins of the heart of your car. It is very important. Give it the attention it demands.

Hyundai’s Santa Cruz and A Pickup Truck

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Let us begin on a lighter note, yet with some philosophical thoughts. I have always maintained that there are many combinations in life that should never happen. I stay firm on it till date. For instance ice cream and raw mince, guns and children,Kardashians and…well anything – all things we’d rather not think about. Yet there are some matches that should be considered and become acceptable and catchy in due course of time; and in this example, I’m talking about a Hyundai illustrated in ‘Pickup Truck’ format.

 

It was not that long back. Let us, just for a moment, shift our attention to a certain event.Rewind  back to this year’s Detroit Motor Show and you’ll no doubt recall Hyundai revealing its Santa Cruz compact utility concept. It was Hyundai’s interpretation of a vehicle that would cater and provide a solution to a business statement of people; these sort of folks need something slightly more practical than an SUV, but not a full-blown pickup. It is quite intricate and the niches have to be taken care of, if a sustainable let alone a mind blowing design was to be provided.

 

Recipe for great success may you say? Remember the Subaru Baja? I’m not so sure that it would be a cash cow like Hyundai would want it to be.

 

However, that is a different story, of a different chapter and of a different book entirely. Let us move that concept to one side and focus our concentration at something that could do big things for the Seoul-based manufacturer; I’m talking about a smaller, mid-size truck that looks great with decent off-road and haulage capabilities. Sure, Hyundai and “truck” may be foreign for those looking at a Tacoma, Colorado or Frontier; yet I think with the right attributes it could do well.

 

Firstly, the design has to appeal and I guess not only appeal but make a permanent place in the mind of the consumer; in this instance, a rugged take on Hyundai’s “Fluidic Precision” design language would mix the current corporate look with aggressive creases and diagonal design elements.

 

The brand’s signature hexagonal front grille (which the rest of the industry seems to be hell-bent on using) sits proudly between recessed LED headlamps, while prominent air inlets house the fog-lights.

 

Protective plastic cladding protects the lower portion of the body, whilst the rear has a separated cargo bed for other utilitarian configurations. There is only so much you can do with the design of a pickup’s glasshouse – so here it’s rather traditional looking, with a hint of Santa Cruz in the C-Pillars.

 

Under the hood would ideally sit Hyundai’s current 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo from the Sonata; coupled with a new electric-hybrid for fuel efficiency and low-end torque. Power would be sent via an all-wheel drive system and a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch auto from the all-new Tucson SUV.

 

Unlike the Santa Cruz concept which could be based off the new Tucson, this 5-seat compact truck would need to be body-on-frame for better stiffness and load-carrying capacity; unfortunately Hyundai doesn’t have such a dedicated platform, so would need to develop this type of vehicle from the ground up with a lot of investment.

 

Whilst this offering might have its work cut out for it and be operative in a very specific way in the United States of America-land, it could do very well in other parts of the globe like Europe and Asia-Pacific. Light commercial sales in these areas are generally dominated by the likes of Toyota’s Hilux, Ford Ranger (global version), Mitsubishi Triton/L200 and Nissan Navara/Frontier.

Ultimately, this is just my interpretation of a Hyundai pickup, we’d love to know your thoughts on whether or not Hyundai should build such a vehicle in the comments section below.

Do we really need to idle our cars?

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Winter is that time of the year when a lot of people let their vehicle warm up or idle before driving. To mention a fact, today’s modern cars are ready to drive in cold temperatures without excessive idling.

In today’s day cars, the only reasons for which you need to idle is when you are trying to defrost the windshield or warm the interior of your car. But other than that, idling is not required for today’s vehicles. In most cases, idling longer than 30 seconds is not necessary. The best way to warm up the engine of your car is to drive gently at the start. Always remember, a vehicle gets zero miles per gallon when idling and the result is lower fuel economy and wasted money and of course lesser efficiency.

The old cars which were built with carburettors. The idea of idling before driving dates back to this time. We get cars new fuel injection technology these days. With this technology, complex computer systems and thinner and better synthetic oils. With all these things, drivers do not need to warm up their cars before hitting the road.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), when a car idles for more than 30 seconds, it has several negative effects. We are basically increasing air pollution unnecessarily, wasting fuel and money, and also causing excessive wear and tear or even damaging engine components of a car. The cylinders, spark plugs, and the exhaust system do get in danger of getting damaged because of this. A lot of people believe that idling is a good way to warm your car. But contrary to popular belief, it is not a very effective way to warm up most of the car engines.

Prolong your car life

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We would all like to keep our cars for our entire lifetime, and that is quite a fact. Inspite of this fact that how we would like keep our cars for long, not everybody will have the persistence and luck to do the same. You could however extend the lifetime of your cars by trying to lessen the probability  of mechanical accidents. The following are a few things that are fundamental and can be applied to any vehicle.

Follow your vehicle schedule: This may appear as an easy decision, but is not. There are still an excessive amount of car owners out there who pay very less or no attention to the vehicle maintenance plan as it is laid out in the manual of the owner. What one really fails to understand is that the manufacture has assembled the car. Those are the people who would be the right people to realize what is best for it.

Regularly Check the Fluids and Tire Pressure: Now this is something that takes only about 5 to  10 minutes. With a piece of cloth and the engine cool, just open the hood of the car and pull out the oil dipstick. Wipe it clean. and then reinsert it and take it out again for a brisk check of your engine oil. The engine oil is the most essential motor liquid. Other things to be checked are – Radiator fluid, Brake oil, Power steering fluid level, Air cleaner, Transmission fluid. Do spend at least some time on each of them.

Along with that, Do not forget to check your tires for any wears and tears to avoid any mishaps. Ideally, one should perform all these activities once a week, but there is nothing as ideal is it? In the real world, one month is just fine.

Listen for odd noises: Many a times, one does not know what each sound of their cars mean. Here are a few of cases that one needs to understand –

– A clicking noise when you are driving could be a nail stuck in a tire; take it off as soon as you can.

– If it is time for new brakes, you might hear the loud squealing sound of the brake wear indicators.

– If you hear a scraping or grinding noise while applying the brakes, it could mean that the brake pads are so low that metal to metal contact is already happening, time to change it.

At such instances, do get it checked at your nearest service center.

Drive Calmly: Always take it easy on the car when you drive it. Easily apply your breaks when you drive your car. Vigorous driving does no good to you, it only damages your car even more and nothing else.

These all are pretty straightforward steps. These steps may connect to practically any vehicle, and will help you take a proactive approach to administering and taking care of your vehicle.

Cleaning Your Car – Here Are 5 Bizarre Ideas!

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Sunday morning it is, and you want to relax and go out on a date or for shopping? But do you wish to go out with a dirty and messy car – people who love their cars, never like it untidy! Today I am going to help you with some tricky, unexpected and new ideas to clean your car and make it look as new as ever. So, before getting ready for your day out- spend some time cleaning your car and trust me it is going to give you a delightful feeling and you won’t stop flaunting about your car.

Following are some ideas, which will help your car look brand new.

1- Your car windows need extra care.

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Your car windows and windshield is a complete mess and you plan to wash your car, but you are short of time? Here’s how you can do it quickly- if you have baby wipes or skin care wipes handy with you, make it your equipment to clean the windows and windshield of your car by rubbing them gently and removing all the dust. You will be surprised when you see the results.

2- The body of your car needs to shine.

Use a hair conditioner for a sparkling and shiny car- yes! It works. Your hair conditioner contains a element called “lanolin “which gives you beautiful and shiny hair, similarly it will give a shine to the body of your car, and you will believe it when you see it- so go ahead and try it!

3- Your car’s twinkling headlights.

Keep the headlights of your car polished and glossy by applying a window cleaner and rubbing them with a soft cloth or a towel. I am sure you all use a liquid spray cleaner to get rid of the unwanted dust on other objects in the house, try using it on your headlights and people won’t stop admiring your efforts.

4- Cleaning your blades.

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If the wipers of your car are dirty- they can smudge of the glass. You can keep the blades clean and safe, by making a quick solution. In a bowl- take ¼ cup of ammonia and 1 cup cold water, mix it well and rub it on both sides of the blades and wipe the blades with a soft cloth or towel.

5- Cleaning your mats

You can clean your car carpets by using your shampoo-oh yes! Your hair shampoo, isn’t it great? Take out the carpets, vacuum them and pour the shampoo and some water on the mats and now it’s time for you to use your hands- take a brush and clean the surface properly, especially if you notice any stains. Lay them out to dry and put them back in your car as new.

Cleaning your car can be trouble-free if you follow these out of the ordinary ideas. Get ready to exhibit your almost new car with these tricks. And the added advantage to these steps are- that you don’t have to spend extra money on buying the car washing equipment’s. Try it and believe it!

New Audi R8 Could Get V6, Diesel And RWD Over Its Lifecycle

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While Audi is all set and raring to go for  launching its all-new Lambo Huracan chassis-based R8 exclusively with the V10 engine and all-wheel drive, the excitement now knows no bounds. There is a specific reason behind it, or maybe six of them! The fact of the matter is  the range will be expanded as time progresses and will obviously shape up and fine tune for the better. The new platform apparently allows for much more flexibility than before, so we could even see a V6-engined car with drive going exclusively to the rear.

At the other end of the scales, we could see a hardcore GT3 variant. Heck, even a diesel is said to be considered, according to R8 technical lead Roland Schala.

He said “we’re not quite sure what the next step is,” but that “the V6 is a perfect engine for this kind of car. We have a lot of potential with the V6, from 400bhp upwards, so it’s possible.”

He added that the idea of a diesel in the new R8 was discussed, “but is it the right step to bring it in?” Schala finished off by saying “it would certainly make us unique, but you need more technology around the engine to keep it clean.”

Another way they could take it would be down the electrification route.

Finally, it seems the new R8 has not been confirmed with a manual gearbox, which is a shame. The manual is still the way to go and an automatic transmission is still considered to be, well, kind of amateurish.The one thing that has been established at launch is that it will surely have a dual clutch, but will they also offer the manual at the start, or at all?

Car Warning Lights – Part II

This is the Second part in the two part series of “Car warning Lights”

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Brake warning light 1

Most cars nowadays have a brake warning light on the dash. Its purpose is to alert you that something is wrong in the braking system somewhere. If it comes on, check your owner’s manual to find out its meaning. The brake warning light does not have a standard meaning; it could be used for multiple purposes. For example, the same light may be used to show that the hand brake is on. Americans call it parking brake for. If that is the case and you are driving, you ought to have noticed the smell of burning brake dust by now. The light can also indicate that the fluid in the master cylinder is low. Each manufacturer has a different use and standard for this light. Which is nice. Because it would be such a drag if the same indicator meant the same thing in every vehicle.

Brake warning light 2

If you have got an ABS-equipped car, you also have a second light – the ABS light. If it comes on, get it seen to as soon as possible. It means the ABS computer has diagnosed that something is amiss in the system. It could be something as simple as dirt in one of the sensors, or something as costly as an entire ABS unit replacement. Either way, if that light is on, then you, my friend, have got 1970’s brakes. It’s important to note that this light normally comes on when you start the car and then switches off a few seconds later. If it blinks, throbs, flashes or in any other way draws your attention to itself, then take note. It’s not doing that just to please itself. Compared to a steady light, a blinking ABS light normally indicates something more serious. In some cases it could be as bad as you have no brakes at all.

Coolant warning light

This is normally the coolant level warning light. If this comes on it means that the level of coolant in your radiator is low and needs topping up. But remember this at all costs – DO NOT OPEN THE RADIATOR CAP WHEN THE ENGINE IS HOT! The coolant system is pressurised and it could easily release pressure and spray you with boiling coolant. Do it when the engine is cold. Top up the system with either a pre mixed coolant bought from a shop, or with distilled water. Don’t use tap water – the mineral deposits in it boil out in the cooling system and calcium gets depositted around the inside of the radiator making it less efficient (which will eventually cause it to fail). It’s always best to use pre mixed coolant, or to mix your own rather than using neat water. The coolant mixture behaves as an antifreeze in winter as well as a corrosion-inhibitor to stop your engine rusting from the inside out.
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Oil warning light

Typically this light will come on if your oil pressure is too low. Low oil pressure is really serious and if you continue to drive with this light on, eventually your engine will die. Low oil pressure can be caused by a failed oil pump, a blocked oil filter or strainer in the sump, or by low oil levels – for example if your engine is burning oil. Either way, you need to get it fixed, and fast. Low oil pressure is A Bad Thing and your engine will not thank you for leaving this problem untreated.