Winner Ford - Winner's Circle Blog
DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 19, 2012 – When Ford engineers sought out innovative ways to reduce noise in the all-new Ford Escape, they looked in the mirror.
But these engineers did not look into any mirror; they focused their eyes on an elliptical acoustic mirror.
This high-tech device was used for the first time on Escape to reduce wind noise and deliver a quieter interior. The mirror resembles a satellite dish with a microphone. The mirror identifies “hot spots” where noise penetrates the interior of the vehicle, allowing drivers to listen to music or conversation inside the car instead of external noises.
This technology is deployed more commonly by European luxury vehicle manufacturers and is considered a breakthrough among U.S. manufacturers. The mirror measures noises on the surface of the vehicle and in the airflow.
Mirror reflects changes
The engineering team was able to make changes to the Escape shape, specifically the mirrors and A-pillar, while in the early clay model phase to test theories and validate expected results. Work was done in the Ford Aeroacoustic Wind Tunnel in Germany.
“We previously didn’t have this tool available,” said Peter Kleesattel, interior quietness development engineer. “Essentially we were able to optimize the shape earlier. In noise and vibration, the basic idea is you have noise sources outside the vehicle and you have the path.
“The path could be through the glass, door or insulation. Now we’re able to optimize the shape early on, reduce the exterior source and create a quieter interior.”
The optimized shape means the new Escape is quieter than the outgoing vehicle, and preliminary data show it will be among the leaders in interior quietness. In particular, the tuning work on the A-pillar helps ensure better noise performance in crosswind situations.
Wind noise performance has been optimized through more than 160 hours of engineering. In a typical eight-hour block, more than 20 configurations can be tested, including glass, mirror sealing and door sealing.
“Using the elliptical acoustic mirror helped the team pinpoint the source of the noise,” said Bill Gulker, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) supervisor. “Previous technologies required more of a trial-and-error approach to finding the issue.”
The science behind acoustic mirrors dates back almost 100 years. The technology was a precursor to radar, used for “listening” for and detecting enemy aircraft along the coast of Great Britain during World War I
CONCORD, N.C., Jan. 24, 2012 – Manufacturer brand identity is back in NASCAR.
The 2013 Ford Fusion NASCAR Sprint Cup car, unveiled today as part of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour, was worked on by Ford designers in an effort to bring brand identity back to the sport. The result is undeniable with the 2013 Sprint Cup car mirroring the recently unveiled 2013 Ford Fusion production car.
Featuring a completely redesigned sleek new silhouette and fresh face, the 2013 Fusion Sprint Cup car was designed to be the face of a new era of stock car racing.
”We wanted Fusion to be the car that helped return ‘stock car’ to NASCAR.” stated Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. “I think fans, when they see the car, are just going to smile and cheer. It is going to reengage them with the sport and make the sport better because there is just something natural about seeing race cars that look like cars in their driveways.”
This marks the third time Ford simultaneously launched production and NASCAR versions of a new model. The first dual launch came in 1968, with the sleek fastback Ford Torino. Legendary NASCAR driver David Pearson drove the Torino to back-to-back NASCAR championships in 1968 and 1969. The second time came in 2006, when the then newly introduced Ford Fusion appeared in showrooms and on the track.
Ford took a different approach with the development of the 2013 Fusion racer. Ford Design Center staff, led by Garen Nicoghosian, and Ford aerodynamicist Bernie Marcus, spent the past year doing the early design development, freeing up the Ford race teams to concentrate on weekly NASCAR competition.
“This is a seminal moment in the sport where we had a chance to get it right once again and make sure the race cars are race versions of street cars. And I am proud because I believe we have accomplished just that,” continued Allison. “The 2013 Fusion is a stunning car and the 2013 NASCAR Fusion is even more stunning and I can’t wait to see it perform on the track and connect with race fans.”
Ford designers, led by Nicoghosian, addressed three main issues to mirror the 2013 Sprint Cup Fusion to the 2013 production Fusion found on showroom floors.
Design Features of the 2013 Fusion Sprint Cup Car
“It looks fun to drive and very much eager to go and tear up the track. It has a very aggressive stance from the outside and the inside. From all angles the vehicle exudes performance and I think it reflects our general attitude of how we go about setting up our cars very, very nicely,” said Nicoghosian. “It brings a certain level of nimbleness and lightness and agility to the NASCAR platform, much like we do in our production cars, because all of our production cars have that nimbleness and agility and eagerness about them.”
The new NASCAR Fusion entries will be tested throughout the 2012 campaign in preparation for their racing debut at the 2013 Daytona 500 in February.
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From the New York Times...
In terms of outright capability, the Panamera Turbo S is on the extreme end of the sports car spectrum. Porsche claims 0-to-60 acceleration in 3.6 seconds, which puts the Panamera in roughly the league of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and the Audi R8. That’s decent company, considering that the Panamera is a four-door car with 44.1 cubic feet of cargo space. (For comparison, that’s within a couple of cubic feet of the cargo bed of a Cadillac Escalade EXT pickup truck.)
DETROIT, Jan. 9, 2012 – The 2012 Hyundai Elantra took top honors in the most exclusive award in North America when it was named 2012 North American Car of the Year today.
A jury of 50 independent North American automotive journalists evaluated each of the new cars introduced last year and chose the 2012 Hyundai Elantra as the winner. The award was announced at a news conference at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which marks Hyundai’s second win. The Hyundai Genesis was named North American Car of the Year in 2009.
“Elantra speaks to the success of our recipe of bold design and great fuel economy,” said John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer, Hyundai Motor America. “In a year with some truly breakthrough competitors, we are honored that the jury recognizes Elantra’s far-reaching impact on the industry.”
The jurors considered more than 50 new vehicles, before selecting the top three cars and top three trucks. The Volkswagen Passat and Ford Focus were the other car finalists.
This is the 19th year of the awards, which were inspired by the prestigious European “Car of the Year.” The jury is administered by an organizing committee and funded exclusively with dues paid by the jurors. Jurors judge the cars on a number of factors including innovation, impact on the industry, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.
HYUNDAI “FLUIDIC SCULPTURE” DESIGN
Elantra exemplifies Hyundai’s emotional “Fluidic Sculpture” design principles. “Fluidic Sculpture” considers the interplay of wind with rigid surfaces to create the illusion of constant motion. Elantra is an evolution of the design qualities found in Sonata.
Along Elantra’s sides are Sonata’s flowing lines, with the addition of a strong undercut feature line starting at the front door. These lines, along with muscular wheel arches and a sleek roofline, create a memorable and spacious package. Flowing lines also lead to an aerodynamic body. The drag coefficient for the Elantra is an exceptionally low 0.28 that compares favorably to the Chevrolet Volt (0.29).
Hyundai’s signature hexagonal front grille and detailed swept-back headlights give Elantra a compact athletic face. The assertive stance is complimented by 15-, 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels and athletic proportions. Available fog lights and side repeater mirrors complete the distinct design. Elantra was designed at Hyundai's North American Design Center in Irvine, Calif.
40 MPG POWERTRAIN
Elantra’s standard fuel economy is EPA-rated at 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, amd 33 mpg combined, with the six-speed automatic transmission or manual transmission. These figures give Elantra a highway-only driving range of up to 500 miles. Elantra’s strong EPA ratings are backed up by the highest owner satisfaction with real-world fuel economy in the compact class, according to data from J.D. Power and Associates.
Under the hood, the Elantra is powered by an all-new 1.8-liter Nu four-cylinder engine with 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque (145 horsepower and 130 lb-ft of torque for Elantra PZEV). Thanks to advanced clean engine technology, most Elantras sold in California, Oregon and several Northeast states are certified as Partial Zero Emission Vehicles (PZEV) by the EPA. The PZEV Elantra is as clean as many hybrid electric vehicles. The PZEV Elantra helps Hyundai meet its environmental commitments. Outside of these “green” states, the Elantra is available as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV).
Mark on the Market
Most importantly, Elantra is driving traffic to Hyundai showrooms. Elantra’s record 186,361 sales helped Hyundai achieve its record sales of 645,691 units in the U.S. in 2011. Hyundai Motor America posted a 20 percent increase over 2011 total sales.
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Audi today announced that the 2012 Audi A6 and 2012 Audi A7 vehicles have been named by Car and Driver, the world's largest automotive enthusiast publication, to the 30th annual “10Best” list. In its 30th year, “10Best” by Car and Driver recognizes the best all-new cars on the market under $80,000.
“As in years past, the cars on this year’s list represent the best overall vehicles on the market today,” said Eddie Alterman, editor-in-chief, Car and Driver. “Out of 68 contenders, these are the ones that consistently perform the best, are a good value and are engaging, fun-to-drive vehicles.”
The all-new 2012 Audi A6 boasts an all-aluminum Audi 3.0 L TFSI® supercharged V6 engine with 310 horsepower. One of Audi’s most innovative and technologically-advanced models to date, the A6 makes up to 2,000 decisions per second to assist the driver. Safety in the all-new Audi A6 is enhanced by a thermal imaging camera with Night Vision Assistant as well as the Audi Pre-Sense Plus safety system. Other intelligent features include head-up display and a MMI® Touch pad that recognizes handwriting in multiple languages. Audi is the first company worldwide to feature factory-installed wireless internet, enabling features such as Audi connect™ for real-time weather, traffic news and live fuel prices, and MMI Navigation with 3-D Google Earth™ images.
The Audi A7 is the epitome of high style and artistry, with a five-door coupe design that is both sporty and elegant. The Audi A7 can also boast being the first car in the world to feature factory-installed Wi-Fi with Audi connect™ and navigation with 3-D Google Earth. From the groundbreaking MMI® touchpad and its gracefully integrated display screen, to the state-of-the-art head up display, the Audi A7 is the perfect marriage of progressive design and sophisticated engineering. The A7 also sets a high standard for performance, handling and efficiency with an all-aluminum Audi 3.0 liter TFSI® V6 engine, 310hp and 325 lb-ft. of torque.
Nominees for the 30th annual “10Best” list consist of all new cars, 2011 10Best winners, cars that were not available for the 2011 competition, and those with significant updates. All cars must fall under the base-price cap of $80,000 and be on sale in January 2012. Full coverage of the 2012 Car and Driver 10Best awards can be found in the January issue, on newsstands December 6, and online at http://www.caranddriver.com/201210best
In a companion piece in the January issue, Car and Driver also named the 2012 Audi A8L and 2012 Audi R8 as ‘Favorites Over $80K.’ The A8L, Audi’s flagship sedan, was chosen for its imposing, luxurious design as well as its powerful 372 horsepower, V8 engine. The sporty R8 was selected for its supercar styling and “sci-fi bodywork.”
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In 2012, Audi is setting a milestone in China’s still young motorsport tradition. The world’s first exclusive one-make cup for the Audi R8 LMS will be held in the fast-growing Chinese market. In October, with a growth rate of 61.7 percent compared to the same period of the prior year, Audi experienced a new record month in China. The next top performance followed in November, reflecting a 68.8 percent increase compared to the same prior-year month.
The R8 LMS GT3 race car with a power output of 411 kW (560 HP) will be competing at five events, including the internationally renowned circuits at Shanghai and Zhuhai, starting in the second quarter of 2012. Plans are for 16 vehicles of Audi’s customer sport model to be fielded in the one-make cup. The cars correspond to the GT3 version that has scored more than 100 international victories and 13 titles and feature the new Audi PS 1 safety seat as factory-supplied equipment. "The Audi R8 LMS Cup puts our motorsport activities in China on a permanent basis,” says Rene Koneberg, Head of Audi Sport customer racing China. "Audi was a pioneer in the premium vehicle market in China. Now we want to give motor racing in this country a similar impulse.”
Audi Sport customer racing China will be responsible for organizing the one-make cup. This new structure experienced an extremely impressive debut. At the finale of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) at Zhuhai the race team celebrated a one-two victory in the GTC class with the Audi R8 LMS. A week later, at the Macau GT Cup, Edoardo Mortara won an extremely challenging city street race in an Audi R8 LMS fielded by the team.
Audi through its Audi race experience China opens up the opportunity to contest races in professional conditions to the motorsport enthusiasts among its customers. The complete packages available to gentlemen drivers include everything a racer needs, from license training and the ready-to-run race car through to the organizational structure.
Audi expects to deliver more than 300,000 vehicles in China in fiscal year 2011. The company is the market leader in the premium segment. "China has meanwhile become a kind of second home to Audi,” says Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter, Managing Director of Audi China. "By entering motorsport we aim to start proving ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ on the race tracks of this dynamic country as well.”