Friday, December 31, 2010
Anyway, the new breed of electric cars are changing people's perception of electric cars. They look sexy and are fast.
I blogged about the Jaguar CX - 75 concept some time back. Here are some pictures of this sexy car from Jaguar.
In charity-oriented news, Gotham Dream Cars recently assisted Pascack Valley, New Jersey's Meals on Wheels program in delivering food to some of the area's age- and hunger-impaired citizens. Edibles were brought door-side via cars like a Viper SRT-10, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Maserati Quattroporte, among others. The best part? Well, that depends.
Most people would say it's feeding those in need. Normal, right? Unfortunately, the press seems to think the story is the cars. That's right; instead of people who require help, the exotic transportation became the story. It's insane.
Sure, the idea of high-end Italian exotics delivering food to the elderly is tons of fun (and an interesting PR boost for Gotham Dream Cars)...but how is this legitimately important? For God's sake, the New York Times (supposedly one of the last great print papers) put up an article about feeding America's hungry and the main point was still the fact that mad-expensive cars were out doing charity duty. Other than some ho-hum dribble about the cars, the rest was press quotations and gibberish. No facts whatsoever.
Pascack Valley's "Meals on Wheels" director Jeanne Martin says, "The support of our community is essential to combating senior hunger in the area...We’re pleased to have the support of Gotham Dream Cars to help spread the message about the difference local volunteers can make in helping out seniors in need." Of course they are; after all, it's attention-grabbing for Pascack Valley and its hungry citizens. But what about the rest? As in, the rest of America? Hell, why not make it the rest of the world and get everyone involved?
Sadly, odds are that even with this post the most memorable part of the story is that someone, somewhere, is delivering food to people in exotic cars. Neato, but not really the point. How about giving some important facts, other than manufacturer names and ritzy BS info? Facts like this: there are over three million people in the States with hunger-related issues right now. And now. And now. Beyond that, a world citizen dies every few seconds due to starvation.
Knowing this, it raises the question: is there a point to the New York Times running this story? The answer, hopefully, is yes...but only if people learn something. If not, and all readers remember are car names, then what's the point? Internet hits?
Admittedly, Gotham Dream Cars has done something cool for the people involved in this program and received very positive PR in the process; however, the story of Italian supercars delivering food is nothing more than that: a nice story.
If you've gotten this far, you'll hopefully see what I'm getting at: the story's pointless, so go out and throw a few cans of Campbell's soup in the direction of your local soup kitchen. Tis the season.
By Phil Alex
BMW R1200GS Bike
BMW R1200GS Bike
BMW R1200GS Bike
BMW R1200GS Bike
The following information is an English translation of the German press kit and some information and specifications may not apply to the U.S. models.
Further information and dates of expected U.S. availability will be provided at a later date. Text and photos courtesy of BMW AG.
Features and Highlights
Launching the R 1200 GS Adventure, BMW Motorcycles is proudly presenting the latest version of the ultimate long-distance enduro for the globetrotter and adventurer.
Apart from the unique synthesis of dynamic performance, touring and off-road qualities so characteristic of the "basic" model, the R 1200 GS Adventure offers additional off-road qualities and an even higher standard of long-distance riding comfort.
So without requiring any supplementary features, this new model from BMW Motorcycles gives the rider all these unique qualities in full straight from the factory.
Compared with its predecessor, the R 1150 GS Adventure, the new model is entering the market with numerous improvements and a far larger range of standard equipment. Its features add further potential to the unique qualities of the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure and clearly distinguishing the new model from the basic version which naturally still remains in production.
Many features previously only available as special equipment or accessories now come as standard on the new R 1200 GS Adventure, such as the 33-litre (7.3 Imp gal) fuel tank, a new windshield for enhanced protection from wind and weather, the seat adjustable for height, robust tank and engine
protection hoops, as well as extra-wide rider footrests combined with adjustable gearshift and brake levers.
With the new Adventure being based on the R 1200 GS, the rider also benefits from significantly more power and torque from BMW Motorcycle's latest two-cylinder boxer: maximum output is 74 kW/100 hp at 7,000 rpm (72 kW/98 hp at 7,000 rpm in the German version), peak torque is 115 Nm/85 lb-ft at 5,500 rpm.
The other technical features and highlights of the R 1200 GS Adventure are also the same as on the current "basic" model. Using lighter components on the engine, transmission and exhaust damper, as well as weight-optimized components such as the frame, suspension and wheels, the new R 1200 GS Adventure, despite a wider range of series equipment, does not weigh much more than the previous "basic" model.
Last but certainly not least, the new six-speed gearbox, the most recent Paralever and Telelever technology, new instruments in digital technology and the on-board network with CAN bus technology represent a significant step into the future compared with the former R 1150 GS Adventure.
The new R 1200 GS Adventure continues the successful design concept introduced by the former model, offering a unique combination of dynamic performance and robust riding qualities. High-quality materials and surfaces such as stainless steel and aluminum ensure a unique touch of clear high-tech and very functional elegance. And depending on his personal preferences, the customer can choose from two entirely different colour schemes.
Reflecting its wide range of use and riding qualities, the new R 1200 GS comes with an equally wide range special equipment and accessories.
Features available right from the factory include BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (a partly integrated, on-demand anti-lock brake system), special off-road tires, additional headlights, and an on-board computer.
Over and above these features available straight off the production line, the BMW Motorcycle Dealer is also able to offer a new range of aluminum cases, the BMW Motorrad Navigator, as well as numerous practical accessories enabling the customer to upgrade his machine individually according to personal requirements and the particular riding conditions and demands he - or she - expects to encounter.
Improved in all areas and in every respect, the new R 1200 GS Adventure is certainly a very proud successor to the former 1150-cc model. Based on the "standard" version of the R 1200 GS, this new machine is not only the ultimate long- and short-distance enduro for the globe-trotter, the adventurer and traveler, but also a professional machine for bold riders participating in overland expeditions and demanding the utmost of both themselves and their material.
And last but certainly not least, the new R 1200 GS Adventure appeals to the discerning customer looking for impressive handling qualities and a striking appearance also in everyday life.
Without doubt, one of the most conspicuous and significant new features on the R 1200 GS Adventure is the large fuel tank with useful capacity of 33 liters (7.3 Imp gals) including approximately 4 liters reserve.
This means that the rider benefits from an extra 13 liters or almost 3 Imp gals more than on the standard model - and the increase in fuel capacity is also approximately
three liters over the former R 1150 GS Adventure, where a larger tank was available only as an option.
At a steady speed of 90 km/h or 56 mph, the R 1200 GS Adventure has a - theoretical - cruising range of 750 kilometers or 465 miles. In practice, this means that the rider of the new R 1200 GS Adventure is able to cover even longer distances between stops for refueling than on any other competition model in the market.
With its carefully conceived design, the new windshield diverts the flow of air smoothly past the rider with hardly any turbulence or air swirl, thus effectively taking the usual forces off the rider's head and upper body particularly at high speeds.
Additional, specially designed flaps behind the windshield serve furthermore to minimize any draughts in the kidney area. And since the windshield is adjustable for angle, it offers riders of virtually any size excellent protection from wind and weather in all cases.
Tank, Engine and Valve Cover Protection
Stable and robust stainless-steel pipes protect the fuel tank and engine effectively from the consequences of involuntary encounters whether off-road or on the tarmac. And at the same time high-quality aluminum covers help to avoid any traces of tough riding conditions which might otherwise be left behind on the valve covers.
Stainless Steel Luggage Rack
Robust and practical fastening points and supports for the rider's bags are absolutely essential for an off-roader with the qualities of a genuine global traveler. Precisely this is why the new R 1200 GS Adventure comes with a generously designed and stable luggage rack made of stainless steel perfectly accommodating, say, the optional aluminum top case.
To ensure an optimum seating position under all conditions, the two-section seat on the new R 1200 GS Adventure can be adjusted to two different levels on the rider's area.
In its upper position with seat height of 915 millimeters or 36.0´´, the seat offers the rider all the comfort of an absolutely flat seat area without any steps in between, thus guaranteeing the freedom of movement the rider requires particularly off the beaten track.
In its lower position, the seat moves down to a level of 895 millimeters or 35.2´´, making it easier for even the somewhat shorter rider to reach the road and hold the machine securely in position, for example when stopping at the traffic lights. This is also enhanced by the particular shape and design of the seat itself, which is distinctly narrowed at the front.
Aluminum Handlebar With Hand Protectors
The high-quality, cone-shaped handlebar made of light alloy comes complete with a foam protection element embedded in a special plastic material. Practical hand protectors are also a standard feature on the new R 1200 GS Adventure.
Extra-Wide Footrests and Adjustable Gearshift and Brake Levers
Reflecting its enhanced off-road riding qualities, the new R 1200 GS Adventure comes with extra-wide rider footrests offering a particularly safe and secure position and helping the rider above all on rough tracks requiring him - or her - to stand up on the machine most of the time.
Adjustable gearshift and brake levers also meet all kinds of varying requirements, adjusting to various styles of riding and individual preferences as well as various kinds of shoes or boots,
for example touring or off-road riding boots. The height of the footbrake lever can be adjusted most conveniently by a folding mechanism on the pedal surface, the gearshift lever is adjusted by means of an eccentric kinematic unit.
Springs and Wheels
The suspension and running gear of the R 1200 GS Adventure is perfectly prepared even for the toughest off-road requirements, with an extra 20 millimeters or 0.79´´ spring travel both front and rear versus the "standard" R 1200 GS.
And to offer optimum wheel guidance, the new Adventure features the same superior lightweight elements already boasted by the R 1200 GS.
The most important highlights of the new R 1200 GS Adventure versus the "standard" R 1200 GS:
- 33-litre (7.3 Imp gal) fuel tank.
- Larger windshield.
- Tank, engine and valve cover protectors.
- Stainless-steel luggage rack.
- Adjustable seat with off-road ergonomics.
- Adjustable aluminum handlebar with hand protectors.
- Longer spring travel for superior off-road qualities.
- Cross-spoke wheels.
- Extra-wide rider footrests, adjustable gearshift and brake levers.
- High-performance 720 W alternator.
The most significant technical highlights of the new R 1200 GS Adventure versus the former R 1150 GS Adventure:
- Substantial reduction in weight.
- Significant increase in output (plus 15 per cent) and torque (plus 17 per cent).
- New six-speed manual gearbox.
- New Evo-Paralever with TDD spring struts.
- New Telelever.
- New instruments in digital technology with Info-flat-screen.
- On-board single-wire network using CAN bus technology.
- Electronic immobiliser.
The Telelever featured on the front wheel measures 41 millimeters or 1.61´´ in diameter on its fixed tube, while the Evo-Paralever at the rear boasts a central spring strut and travel-dependent damping unit (TDD) - the more the spring strut is compressed, the firmer the damper becomes. Detailed information on the frame and suspension is provided in the R 1200 GS press kit.
The new R 1200 GS Adventure comes as standard on BMW Motorrad's proven, extra-strong cross-spoke wheels offering their superior benefits particularly on extreme tracks, at high off-road speeds, and under high permanent loads and it almost goes without saying that the machine may be fitted with tubeless tyres, just as the spokes can be replaced individually one-by-one.
Maximum stiffness and strength are the outstanding features of the two-piece steel-tube frame based on the tubular frame structure of the R 1200 GS.
The front and main frame come directly from the R 1200 GS, the rear frame has been slightly modified in its geometric configuration on the supports for the main and side stands. The extra-light tubular structure integrates the entire power unit as a load-bearing element, helping to further reduce the weight of the new R 1200 GS Adventure versus its predecessor.
And last but not least, the modified main stand holder now enables the rider to lift up and park the machine even more easily and conveniently than before.
Electrical power-consuming items fitted additionally as special equipment also receive a reliable supply of energy thanks to the alternator on the R 1200 GS upgraded to 720 W, 120 W more than on the "standard" version.
The flat-twin power unit complete with a balance shaft introduced for the first time on the "basic" R 1200 GS also serves to give the new Adventure superior power and performance. Maximum output from this 1,170-cc engine is 74 KW/100 bhp at 7,000 rpm (or, on the German version, 72 kW/98 bhp at 7,000 rpm), with torque peaking at 115 Nm/85 lb-ft at 5,500 rpm.
Six Speed Gearbox
The extra-light and smooth-running six-speed dog-type gearbox with helical gearing has again been carried over from the R 1200 GS.
Again, the new R 1200 GS Adventure offers all the features and equipment already boasted by the "basic" model when it comes to the machine's instruments and on-board electrics. This includes extra-light instrumentation using the Info-Flatscreen, an innovative on-board network in CAN-bus technology, and an electronic immobilizer.
BMW R1200GS Bike
At very first sight, the new R 1200 GS Adventure conveys a look of dynamic performance and agile power, combining these superior features with all the robust qualities of an Enduro. High-quality materials and surfaces such as blast-treated stainless steel on the fuel tank and engine protection hoops as well as on the luggage rack, plus epoxy-plated aluminum on the rims and knee covers, give the entire machine a superior look of technical, functional elegance, at the same time emphasizing the superior level of quality characterizing the new R 1200 GS Adventure.
The colour concept also stands for aesthetic design and powerful character, clearly demonstrating the progress made over the former model. The customer is therefore able to choose from two colour schemes: Opting for Alpine White non-metallic, the rider will enjoy the classic colour
of a BMW GS combined with the seat in Black and Red as well as knee covers with Black epoxy plating.
Paintwork in White Aluminum matte metallic, in turn, is supplemented by the seat in Black Grey and Olive-colored knee covers in magnesium epoxy-plated aluminum. This combination emanates a touch of cool technical elegance, harmonizing perfectly with the machine's other metallic components such as the roll bars or aluminum cases.
While the U.S. car market is still underachieving compared to the best results of the last decade, December sales are expected to significantly contribute to the annual forecast of about 12 million sold vehicles, as 2010 is clearly ending with an uphill trend, according to industry analysts.
“That's a long way from the 16 million and 17 million sales rates that we experienced for the better part of this decade. But we're coming out of 2010 on an upswing and I think this bodes well for 2011”, said Ford Motor Co. sales analyst George Pipas.
The trend could continue well into next year, though December results are not enough for a thorough forecast. However, industry experts are optimistic due to the fact that retails sale are up, compared to the less profitable fleet and rental sales, which are expected to drop by about one and a half percent, according to TrueCar.com.
“It's slowly evolving”, Morningstar analyst David Whiston said of the recovery. “You did just see the retail (annualized sales rate) creep up. It's not like it shot up half a million units in one month. It's going to be gradual”.
Compared to 2009, GM’s sales are up 1.9 percent, while Ford shows even more stamina with a 6.3% growth. On the other hand, Toyota is still struggling, as the massive recalls it has issued this year are taking their toll and it’s expected to report an 11.4% drop for the closing month of 2010.
By Csaba Daradics
While looking for the designs of the Smart Roadster model we showed you in our previous post, we stumbled upon these drawings of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK used for trademark filings. Being that an official video of the 2012 SLK has already been leaked online (you can watch it after the jump if you missed out), these pictures simply offer some additional -and unobstructed- views of the roadster model with the retractable hardtop.
Boasting a similar silhouette (though with edgier details) to the outgoing model, the new SLK will arrive in the market sometime next year offering buyers a revamped engine lineup of four-cylinder and V6 gasoline units, and if the rumors turn out to be true, a diesel option also. The range will be completed by a high-performance AMG model, said to be equipped with either twin-turbocharged V6 or a larger-displacement V8 engine.
Keep an eye out for the SLK either at the Detroit Motor Show in mid-January or at the Geneva Salon in March.