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Saturday, August 2, 2008

2009 Toyota Matrix

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With the release of the new 2009 Corolla, Toyota is also introducing an all-new Matrix, which shares many of the same components as the Corolla.

However, the Matrix diverges from the Corolla in its sporty attitude.

"The Matrix concept was based on blending the functionality of an SUV, the style, image and performance of a sports car with the affordability of a subcompact sedan," said Tim Morrison, Toyota Division corporate marketing manager. "For 2009, it's all that, and more. It may have the body of a five-door hatch, but it comes with the soul of a two-door sports car."

The all-new Matrix is already on sale at Toyota dealerships and is available in three different trim levels: Standard, S and XRS.

All-wheel drive is available on the S model. Engine choices are the same 1.8-liter and 2.4-liter four-cylinder options found in the Corolla.

Quick Facts:

1. Matrix gets complete redesign for 2009 model year.
2. New model is already available at Toyota dealerships.
3. Engine choices are 1.8-liter or 2.4-liter four-cylinder models.
4. Matrix shares its platform with Toyota Corolla and Pontiac Vibe.

Lamborghini Flown From Qatar To Britain For $45,000 Oil Change

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A wealthy Arab, possibly a Sheik, sent his Lamborghini LP640 a whopping 6,500 miles from an airport in Qatar to Heathrow to have the car's oil changed. The total cost of the shipment was around $40,000, which doesn't even include the $7,000 for the oil change itself.

So what's the man on the street think? Well, apparently, exotic car owners are pleased to see that a fellow gentleman of means is taking care of his car, as are Lamborghini salesmen. The average Brit, at least the average Brit interviewed, is horrified by the carbon footprint created from shipping a car, especially a gas guzzler, that far for an oil change.

Joe Blow UK's reaction of outrage mimics a similar outpouring of detest from earlier this year. Remember, this is actually the second time this year, at least, that our English friends have been up-in-arms about car shipping. Remember how upset Sir Paul McCartney was when his Lexus LS600h hybrid was flown in from Japan earlier in the year.

Jalopnik Snap Judgment: Though we're sort of impressed by the guy's commitment to proper care and maintenance, just because you can afford to do something like this doesn't mean you should. Are there really no shops in the Middle East that can handle an oil change on the new Lamborghini? Seriously? This is the perfect opportunity for a wealthy Jalopnik reader, or a group of readers pooling money together to head on over and open one up right now. Think about it — we'd be rich just working on the Sultan of Bruneis' garage. (Hat tip to Daniel and goatrope!)

[Photo/Story: The Sun]

2009 Toyota Venza

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Toyota is introducing another weapon in the crossover wars in 2009 with its all-new Venza.

The Venza promises to offer the utility of an SUV while retaining the car-like ride and handling of a mid-size sedan.

Styling on the outside is elegant, yet aggressive with its distinctive grill and short overhangs.

Inside, the Venza features numerous cubby holes and storage spaces. For the first time in a Toyota vehicle, the Venza will also be available with a panoramic roof that adds a glass panel above the second-row seats.

Other options include a JBL audio system, a rear-seat entertainment system, automatic high-beam headlights and a power rear door.

Powering the Venza will be a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine or a 3.5-liter V-6.

Quick Facts:

1. Venza is latest crossover from Toyota.
2. Interior features numerous cubby holes and storage compartments.
3. Optional panoramic roof adds second glass panel above rear seats.
4. Automatic high-beam headlights sense on-coming traffic and dim lights accordingly.
5. Engine choices are 2.7-liter 4-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V-6.

2009 Citroen C4

By Simona Alina
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Citroen will present at the the Moscow International Motor Show, which will open on 26 August 2008, a restyled version of the successful C4.

Citroen has made some judicious styling tweaks to strengthen the car’s successful design, which has been a hit with the public right from the start. The restyle focused on the front end, emphasizing its elegance, strength and energy.

The interior has also been redesigned. Citroen has added new upholstery and a new grain on several trim parts, and incorporated the rev counter in the middle of the dashboard.

Engine-wise, the C4 is now available with two new petrol engines co-developed with BMW. The VTi 120 and THP 150 units bring even more on-road pleasure and significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

The HDi diesel engine range has been further enhanced, with many powerplants qualifying for the Airdream eco-signature. The 2-litre HDi diesel engine is the first to comply with the future Euro V standard in this family. Through the use of new technology (such as low-rolling resistance tyres), several versions with the HDi 92 or HDi 110 paired with a manual or EGS6 gearbox can limit their emissions to 120 g/km of CO2.

Mitsubishi Lancer Prototype-S - Wallpaper

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Turbo Tech 101 ( Basic )

How a Turbo System Works
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Engine power is proportional to the amount of air and fuel that can get into the cylinders. All things being equal, larger engines flow more air and as such will produce more power. If we want our small engine to perform like a big engine, or simply make our bigger engine produce more power, our ultimate objective is to draw more air into the cylinder. By installing a Garrett turbocharger, the power and performance of an engine can be dramatically increased.

So how does a turbocharger get more air into the engine? Let us first look at the schematic below:

1 Compressor Inlet
2 Compressor Discharge
3 Charge air cooler (CAC)
4 Intake Valve
5 Exhaust Valve
6 Turbine Inlet
7 Turbine Discharge

The components that make up a typical turbocharger system are:

The air filter (not shown) through which ambient air passes before entering the compressor (1)
The air is then compressed which raises the air’s density (mass / unit volume) (2)
Many turbocharged engines have a charge air cooler (aka intercooler) (3) that cools the compressed air to further increase its density and to increase resistance to detonation
After passing through the intake manifold (4), the air enters the engine’s cylinders, which contain a fixed volume. Since the air is at elevated density, each cylinder can draw in an increased mass flow rate of air. Higher air mass flow rate allows a higher fuel flow rate (with similar air/fuel ratio). Combusting more fuel results in more power being produced for a given size or displacement
After the fuel is burned in the cylinder it is exhausted during the cylinder’s exhaust stroke in to the exhaust manifold (5)
The high temperature gas then continues on to the turbine (6). The turbine creates backpressure on the engine which means engine exhaust pressure is higher than atmospheric pressure
A pressure and temperature drop occurs (expansion) across the turbine (7), which harnesses the exhaust gas’ energy to provide the power necessary to drive the compressor

What are the components of a turbocharger?

The layout of the turbocharger in a given application is critical to a properly performing system. Intake and exhaust plumbing is often driven primarily by packaging constraints. We will explore exhaust manifolds in more detail in subsequent tutorials; however, it is important to understand the need for a compressor bypass valve (commonly referred to as a Blow-Off valve) on the intake tract and a Wastegates for the exhaust flow.

Other Components

Blow-Off (Bypass) Valves
The Blow-Off valve (BOV) is a pressure relief device on the intake tract to prevent the turbo’s compressor from going into surge. The BOV should be installed between the compressor discharge and the throttle body, preferably downstream of the charge air cooler (if equipped). When the throttle is closed rapidly, the airflow is quickly reduced, causing flow instability and pressure fluctuations. These rapidly cycling pressure fluctuations are the audible evidence of surge. Surge can eventually lead to thrust bearing failure due to the high loads associated with it.
Blow-Off valves use a combination of manifold pressure signal and spring force to detect when the throttle is closed. When the throttle is closed rapidly, the BOV vents boost in the intake tract to atmosphere to relieve the pressure; helping to eliminate the phenomenon of surge.

On the exhaust side, a Wastegates provides us a means to control the boost pressure of the engine. Some commercial diesel applications do not use a Wastegates at all. This type of system is called a free-floating turbocharger.

However, the vast majority of gasoline performance applications require a Wastegates. There are two (2) configurations of Wastegates, internal or external. Both internal and external Wastegates provide a means to bypass exhaust flow from the turbine wheel. Bypassing this energy (e.g. exhaust flow) reduces the power driving the turbine wheel to match the power required for a given boost level. Similar to the BOV, the Wastegates uses boost pressure and spring force to regulate the flow bypassing the turbine.

Internal Wastegates are built into the turbine housing and consist of a “flapper” valve, crank arm, rod end, and pneumatic actuator. It is important to connect this actuator only to boost pressure; i.e. it is not designed to handle vacuum and as such should not be referenced to an intake manifold.

External Wastegates are added to the exhaust plumbing on the exhaust manifold or header. The advantage of external Wastegates is that the bypassed flow can be reintroduced into the exhaust stream further downstream of the turbine. This tends to
improve the turbine’s performance. On racing applications, this Wastegated exhaust flow can be vented directly to atmosphere.

Oil & Water Plumbing
The intake and exhaust plumbing often receives the focus leaving the oil and water plumbing neglected.

Garrett ball bearing turbochargers require less oil than journal bearing turbos. Therefore an oil inlet restrictor is recommended if you have oil pressure over about 60 psig. The oil outlet should be plumbed to the oil pan above the oil level (for wet sump systems). Since the oil drain is gravity fed, it is important that the oil outlet points downward, and that the drain tube does not become horizontal or go “uphill” at any point.

Following a hot shutdown of a turbocharger, heat soak begins. This means that the heat in the head, exhaust manifold, and turbine housing finds it way to the turbo’s center housing, raising its temperature. These extreme temperatures in the center housing can result in oil coking.

To minimize the effects of heat soak-back, water-cooled center housings were introduced. These use coolant from the engine to act as a heat sink after engine shutdown, preventing the oil from coking. The water lines utilize a thermal siphon effect to reduce the peak heat soak-back temperature after key-off. The layout of the pipes should minimize peaks and troughs with the (cool) water inlet on the low side. To help this along, it is advantageous to tilt the turbocharger about 25° about the axis of shaft rotation.

Many Garrett turbos are water-cooled for enhanced durability.

Which Turbocharger is Right for Me or more affectionately known as My Turbo & Me
Selecting the proper turbocharger for your specific application requires many inputs. With decades of collective turbocharging experience, the Garrett Performance Distributors can assist in selecting the right turbocharger for your application.

The primary input in determining which turbocharger is appropriate is to have a target horsepower in mind. This should be as realistic as possible for the application. Remember that engine power is generally proportional to air and fuel flow. Thus, once you have a target power level identified, you begin to hone in on the turbocharger size, which is highly dependent on airflow requirements.

Other important factors include the type of application. An autocross car, for example, requires rapid boost response. A smaller turbocharger or smaller turbine housing would be most suitable for this application. While this will trade off ultimate power due to increased exhaust backpressure at higher engine speeds, boost response of the small turbo will be excellent.

Alternatively, on a car dedicated to track days, peak horsepower is a higher priority than low-end torque. Plus, engine speeds tend to be consistently higher. Here, a larger turbocharger or turbine housing will provide reduced backpressure but less-immediate low-end response. This is a welcome tradeoff given the intended operating conditions.

Selecting the turbocharger for your application goes beyond “how much boost” you want to run. Defining your target power level and the primary use for the application are the first steps in enabling your Garrett Performance Distributor to select the right turbocharger for you.

Journal Bearings vs. Ball Bearings
The journal bearing has long been the brawn of the turbocharger, however a ball-bearing cartridge is now an affordable technology advancement that provides significant performance improvements to the turbocharger.

Ball bearing innovation began as a result of work with the Garrett Motorsports group for several racing series where it received the term the ‘cartridge ball bearing’. The cartridge is a single sleeve system that contains a set of angular contact ball bearings on either end, whereas the traditional bearing system contains a set of journal bearings and a thrust bearing

Journal Bearings

Ball Bearings

Turbo Response – When driving a vehicle with the cartridge ball bearing turbocharger, you will find exceptionally crisp and strong throttle response. Garrett Ball Bearing turbochargers spool up 15% faster than traditional journal bearings. This produces an improved response that can be converted to quicker 0-60 mph speed. In fact, some professional drivers of Garrett ball-bearing turbocharged engines report that they feel like they are driving a big, normally aspirated engine.

Tests run on CART turbos have shown that ball-bearings have up to half of the power consumption of traditional bearings. The result is faster time to boost which translates into better drivability and acceleration.

On-engine performance is also better in the steady-state for the Garrett Cartridge Ball Bearing

Reduced Oil Flow – The ball bearing design reduces the required amount of oil required to provide adequate lubrication. This lower oil volume reduces the chance for seal leakage. Also, the ball bearing is more tolerant of marginal lube conditions, and diminishes the possibility of turbocharger failure on engine shut down.

Improved Rotordynamics and Durability – The ball bearing cartridge gives better damping and control over shaft motion, allowing enhanced reliability for both everyday and extreme driving conditions. In addition, the opposed angular contact bearing cartridge eliminates the need for the thrust bearing commonly a weak link in the turbo bearing system.

Competitor Ball Bearing Options – Another option one will find is a hybrid ball bearing. This consists of replacing only the compressor side journal bearing with a single angular contact ball bearing. Since the single bearing can only take thrust in one direction, a thrust bearing is still necessary and drag in the turbine side journal bearing is unchanged. With the Garrett ball bearing cartridge the rotor-group is entirely supported by the ball bearings, maximizing efficiency, performance, and durability.

Ball Bearings in Original Equipment – Pumping up the MAZDASPEED ProtegĂ©’s heart rate is a Garrett T25 turbocharger system. With Garrett technology on board, the vehicle gains increased acceleration without sacrificing overall efficiency and it has received many rave reviews from the world’s top automotive press for it’s unprecedented performance.

First Drive: 2009 Infiniti FX

Quilted leather meets 390 stampeding horses.
By Evan Griffey of MSN autos

Niche vehicles are usually the result of combining two opposites to create an intriguing juxtaposition. For instance, fusing luxury and performance joins plush leather and burled wood with a heavy dose of horsepower and a stout suspension. The intrigue arrives because luxury translates into more weight while performance demands an absence of weight. The 2009 Infiniti FX is focused on this classic combination, but wraps it all in the versatile sheet metal of an SUV.

Model Lineup
The 2009 Infiniti FX takes the Luxury/Performance crossover SUV niche to new heights. The latest FX is endowed with a sleek, clean-sheet exterior, two new hard-hitting powerplants, the aforementioned plush leather and burled wood, and an array of technoid gadgetry that addresses comfort, safety and convenience. Three models anchor the FX lineup. A V6 powers the rear-wheel-drive FX35 and all-wheel-drive (AWD) FX35, and a new V8 and AWD motivates the top-of-the-line FX50.

Infiniti offers an array of option packages to help personalize the FX. The Premium package (standard on the FX50, optional on FX35), consists of climate-controlled front seats, a quilted leather interior, Bluetooth connectivity, an iPod interface, paddle shifters, and additional convenience items. The Nav package (also standard on the FX50) requires the Premium package to be eligible for use on the FX35.

Optional on both models is the Technology package, which features Infiniti’s Lane Departure Prevention system, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist and Intelligent Brake Assist. In-car DVD is available on FX’s outfitted with the Technology package. The FX35’s Deluxe Touring package adds 20-inch rolling stock, adaptive front lights and burled wood trim.

The FX50-specific option lineup is topped by the Sport package that delivers Infiniti’s Continuous Damping Control (CDC) suspension, rear active steering, sporty seats and a number of other goodies. The FX50 rolls on 21-inch wheels and tires, with high-performance summer tires an option to the standard all-season offerings.

Under the Hood
Even the entry-level FX35 is poised to pound the pavement. With 303 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, the FX35’s V6 is a 25-horse improvement over last year’s version. The new 3.5-liter DOHC V6 employs Infiniti’s Variable Valve Event & Lift (VVEL) system that alters timing on the intake cams, netting 16/23 (city/hwy) fuel economy , and 16/21 in AWD trim.

The 5.0-liter V8 in the FX50 pumps out a prodigious 390 horsepower and an impressive 369 lb-ft of torque. This represents a substantial 70-horsepower and 34-lb-ft gain over last year’s FX45. The V8 features a DOHC valvetrain with Infiniti’s VVEL phasing on both the intake and exhaust cams, which results in a linear power delivery and 14 city / 20 hwy fuel economy.

The FX’s smooth, sure-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission is the unheralded star in this thrilling automotive production. An all-new gearbox, the seven-speed’s Adaptive Shift Control uses detailed algorithms to initiate the proper shift at the proper moment. This translates into no sudden downshifts at critical points in a corner. For those who want to pick shift timing for themselves, the transmission can be ordered with column-mounted paddle shifters.

Inner Space
The FX provides supportive seats, wide door panels and a well-cushioned center console, allowing occupants to nestle into a comfortable position, primed for long-distance cruising. Outward visibility is good and the interior is quiet, transferring little wind, road or engine noise into the cabin.

The steering wheel is sports-car small, and the magnesium paddle shifters are mounted to the column, not the wheel. We found this placement excellent even for mid-corner shifts.

On the Road
The FX produces impressive grip by any standard. Diving into turns makes it easy to forget all the practicality that an SUV body style represents. The FX claws at corners, with no squealing tires, just a scrubbing sound that seems to say, “Bring it on.”

While carving apexes, the Lane Departure Prevention system quickly becomes annoying with its disapproving beeps. But the system is easily silenced by an on/off button, permitting the driver to focus on the next set of curves. The most surprising part of our drive came as we exited the vehicle and realized we were in a standard-suspension FX50, making us wonder what kind of madness lurks in the FX50 Sport.

Body roll was not as pronounced as we were expecting, considering the FX50’s hefty 4575-pound curb weight. Ride quality, long a performance/luxury compromise, was up to luxury specs, which is impressive considering we were rolling on the 21-inch (265/45-21) summer tires. When not running through the many gears at full throttle, the FX is an extremely competent cruiser.

Right for You?
The performance/luxury SUV segment is a narrow niche for sure, but it does bring together an intoxicating mix of ingredients. The FX puts the fun in functional. Pricing for the 2009 FX35 starts at $40,950. The FX50 sticker begins at $56,700, which is an expensive date but you will get lucky, especially if you have a twisty commute.

Evan Griffey served as an editor of Turbo & High Tech Performance, a pioneering publication about sport-compact tuning. Today Griffey freelances for Import Tuner, Sport Compact Car, Car Audio and Siphon.

First Drive: 2009 Subaru Forester

Sized right for many, Subie's small SUV gets sleeker and refined.
By Evan Griffey of MSN autos

Small SUVs often ferry people and run errands around town during the week, then hunker down and bounce around the countryside on weekends. With its newly developed DC3 chassis, all-new double wishbone rear suspension and Subaru's famous Symmetrical all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, the Forester rises to this challenge without hesitation. Far from a brute, the Forester provides a quiet, comfortable and refined atmosphere with thoughtful amenities and loads of cargo space.

Trim Choices
More of a wagon when it hit the scene in 1997, the third-generation Forester is all SUV. For 2009 the five-door hatch gets a clean-sheet restyle and an all-new chassis and suspension. The nip-tuck job creates a more truck-like appearance, and slimmer front and rear fascias might reduce the drama of any soft-road adventures.

The Forester is available in five trims: 2.5X, 2.5X Premium, 2.5X L.L. Bean, 2.5XT, and 2.5XT Limited. The big difference is X trims rely on a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder "boxer" (horizontally opposed) engine, while XTs get a turbocharged version of this same mill.

Under the Hood
The base engine is rated at 170 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 170 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. The 2.5-liter four features Subaru's i-Active variable valve lift system, sequential electronic fuel injection and is PZEV emission certified. Fuel economy is rated at 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway.

The turbocharged powerplant gets a heartier engine block and Subaru's more advanced Active Valve Control System (AVCS). The turbo XT pumps out 224 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 226 lb-ft of torque at 2800 rpm, and checks in with a 19/24 city/highway mpg rating.

Transmission choice affects the type of AWD system offered in the Forester. Vehicles with five-speed manual gearboxes get a continuous AWD system with a viscous-coupling center differential. Foresters with a four-speed auto are outfitted with an active version of Subaru's all-wheel drive, which features an electronically managed, continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch to send power fore or aft.

Inner Space
The Forester cabin with its clean lines, secure seats, Spartan use of control knobs, and a first-rate gauge cluster is welcoming and comfortable. The Forester driving experience is all about vision. Forward, rearward and to the sides, Subaru has ensured maximum visibility, which translates into a safer, more confident commute.

Among the creature comforts, we were keen on the center console storage bin that features a clever removable section allowing the storage of oversize items. The design of the rear seats, which are rounded at their ends to induce easy entry and exit, also get a thumb's up. Further, the 60/40 split-folding rear seats can be reclined for maximum comfort.

Cargo space is a bone of contention with carmakers, because the SAE measurements don't take the shape of the area into account, meaning the usefulness of vehicle is not reflected in the numbers. Subaru has artfully tucked the '09 Forester's inner-fender wells to enhance capacity, and a back-to-back 'load-off' with its main rivals highlighted the functional shape of the Forester's cargo space.

With an effective driveline and stout underpinnings, the Forester easily conquers washed-out fire roads. The suspension pitches enthusiastically to absorb ruts but transfers comparatively little harshness into the cabin.

On the street — where it will spend a vast majority of its time — the Forester proves an excellent dance partner. The Subaru tracks corners well but possesses a bit too much initial sway in the chassis. A slightly soft suspension is often the compromise between off-road and on-road dynamics.

The 170-horsepower engine propels the X trims admirably in most situations. But when asked for immediate passing power, the base engine seems to reach out of its comfort zone. The turbocharged XT is an entirely different story, providing a much more responsive driving experience and an authoritative demeanor with instantly available torque.

Right for You?
Surefooted in dirt and snow and steady-handed for the daily grind, the Forester is a well-rounded vehicle endowed with Subaru's two star attractions — its Symmetrical AWD system and its turbocharged boxer engine. The base X starts at $19,995, and the model line tops out with the XT Limited at $28,195. This wide spread of prices should put the Forester in play for a large range of buyers.

Evan Griffey served as an editor of Turbo & High Tech Performance, a pioneering publication about sport-compact tuning. Today Griffey freelances for Import Tuner, Sport Compact Car, Car Audio and Siphon.

First Drive: 2009 Acura TSX

A stiffer, quicker and hipper upgrade to the good life.
By Tom Wilson of MSN autos

What to wear when you’re up and coming? If it’s automotive fashion, Acura’s TSX sports sedan is a chic pick. Natty. Lean. Electronically savvy. Zippy and with a nod to the environment, the TSX impresses the boss and pleases the performance soul without bragging or brawling. Acura’s carefully rendered second generation TSX retains all the performance while adding better handling, electronics and sophistication.

Model Lineup
Because a sports sedan’s lot in life is well-defined, the 4-door-only TSX is optimized with a single 4-cylinder powertrain and pleasantly taut suspension. Additionally, as a premium brand Acura sells only well-equipped vehicles, so the TSX boasts an impressive list of standard features. In fact there is only one major option, the Technology Package. It groups the audio upgrade with a voice-activated navigation, traffic, weather and rearview camera system.

Aside from the Technology Package, TSX buyers need to choose between the equally priced manual or optional automatic transmissions — a surprisingly close choice as we’ll see. Another is to run with the standard 17 x 7.5-inch 5-spoke aluminum alloy wheels and P225/50R-17 all-season Michelin Pilot tires, or opt for the 18-inch wheel upgrade.

Don’t worry if the Technology Package is out of reach. Standard audio is a 7-speaker sound system with CD, XM radio, Bluetooth for hands-free connectivity, MP3 and USB music interfaces. HomeLink remote control is also standard, as is a power moonroof, heated leather seating, HID headlights, fog lights, heated side mirrors, plus front, side and curtain airbags. Base TSXs really aren’t.

Under the Hood
Defining the TSX’s lean personality is its tuned version of parent company Honda’s 2.4-liter DOHC 4-cylinder engine. Designed to rev, the TSX mill whips out 201 hp at 7000 rpm and 170 lb- ft of torque at 4300 rpm when coupled with the 6-speed manual transmission, or 172 lb- ft at 4400 rpm with the 5-speed automatic. To keep the TSX lithely responsive there is no V6 option.

That’s no loss, since the 4-cylinder’s sophistication and light weight make a formidable combo. A die-cast aluminum block with iron liners and dual balance shafts is just the beginning. Breathing is via 4-valves per cylinder, optimized by variable valve lift, duration, and intake-cam timing. For 2009 the intake tract has been enlarged and the compression ratio raised to a sporting 11.0:1. The only downside is a premium-fuel requirement.

It’s worth noting the automatic transmission offers paddle shifting and actually nips the manual gearbox in fuel mileage ratings. The EPA says the manual gearbox box scores 20/28 mpg (city/hwy), while the automatic is rated at 21/30. A lower final drive ratio for the manual (4.764 vs. 4.438:1) is the likely culprit.

Inner Space
Acura says the TSX cockpit blends, “luxury, performance and technology in equal measure” and it’s a pretty apt description. Polished aluminum and leather mingle with a mix of digital and analog instruments to form an inviting, comfortable driving space with a high-tech vibe. Standard features abound, from comfort items such as heated seats to techy 12-volt and USB interfaces. Sporting aids include well-placed paddle shifters and dead pedal.

Increased shoulder room, freshened instrument graphics and a thicker, leather-wrapped steering wheel represent some of the detail improvements, but the major upgrades are in the optional Technology Package’s electronic aids. Three interior colors — Ebony, Taupe and Parchment — are offered.

On the Road
Slashing through mountain curves confirms Acura’s strengthening of the TSX’s body shell. This was accomplished via a cross-braced roof, replacement of bolted body junctions with welding, and more high-strength steel. The A-arm front and multi-link rear suspension — along with the subframes to which they attach — are both more rigid and better isolated from the cabin for reduced road noise.

Another improvement is the electrically assisted power steering. It gives intuitive feel and quick response, greatly aided by the inherently light 4-cylinder engine sitting atop the front axle.

As a sports sedan with luxury intentions, the TSX deftly walks a narrow line between handling and a plush ride. New dual-mode shocks seem to do an especially good job soaking up sharp impacts. The latest TSX corners a pinch flatter, with more accurate steering, yet rides at least as well as the earlier-generation TSX.

The new TSX’s underhood personality remains willingly revvy, but is considerably smoother and slightly meatier in the mid-range. The old car’s distinctive jump in power at very high rpm is gone, replaced by a silky tear up to redline. Combined with the chassis’s increased accuracy, the TSX is a thrill to whip through tight turns, yet relaxing on straight stretches.

We sampled both the manual and automatic transmission and couldn’t decide which we enjoyed more. Urban commuters can opt for paddle shifting knowing they aren’t giving up a hint of performance; in fact the automatic feels faster than the manual. Of course, the manual-transmission buyer maximizes the interaction and total control of conventional shifting.

Our final powertrain thought is that the TSX is not really any faster than before — but it didn’t need to be. It is more refined, however, and now gets up to 2 mpg better mileage.

Right for You?
If the $29,000 to $35,000 pricing is within reach, the thought of buying premium gasoline doesn’t deter, and a shot of agile performance makes your everyday driving more fun, then you’ll enjoy the TSX. There are many sport sedan choices in this price range, including the more conservative BMW 3-Series or the turbo-powered Volvo S40. But the TSX’s balanced platform and welterweight personality give it an important place in the hot sedan universe.

Longtime Road & Track contributor Tom Wilson’s credits include local racing championships, three technical engine books and hundreds of freelance articles.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

2010 Chevrolet Camaro Photo Gallery - Wallpaper

Photography by Wesley AllisonArticle file under