Auto innovations 2005

The Paris Mondial de l’Automobile auto show (25 September to 10 October) has begun in style with the 2005 Car of the Year. Of the numerous novelties, we chose a few stand-outs that illustrate the increasing trend towards multiformity. While renowned automakers are opting for unusual paths, others try to create at least a semblance of originality.

Renault Modus

The Renault Modus, a four-door, 3.79 meter-long, 1.59 meter-tall family MPV-style car is outstanding for its attractive design and clever interior space. The original arrangement of the rear seats allows their sliding to the rear and sufficient resulting space for four adult travelers, and they can be slid forward and widened to accomodate three children. The luggage space ranges from 198 liters to 274 l, and with the rear seats folded down there is room for 1,283 l. The lift-up rear hatch of the body can be fitted with an optional cover that can be pulled away in very cramped conditions. Passenger safety is borne out by the fact that the Modus is the first small car ever to earn the highest rating – five stars – in crash tests by the independent consortium Euro NCAP. The Modus comes with 1.2-l and 1.4-l gasoline engines (75 hp/55 kW and 100 hp/72 kW), as well as a 1.5 dCi turbodiesel tuned to either 65 hp/48 kW or 80 hp/60 kW, and all models come with a five-speed manual gearbox.Peugeot 1007

Here comes the Peugeot 1007, with its new double-O designation and unusual proportions. The most original element of this 3.73 meter-long, 1.61 meter-tall car is its electric doors that slide towards the rear and facilitate boarding and deboarding in crowded parking lots, for example. Of course the sliding electric doors have safety devices preventing the crushing of passengers’ bodies or cargo. The Peugeot 1007 offers a variable interior for four travelers, and the separate rear seats can be not only folded down but also moved along the axis of the car. According to their positions, the luggage compartment can handle from 178 to 364 liters. The Peugeot 1007 comes with 1.4-l and 1.6-l gasoline engines (75 hp/54 kW and 110 hp/80 kW) the latter with the “2 Tronic” automatic transmission as standard equipment, allowing fully automatic operation or sequential shifting, while it is optional equipment on the former. The economical 1.4-l HDi turbodiesel (70 hp/50 kW) will be available only with a five-speed manual transmission. Ford Focus

After six years and over four million cars sold, the second generation Ford Focus is now on the market, a handsome, 4.34 meter-long three-door or a five-door hatchback, and a width of 1.84 meters that puts it into competition with the next-larger class. Compared to its predecessor, it offers a more spacious interior and 385 l of luggage space that can be expanded to 1,245 liters with the rear seats folded down. The chassis, with its wheelbase extended to 2.64 meters and its widened track, features multi-element rear suspension, and the brakes with mass-produced ABS, is supplemented by the ADAM (Advanced Dynamic Aid Mechanical) system, which guarantees optimal braking effect in crisis situations. Available are four-cylinder gasoline engines displacing 1.4-l, 1.6-l, and 2.0-l that put out 80 to 145 hp (59 to 107 kW), and two TDCi turbodiesels, 1.6-l and 2.0-l, delivering 109 and 136 hp (81 and 100 kW). The more powerful turbodiesel comes with a six-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, and the 1.6-l engines can be mated to automatic transmissions.Seat Toledo

The new Seat Toledo is an unusual combination of a single-space vehicle and a classic sedan. The front and middle parts of the body were taken from the Altea type, but the unusually shaped extended rear hides a larger luggage space with a capacity of 500 liters. It boasts variably arranged rear seats, but also Bluetooth technology for wireless mobile phone connections, thanks to which the driver controls all of the calling and information receiving functions with buttons on the steering wheel. The Toledo is 4.50 meters long and 1.57 meters tall, with its attractive body hiding a chassis similar to that of the fifth-generation Volkswagen Golf, with the ESP electronic stabilization system, TCS traction system, and EBA braking assistance. The 1.6-l and 2.0 FSI gasoline engines turn out 102 and 150 hp (75 and 110 kW), and the 1.9-l TDI and 2.0 TDI turbodiesels are tuned to 105 and 140 hp (77 and 103 kW). The two-liter engines come with six-speed transmissions, manual or automatic, as standard equipment.Citroen C4

This is really two cars: while the 4.3 meter-long, five-door C4 hatchback is presented as a family car, the dynamically tuned C4 coupé, with its glass rear, addresses sports-minded individualists. Both cars incorporate many avant-garde elements, e.g., a fixed steering wheel center with integrated audio system controls and limited speed, or the central dashboard display, the lighting intensity of which varies according to ambient lighting conditions. The side windows of layered glass limit noise in the passenger compartment, whose atmosphere can be made more pleasant with an air freshener, complete with choice of fragrances. The self-turning bi-xenon headlights and the detector of tire pressure loss are included in the offer, along with the Afil electronic system that vibrates the seat to alert the driver to turns without the turn signals activated (i.e., unintended deviations from the lane lines). The Citroen C4 comes with five different gasoline engines with displacements of 1.4-l to 2.0-l and outputs of 90 to 180 hp (66 to 130 kW) and three turbodiesels, 1.6-l and 2.0-l, that deliver 92 to 138 hp (68 to 100 kW).Mazda 5

Joining the crowded family MPV category is the new Mazda 5, built on the chassis platform of the Ford Focus C-Max, with multi-element rear suspension and a wheelbase extended to 2.75 meters. The elegant, 4.5 meter-long Mazda 5 follows up on the MX-Flexa, which was presented this spring in Geneva. It differs from most of its competitors with its wide sliding doors on both sides and its interior 6+1 arrangement that allows up to seven travelers, or six, with extra luggage. A variable interior with flexible seats in three rows is a matter of course, and there is even a mechanism that markedly facilitates seat handling. The Mazda 5 comes with two gasoline engines and two turbodiesels, and the top of the line is powered by a 2.3-l, four-cylinder, 170 hp (126 kW) gasoline engine.Audi A4/S4

The dynamic design and distinctive radiator grille are the outer signs of the innovative Audi A4 and S4 line, in sedan and Avant stationwagon versions. The interiors of all models have gone through modifications. Under the hoods there lurk two gasoline engines – the supercharged, four-cylinder 2.0 FSI (200 hp/147 kW) and the six-cylinder, 3.2 FSI (255 hp/188 kW). Available are a 1.6-l, four-cylinder gasoline engine (102 hp/75 kW), a 2.0-l gasoline engine (130 hp/96 kW) and a supercharged version of the 1.8-l gasoline engine tuned to 163 hp/120 kW. Diesel lovers can choose between four-cylinder, 1.9-l or 2.0-l TDI turbodiesels (115 and 140 hp/85 and 103 kW), or a 2.5 TDI V6 and a new 3.0 TDI (163 and 204 hp/120 and 150 kW).
According to the model selected, these latest Audis feature front-wheel-drive or all-wheel Quattro. For sports-minded drivers, extra power is available in the S4 and S4 Avant models, with Quattro drive and 4.2 liter, V8 gasoline engines (344 hp/253 kW), boasting 0-100 km/h acceleration of 5.6 seconds and a top speed of 250 km/hBMW M5

The BMW M5 is targeted at the dream car category. It’s a supersports sedan with rear-wheel-drive, and is the first mass-produced car in the world with a ten-cylinder engine, a 5-l V10 that turns out 507 hp (373 kW) without supercharging. This engine delivers imposing torque of 520 Nm at 6100 rpm, with 450 Nm available at as little as 3500 rpm, It is mated to a seven-speed SMG transmission with the option of sequential shifting or automatic operation. The weight of the new BMW M5 doesn’t exceed 1,755 kg, so each horse carries only 3.5 kg, with an ideal front axle/rear axle load ratio of 50:50. This rapacious sedan, with an appropriately tuned chassis, runs on specially developed tires measuring 255/40 ZR 19 up front and 285/35 ZR 19 in the rear. It races from 0 to 100 km/h in under 5 seconds (and from 0 to 200 km/h in 15 seconds), and were it not electronically limited to 250 km/h it could flirt with 330 km/h.






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