Wings Of DeZir

Wings Of DeZir


Issue 16 ● August 2010


Wings of DeZir

Renault gets sexy for the Paris motor show

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Issue 16 ● August 2010


Achtung Baby

A1 hatch delivers a grown-up driving

experience in Audi’s smallest bundle

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Rouge awakening

New design chief sparks Renault into

action with scissor-door concept

Gallic symbols

Peugeot combines 407 and 607

to create a new 508 large car family

Assault with a battery

All-electric AMG-built Mercedes SLS supercar prototype emerges





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\\ Renault DeZir

Rouge awakening

New design chief sparks Renault into

action with scissor-door concept


FORMER Mazda design chief Laurens

van den Acker appears to have wasted

little of his short time at Renault, where

he has overseen the development of this stunning

new mid-engine scissor-door coupe concept.

While Mazda itself is expected to reveal its

future styling direction under new design boss

Ikuo Maeda in Milan in late-August, Mr van

den Acker’s breathtaking new DeZir will herald

the French firm’s latest design language a month

later at the Paris motor show on September 30.

At just 4225mm long, an expansive 1986mm

wide and only 1163mm high, the DeZir – a

play on the word desire, in case you missed it

– is almost 100mm lower than an Audi R8 and

slightly shorter than the Megane coupe, which

will head a gaggle of new third-generation

Megane models from Renault in Australia

around October.

Naturally, the low-slung coupe concept,

which could enter production as Renault’s

answer to the stylish RCZ coupe from its

French arch-rival Peugeot, is powered by an

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Gaul-wing doors: The eye-catching DeZir

features a Kevlar body with scissor-lift doors.

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advanced electric drive system, in this

case comprising a mid/rear-mounted

electric synchronous motor from

Renault’s upcoming production EVs.

Upgraded to output 110kW of power

and 226Nm of torque, the drive motor

is powered by a 24kWh lithium-ion

battery, mounted vertically behind the

single bench seat, which is cooled

by bodyside air scoops and can

allegedly be fast-charged to 80 per

cent capacity in just 20 minutes.

Renault says the rear-wheel drive

DeZir, which is based on a tubular

steel frame and has a kerb weight of

just 830kg, offers a zero-emissions

driving range of about 160km, a top

speed of 180km/h and can accelerate

to 100km/h in only five seconds.

Wrapped in Kevlar bodywork that

gives the car an aerodynamic drag

coefficient figure of only 0.25Cd, the

DeZir rides on massive 21-inch wheels

with 245/35-section Michelin tyres.

It’s also said to feature a brake energy

regeneration system and an active


Renault also says it has been

working with acoustics experts

IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et

Coordination Acoustique/Musique)

to develop a computer-generated

soundtrack for the all-electric coupe

to compensate for the lack of a

traditional engine exhaust note.

Exactly how much, if any, of the

edgy two-door showcar, which features

rear-hinged scissor doors that open

outwards and upwards at the same

time, reaches production is unknown,

but Renault says the DeZir’s front-end

design “previews the new front-end



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prevailing conditions and your vehicle’s equipment, condition and use. MIT3931

French style: Renault’s latest concept

car looks good from every angle.

identity that is poised to become a feature of

all Renault models in the future”.

The next-generation Clio is expected to

be the first new Renault model to take on

van den Acker’s new frontal design theme –

including the DeZir’s new ‘eyelid’ headlights

and oversized Renault logo, which aim

to prove Renault’s “commitment to more

emotional styling”.

Inside the two-passenger DeZir is a single

bench seat bearing Renault graphics, which

could also become future Renault cabin

themes, plus contrasting white leather and red

lacquer surfaces, a ‘floating’ ambient lighting

system and central colour touch-screen.

Some European reports have speculated

that, because the DeZir was produced in the

same Dieppe factory in France where Renault

previously produced vehicles for its Alpine

sub-brand – and uses similar construction

techniques and double wishbone suspension

architecture to Renault’s Megane Trophy

racecar – it could preview the return of a newgeneration

Alpine roadster.

Renault says the DeZir demonstrates that

“electric vehicles and a love of cars are by no

means incompatible”.

DeZir is a statement of our new formal

design language which conveys notions such

as movement, sensuality and emotion through

ideal proportions, in much the same way as

an object whose forms have been honed by

nature,” said Renault’s director of concept car

and show car design Axel Breun.

“The result is a warm, stimulating design


that says ‘Renault’.”

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\\ Mercedes-AMG SLS E-Cell

Assault with a battery

All-electric AMG-built Mercedes

SLS supercar prototype emerges


MERCEDES-BENZ is working

towards a 2013 market introduction

for this incredible all-electric

version of its SLS AMG supercar.

Dubbed the E-Cell, the eco version of the

latest-generation gullwing is being developed

under the ‘AMG Performance 2015’ strategy.

In April, Mercedes-AMG chief Volker

Mornhinweg – who has since moved on to

become the head of Mercedes’ vans unit –

told us that it was preparing to show the all-

electric supercar in near-production form as

engineering and development work continued

full-steam ahead, with a full production version

expected on sale in 2013.

Now, the German performance division

has obliged, revealing the SLS AMG E-Cell

in working prototype form – and finished in

unique fluorescent ‘AMG lumilectric magno’


“The gullwing offers the prospect of a

possible small series production run and at

the same time reflects the innovative strength

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Winged warrior: The AMG supercar features gullwing doors

and a rear spoiler that rises automatically at speed.

and development competence of the AMG

performance brand,” the company said.

Mr Mornhinweg’s replacement, Ola

Kaellenius, added: “It is our goal to continually

reduce the fuel consumption and emissions of

new models in the coming years, while at the

same time enhancing the core brand value of


Mercedes-Benz will begin its SLS-based

model rollout in Australia this month as first

deliveries of the $464,000 conventionalengined

SLS arrive here, satisfying an order

bank that has already almost exhausted the

2010 allocation of 70 cars. Mercedes-Benz

Australia/Pacific has advised that a similar

allocation is expected for 2011.

The first model designed completely inhouse

by the AMG division, the SLS is also

still expected to spawn a convertible, while a

smaller derivative dubbed the ‘baby SLS’ is

widely anticipated to enter production around

2013, without the gullwing doors.

The regular SLS is powered by a

420kW/650Nm dry-sump version of AMG’s

exclusive 6.2-litre V8, which drives the rear

wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch

automated manual transaxle. It propels the

super-coupe from 0-100km/h in a claimed 3.8

seconds, on its way to a top speed of 317km/h.

The zero-emissions E-Cell, on the other

hand, uses four electric motors positioned near

the wheels, with one transmission per axle

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Flouro green: As well as loud paintwork, the

E-Cell features an all-electric powertrain.

transmitting the power. The combined peak

power output is, as outlined at the Frankfurt motor

show last year, 392kW while maximum torque is

880Nm, “available virtually from a standstill”.

Acceleration from 0-100km/h takes 4.0

seconds – just shy of the regular model – and

Mercedes promises no interruption of tractive

power with the spontaneous torque build-up

and “confident power delivery”.

Driving dynamics are also “guaranteed” to

be “at the highest level” with the all-wheel

drive arrangement.

The liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack

is described as a modular unit with an energy

content of 48kWh and capacity of 40Ah. The

battery unit comprises 324 lithium-ion polymer

cells, which have a maximum electric load

capacity of 480kW – said to be the “absolute

best value in the automotive sector”.

In order to optimise weight distribution and

keep the centre of gravity low, battery modules

are located in various locations, including in

front of the firewall, in the centre tunnel and

behind the seats.

The other feature Mercedes highlights is the

“intelligent” parallel circuit of the individual

battery modules, which is said to maximise

the safety, reliability and service life of the

400-volt battery. A brake energy recuperation

function helps recharge the electric SLS while

it is being driven.

While the electric drive components

required no changes to the SLS’s aluminium

spaceframe, the addition of drive to the front

wheels has seen the front axle redesigned.

Rather than stick with the double-wishbone

front axle, Mercedes-AMG engineers have

installed a multi-link suspension with pushrod

damper struts. The damper struts are also now

horizontally arranged, rather than vertically, to

make way for the additional drive-shafts.

Other mechanical variations include the

employment of electro-hydraulic power

assistance – rather than just hydraulic – for

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Power electronics

High-voltage batteries

Push-rod strut

Power electronics

Electric motors/


the rack-and-pinion steering gear, while

electronic systems such as ABS and ESC have

been recalibrated to match the full-time 4WD


Like the regular SLS, braking hardware on

the E-Cell includes AMG ceramic composite

brakes, with the rotors measuring 402x39mm

up front and 360x32mm at the rear.

The AMG light-alloy wheels feature a new

smooth-surfaced design, although the spec

remains at 9.5x19 inch (front) and 11.0x20inch

(rear), with 265/35 R19 and 295/30 R20

tyres at the front and rear respectively.

The exterior on the E-Cell prototype carries

a number of modifications, such as redesigned

full-LED headlights (with integrated daytime

running lights) which require less power

than the regular bi-Xenon system used on the

standard SLS.

The grille has transverse slats instead of

a diamond pattern, and the air outlets on the

bonnet and vehicle sides have been modified

for enhanced aerodynamics.





Electric motors/


The front apron has also been brought

forward to improve air resistance while

reducing downforce. Complementing this is an

extendable front splitter, which in parallel with

the automatic rear spoiler extends downwards

by 7cm at speeds above 120km/h.

With no exhaust system, the rear diffuser

is more steeply angled to provide extra

aerodynamic downforce at the rear axle.

All trim and detachable parts are finished in

matt black compared with the chrome or silver

shadow on the regular SLS.

Inside, the instrument cluster and centre

console have been reworked to accommodate

additional information required with an EV,

such as battery charge status. The dash stack

houses a 25cm touch-screen, which can be

used to obtain information on the flow of power

from the four electric motors, along with audio,

climate and navigation functions.

The E-Cell also features a unique black-andwhite

nappa leather colour combination that is


used throughout the cabin.

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\\ Audi A1

Achtung Baby

A1 hatch delivers a grown-up driving

experience in Audi’s smallest bundle


CENTRAL Berlin was designed to

intimidate the observer, with buildings

built to a giant scale against which

Audi’s A1 should feel more toy than serious

car. But this new three-door entry hatch is

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serious for Audi, which aimed for a vehicle

that could be fun, yet elegant and mature.

The result is a sculptural form that looks

both good on the road and bigger than its

actual dimensions, thanks to a widish track

and statement Audi design cues.

In Europe, it launches with four engines, but

Australia will start with two: the 90kW/230Nm

1.4-litre TFSI petrol linked to the six-speed

manual or the seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch

transmission as fitted to sporting VW Sciroccos

and Audi’s TT S, or the 66kW/230Nm 1.6-litre

TDI diesel that gets the same S Tronic or a

five-speed manual.

Both have idle/stop, so the engine turns off

when the car is stopped, and a recuperation

system that diverts braking energy to the






10 /14

The petrol 1.4 – sampled with the ultra-efficient

auto – soon proved our favourite, capable both of

frugal cruising and joyous rushes of acceleration,

further honed by selecting ‘sport’ mode.

Audi says these cars are the lightest premium

models on the market – the entry-level A1 tips

the scales at 1040kg – and it will pull from the

1500rpm, when the torque peak arrives, until

4000rpm, where it drops off. It claims 5.3l/100km

fuel economy.

Initial impressions suggest the A1 will be a

rewarding drive. It is based on a variation of the VW

Polo platform but with a wider track and a different

suspension tune. There was little discernible body

roll and a hint of understeer, while the steering

feels direct and precise.

Audi does not pitch A1 directly against the more

sporting Minis, but the handling feels sufficiently

assured to have us looking forward to a date with a

more sinuous stretch of road than we were afforded

in Germany.

As for the 1.6 diesel, it performed well enough

with the manual, but was lazy at low revs and

required a brisk throttle attack before reaching

the livelier response zone above 1700rpm.

Perhaps because of our vigorous approach, we

could not match Audi’s 3.9l/100km consumption

claim, but still achieved an impressive

4.2l/100km over a mixed bag of 120km/h

motorway cruising and central Berlin’s

evening gridlock.

Fortunately, the car is agile round town

and all-round visibility is excellent for the


Shorter rear passengers may regret the

high waistline, but they are not secondclass

citizens in other respects. The two

seats divided by a double cupholder and

cubby deliver sufficient elbow room and

reasonable head room. Entry and egress is

reasonable via the wide front doors.

Audi is covering its bases with a wide range

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of option packs and colour and trim choices

that range from sensible to eccentric. The

smart exterior can be matched with an almost

equally ascetic interior that oozes quality,

with fine finishes and thoughtful design,

or a bit of cheek can be injected via quirky

colour choices.

Product manager Lars Adler said the inset

colour options available at launch would

change over time to help keep the car current.

Audi says up to 800 exterior configurations

are possible, but the contrast curve from

A to C-pillar is only available in certain


Final Australian spec has still to be settled,

but there’s good news for those rendered uneasy

by the lack of a spare wheel in European cars.

Mr Adler said Australia is among markets that

can get cars with a spare, provided they are

ordered this way from the factory.

Gadget geeks can opt for the MMI

navigation plus with a fold-out monitor,

20GB of memory that will even allow you to

download CD cover art, Bluetooth for phone

and audio devices and more.

We loved the sports seats that will be

standard for Australia, along with the 270-litre

boot’s versatility, with elastic straps and tiedown


The rear seats split-fold for a flat load floor

and 920 litres of space to the roof line. A

squarer back would have supplied more, but

was sacrificed to the elegant lines.

Audi seems to have managed the difficult

juggling trick of imparting Audi elegance

and refinement in a small car, with enough

personality in the cabin and options to keep a


wide range of customers happy.





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\\ Peugeot 508

Gallic symbols

Peugeot combines 407 and 607 to

create a new 508 large car family


PEUGEOT has unveiled the production

version of its new-generation 508, its

new large car family that replaces both

the 407 mid-sizer and the larger 607.

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To be officially unveiled at the Paris motor

show in September, the final product remains

faithful to the ‘5 by Peugeot’ concept shown

at Geneva in March and is now due on sale

in Australia next year in both sedan and SW

station wagon body styles.

A Peugeot Automobiles Australia

spokesperson has confirmed that a thirdquarter

release is likely, with a range of

petrol and diesel engines expected, the latter

including PSA Peugeot-Citroen’s new e-HDi

engine idle-stop technology.

Further down the track, the company’s

Hybrid4 diesel-electric all-wheel-drive system

will be employed.





13 /14

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JAGUAR Australia has introduced a sub-$100,000

version of its XF saloon, lopping $12,000 and some

features from its popular mid-sizer to bring the new

entry model into showrooms at $93,900.

Alfa Romeo MiTo


ALFA ROMEO’S hottest MiTo hatch, the

Quadrifoglio, has arrived in Australia armed with

parent company Fiat’s innovative MultiAir engine

technology and active suspension.


HYUNDAI has upped the ante in the entry-level

light-car market with its new i20, which sits above

the cheaper and older Hyundai Getz. The Indianmade

i20 hatch is the first of two new light cars that

Hyundai is throwing into the ring, with another to

follow next year.


The Family Guise: Wagon version

emphasises the 508’s smooth styling.

The ‘5 by Peugeot’ was shown with Hybrid4

technology seen in the diesel-electric 3008

– that is, a front-mounted 122kW 2.0-litre

HDi FAP diesel engine and a rear-mounted

28kW electric motor. As well as all-wheel

drive, the arrangement hands the vehicle a

peak output of 150kW and a sub-100g/km

CO2 emissions rating.

These power and CO2 output figures have

also been confirmed for the production

hybrid 508.

The sleek and heavily sculpted 508 carries

Peugeot’s latest design ethos – first introduced

on the SR1 concept car – and is considered

a crucial model in expanding the French

manufacturer’s sales in fast-growing markets

such as China while remaining relevant in

Europe and other traditional strongholds.

It is based on the PSA Group’s Platform 3

(which underpins the 407 and the Citroen C5/

C6) and has arrived in sedan form with an overall

length of 4790mm – about 100mm longer than

the 407 but some 80mm shorter than the 607

(which was discontinued in Australia two years

ago). The wagon version will be 4810mm long.

Production commences in early 2011 and

will be split between China and France, with

the source for Australian models still to be

confirmed. While PAA said negotiations

were continuing, the Rennes factory in

France is expected to supply Australian-spec


In a statement, Peugeot said the 507

combined “a stylish and strong design with

cutting-edge technology”.

“Quality, purity and efficiency have been

the watchwords that have guided the Peugeot

designers and engineers during the creation of

the 508,” the company said.

“The stylish exterior design is elegant and

timeless and full of ‘French chic’, equally at

home in Paris or London.

“The interior of the car combines hitech

with the use of high quality materials

and every detail has been chosen to offer

indisputable perceived quality, both visually

and to the touch. An exceptional interior space,

a very generous boot, and a level of standard

specification provide interior comfort and

convenience of a very high level.” MOTOR

r H 4 14 /14



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