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XI No.12 - Sunday November 18 - Saturday December 1, 2012


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Update by Saichon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Automania by Dr. Iain Corness
 

New Nissan GT-R supercar - zero to 100km/h in 2.7 seconds

Nissan GT-R.

Nissan has done it again. The new model GT-R is even more powerful than the previous one. Zero to 100 km/h in 2.7 seconds is neck snapping and quicker than the current (about to be phased out) GT-R which takes 2.8 seconds for the same trip!
Nissan claim the outputs for the 3.8 liter twin-turbo six cylinder are unchanged at 404 kW and 628 Nm, but they have added new high-output injectors to improve response across the rev band, a new turbo relief valve and a new oil pan.
Further improvements for the new model include increased body rigidity via reinforcements to the dash panel bar and instrument panel member and new cam bolts to the front suspension to improve camber accuracy and cornering stability.
Nissan also made adjustments to the dampers, springs and front anti-roll bar to lower the center of gravity, while the torque-carrying capacity of the driveshafts to the hub bearings has been increased to improve reliability in high-stress situations such as track driving. With 628 Nm on tap, it would not be too difficult to screw the ends off the axles!
GT-R creator Kazutoshi Mizuno said in an official launch video that Nissan aimed not just to make the GT-R faster, but also safer and more refined. “What is important for Nissan as an auto-maker is our commitment to areas such as safety,” he said.
“We not only contend that in a GT-R a normal car conversation is possible at 300 km/h on the German autobahn, or that the car can do a lap at Nurburgring in seven minutes 18 seconds, but we consider areas that other competitors don’t.”
“How do we design a car to endure a flat tyre at 300 km/h that can make it to the repair shop?’ or ‘How do we protect the passenger in case of an accident at 200 km/h?’ or ‘How do we activate the VDC (vehicle dynamics control) system at over 250km/h’?”
“Overall, besides just marketing tag lines, we need to develop technologies of trust that other manufacturers don’t. That contributes to the Nissan brand and what I want to push.”
Forget the price in Thailand, but elsewhere, the GT-R is still the performance bargain of all time.


US Suzuki in the doggy doo

Detroit News reports that Suzuki’s U.S. distribution arm has filed for bankruptcy, saying it will exit the U.S. auto market to focus on sales of motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. This will end new Suzuki automobile sales in the United States.
The company has not done well in the US, with analysts citing low margins, low-priced cars and small margins.
Suzuki sold just 2,023 vehicles last month, and in 2012, Suzuki has sold just over 21,000 new cars in the United States, a long way short of the hoped-for 200,000 vehicles a year which was proposed initially.
It should be understood that Suzuki Motor Corp. is not filing for bankruptcy, and there are plans to purchase the assets of the old company, through a new U.S. subsidiary that will retain the American Suzuki Motor Corp. brand name.
Analyst Noriyuki Matsushima at Citi Research in Tokyo said the withdrawal will be positive for earnings. “In auto development, Suzuki has already abandoned the development of large models of the sort that sell in the U.S. and is focusing resources on small, low-cost models that are popular in emerging markets,” Matsushima said. Suzuki’s struggle shows that while Japan’s leading automakers, Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., and Honda Motor Co., are tough competitors in the U.S. market, smaller carmakers, such as Suzuki and Mazda Motor Corp., are finding it hard to cope with the competition, regulatory costs and unfavorable currency rates. The yen is trading near record highs against the dollar, making it nearly impossible to make money exporting vehicles from Japan.


Nissan to invest 11 billion baht in second Thailand manufacturing base

Silly name Sylphy.

Scheduled to start production in August 2014, the new plant will support Nissan’s growth strategy in the ASEAN region. The new plant will have an initial annual production capacity of 75,000 units and will expand this up to 150,000 units.
Undoubtedly, the new Nissan Sylphy will have its main SE Asian production base there, and it is already being assembled in China. The new Sylphy has been designed as a global car, and will go on sale in 120 countries, with sales expected to hit 550,000 units annually by 2014.
Having seen one on the road, its styling was eye-catching, much more than the Almera, for example, and very much better than the ugly Tiida Latio it replaces in the C-segment.
If you are into LEDs, you get a grand total of 54 LEDs including some as day-time running lights with strips in the headlamps, wing mirrors, tail lamps and third brake light.
Those who have driven the Sylphy claim the ride is supple and the seats are comfortable, though rear headroom could be a little tight.
The new Sylphy hits the Thai market with two engines, an improved HR16DE and a new MRA8DE. The 1.6 liter engine twin C-VTC (Twin Continuously-Variable Timing Control, intake and exhaust) and a class first dual injector fuel system (better fuel spray, two nozzles per cylinder). This DOHC 16v unit turns 116 PS and 154 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Transmission is either a five-speed manual or Nissan’s Xtronic CVT.
The top of the range Sylphy has a new 1.8 liter engine paired to the CVT. This produces 131 PS and 174 Nm of torque from a low 3,600 rpm.
The suspension is the ubiquitous MacPherson struts up front and a rear torsion beam. Brakes are all discs, but the front units are ventilated.
Pricing for the Sylphy starts from B. 746,000 for the base 1.6 MT to B. 931,000 for top of the range 1.8 CVT. The base S spec model still gets dual-airbags but lacks the ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, dual-zone air con, leather, auto headlamps and steering audio/MID buttons which are options further up the range.
Top spec cars get keyless entry with boot opener and push to start button, auto fold wing mirrors, wood trim, reverse camera and a USB audio system with Bluetooth and color screen. Obviously enough to get Corolla buyers to look at this as an alternative.
But oh that dreadful name! Sylphy. What possesses them? Tiida and that was almost as bad as the Cedric of some years ago. Nissan must have a special stupid names department.


Another version of the 2-Stroke engine

Retired South African race driver and engineer Basil van Rooyen has received a special commendation from the Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia for his new take on the 2-stroke engine.
He has patented a direct-injected engine that he claims should meet the tough Euro 6 emissions standards using the 2-stroke as a constant-speed onboard generator for an extended-range hybrid vehicle.
He said it should also offer better emissions, smaller bulk and lower cost than the two-strokes that are found in the current offerings in outboard motors and recreational vehicles.
Now 73 and “retired”, Mr van Rooyen has been working on his radical two-stroke engine for four years.
He claims the new motor will eliminate the 2-stroke’s traditional drawbacks of poor emissions and vibration and finally capitalize on the advantages it has over four-strokes, being a high power to weight ratio and low production cost thanks to the elimination of the valve train.
Mr van Rooyen claims the use of unleaded petrol in a two-stroke means the engine will run as clean as a four stroke at constant speed.
So far, Mr van Rooyen has shown his design to some leading engine developers from companies such as Ilmor, Cosworth and Orbital Engine Corporation and “none has rejected its potential”.
He said his company was planning to raise $5 million in shareholder capital to pursue the development of the engine.


Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked what did the original Fiat 500 have in common with the 1961 Lincoln Continental? Clue: It’s only a quiz, so don’t contemplate suicide over this. The answer was suicide doors (front opening - rear hinge).
So to this week. This car had six wheels with 4 wheel steering and boasted 4,800 BHP from two V12 engines. What car was this?
For the Automania free beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

New Nissan GT-R supercar - zero to 100km/h in 2.7 seconds

US Suzuki in the doggy doo

Nissan to invest 11 billion baht in second Thailand manufacturing base

Another version of the 2-Stroke engine

Autotrivia Quiz

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