Archive for the ‘cars’ Category

Wednesday, February 1st 2006

Koenigsegg CCR & CC8S Desktop Wallpaper

Update: If you’re looking for wallpaper of the Koenigsegg CCX, look no further.

After having made desktop wallpaper for the new S80 yesterday, I decided to make desktop wallpaper out of some of the official Koenigsegg photographs too.

The Koenigsegg CCR is (for obvious reasons) my favourite supercar… It’s the current Guiness record holder of highest top speed among production cars, hitting 388 km/h (241 mph). It has a hyper-charged V8 kicking out 806 bhp and 920 nm. And – it’s Swedish.

The following eight photos are included in the packages:

Koenigsegg desktop wallpaper

Regular Resolutions (4:3 and 5:4)

Widescreen Resolutions (16:10)

Edit: To save some space on my server I’ve deleted some of the less common resolutions.

Wednesday, February 1st 2006

New Volvo S80 Desktop Wallpapers

New S80 photographs.

I have put together packages of desktop wallpapers of the new, good-looking Volvo S80. Each package includes the six photos above: five exterior and one interior photograph. They have all been made from the highest resolution sources available (~5000×3700) saved at highest, razor-sharp JPEG quality for your enjoyment:

Regular Resolutions (4:3 and 5:4)

Widescreen Resolutions (16:10)

Oh, by the way: Volvo – if this is illegal in any way, just let me know and I’ll pull these packs immediately.

Edit: To save some space on my server I’ve deleted some of the less common resolutions.

Saturday, January 28th 2006

New Volvo S80 Pictures Leaked!

Pictures of the new Volvo S80 seem to have leaked. Here are the individual photos. There is also an official Volvo page with some info on the upcoming models. Highlights include:

  • 4.4 litre V8 with 315 bhp, AWD and Instant Traction
  • 3.2 litre inline 6 with 235 bhp
  • Collision Warning System (…with automatic braking as a last resort)
  • Active Cruise Control (Slows you down when you get close to a car ahead of you.)
  • Active Bi-Xenon Headlights (…that follow the movements of the steering wheel.)
  • Personal Car Communicator (Shows lock status, etc.)
  • Floating Center Console
  • Keyless Drive

Well done Volvo. I like the two extra creases on the bonnet, visible in this photo. But I think they should stick a turbo on that 3.2 litre engine as well and get an engine option between 235 and 315 bhp. Amazingly, the new inline 6-cylinder engines will be more compact than the present five-cyliner. How do they do it?

Of course, there will be a nice powerful stereo to play with as well.

Update: I have information that there indeed will be a light pressure turbo 3.0 litre six with 285 bhp, as well as a normally aspirated 2.8 litre unit.

Tuesday, January 17th 2006

Avoid Volvos of Model Years 1999-2002

My parents were looking at getting a new (used) car. Being Volvo people, they started looking at S80s and V70s from around 1999 and 2000. They found one fairly quickly, a light blue S80 2.4 (140 bhp) [se], MY 2000.

Being a Volvo guy, I tend to regularly hang around VVSpy.com. I asked in the S80 forum whether anyone knew which model year was best, knowing that Ford introduced some cost-cutting measures for the car some time around 2001.

Thankfully, I was enlightened on the Volvo ETM problem (now there’s an understatement). Apparently, Volvo introduced an electronic (or fly-by-wire) throttle in all cars from model year 1999. Only, Volvo obviously had no clue how these things should be constructed, and so used a design which partly consisted of metal fingers moving over a polycarbonate surface with every move of the throttle. This infallibly leads to erratic throttle behaviour, including spontaneous accelerations and loss of power. After some time, the engine will die on you – somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 miles usually. (That’s between 80,000 and 160,000km.) Here’s a list of affected models and years.

So what?, you think. All modern cars have problems, right? Well it wouldn’t be so bad if Volvo accepted responsibility for this problem and either recalled all affected cars or repaired the part for free at first sign of a problem. (So that you wouldn’t have to experience your car dying on you while overtaking on the motorway.) But they aren’t doing that. In Sweden anyway, and the US, Volvo are replacing the part – but only if the car outputs the right error code. Thing is, this won’t happen until the ETM has broken completely and the car comes to a complete stand-still.

Ok. So you’ve had your complete brake-down, after driving around worrying for a year-and-a-half. You get the part replaced for free. Is the new one any better? No. Several reports indicate the opposite – that the replacement part is even worse, failing at around 20,000 miles/32,000km.

The best bit is this: Volvo knew, even before the first cars were sold with this design flaw, that more than 9 out of 10 ETM units would break before 100,000 miles/160,000km. Remember, we’re talking about a part which shouldn’t have to be replaced at all during the lifetime of a car. Some dealers will claim (when you want it replaced under guarantee) that this is a wear-and-tear part. However, nothing is mentioned about this in any manual…

There is (was?) a class action law suit against Volvo in the US, for having issued a secret guarantee. Volvo were replacing the part for free, but only if the customer was annoying enough. Not telling all affected owners about the free replacement is illegal.

If you want to read more about this, see Don Willson’s website. If you’d like to follow the whole investigation into the matter from the very start back in 2004, read this thread, all 37 pages of it.

As you may have understood by now, my parents changed their mind about the S80 they had looked at. When speaking to the dealer, they were very understanding and said that it’s important that you feel you’re making the right choice, etc. However, they didn’t in any way acknowledge the ETM problem. Guess they’ll just have to sell that car to someone less well informed. Well, at least, by now it won’t be you 🙂

So much for Volvo being committed to safety.

Thursday, December 22nd 2005

New Volvo S80 Looking Good

The upcoming, next-generation Volvo S80 has been caught in the nude on an off-beat road in South Africa. Looks sweet in those alloys! The front looks nice and hot, and the rear has been made alot sleeker. Sure to bring out a few sweats in Munich and Stuttgart.

The Car Connection has more details.

Apart from the good looks, it seems very likely that the S80 will get the V8 which recently was introduced in the XC90, with ~315 bhp or so. This should give it some pretty decent go, too.

Wednesday, September 28th 2005

Spyshots Of Upcoming Volvo C30

Hans G. Lehmann has done it again. This time it’s the Volvo C30 he has caught on film. The spyshots are pretty clear, even if the car is camouflaged from the door pillars and back.

The following is a computer rendering (?) of what the C30 probably will look like, by Motor Forecast:

New Volvo C30 impression

Not bad, if the real car turns out to be anything like this. (Judging from the tease Volvo released previously it probably will. Can’t find a link – sorry.)

It’s great to see Volvo expanding their model range, in both directions. (Even if it was a while since the XC90 was launched.) I just hope they can keep up with updating all these models at the required pace. The C30 is definately something I could consider as a first car, if I got a nice job. 😉 The C30 should also help them reach their target of 600,000 cars sold annually.

Monday, September 12th 2005

Volvo C70 Gets Mighty Stereos

Volvo have just released a press release with details of the stereos in the upcoming Volvo C70. The interesting stuff, of course, is the most powerful system and its specs.

The Volvo C70 Premium Sound System:

  • Digital amplifier, 5×130 W.
  • Dynaudio speakers
    • 2 centre speakers on the dashboard.
    • 3-way speakers in the front doors.
    • 2-way speakers in the back.
    • Optional 8-inch subwoofers behind the rear seats, with built-in 2×130 W digital amp.
  • Volume and tone adjusted automatically to give constant sound experience, independant of speed and whether the roof is up or down.
  • Maximum output, including subwoofers: 910 W.
  • 😀

Well. Soon we’ll have to begin measuring Volvo’s stereo’s output in horse-power too… (1 bhp = 745.7 W [US/UK] or 735.5 W [metric], which means 910 W equals roughly 1.2 bhp.)

Volvo are hoping to sell about 16,000 new C70s per year. I doubt they will have any problem reaching that target.

Thursday, August 4th 2005

Autobild Impressions of Next Generation Volvo S60

The German car magazine Autobild has made some (very good-looking) computer renderings of what they think the new Volvo S60 will look like. If the real design turns out to be anything like this, it’ll be – like, totally – sweet.

Autobild impression of the upcoming S60, seen from the front.

Autobild impression of the upcoming S60, seen from the back.

I really like the light (chrome?) lines around the side windows. Looks nice. The front is a real neck-twister, too.

Sunday, July 17th 2005

Official Shots of the New Volvo C70

Volvo have just announced the new C70, as well as publishing several photos of the cabriolet/coupé.

The new Volvo C70, seen from the front.

This is one gorgeous car if you ask me. It looks like a hot coupé with the top up and it looks like a sleek cruiser with the top down. Well done, Volvo! I especially like it from the angle above (larger version). (I have updated my little graphic at the top with the new C70.)

At a first glance, the front of this car looks almost identical to the S40. Somehow though, it feels smoother and more elegant. If you do a side by side comparison you can spot quite a few differences. Firstly, the strips on the bumper have been removed. Secondly the V-shape of the bonnet stretches all the way down under the bumper. Furthermore, the sub-bumper grille (what’s that part called?) has a smoother look and the lights, V-shape, bonnet and bumper all are more rounded than on the S40. Also, the sides of the car are quite different when you think about it.

The rear is best studied in this photo. In a previous post I was wondering where they’d stick the C70 badge, since there isn’t really room between the lights and the number plate. (That’s where the badge is on the current S40 for instance.) Turns out they’ve stuck it under the lights instead, just like (I later realized) they did on the old C70. It’s a real shame they couldn’t hide the aerial though.

Hopefully, they’ve also stuck a big whopping stereo unit in this car, just as they did in the old C70. (For those of you who haven’t got the details fresh in your memory: 4x60W and 10 Dynaudio speakers. An optional 4x100W Dolby Pro Logic system, with 13 speakers including two 9-inch subwoofers built into the rear seats.)

Edit: I just thought I’d add a few words about the engines. It sounds like the 220bhp turbo will be the top option. That’s a bit of a disappointment. Hopefully, Volvo will get to their senses and later install a 260bhp+ engine in this magnificent looking car.

Wednesday, June 22nd 2005

Saab Getting Desperate

It looks like the Saab 95 is getting a second facelift:

Spy photo of the updated Saab 9-5.

The industry standard is to facelift a model line once, to up it’s market appeal a little while you ready a completetly new replacement for the model in question.

For some (to me) unknown reason, Saab haven’t got the all-new 95 ready in time, so they’re now having to extend the current 95 far beyond it’s intended (?) lifetime. The next 95 isn’t expected to be introduced until 2009, by which time the current 95 will be 12 years old! That’s four or five years older than most car models get before they are replaced. Whether all of this is due to bad management on GM’s part or bad planning on Saabs part (unlikely), the whole thing will most likely have a very negative effect on the Saab brand.

It’s a real shame to see the Saab name being torn to pieces by moves like this one. Also, sticking the Saab badge on A) a 4×4 Subaru and B) an outdated GM truck frame won’t do the brand a great deal of good. (At least not in the eyes of the Saab fans, on which Saab presumably to a large extent relies on for income.)

Update: Found some more (blurry) photos here.

Update: Just found an article (in Swedish) which confirms my suspiciouns that the 92X and the 97X will have a hard time charming the present Saab owners (or even car buyers in general). Saab has already had to lower the price of the 92X and the 97X hasn’t exactly got off to a flying start either.

Saturday, June 4th 2005

First Good Photos of New Volvo C70

Update: Volvo have now released the official C70 photos. I blogged about that here.

There have been a few spy-photos of the upcoming C70, but none have been particularly good. They haven’t really shown what the car looks like. Until now – the Dutch newspaper AutoTelegraaf has published several photos of a completely unmasked car in Miami.

Here is one of them, slightly reduced:

New Volvo C70 in Silver metallic, seen from behind with top down.

I really like the new, lower, rear lights – I’m just wondering where they’ll stick the C70 badge – there isn’t very much room around that number plate. I think they should have made the front a little more agressive though, but it’s hard to tell from these pictures what the head lights really look like in detail.

The car will have curtain airbags that pop out from the top of the door, instead of down from above the side windows. These airbags were shown in a press release by Volvo a while back, but Volvo didn’t specifically say they would be in the new C70. (Although that was pretty obvious…)

There are lively discussions going on at VVSpy and Swedespeed, if you want to discuss the upcoming car with other Volvonatics.

Update: Just saw that someone has posted a picture from AutoBild too. It’s so sharp and real-looking I wonder if it isn’t a leaked press photo… Time will tell.

Wednesday, March 2nd 2005

Koenigsegg beats McLaren's speed record

The Koenigsegg CCR has now officially beaten McLaren F1’s speed record for production cars.

The Koenigsegg CCR

The new speed record (387.87 km/h or 241.02 mph) was set two days ago at the Nardo Prototipo track, which is a 12.5 km (7.8 miles) long, circular track. The McLaren F1 set the previous record (386.7 km/h or 240.3 mph) on the VW Ehra facility in Germany, a 9 km (5.6 mile) straight track, which makes the Koenigsegg’s feat even more impressive.

I wonder how fast the CCR would go if driven in a straight line? Why didn’t they just take it to the VW Ehra track straight away, and have it done with? With the Bugatti Veyron lurking in the shadows, Koenigsegg had better get their act together if they want to hold on to the speed record for more than just a year or two.

Tuesday, February 15th 2005

New Volvo C70 out and about?

What looks like the upcoming C70 from Volvo is being winter-tested somewhere in Scandinavia. The following sites have the photos:

The Car Connection.com
Autorevue

The articles refer to the car as the upcoming S80, but I strongly doubt it is – for several reasons:

  • It looks too small to be the new S80.
  • The four doors are fake – look closely in this picture and you can see that there are only two doors underneath the plastic camouflage.
  • It has several design cues which indicate kinship to the present S40 and V50. (Headlights, shark-fin aerial, wing-mirrors with indicators, rear lights.) Volvo have previously said that the new C70 will be more closely related to the S40 than the S60/V70.
  • The timing of these photos indicate that they show the C70, which is the next planned major release from Volvo. (Similar photos circulated just before the release of the S40 and V50. See the end of this page.)
  • The profile looks too coupé-ish to be an S80.

If I’m wrong about the doors being fake, it could possibly be the next S60 – but I believe that car isn’t due for release for at least another 18-24 months.

There are several on-going discussions on the topic:

Swedespeed.com
VVSpy.com