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  • S-Tronic Test Run: Shifting the gears of Audi’s new seven-speed twin-clutch transmission

31st March 2008

S-Tronic Test Run: Shifting the gears of Audi’s new seven-speed twin-clutch transmission

Anyway, we like it, and we’d like it even more in a more powerful car. Which is where the longitudinal engines come in. Audi has now taken the S-Tronic principle and set about building an all-new tranny to do the same job behind the V-6s and V-8s of the bigger cars.

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31st March 2008

Axle posts help-wanted ads

American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. advertised for new hires in some newspapers Sunday — raising questions about whether the Detroit auto supplier is seeking replacements for striking members of the United Auto Workers union who walked off the job last month.

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31st March 2008

Neumann leads Conti powertrain division

Continental Chief Technical Officer Karl-Thomas Neumann has taken over the company’s loss-making powertrain division from Dieter Rogge, 60, who has retired. Neumann aims to turn around the division, which last year lost €73.5 million.

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31st March 2008

Toyota Avensis saloon


Toyota isn’t deserting the family car heartland just yet – these spyshots of the new Avensis  prove that the Japanese are going down the tried-and-tested route with the new saloon.

Our spies caught it testing in Germany, but the Belgian plates betray its origin; Toyota’s HQ and R&D centre are both based around Brussels. It’s being put through its paces ahead of a debut expected at this autumn’s Paris Motor Show when we hear it will stick with the Avensis badge – rather than picking a sexier new name, as happened when Toyota dropped the Corolla in favour of the Auris tag in 2007.

Bodystyling: the Avensis family tree

Toyota is dropping one of the Avensis’s bodystyles this time around – we expect the five-door hatchback to be dropped, leaving just a sporty Tourer estate and the four-door notchback pictured here.

As detailed in our last scoop on the Avensis, there are few surprises under the bonnet with engines spanning from 1.8 to 2.2 in petrol and diesel form – but we hear there will be a mild hybrid version with petrol-electric powertrain to trim CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

The new Avensis will again be built at Burnaston, Derbyshire, alongside the Auris. The plant first opened in 1995 when it built the Avensis’s forebear, the first Carina E for the European market.

Expect UK sales from early 2009 priced from around £16,000.

Interested in the new Avensis? Or does Toyota’s latest have all the excitement of a new washing machine? Click ‘Add comment’ and let us know

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31st March 2008

Crossover driver wins in Top Fuel

O’Reilly NHRA Nationals
Houston Raceway Park, Baytown

Top Fuel: Antron Brown become the first driver in NHRA history to win races in Pro Stock Motorcycle and Top Fuel, beating Larry Dixon in the final Sunday. Brown also joined J.R. Todd as the only black Top Fuel winners. Brown, a 16-time winner in Pro Stock Motorcycle before making the jump to the 7,000-horsepower Top Fuel class this year, sped past Dixon in a terrific final, finishing in 4.605 seconds at 320.28 mph to Dixon’s 4.621 at 309.06. “We’ve been plagued by the second round all season. The second round’s been biting us, but today we bit back,” Brown said.

Funny Car: Del Worsham beat John Force in the semis and Ashley Force in the final, 4.933 at 316.60 to 4.971 at 302.62, en route to his 22nd career win, but only his first since Labor Day weekend 2005.

Pro Stock: Greg Anderson’s win in 6.692 at 207.37 over a tire-shaking Kurt Johnson (13.425 at 64.01) was the 53rd of his career, which moved him one ahead of Joe Amato (52) into solo fifth on the NHRA POWERade Series’ wins list.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Matt Smith (7.060 at 187.76), sailed past Matt Guidera (7.140 at 185.03) to claim his first win of the season.

Full results and coverage can be found here.

– The Associated Press

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31st March 2008

Rite of Passage Changing for New Generation

I remember the day I got my driver’s license. I felt so empowered, so strong, so in control of my destiny. At least, I did until that night, when my foot slipped off the clutch and I backed my truck into the car parked behind me. There’s nothing worse than proving to the world you’re not as ready for that symbolic piece of plastic as you’d assumed. Except calling your parents and telling them what you’ve done.

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