30th July 2010

Japanese Tuner 3D Design Unleashes Its 2011 BMW 5 Series Package

Just the Facts:

  • 3D Design releases its aftermarket package for the 2011 BMW 5 Series.
  • The Japanese tuner keeps its modifications largely to subtle exterior trim pieces.
  • A performance exhaust system is the only mechanical update.


TOKYO — 3D Design, the Japanese tuning house, has unveiled an exterior modification package for the 2011 BMW 5 Series. This comes just after Hamann unveiled the first tuning treatment for the car earlier this week.

Unlike with the much more aggressive Hamann kit, a non-Bimmer enthusiast might have trouble even noticing the subtle aesthetic upgrades added by 3D Design. Changes include a new front spoiler, rear bumper with diffuser, trunk lid spoiler and roof spoiler. The new look is wrapped up with a fresh set of lightweight alloys.

The only noted performance modification is an exhaust system that features a control valve to adjust the exhaust note at the push of a button. 3D Design also throws in a set of aluminum pedals as well as logo-embroidered floor mats inside the car.

All the body parts are crafted out of polyurethane aside from the carbon-fiber rear diffuser.

The tuner has yet to announce pricing on the package.

Inside Line says: Expect a slew of tuning treatments from other companies to be released for the F10 in the near future. — Mike Lysaght, Correspondent

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30th July 2010

HondaJet Program Update Announced at 2010 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

- Power-On achieved for first flight test aircraft
- Consolidation of first static test aircraft completed
- HondaJet production facility construction advances rapidly
- HondaJet to participate at Honda Indy 200 Mid-Ohio IRL race

Honda Aircraft Company, Inc., today released a program update for its HondaJet advanced light jet program highlighting the milestone achievement of Power-On for its first conforming flight test aircraft. Also announced was the successful consolidation of fuselage and wing assemblies for the first static test aircraft, which will be subjected to static structural testing beginning in August.

The recently concluded Power-On tests for the first conforming aircraft included confirmation of power supply both from the on-board battery to the aircraft’s Power Distribution System and from the external Ground Power Unit to the Power Distribution System.

“The success of our Power-On tests is an important step in the completion of the first conforming flight test aircraft,” said Honda Aircraft Company President & CEO Michimasa Fujino. “With this significant milestone achieved, we are now focused on the integration of avionics and other electrical systems in anticipation of first flight later this year.”

Concurrently, consolidation has been achieved for the wing and fuselage assemblies of the first static test aircraft. The first static test aircraft incorporates over 1,800 strain gauges that will be used to evaluate the aircraft’s performance during stress testing.

Stress testing is being conducted at Honda Aircraft Company’s R&D facility on its Greensboro campus utilizing Honda’s advanced MTS FlexTest® structural test system. The system incorporates 61 hydraulic actuators and a 2,600-channel data acquisition system within a structural test fixture designed exclusively for HondaJet testing. The entire aircraft can be tested simultaneously to prove static and fatigue strength under various flight and ground load conditions. Honda’s test facility includes an environmental chamber to simulate hot-wet conditions, which is required testing for the validation of composite structures.

Stress testing already is well underway with the completion of testing of sub-component and control surfaces. These components have been successfully tested to ultimate load under FAA supervision at Honda’s Greensboro facility.

While the assembly and testing of aircraft continue, Honda is nearing completion of the superstructure for the HondaJet production facility on its Greensboro campus and will next begin the installation of electrical and plumbing within the facility. The 250,000 ft2 production facility is scheduled for total completion in early 2011, at which time pre-production preparations and training of production staff will begin. The HondaJet production facility also will house Flight Safety International Level-D, full-motion flight simulators for training of all HondaJet pilots and crew.

Following its appearance at this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the proof-of-concept HondaJet will travel to Lexington, Ohio, to participate in the Honda Indy 200 Mid-Ohio IRL race on August 8. Celebrating Honda’s challenging spirit and its passion for speed, the HondaJet will perform a demonstration flight above the track prior to the start of the race. The annual Ohio stop on the Indy Racing League tour is conducted at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, which features a 2.25-mile, 13-turn circuit that is considered one of the most challenging race circuits in the U.S. With a top speed of 420 kts (483 mph), the HondaJet is sure to become the fastest Honda in the history of the event.

About HondaJet
Honda Aircraft Company, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Company, Ltd., began sales of the advanced and innovative HondaJet in October 2006 in the U.S. and has amassed orders for well over 100 aircraft. Scheduled for first delivery in the third quarter of 2012, the $4.5 million HondaJet is Honda’s first-ever commercial aircraft and lives up to the company’s reputation for dynamic performance together with superior efficiency. The HondaJet proof-of-concept aircraft has accumulated more than 500 flight test hours and attained both a top speed of 420 knots (483 mph) and a maximum altitude of 43,000 ft. in flight testing.

The HondaJet incorporates many innovative technological advances in aviation design, including a unique over-the-wing engine-mount configuration that dramatically improves aircraft performance and fuel efficiency by significantly reducing aerodynamic drag in flight. This innovative approach to airframe design also lowers ground-detected noise when overhead and allows for a more spacious cabin and greater cargo capacity. The HondaJet is powered by two highly fuel-efficient GE Honda HF120 turbofan jet engines.

The production HondaJet flight deck features a Honda-customized Garmin® G3000 next-generation all-glass avionics system incorporating a class-leading layout with three 14-inch landscape-format displays and dual touch-screen controllers for overall avionics control and flight plan entries. The HondaJet Avionics Suite is the most advanced glass flight deck available in any light business jet and provides state-of-the-art integrated avionics functionality featuring split screen MFD capability, satellite weather, graphical synoptics, digital audio, and optional Synthetic Vision.

Learn more about HondaJet at www.hondajet.com.

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30th July 2010

Demoauto Show in Odessa, Ukraine

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29th July 2010

2011 Toyota Tacoma Gets New Limited-Edition Packages

Today we learned from our friends at PickupTrucks.com that America’s best-selling compact pickup, the Toyota Tacoma, will get two new limited-edition trim packages for the 2011 model year. The T|X and T|X Pro packages, which are built off the current Off-Road Package, offer more than just aesthetic alterations; there are some significant off-roading upgrades too.

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29th July 2010

Are manual gearboxes on the way out?

So “Automatics are better” (your headline) because:
- a VW DSG is faster at swapping cogs than a human
and yet (from your own article):
- you were bored of your automatic after 3 months
- the DSG shudders at low speeds

I too had to have a manual WRX, and never regretted it for a second. Thanks to the manual ‘box I was able to average better than 10l/100km and yet still enjoy the astonishing performance of that car (MY98).

Find me a car that has both better 0-100 and fuel economy in auto form than manual.

Find me an automatic transmission that has NO slop in it (and show me what happens when it’s standing at the lights with the brake on).

Find me an automatic transmission that actually makes driving something to cherish – you know, heel-toeing before a corner, the satisfaction of matching the RPMs perfectly, the growl of an engine on the over-run, the solid punch of an engine in the middle of its power band as you boot it out again.

For those reasons, an auto STI is a waste. In years to come it will be remembered as “the soft version”, resale values will be lower and future Drive articles will include the oft-repeated phrase “it was available in an auto, but nobody bought it and the manual form is the one to drive”.

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29th July 2010

Get Off My Butt: Nissan Develops Rear-End-Avoider For The Masses

I’m still shaking when I think back to my first ride in the passenger seat of a brandnew Phaeton. It was piloted by a known reckless high executive of Volkswagen. Near Hannover, we barreled down the Autobahn, with the speedo indicating something above 250 km/h. I didn’t dare to inspect it closer, because I was scared to death. We were in the thickest of fogs. Visibility zero. “Aren’t you worried?” I inquired with a shaking voice. “Nope. We have RADAR.” Actually, it was called Abstandswarnung (distance warning). Now, Nissan will make it available to the common Joe.

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