This Belgian BMW Is a Wiz

I still clearly remember seeing it listed online, the first time the owner opened the garage door and I spotted it, my first ride as a passenger. But the thing that sold me was getting in, all snug in the Recaro BMW seat, putting on the four points, grabbing the wheel, and feeling that everything was exactly where it should be. It was built for me, this car was meant to be mine.

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Nissan Leaf Races Silently Through Town

It is unusual to see cars maneuver through towns silently, but it is what Nissan did with its Leaf.

To mark the 19th annual International Noise Awareness Day (INAD), Nissan said it invaded the streets of one of Europe’s quietest villages during the middle of the night with a silent “ride” with its 100 percent electric Nissan Leaf.

The activity, complete with a start and finish line in Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur, was designed to demonstrate the noise reduction levels of the zero emissions car compared to traditional combustion engines.

Nissan explained the World Health Organization (WHO) states at least 13.5 percent of Europeans are exposed to road traffic noise at levels exceeding 55 dB, which is considered detrimental to human health.

Ed note: This WHO assessment may be so, but the same 55 decibel figure was cited as quiet enough to be considered stealthy for a special electric hybrid motorcycle used in sneak attacks by U.S. forces.

The medical effects of noise levels include insomnia (50dB), obesity (50dB), psychic disorders (60dB) and reduction in life expectancy (50dB). As a result, Nissan has filmed a ‘silent ride’ to help support INAD in raising awareness about noise pollution levels across Europe.

The video stunt, filmed by Nissan in one of Europe’s quietest villages in the early hours of the morning, shows four Nissan Leaf vehicles racing around the backstreets at high speeds without waking anyone up. Nissan added members of the village were filmed while they slept to monitor their reactions.

Per the company, the running noise of the Nissan LEAF engine is 21dB, recording less noise than a ceiling fan (26dB) – which is way below the World Health Organization’s night time noise target for Europe (40dB).

Launched by the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC), INAD aims to raise awareness about the dangers of exposure to noise on hearing and health – including emotional and physical health problems such as impaired mental performance, high blood pressure and increased risk of motor vehicle injuries.

“International Noise Awareness Day was initiated by the Center for Hearing and Communication in 1995 in order to increase public awareness about the harmful effects of noise on hearing, health, and general well-being,” said Laurie Hanin, Executive Director for the Center for Hearing and Communications. “As a result, many thousands have had their hearing screened and many more have been educated in the numerous ways to prevent exposure to hazardous levels of noise. It is exciting to see Nissan showing off the benefits of their all-electric car, the Nissan Leaf, in this video highlighting that as well as being friendly to the environment, it is also friendly to the community by reducing noise pollution. Congratulations and good luck in this endeavor.”

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GM Builds New Electric Motor And Race Engine Center

General Motors announced it began construction yesterday of a facility for race engine design and development, as well as an electric motor laboratory and gear center.

GM said its continued investment in motorsports comes from the time-tested belief that racing is the ultimate proving ground for much of the technology that applies to the vehicles it sells.

“The GM Performance and Racing Center, or GMPRC, will continue to develop some of the world’s winningest race engines for Chevrolet and Cadillac,” said Steve Kiefer, vice president of GM Global Powertrain. “Connecting our race engineers with our global powertrain engineering teams will improve our customers’ powertrains in terms of efficiency, reliability and durability. The center will also provide exciting career opportunities for our engineering organization.”

Engineers and technicians from GM’s race engineering center in Wixom, Mich., will move to the new facility in mid-2015. The relocation will centralize North American powertrain engineering expertise for production engines as well as advanced and racing propulsion programs. Condensing the engineering to one large space is an excellent way to develop race-bred engineers whether they work on production or performance vehicles, explained GM.

The move will include about 100 employees who work on powertrain racing development, electric motors and in the gear center. GM stated the new building is expected to be opened and in use by mid-2015 and completed by early 2016.

The GMPRC is part of a $200 million investment GM announced last January to build a new 138,000 sq.-ft. test wing. At that time, the company announced work at four remote locations would consolidate on the Pontiac campus, helping to reduce development timing for GM’s next-generation advanced propulsion technologies. When the moves are complete, about 400 jobs will be added to the Pontiac campus.

Engineers at the GMPRC will work on powertrain-related projects for GM’s involvement in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Verizon IndyCar Series, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Pirelli World Challenge, NHRA (COPO Camaro Program) and Global Rally Cross.

In addition to the performance and racing engineering, the new facility will house an electric motor lab and a gear center.

The electric motor lab produces prototype electric motors and validates manufacturing processes used in the production of electric and hybrid vehicle motors, explained GM. Electric motor engineering, design and validation are core competencies for GM in the development, sourcing and manufacturing of electric vehicles and their major components.

The gear center supports design, manufacturing processes, inspection techniques and testing of gears used primarily in the next generation of GM transmissions.

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2014 Land Rover LR4 Review

2014 Land Rover LR4 Review 2014 Land Rover LR4 Review

Tradition runs deep with this one. While most Land Rovers have become quite contemporary by shedding hundreds of pounds to save fuel, the LR4 continues to be a relic of a bygone era. Like a grandparent with a smart phone, the old boy receives new technology for 2014.

The biggest change occurs under the hood. Gone is the uber-thirsty 5.0-liter V8, replaced by a slightly more efficient 3.0-liter supercharged V6. Developing 340 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, the new powerplant is supposed to offer two more MPG in both city and highway driving. But in a 5,655-lb vehicle with the aerodynamics of a brick wall, its fuel consumption is still abysmal. Official ratings are pegged at 14 MPG city and 19 MPG highway.

Just Drop the Start-Stop

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Book Review: One Year with a Ferrari

Derived from his blog, David, a man with a regular job, convinces his wife (who is very understanding) that he can buy a used Ferrari, drive it for one year, and then sell it for a little bit less than what he originally paid. He also promises that she can drive it too, which probably helps seal the deal. Well, that and the promise to sell it after one year.

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