4 new engines, a transmission and driveline key to 2014 model year for Chrysler

  • World’s first front-wheel-drive-based 4×4 system with rear-axle disconnect
  • World’s first nine-speed automatic transmission – one of three new gearboxes
  • New 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8, mightiest gasoline engine in heavy-duty pickup segment
  • New 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 – lone diesel engine in light-duty pickup segment
  • New 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6, derived from award-winning 3.6-liter Pentastar
  • New 3.0-liter EcoDiesel I-4 commercial truck engine


I don’t know all of the internal workings, machinations and wheelings of the engines, transmissions and such that make everything go, but I know there’s a lot of interest in all the things that do make them go.

To that end, I’m presenting the Chrysler release in total, to explain what the changes and updates are in much better detail that I could pretend to do. Enjoy.


June 28, 2013 , Chelsea, Mich. – Chrysler Group mashes the throttle on engine, transmission and driveline debuts for model-year 2014.

The introductions, which span multiple model lines, send a clear message to the world.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to innovate for the benefit of our customers,” said Mircea Gradu, Vice President — Powertrain Transmission and Driveline Engineering and Head of Virtual Analysis. “Nowhere is this more evident than on the all-new 2014 Jeep® Cherokee.”

The all-new Cherokee’s stylish appearance belies the rugged capability delivered by its unique 4×4 system.

It is the first mid-size sport-utility (SUV) to feature a front-wheel-drive-based rear-axle disconnect system. It delivers four-wheel traction whenever it’s needed, without driver intervention.

A fully variable wet clutch housed in the rear drive module supplies the proper amount of torque for any traction condition. This capability also is a boon to aggressive starts.

Sophisticated algorithms enable the system to benefit driving dynamics by interacting with electronic stability control (ESC). When conditions are more favorable, it seamlessly switches to two-wheel-drive for optimum efficiency.

The system is available with either a one- or two-speed driveline (PTU and RDM). A locking differential is available with the two-speed PTU.

In low range, the 2.92:1 gear reduction also sets up aggressive crawl ratios – 56:1 when the vehicle is powered by the 2.4-liter Tigershark I-4 engine, and 47.8:1 when powered by the new 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6. Such specifications benefit off-road performance.

An available locking rear differential enhances control in extreme off-road conditions and is selectable in any low-range terrain mode.

Geared up
Model-year 2014 also marks the world debut of Chrysler Group’s nine-speed automatic transmission.

The advanced-technology gearbox enables aggressive launches, smooth power delivery at highway speeds and greater fuel efficiency than a six-speed automatic transmission. Its ratios are:

1st – 4.71
2nd – 2.84
3rd – 1.91
4th – 1.38
5th – 1.00
6th – 0.81
7th – 0.70
8th – 0.58
9th – 0.48

The wide ratio spread delivers outstanding low-end performance while small gear-ratio steps contribute to smooth transitions. Four overdrive ratios benefit highway fuel economy and reduce overall noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.

The all-new, fully electronic nine-speed automatic features on-the-fly shift map changing with manual-shifting capability via Electronic Range Select. More than 40 shift maps correspond to specific conditions to optimize shift quality and shift points for improved fuel economy, performance and drivability.

To determine the appropriate shift mode, the sophisticated software accounts for variables such as engine torque gradients, kick-down events, longitudinal and lateral acceleration and grade changes. For improved driving comfort and refinement, additional parameters integrated into the transmission control strategy include: temperature, speed and electronic stability control. The result is automatic shifting attuned to the performance requirements of almost any driving situation.

Internally the transmission has four gear sets and six shift elements – multi-disc clutches, dog clutches and brakes. Only two friction-plate clutches are open in every gear, minimizing power loss.

Other new transmissions are the AS66RC six-speed automatic featured in 2014 Ram chassis cab models, and the M40 six-speed automated manual in the all-new Ram ProMaster full-size commercial van.

Sourced from Aisin, the AS66RC allows for optional 45HP and 250 lb.-ft. left- or right-side PTO. Paired with the HEMI®, efficiency is improved with Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation operation while in PTO mode.

The new M40 automated manual is mated to the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel I-4 in the ProMaster. The unique gearbox delivers the efficiency of a manual transmission with the functionality of an automatic.
At its core, it is a manual, but gearshifts and clutch functions are accomplished with an electro-hydraulic actuation system.

However, the driver can opt for manual shift-lever inputs when desired. But the driver needn’t do all the work. Shift logic is adjusted according to grade steepness so the gearbox responds intuitively to driving conditions.

New Engines Empower
Chrysler Group’s expanding product lineup demands new engines. So powertrain engineers delivered four new ones – or is it five?

6.4-liter HEMI® V-8
The all-new 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 is actually two engines. Chrysler Group is producing one version for Ram HD pickups and another for Ram Chassis Cab models.

Each is optimized for its respective duty cycle. Both are expected to provide Ram with best-in-class bragging rights among gasoline-powered competitors.

The new 16-valve engine will make 410 horsepower (306kW) at 5,600 rpm while generating peak torque of 429 lb.-ft. (582 Nm) at 4,000 rpm.

The legendary HEMI architecture provides the foundation of the 90-degree V-8. But its advanced technology is decidedly forward-looking.

Cooled exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) delivers greater efficiency and elevated refinement. These attributes are manifested in reduced pumping losses and lower emissions. Pumping losses are further reduced by variable-valve timing (VVT).

Efficiency is a hallmark of the new 6.4-liter HEMI V-8, starting with Chrysler Group’s celebrated Fuel Saver cylinder-deactivation technology. When conditions allow, as in highway cruising, the system seamlessly shuts down four cylinders to conserve fuel.

Upgraded valve-seat material, aluminum cylinder heads, a forged-steel crankshaft and a cast-iron block contribute to durability.

Computational fluid dynamic simulations were employed to optimize the cooling circuit in the block, heads and water pump. Other features that mitigate heat include a robust/high-volume oil cooler, oil jets for piston cooling and – in the HD pickup application – a stainless-steel exhaust manifold and sodium-filled exhaust valves.

3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6
The new 3.0-liter 24-valve, dual-overhead-cam (DOHC) EcoDiesel debuts in the 2014 Jeep® Grand Cherokee and 2014 Ram 1500. It is a turbocharged 60-degree V-6 that generates 240 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and makes torque like a V-8 – 420 lb.-ft. at 2,000 rpm – without V-8 fuel consumption.

The new turbo diesel is designed and produced by VM Motori, a Chrysler Group diesel engine supplier since 1992.

The engine is shouldered by a bedplate and cylinder block of Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI), which is engineered to deliver higher strength. This enhances durability and reduces noise, vibration and harshness – a focus of many EcoDiesel design features, such as its structural aluminum oil pan.

The EcoDiesel’s 60-degree cylinder-bank angle and 1-2-3-4-5-6 firing order are optimized to manage inertia and firing loads, eliminating the need for a balance shaft.

Durability is further ensured by the EcoDiesel’s forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods – which provide additional NVH benefits – and its aluminum alloy pistons. These pistons, which benefit from cooling oil jets, reduce reciprocating mass inside the engine for enhanced efficiency and performance feel.

The EcoDiesel V-6 features Fiat’s innovative MultiJet II common-rail fuel-injection system. High-dispersion nozzles enable fuel-injection events that occur with greater precision up to eight times per cylinder cycle.

The interval between two consecutive injections also is better modulated to mitigate noise and benefit fuel consumption and emissions reduction. This is known as Injection Rate Shaping.

The new EcoDiesel V-6 achieves 50-state emissions compliance. A key enabler is the engine’s cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system, which is controlled by an electric valve instead of the conventional pneumatic variety.

A state-of-the-art Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system also reduces emissions. It incorporates a unique Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) system that, unlike competitive systems, alerts the driver to low DEF levels while also allowing the engine to maintain full power.

Other features include an insulated DEF tank with heated lines mitigates the effects of cold-weather operation and an exhaust-system strategy that reduces soot output while also improving fuel economy and meeting emissions standards

The DEF tank holds eight gallons of fluid. Duty cycle determines refills, but the average interval is about 10,000 miles. DEF is commonly available fuel stations and is also offered by Mopar, Chrysler Group’s dealer network and Cummins dealers and distributors.

The standard engine oil cooler, when the EcoDiesel is used with 5W30 synthetic oil, contributes to a 10,000-mile oil-change interval. The use of B-20 biodiesel is validated and approved for the new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel.

3.2-liter Pentastar V-6
The new 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 bows in the all-new 2014 Jeep® Cherokee. It carries over all the design features that make smooth power delivery one of the most captivating traits of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, named one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines three years running.

A 60-degree, deep-skirt, die-cast-aluminum cylinder block with six-bolt main caps afford optimal stiffness for mitigation of NVH. Also contributing to NVH reduction are:

  • A structural windage tray to complement block stiffness
  • A structural aluminum oil pan
  • Direct-mounted alternator and A/C compressor that increases stiffness
  • Select-fit pistons with polymer-graphite-coated piston skirts
  • “Silent chain” timing drive with inverted teeth for minimal sprocket NVH
  • Contoured composite cylinder-head covers
  • Glass-reinforced nylon composite intake manifold

Further enhancing the driving experience is the specially designed intake manifold, which also featuers low-rumble tuning.

The Jeep Cherokee’s V-6 engine boasts forged-steel connecting rods and piston-squirter jets, and its cam drive and valve-train components require no scheduled maintenance.

The new 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 engine was subjected to 3.3 million customer-equivalent miles prior to production.

3.0-liter EcoDiesel I-4
The 2014 Ram ProMaster full-size commercial van marks the North American introduction of the potent 174-horsepower 3.0-liter inline 4-cylinder EcoDiesel engine that generates peak torque of 295 lb.-ft. at just 1,400 rpm.

Designed by Fiat, which employs the engine in numerous applications including Class 2, 3 and 4 commercial vehicles, the 16-valve, dual-overhead cam I-4 has been adapted for the North American market with a wide range of modifications that enable regulatory compliance, while also enhancing performance.

A new common-rail fuel-delivery system managed by the engine control unit (ECU) allows for variable timing and duration of multiple fuel-injection events. The combined effect of the extreme injection pressure and optimized injection strategy mitigates emissions, improves fuel economy and offers significant reduction in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

Further refinement comes from a host of design features, such as:

  • Hydraulic tappets and roller-finger followers for valve-lash mitigation and friction reduction
  • Cast-iron engine block stiffened by bed-plate construction
  • Lightweight alloy pistons
  • Dual-mass flywheel
  • High-efficiency exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) cooler (which also benefits emissions compliance)

Also new for North America is a quick-response variable-geometry turbocharger that delivers higher boost at low engine speeds. The result is improved driving satisfaction that comes from superior throttle response.

The engine’s block has been modified to accommodate a heater, which is standard equipment in Canada and optional in the U.S. The block heater improves cold starts at temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees, the same threshold as the transmission heater on the economical M40 automated manual gearbox that is exclusive to the turbo diesel.

To comply with emissions standards, the engine combines the benefits of a new EGR module with a highly efficient after-treatment system.

The urea diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) is integrated with heated lines. The five-gallon DEF tank promises nearly 4,000 miles of service. Low-level warnings alert the driver to replenish the supply via a filler neck conveniently adjacent to the optional locking fuel cap.

Reduced total ownership cost is a primary objective of the engine’s design. Key components from the camshaft chain drive to power-steering pump to the high-pressure fuel pump with automatic tensioner (which also benefits NVH) are designed for long life.

Similarly, thoughtful innovations such as wear-resistant cylinder liners, oil-cooled pistons and electronic engine-control units for continuous diagnosis and monitoring are specifically designed to ensure durability.

2014 Ram 1500 offers only light duty diesel engine pickup

2014 Ram 1500

2014 Ram 1500

  • Ram only brand to offer a small-displacement diesel for its half-ton line of trucks
  • 2014 Ram 1500 starts at $24,200, plus $1,095 destination
  • EcoDiesel option priced $2,850 greater than similar HEMI-powered Ram 1500
  • Class leading powertrain:
    • New 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine, 240 hp, 420 lb.-ft. of torque and a TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission
    • 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (Ward’s 10 Best Engines) features 42 percent more horsepower, 13 percent more torque (305 horsepower 269 lb.-ft. torque) and 20% better fuel economy compared to the previous 3.7-liter V-6 engine
    • 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 with Fuel Saver Technology and variable-valve timing (VVT) provides 395 horsepower, 410 lb.-ft. of torque
  • First-in-segment Fuel Saver Technology, TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission, stop-start, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension
  • Class-exclusive air suspension enhances fuel economy, improves ride control and off-road capability along with entry/exit and loading, automatic load leveling
  • Best-in-class aerodynamics, coefficient of drag (Cd) at 0.360
  • Award-winning Uconnect Access offers alternative ways to access new connected services and applications via the vehicle’s 8.4-inch touchscreen display or the web
  • Unsurpassed powertrain warranty – 5 years/100,000 miles
  • Arrives in 4th quarter of calendar year 2013

There’s no resting on laurels of awards past in Detroit – and the release of the 2014 Ram with the industry’s first light-duty diesel is proof.

The Ram 1500 will sport a new 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel engine, mated with the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission. The engine delivers an outstanding combination of best-in-class fuel efficiency, unsurpassed torque and impressive capability. Pricing for the 2014 Ram 1500 starts at $24,200, plus $1,095 destination. The V-6 EcoDiesel with TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission is priced $2,850 more than a similarly equipped Ram 1500 with a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with Torqueflite 8-speed transmission.

The 3.6-liter Pentastar, 305 hp, V-6 engine comes with variable-valve timing (VVT), 269 lb.-ft. of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-6 engine trucks.

Opting for a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT provides 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.

Also new for the 2014 Ram 1500 is a front park assist system,  a variable displacement compressor; pulse-width modulated blower; humidity sensor; and the latest technology in air conditioning refrigerant.

The 2013 Ram 1500 won Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year, The North American Truck of the Year and Truck of Texas – a rare trifecta in the pickup segment.

EPA estimates on the diesel mileage weren’t released by Chrysler/Ram…stay tuned.


The full release is below with all the particulars.


The 2014 Ram 1500 continues the brand’s quest of re-defining the half-ton full-size pickup class with the introduction of an exclusive small displacement turbo diesel engine that delivers a best-in-class combination of torque and fuel efficiency. Aptly branded EcoDiesel, the new 3.0-liter powerplant is a turbocharged 60-degree, dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) 24-valve V-6 that produces 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque is noticeably more efficient than all V-6 gasoline engines in the half-ton category. Like the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 gasoline engines already offered on the Ram 1500, the new EcoDiesel V-6 will be mated to the TorqueFlite 8, the only 8-speed automatic transmission offered in the half-ton class. The new EcoDiesel – developed and manufactured by VM Motor (a Chrysler supplier since 1992) – is one of the most advanced diesel engines in the marketplace. Equipped with a diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter, and selective catalytic reduction, it will be emissions-compliant in all 50 states. The new Ram features a capless fuel filler system for re-filling convenience.
The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (Ward’s 10 Best Engines Award three years in a row) with variable-valve timing (VVT) offers 305 horsepower, 269 lb.-ft. of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-6 engine trucks. The Pentastar V-6 features 42 percent more horsepower, 13 percent more torque and at least 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7-liter V-6 powertrain.
The legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT provides 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.The class-exclusive 8-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8), standard equipment with 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel and 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar, doubles the amount of gears compared to the previously available four-speed automatic transmission, which improves drivability and enhances fuel efficiency. The 8-speed also is available with the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8.
The 2014 Ram 1500 full-size pickup arrives in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2013 with the most advanced and efficient powertrain portfolio in the light-duty category, as evidenced by:

  • Exclusive offering of a small-displacement turbo diesel engine (EcoDiesel V-6)
  • Exclusive offering of an eight-speed automatic transmission (8HP45 with Pentastar V-6, 8HP70 with HEMI V-8 and EcoDiesel V-6)
  • Unsurpassed torque
  • Best-in-Class V-6 gasoline engine fuel efficiency (Pentastar V-6)
  • Best-in-Class combination of power and fuel efficiency in a V-8 engine
  • (HEMI V-8 mated with eight-speed transmission)
  • Only manufacturer in light-duty class to offer diesel, gasoline, and flex-fuel
  • (E85 capable 3.6-liter V-6) engines

Beginning in model year 2014, the Ram 1500 will offer a front park assist system, a first time offering on a full-size Ram pickup truck.

The system uses four sensors located on the front bumper. The bezel-less, integrated sensors sequentially send out ultrasonic waves when the vehicle is driven in forward at low speeds. The system can detect objects as far away as 47.2 inches.

Parasitic Loss Reduction
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is a fuel-saving technology for the Ram 1500, which reduces parasitic electrical load. The technology not only eliminates unnecessary load on the alternator but also improves the durability of benefitting systems. Fuel delivery and the forward cooling fan are two systems that take advantage of PWM, adding a 0.4 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

The 2014 Ram 1500 will carry additional uses of PWM technology and a host of new efficiency, comfort and emissions-friendly refinements. These include a variable displacement air-conditioning compressor pulse-width modulated vent blower and humidity sensor.

Variable displacement compressor (VDC)
As opposed to a “fixed” displacement compressor, the variable displacement compressor (VDC) automatically varies its pumping capacity to meet air conditioning demands rather than working in an on/off fashion. As a result, the variable displacement compressor (VDC) lessens loads on the engine, reducing parasitic losses for enhanced fuel efficiency and helping to maintain a consistent cockpit temperature. The technology also reduces related noise and vibration annoyances.

When the interior cabin temperature is higher than what’s desired (outside the automatic temperature control setting), the VDC increases refrigeration capacity until the desired temperature is reached. Once the temperature is reached, the VDC automatically reduces its capacity to maintain the desired temperature rather than shutting off completely.

The overall result is smoother compressor transitions, less noise and greater fuel efficiency.

Pulse-width modulation blower 
Like the VDC, the pulse-width modulation (PWM) blower continually controls fan speeds for optimal performance in all driving scenarios; quiet, efficient operation; and virtually unnoticeable performance. Not unlike other PWM applications that debuted on the 2013 Ram 1500, the pulse-width blower ensures an infinite amount of varying fan speeds to satisfy every customer-requested condition in relation to the air conditioning system.

Humidity sensor
The new humidity sensor is packaged behind the rearview mirror, and works in tandem with the PWM blower and VDC to continually measure the potential for humidity being formed on the windshield interior. While the sensor enables noticeable de-fogging benefits, it also enables the VDC and PWM blower to run at the most optimal speeds to expedite humidity reduction.

New Air Conditioning Refrigerant 
Beginning in 2014, the Ram 1500 will be the first in its competitive set to carry F1234yf refrigerant, an application developed to help reduce greenhouse emissions.

The 2014 Ram 1500 retains its ruggedly handsome appearance with an award winning interior (Ward’s 10 Best Interiors), exterior design aesthetics and segment-leading technology. Every Ram 1500 truck benefits from content specifically designed to match each model’s unique style.

For 2014, the Ram 1500 offers 12 different colors, including two new shades: Blue Streak and Granite Crystal; available in a monotone and/or two-tone depending on the model.

Unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years/100,000 miles
The 2014 Ram 1500 is backed with a, five-year /100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. The powertrain-limited warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period, to pass the coverage onto the new owner.

The standard three-year / 36,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram 1500, from the body to the electrical system.

The 2014 Ram 1500’s quality is scrutinized at the company’s Chrysler Technology Center’s state-of-the-art scientific labs in Auburn Hills, Mich., including the Noise/Vibration/Harshness Lab, Electromagnetic Compatibility Facility, Wind Tunnel and the Road Test Simulator (RTS).

For example, the RTS recreates the abuse a truck endures at the hands of a 95th percentile driver – meaning someone who drives the vehicle in more severe conditions than 95 percent of all customers. The RTS can put a lifetime of wear and tear on a truck in about one month’s time. The Ram development team is committed to finding and fixing any issues before the customer does.

The 2014 Ram 1500 is built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (Warren, Mich.), which has built more than 12.5 million trucks since it started operations in 1938. Regular Cab models of the 2014 Ram 1500 are built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico.

Audi R8 GRAND-AM returns to Watkins Glen



 • Two Audi R8 GRAND-AM race cars will contest the endurance championship

Audi announces the return of the Audi R8 GRAND-AM at this weekend’s 6 Hours at Watkins Glen race as part of the endurance championship. Audi to field two cars that will contest the endurance championship within the GRAND-AM schedule – a quattro GmbH factory team and new customer-racing team, Fall-Line Motorsports.Two Audi R8 GRAND-AM race cars will be taking to the grid this weekend at Watkins Glen in an effort to win the endurance championship as part of the overall GRAND-AM schedule. This weekend’s race at the 6 Hours at Watkins Glen marks the return of the winning Audi R8 GRAND-AM that won the Daytona 24 Hours earlier this year as well as several of the winning drivers. Felipe Albuquerque (Portugal) – who took the checkered flag at Daytona, Eduardo Mortara (France/Italy) and Dion von Moltke (South Afraica) will pilot the number 24 car. Watkins Glen will present the drivers and the car with many challenges as the track is relatively unknown to the number 24 drivers except von Moltke who has raced there before.

Fall-Line Motorsports will make its debut at Watkins Glen in the number 46 R8 GRAND-AM in the B+ (Be Positive) livery. “We are very pleased to have Fall-Line Motorsports join our R8 customer-racing program and are optimistic about the future of customer-racing in the U.S. Fall-Line brings a lot of great experience with them and we look forward to jointly seeking a spot on the podium as we go forward,“ said Brad Kettler, Director of Operations, Audi customer-racing, Audi of America.

“The Audi sports car legacy and its knowledgeable and experienced support staff are an obvious choice for us to help further evolve our team and we’re proud to represent the ‘four rings’ synonymous with sports car and endurance racing,” said Mark Boden , Fall-Line Motorsports Team Principal.

Piloting the car at Watkins Glen will be current Fall-Line drivers Al Carter, Charles Espenlaub, and Charlie Putman, all of whom drive currently in the Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge Series for the team. The successful Fall-Line trio has worked together for several years and has won many races including Fall-Line’s team and drivers’ 2010 Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge Series championship with Espenlaub and Putman. The #46 will be carrying sponsorship from the beloved charity that Al Carter and all of
Fall-Line have supported over the years with B+ Racing featured prominently on the car.

The R8 GRAND-AM shares approximately 50 percent of its parts with the R8 production car. The 5.2 Liter V10 naturally aspirated engine fitted to the R8 GRAND-AM is tested for maximum durability on the track, requiring its first rebuild interval at approximately 12,000 miles driven at race speeds. Other competitor race engines require rebuilds at approximately 5,000 miles. Every production car developed by the Audi performance division, quattro GmbH, is driven 4,700 miles at high speeds around the Nuerburgring by factory race car drivers and engineers that work in unison to ensure engine, transmission, steering and suspension characteristics are optimized.

The new 2014 R8 production car has been further improved upon and now offers a new V10 Plus model with 550 horsepower that can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds using the new in-house developed 7-speed double clutch S tronic transmission that is exclusively used in the R8. The 6-speed manual gated shifting transmission remains available on all models as well as new full-LED lighting design. New cross-stitched leather seats and door inserts round out the improvements on the interior of the 2014 R8 production car.

Audi hopes to build upon its racing success in GRAND-AM at Daytona and in endurance racing having just won the Le Mans 24 Hours with the R18 e-tron quattro.

The race will be televised on Speed TV this Sunday, June 30th at 11 am EST.
Live timing and scoring is also available at www.GRAND-AM.COM

007’s underwater Lotus Esprit 1 surfaces for auction in London

James Bond's underwater submarine aka the Lotus Esprit

James Bond’s underwater submarine aka the Lotus Esprit submarine car.

  • RM Auctions lifts the gavel on the one and only functional submarine car, used in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, at its eagerly awaited central London sale, 8–9 September
  • Fully functioning submarine car was designed and fitted to propel underwater
  • The actual car seen, underwater;  one of the most famous movie cars of all time
  • Never before offered for sale
  • Amazing story of ‘lost and found’

Although it’s not the sort of thing “Q” would endorse, fearing that one of 007’s gadgets would fall into enemy hands, James Bond’s submarine car will be sold without reserve in London Sept. 8-9 by RM Auctions.

HMS secret spy, Bond’s submarine car was used in “The Spy Who Loved Me“, was an incredible Lotus Esprit Series 1 that will provide a collector with a chance to snap up a very rare submarine, er, car, collector’s item.

Bond’s white Lotus showed off its wizardry in a chase scene with the bad guys in hot pursuit from a helicopter. Bond drives off a dock into the drink, flips a few buttons and survives just swimmingly away from another potential fatal ending.

The folks at Jalopnik call this Bond’s greatest chase scene.

The vehicle, according to RM Auctions, is the one and only fully functioning car especially designed and built for the famous underwater sequence seen on screen in the 1977 film.

Completely authenticated, the car – which was known as ‘Wet Nellie’ on the set – was developed from one of six Esprit body shells used in the making of the film. Turned into a functional, self-propelled submarine by Perry Oceanographic, in Riviera Beach, Fla. The car’s estimated cost is reported by RM Auctions to have been $100,000 back in the late 1970s or the equivalent of a half-million smackers today.

Instead of actor Roger Moore, the Bond submersible was operated Don Griffin, a retired U.S. Navy SEAL.  Griffin operated the Lotus utilizing its motorized propellers while maneuvering with levered steering mechanisms.

After the chase scenes were filmed in the Bahamas, the Lotus Submarine sat under a tarp for over a decade in storage in Long Island, NY only to be found when the entire contents of the storage unit were sold at public auction in 1989.

After making a positive ID, the Bond Submarine was shown off on a limited basis – including a stint at the Petersen Automotive Museum – but mostly kept under wraps.

Max Girardo, Managing Director, RM Auctions, Europe, says: “We have a great track record in selling incredible and iconic movie cars, and this particular Lotus is certainly up there amongst the most famous cars of all time. Over the years, millions of moviegoers have stared in awe as the Lotus transformed itself into a submarine, and now, perhaps one of them will have an opportunity to own it. Her Majesty’s Secret Service aside, it surely is the ultimate beach accessory”!

RM Auctions sold “the most famous car in the world”, the Aston Martin DB5 used by Sean Connery in the enormously popular Goldfinger andThunderball movies, for an incredible £2.9 million during its 2010 London sale.

Hemmings Motor News also has a detailed story on the auction that’s informative.

For further information visit rmauctions.com or contact RM’s London office at +44 (0) 20 7851 7070

Bertha Benz embarked world’s first long-distance journey by motor car 125 years ago

A great-grandmother’s long-distance drive: Jutta Benz, pictured in 2007 alongside an original Patent Motor Car of 1888. In August 1888, her great-grandmother, Bertha, set out in a similar vehicle to travel from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back – the world’s first long-distance journey by car.

A great-grandmother’s long-distance drive: Jutta Benz, pictured in 2007 alongside an original Patent Motor Car of 1888. In August 1888, her great-grandmother, Bertha, set out in a similar vehicle to travel from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back – the world’s first long-distance journey by car.

  • The Benz Patent-Motorwagen successfully completes the 106-kilometre journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim
  • August 2-4: “Bertha Benz Days” at the Mercedes-Benz Museum to mark the anniversary
It’s hardly the likes of the midnight ride by Paul Revere, but it was pioneering nonetheless when on an August morning in 1888, Bertha Benz, the wife of motor car inventor Carl Benz, embarked on the first ever long-distance journey in automotive history in a Benz Patent-Motorwagen Typ III (patent motor car type 3) with her two sons.
Bertha motored from Mannheim to Pforzheim, her birthplace, a journey of 65.8653 miles or 106-kilometers if you prefer. The Patent-Motorwagen, Bertha and her boys survived, but there’s no mention how they occupied themselves without the ability to play the license plate game.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum will commemorate the 125th anniversary of the journey during Bertha Benz Days, August 2-4 with costume guided tours for both children and adults. Admission is free on Sun. Aug. 4. The special program on this day also includes taxi rides with a replica of the Benz patent motor car and a story hour with Jutta Benz, the great-granddaughter of Bertha Benz.
Naturally, a commemorative drive will take place from Aug. 9-11 to mark the first ever long-distance journey in the world’s first motor car. The return journey to Mannheim also tracks the route taken in 1888.
There’s a raft of information on this historic family vacation, included below in the press release from Germany that makes for interesting reading, facts and figures. Enjoy.
Secret test run
The drive to Pforzheim provided impressive proof of the Patent-Motorwagen’s capabilities. Yet Bertha Benz also hoped to encourage husband Carl to publicise his ingenious invention more confidently. Carl Benz, a brilliant engineer, had filed a patent application in January 1886 for the Motorwagen he’d invented in 1885 and that had since evolved into the Type III. However, he had yet to demonstrate that his motor car worked reliably and could also cover long distances. Bertha Benz quickly resolved to provide the necessary evidence with her long-distance journey.
610564U17934The mother of four told her husband nothing of her intentions to drive to her birthplace of Pforzheim to visit relatives with her sons Eugen and Richard. A concrete plan started to take shape when the school holidays started, and very early one morning the mother and her sons sneaked the latest version of the Patent-Motorwagen out of the workshop without Carl Benz suspecting a thing.
They pushed the three-wheeled motor car for the first few metres as they didn’t want to start the 2.5 hp (1.8 kW) single-cylinder four-stroke engine until they were out of earshot of the house in order not to wake the inventor from his slumber. When Carl Benz later entered the kitchen, he would find a message telling him about the journey they had set out on to Pforzheim.
Test drive for the motor car and its infrastructure
As intended, the journey was to become a highly successful test drive for the motor car: Bertha Benz provided conclusive proof of the Patent-Motorwagen’s fundamental suitability as a means of transport and was furthermore able to pass on some important findings and pointers to her husband for future development work. For instance, she suggested including an additional short gear for driving up hills instead of just the two-speed transmission used previously, as well as demanding better brakes.
At the same time, Bertha Benz also did some pioneering work when it came to defining the necessary constituent elements of an infrastructure system for motor vehicles. In future, for example, road vehicles would need filling stations – the stain remover “ligroin”, a benzine provided by chemist’s, for the first long-distance journey i.e. in Wiesloch, Germany. Therefore the Wiesloch municipal chemist’s became first filling station of the world. Highways would also have to be signposted – Bertha Benz had to carefully make her way from one place she knew to the next.
The automotive pioneer and her sons skilfully remedied minor glitches, using her hat pin for example to clean a clogged fuel line. No major repair work was necessary, although the enterprising trio did decide to make the wooden block brakes more durable by having a cobbler nail leather patches to them to act as brake pads.
Carl Benz’s family kept him informed of the journey’s progress by sending a series of telegrams en route. The drive from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back wasn’t just a watershed moment for his Patent-Motorwagen, but for the future of the motor car full stop. Around 25 models of the Benz Patent-Motorwagen with various engines were built between 1886 and 1894, making it the first motor car of the world to be manufactured and sold in series.
The memory of the world’s first long-distance journey by car is perpetuated by various outstanding events. In 1963, for example, exactly 75 years after that intrepid journey, the inaugural “Bertha Benz Drive” was staged along the Mannheim to Pforzheim route as a regularity drive for classic cars.
The Patent-Motorwagen
Carl Benz unveiled his Patent-Motorwagen, the world’s first motor car, in 1886. By 1894, a total of 25 had been built, with engine outputs varying between 1.5 and 3 horsepower (1.1-2.2 kW). The original Patent-Motorwagen was the Type I. It had steel-spoked wheels as well as further design details that took their cue from state-of-the-art bicycle manufacture at that time. The modified Type II was also built initially as a three-wheeler, but was later converted to four wheels as an experiment. This vehicle, including the double-pivot steering that was tested out in it, represented a further major step towards the modern-day motor car. Presumably, only one was ever built. Finally, the Type III was the first motor car to be sold in small numbers, making it the world’s first ever production car. At the start, Carl Benz did not find it easy to market his Patent-Motorwagen, until the Frenchman Emile Roger from Paris took over as the sole agent for Benz vehicles and engines in France.
The only Patent-Motorwagen Type III that still survives today found its way to England via Emile Roger, as certified by a badge on the vehicle itself. Some details assume that this could be the car that Bertha Benz used for her long-distance journey to Pforzheim. It is the oldest Benz Patent-Motorwagen preserved in its original condition, and is therefore the oldest original Benz motor car in existence. Today, the vehicle belongs to London’s Science Museum. At present the car is an exhibit in the Dr. Carl Benz Museum, Ladenburg.
Benz Patent Motorwagen Typ III
Technical data: Benz Patent-Motorwagen Type III
Body: open three-wheeled vehicle
Engine: single-cylinder four-stroke unit Displacement: 1,660 cc
Output: 2.5 hp (1.8 kW) at 500 rpm Carburettor: Benz surface carburettor
Valves: automatic intake valve, controlled exhaust valve Cooling: water/thermosyphon evaporation cooling
Lubrication: drip-feed lubricator and grease cup Ignition: electrical high-voltage-buzzer ignition
Fuel tank: 4.5 litres in the carburettor Starter: cranking the flywheel
Power transmission: leather belt from engine to cone pulley, differential, 1 chain to each rear wheel Clutch: none
Transmission: two-speed fixed pulley, 2 forward gears Gearshift: hand lever under steering crank for moving the belt between the pulleys
Frame: steel frame Front suspension: front wheel in control fork with no springs
Rear suspension: rigid axle, full-elliptic springs Steering: rack-and-pinion steering, steering crank in centre of vehicle
Handbrake: wooden block brake/rear tyres Footbrake: none
Lubrication: grease cups Dimensions: 2,700 x 1,400 x 1,450 millimetres
Wheelbase: 1,575 millimetres Track width: rear 1,250 millimetres
Wheels: wooden spokes, diameter front 800 millimetres, rear 1,125 millimetres Tyres: front all-rubber or iron, rear iron
Weight: 360 kilograms Top speed: 16 km/h
Fuel consumption: approx. 10 litres of ligroin per 100 kilometres

Scion’s back to tackle Pike’s Peak Hill Climb


2013 Scion xD Rally

Three Drivers Take on the 12.42 Mile Course; FR-S attempts first hill assault

Scion Racing will make its second appearance at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb June 30, with the FR-S debuting for its first race up the 14,110 foot summit in Colorado Springs, Colo. Now in its 91st year, the iconic and highly competitive event takes drivers up a 12.42-mile course with 156 turns to the top of Pikes Peak.

Driver Andrew Comrie-Picard will be in the Scion Racing Rally xD, and Takeshi Aizawa will be piloting the GReddy tC, both making their second trips up the mountain. Driver Robert Walker is a rookie to Pikes Peak and will be behind the wheel of a FR-S built by Evasive Motorsports. All three Scions have been modified for safety and increased performance. Comrie-Picard and Aizawa will be competing in the Time Attack class, while Walker will be racing in the Unlimited class.

“Scion Racing is thrilled to bring three talented drivers and teams to our second visit at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, one of the world’s most spectacular races,” said Steve Hatanaka, Scion marketing and special events manager. “This event pushes drivers and vehicles to their extreme limits, and we are looking forward to showcasing the capabilities of three different Scion models on the mountain course.”

For more information about the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, visit www.ppihc.com. Scion Racing also includes teams competing in drag, drift and road racing series. For information, videos and interviews with drivers, visit www.scionracing.com.

Edmunds.com: June sales cap strong first half of 2013


Percolating automotive sales, in the face of a herky-jerky stock market and stalled unemployment is reason for Edmunds.com to tip its cap to the industry for a strong 2013 year of sales.

Edmunds.com forecasts 1,365,496 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in June for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) this month of 15.5 million light vehicles. The projected sales will be a 5.3 percent decrease from May, but a 6.3 percent increase from June 2012. This month’s sales performance is expected deliver the biggest volume and SAAR for the month of June since 2007.


Sales Volume

June 2013 Forecast

June 2012

May 2013

Change from June 2012*

Change from May 2013*



















Chrysler Group




































“Within the last month we saw a slowing stock market and a stalled unemployment recovery, but the automotive market continues to shine through it all,” says Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. “The first half of 2013 was every bit as strong as the auto industry could expect at the beginning of the year, and there’s no reason why the next six months can’t maintain the same momentum.”

Edmunds.com estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 12.7 million vehicles in June, with fleet transactions accounting for 18.4 percent of total sales. An estimated 3.07 million used cars will be sold in June, for a SAAR of 37.2 million (compared to 3.12 million – or a SAAR of 36.6 million – used car sales in May).


Chrysler’s spat with NHTSA over Jeep recalls earlier this month had some industry observers wondering how it would impact the brand’s sales. In fact, Edmunds.com projects that Jeep sales will fall 5.0 percent year over year in June, but that could be attributed to the discontinued Liberty, which is being replaced by the Cherokee later this year. Chrysler’s overall sales are projected to jump 10.1 percent this month over last year, thanks to a strong showing by Dodge and Ram, which are each expected to climb 25 percent this month.


Market Share

Jun-13 Forecast



Change from
June 2012
(Percentage pts.)

Change from May 2013
(Percentage pts.)



















Chrysler Group






























Meanwhile Hyundai and Kia did nothing to silence talk that the brands have peaked. Their 111,829 combined projected sales this month are off almost three percent from June of last year. VW/Audi (-1.1 percent) is the only other major automaker projected to report a decline in year-over-year sales in June.

More insight into recent auto industry trends can be found in Edmunds.com’s Industry Center at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/.