Sunday, February 27, 2011
A one-off custom-built Maybach was unveiled in May 2005 at the Tempodrom in Berlin. Commissioned by tyre company Fulda, the Exelero is a chopped-down two-seater coupe, though it's more than just a show car - in tests at the Nardo high-speed oval, the prototype reached a speed of 218.38mph, despite weighing over 2.66 tonnes. It is capable of acceleration from 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds.
The car's design was the result of a competition amongst students at the Pforzheim Polytechnic Department of Transport Design, which has worked on show vehicles for Fulda in the past. The design of 24-year-old Fredrik Burchhardt was chosen, and his work was co-ordinated with that of the Maybach design centre in Sindelfingen. The project, based on the Maybach 57 limousine, required a certain amount of re-engineering; the A-pillar and doors had to be shifted rearwards, and the steering column, pedals and gearshift all re-located. The standard 550bhp V12 engine was bored out to 5.9 litres, and tuned for 700bhp and over 738lb ft of torque. With final dimensions of 5890mm long, 2140mm wide and just 1390mm high, the car was kitted out with a full-spec interior, including leather, neoprene, aluminium and carbonfibre finishes.
Maybach says the car, built by Stola in Turin, is "a one-off vehicle created to showcase the new ultra-high performance Exelero tyre range from leading tyre manufacturer Fulda"; it's not the first time the two companies have teamed up, as back in 1938 Fulda demonstrated its tyres on a Maybach SW 38 limousine. There are, however, "no plans to produce the model in series", though it has been certified for on-road use.
The 2010 Ford Explorer lineup is largely unchanged for what is likely its final model year in its current design. This midsize SUV uses traditional, truck-type construction. It offers rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive that can be left engaged on dry pavement and has a low-range gear for off-roading. Trim levels include XLT, Eddie Bauer, and Limited. All have a 210-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine. Optional on Eddie Bauer and Limited is a 292-horsepower 4.6-liter V8. V6 models have a 5-speed automatic transmission; V8s have a 6-speed automatic. Maximum towing capacity is 5,375 pounds for the V6 and 7,285 pounds for the V8. Available safety features include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, curtain-side airbags, and front-side airbags. Offered on all is a 3rd-row seat for 7-passenger capacity; it's available with a power-folding feature. Explorer's capless fueling system allows owners to fill their fuel tanks without having to remove a gas cap. Ford's Sync voice-activated cell phone and MP3 player control system is available. The available navigation system includes real-time traffic alerts, weather, gas prices, sports, and movie information. Ford re-trims the Explorer for sale as the Mercury Mountaineer.
COMPETITIONConsumer Guide Automotive places each vehicle into one of 18 classes based on size, price, and market position. Larger than Compact SUVs, Midsize SUVs offer a mix of car- and truck-type construction, V6 and V8 power, and up to 8-passenger seating. This class also includes crossover vehicles.
2009 Ford Explorer
For many years, the Ford Explorer has been one of the best-selling SUVs in the market. A capable tow vehicle and off-roader, the Explorer also offers the generous interior space, comfort features and safety technologies necessary for day-to-day tasks.
The Explorer is available in rear-wheel, four-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations, each with a choice of three trim levels: XLT, Eddie Bauer or Limited. All trims can be equipped with either a 210-hp 4.0-liter V6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission, or a 292-hp 4.6-liter V8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Limited trims are outfitted with a power-folding third row seat for 2009 (previously manual fold-flat); on XLT and Eddie Bauer trims, three-row seating is optional, increasing capacity to seven passengers. Standard safety features on every Explorer include AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, anti-lock disc brakes and a tire pressure monitoring system, as well as dual front, front side-impact and side-curtain airbags.
For 2009, the Ford Explorer carries over with minor adjustments to standard equipment and restructured option groups, including a new XLT Sport Package. Satellite radio is now standard on Eddie Bauer and Limited trims, while a new Trailer Sway Control feature is incorporated into the stability control system on all trims. Additionally, all-wheel drive Explorer models now get the XLT trim level.