New Bible, latest Edition

“It is the pinnacle of achievement to create something that survives the test of time, is immune to the eccentricity of certain epochs – in other words, has a timeless character.” (Prof. Dr. Ing. h.c. Ferry Porsche)

So, here’s to Christmas and the birth of the …. Porsche 911 ! An altogether splendid book.

The ultimate book to celebrate 50 years of the icon has appeared in Motorbuchverlag (Paul Pietsch).

Father to the 911

Father to the 911.

ISBN: 978-3-613-30911-1
39.90 EUR / 55.90 CHF

Edition Porsche Museum

Susanne Roeder


Tegernsee ahoi!

Hotel Überfahrt seen through someone else's perspective

Hotel Überfahrt seen through someone else’s perspective, plus Audi slope to the right.

A ship, a hospital? No, an international hotel, one of the very best, and part of the Althoff group: Hotel Überfahrt in Rottach-Egern (five stars). We reached it in our little Cayman S with the optional Sport Chrono package. Tremendous fun it was with this neat little car, which in red stood out nicely in the snow.

As to Hotel Überfahrt, we just managed the dessert which was upper crust in itself. It has to be said: Christian Jürgens and his team deserve the three stars – for exquisite ideas, a brilliant team and all one needs to have a grand gourmet holiday. No need to argue how these 3 stars came about. The Michelin group must surely have had reasons enough to allocate this best of the best certificate to Jürgens.

In fact, Tegernsee is inundated with good cuisine. There is “das Tegernsee”, a design hotel, there is Bachmair Weissach, and-so-on, and-so-forth. From the very refined to the simple kitchen: Tegernsee has it all. An incredible lot has changed over the years, and Tegernsee has become much more international than it used to be. Hard to swallow for some of the inhabitants.

CaymanS en route to Tegernsee. (photos+text: roe).

CaymanS en route to Tegernsee. (photos+text: roe).


to be continued…

Book review

Auto Kultur Geschichte


Car Culture & History

Stuttgart University has published a book on the above topic. It deals with mobility in all its various aspects. Above all, mobility is seen in a positive way, a. o. alluding to the fact that spiritual mobility preconditions less real mobility, i.e. less traffic congestions. Easier said than done and instigating lots of debates.

Quite obviously, electric mobility nowadays plays a major role again, at least as regards traffic in cities. The question of sound has yet to be resolved, as cars without “noise” can prove extremely dangerous in today’s hustle and bustle. This is also discussed in the book, by professors, doctors and other specialists, the focus being on tomorrow’s (individual) mobility.

And who is paying the bill? (sketch SHALA)

And who is paying the bill? (sketch SHALA)

Kurt Möser, Marcus Popplov, Elke Uhl (ed.), Auto. Kultur. Geschichte (ISBN 978 3 981 466515), Stuttgart University + IZKT. 10 Euro.



Opel is Back, Alive and Strong

From Outer Space: Monza.


From Outer Space

The German car manufacturer Opel has had many a bitter pill to swallow. Will America reduce it to the max? Would America mistakingly invest in the wrong industry? Ultimately, America has not lost belief in the very traditional OEM. And no, it is  not all about China. Opel can herald its best car portfolio of all times.

To support this notion of an OEM worth surviving, Opel is back with an impressive motorsports programme which is cost efficient. Motorsports Commercial Director Jörg Schrott can look back on a successful 2013. Among other things, Opel has managed to win a very potent partner, namely the German ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobilclub, e.V.). The motoring association is supporting the Opel Rally Cup.

Fast and futuristic: Opel Monza Concept Car. (Opel/©roe).

Fast and futuristic: Opel Monza Concept. (Opel/©roe).

And, most notably, during Essen Motor Show a new Concept Car was presented to the public: the so-called Opel Monza Concept. “The Opel Monza Concept breaks the conventions of automobile design, particularly in the interior,” says Opel CEO Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “With trailblazing LED projection technology, we create a completely new infotainment world with a unique sense of space. This comes with connectivity possibilities between drivers and their family, friends and acquaintances, and even with the entire internet community. Aspects that have been unimaginable to date.”

Susanne Roeder





Audi A8 Revisited

Sculptures of an Exhibition: The new Audi A8 starring at Langen Foundation in Hombroich, Neuss Northrhine-Westfalia.

Sculptures of an Exhibition: The new Audi A8 starring at Langen Foundation in Hombroich, Neuss, North Rhine-Westphalia.

Four Rings and Three Dimensions

It is the Audi flagship, the epitome of hightech, luxury, comfort and ease, spiced with sportiness: the Audi A8. Four years after the third generation was launched, a distinctly made over version is waiting to enter the limelight. And since this car encapsulates most of the Audi prowess, there is also a long version, as Mercedes-Benz and other OEMs have their long versions, built especially for chauffeuring the rich and mighty. In a nutshell and therefore simplified: Faced with the choice between Audi or Mercedes-Benz, those focussing on ever-increasing security features will opt for a Mercedes, whereas drivers for whom sportiness is the essence will go for Audi, knowing full well that the brand with the four rings has always had sufficient state-of-the art safety on board. This verdict is made irrespective of the very personal tastes as regards design. And we are fully aware that  for simplicity’s sake we have not mentioned the third of the German “big three”, namely BMW, also acclaimed for its sportiness.

Man does not really like rain that much, quattro loves it. Plus the power of the of the S8: We were indeed having fun, as can be seen. Smiling faces, because this car is so direct, so easy to drive.

quattro loves rain. Plus the power of the S8 with its 4.0 litre V8 TFSI engine on board. We had mighty fun irrespective of the rain. Smiling faces, because this car is so direct, so agile in spite of its size, so easy to drive.

Some of our colleagues criticise Audi for its signature claim “Vorsprung durch Technik”, maintaining the car manufacturer had lost its technical supremacy. But how about Daimler’s slogan “Das Beste oder nichts”, “The Best or Nothing”? Looking at the design of quite a number of their cars our answer in the direction of the Stuttgart brand would at

Best in Class

Best in Class

present be: “I’d rather have nothing.” Audi certainly is not half as apodictic as Daimler with their claim. The four rings are simply saying that technical leadership is the key to success. As any linguist would argue with reference to the OEM’s slogan: Audi is not maintaining to be the best in everything. The premium car manufacturer is rather driving home the fact that technical breakthroughs help towards being benchmark, which, of course, is what the brand is striving for. What Audi does not and has never maintained is that the car manufacturer holds the laurel in every respect. Having said that, without any preconceived notions pro or against Audi leadership in certain fields can be measured objectively.

So what is it that makes a flagship, and what specifically do people expect from a luxury limousine? Abundant space for man and luggage, sufficient state-of-the-art safety features, comfort features like adaptive air suspension, seats with massaging functions

Audi Flagship = A8

Audi Flagship = A8

and possibly air ionisation, connectivity, a high end sound system, luxurious interieur as a whole and appealing design are aspects that immediately spring to mind. And as much as individual brands differ in how they meet all these requests, they definitely take them into account. Audi has certainly succeeded in fitting all of these premium features into the new A8. In fact, the OEM has passed the test with flying colours. Why can we be so certain? Not only is Audi first to introduce a very intelligent lighting system called Matrix LED lighting, the algorithms for which were developed inhouse, the technology coming from supplier Hella –, but also have the engines become yet more powerful and more efficient. And even if 350 Euro may sound negligible in relation to the sizable total amount, it is the sum which the new A8, available in Germany with prices starting at 74,500 Euro, costs less than its predecessor. The 3 litre V6 diesel with eight-speed tiptronic and quattro as entry level model feels quite sufficient for the majority of drivers, and one can certainly feel the character of the new A8 for this entry price. In other words, the A8 has become more perfect, if there can be such a degree of comparison, and slightly less expensive.

Just another few days and the new Audi A8, S8 and A8 L W12 will arrive at German Audi dealerships.

Just another few days and the new Audi A8, S8 and A8 L W12 will arrive at German Audi dealerships.

The A8 has successfully maintained its place as sportiest full size sedan in the premium segment. The new A8 is scheduled to arrive at German dealerships in November. When driving the various models of the A8, with a clear preference for the S8, we have been able to experience just that: excellent comfort, superb craftsmanship, strict lightweight construction and a broad portfolio of high-end technologies. Audi has indeed managed to update its A8 flagship exhaustively.

Vorsprung durch Technik: Shine a Light

New assistance systems and the innovative Matrix LED headlights make for even safer and more superior driving. The engines are more powerful and more efficient. And it is still there, the technical leadership in quattro. Nothing can compare to this uniquely efficient technology that leaves the driver with a feeling of utter sportiness and as though in total command of the car, even if it is the superior technology that is in control in cases where an amateur driver might run into dire straits.

How the Audi Matrix LED headlights work.

How the Audi Matrix LED headlights work.

quattro is unbeaten to this day. But let us take a closer look at that discipline in which Audi has lately become benchmark, too: lighting. As shown in an online sneak preview from August (see our previous text Stephan Berlitz, chief lighting developer, explained the main functions to the interested journalists in the fittingly futuristic ambience of the Langen Foundation. Berlitz amazed his listeners with the announcement that the stunning lighting device allows more than one billion light distributions.

Here's looking straight at you...

Here’s looking straight at you…

Fortunately, the appearance of the headlights has changed. These lights that in the thorough facelift of the third generation, i.e. of the internally called D4/4H, had this effeminate eyelash or garland look have become straight in a convincing way and so unmistakably Audi. With Matrix LED Audi even more has attained a unique physique, as the headlights with their 25 LED lights per headlamp shine their light into every corner of the surroundings, without blinding either man or animal. So even if it may seem a soppy love song, the Audi matrix LED headlights can also be described emotionally. Seeing that Audi vehicles are driven all over the world, the headlights certainly manage to “shine a light in every corner of the world” and, what’s more, in an extremely intelligent manner:

The car has been improved so significantly as regards technology, efficiency and assistance systems, and has been carefully made over with respect to its outer and inner appearance that it will take at least another three years before the fourth generation will be constructed right from scratch.

Dressed to Kill

A8 ante portas: Testing the grounds of Schloss Bensberg in view of becoming a classic of the future at a Bensberg Classics event.

A8 ante portas: Testing the grounds of Schloss Bensberg in view of becoming a classic of the future at a Bensberg Classics event.

The new A8 has gained a more masculine and at the same time more elegant and slender overall appearance. Here are the most noticeable modifications: The flagship has received an even more clear-cut shape with straight lines and edges, as in the case of the bonnet

The three dimensions of the Audi Rings.

The three dimensions of the Audi Rings.

which more than before stretches angular across the singleframe grill and towards the new headlights. The singleframe grill itself has become slightly reduced but just as ready to hit the road. The rear with its separation edge and chrome trim is of a self-assured concreteness. The car is planted yet more solid on the ground. The operating Audi surgeons have every reason to be pleased with their facelift. It is very becoming to the physiognomy of the car. What also caught our attention as we glanced at the A8 sideways is its sculptured three dimensionality, which becomes most noticeable at the chiselled Audi rings protruding from the grill and calling for attention.

20 Years of Audi Space Frame

Less is more in each new Audi, meaning less weight. What twenty years ago began with the revolutionary Audi Space Frame has been expanded into scrutinising every part and

The body of the new A8 weighs just 231 kilograms - thanks to its ASF architecture and an intelligent blend of aluminum and high-strength steel.

The body of the new A8 weighs just 231 kilograms – thanks to its ASF architecture and an intelligent blend of aluminum and high-strength steel.

parcel of an Audi car with a view to reducing weight. As it highlights sportiness and of course means higher efficiency lightness is a top priority. Thus the new aluminum technology wheel underscores the Audi claim to leadership in lightweight construction. Besides the great design freedom, it also reduces the car’s unsprung masses substantially. Its innovative structure saves 4.35 kilograms (9.59 lb) compared with a conventionally fabricated forged wheel of the same design. That in itself means a total weight reduction per car of 17.4 kilograms (38.36 lb). Its surfaces in Iridium/Contrasting Gray emphasizes the three-dimensional effect and gives the new A8 wheels with an exclusive and unique look.

Three-dimensional effect of the new A8 wheels.

Three-dimensional effect of the new A8 wheels.

Added to the refreshingly facelifted design both outside and inside, the Audi flagship hosts the latest enhancements of Audi connect. Connected mobility has in fact been a key issue with Audi for many years. And again, the company with the four rings was first to study connected traffic in great depth. Audi MMI (Multi Media Interface), the operating concept of the Audi infotainment system, was introduced to the A8 back in 2002. Since then development has been rapid indeed. The latest generation of Audi connect not only displays parking lots and parking garages wherever wanted, it also indicates current prices of petrol stations, thus helping the driver to find the station with the best price.

Rolling understatement with 12 cylinders: A8 L W 12 small in Cuvée silver, metallic.

Rolling understatement with 12 cylinders: A8 L W 12 small in Cuvée silver, metallic.

“The Big”: A8 L W12

Although the A8 is an impressively spaceous limousine, there is yet the even more spaceous version, the long-wheelbase A8 L W12. “The Big” is truly an exclusive powerplant. Its W12 petrol engine produces 500 PS (368 kW) and delivers an impressive 625 Nm of torque at 4,750rpm. Once the Big rolls it glides along at impressive speed. Don’t get me wrong. This car is also amazingly quick right from the start:The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h is completed in 4.6 seconds, the electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h being just a formality. A speedboat, not a tanker.

Fast and luxurious: "the BIG".

Fast and luxurious: “the BIG”.

The A8 L W12 is expected to specifically appeal to the Chinese. However, Audi totally refrained from a plush interior just to please the Asian taste. It would be so un-Audi! On the

This is how the W12 engine works: It consists of four rows of three cylinders. Two rows face each other in a mutually offset configuration at 15-degree angles, respectively, and collectively form a single broad bank. The two cylinder banks thus form a 72-degree V configuration. The crankshaft has a crankpin offset of twelve degrees so that the twelve cylinders ignite in the ideal interval of 60 degrees.

This is how the W12 engine works: It consists of four rows of three cylinders. Two rows face each other in a mutually offset configuration at 15-degree angles, respectively, and collectively form a single broad bank. The two cylinder banks thus form a 72-degree V configuration. The crankshaft has a crankpin offset of twelve degrees so that the twelve cylinders ignite in the ideal interval of 60 degrees.

contrary, the Big delights in sheer understatement. Its interior is subdued, straight and echoes the Audi spirit of perfect quality. It is absolutely luscious to drive or be driven. Should one describe the sensation of driving or being driven, one might say that the Big has reminiscences of Mercedes-Benz limousines which generally focus on the feeling of cosiness, where the Audians in the majority of their models want the spotlight on sportive driving sensation. The Big certainly feels markedly different from any other A8. This is partly due to the long wheelbase and partly to the W12 engine which consists of four rows of four cylinders resulting in utter smoothness. Incidentally, the W12 engine amazes with a size of barely over 50 centimeters in length and is roughly 70 centimeters wide and tall.

S-ums the A8 up Adequately …

Who would want to question the S8 oozing sheer driving delight? Not us. Okay, it is a rather large car, measuring 5.135 metres in legth, 1.849 metres in width and 1.640 metres in height. But does that stop it from having a markedly sporty character? Not for a moment. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) only takes 4.1 seconds.

The Audi S8 is sheer driving delight, realising the perfect mix between sporty character and top level luxury.

The Audi S8 is sheer driving delight, realising the perfect mix between sporty character and top level luxury.

The S8 with its V8 turbo is the sportiest model of the A8 family. The sound of the eight cylinders are sonorous bliss making the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System and rear seat entertainment superfluous. The S8 furthermore offers a generous list of standard equipment, including LED headlights, ambient lighting, convenience key, four-zone automatic air conditioning, Bose surround sound system and MMI navigation plus with S8-specific welcome screen. Although the whole A8 lineup is very impressive, given the choice we would not hesitate but take a seat in the S8. Sports car or not, the optional massage functions in the seats of the S8 are a very welcome feature. For the sportive driver who wants to delve into luxury, the S8 perfectly captures two cars in one to perfection.

The emblem of true sportiness.

The emblem of true sportiness.

On Such a quattro Day

We were in luck: There were spells of pouring rain awaiting us. Just the right thing for quattro. Rain, sleet, roads full of leaves or snow – such weather conditions are best for bringing out the quattro in the A8. In October we definitely had rain in abundance. But, needless to say, our Audi managed the unease marvellously well, no matter whether the S8, the A8 L or any other of the A8 models we were able to testdrive.

To those who seek sportive luxury, the A8 is just the car. It is equipped with a fast and smooth-shifting, eight-speed tiptronic. The electronically controlled automatic transmission is paired with quattro permanent all-wheel drive. Audi complements this with the optional sport differential, which distributes the power between the rear wheels as needed. It is standard with the A8 4.2 TDI clean diesel quattro and the S8. Additional sportiness stems from the sporty character of the chassis.

I can Hear your Heartbeat

human heart anatomy edThe heartbeat of all the A8 engines is reassuringly strong, sonorous and sporty. There are two TDI diesel engines, the 3.0 TDI with 258 PS (190 kW), or alternatively the 4.2 TDI with 385 PS (283 kW), and two TFSI petrol engines, namely the 3.0 TFSI V6 with 310 hp (228 kW) and the 4.0 TFSI with Cylinder on Demand (COD) and 435 hp (320 kW), all of which feature forced induction and direct injection. And they quite obviously satisfy the requirements of the Euro 6 emissions standard. Every second A8 sold in Europe is a 3.0 TDI.

There is also a hybrid version of the A8 and of course the S8 and the long version, the A8 L W12. It is particularly the even sportier S8 that made our hearts beat faster. With its 4.0 TFSI engine the S8 produces 520hp (382 kW) and develops 650 Nm of torque between 1,700 and 5,500 rpm.

Whereas the S8 has the feel of a spacious sportscar, the A8 L W12 is luscious luxury in completion with yet sporty elements and understated appearance in the interieur. Albeit a truly big car, the Big does not come across as colossal, but as elegantly muscular from the outside.

Mighty engine for a mighty car: 4L V8 TFSI beaing in the Audi S8.

Mighty engine for a mighty car: 4L V8 TFSI beaing in the Audi S8.

All engines consume up to ten per cent less energy. And how incredibly complex these astounding pieces of technology have become. Makes the human heart appear almost ridiculously simple by comparison. Engineers have truly become the magiciens of the present.

And for those bewailing the introduction of COD (Cylinder on Demand) let it be said that once four or six cylinders are switched off the sound does not diminish, but leaves the impression as though all eight / twelve cylinders are constantly doing their job. For this the acoustics engineers have carefully hideden four microphones in the ceiling.

Catch Me If You Can

100,000 of the second generation of the Audi flagship were sold from 1994 to 2002. 150,000 A3 have already been sold since 2003. We are convinced that the intelligently and thoroughly facelifted new A8 will sell well. Analysts maintaining Audi would lose out on the  two competitors BMW and Mercedes-Benz do not seem to be aware of the fact, that it does not always need a totally new generation. In a way, the made over third generation A8 is as good as a fourth generation.

It is premiere time for the Audi fleet shuttle quattro – the futuristic Audi can now be seen in the movie “Ender’s Game” with the actor Harrison Ford in the sci fi Audi.

It is premiere time for the Audi fleet shuttle quattro – the futuristic Audi can now be seen in the movie “Ender’s Game” with the actor Harrison Ford in the sci fi Audi.

So, why start from scratch prematurely? Considering the quality and benchmark hightech inherent to the A8 this is not only unnecessary, but also counterproductive, both economically and strategically. After all, the Audi brand is conservative in the original sense in that it has established its DNA. And what other than corrobarating this typcially A8 DNA does the facelift of the third generation do? In other words: Why topple a winner and start from scratch? A rhetorical question. After all, the appearance and technology of the new A8 has been signifcantly sharpened. And the automobile industry has always been cyclical, each OEM having their own timing for when to launch the next generation of an existing car or indeed a totally new model. Audi will for instance be launching the Q6, a new SUV. The question needs to be asked: Are not analysts trying to hype up this issue?

So while Audi is refining and fine-tuning its successful flagship it is embarking on the future in other spheres. It may be spacy, it may seem science fiction. At any rate, the company with the four rings is dealing with the future, be it future urban mobility which Audi addresses in its Audi Urban Future Initiative, or futuristic cars, as in the sci fi film with Harrison Ford. Because who knows whether or not the future is now.

Honestly, what does “technical leadership” actually mean? It quite simply means always being a step ahead. Although the amount of horesepower is undoubtedly impressive, the technical data will not amount to much unless the whole product is a success. This also necessitates that man and machine are feeling as one, whether while speeding or cruising along, or in using all the luxury features and assistance function – intuitively.

Our verdict? In the case of the new Audi A8 we would certainly award the car with a triple A. So there is indeed no need to come out with the fourth generation, just because Daimler has recently launched its new S-class. No, Audi can placidly keep that ace up its sleeve till 2016 in the pleasant feeling that the engineers have yet developed the existing A8 significantly further and produced an altogether stunning, consistent and well composed premium car.

Summary / Zusammenfassung:

Audi hat den Bogen raus. Das Design ist stimmig und von hohem Wiedererkennungswert. Und der Claim “Vorsprung durch Technik” ist auch im neuen A8 wirkungsvoll umgesetzt. quattro ist unschlagbare Nummer 1 in der Automobilwelt. So auch im A8. Der hat auch das Neueste vom Neuen in Sachen Audi connect, nämlich so nützliche Angaben wie die aktuellen Kraftstoffpreise an Tankstellen und andere intelligente Online-Services. Auch alle Audi A3 Varianten sowie die meisten anderen Audi Modelle haben diesen Service neu an Bord.

Mit dem grundlegenden Facelift haben die Ingolstädter der dritten Generation neues Leben eingehaucht. Wozu also eine vierte Generation, wenn die dritte verdammt gut ist? Auch das ist Nachhaltigkeit und ein Abrücken von der Wegwerfgesellschaft, die immer etwas Neues braucht, nur um der Neuigkeit halber. Warten wir also gelassen ab, welche technologischen Highlights Audi in drei Jahren in seinem Flaggschiff zündet.

Susanne Roeder


For those interested further in Langen Foundation, based at the Rocket Station in Hombroich, see under:

The INSIGNIA of Attraction

Not a white elephant at all, but a very attractive, stylish car, cleverly equipped with hightech.

Not a white elephant at all, but a very attractive, stylish car, cleverly equipped with hightech. The new Insignia notchback.

Opel: Made in Germany

“We need to regain confidence and impart the fullest passion. We need to polish the Lightning Bolt to the highest gloss.” These words, spoken only six months ago by Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann when he had just assumed the position of CEO, were part of his welcome address to the Opel employees. Right from the outset he wished to give them clear-cut guidelines and a vision as to where Opel is heading from now on.

No sooner had he voiced his mission than positive actions started. Opel is not only revising its component and engine plant in Kaiserslautern (Rhineland-Palatinate), investing a lump sum of roughly 130 million Euro, the car manufacturer has embarked on launching no less than 23 new models and 13 new engines in the coming years. Opel and its employees have always been a proud, tough and ambitious brand, which is probably one reason why the company has managed to survive prolonged years of dire straits and hardship.

Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO and an engineer with verve, zest and a clear vision.

Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, CEO and an engineer. A man with a wide and friendly smile and full of verve, zest and a clear vision.

The car that is already profiting from all these renewals and changes is no less than Opel’s flagship, the Insignia. Neumann emphasises: “Our flagship is now more sophisticated and eye-catching – but even in the midst of all this elegance, don’t forget what it’s all about: to offer dirvers and passengers a comfortable and safe driving experience with state-of-the-art technologiey at a very attractive price.” Well said. The price for the Insignia starts at 24,130 EUR for the four-door notchback (Opel) or 18,040 GBP (Vauxhall). Thus illustrating value for money in the C-segment where it is competing with premium brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder models. And for its passengers the Insignia might genuinely prove a welcome understatement.

Ready for Take-off… and Rising Sales Figures

The Insignia story started in 2008, its name signalling membership of rank in the business class segment. The car has indeed proven an outright success right from the start. Since its inauguration, well over 600,000 first-generation Opel Insignia have so far been sold.

Paving the way to success with the 2nd generation Insignia.

Paving the way to success with the 2nd generation of the flagship, the Insignia.

The Insignia is the Opel flagship, The “Opelans” have dubbed it “a positive attention grabber with technical substance”. More than ever, the totally revamped second generation Insignia follows the multi-award-winning new Opel design philosophy of “sculptural artistry meeting German precision”. Such is the metal that winners are made of. No doubt about it, Opel is ready for take off. The little Opel Adam is already doing extremely well in the fashion-led A segment. As from now on the flagship, too, can show its popularity and prowess in sales figures.

The second Insignia generation made its debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, before going on sale on 28 September. It comes in a variety of five models, namely as four-door notchback, i.e. saloon, as five-door hatchback, Sports Tourer and as OPC super model.

The Insignia Country Tourer benefits from all-wheel drive as standard.

Demonstrates off road prowess: The Insignia Country Tourer benefits from adaptive all-wheel drive as standard.

Moreover, the Country Tourer has been added as a new family member. With it Opel and Vauxhall are offering a crossover vehicle that works both on the road and offroad, and as such is competing with Audi (A4 Allroad and also A6 Allroad) and the VW Passat “Alltrack”. The latest addition to the Opel range has three powerful turbo engines with up to 400 Nm torque. At any rate, the Country Tourer has more horsepower than the Passat ”Alltrack” – be it the 184 kW/250 hp, 2.0-liter SIDI direct injection gasoline unit, the  high-performance 2.0 BiTurbo CDTI with 143 kW/195 hp, or the 2.0 CDTI with 120 kW/163 hp. The choice is between five Diesel, four petrol engines, ranging from 120 to 325 hp, added to which one can opt for Autogas.

Simultaneously, these engines deliver impressive fuel economy numbers. No doubt about it, this crossover vehicle with its Flex Ride chassis has been a clever, if long overdue step by the Opel and Vauxhall management. Compact crossover models have become all the rage. It is easily predictable that in this segment, the Insignia Country Tourer will be hugely successful as “all in one” vehicle at an acceptable price.

With this car besides answering the demands of faithful fans, Opel will attract a new clientele. Thus, the Country Tourer is a valuable addition to the Opel portfolio. The crossover vehicle with its attractive wrap-around design will fill the gap for car enthusiasts with a strong bias towards Opel who are convinced by the value-for-money pricing, but have so far not been presented with a car by their OEM that can just as easily leave the beaten track to confront unforeseeable challenges offroad. Sales of the Country Tourer Wagon will start in 2014.

The Country Tourer has special styling and benefits from all-wheel drive as standard.

The Country Tourer has been given several upgrades and special styling features.

Success with the Opel Mokka in the sub-compact SUV segment has already proved Opel right and has demonstrated the popularity of crossover vehicles. “Now the high quality of our brand flagship can be spiced up with a strong dose of adventure, too”, explains CEO Neumann.

Success be to the Courageous

The Insignia is a statement of defiance of market moods. With its launch the Opel team has demonstrated courage, especially as they have come out with a mid-sized family car designed for a European clientele at times when Europe’s economy is still rather weak.

On the road of success. The Opel Insignia boasts several benchmarks.

Ticked off for success. The Opel Insignia boasts several benchmarks.

Not so the Opel sales figures. The outlook is positive: In September Opel managed to sell 13 per cent more vehicles in its home market Germany than in the same month of the previous year. That is a good start into the autumn and end of year rally equalling more than 19,000 newly sold Opel passenger cars, resulting in a market share of 7.79 per cent. In fact, the manufacturer with headquarters in Rüsselsheim (Rhineland-Palatinate) has managed to stabilise its market share in Germany at 7.1 per cent. And the future looks auspicious, not least due to the jazzed up and enlarged model range. The Insignia may still not be the most thrilling car, but its complete overhaul has made an incredible difference, both as regards the physical appearance of the mid-size.premium vehicle, its new technology and multimedia options for the driver that can be used intuitively.

Undaunted roly-poly, the Lightning Bolt.

Undaunted roly-poly, the Lightning Bolt.

Not forgetting the fact that Opel is a German brand, and to a large extent the cars are still made in Germany. In other words, here is a German premium brand that is very attractive because of its price level and its down-to-earth cars that appeal both to fleet managers and private drivers.

The Opel crew has meticulously done its homework. As a result, the Insignia has scored several Firsts. When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Insignia 2.0 CDTI is benchmark in its mid-size class, both as notchback and as hatchback. The eco champion with its turbo diesel engine has CO2 emissions as low as 99 g/km and consumes no more than 3.7 l/100 km, with 88 kW/120 hp or 103 kW/140 hp.

The most amazing trophy is an incredibly low drag coefficient of below 0.25, which makes the Insignia the  most streamlined five-door hatchback in the world. The Sports Tourer, too, has an impressive drag efficient of 0.28, making it the most aerodynamic startion wagon in series production.

With one Look: Designed to Thrill

It is just such a spell-binding look that makes one feel attracted to the second generation. The Insignia’s facelift has made the car forever young. It is fresh, it boasts a more expressive, distinct and discernible design. The cockpit has been rid of an abundance of buttons and switches and shaped into a high-quality cockpit with fourfold intuitive operation of the available infotainment systems. Neumann is convinced that “the new Insignia will thrill even more”.

The Insignia Cockpit: Tidied up, clearly arranged and ergonomic: the new Insignia cockpit.

Tidied up, clearly arranged and ergonomic: the new Insignia cockpit.

New leather and trim packages, plus simpler steering wheel buttons complete a decent facelifting for the Insignia. The AGR seats (Aktion Gesunder Rücken, i.e. Campaign for Healthier Backs, see, have been an outstanding feature with Opel cars for many years. These back-friendly seats are not standard equipment in any Opel. Nevertheless, 60 per cent of German car drivers have ordered their respective Opel with AGR seats.

Determined look with winglets of attraction.

Determined look with winglets of attraction.

The look of a car, meaning its lights at the front and at the back, is always important. It is what gives it its character. And the Insignia definitely now has a confident, focused and direct look, as if to say: “Here’s looking at you… and I do expect an answer when I am talking to you”. Part of this look are the distinctive winglets as design elements for both headlamps and taillights. Additionally, the new look of the redesigned headlamps is strengthened by embedded chrome accents below halogen or bi-xenon modules surrounded by high gloss, black bezels. The “wing” signature is characteristic of all body versions.

On the Winglets of Desirable Design

Opel has abandoned its dated and slightly frumpy appearance, resulting in an altogether rejuvenated styling. The same applies to the second Insignia generation. The top model

Winglets with a view - the rear lights of the new Insignia.

Winglets with a view – the rear lights of the new Insignia.

has become altogether more masculine, with its flowing shape more solidly planted on the ground. Added to which it has distinct design features that make it discernible as an Insignia. In a sense, the car has become a personality, is no longer “just” a practical means of transport.

The eye-catching bodywork encapsulates state-of-the art technology. This holds even more true for the ultimate top-of-the-line perfomer, the Insignia OPC. Trendsetting technologies range from an Active Air Shutter lowering the drag coefficient, adaptive 4×4 all-wheel drive, Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL+), Advanced Park Assist, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), FlexRide Premium Chassis, Independent Car Heater, LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Traction Control (TCPlus), with engine and braking intervention and many other ingredients that make this car state-of-the art in every respect.

Mulimedia Options Intuitively Understood

Irrespective of whether it is true or not that generations X and especially Y are more interested in smartphones and multimedia than in cars – we actually do not reckon much to that view, but rather attribute the decrease in young car tenants to the exceedingly expensive maintenance costs – Opel has introduced revolutionary infotainment in the new Insignia.

8-inch touchpad catering for all conceivable needsof communication.

8-inch touchpad catering for all conceivable needsof communication.

Integrated into the newly designed cockpit with a radically simplified control panel and two 8-inch colour displays is the so-called IntelliLink, a user-friendly technology that integrates smartphone capabilities into the car. IntelliLink allows its user to choose between four options to operate the infotainmen depending on whichever option is most convenient at

Touchpad with letter recognition.

Touchpad with letter recognition.

any given time. It has been developed to distract the driver’s attention from driving as little as possible. The four possible operation modes are voice command, steering wheel controls, the 8-inch touchscreen or a revolutionary touchpad centre console. The latter has letter recognition and will even translate scrawls into sensible information. Selected smartphone content can be transmitted via Bluetooth, added to which the touchscreen can download apps. IntelliLink is actually not just here to deliver infotainment, but moreover offers some powerful advanced functions:

The INSIGNIA of Power: OPC

Pure motorsport ambience: the instrument display has specific engine information available.

Pure motorsport ambience: The instrument display has specific engine information available.

Pure motorsport ambience awaits the driver of the OPC, the ultimate Opel powerhouse. The new Opel Insignia OPC, too, follows the new design language of the Insignia family. Its bold appearance has been restyled at the front and at the rear displaying specific OPC design elements, such as distinctive saber-tooth front detailing and integrated exhaust tailpipes. The OPC chassis is enhanced, with special focus on the re-worked rear axle – as in the other members of the new Insignia family – where engineers have modified around 60 percent of the componentry. In addition, noise and vibration behavior is improved through numerous fine-tuning measures.And at the heart of it all is the 2.8l V6 rubto engine with 239 kW/325 hp and 435 Nm maximum torque.

Insignia OPC as notchback and as hatchback.

Insignia OPC as notchback and as hatchback.

Bright Future Ahead

In China, the mid-size limousine Insignia wishes to appeal to a demanding clientele as Buick. Considering the looks, the multifarious options for a distinctly individual car, the 8-inch touchscreen for “generation Playstation”, the Insignia will undoubtedly be a success as Buick in the increasingly important market of China.

Not only the Chinese will be grateful for such clever devices as “My Opel App”, an interactive device which saves one ploughing through unwieldy instruction manuals. Instead, take your smartphone, move it to the area about which you would like to learn more and have the relevant information displayed to you:

With the Insignia family Opel has managed to offer a car for every taste. Given the choice we would go for the OPC, as it definitely fun to drive, especially along long and winding roads with lots of bends.

Only six months ago Neumann acceded the thorny Opel throne. But already now one is inclined to say: Mission successfully completed. Opel as one of Europe’s largest automakers has the backing of General Motors allowing the German carmaker to make the necessary investments into Research end Development. The Insignia is a perfect example of Opel rejuvenated and displaying advanced technology. The Lightning Bolt has regained its shine.

Zusammenfassung / Summary:

Opel ist mit der vollständigen Überarbeitung des Insignia in der zweiten Generation ein weiterer Rundumerfolg geglückt. Nach Meriva und Corsa als Segmentführer in ihrer jeweiligen Klasse und den sehr guten Verkaufszahlen des knackigen Kleinwagens Adam

New member of the Insignia family: Insignia Country Tourer for both town and rough countryside.

New member of the Insignia family: Insignia Country Tourer for both town and rough countryside.

zeichnet sich schon jetzt abab, dass der Insignia die Marktposition des deutschen Herstellers weiter festigen und verbessern wird. Anhaltenden Schwung und Aufwind bringt der Marke nicht zuletzt das neue Mitglied in der Insignia Familie, der Country Tourer – als Outdoor-Version und Crossover Cowboy für die Straße und für Offroad-Abenteuer.

Susanne Roeder


Stylish STIHLists at Work

Precision, Performance, Passion &  Audacity.

Precision, Performance, Passion,  Audacity & Sex Appeal.

Of Robots, Saws, Racecars and other Engines

She has style & STIHL, she has passion, she is highly attractive and handles a toy that, too, has style plus an attractive design. But more than that: The “toy” is as sharp as the lady who is sawing her way through the jungle, aided by a typical STIHL high precision and high performance saw, the new MS 661 C-M gasoline chainsaw with M-Tronic. This hot lady is part of this year’s STIHL calendar, for which demand is easily as high as for the Pirelli calendar. Sex and quality will always sell.

This lady is obviously averse to office hours, but prefers it wild and free. With a little help from STIHL life looks different ...

This lady is obviously averse to hours spent behind a desk, but prefers it wild and free. With a little help from STIHL life looks quite different …

Andreas STIHL AG & Co. KG, a German family enterprise in its third generation, is growing continuously regarding all aspects, i.e. product portfolio, employees and worldwide turnover. The company not only prides itself in “made in Germany”, but also constantly reinvests a substantial part  of its revenues into Research and Development, R & D. The amounts of money and brainwork the “STIHLists” invest in test labs are well-nigh mind-boggling and compare easily to the car industry. It is therefore surprising that the products are not more expensive. One reason might be that STIHL is and always has been a company firmly based on the principles of sustainability, continuous progress and highly motivated employees. After all, the term sustainability originally stems from forestry.

130 test laboratories in Neustadt-Waiblingen (Baden-Württemberg), the heart of STIHL Research and Development, are proof of how seriously each machine and tool made by STIHL or the one hundred per cent daughter company Viking is developed to its very best. A number of over 200 test stands are unique, and a tour through Fort Knox demonstrates how all STIHL products undergo lengthy and detailed tests regarding safety issues, longevity of the product, pleasant noise level or performance.

Too noisy? Amenable sound? Minute tests take place in the sound-ranging room. This is one of 130 (!) test labs in Neustadt, the centre of research and development.

Too noisy? Agreeable sound? Meticulous testing takes place in the sound-ranging room. It is one of 130 (!) test labs in Waiblingen-Neustadt, the centre of research and development.

Most importantly, the company has a solid base and does not need loans from banks. This year, which so far has been tricky due to a long and severe winter in Europe persevering throughout most of spring, ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG nevertheless increased its turnover by 5.3 percent to EUR 632 million in the period from January to August. And as of

CEO Dr. Bertram Kandziora with the STIHL emblem of success:  A chain saw. In this case the new MS 661 C-M, at the assembly line in Waiblingen.

Chairman of the Executive Board, Dr. Bertram Kandziora with the STIHL emblem of success: A chain saw. In this case the new MS 661 C-M, at the assembly line in Waiblingen.

August 31, the STIHL workforce was up to 4,123 employees, which is 1.7 percent more than the previous year. Furthermore, STIHL boss Dr. Bertram Kandziora announced sizable investments of EUR 60 million in a new logistics center and expansion of the engineering centre in Waiblingen in the coming years. “Our German base has a key function in supplying world markets with professional products. With our engineering centre in Germany we take advantage of the fact that our development engineers for products and production processes are close to the suppliers of developments here in the region.” STIHL is dedicated to continue the growth course of the company – in spite of unfavourable weather conditions and consumer restraint in the eurozone. “2013 will be another record year for us,” announced Kandziora at the company’s autumn press conference.

“The Saw Has Made Us Strong” … of Men & Machines

STIHL has never forgotten its origins, and that is the chain saw. STIHL saws have led the company to flourish incessantly and have swiftly become a persistent benchmark in hightech and ground breaking innovations. In the meantime the whole product range

Modern times. Enormous trees can be felled with a lightweight chain saw.

Modern times. Enormous trees can nowadays be felled with a lightweight chain saw.

aspires to be benchmark. Back in 1930, only four years after the Swabian company had taken up production, founding father Andreas Stihl presented his first chain saw powered by a gasoline engine. At the time, the two-man saw for tree felling had a power output of six horsepower and weighed a substantial 101 pounds.

Lightweight, which has only recently become paramount for the automobile industry due to severe emission regulations, has always been a key factor for STIHL products. After all, 300 gramms more or less make a lot of difference to a forestry worker, both professional

The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS European championship back in 2007, in Waiblingen.

The STIHL TIMBERSPORTS European championship which back in 2007 took place  in Waiblingen.

and amateur, sawing away at trees for many hours day after day. STIHL and Viking focus on power tools for landscape cultivation, forestry and construction sectors. One of the latest additions to the vast product portfolio of chain saws, brushcutters and clearing saws, KombiSystems, MultiSystems, cleaning systems, hedge trimmers and long-reach hedge trimmers, cut off machines, concrete cutter and augers, mistleblowers and sprayers, and last but not least personal protective equipment, the new STIHL MS 661 C-M with a weight of 7.4 kg and a 5.4 kW engine is the lightest in its displacement class. It is extremely powerful displaying a power to weight ratio of 1.37 kg/kW – a specification which is up to now unsurpassed in machines that meet the strict European exhaust gas regulations.

"Kiss my axe" ... and ace. Just as F 1 Champion Sebastian Vettel strokes his car Hungry Heidi after each successful race, STIHL encourages combatants kiss the STIHL products for reliability, speed, precision and lightweight.

“Kiss my axe” … “because I am an ace”. Just as F 1 Champion Sebastian Vettel strokes his car Hungry Heidi after each successful race, STIHL encourages combatants to kiss the STIHL products for reliability, speed, precision and lightweight.

The MS 661 C-M will also be used as a new competition saw in the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series. This year’s competition will take place in Porsche Arena in Stuttgart on 26th and 27th October 2013. A highlight, that is definitely to be recommended. Here are some snippets from last year’s battle for championship in America: Some 10,000 spectators will see 100 top athletes from all over the world compete for trophies. No wonder the charisma of STIHL attracts thousands of would-be STIHLists. The company receives approximately 17,000 applicants per year. This is not primarily due to such venues as “Kiss my axe” or STIHL sponsoring activities in DTM, the arts, and many more areas. It is due to the sustainable philosophy of the firm whose employees can furthermore subscribe to participation rights. 69 per cent have taken advantage of this offer.

Ideal state of affairs: Corporate Culture & money in perfect harmony.

Ideal state of affairs: Corporate Culture & money in perfect harmony.

The STIHL founding company was awarded the “AGP Stars 2013″ of the “Association of Co-partnership in Business (AGP)” for its corporate culture and its “exemplary” system of employee participation in the company’s capital. The total capital of participating rights holders is now EUR 33.6 million – the highest it has been since the scheme was introduced in 1985. Anyone subscribing to participating rights receives a subsidy of two thirds of the purchase price from the company. Interest of 10 percent was paid on the participating rights capital for fiscal year 2012. In present circumstances, one cannot find any bank prepared to pay nearly as much.

The Glory of the Garden

"You relax, I mow". Viking has developed

“You relax, iMow”. Viking has developed a swift, intelligent, quiet and sustainable robot.

Both STIHL products and above all Viking products focus on the art of gardening – with ease. The robot “iMow” not only takes over the sometimes tiresome chore of having to mow the lawn. It cultivates the lawn, as it only chops off the tips of the grass-blades. Thus, the mulch regularly nourishes the lawn. To this effect, Viking has presented two new products for lawn care. It has launched its new iMow MI 632 and MI 632 P robotic mowers – two models designed and built in-house – which operate quickly, quietly and intelligently. They are powered by highly efficient rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

Taking pride in mowing one's lawn. Tremendous fun automatically included.

Taking pride in mowing one’s lawn. Tremendous fun automatically included.

For those, however, wanting to indulge actively in the care of their garden and with a sizable lawn at hand that possibly is not flat, the VIKING T5 and T6 series lawn tractors present themselves with a technical and optical facelift. The top models in the T6 series are now equipped with an innovative synchronous mowing deck and an uprated gearbox.

Performance, Precision, Perfection, Longevity

After 30 years spare parts are still available for STIHL power tools. Compared to the automobile industry where a car is a classic car, once it is 25 years old and as a result it gets increasingly difficult to get hold of fitting spare parts, this is another convincing aspect of the company’s philosophy of longevity and sustainability.

Sculptured with the aid of STIHL tools. (Photo: Hesse)

Sculptured by Hesse and STIHL. (Photo: Hesse)

What may come as a surprise but is further proof of the precision and running smoothness is the fact that STIHL expert tools are also used for sculpturing. The artist Anna-Katharina Hesse, young prize-winner of the European design price for woodcutters, relies on STIHL power saws. We were able to watch her using the new STIHL Carving E which is twelve per cent lighter and slimmer than its predecessor and has laser marks for precise cuts. It is so slender that there are virtually no kickbacks. As far as tree surgery is concerned, this tool allows the healing of rotten parts of trees.

In order to avoid the outbreak of diseases the new SR 200 backpack sprayer has been developed. It protects plants and trees up to a height of 2.5 meters in wine, fruit and vegetable growing. For pruning trees flexibly, quietly and free of emissions while standing on the ground, the STIHL cordless system now also includes the HTA 85 pole saw. In other words, there is a power tool from STIHL or Viking to answer any problem arising in gardens or forests.

Anna-Katharina Hesse at work with the new Carving E blade.

Anna-Katharina Hesse at work with the new Carving E blade.

Passionists at Work

Passion and power attract passion and power. This is why STIHL figures as DTM sponsor. Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM, German Touring Car Masters) is a Silhouette racing car series based in Germany, with races taking also place elsewhere in Europe.

This year, the battle is among Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Being based near Stuttgart STIHL sponsors a Mercedes car (STIHL Mercedes AMG C-Coupé) and its Canadian DTM rookie race driver Robert Wickens. And STIHL was to be in luck. To the surprise of almost everyone Wickens  took an improbable maiden DTM victory in a chaotic wet-and-dry race at the Nurburgring on 18th August this year. Durability being another parallel between sponsor and sponsored driver.

The name STIHL has been the epitome of revolutionary technology and innovative ideas ever since the firm was founded. Throughout its 85-plus year history this hightech approach has made STIHL a synonym for state-of-the-art engineering. The STIHL brand is known all over the world for quality and service. In more than 160 countries STIHL products are helping people at work. In short, STIHL has become the world’s leading chain saw brand. Last but not least, here is a glimpse of the fascinating STIHL world, starring the MS 261:

Summary / Zusammenfassung

Die Andreas STIHL AG & Co. KG ist eine jener Erfolgsgeschichten im Schwäbischen, die klein anfing und stetig wuchs. Seit letztem Sommer führt Dr. Nikolas Stihl das Unternehmen in der dritten Generation – wie sein Vater Hans Peter Stihl als Vorsitzender von Beirat und Aufsichtsrat der STIHL Unternehmensgruppe. Davor zeigte Nikolas Stihl seit dem Jahr 1993 seine Führungsqualitäten als Geschäftsführer des Unternehmens Viking in Langkampfen, Tirol. Das Unternehmen für Gartengeräre war ein Jahr zuvor von der STIHL Gruppe als hundertprozentige Tochter übernommen worden.

Hans Peter Stihl bleibt persönlich haftender Gesellschafter der STIHL HOLDING und wurde in Anerkennung seiner herausragenden Leistungen für das Unternehmen zum

Dr. Nikolas Stihl

Dr. Nikolas Stihl

Ehrenvorsitzenden von Beirat und Aufsichtsrat ernannt. Seine Schwester Eva Mayr-Stihl bleibt stellvertretende Beiratsvorsitzende. „Mit diesen Entscheidungen stellen wir sicher, dass STIHL auch in Zukunft ein unabhängiges, mittelständisch geprägtes Familienunternehmen im Sinne des Firmengründers Andreas Stihl bleibt”, betonte der Enkel des Firmengründers. Die vier Familienstämme bleiben zu je 25 Prozent an der STIHL Holding beteiligt. Die operative Führung liegt auch künftig in den Händen des familienfremden Vorstands unter Vorsitz des Chemie-Ingenieurs Dr. Bertram Kandziora.

Susanne Roeder


Big Data for Cars’n all

There is a better way to fly... According to Altair engineers, the company had significant involvement with both the A380 and 787 programs, helping to reduce the weight of both aircrafts.

There is a better way to fly… According to Altair engineers, they had significant involvement with both the A380 and 787 programmes, helping to reduce the weight of both aircrafts.

Aesthetics of Lightweight: Dallara, Airbus & Art

It is our vision to radically change the way in which companies design products and reach decisions.” Mere waffle? Far from it. The man who said it has a solid engineering background as consultant to the automotive industry, beginning his career with the Ford Motor Company in 1978. Seven years later, together with two partners he, James R. Scapa, better known as Jim Scapa, founded Altair engineering. What started out as a small scale consultancy in Troy, Michigan, in the then new field of computer-aided-engineering (CAE), has become a global player indeed, with more than 2,000 employees in 19 countries. Added to which the Altair portfolio of clients reads like an impressive who’s who of the  producing industry. For a first impression of how digitalisation works in an engineering process, this is what CEO Scapa has to say about innovation intelligence:

Digitalisation is omnipresent. And apart from being a most valuable tool for engineers in the production industry, even artists have become infatuated with the clever Altair software.

The making of ...

Design to the Xtreme or: The making of …

So what could the above turn out to be? The result of the rapid simulation process is a sculpture by the London based designer and author of the famous trouser chair Assa Ashuach. And thus it happened, Altair as a software company has entered the London Design Museum – as part of the show Future is Here. Further proof that this company is avantgarde and anything but antiquated. The Israeli, whose work focuses on progressive design and manufacturing, relied on Altair’s programmes solidThinking Inspire and OptiStruct to model his futuristic Femur stool. The stool is exhibited in the Design Museum till the end of October 2013.

3D print of the stool.

3D print of the stool.

Here is the animated version of the genesis, an unusual piece of seating furniture based on the human anatomy: Its creator Ashuach claims that 3D design starts with zero and that it is all about materialising one’s thoughts. This is precisely how Altair would like to see industry employ the software, because only starting from scratch, on a white sheet of paper, makes one reach the best results in weight reduction and durability. However, most use the software as a tool to improve existing design with the aim of reducing weight by removing material where possible.

The making of the Femur stool relied on the same work process as designing cars, parts of cars, parts of aeroplanes, trains and other industrial objects. As the artist explains: “In this project we used a new algorithm that removes any redundant material according to stress zones on the object’s surface. An optimisation of the exterior and material use was made to achieve a light and economical form.” What is unusual for the arts, has become widespread practice in industry, where saving time for production, weight and material means saving money and energy.

Less is more – Learning from Nature

The stool elegantly demonstrates Altair’s capabilities in the field of lightweight design, optimisation and additive layer manufacturing. The name Femur stool indicates that like the human pelvis and femur, this piece of art follows the human bone structure. Meaning, this shaping is driven by the mathematical intelligence of human bone formation. Bionics, i.e. analogies from nature, is much acclaimed in the car manufacturing industry for mimicking human nature, as it helps to reduce the drag coefficient. The difference with Altair’s software OptiStruct is that it does not simply copy nature as a static process. Rather, the company meticulously collects data, be it from the human ossification, from the structure of cobwebs, leaves or trees. This data allows fast and detailed calculations for industrial constructions, resulting in significantly reduced weight and a simultaneously increased lifespan..

For the artist, the looks of an object and perhaps its lifespan are of paramount importance, industry is keen on reducing weight, saving energy and improving the entire lifecycle. Drastic reductions in the CO2 emissions from passenger cars have been ordained by the European Commission and due to the global climate protection agreement of Kyoto will also be introduced worldwide sooner of later. The OEMs are therefore under enormous pressure to reach these goals. In Europe the fleet average to be achieved by all new cars is 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g/km) by 2015 and the hotly debated 95g/km

CO2 curse of modern times

Curse of modern times: CO2

by 2020. The 2015 and 2020 targets represent reductions of 18% and 40% respectively compared with the 2007 fleet average of 158.7g/km. These goals are not only extremely ambitious, they are highly unrealistic, a typical example of the green ivory tower of the EU.

Weightwatching is the Watchword

The experts all agree that there is still enormous potential for improvements and increased efficiency regarding vehicles with combustion engines. No stone is left unturned on the search for greater efficiency. Apart from building ever more efficient engines and recuperating energy while driving, one of the most important aspects is saving weight. Each gram gained translates directly into less CO2 per kilometre. Rule of thumb: On an average, 100 kilograms less weight lead to about half a litre of fuel saved.

Holistic design of a vehicle concept with OptiStruct.

Holistic design of a vehicle concept with OptiStruct.

Slimline is beautiful” could be the motto for the car industry. And this does not only imply using lighter materials in the intelligent material mix. The secret lies in an efficient change of shape, in other words in innovative lightweight construction. Altair is certainly a leading global provider of technology that strengthens client innovation. It therefore comes as little surprise that in the automotive sphere all the OEMs, be it Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Dallara, Daimler, Ferrari, Fiat, Ford, GM, Honda, HWA, Hyundai, McLaren, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Tata, Tesla, Volvo or VW, plus the suppliers all use Altair software one way or another to make their products more efficient. With over 3,000 clients, Altair serves the automotive, aerospace, government and defense, heavy equipment industry sectors as well as the consumer products, ship building, energy, electronics, life sciences, and architectural engineering and construction markets.

Time is money 

Efficiency in the workflow and designing process is crucial in a cost-intensive production industry. This is why Altair wants to revolutionise the whole process. In the automotive industry, the established development process puts priority on the fulfilment of functional targets such as crash safety, fatigue as well as comfort and noise. As a result, weight

Single item designed by OptiStruct: Steps towards optimised VW engine mount for dynamo, A/C compressor and control pump.

Single item designed by OptiStruct: Steps towards optimised VW engine mount for dynamo, A/C compressor and control pump.

targets are frequently not fulfilled early in the development process, which leads to late weight firefighting and often unfavourable compromises between weight and functional targets. The introduction of numerical optimisation methods has improved the possibility to find better compromises. Still, as long as the usage of numerical optimisation is focused on component based, on-demand firefighting, large weight saving potential is left unused. It must be a goal in vehicle development to better utilise the potential that numerical optimization methods provide to help saving mass. The Altair engineers will not grow tired

McLaren takes advantage of Altair' advanced material modelling for its Formular 1 racing-car.

McLaren takes advantage of Altair’s advanced material modelling for its Formular 1 racing-car.

of emphasising how important it is to approach lightweight construction holistically. “We want to give the designer a tool with which he can come up with better solutions right from the beginning.” This means the designer will no longer start with the “white sheet” in front of him.

The old time-consuming and expensive approach.

The old time-consuming and expensive approach.

Thanks to frequently repeatable and fast simulation he can fall back on design suggestions which deliver the most efficient structures within any given framework, before he gets down to work. Real tests become replaced by virtual tests. And ideally, the Altair engineers use their methods and programmes for optimisation to collaborate with the respective OEM from the very outset. As in the case of Opel where the optimisation process concerns the development process of a passenger car.

Simulation – Inspiration – Innovation

Ideally, the Altair team would suggest using design optimisation techniques on every single component in a product, in order to ensure the entire structure is as lightweight as possible. In reality however, this is rarely possible as development schedules need to be

Optimised wheel suspension at the racing-car builder Dallara. (photo: Dallara.)

Optimised wheel suspension at the racing-car builder Dallara. (photo: Dallara.)

met with a limited amount of resources. So when faced with an existing design and often hundreds of components that could potentially be optimised, the challenge is to find out which ones could yield the biggest weight savings. The answer is to screen a product’s components during the early stage of the development process. The screening process helps to answer several vital questions when assessing where to focus time and energy such as:

  • Which steps are necessary to enhance the product?
  • What does this mean economically?
  • How large is the economic and technical potential of an optimisation project?
  • How much will it cost and how much effort will be required for an optimisation project compared to its benefit?
  • What are the consequence-, synergy- or interdependency-effects which may come up during the optimisation project?
  • What are convenient or realistic development targets?
The Altair vision ... massive weight reduction through CAE by means of cloud computing coupled with high-performance computing.

The Altair vision … massive weight reduction through CAE by means of cloud computing coupled with high-performance computing.

Be it on isolated issues such as weight reduction of an aluminium frame at Ferrari, the concept design of a cross car beam at Fiat Group, or a more comprehensive approach, as in the case of Porsche, with virtual vehicle development under the constraints of changing products and processes – Altair HyperWorks, OptiStruct, HyperStudy, HyperMesh and all the sub-programmes will help to produce viable solutions fast. Thus,

The Altair Way: Revolution of the design process as simulation-driven innovation.

The Altair Way: Revolution of the design process as simulation-driven innovation.

Daimler uses HyperMesh for Brake Disc Morphing and to check the durability of the Brake System in specific cars. OptiStruct comes in for multibody dynamic simulation, because it is all about how to best shape the brake discs in order to avoid brake noise and vibration issues. Many more examples can be given from the car industry.

In essence, Jim Scapa and his company focus on two main areas. In the analytics realm it is advanced material modeling, including composites, in business analytics it is solutions provided to analyse massive amounts of data for rapid descision-making.   

Is Sebastian Vettel's "Hungry Heidi" partly designed with the help of Altair software? Most of the time this remains a secret. Not so in the case of the F 1 Sauber Team which does cooperate with Altair Germany.

Sebastian Vettel’s “Hungry Heidi” was constructed without the aid of Altair. But as costs for Formula 1 continue to be cut who knows what the future will bring.

Susanne Roeder


And here is a printed version in German:

Altair: Not a Heavy Metal fan...

Altair: Not a Heavy Metal fan…


Alternatives to Heavy Metal - by Altair

Alternatives to Heavy Metal – by Altair

Less than 32 Bath Tubs per Car & and Going Electric?

Waste not, want not. Efficiency is the Car Industry's Watchword.

Waste not, want not. Efficiency is the Car Industry’s Watchword.

Efficiency and Sustainability seemingly unlimited

In the Western World we take for granted having a bath or taking a shower. We hardly think of efficiency or sustainability while doing so. Not so the Car Industry. Thus we hear from Volkswagen that 32 bath tubs per car produced are too many. Efficiency, sustainability, ecology are three big words of which the car manufacturers have become acutely aware, not least because of ever more stringent regulations from Brussels. The Volkswagen Group and VW pride themselves in “thinking blue”. The company claims that sustainability has become firmly entrenched in its statutes. By 2018 the Volkswagen Group aims to replace Toyota as the World’s number one car manufacturer, at least this is what CEO Martin Winterkorn proclaims. The programme is called “Mach 18 Factory”, “Mach 18″ being the overall watchword – meaning something like “make it to being Number 1 worldwide by 2018!”

On the way from Number One in Europe to becoming Number One in the world, Volkswagen assesses its Think Blue Factory as one in which the “bath tubs per car” have to be significantly reduced, using as little water as possible, and as one in which remnants from the pressing plant are used for other components. Volkswagen considers environmental topics as paramount in the production process and announces a further reduction in the waste of resources of 25 per cent by 2018.

Truly a Survival of the Fittest?

Regarding the type of engine, combustion has been, still is and will remain to be the most successful solution for cars. However, the European Comission in Brussels keeps installing new regulations, especially as regards levels of CO2 emissions. So, national governments in Europe pump money into other systems keeping them artificially alive, just to meet the unrealistic environmental targets. Accordingly, the German government and Chancellor Angela Merkel have just announced further substantial unreasonable subventions for e-mobility. Can one not stop flogging a partially dead horse and rather invest in cars powered by the ever-improving combustion engine?

Déjà vu: Electricity lost out on the combustion engine. The massive Lohner-Porsche Electromobile from 1900.

Déjà vu: Electricity lost out on the combustion engine. The massive Lohner-Porsche Electromobile from 1900.

Whereas according to Darwinian survival of the fittest, the combustion engine would easily survive for many decades to come and further improve its CO2 emissions, it might well become an endangered species on account of Brussels’ and Germany’s interventionism. The e-hype of these past years is quite unbelievable. While new technologies need the passion and support of all engineers and financiers involved, there is a limit when it comes to probabilities and cost-benefit analyses. It has been shown that neither the well to wheel analysis nor return on investment calculations for purely electric cars makes any sense. And why not invest this money in hydrogen cars that emit nothing but water, can cover the same distances as combustion engines and take as little time to refill? One cannot help thinking of haphazard decisions taken at random. As a matter of fact, these decisions are the result of guesswork. Firstly, General Elections in Germany are looming, generating varied lobbying and irrational promises. Secondly, the German car industry with its focus on premium cars needs to sell enough e-cars to meet the severe CO2 limits that by 2020 allow no more than an average emission per new car of 95 gram of  CO2 per kilometer. This is achieved by means of super credits. To quote the European Commission: “Each low-emitting car will be counted as 3.5 vehicles in 2012 and 2013, 2.5 in 2014, 1.5 vehicles in 2015 and then 1 vehicle from 2016 onwards. This approach will help manufacturers further reduce the average emissions of their new car fleet.”

So far electric cars are merely a gimmick; some will be bought for illogical reasons. They are far more expensive, the batteries will not last as long as the car’s lifecycle and take hours to reload, added to which the distance one can cover remains a fraction of that covered with a petrol or diesel engine. Instead, one must ask whether it would not be better for the German government to stand up for reasonable regulations. VDA President Matthias Wissmann

Outspoken lobbyist for the German car industry and a man with a long political background in traffic and transport, Matthias Wissmann.

Outspoken lobbyist for the German car industry and a man with a long political background in traffic and transport, Matthias Wissmann.

at any rate has dampened the great expectations for e-mobility in Germany. “If we reach the goal of one million electric vehicles on German streets one or two years later, that is not a problem. What is really important is that the German car industry remains in the lead regarding technological innovations and market share.” The President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry wrote a letter to the German Chancellor a few weeks ago asking her to vehemently oppose CO2 regulations that would be nails in the German car industry’s coffin.

Outrageously Different: The “BMWi Way” set to hit the road

BMW claims to have found a Columbus’ egg. With the motto “Born electric” the Bavarian premium brand is set to revolutionise the future of mobility once again. Its Columbus’ egg being an innovative lightweight and drive train concept. The BMWi range of cars is to consist both of fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. The Bavarian optimism as regards the electrification of the powertrain is not shared by the majority of the OEMs. And yet the BMWi representatives are convinced that their concept which they started as “Project i” back in 2007 and have since pursued in secrecy will prove a sustainable success.

"Born electric" - BMW believe in the success of their i models.

“Born electric” – BMW believe in the success of their i models.

The brains behind BMWi claim to have re-invented the car again, having reshaped it from scratch. The decisive factor for their electric models is the use of Carbon Fibre Composite materials with the use of which BMW endeavours to achieve a reduction of weight by 50 per cent compared to steel, plus a superior stiffness and good crash behaviour. The BMW i3 as fully electric car in the small segment will hit the road before the end of the year. The sportscar i8 will soon follow as a plug-in hybrid. “We have made no compromises with these purpose-built cars that support our emission free range of models. They represent two extreme poles in our otherwise classical offer of cars”, explains Hildegard Wortmann from Product Management and Aftersales. BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer adds: “It is an even bigger step than that from the carriage to the car.” In other words, BMW is breaking the rules of conventional car production. BMW wants a revolution, and somewhat confusingly calls it “i”, because it has nothing to do with i phone or i pad. Except that it might appeal exactly to that generation, which could be called generation “i”, as in “i” for innovation. Or …

“i” for Iconic Change under the name of sustainability?

“You say you want a revolution – Well, you know – We all want to change the world. You tell me that it’s evolution – Well, you know – We all want to change the world. You say you got a real solution – Well, you know – We’d all love to see the plan. You ask me for a contribution – Well, you know – We’re doing what we can.” With “Born electric” BMW might turn out to be as revolutionary as the Beatles in the 1960ies, with their new hairstyles and quite revolutionary songs and ideas. As in the Beatles song “Revolution” the car manufacturer has a “real solution” with which it wants to change the world.

The Beatles and BMW: Revolutionaries of their time?

The Beatles and BMW: Revolutionaries of their time?

The Bavarians are not only building entirely new cars, where an aluminium chassis sits on a carbon body and introduces new freedoms in design, but they deliver a 360 degree carefree package with it, or at least intend to do so. They call it “the BMW i 360-degree package for customer-friendly, (easy and convenient), electric mobility.” As BMW explains: “Through the 360° Electric programme, BMW i will offer solutions for all aspects of electric mobility. Under this banner it has entered numerous partnerships which will support the overriding goal of ensuring that, by the launch date, the charging options for the BMW i3 and BMW i8 will include customer-friendly, sustainable and convenient solutions for home garage charging.” Needless to say, all these partnerships are centred on the concept of sustainability.

This manufacturer of sporty premium cars is convinced of its opportunity to change public perception, to lead the premium segment and to develop a sustainable business. Quite a sizable commitment! But of course BMW is relying on governmental support as regards further tax reductions for the e-cars and a speedy installation of the necessary infrastructure. And who is the clientèle for the BMW i cars? No doubt, they will attract the so-called Lohas, i.e. that section of society that follows a lifestyle of health and sustainability. Most importantly for BMW though, the Lohas must be sufficiently wealthy.

Susanne Roeder


Purely electric. The Californian pioneer Tesla and its Model S.

Purely electric. The Californian pioneer Tesla and its Model S.

PS: As you may have noticed the issue is highly controversial. Huffington Post displays an opposing view from Bill Destler who strongly believes in e-mobility. He takes the view that “electric cars are our future”:

And for the state of affairs as regards the regulations by the European Commission, take a look at:

You may also like to follow up the discussion re the BMW i revolution on LinkedIn: Rise of the BMW i3 | LinkedIn


1234yf und kein Ende – Eine amerikanische Saga

Der Streit um das Kältemittel R 1234yf geht in die nächste Runde.

Okay, man kann verstehen, dass Opel andere Sorgen hat, als Forschungsgelder in die Entwicklung eines alternativen Kältemittels zu stecken. Aber der Sache haben die Tests im Schulterschluss mit dem TÜV – es findet sich meist einer, der seinen Gütestempel drunter setzt, diesmal also der TÜV Rheinland – letztlich geschadet. Denn dass Daimler sich ursprünglich daran machte, Tests unter Realbedingungen durchzuführen, um dann einer unsicheren Zukunft in Sachen Klimaanlagen entgegenzusehen und um viel Forschungsgelder für die Entwicklung einer Alternative, einer umweltfreundlichen CO2-Klimaanlage, in den Hand nehmen zu müssen; diese Vorstellung ist ebenso bizarr wie unlogisch.

Der neuerliche Vorgang hat ein Geschmäckle: Opel wird von General Motors gegängelt, könnte ohne die amerikanische Konzernmutter besser dastehen, durfte Modelle nicht auf den Markt bringen, macht letztlich gute Miene zum bösen Schließungsspiel.

In Amerika ist das Kältemittel R 1234yf als Lösung aller Probleme begrüßt. Alleinige Lieferanten des Mittels sind die beiden amerikanischen (!) Chemiekonzerne Dupont und Honeywell.

Caution! R1234yf

Caution! R 1234yf

Auch wenn ihr Kältemittel formal umweltverträglicher ist als das bisherige Kältemittel R134a, so ist es doch viermal zu schädlich wie CO2. Deshalb: Premium Hersteller deutscher Landen vereinigt euch und bleibt dran an der Entwicklung einer CO2 Klimaanlage. Und Politiker in Brüssel: Gewährt den OEMs die dazu nötige Entwicklungszeit. In der Zwischenzeit sehe jeder, mit welchem Kältemittel er’s treibe und wie sich die Käufer entscheiden.

Es kann nicht angehen, dass der TÜV Rheinland am Ende noch das Umweltbundesamt aussticht. Zur Erinnerung. Untersuchungen der Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung (BAM) hatten das Kühlmittel als gefährlich eingestuft: “Die Untersuchungen der BAM zeigen, dass mit dem Einsatz von 1234yf Gefahren verbunden sind. Die Gefahren ergeben sich aus dem beim Brandfall und bei hohen Temperaturen bereits ohne Brand aus dem Kältemittel 1234yf entstehenden Fluorwasserstoff.”

Da entsteht schon mal die Frage nach der wahren Motivation für die Tests von Opel – wohlgemerkt mit General Motors als ständigem Aufpasser bedrohlich im Nacken. Ob es wirklich um die Sicherheit der Insassen geht und nicht eher um einen Persilschein für den Verkauf der Autos, die das Kühlmittel 1234yf an Bord haben? Denn klar ist: Der Opel Mokka muss ein Erfolg werden. Und er klimatisiert nun mal nach „bester“ amerikanischer Manier mit 1234yf. Ein Schelm, der Böses dabei denkt?

Susanne Roeder


PS: See also a lengthy article by Doug Bolduc

PPS: Auch in Deutschland hat jetzt, am 6. Mai 2013, endlich ein weiteres Online-Medium sich des wichtigen Themas angenommen – unter dem Titel: Jetzt beginnt die Schlammschlacht ums Kältemittel. Dazu ist anzumerken: Die Schlammschlacht beginnt freilich nicht erst jetzt – nur wurde die Diskussion in den Medien bisher fast verschlafen. Ist nun mal nicht so sexy wie Fahrzeugpräsentationen…