Green Machines

This year's top tech cars squeeze more performance from less fuel than before, leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

Photo: Audi

The Audi Metroproject Quattro (four-wheel drive) concept has a plug-in hybrid-electric power train. A lithium-ion battery pack provides an electric range of up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) at a top speed of more than 100 km/h (62 mpg). The engine cuts in when the battery’s charge falls below 20 percent of its maximum.

For more on the top 10 tech cars, see TOP 10 TECH CARS

Photo: Audi

The Audi Metroproject Quattro interior features the removable ”Audi mobile device,” which lets you make phone calls, view maps, listen to music, watch videos, unlock the car, start the engine remotely, and view what’s going on inside the car via an interior camera.

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Photo: Tata Motors

The 2009 Tata Nano will sell for 100 000 rupees, about US $2500. Its 623-cubic-centimeter two-cylinder engine produces only 24 kilowatts (32 horsepower), roughly the same as a midrange motorcycle in the United States.

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Photo: Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz F700 concept car uses an engine design called homogeneous charge compression (HCCI) ignition, which blends the strengths of a diesel with those of a spark-plug engine. The idea, long entertained, is only now becoming practical because of improvements in electronic engine control.

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Photo: Mercedes-Benz

: The Mercedes-Benz F700 HCCI engine exploits a formerly wasted product: the exhaust gas left over from the previous combustion cycle. That gas prewarms the incoming fuel-air mixture so that it needs less compression to reach ignition temperature.

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The 2008 Mazda2/Mazda Demio has an engine based on the Miller cycle, which increases the efficiency of a four-cycle engine by dividing the compression stroke into two parts. Most of the compression gets done in the second part of the stroke, when the piston’s leverage is at its best.

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Photo: Mazda


Photo: Jaguar

The 2009 Jaguar XF is the first Jaguar to break away from traditional styling cues in 40 years. It may be the most important car in the marque’s storied history, the one that must prove it has a future after Ford sells it to India’s Tata Motors.

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Photo: Jaguar

The 2009 Jaguar XF interior fittings emerge from hiding only when needed. When a driver gets in, the ”start” button pulses red as it senses the proximity of the electronic key card. Pressing the button causes the rotary gear selector to rise out of the console and into the driver’s hand.

For more on the top 10 tech cars, see TOP 10 TECH CARS

Photo: GM

The 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is expected to be the first production Corvette to exceed 320 kilometers per hour (199 miles per hour). It’s rumored that the car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 3.5 seconds. The cornering grip is more than 1 g—enough to make you feel twice your weight in a perfectly banked curve.

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Photo: Ford

The 2009 Lincoln MKS with Sync coordinates and integrates entertainment, navigation, and mobile phone systems using voice-activated commands, for instance by allowing users to make calls without touching the phone—crucial in places that forbid the use of handheld devices while driving

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Photo: Ford

The 2009 Lincoln MKS with Sync coordinates and integrates entertainment, navigation, and mobile phone systems using voice-activated commands, for instance by allowing users to make calls without touching the phone—crucial in places that forbid the use of handheld devices while driving.

For more on the top 10 tech cars, see TOP 10 TECH CARS

Photo: Nissan

The 2009 Nissan GT-R provides breathtaking performance with clever design as well as technology, such as by placing engine and transaxle so as to achieve nearly an even split of weight fore and aft—ideal for such a performance car.

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Photo: BMW

The 2009 BMW X6 offers extraordinary bandwidth for electronic systems. Called FlexRay, it has two communication channels, each with a data rate of 10 megabits per second, enough for a 10- to 40-fold increase over current in-car communications protocols.

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Photo: Volkswagen

The 2008 Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion diesel burns just 3.8 liters per 100 kilometers (62 miles per gallon) and emits just 99 grams per kilometer of carbon dioxide. That’s far below the maximum fleet average of 130 g/km that the European community proposes to implement in upcoming regulations.

For more on the top 10 tech cars, see TOP 10 TECH CARS

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