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March 2015 News Round Up

Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi will showcase new Outlander at New York

Mitsubishi's restyling of their 2013 Outlander will premier at the New York motor show. Apparently, wanting to show off a “sportier and more sophisticated visual expression of MMC's PHEV technology”, Mitsubishi have based the Outlander's new look on their PHEV Concept-S (which you might remember from 2014's Paris motor show).

Chrome accents, wraparound headlights, and a new grille highlight the different direction the company are taking. Meanwhile on the inside, if the Concept-S is anything to go by, we can expect a 2-point-something litre turbocharged engine kicking out around 200bhp. The PHEV clocked a 0-60mph of under 10 seconds, and a top speed of 106mph.

With over 100 engineering and design improvements on their previous Outlander, the Japanese manufacturer claim this will be the definitive “new face of Mitsubishi”.

LM2 Streamliner

LM2 Streamliner hypercar to be unveiled in New York

Lyons Motor, a start-up manufacturer based in New York, has announced that its LM2 Streamliner will make a first appearance, suitably, at New York's motor show.

The insane 1677bhp Streamliner has a 8.2litre twin-turbo V8, seven-speed sequential transmission, and an aerodynamic carbonfibre shell. Lyons Motor claim a top speed of about 290mph, and a 0-60mph of 2.2 seconds. It also boasts a 0-100 mph of under 4 seconds, and a 0-200mph of under 12.

The US company insist the LM2 Streamliner can “counter the best performing and exclusive vehicles from Europe, Asia and beyond have to offer. The LM2 Streamliner is not only an engineering tour de force; it is a masterpiece equivalent to fine art.” And they might be right. The Streamliner's nearest comparison is the 30mph slower Konigsegg Regera, which doesn't have the Streamliner's 16 inch infotainment system.

LM aren't waiting for approval, either. Apparently, there's already a GT version and an electric model currently in the works.

Paris enforces odd car restrictions to fight smog

Last week, for five days running, air pollution in Paris exceeded safe levels. Due to a combination of cold nights, warm days, and ever increasing road traffic, the Parisian smog was officially dangerous. With no sign of the smog dispersing, the French government resurrected an old, but simple, idea to reduce pollution. On Monday, only cars with odd-numbered license plates were allowed on the roads. Exceptions were made for taxis, electric and hybrid vehicles, and for car-sharing vehicles transporting more than two people. Any one else in an odd-numbered vehicle, though, was fined and sent home.

Nearly 180 checkpoints were established by an army of roughly 700 police. By midday, 27 drivers had lost their vehicles to impound, and 4,000 tickets had been issued. Delivery companies complained of lost revenue, and many drivers were predictably furious when they suffered fines (of about £18) after attempting to ignore the restriction. The vast majority of drivers did comply with the restrictions, and seemed generally supportive of the effort to reduce the smog. The mixed response echoes the last time the measure was enacted in 1997.

However, the French environment ministry stated that the policy had worked, and that conditions had improved significantly. Monitoring agency Airparif claimed a “noticeable impact” had been made.

Bloodhound Record Car

'Bloodhound' record car has jet engine fitted

The supersonic car, Bloodhound, is to be Rolls-Royce's attempt at a new land speed record. Just recently, it had a jet engine installed. Honestly. The EJ200 turbofan engine has been fitted inside the upper deck of the Bloodhound's chassis. The hope is that this engine, combined with a 1,000 litre booster rocket and a V8 Jaguar engine, will send the vehicle hurtling past the sound barrier, past the current land speed record of 763mph, and set a new world record somewhere over 1,000mph.

It may come as no surprise, then, to learn the EJ200 is usually seen on a Eurofighter, and is one of three loaned to Rolls-Royce by the UK's Ministry of Defence.

The housing for the EJ200 is constructed of aluminium ribs, a titanium skin, almost 12,000 aerospace grade rivets, and special glue. Underneath this will sit Andy Green, who drove the Thrust SSC in 1997 to set the current world record. To get an idea of what that might entail, you can see the EJ200 being tested here.

Rolls-Royce expect to have the Bloodhound ready for testing in August, from where it will hopefully move onto South Africa for the attempt itself.

Ford's Intelligent Speed Limiter might end speeding

Ford have announced completion of an automatic speed-limiting technology, called the Intelligent Speed Limiter. The tech, Ford say, can read road signs and then automatically force the vehicle to match the displayed speed.

Using a camera mounted on the windscreen in combination with onboard navigation systems, the ISL electronically sets the car's maximum permitted speed - without any input from the driver (though don't worry, the Limiter can be turned off). Even the brakes are bypassed, since the ISL uses fuel starvation to enforce the speed cap.

Stefan Kappas, Ford's Safety Supervisor, stated that the Speed Limiter was intended to help potential accidental speeders by having the car adjust on their behalf, thus avoiding penalties: “Drivers are not always conscious of speeding and sometimes only becoming aware they were going too fast when they receive a fine in the mail”.

The ISL is set to début with Ford's S-MAX SUV, and will only become available in other models later. Having said that, Ford suggest that because many current models already have manually adjustable speed limiters and Traffic Sign Recognition, fitting the Intelligent Speed Limiter to these vehicles would be a simple process.

Vauxhall's new headlamps will point wherever you look

As part of a larger release of innovative technology, Vauxhall have unveiled a new eye-tracking headlamp technology, which looks to forever change the way road-lighting works. The system is actually capable of recognising where your gaze is aimed, and then adjusting the beams of your lights to focus on that point.

Soon to appear in Vauxhall road models, the technology uses a cabin-mounted camera and infrared peripheral sensors to scan the driver's eyes every 0.15 seconds. The system even has a “sophisticated delay algorithm” to allow for the distinction between the driver's focus and a momentary distraction.

This eye-tracking tech, if it proves successful, will be another impressive invention to add to Vauxhall's recent trend. The firm has also announced an advanced adaptive high-beam system, called the Matrix LED. The Matrix is purportedly capable of constantly adjusting a mesh of individual LEDs in the headlamp, to block the high beam from blinding other drivers. Both technologies, according to Vauxhall, are road-ready, and will be introduced over the coming two years.

And finally...Watch Finish rally drivers at the Runni Rock Ralli, Jari Huttunen and Marko Vartiainen, lose control, hit a snowbank, roll their car multiple times, then shrug it all off and finish the race. With April on the horizon, hopefully none of us have to deal with roads like this for a while!