Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lancia Delta - affordable luxury

Lancia DeltaImage via Wikipedia

The Lancia Delta perfectly embodies the notion of affordable luxury by fulfilling the modern requirements of mobility and prestige thanks to the concept of downsizing, i.e. ensuring performance and luxury at reduced cost, size and consumption levels. In order to remain a benchmark for the segment, the 2009 Delta range was recently revamped with the introduction of a new engine, a new version and new technological features.

Executive - the new Lancia flagship

The Delta Executive is the top-of-the-range model for a sophisticated clientele: one that cares about technology but is mindful of tradition, which demands substance but also exclusivity and prestige. These people are businessmen, managers and professionals that can mix tradition with innovation and rationality with emotion, but they are also figures from the institutional and diplomatic arenas.
Because it is aimed at customers seeking more style and comfort, the exclusive rear seating area of the Delta Executive offers the same comfort as a business-class seat on a long-haul flight. In fact, the comfort in the rear is the best in its class, proving that Lancia has given plenty of thought to the passenger area. That is what makes the Executive perfect for important official events.
On the outside, the Delta Executive boasts a two-tone chassis (light bronze body and glossy black roof), special two-tone diamond-edged alloy wheels, the golden "D" logo on the pillar and the word "Delta" on the rear window, as well as the special fog light design. On the inside, the Lancia Delta Executive has luxury beige Frau Pieno Fiore leather-upholstered seats with wrap-round head restraints and chocolate-brown piping, black leather dashboard and gear stick frame with black lacquered inserts, two smoked ceiling courtesy lights and leathers embellished with new and elegant beige and chocolate-brown stitching.
The new version can be fitted with the powerful 200 hp 1.8 Di Turbojet (Euro 5) and Sportronic automatic gearbox, or with the 190 hp 1.9 Twin Turbo Multijet and 165 hp 2.0 Multijet turbodiesel engines. Inspired by the Delta Platino, the exclusive Executive comes with the following as standard: electronic variable damping suspension (Reactive Suspension System), rear parking sensors, six airbags, dual-zone automatic climate control, Granluce sunroof, Instant Nav satellite navigation, Absolute Handling System with Drive Steering Torque (DST), fog lights with cornering function and front armrest with cooling compartment.

200 hp 1.8 Di TurboJet
The whole world acknowledges the ability of Italian carmakers to produce fiery and gritty engines, real jewels born out of the experience and passion of the engineers combined with years of technical know-how. The new 200 hp 1.8 Di TurboJet (Euro 5) is no exception.
Produced by FPT – Fiat Powertrain Technologies, the new engine delivers maximum power of 200 hp (147 kw) at 5,000 rpm and a peak torque of 320 Nm (32.6 kgm) at 1,400 rpm. Combined with a Sportronic six-speed automatic/sequential gearbox, the 200 hp 1.8 Di TurboJet offers unparalleled driveability: it has a top speed of 230 km/h and goes from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.4 seconds. Despite this incredible performance, fuel consumption and emissions are surprisingly low: 7.8 l/100 km in the combined cycle and 185 grams of CO2 per kilometre respectively.
This innovative engine therefore underlines Lancia Automobiles' commitment to the environment both in terms of low emissions and reduced fuel consumption. All this further enhances the liveliness, flexibility and driveability that have always been features of the model. To achieve these results, the 200 hp 1.8 Di TurboJet uses direct petrol injection, a turbocharger and two continuous variable valve timing units for exhaust and intake. The combination of these various technologies gives the customer key benefits such as direct injection, which enables reduced fuel consumption in relation to engine performance. In addition, the turbocharger linked to the twin variable valve timing units provides quick acceleration thanks to a particularly good torque curve.
Here, in detail, are all the new features brought in by the 200 hp 1.8 Di TurboJet, which was designed and developed by engineers at Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT), the division of the Fiat Group that is wholly responsible for the innovation, research, design and production of engines and gearboxes for any type of machine: from cars to industrial vehicles, and from boats to agricultural equipment. With around 20,000 employees, 16 factories and 11 research centres across nine countries, the division is one of the most important global players in the power unit field. At FPT, around 3,000 highly specialised technicians are dedicated to developing and engineering innovative technologies. More than 40 patents filed every year is proof of the quality and seriousness of this commitment, making FPT a centre of excellence for technology and continual innovation.
Scavenging technology: the brilliant performance of the engine is largely the result of using advanced scavenging technology to maximise torque even at very low speeds, ensuring incredible responsiveness.
Effective scavenging is achieved by continuously monitoring and optimising the engine operating parameters such as fuel dosage, the position of the two variable valve timing units, the ignition advance and the injection timing. In practice, it is possible to define valve overlap angles and times with extreme precision, generating a direct air flow from the intake manifold to the exhaust manifold and driving the turbocharger in very short times. This new system therefore makes far better use of the turbocharger than conventional turbo petrol engines. It is controlled by an innovative ECU installed with ultra-modern engine parameter management software. The results are surprising: peak torque at 1,400 rpm is 70% greater than that of a conventional turbo engine and response times have been more than halved, closely approaching those of a naturally aspirated engine.
Direct injection: lowers temperatures in the combustion chamber through fuel evaporation and considerably reduces the likelihood of explosion. This allows superior performance to be achieved even at quite high compression ratios (around 9.5) and guarantees low fuel consumption at partial throttle settings.
Direct injection is essential for reducing emissions through an advanced dual-injection system. Direct control over the injection process also ensures that no fuel escapes from the exhaust port during the scavenging phase to compromise the functioning of the catalytic converter. Finally, the second-generation injection system features a new, high-pressure pump (capable of managing fuel pressures of 150 bar) and innovative seven-hole injectors capable of guaranteeing perfect fuel vaporisation under all engine operating conditions.
Twin variable valve timing units: the two continuous variable valve timing units on the intake and exhaust camshafts optimise valve timing at all engine speeds and loads, minimising both fuel consumption and emissions. With the two valve timing units linked to the turbocharger, it is possible to manage the scavenging strategy by establishing the ideal valve opening and closing overlap. When the driver demands a sudden increase in torque, the system ensures rapid response even at very low revs.
Turbo: the engine is fitted with a next-generation turbocharger linked to an innovative pulse converter exhaust manifold that optimises the use of exhaust pressure waves to increase torque at low engine speeds. Both the manifold and the turbine are made of microcast steel to withstand the very high operating temperatures (up to 1020°C) needed to reduce fuel consumption while driving at medium-high speeds, on motorways for example.
Thermal fluid dynamics: the intake ducts are designed and optimised through the use of mono- and three-dimensional computing technologies that have enabled them to reach a high enough level of turbulence. The design of the combustion chamber has also been optimised by extending the squish areas and minimising the ratio between surface area and volume, to the benefit of combustion. Lastly, the exhaust ducts have been designed to work in sync with the exhaust manifold and to maximise its pulse converter effect.
Friction: the entire engine has been designed to minimise power losses through friction. The pistons feature rings with low tangential load, and advanced materials have been used to minimise wear. The cylinder head incorporates valve-controlled roller rocker arms that have reduced sliding contact losses at 2,000 rpm by 65% compared with direct control. It is a solution commonly used in premium-brand engines.
Optimised crank design based on a very long connecting rod and a fairly short piston stroke has minimised the vibrations normally associated with straight-four engines at high speed. In this way, balancing countershafts can be dispensed with, making the engine even lighter and therefore reducing consumption.
Performance: the scavenging technology and an innovative management system enable the engine to set new performance benchmarks. Specific torque is exceptional at 185 Nm/l, one of the highest figures for any modern engine. Maximum torque of 320 Nm is reached at only 1,400 rpm – another excellent value. This guarantees superb acceleration, making the car extremely responsive and avoiding the need for frequent gear changes. Finally, the engine reaches a high specific power of 115 hp/l at the relatively low speed of 5,000 rpm and keeps this power level constant up to 5,500 rpm.
In short, the 200 hp 1.8 Di TurboJet (Euro 5) boasts a torque comparable to that of an aspirated V6 with almost double the cubic capacity but, thanks to downsizing, you can bank on significant weight reduction to improve efficiency.
Emissions: one of the priorities for technicians at FPT – Fiat Powertrain Technologies was ensuring, together with excellent performance, minimum emissions, in keeping with Lancia Automobiles' philosophy of using care for the environment as a reference point for creating and constantly improving its products. Just like the three Lancia Delta diesel engines (190 hp 1.9 Twin Turbo Multijet, 120 hp 1.6 Multijet and 165 hp 2.0 Multijet), the brand new 200 hp 1.8 Di TurboJet (Euro 5) is Euro-5 compliant, ahead of the regulation coming into force.

Next-generation systems and technology
In keeping with the Lancia tradition, the Delta makes significant strides in technological innovation for driving dynamics, safety and comfort. The best example is the inclusion of next-generation systems and devices (some appearing for the first time in the segment) that can make even the shortest journey a pleasant experience. Here are three key features now available in the Delta range.

Sportronic: six-speed automatic gearbox
Combining the 200 hp 1.8 Di TurboJet with an automatic six-speed gearbox really enhances the flexibility and pick-up of the engine, which gives the Lancia Delta a smooth drive that can satisfy the tastes of different customers by providing comfort and sportiness.
The gearbox is compact and light, and has been designed with particular attention to reducing fuel consumption. Efficiency has been improved by using a low-friction oil and the inclusion of a sixth gear is particularly useful for motorway driving. The precise management software recognises different road conditions and adapts handling through the following functions: braking assist, slope recognition, cornering, sporty or comfortable drive.
Driveability is further enhanced by the option of choosing Winter, Norm and Sport programmes, as well as the manual mode (TIP), with steering wheel controls that underline the sporty nature of the Delta.

Electronic variable damping suspension (Reactive Suspension System)
The Lancia Delta's suspension system uses a solid framework that is comfortable and light: at the front, it is MacPherson-type with crossmember and wishbones optimised for new load conditions; at the rear, there is a torsion beam and anti-roll bar for excellent handling.
The major innovation on this model is a feature developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli: an avant-garde oscillation damping system (Reactive Suspension System) reserved until now for the most modern cars in higher categories and applied for the first time by the Fiat Group to a mid-class car. The Reactive Suspension System - through real-time electronic control of the shock absorbers - reduces vehicle oscillation in all driving conditions, ensuring better safety, comfort and handling. Using sensors, the system identifies the best control mechanisms for the driving and road surface conditions. Among these mechanisms is the Sky Hook function, which isolates the passenger compartment by completely protecting it from outside stresses and strains.
In addition, thanks to the high calculation capacity of the ECU and the instantaneous response of precise electrovalves, the system immediately neutralises bumps from uneven road surfaces and enables excellent dynamic control even in sporty driving mode (which can be selected) by improving handling and precision.
Finally, the Reactive Suspension System shortens the car's stopping distance (by around 5% thanks to optimum contact between tyre and road) and ensures timely intervention in the event of emergency manoeuvres in order to restore safe conditions smoothly.

Magic Parking: parking assistance
It is often hard to find a parking space in towns and cities with a lot of traffic. Of course, once you find one, actually parking the car can prove rather challenging because the space is so tight. That is why the Lancia Delta has an innovative parking aid that helps the driver to judge whether a space is big enough and to actually carry out the parking manoeuvre. First, the system measures the length of the free space and indicates whether it is big enough for your car.
Then, it automatically steers the car during reversing, allowing the driver to concentrate solely on controlling speed by using the accelerator and brake.
With one single manoeuvre, the vehicle parallel parks in such a way to limit the number of subsequent realignments made by the driver. Of course, the driver is always in control by operating the pedals, and can deactivate the system by turning the steering wheel or disengaging reverse gear, or by pressing the appropriate button.
In essence, the system consists of a radar sensor on each side of the vehicle, located inside the front bumper. The radar is beamed into the space on the right (or left) and the echoes are picked up by the sensor, which reconstructs a map of the area between the parked cars, visualises the free space and identifies any obstacles. At the same time, using information coming from wheel speed measurement, the system can measure the length of the free area.
The driver is informed that the parking space is ok if the measurement is equal to the length of the car plus 130 centimetres (65cm at the front and 65cm at the back), i.e. a total of at least 5.82 metres. If a suitable space has been found, there is a beeping noise and a message on the display indicates whether the parking manoeuvre can be completed in a single or multiple stages.
If the driver feels the space is suitable and engages reverse gear, the system can control lateral movement through electronic steering, allowing the driver to take his/her hands off the wheel and concentrate on controlling the car with the accelerator and brake. At this stage, the maximum speed is 7 km/h and the driver can cut out the system simply by taking control of the wheel again.
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