Friday, May 30, 2008

TDK puts its new 1.8'' SSD with encryption function on the market

TDK will launch its new 1.8'' SSD with 1.8'' with AES encryption function, the DSS HS1. Our small SSD, which should be available in 16Go/32Go/64Go, uses a SLC chip , and offers a reading speed of 100MB / s and write 50MB / s.


Asus's New Notebook

Asus to Unveil Their New Montevina and Puma-based Laptops

At the next Computex 2008, Asus will unveil their new line of notebooks, the M51VR, M51VA, and M70VM. They're based on M51 and M70 line, and will run on Intel’s Montevina Platform.

The M51VR will feature a 15.4’’ LCD screen, a Penryn Core 2 Duo P8400 CPU(2.26 GHz), 4GB of RAM, and 320GB of SATA HDD (5400rpm).

The M51VA will come with a 15.4’’ LCD screen with WXGA+ resolution (1440×900). It will be equipped with a more powerful CPU, a Core 2 Duo T9400 (2.53GHz).

The M70VM will feature a 17’’ LCD screen, Full HD with a WUXGA resolution (1920x1200), a Core 2 Duo T9400 CPU, up to 6GB of RAM, and from 640GB to 1TB of HDD.

Asus will also unveil their Puma-based F5Z and X50Z laptops featuring 1.9GHz AMD Athlon64 X2 QL-60 chips, ATI Mobility Radeon HD3200 graphics, and a 15.4’’ screen.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Benq T850 Slimmest Camera

T850: The "World's Slimmest" Digital Camera from BenQ

BenQ released the world's slimmest 8Mpix touch screen digital camera, the new T850. It features an 8Mpix CCD sensor, 3x optical zoom, an ISO sensitivity of 1600, and a 3” TFT LCD screen. It’s compatible with 8G SD and SDHC 16G cards.

By using three types of finger motions on the screen (tap, circle, and swipe), users can enhance, view, and edit pictures that have been taken.

Our T850 measures 91mm x 59mm x 16.9mm (14.9 slimmest), and weighs 120g.

EUROPE, May 28, 2008 – BenQ announced the launch of the world’s slimmest 8-mega-pixel digital camera, the T850 with 1600 ISO, 3x optical zoom and smc PENTAX lens. Sleek and compact at 14.9mm thick, the T850’s chic stainless steel casing (available in black or red) reflects the minimalist operating ease of the camera. Exceptional efficiency and user-friendliness are made possible by the highly intuitive photo taking and photo editing functions, which center around smartly organized circular touch buttons on the 3” TFT LCD screen. Furthermore, almost all camera functions can be accessed and engaged by using one of three simple finger movements: tap, circle, swipe. In fact, the T850 standouts among touch screen cameras as the only one employing a natural “swipe” gesture for viewing photos and video. A comprehensive selection of options including “Smile Catch”, Auto Face Tracking, Z Lighting, advanced photo art, scribble & scrawl and Quick Bar make the T850 a fabulously fun companion for bringing enjoyment and quality to today’s digital life.
Photo Taking So Simple, It’s Second Nature!
Spontaneous, quick, spur-of-the-moment. Such is what defines that special moment so precious to capture in a photo. And that’s exactly what defines the T850: controls and menus so simple and second nature that capturing a spontaneous moment is a snap. No pressing button after button to navigate through multiple menus. The T850 has pared down complex camera operations to a minimalist, logical approach. Circular touch buttons (just the size of the fingertip), which can be pulled up instantly on the extra-large screen, get users to the right setting fast so the moment isn’t just a memory. Plus, the T850 features a Quick Bar that gives users even faster access to 80% of all photo taking needs. For customized convenience, users can add three of their favorite functions to the Quick Bar. Intelligently designed touch-screen icons that clearly represent their functions further eliminate the confusion typical of other complicated camera menus.
Tap, Circle, Swipe for Easy Navigation and Photo Editing
Once pictures are taken, users can easily view and enhance photos via three types of finger motions on the screen. To reset the focal point, simply tap the preferred spot on the screen, and the T850 will re-center and automatically refocus the image. To enlarge a specific portion of the image, simply draw a circle around the location with your fingertip. The T850 will instantly perform a 12x zoom to the circled area. Plus, by using the picture cropping mode, users can save the enlarged image as a new image. Playback is no longer a pain with the T850’s ingenious functionality, which includes “swipe” recognizing ability – it’s the only camera currently available to perform functions with a simple finger swipe across the screen. While reviewing pictures, swipe a finger right to left across the screen to see the next picture; swipe left to right to see the previous image. When playing video or audio content, users can tap the playback bar forward (advance) thus eliminating the hassles of restarting the content from the beginning every time. The T850 is also equipped with advanced photo art functions. Touch screen capability lets users free-hand scribble and scrawl fun captions and drawings to photos. In addition, users can select from a numerous callout balloons and photo backgrounds/frames.
User-Friendly Conveniences
Despite a minimalist approach for operational ease, the T850 is packed with an array of thoughtful features for picture-perfect results. A high ISO 1600 lets users take pictures in dim lighting without artificial flash. “Z Lighting” enables users to adjust the image’s lighting after the photo has already been taken. The T850’s brilliant “Smile Catch” mode captures every elusive smile by automatically shooting in rapid succession, stopping only when the shutter button is pressed again. Competitors’ similar function can only shoot up to six times in succession. And for capturing life in fractions of second – such as for action shots – a “12 Burst” feature snaps 12 pictures in one second! Crisp, clear, well-defined pictures are guaranteed with a Super Shake-Free setting and Auto Face Tracking, which can fine-tune up to nine faces in one frame – perfect for scenes with many people. The T850’s 30 preset modes range from standard auto and video to more exact settings such as “Museum,” “Party,” “Beach” and “Fireworks.”


Samsung Spirit of Ultra

Samsung announced the launch of their latest Mobile "Spirit Of Ultra"

Samsung announced its new "spirit of Ultra" in bar form factor. Well, our mobile phone features a 2.0'' QVGA screen, a 3MPix camera, a new UI, 1GB of internal memory, a MicroSD Slot. This new device is Tri-Band (900, 1800, 1900MHz), HSDPA (2100MHz) compatible. You'll also able to listen to MPR/AAC/AAC+/e-AAC+/WMA/RA audio files, as well as, record and edit your videos in 15fps. Available in 5 different colors : Soul Grey, Platinum Silver, Metallic Black, Soul Pink and Amethyst VioletSEOUL, KOREA – May 30, 2008 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a leading mobile phone provider, announced the launch of Soulb, “Sprit of Ultra” (Soul) in bar form factor. By containing all the merits of Soul DNA, Soulb outstands from all of the other bar type handsets available in market today, setting a brand new standard for bar handset category.

Continuing the legacy of Soul, Soulb captures the eyes of the viewer at once with its astonishing state-of-the-art design. Just as Soul, Soulb is fully covered in an elegant metallic body which is softly brushed with hairline pattern. Soulb‘s trim graceful outline with mere 9.9mm thickness undoubtedly resembles the sleek silhouette of Soul. Just as its precedent, Soulb once again amazes the viewer with its utterly splendid yet minimalistic design.

Available in five luscious colors, Soul Grey, Platinum Silver, Metallic Black, Soul Pink and Amethyst Violet, Soulb will satisfy even the most unappeasable style-conscious users’ needs.

Soulb is not only beautiful to stare at from the outside, but it is also fully equipped with attractive up-to-date features inside. An embedded 3-megapixel camera with Power LED, office document viewer and editor, full speed internet browser and Bluetooth v.2.0 will fully support convenience users need without compromising style.

Quality entertainment features such as music player, video editor and recorder and FM radio with RDS are also embedded within Soulb. 1GB internal memory and microSD slot provides sufficient space for users to store all the music and pictures they love.

“Soulb is an important stepping stone for Samsung.” said Geesung Choi, President of Samsung’s Telecom Business. “Soulb proves the world that Samsung is not only a predominant leader in selective form factors, but that it continuously seeks after becoming the leader in all variety of form factors, including slider, clamshell and bar.” he continued.

Soulb will first become available in Germany early June. It will then continue the Soul legend in numerous other countries and regions, including Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia (China), Southwest Asia, Southeast Asia, and South America.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The World's Smallest Projector from Earth Trek

The World's Smallest Projector from Earth Trek

Earth Trek, a Hong-Kong based company, recently released the world’s smallest handy projector, the 90-805R mini projector. Our little device features a card slot (SD/T-flash card), built-in lithium battery (1-2 hours), built-in speaker, MP4 player, and provides a 22" diagonal projection. It measures 105x58x25mm and weighs 160g.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Stories: Lancer Evolution MR

Mitsubishi Motors Prepares for the Lancer Evolution MR's June Arrival

It's about time! Finally, our friends in the US of A will have the chance to experience the thrill of driving the latest Lancer Evo from Mitsubishi, the EVO X MR.

If we here at NihonCar are still addicted to the Evo 9, the X is a huge step forward if you're looking for a performance car that can also gently carry your family around… It's the best performance family car ever made! Yes, I know I'm being rude to many Mitsu Fan (I'm among them), but even if the Evox is faster on the track than the previous generation, the X, it's lost a lot of the craziness we loved about the 9…

CYPRESS, CA, May 21, 2008 --
On the heels of the successful introduction of the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR, Mitsubishi Motors announces the availability of the more technologically-advanced 2008 Lancer Evolution MR, the newest and most sophisticated version of the model series that began 16 years ago.
Shown coming off the production line in Japan, the Lancer Evolution MR arrives at showrooms in the U.S. in June and is available for a suggested retail price of $38,290. The MR features more user technology and a broader market appeal than the entry level GSR, including an advanced 6-speed Twin Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission.
The Lancer Evolution MR is available with an optional technology package for $40,840 that includes a 30GB hard drive navigation system with music server, 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate Premium Sound System, pre-paid Sirius Satellite Radio capability and FAST Key entry, which allows passive vehicle unlocking and engine start/stop simply by carrying the remote control and grasping the handle.
Since its introduction earlier this year, the tenth-generation 2008 Lancer Evolution GSR has met positive reactions across the industry for maintaining a balance of core performance values and improved all-around capability and user-technology:

•"Like every previous Lancer Evolution, the Evo X redeems its various idiosyncrasies with a fantastic engine and drivetrain." -- Automobile
•"The car is impressive, not only for the gains in performance and handling, but also the subtle transformation from hardcore rally racer to high performance all-wheel-drive sports sedan." - AutoWeek
•"The Evo X drives like nothing else in the world." -- Car and Driver
•"Mitsubishi has strengthened the Evo's slick-shifting five-speed manual for the tuner crowd. Shifter is nearly perfect." -- Edmunds Inside Line
•"Whether manual tabbed or left in auto, S-Sport gear changes are brutally quick with the kind of shift violence seen only in Italian exotics." -- MotorTrend
•"Is the new EVO better than before? -- The answer is a resounding 'yes.'" -- MSN Autos
•"Bottom line: It's drive-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, four-wheel fun." -- Popular Mechanics
•"The new Lancer Evolution is no longer just for weekend boy racers; it has evolved into a complete sports sedan, one with enough of a wild side to thrill anyone." -- Road & Track

"The introduction of the 2008 Lancer Evolution MR with TC-SST gives us an opportunity to expand upon the existing Evolution customer base," said Dan Kuhnert, executive vice president of sales and marketing for MMNA. "The added capability and functionality of the new Lancer Evolution vehicles make them a more viable option for everyday driving, while maintaining the rally-inspired heritage that has made the series a global performance car icon."
Both 2008 Lancer Evolution models will be on display at the 2008 Mitsubishi Owner's Day taking place in Cypress, CA on July 19, 2008.


Sunday Stories: FD3S Mazda RX-7!

TVR? Ferrari? No, FD3S Mazda RX-7!

If you're familiar with the JDM "underground" car culture, you know that guys out there love to tweak their cars in more ways than one and also work on the looks with amazing bodykits, sometimes they even completely change the appearance of the original vehicle and, most of the time, manage to keep it clean. After the Porsche-looking RX-7, the Audi-looking Subaru Legacy or the Aston Martin-like Nissan Fairlady Z, here comes another Mazda RX-7: the RX-7 FD3S AFFLUX ver.V!

As you can see, this is an FD3S, the second and last version of the excellent but (said to be) unreliable RX-7, the amazing job done on the bodywork includes a "TVR Sagaris front" and "Ferrari like tail lights (550M? 456GT?) for a result that I find far from ugly yet very original.

The whole bodykit is available at a cool ¥1,659,000.

Other modifications:
Subaru Legacy by DAMD
Nissan Fairlady Z by DAMD
Mazda RX-7 by RE-Amemiya


Sunday Stories: DAMD and Scion

DAMD and Scion: A Love Story, Limited Edition xD Release Series 1.0

DAMD, a well known Japanese tuner (we shot several of their creations in the past) is now making a name for itself overseas, especially in the USA.

Toyota and DAMD worked together on this limited edition Scion xD, the 1.0... More information below in the press release.

Scion Announces Pricing For Limited Edition xD Release Series 1.0

May 16, 2008 - Torrance, CA - Scion announced today that the third limited-production Scion for 2008, the xD Release Series 1.0 (xD RS 1.0), will be available at dealer showrooms beginning in June.

The 2008 xD RS 1.0 features Hot Lava exterior paint. This first limited edition xD will turn heads with a DAMD body kit, rear spoiler, Release Series wheel covers and TRD lowering springs. Inside, the xD RS 1.0 will feature Hot Lava accented seats and interior trim, and a RAZO Release Series shift knob. Like all Release Series vehicles, an individually numbered badge completes the uniqueness of this vehicle.

Only 2,000 units of the xD RS 1.0 will be built. The xD RS 1.0 model will carry a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $1,999 over the base price of the xD. The manual transmission xD carries a base MSRP of $14,550, while the MSRP for the automatic transmission model is $15,350.

The delivery, processing and handling (DPH) fee for all Scion models is $620 and is not included in the MSRP. DPH fees for vehicles distributed by Southeast Toyota (SET) and Gulf States Toyota (GST) may vary.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fuji FinePix A850

FinePix A850: New Digital Camera from Fujifilm

Fujifilm has announced its latest FinePix, the A850, which should be available from July. Our little camera has a 8.1 Megapixel CCD sensor, 3x optical zoom, a 2.5'' LCD screen, a sensitivity up to ISO 800 (maximum), a picture stabilizer, 14 different scene modes, 30fps video function…

Here's the Official Press Release:

Fujifilm is pleased to announce the launch of the new Fujifilm FinePix A850. The stylish new camera joins the existing FinePix A920 and A900 in offering high-end technology to every-day users who want pofint-and-shot simplicity at an affordable price point, but are not prepared to compromise on image quality. The FinePix A850 features a sharp Fujinon 3x optical zoom lens, an 8 Megapixel CCD sensor and ISO 800 sensitivity at full resolution.

The FinePix A850 features Image Intelligence processing combined with a 3x Fujinon lens to deliver images of unrivalled quality. Fujifilm has employed decades of imaging know-how to ensure that each image, no matter how challenging the shooting conditions, is optimised for colour, tone, exposure and colour balance. This makes the FinePix A850 the perfect camera for beginners, because the combination of a sharp lens and cutting-edge image processing means that quality images, without overdue effort, will be produced time after time. Despite its modest credentials, Fujifilm employs its Picture Stabilisation (usually found on higher-priced models) to ensure that image blurring, caused by subject movement or camera shake, is kept to an absolute minimum.

In addition to this, the FinePix A850 offers handy features such as selectable scene modes and movie recording with sound, for versatility and ease of use.

An intuitive, icon-based Graphical User Interface (GUI) and simple button layout make it easy for users to navigate through menus and switch between shooting modes and scene positions.

The 14 selectable scene modes simplify shooting even further. With options including Beach, Snow, Sports and even Museum mode, users can be creative with their picture taking, regardless of the situation or their experience behind the lens.

The FinePix A850 features 24MB of internal memory, which is a great fallback storage option, so users can continue to shoot and save pictures even when the media card is full. What's more, the camera's low power consumption (operating on two standard AA batteries) means users will never miss out on capturing the action.

Lastly, looks are everything for modern electronic products. Consumers demand elegant styling, beautiful curves, and simple ergonomics. They demand a product to be proud of. The FinePix A850 does not disappoint in any respect. It has the feel of a high-end camera, with a sculpted grip and metallic finish, and mimics models sold for more than twice the price.

Fujifilm has designed three key features into this model: excellent image quality, simple operation and amazingly good looks. The FinePix A850 is likely to be the hit camera for this summer's key selling season.

FinePix A850 features at a glance:

* 8.1 Megapixels
* 3x optical zoom
* 2.5-inch LCD monitor
* Selectable sensitivity up to ISO 800
* 24MB internal memory permits shooting without a media card
* Power source 2x AA-size alkaline (included),2x AA-size Ni-MH (optional) and AC Power Adapter AC-3V (optional)
* Movie mode, 30 frames/ second with monaural sound
* Picture stabilisation
* 14 selectable scene positions

Availability & pricing
The FinePix A850 will be available from retailers from July. Pricing will be announced nearer to the date of the launch.*


Optio W60

Pentax Unveils Its New Optio W60, a Waterproof Digital Camera

Pentax announced the release of a new waterproof digital camera, the Optio W60. It features a 10Megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom, and a 28mm wide-angle lens. In addition, our Optio's sensitivity is up to ISO 6400, and can record HD video (720p).

This Pentax can withstand under water pressure up to 4 meters and is available in two colors: Money and Blue Ocean.

Here's the Official Press Release:

GOLDEN, CO -- May 22, 2008 -- PENTAX Imaging Company has announced the PENTAX Optio W60 compact digital camera. Lightweight and fully waterproof, the Optio W60 features 10 megapixels and a 5X zoom lens with 28mm wide-angle capability. The enhanced design of the Optio W60 allows the camera to operate up to 13 feet underwater for two hours and at extreme temperatures well below freezing.

Perfect for photography in adventurous as well as everyday settings, the 5X optical zoom refraction lens never protrudes from the Optio W60, yet it covers focal lengths from 5mm to 25mm (approximately 28mm to 140mm in 35mm format). This range allows the camera to capture a wide variety of scenes including expansive landscapes, architecture, and group photos in confined spaces as well as close-up telephoto shots of subjects. A Digital Wide function merges two shots into one image for ultra-wide-angle image capture (equivalent to a focal length of 21mm in 35mm format).

The Optio W60 also accompanies users to new aquatic depths. With improved design and construction of the shutter button and controls, as well as reinforced, airtight joints, the Optio W60 allows underwater photography up to 30 percent deeper than previous PENTAX waterproof models. In addition to the JIS Class 8 waterproofing standard, the camera is JIS Class 5 dustproof against dirt, sand and dust and operates in extreme temperatures as cold as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius).

Other important features and modes of the PENTAX Optio W60 include a High-Quality Movie mode with HD resolution up to 1280 x 720 pixels (comparable to a 720p HDTV) as well as Auto Picture mode, fast Face Recognition, Smile Capture, Blink Detection, an Underwater Movie mode, High Sensitivity Digital SR mode that automatically adjusts the sensitivity up to ISO 6400, and an LCD monitor with a 170 degree wide-angle view and Anti-Reflection coating to reduce glare.

A perfect companion for indoor and outdoor enthusiasts, the PENTAX Optio W60 performs well during winter and summer activities as well as in and around water and sand. The PENTAX Optio W60 will be available in July 2008 for US $329.95 in a choice of two colors: Ocean Blue and Silver.

More information is available here:

PENTAX Imaging Company is an innovative leader in the production of digital SLR and compact cameras, lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, eyepieces, and mobile printers and scanners. For more than 80 years, PENTAX technology has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of consumers and businesses. With headquarters in Golden, Colorado, PENTAX Imaging Company is a division of PENTAX of America, Inc.


Friday, May 23, 2008

The MicroVault

New USB Memory from Sony: The MicroVault

Sony has updated its range of USB memory and is providing us with new USB keys from 2GB to 16GB (why is the picture of a 1GB USB?). Reading speed is 31 MB/s, 11 MB/s for writing, and the key is 9g lighter than previous models.

The MicroVault is also compatible with ready boost for people like me who are fed up with Vista, and are available this month in our green lands.

Paris, 22nd May, 2008 - Sony Europe’s Recording Media & Energy (RME) division today announced its MicroVault™ Click and Click Excellence ranges with both mid-range and high-end device availability. The new MicroVault™ Click line-up offers advanced performance with increased storage capacity, high speed data transfer rates1 and Windows® ReadyBoost™ compatibility; to improve PC memory performance on Windows Vista™ Operating System without installing additional RAM. Users can simply click, plug and share their documents, pictures and video clips and keep important files to hand whilst on the move.

Both the MicroVault™ Click and Click Excellence ranges incorporate a neat ‘click’ design to uncover and retract the USB connector for quick and easy use.

For ultra fast data transfer rates and storage capacity from 2GB up to 8GB2, the MicroVault™ Click Excellence is designed with business professionals in mind. With up to 31MB/s read and 11MB/s write speeds3 heavy business files can be transferred easily to share with colleagues and clients via Hi-Speed USB 2.04 connectivity. The MicroVault™ Click Excellence range is available in a stylish, compact, ivory design, complete with LED indicator display which illuminates while transferring the data.

With high capacity storage as a focus, the bright mid-range MicroVault™ Click has a reduced form factor from its predecessor and is lighter at approximately 9 grams. The colourful line-up offers Hi-Speed USB 2.0 data transfer and storage capacity from 2GB up to 16GB2. The MicroVault™ Click range has a bright design, with one colour per capacity via an LED indicator light.

For advanced performance, the Sony MicroVault™ Click range offers Windows® ReadyBoost™5 compatibility, allowing Windows Vista to use part of the MicroVault’s™ memory to speed up system performance without additional RAM. Sony’s pre-installed Virtual Expander6 compression software allows storage of up to 3 times more data, depending on the file type and content.

The MicroVault™ Click and Click Excellence ranges are available from May 2008 and come with 5 years European warranty.

Sony Europe

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A New Industrial Air Conditioning System from Samsung... WHO CARES?

Sorry folks, don't expect much information regarding Samsung's new air conditioner. Just kick off your shoes, relax, and savor this gorgeous model and her evil legs... LORD! Who has this babe's number?!?!?!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pink NW-A910 Series Walkman from Sony

Pink NW-A910 Series Walkman from Sony, Available Now!

Released in Japan last November, the NW-A910 Series Walkman features a 1Seg TV tuner and 2.4” LCD. It's now available in Pink with either 4GB or 8GB of memory.

If you'd like to share what you're listening to or watching with your friends, Sony will soon release the SRS-NWT10M, a SRS external speaker designed for our NW-A910 Series Walkman.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Samsung Yepp T10

Samsung Launches a New “Art Nouveau” Yepp T10 in Korea

Living outside the US and jealous of the Zune's beautiful design? Here's great news for you, the new “Art Nouveau” designed Yepp T10, the “La Fleure Special Edition.” Our 4GB DAP has a new GUI to match this special edition's concept, and features a 2” QVGA screen, Bluetooth 2.0, Samsung DNSe 2.0 technology, double bass, improved EQ, FM radio, and Samsung Media Studio (SMS). For price, expect something around 90€.


BenQ V2400W Full HD LCD

BenQ launches its V2400W Full HD LCD

Here you are a stylish 24” full HD (WUXGA) LCD from BenQ, sold in Japan for 371€ the new LCD feature an DVI-D HDCP connector as well as an HDMI one and D-SUB one. With a “slim” body (24mm) our LCD has a contrast ratio of 1000:1 and a brightness of 250cd/m2.

This V2400W is far to have stunning performances (on the paper) but does have a great design.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Stories: Subaru Legacy S402

Subaru Legacy S402

The Impreza STi S204 is one of the fastest road going Imprezas ever built by Subaru, more powerful and fitted with racing parts, it is capable of challenging supercars on twisty tracks and short straights, the S204 was actually used as a basis to build the almighy Sti Spec C Type RA-R that I still happen to dream of at night...this is why we were equally excited when we heard of Subaru's plans to give the same treatment to the very good Legacy B4 sedans and wagon comes the Legacy STi S402!

First of all, the Legacy is a great looking car, still living in the shadow of the manufacturer's icon and sharing a lot of components with the Impreza. Those S402 versions (sedan and wagon) feature a good bunch of STi parts including the 2.5-liter flat-four motor, remapped ECU, widened front fenders, reduced steering ratio, Momo steering wheel, Bilstein suspensions, Brembo brakes and Bridgestone Potenza RE050A18 tyres among other goodies...

The S402s will make it to the japanese Subaru dealers at the end of June at a price starting at ¥5,355,000 and topping at ¥5,491,500. We can't wait to get our hands on any of those 2!


Sunday Stories: Alphard and Vellfire

Two New MiniVans from Toyota: Alphard and Vellfire

Toyota just released two new MiniVans, the Alphard and the Vellfire. Toyota completely redesigned the Alphard.

Tokyo — TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announced today the nationwide launch*1 in Japan of the completely redesigned Alphard as two different vehicle series, the "Alphard" and the "Vellfire" *2.

Taking as their theme "stately presence—the ultimate minivan", the new models represent a further decisive evolution in all aspects of product performance. The exterior of the Alphard emphasizes "elegance" and "refinement", while that of the Vellfire accentuates "power" and "innovation," thus creating two vehicles with individual identities.

A new platform allows for an innovative package, providing further expansion of the interior space and improved ingress and egress. Additionally, an extensive range of equipment—including Executive Power Seats for the second row and indirect LED interior lighting—is aimed at creating a supremely welcoming environment. A revamped powertrain, along with enhanced aerodynamics and lightweight technology, allows the new models to achieve ample dynamic performance together with high levels of environmental performance, including, in particular, substantially improved fuel efficiency. The new models also offer outstanding handling and cruising stability, as well as class-leading*2 levels of safety performance, contributing to their status as Toyota flagship minivans.

Vehicle Outline

Alphard for Elegance and Refinement, Vellfire for Power and Innovation

* The Alphard and Vellfire share a common theme of delivering a commanding presence and imparting an impressive high-quality feel based on the Toyota vehicle design philosophy of "Vibrant Clarity". At the same time, while the Alphard pursues elegance and refinement in its design, the Vellfire emphasizes power and innovation, so that the two models strongly present separate, individual identities.


* At the front, a "V"-shaped line stretching from the front pillars to the bumper adds dynamism to the front mask, while the elongated large headlights and the dynamic horizontal bar grille make for a high-quality feel.
* The side view of both the Alphard and the Vellfire presents a sleek monoform silhouette rising in a single sweep from the front fender.
* At the rear, a "V"-shaped-line running from the rear pillars imparts a sense of depth while the solid bumper gives the vehicle a firmly grounded aspect.


* The stepped headlights and a horizontally accentuated grille create a distinct impression, while the front mask, which emphasizes the lines flowing to the sides, expresses innovation.
* As with the Alphard, a "V"-shaped line running from the rear pillar imparts a sense of depth while the solid bumper gives the vehicle a firmly grounded aspect. The combination taillights adopt a stepped design using LEDs and clear lenses for a slick appearance.
* Both vehicles also feature Toyota's first-ever rear wipers that fold away into the roof spoiler for a clean look.
* On models with aerodynamic trim (S Grade on the Alphard; Z Grade on the Vellfire), the firm balance between the bumper and side cladding panels creates a sporty image. Meanwhile, 18-inch aluminum wheels create a "meant-to-be driven" look, while the combination taillights have a special smoked-effect coating that enhances their sophistication.

Superbly Welcoming Environment and Extensive Functional Amenities


* The innovative package made possible by a new platform allows for a low overall height, even though interior cabin height has been increased by 10mm (compared to the previous Alphard) by lowering the floor 55mm. Cabin length has also been extended by 75mm, resulting in both expanded space and improved ingress and egress.
* Optimally distributed sound-absorbing and sound-blocking materials reduce road noise and engine noise to create an extremely quiet cabin.


* The front seat is fitted with a preset driving position system allowing the position of the driver's seat and door mirror to be adjusted to a preset position at the touch of a button. Meanwhile, comfortable heated seats, as well as a power footrest and 4-way power seat for the front passenger position, are among the features that contribute to passenger amenity and comfort.
* Executive Power Seats available for the second row enhance passenger comfort and relaxation by offering large footrests fitted to the back of the seats in front, power leg rests, as well as large headrests and armrests.
* Third-row seats feature an extra-space-creating mechanism that makes it substantially easier to fold away the seats.
* The long slide and reclining features of the rear seats make a wider variety of seat arrangements possible, while the second-row tip-up mechanism and the extra-space mechanism of the third row ensure ample luggage space.

Interior Atmospher

* Indirect interior LED lighting adjustable to four levels of brightness and extending back to the third row seats is standard on all vehicles and creates a smart interior environment with a high-quality ambience.
* A feeling of elegance and luxury emanates from the large wood-grain-motif panel in the center and from the center console, which has a decorative metal finish that is applied for the first time on a Toyota vehicle using the sputtering technique*.

* A vacuum-based method of depositing atoms of silver-gray metal chromium


* The fully automatic air conditioner with built-in humidity sensors features independent temperature control for the driver's seat, passenger seat and rear seats.
* The Toyota Premium Sound System, with a total of 18 speakers, ensures not only high-quality sound but also superb acoustics for a cabin of this size.
* For the first time on a car audio system, the diaphragms of the front speakers are made of a bamboo fiber material for clearer sound reproduction.
* Sliding door speakers improve rear-seat sound quality in a Toyota first.
* A total of six ceiling speakers ensure depth and breadth of sound.
* A rear-seat entertainment system, allowing independent sound control for the rear seats and also featuring a large 9-inch Video Graphics Array monitor screen activated by wireless remote control, provides a rich audiovisual environment.

Major Evolution in Vehicle Dynamic Performance

* The newly fitted V6 3.5-liter Dual VVT-i (Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent) engine, coupled with 6 Super ECT (Super Intelligent Electronically-controlled, Six-speed Automatic Transmission), and the 2.4-liter VVT-i engine with increased output, coupled with Super CVT-i (Continuously Variable Transmission-intelligent), both provide driving performance with power to spare.
* A six-speed Sequential Shiftmatic transmission on 3.5-liter models and a seven-speed Sports Sequential Shiftmatic transmission on 2.4-liter models allow the driver to enjoy a manual transmission-like sensation.
* Optimal shaping of the bumper and spoiler, under-floor parts and other elements improves aerodynamics, while redesign of individual parts has reduced weight.
* In addition to the revamping of the powertrain, improved aerodynamics and weight-reduction efforts mean that, although engine displacement compared to the previous models has been increased from 3.0-liters to 3.5-liter for front-wheel drive models, fuel efficiency has also improved substantially, by around 7%—and by around 20% on the 2.4-liter front-wheel drive models—delivering both generous dynamic performance and high levels of environmental performance.
* A package with a low vehicle and floor height results in a low center of gravity and, together with the wide track and long wheelbase, makes for excellent handling and cruising stability with limited roll and superior riding comfort.
* All vehicles adopt large 16-inch disk brakes on all four wheels, while optimal tuning further enhances brake performance.

Class-leading Environmental and Safety Performance

* Efforts were made to improve fuel efficiency to reduce CO2 emissions. The 2.4-liter, front-wheel-drive models boast a fuel efficiency of 11.6km/l in the 10-15 test cycle outlined by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) with CO2 emissions under the test cycle just 200g/km, achieving fuel efficiency that exceeds by 25% the level called for by the Japanese 2010 standards*. Both NOx (nitrogen oxides) and NMHC (non-methane hydrocarbons) have been reduced as well, meaning all vehicles have emissions levels 75% lower than the 2005 standards under the MLIT's Approval System for Low-emission Vehicles and qualify for incentives under the Japanese government's Green Taxation System.
* In addition to an Eco Driving Indicator light that indicates fuel-efficient driving, a new Eco Drive Indicator display shows in real time the degree to which the throttle is open and the range of opening the driver should observe for fuel-efficient driving. Together, these indicators aim to help raise the driver's awareness of environmentally considerate driving.
* Toyota employed Eco-VAS (Eco-Vehicle Assessment System), its original comprehensive environmental impact assessment system, to efficiently reduce overall environmental impact throughout the vehicle's lifecycle, from production and use to disposal. Environmental targets were set in the initial vehicle development stage and a life cycle assessment was carried out to help the vehicles achieve a reduction of CO2 and air contaminants.
* A review of the materials, processing methods and adhesives used for interior parts resulted in a reduction in the amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) used, thereby also reducing the unpleasant odors emitted from such compounds and achieving the Japanese automobile industry's voluntary goals.
* The S-VSC (Steering-assisted Vehicle Stability Control) system, which is also a standard feature, optimally balances driving power, steering and braking in pursuit of stable driving regardless of road conditions.
* The Pre-crash Safety System uses millimeter-wave radar. When the radar detects a high risk of collision, the Pre-crash Seatbelts provide better initial restraint capabilities for passengers while the Pre-Crash Brake Assist system decelerates the vehicle to reduce the collision speed and contribute to less collision-caused damage.
* An advanced GOA (Global Outstanding Assessment) collision-safety body meets even stricter conditions by incorporating the concept of omni-directional compatibility. Through the use of a body that effectively absorbs collision impact by diffusing it throughout its structure, Toyota satisfied all independent targets for survival space and occupant injury.
* Improvements in the body structure further reduce the likelihood of pedestrian head injuries in an effort to achieve one of the top levels of injury prevention in this vehicle class.
* Seven SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) airbags, including an SRS side airbag for the driver and front passenger, SRS curtain shield airbags that cover the front and rear seats and an SRS knee airbag for the driver, are standard on all vehicles in the two series.
* The front-seat structures are based on the WIL (Whiplash Injury Lessening) concept. Both the driver and front passenger seats incorporate an Active Headrest that shifts to an appropriate position to lessen stress on the neck and reduce the risk of whiplash injuries sustained during a rear-end collision.
* The center seats of the second row (eight-seat models) and third row come standard with three-point seatbelts and headrests.

* Specified by the Japanese Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy

Welcabs: Specially equipped vehicles with factory-installed features for disabled people

* Lift-up Front Passenger Seat models (Type A and Type B) have a seat that slides down outside the vehicle to facilitate ingress and egress. Making the lift-up mechanism more compact expands legroom in the second-row seats and also allows for a longer seat-slide distance and a larger footrest.
* On Side Lift-up Seat models (detachable type), a seat from the second-row can be pulled out of the vehicle and used as a wheelchair. The new feature of a movable footrest improves accessibility for wheelchairs.
* Wheelchair-adapted models (Ramp Type I and II), which allow passengers to board and exit while in a wheelchair, have an electric winch and foot-level lighting as standard and flattened floor surfaces and other features, all of which combine to enhance ease of use.