Friday, March 30, 2012

Ever wondered why managers fail to cope up with their work load? There is only answer: The do not know how to prioritize their work. And in fact it is the drawback that many a manager suffer from despite their qualification, experience and efficiency

Prioritizing one's activities and goal posts is a constant process. A thing that was important yesterday, may not be so today, likewise an event or a goalpost important today may be far below in the list of priorities when the new day dawns. 

It is therefore incumbent upon ever manager to keep evaluating everyday's activities viz-a-viz the market trends, organization's aspirations and client demands to smartly and consistently get over with the most important than the lesser ones. If one carries out this drill continuously and regularly, one can have one's productivity level enhanced manifold.

However to correctly prioritize one's activities, one has to have:

  • A very clear perception

  • Up to date market reading and analysis

  • Detailed knowledge of market trends

  • Client requirements and mindset 

  • An update on Technological advancements and developments directly or indirectly affecting one's sphere of business

If one adopts the prioritization approach correctly to his everyday routine work in the office, or even otherwise in one's life, one can see things getting better and paying back handsomely - both in kind and appreciation, which are pre-requisites for efficiency and smart work.
    Remember, if you prioritize your work correctly, you get focused attention on the things that require priority handling, which saves time and give better results. But also remember EVERYTHING can not be Priority One. One has to have a clear mind and analytic approach to sift activities that require precedence over others. And the prioritized list must be in accordance with the company's policy one works for. One should not be at tangent to company's policy.

    It doesn't take long to prioritize things - so why not do it now? It is for your own benefit.

    Category: articles

    Thursday, March 29, 2012

    Long-time followers of this blog may have noted that I don't post as often as I did during 2009, my first year of blogging.  There are a couple of reasons for this.

    First, once I set about writing my dissertation in 2010, I would spend entire days writing, so it became difficult also to take the time to write blog posts.  Now that I am working, I still find it hard to post more than 2-3 times a month, but I will continue to post here when I identify issues that deserve more analysis than is provided in the mainstream media.

    Secondly, my increased use of Facebook allows me to make shorter commentaries on news stories that don't necessarily merit a longer blog post.  If this is something that also interests you, please "like" the Facebook page for my book, Designated Drivers, which you can find here.*

    On that page I comment mostly on China's auto industry, but also on general business/government issues in China.  Also, please feel free to jump in and comment as well, either here or on the Facebook page.  This is all about making each other smarter, so I welcome comments and criticism.

    * Sorry, but I really hate the term "like" that Facebook insists on using.  If you prefer, think of it as "following" instead.  You can be interested in what I have to say without necessarily liking it.  :)
    Category: articles
    IP Finance is pleased to welcome back Keith Mallinson, whose guest posts on patents, standards and FRAND licensing in the telecom sector have been read with great appreciation.  This piece takes a look at the realities of licensing through the prism of Judge Randall Rader's "trolls and grasshoppers" analysis. Keith ends by calling for patience while existing licensing practices under the current law work things out.
    "Patent trolls aren’t all they are cracked up to be 
    There is a lot of pending patent litigation in mobile communications with 3G and smartphone technologies. This includes standard-essential and other patents, practicing entities that produce products and non-practising entities (NPEs) who do not. Numerous suits and countersuits in several nations between Apple and Android device producers Samsung and Motorola Mobility are particularly prominent. In addition, for example, NPE IPCom acquired a portfolio of mobile phone technology patents from defunct mobile phone manufacturer Bosch; and has vigorously pursued HTC, Nokia and others for royalties.

    Smartphond ecosystem participants are jockeying for position in a new order with a rapidly changing and expanding ecosystem. This indicates an industry in rude health, not malaise. Following lacklustre mobile phone market developments beyond voice and text until the mid 2000s, the smartphone revolution began in earnest with the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007. Previous smartphone market leaders Nokia and RIM have been completely up-ended by the rise and new leadership from Apple and Google’s Android including its many licensees. Meanwhile, this IP-rich industry is flourishing: innovation continues, customer choice is increasing and sales are booming for smartphones and other smart devices such as tablets. Smartphones and tablets are becoming the primary means of Internet connectivity with applications, services and usage levels that were unthinkable just a few years ago.  
    Yet there are interventionist moves afoot to prevent allegedly harmful behaviour by patentees, particularly with respect to enforcing their rights in standard-essential patents (SEPs). In addition to interested parties and commentators, European and US competition authorities are also weighing-in publicly on this matter. Knee-jerk reactions by the latter that would overturn long-standing legal rights and remedies would be a grave mistake. The patent system including licensing of (F)RAND-based SEPs has worked extremely well. There is no reason to presume that current levels of smartphone IP litigation are more than a transient phenomenon, or that licensing offers prior to consummated agreements are anything abnormal in the cut-and-thrust of licensing negotiations that typically result in concessions, compromises and cross-licensing. There is no evidence of consumer harm--suspension of sales through injunctions has been minimal--or that outcomes, following the machinations of negotiation, litigation and in some cases commercial court rulings will be unfair, unreasonable or discriminatory. 

    Trolls and grasshoppers 
    NPEs that are solely in the business of asserting patents, typically acquired from others, are politely referred to as Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) and disparaging as patent trolls when demands are regarded excessive and unreasonable. However, the latter are somewhat like the fantasy creatures after which they are named: they cause a lot of commotion and scare some folk, but tend not to receive what they demand and ultimately get their comeuppance. The troll in the Billy Goats Gruff tale hid under a bridge to ambush the goats and threaten to “gobble them up” as they tried to cross the stream. However, the troll met his match with the largest of the three goats who threw the troll into the stream out of harm’s way and never to be seen again.

    Remarks by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Randall R. Rader in a conference speech last fall provided an astute perspective on extreme behaviours and outcomes in patent cases including trolls and their opposites the “grasshoppers”. 
    “Of course, before we can control trolls and grasshoppers, we have to know who they are. And again, OF COURSE, that is the difficulty! Even some Supreme Court justices have referred to the non-practicing entity, the proverbial NPE. We also all understand that the NPE designation sweeps in some unintended “culprits” like universities and research clinics and can also extend to almost every corporation and business because they practice only a fraction of their patent portfolio. For that reason, I have always preferred an alternative definition of a “troll,” namely, any party that attempts to enforce a patent far beyond its actual value or contribution to the prior art.

    Every “troll” discussion, however, needs a note of balance. Just as trolls litter the patent system with marginally meritorious lawsuits, so the system also suffers from the IP “grasshopper.” The IP grasshopper is the entity that is quick to steal the “inventor-ant’s” work and research investment because he did no work himself and the winter of competition approaches. We can recognize the grasshopper because he refuses to pay any license fee until his legs and claws are held to the proverbial litigation fire. Once again, a grasshopper is hard to define, but I can venture a description according to the same basic notion that helped us identify the troll: A grasshopper is any entity which refuses to license even the strongest patent at even the most reasonable rates.

    Frankly I am not sure who causes more meritless litigation—the troll asserting patents beyond their value or the grasshopper refusing to license until litigation has finally made it impossible to avoid. I am surer, however, that both the troll and the grasshopper tend to blame and feed off of each other. Neither deserves encouragement or tolerance.”
    When NPEs attempt to enforce their patents beyond their worth they typically fare poorly with court judgments. For example, in the long-running telecoms patent dispute between Nokia and IPCom, the High Court for England and Wales has recently ruled that IPCom’s European patent (UK), which related to the handover of mobile phones between different base stations (e.g., when the mobile user is on the move), was invalid as originally granted. According to Nokia, and as reported by the IPKat, this “marks the sixtieth patent invalid as granted since IPCom began its aggressive campaign against Nokia and other industry players more than four years ago”. Academic research also indicates that NPEs almost never win their cases in court. A 2010 paper by Allison, Lemley and Walker indicates that whereas product-producing entities win 40% of their cases on the merits, NPEs win only 8% of their cases. Given that out-of-court settlement figures tend not to be disclosed publicly, it is anyone’s guess how large payments are in these cases. 
    Even though the above should be reassuring for product companies, the nuisance factor and costs of litigation including discovery and other legal fees can, nevertheless, be quite onerous. Judge Rader expressed a need to bring discipline to the disproportionally high US discovery expenses in patent cases. He went on to state:
    “…it is difficult to control the troll or the grasshopper in advance because they cannot really be identified until their abuse is already over—the troll has lost its case of little value or gotten negligible value for a nominally winning case; the grasshopper has finally accepted a reasonable license fee after dragging the court and the patent owner through years of litigation. The troll and the grasshopper only emerge after the case is over..”
    He proposes that when the case is over and the court can identify a troll or grasshopper, there should be a full reversal of attorney’s fees and costs. This would, for example, discourage plaintiffs from using discovery (costs) as a tactical weapon. Costs defending meritless claims are generally significantly less outside the US. For example, in the UK the loser typically pays the costs and US-style discovery is not possible in continental Europe. 
    Extreme demands by practising and non-practising entity patent owners seeking unreasonably large sums for weak patents and extreme resistance by product-makers who refuse to pay a fair price for the IP they exploit are mostly kept in check by the courts, as indicated by Judge Rader. Large payments can grab press attention, but these are the exception and can result from tactical blunders by defendants who could have settled sooner at lower cost. RIM’s agreement to pay the NTP $612.5 million in a “full and final settlement of all claims” is the most well-known NPE settlement in mobile communications patent litigation. This dispute was not about SEPs. RIM could have avoided paying so much if it had not painted itself into a corner with the imminent prospect of having its email system shut down to the detriment of anxious customers, such as the US Department of Defense with its concerns about maintaining national security. 
    Unintended consequences 
    Competition authorities should have the patience to let the existing patent laws, established licensing practices with bilateral negotiations and, when necessary, commercial courts, work things out. The smartphone marketplace is in significant flux. No company or companies have anything like market dominance or the large and stable market shares observed elsewhere, such as in PC operating systems or microprocessors. There is no proof of patent “hold-up”; in fact, aggregate SEP royalties have fallen as standardisation has progressed in mobile technologies. Absent proven market failure or consumer harm, the market should be left to establish absolute values in patent licensing, or relative values for SEPs versus other patents. Alternatively, regulators would be drawn to employ simplistic analysis that overlooks the money invested and value derived from IP versus commodity costs in hardware manufacture. They would likely impose arbitrary royalty rate caps and subjective patent evaluations of great inaccuracy. Competition authority intervention could cause distortions that undermine incentives to continue making the large investments in SEPs and other IP while tilting the playing field in favour of one vested interest group or business model to the detriment of others".
    Category: articles

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    General Motors announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) in which CATARC will reportedly...
    ...manage GM’s fleet of demonstration Volts and will assist GM China in meeting certain objectives.

    These [objectives] will include gaining the support of key decision makers crafting vehicle electrification policy in China.
    Who is CATARC?  From their English website:
    China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) was established in 1985 response to the need of the state for the management of auto industry and upon the approval of the China National Science and Technology Commission. It is now affiliated to SASAC.

    As a technical administration body in the auto industry and a technical support organization to the governmental authorities, CATARC assists the government in such activities as auto standard and technical regulation formulating, product certification testing, quality system certification, industry planning and policy research, information service and common technology research.
    CATARC is "affiliated to SASAC" (State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission) which is essentially the organization that holds the shares of central state-owned enterprises.  CATARC is also a major regulatory organization in that all automobiles need to be tested by CATARC before thex may be certified for the road in China.

    Since part of GM's purpose is to gain influence over policymakers, this relationship with an organization that is part of the central government cannot hurt.  But there is more to CATARC than meets the eye.

    Not only is CATARC an auto industry regulator that is essentially owned by the central government, but it is also a competitor of GM's through its ownership in the Tianjin Qingyuan Electric Vehicle Company (Qingyuan).  According to Qingyuan's website, the company both develops and produces clean energy vehicles and components, which sounds remarkably like something that GM does.

    Qingyuan's "principal shareholder" is CATARC, and another of Qingyuan's shareholders is the Tianjin Lishen Battery Company, a producer of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, which is, of course a competitor of LG Chem, the manufacturer of the battery in the Chevrolet Volt.  (Lishen, incidentally, makes the li-ion battery for the Coda electric car.)

    So what does all of this mean?  Am I saying that GM has handed its intellectual property over to CATARC so they may copy at will?  Not exactly.  CATARC, after all, also has a reputation to protect, so I am doubtful that they would so blatantly copy GM's Volt technology.  But how certain can GM be that its technology will not find its way, through CATARC, into the hands of Qingyuan, or Lishen, or any of the dozens of Chinese automakers who bring their cars to CATARC for testing?

    GM is no stranger to having its IP copied in China.  Back in 2003, GM discovered that Chery had somehow obtained the plans to the Chevrolet Spark, and used them to develop the QQ which Chery got to market several months ahead of the Spark.  And when GM went to its partner, Shanghai Auto, to complain about this miscreant that had been copying its technology, only then did GM learn that Shanghai Auto was also a part owner of Chery.  (Long story short, GM sued, then settled out of court with Chery, which admitted no wrongdoing, and Shanghai Auto got rid of its shares in Chery.)

    In all honesty, I find it hard to blame Chinese automakers for copying foreign technology and designs.  After all, this is what all developing countries do when they are trying to catch up.  All developed countries -- including the US -- at one time or another, copied other countries' technologies with reckless abandon.

    I do, however, blame foreign automakers (and manufacturers in pretty much any industry) for sometimes naively risking their shareholders' valuable IP for a share of the Chinese market.  The goal of the Chinese automakers is to win -- as it should be.  But foreign automakers need to understand that the ultimate goal of China's automakers is to no longer need them.  When Chinese partners say their aim is for a "win-win," this means they get to win twice.*

    * I don't know for certain whether I was the first person to say this about the concept of "win-win", but I had not heard it before I tweeted it from my hotel room in Shanghai in January of 2010 (as documented by @rudenoon on his blog).  :)

    Category: articles

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    The 2012 Zenn Annual Ge.......MUAHAHAAHAHAAHAAHA!!!.....neral meeting took place today with Zenn interim CEO Jim Kofman laying......MUAHAHAAHAHAAHAAHA!!!....down the law (remember, he is an attorney) about what comes next in the EEStory.  Firstly, some of the revealed facts.....MUAHAHAAHAHAAHAAHA!!!

    According to Kofman, who sounded confident and sober(!),  EEStor will make a public reveal of
    Category: articles

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    It's been awhile since Zenn Motor Company has said anything about EEStor Inc.   And even when compelled to say something about EEStor, the topic of timing has been an anathema due to several apparent miscalculations.  The topic of time is the kiss of death at this point in the EEStory saga.  But today, Zenn has made itself ready to tempt fate one more time with yet another prediction related to
    Category: articles
    Yesterday I visited a friend's office. Prior to visiting his office, my friend always sounded professional, smart and a real manager. But when I entered his office, I could not find him as his work table had piles of files, disarrayed office chairs, ash trays full of cigarette buds and the whole office smelled like a brick making factory as it was smoky, smelly and uneasy.

    And then to my surprise, a head appeared from behind the files and I saw an equally disarrayed person, trying to smile to welcome me.

    Now imagine, if this is how a client encounters a company representative, what impression he is going to carry about the person and the company itself. It shows overworled work environment, non-professional managers and I-don't-care-I-want-results type bosses.

    We fail to realise that unless we have a conducive workig environemnt, clean and well kept office and fresh faces, neither can we produce nor achieve the goalposts given to us. As managers we have to first ensure that our office looks as clean and tidy as we would like our homes to be.

    A research on office management concltdes that a neat and tidy workplace can increase one's efficiency by 50% or in other words manifold.

    So how to go about it? It is simple and difficult as well. If we want to to do it, it is simple - but if we want a staus quo based on Newton's first law of motion "The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force," meaning by if we do not apply ourselves to the situation around us, there is going to be no change in our situation or environment.
    The first and foremost action of ours should be to break the inertia and make a resolve to keep our workplace as a living example for others.
    Secondly, start from the peripeherals like telephone, pen stand, day planner, table lamp, photographs(if any) and keep these according to their usage and accessibility. Normally people keep the telephone to the right and when it rings they pick up with the right hand but have to shift it to the left hand if something is to be written. Therefore telephones should always be placed to the left and attended to by the left hand (since mostly people are right handed) - this will allow easy use of telephone and taking notes if required.
    Thirdly, keep only those things which are essential - rest all be placed in shelves under the telephone desk for easy access.
    There should be nothing in the drawers except directories, calculators, stamps or ready-reckoners- becasue if once you start dumping things in the drawers, then these will have things you would have never used even in months. So keep only those things in the drawers that are handy and are required occasionally.
    Always clean your office of files that have been used and referred to - these must go back to their cabinets as early as possible, lest these are misplaced or dumped under other files and erroneously taken away.
    Some managers are in the habit of placing visiting cards under the table glass for 'easy and quick reference.' Believe me, these are seldom used. Have these visiting cards in the custom made folders and kept in the drawer. The frequently consulted clients are even otherwise fed in your cellular phone, so have unnecessary contact information cluttering your office outlook?
    And the last thing - clean up once you leave. When in my earlier post I talekd of having a 'flex time', keep a part of the flex time for the end of the day for cleaning up. Clean your desk and table to from all files taken out during the day and put these back where these belong. If these are to be consulted again, stack them or better would be to tie them in specially made folders and place these on one side so that when you come the next day, you confront with a clean and healthy hellow from your work station rather than a messy and ugly looking site.
    Well that is all about today. But what about your cellular phone - is it well organised too? I am sure in most cases it is not. We will talk about it some other day. In the meanwhile, why not get out of the inertia and start a cleaning - rather a cleansing operation rightaway: it wont take long but would leave you refreshing and smiling. Say Cheeeez 
    Category: articles

    Sunday, March 25, 2012

    2008 Acura TL Sedan

    The Acura TL is a medium-sized, entry-level luxury sedan, and it is currently Acura's best selling model. Although TL typically does not provide the excitement or the prestige of competing European sports sedan, it counters with exceptional value and above average durability and reliability.

    Consumers are interested in buying the Acura TL should be aware that there are three generations of the car. The current generation is the sportiest and most desirable because of his chiseled exterior styling, firm suspension tuning, powerful V6 and optional six-speed manual transmission. Almost all of TL's luxury features come standard, including a surround-sound audio system. Its interior is remarkable for its quality, design and materials.

    Like most sports sedan, the TL is very usable on a daily basis and can perform well in almost any role. According to our editors, the current TL is "a well built, high performance, feature-laden entry-level luxury sports sedan, which should please most consumers shopping in this market."

    These attributes also apply to the earlier years of the third generation Acura TL, which covers 2004-2006 models. Consumers are interested in a used or certified pre-owned TL would do well to look after these years. There is not much difference between them in terms of features or hardware. Please note that Acura revised V6's horsepower rating downward starting in 2006. But this review was a regulatory issue, and does not reflect a change in acceleration capability.

    According to Acura owners who have posted comments to, the Acura TL is a "fantastic car" that yarns recognition of its "overall combination of performance, comfort, quality and technology." Owners will take his ride comfortable yet sporty, "and say that with an" amazing "home stereo system and a long list of standard features - including satellite radio and Bluetooth handsfree phone compatibility - the" fun factor in this car is quite unique. " Others praise the car's interior styling and its "fantastic" navigation system - "I'm in love with the navigation system. I have found my soul mate." But some owners want sedan was available in a wider range of colors, others pine for "better seating comfort."

    The second generation Acura TL was built from 1999 to 2003. Although not as exciting as the current model, our editors gave their elders very positive reviews during its course. Improvements were made throughout this period, and the car had a number of SL first, including Honda's VTEC variable valve timing and a GPS navigation option. The powerful Type-S version, which debuted in 2002, should strongly consider buyers interested in increased efficiency. Regardless of specific trim level, just about any use second-generation model will work well.

    The original Acura TL debuted in 1996 as a replacement for the popular Acura Vigor. Two versions were offered: a 2.5 with a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine and a 3.2 with a 3.2-liter V6. The 2.5 and 3.2 TL models were available during the first generation's run, which lasted largely unchanged, although 1998. As there is now a small price difference between the two, we suggest that consumers are interested in a first-generation TL used to go to the more powerful 3.2.
    Category: articles

     The Acura TL is a medium-sized, entry-level luxury sports cars sedan, currently Acura's best-selling car. Although TL typically does not provide the excitement or the prestige of competing European sports sedan, it counters with exceptional value and above average durability and reliability.

    After three generations, the current model is the sportiest and most desirable yet, with chiseled exterior styling, firm suspension tuning, a powerful V6 and an impressive level of standard equipment. The AcuraTL underwent a midlife freshening for 2007, with minor exterior and interior styling tweaks and an upgraded optional navigation system. The TL Type-S also returned to LINEUP this year with a 286-hp V6, various performance upgrades and styling enhancements.

    Like most sports sedan, the TL is very usable on a daily basis and can perform well in almost any role. According to our editors, the current TL is "a well built, high performance, feature-laden entry-level luxury sports sedan, which should please most consumers shopping in this market."

    Current Acura TL

    The current Acura TL receives a midlife freshening, but the big news is that the TL Type-S returns to the LINEUP after a three-year break. Equipped with a 286-hp 3.5-liter V6, Type-S also includes a sport-tuned suspension, brakes Brembo high performance and unique design elements that include quad tailpipe. A six-speed manual or five-speed automatic with auto-manual shift paddles are no-cost options. The upgraded touchscreen and voice-activated navigation system with real-time traffic reporting is standard equipment on the Type-S, which is the rest of the TL's long feature list.

    The regular TL receives minor styling tweaks and interior changes, including a sporty new three-spoke steering wheel. The updated navigation system is the only option, while the five-speed automatic is the only available transmission. The 258-hp 3.2-liter V6 is unchanged.

    Both versions of the TL come with an attractive, well-built interior design with a more sporting intent in mind. Aluminum inlays, bright blue electroluminescent gauges and aggressively strengthened seats should appeal to enthusiasts, but may postpone the're looking for a more traditional luxury look. Ergonomics are excellent, with redundant stereo controls on the radio face plate, steering wheel, and optional touchscreen and voice commands. High-tech standard features includes Bluetooth phone connectivity options, programmable driver memory function and an excellent surround sound stereo with six-CD/DVD audio changer and satellite radio.

    On the road tests we have always been impressed with the Acura TL's performance and handling abilities, but ultimately find that its front-wheel-drive setup can not compete with rear-drive models like the Infiniti G35, Lexus IS 350 or BMW 335i. Type-S ups the ante a bit, increase power without noticeable during teas. But until the Acura offers its Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system on the TL or even switching to rear-wheel drive (unlikely), the TL will remain a few steps behind its top competitors. For a majority of customers, even though the TL will provide a good mix of fun and convenience at a reasonable price.

    Earlier Acura TL models

    The current generation TL was introduced as a 2004 model. Consumers are interested in a used or certified pre-owned TL would be well advised to look for that model year or newer. There is not much difference between them in terms of features or hardware. Please note that Acura revised V6's horsepower ratings from 270 to 258 by 2006. But this review was a regulatory issue, and the engine is not in fact change.

    The second generation Acura TL was built from 1999-2003. Although it was not as exciting as the current model, our editors gave their elders very positive reviews during its course. Improvements were made throughout this period, and the car had a number of SL first, including Honda's VTEC variable valve timing and a GPS navigation option. The powerful Type-S version, which debuted in 2002, should strongly consider buyers interested in increased efficiency. Regardless of specific trim level, just about any use second-generation model will work well.

    The original Acura TL debuted in 1995 as a replacement for the popular Acura Vigor. Two versions were offered: a 2.5 TL with a 2.5-liter inline-5 engine and a 3.2 TL with a 3.2-liter V6. Both models were available during the first generation's run, which lasted virtually unchanged through 1998. As there is now a small price difference between the two, we suggest that consumers are interested in a first-generation TL used to go to the more powerful 3.2.
    Category: articles

     The Acura TSX is a relatively new vehicle in the entry-level luxury sports cars sedan segment. Consumers who want a sedan, there are traces remain silent and a little more upscale than the typical family four-door will find plenty to like. The TSX, which is Acura's least expensive model is a solid choice for daily use because of its competent driving characteristics, high-quality interior and generous level of standard features. And like most Acura products, the TSX boasts a high degree of refinement, a reputation for above-average reliability and decent value for the dollar.

    One drawback to the Acura TSX is that we suspect many people do not perceive it as being as prestigious as owning more established cars from European carmakers. It is probably a function of the car's recent arrival on the market, four-cylinder engine and plebian Honda roots. (The TSX is essentially a rebadged and prettified version of the Honda Accord.) But all in all, it has earned our editors' respect, despite some misgivings about the new second-generation model. We suggest that entry-level luxury sports sedan customers give the view - even in cases of second-generation TSX, they should probably only do that if they care more about the "luxury" than "sport".

    Current Acura TSX

    Significantly larger than its predecessor only about everywhere except in a suitcase, the second generation ofAcura TSX debuted for the 2009 model year. That leaves room for five passengers and an impressive array of standard high-end features, including 17-inch alloy wheels, Xenon headlamps, a sunroof, heated power front seats with driver memory, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker CD audio system with satellite radio and iPod integration. Models equipped with the technology package adding such comforts as a navigation system, a rearview camera and a premium 10-speaker sound system with in-dash six-CD changer. All TSXs receive Anti-lock brakes, stability control, front airbags and side-impact curtain air bags for all outboard passengers.

    To power the front-wheel-drive TSX employs a revised version of the previous 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 201 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices consist of an excellent six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. While commendably smooth in the Honda tradition, the 2.4-liter four simply not up to the six-cylinder engines and turbo-charged four-cylinder engines found in other entry-level luxury sports sedan.

    In the test, we have been impressed with the TSX technological features list, but disappointed with how it drives. While the previous generation TSX reasonably be described as a front-wheel drive sports sedan, the TSX is more of a lavishly appointed family car. Steering feel is surprisingly calm for a Honda product - the new electric steering assist is the likely culprit - and braking at the edge of the unacceptable. The refined, but lackluster engine is unlikely to impress customers in the TSX's upscale segment.

    Used Acura TSX models

    The first generation Acura TSX debuted in 2004. Track Tier than the second generation model, the original TSX was widely praised for its crisp handling and entertaining (though off-color) 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generated 200 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. Among the regular features were issues such as 17-inch alloy wheels, Xenon headlamps, a sunroof, heated power front seats with driver memory, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and an eight-speaker audio system.

    Anti-lock brakes, stability control, front airbags and side-impact curtain air bags for all outboard passengers were also standard. An impressive DVD-based navigation system with touchscreen and voice-activated software was the only available option for the well-equipped first-generation TSX.

    Before the road test, we found that while the original TSX's torque-deficient VTEC engine was revved hard to get sufficient acceleration, it was still quite fun to wring out, especially when equipped with the slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission (a five-speed automatic was also available). Sharp handling and good steering feel made sleeping cabin TSX sports sedan. The first generation TSX also offered a high quality and aesthetically pleasing interior design.

    There were a handful of changes from the original Acura TSX during its production run. Satellite radio, heated exterior mirrors and a power passenger seat was added in 2005. 2006 TSX engine features, functionality and styling updates - the four-cylinder engine was modified to produce 205 horsepower and 164 lb-ft of torque, and the navigation system achieved faster processing and additional points of interest. Bluetooth, driver seat memory and MP3 auxiliary jack was also new. Exterior enhancements include redesigned front and rear fascia, new side thresholds, foglamps and new alloy wheels.
    Category: articles

     Where Audi really needs to improve his game was in the driver's involvement department. With A5, it has done so. The coupe features a long road, its steering has been engineered from scratch, the Quattro 4WD is biased towards the rear and front axle has been moved forward 120mm to counteract during teas. All this work has had the desired effect.

    The A5 offers meaty steering, good turn-in and impressive, a better sense of balance than the company's storage RS4. Thanks to its 4WD traction, the car is also very efficient through corners - especially slow them. The problem is, it does not provide the same feedback and sharpness as its arch-rival, BMW 3-Series. If you choose the optional Sport pack would improve things - but would also hurt the ride quality. By default, Audi is comfortable, especially on highways where it has a quiet ride forgiving. As for engines, the 3.0-liter TDI has been developed, and now delivers more power. It does not feel like a normal diesel - it is more flexible, with good and minimal diesel-like rattles. It draws interest from less than 1500rpm and chastened to an impressive 5200rpm. 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds is potent, but the gearbox is springy and sends vibrations.

    The A5 is impressive in the metal. It is best viewed from a distance, where you can appreciate the subtle line that forms the car's shoulder, and the radical currents that roof down into the trunk, which ends in a very small lip spooler. If anything, we believe that the reverse is more successful than the generic nose, and the front-end is distinguished from other Audi by the standard xenon headlights with their dramatic LED lights running. Up close, the first thing you see is how little the A5 is the roof. When you open one of the relatively short doors, you seem to have to dip much lower to get within inches but it's a full four-seater - finally, it is a return to a market left Audi in 1996. Built on the Modular Longitudinal Platform that will underpin the next A4, the Audi offers a wide range of engines, including the 3.0-liter TDI we tested, plus a 2.7-liter TDI, a 3.2-liter V6 petrol and the magnificent 4.2 - liter V8 S5. There simply is the only body style. His rival is the BMW 3 Series Coupe - this car is a competitor of this model in absolutely every respect, and you know Audi has benchmarked its Munich counterpart to the nth degree. The Mercedes CLK is an alternative, such as the Peugeot 407 Coupe left field.

    The interior is completely new for the A5. We expect that elements of the design to appear on the next A4, but in the meantime, the Audi's cockpit looks and feels unique. But that's not to say it's perfect. The new key is rather clumsy, the switches for the electric windows click uncomfortable and the heating controls are fiddly. Nevertheless, the cabin of a quality is of the opinion, while the wraparound dash is strengthened this effect and gives a feeling of space. You will not benefit if you sitting on the rear bench tight, but while you struggle to your feet under the front seats. But what are taken from the rear legroom is given to the load bay - the A5 of the 455-liter luggage compartment is huge. It's pretty economical too, while retained values very beautiful.

    Category: articles
    On his debut as a concept car in 1995 and finally a production reality, the Audi TT was one of the most dramatic cars to come out in mid to late 1990s. Its ecological and symmetrical reported front and rear sections compared with slab-sided flanks to create a look unlike any Audi has ever done before. Meanwhile, the TT's beautifully executed interior left no noticeable trace of the car a little humble VW Golf roots.

    Named after the Tourist Trophy motorsports event held at the Isle of Man (where a predecessor of the Audi brand competing), the Audi TT is not quite a sports car, not quite a sport coupe or roadster. In essence, the front-or all-wheel-drive TT is a two-seat GT. True, the Coupe has a few seats in the back, but they are best left to small children or used as a padded parcel shelf. TT has a low slung look and feel of a sports car, but its dynamic personality is closer to that of a luxury sports coupe.

    Irrespective of the year, and trim levels, the TT is on the fast, but with some first-generation versions heavier than 3,600 pounds and suspension tuning, giving priority to touring comfort of all-out cornering prowess, it will not be the first choice for hard-core enthusiasts. These zealots are seeking a harder edge driving experience would be better served by more finely focused sports. The majority of consumers, but who want a sporty coupe or roadster with energetic performance and a heavy emphasis on style, should be more than happy with the Audi TT.

    Current Audi TT

    The current Audi TT was redesigned for the 2008 model year and represents the second generation. Although slightly higher, the second-generation TT not orphan too far from the timeless lines of his predecessor. The overall look is the same, although the characters lines are Crispen and nose adopt Audi's now-signature single-frame grille. Although longer and wider than the first TT, the latest version is easier (with nearly 200 pounds in the event of a roadster), thanks to the increased use of aluminum in the body structure. It also offers a more powerful four-cylinder engine.

    Two trim levels - a 2.0T (200 hp turbocharged four with front-wheel drive) and 3.2 Quattro (250 hp V6 with all wheel drive) - offered in a choice of Hatchback Coupe and Roadster body styles. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a six-speed S tronic dual-clutch sequential transmission, which offers easy automatic combined with a quick response from a manual. (Former S-tronic became known as Direct Shift gearbox, or DSG.)

    On the way, the 2.0T feel more flexible through a series of curves, as it has less weight on the front tires, while the 3.2 Quattro deliver more punch on the straightaways with a more aggressive engine and exhaust sound. The 2.0T is actually more athletic of the two, as quick-revving four-cylinder engine, whooshing turbocharger and light-effort steering mobile combine to deliver a strong sporting impression.

    One of the TT's most notable asset is its superbly designed interior, which entices with a look that is sleek and modern. Another is its sculpted exterior design. The TT also offers an impeccable sequential-shift manual transmission, and high Hatchback value when purchased in Coupe iteration. Its main drawback concerns the fact that its handling is less precise than that offered by some of its rear-drive competitors.

    Former Audi TT models

    Introduced for the 2000 model year, and initially available only as a Hatchback coupe, the first TT was powered by Audi's peppy 1.8-liter, 180 horsepower turbocharged inline-4. Buyers can choose either front-or all-wheel drive (Audi's Quattro system). A five-speed manual was standard, while a six-speed manual was optional. Together with its low-slung, avant-garde styling, the TT boasted an equally unique interior, who played polished aluminum accents, impeccable fit and finish and, unfortunately, a couple of ergonomic glitches such as a CD changer mounted behind the driver and counter intuitive climate control.

    After a much-publicized recall to fix twitchy handling characteristics of early TTS, a roadster and a 225-hp Quattro version debuted the following year. In 2003, an automatic transmission (with six speeds) were available. But the biggest news for this generation came in 2004 when 250 hp 3.2-liter V6 and Audi's superb six-speed auto-manual gearbox was available. The latter, dubbed DSG, provided rapid yet jolt-free manual-style gear changes that put a Ferrari's F1 transmission to shame. Audi TT stood pat through 2006, the last year in this generation.

    Potential buyers should know that although potentially fast in a straight line, this TT was never regarded as a genuine sports car because of its potentially heavy weight limit, and soft-sprung suspension. Still, the TT should satisfy those who prize comfort, style and all-weather capability in their sports coupe and roadster.
    Category: articles
     Audi S8 is the German auto maker's flagship performance sedan. Debuting at the beginning of the new millennium, was the third vehicle for the North American market to sustain an "S" badge. Used to produce Audi's engineering achievements, S-and RS-badged vehicles compete directly against other automakers performance models from divisions like BMW's M and Mercedes-Benz's AMG. As a high-luxury, high performance and high-technology platform, the S8 is the standard bearer of Audi's arsenal.

    There are two generations of the Audi S8 and each has been based on the A8 luxury sedan from the same period. Based on the A8's lightweight aluminum-frame chassis, the S8 adds a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned suspension, more powerful brakes and a slightly more aggressive look. Despite being Audi's largest sedan, a combination of a relatively light curb weight, muscular and tenacious grip of the car's standard Quattro all-wheel-drive system makes it surprisingly quick and smooth. Audi's Quattro system is a key advantage over S8's competitors by providing more traction, especially in the weather.

    Audi has ensured that luxury amenities were not sacrificed in favor of direct speed. A premium leather-trimmed interior, real wood accents and exemplary fit and finish complement both S8 models, which makes a whole gang of safety devices. If there is a mistake to Audi S8, it is certain that it does not quite match the performance potential of some competitive sports sedan. Our editors have described it as an impressive luxury sedan first and a performance sedan second. But for those who need AWD security or simply wishing a speedy, stealthy and relatively rare luxury sedan, either S8 generation will do nicely.

    Current Audi S8

    Returns to LINEUP for 2007 after a three-year break, the latest Audi S8 is based on second-GEN A8. Its most talked-about feature is its engine. Audi's engineers took advantage of its parent company Volkswagen's ownership of Lamborghini and snagged the Lamborghini Gallardo's 40-valve V10 engine. Audi increased displacement to 5.2 liters and added FSI petrol direct injection to optimize the delivery. The result is an operatic 450 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. All this sonorous power is pushed through a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, so you can happily keep my fingers tapping the steering wheel paddle shifters. The sound of the engine wailing through four exhaust pipes are so sweet, you can ask premium audio system to take five.

    The current Audi S8 delivers performance products, while rewarding the driver with a rich experience filled with techno-gadgetry. It is easy to learn Multi Media Interface with Bluetooth navigation, a 350-watt, 12-speaker Bose audio system with a glovebox CD changer, power lifting just outside mirrors with tilt-in-reverse and everything is wrapped in sumptuous leather and wood trim. A stiffer version of the standard A8's fully independent adaptive air suspension works in the unit with 20-inch wheels, performance tires and speed-dependent steering to provide exceptional handling in both high and low speed maneuvers.

    Overall, the combination of luxury, performance and technology add up to an impressive package. At the same time, Audi has kept the styling upgrades tasteful as S8 not immediately scream "performance model" as some competitors do. Only in terms of maximum performance potential is Audi's finest bit of a letdown.

    Former Audi S8 models

    When it debuted for the 2001 model year, the first Audi S8 came with a 4.2-liter V8 making 360 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. The aluminum frame and body are lowered, stiffer suspension performed well in its 18-inch wheels. The fit and finish besteden something else in its class. It even won a star packed role in a memorable car chase in Ronin movie directed by John Frankenheim. But S8 never seemed to be named Cachet of its impressive rivals.

    Audi continued to improve the car by small increments over the next two years. It offered new features such as a tire-pressure monitoring system, front and rear parking assist and a navigation system. To increase the feeling of exclusivity, Audi released a limited edition color combinations like a silver exterior with a red interior, a Ming Blue exterior with a platinum interior and a black exterior with a caramel interior. As a used model, the original S8 still gives serious performance dynamics, which can be enjoyed from the most beautiful of environments.
    Category: articles
    The latest Nothelle project is the A4, which the tuning company from Ratingen (Germany) provides with a more elegant and at the same time sportier appearance. And naturally nothelle also offers various performance improvements for the A4.

    - Power output increased by up to 310 bhp

    - Aerodynamic packages

    - Quadruple exhaust and "NOVEDRA VII SPORT" 19-inch wheels

    Sophisticated nothelle aerodynamic packages with sporty looks.

    Nothelle tackles the external cosmetics with the aid of a comprehensive, in-house, sophisticated aerodynamic kits, which is mounted on the standard components without any additional body modifications.

    It consists of a front spoiler (from EUR 490), side skirts, a rear apron attachment and a rear spoiler (one version each for the Saloon and the Avant), as well as optional fender extensions, which can also be fitted onto the standard wings with any body modifications.

    The rear of the A4 gets an even sportier upgrade when you order the nothelle diffusor. This is available either in the body colour or in sophisticated genuine carbon fibre.

    The nothelle rear silencer with its quad-tailpipe looks (from EUR 620), made entirely of durable stainless steel, promises a sporty sound as well as a touch more power. Its oval, chrome-plated 4 tailpipes give the rear end of the A4 a significant boost. A pretty backside is no less enchanting, after all!

    Sports suspension and matching footwear

    nothelle also provides matching footwear for the A4, with the company's own NOVEDRA VII SPORT wheels in 8.5 x 19" format. The one-piece wheel is impressive for its striking and extremely exclusive design, as well as its multi-piece looks (from EUR 550). Nnothelle offers it in three versions.

    The basic version is the "NOVEDRA VII SPORT", painted in Shiny Silver. The fine surface finish of the "brilliance edition" is achieved by means of an extremely elaborate ball polishing process with high-gloss intensification. Because tastes vary, nothelle also offers the "black edition" as a third version. The alloy wheel is also available complete with an ultra high-performance 235/35-19 tyre from nothelle's technology partner, KUMHO.

    Naturally nothelle also takes care to ensure that all the extra power does not throw the A4 off the road. That's why the Ratingen tuning company offers sport suspension systems. Either in the form of a comfort-oriented set of sports springs, as a complete suspension system or as a high-end solution using individually height-adjustable coilovers.

    Performance upgrades for diesel and petrol engines

    Nothelle gives the diesels a boost by means of chip-tuning or its N TRONIC BOX. The latter represents the intelligent power box for diesel engines, and is a supplementary control unit that will deliver a significant but not excessive performance boost when installed.

    Similar performance figures are delivered by the chip-tuning version, LEADERCHIP©, designed for the discerning driver with a desire for more controlled power. The vehicle releases its entire potential and yet at the same time remains supreme and respectable in its running characteristics. The engine offers significantly improved torque and increased power output with well-balanced figures. It is the diplomat among the tuning chips, with unfettered superiority.

    As a third alternative nothelle offers the BULLCHIP©, the power upgrade for the driver with sporting ambitions. Full-blooded power delivery, breathtaking torque and fabulous acceleration are its characteristic features. That makes it the muscle man among the tuning chips.

    All performance upgrades are of course also available for vehicles with a diesel particle filter.

    2.0TFSI Nothelle Style

    Of all the A4's petrol engines, the 2-litre TFSI is just asking for some muscle-toning. nothelle turns it into the highlight of its range. In the case of the turbocharged in-line four-cylinder engine, the conversion delivers a leap in power output up to a magnificent 310 horsepower! That makes it possible for the A4 to reach a top speed of 280 km/h (175 mph). Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in 5.5 seconds will have many a 911-owner booking his Porsche in for a performance check at the first workshop he comes across.

    As a rule nothelle can offer performance upgrades for all engines. In all its development work the tuning firm naturally pays greatest attention to ensuring compliance with all applicable emissions standards. And all with TÜV approval and under warranty.

    audi a4 performanceaudi a4 performance

    2008 Audi A4 Performance & Efficiency Standard Features

    Turbo compressor

    1,984 cc 2.0 liters inline 4 front engine with 82.5 mm bore, 92.8 mm stroke, 10.5 compression ratio, double overhead cam, variable valve timing/camshaft and four valves per cylinder

    Premium unleaded fuel 91

    Gasoline direct injection fuel system

    18.5 gallon main premium unleaded fuel tank 15.4

    Power: 149 kW , 200 HP SAE @ 5,100 rpm; 207 ft lb , 281 Nm @ 1,800 rpm
    2008 Audi A4 Handling, Ride & Braking Standard Features

    Fourwheel ABS

    Brake assist system

    Four disc brakes including two ventilated discs

    Electronic brake distribution

    Electronic traction control via ABS & engine management


    Fullsize alloy rim internal spare wheel

    Stability control

    Multilink front and rear suspension independent with stabilizer bar and coil springs
    2008 Audi A4 Exterior & Aerodynamics Standard Features

    Body side molding

    Body color front and rear bumpers

    Chrome/bright trim around side windows

    Day time running lights

    Driver and passenger power heated partialpainted door mirrors

    External dimensions: overall length (inches): 180.6, overall width (inches): 69.8, overall height (inches): 56.2, wheelbase (inches): 104.3, front track (inches): 59.9, rear track (inches): 59.9 and curb to curb turning circle (feet): 36.4

    Front fog lights

    Projector beam lens halogen bulb headlights

    Luxury trim alloy & leather on gearknob, alloy on doors and alloy on dashboard

    Black paint

    Fixed rear window with defogger

    Glass electric front sunroof

    Tinted glass on cabin

    Weights: curb weight (lbs) 3,450

    Windshield wipers with automatic intermittent wipe
    2008 Audi A4 Interior Standard Features

    12v power outlet: cargo, front and 1

    Air conditioning with climate control

    Diversity antenna

    Peripheral interior monitoring antilift antitheft protection

    Front and rear ashtray

    Manufacturer's own RDS audio system with AM/FM, Disc Autochanger and sixdisc remote changer CD player reads MP3

    Automatic drive indicator on dashboard

    Cargo area light

    Cargo capacity: all seats in place (cu ft): 13.4

    Front seats cigar lighter


    Computer with range for remaining fuel

    Full dashboard console with covered storage box, full floor console with open storage box, partial overhead console

    Delayed/fade courtesy lights

    Cruise control

    Front seats cup holders fixed, rear seats cup holders pop out

    Door pockets/bins for driver seat and passenger seat

    External temperature

    Floor mats

    Driver front airbag with multistage deployment, passenger front airbag with occupant sensors and multistage deployment

    Bucket electrically adjustable driver seat with height adjustment, lumbar adjustment, six adjustments and tilt adjustment, bucket electrically adjustable passenger seat with height adjustment, lumbar adjustment and two adjustments

    Height adjustable 3point reel front seat belts on driver seat and passenger seat with pretensioners

    Front seat center armrest

    Two height adjustable active head restraints on front seats, three height adjustable head restraints on rear seats

    Heated washer

    Illuminated entry system

    Internal dimensions: front headroom (inches): 38.4, rear headroom (inches): 37.2, front leg room (inches): 41.3, rear leg room (inches): 34.3, front shoulder room (inches): 55.1, rear shoulder room (inches): 53.4 and interior volume (cu ft): 90.1

    Low tire pressure indicator

    Remote power locks includes trunk/hatch, includes power windows and speed sensing

    Vehicle speed proportional power steering

    Front and rear power windows with two onetouch

    Front and rear reading lights

    Rear fog lights

    3point reel rear seat belts on driver side, passenger side and center side with pretensioners

    Rear seat center armrest integral box

    Three asymmetrical bench front facing rear seats with zero adjustments

    Rear view mirror

    Steering wheel mounted remote audio controls

    Remote fuel filler door release

    Remote control remote trunk/hatch release

    Front and rear side curtain airbag

    Front seat back storage

    Cloth seat upholstery with additional cloth

    Seating: five seats

    Service interval indicator

    Front side airbag

    Ten speaker(s)

    Leather covered multifunction steering wheel with tilt adjustment and telescopic adjustment


    Illuminated driver and passenger vanity mirror

    Ventilation system with micro filter and active carbon filter.
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