New innovations from Toyota, Mercedes, Alfa and Lotus


You might think that a company offering manual gearboxes is not worth mentioning. Yet, it seems as though the tales that prophesied the death of stick-shift have rung true. Some ICE models have ditched manuals completely. This was made especially clear, when Toyota launched its first global Gazoo Racing (GR) model in 2019, with the 3.0-litre (and later 2.0-litre) GR Supra models being available solely with eight-speed automatic transmissions. Not everybody was happy about it.

Since then, Toyota reports that it has listened to sports car fans and customers, by introducing a six-speed ‘intelligent’ manual gearbox. The company claims that it is engineered to “delight drivers, who love the control and rewards offered by precisely timed manual shifts”. Presumably, this means that the engine software will mask sloppy pedal control, by matching crankshaft and input shaft speeds automatically.

Only the BMW-derived 6-cylinder version (seen also in the Z4 M40i) will benefit for now but Toyota claims that it has not just bolted an existing German longitudinal transmission to the engine. Yet, it appears that is exactly what the company has done, because modifying the BMW-derived gear sets, driveshafts, fiddling with software and removing certain elements do not a new gearbox make.

Even so, Toyota is expanding manual gearbox availability to all three of its European GR models: the GR Yaris, GR86 and, of course, the GR Supra. There have also been rumours that Toyota is looking to create a manual transmission for Battery Electric Vehicles, but it is unclear whether it will reach production. If it does, that really will be a technical oddity.


The importance of ADAS calibration becomes especially pertinent, when the hardware is employed for automated driving, rather than for information and emergencies. Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot does just that; utilising ADAS equipment (especially cameras, LiDAR and Radar) that allow drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel and eyes off the road in certain conditions. This is a considerable achievement, because it is the first production-ready Level Three Autonomous system, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Mercedes-Benz is so confident about the system’s safety credentials that it commits to take legal responsivity for any crashes that occur while the system is engaged, provided that the driver complies with reasonable duty of care obligations. This includes not ignoring system prompts to take back manual control.

Drive Pilot is not full autonomy, however. It works only in limited situations. Currently, Drive Pilot is available only in Germany and, even then, is mapped solely to work on certain autobahn sections. Interestingly, the carmaker is seeking regulatory approval in North America by the end of the year. Whether the system has to be adapted to meet UK requirements, or how our laws will be changed to accommodate Level Three autonomy remains to be seen but legislative changes are afoot.


Traditionally, 48-volts have been employed for mild-hybrid systems, where a belt- driven integrated starter-generator (ISG/ BISG) performs hot engine restarts, provides combustion engine torque assist and recharges the battery. As the system is not high-voltage, mild hybrids tend to be insufficiently powerful to drive the wheels in electric-only mode, until now.

The lesser-powered Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV employs not just a BISG but also a 48v 15kW motor is crammed within the pictured 7-speed Dual wet Clutch automated manual Transmission (DCT). To supply sufficient current to produce the relatively puny 20 horsepower, the architecture must handle around 300 amps. One has to wonder, therefore, why Tonale does not employ higher voltages. Cost and repair simplicity may be reasons, as well as the limitations of its relatively elderly platform, with origins stretching back to 2005, which is not designed to accommodate a bulky battery pack. Only a 0.8kW battery is fitted, which is small enough to slot between the front seats. The relatively small battery, coupled with being rated at only 48-volts, limits electric-only drive to moving off from stationary and low-speed manoeuvring. High voltage systems give a longer electric range and can operate at higher speeds.

Other Stellantis models inherited the same 1.5-litre Firefly engine and running gear before the Tonale. These include the Fiat 500X and Tipo Hybrids, plus the Jeep Renegade/Compass e-Hybrids. However, the engine is in a more powerful state of tune (160 horsepower) for the Alfa-Romeo. Like Toyota hybrid ICEs, it employs the Miller cycle, with a high 12.5:1 compression ratio. The GDI system operates up to 350 bars and, interestingly, the turbocharger’s variable vane geometry motor is powered by the 48-volts circuit.


The Emira is to be the last petrol-powered Lotus, before a new series of all-electric and Chinese-built models appear. The latter situation is unsurprising, since Geely Automotive bought a majority stake in the firm five years ago. While a V6 Emira is available, Lotus claims that the 2.0-litre inline-four turbocharged GDI is the most powerful road-legal four-cylinder engine available. Developing up to 208 horsepower per litre of displacement, Lotus did not have a hand in its development, for it is an AMG M139 unit. Featuring also on 45AMG versions of CLA, A-Class, and GLA Mercedes-Benz models, the engine could not be simply dropped into a relatively-lightweight Lotus bodyshell.

While changes made to the power plant are surprisingly few, essential modifications were vital to suit the mid-mounted location. The Lotus installation employs different engine mounts, air box, catalytic converter, exhaust, cooling system and driveshafts. The main major engineering revision involved altering the gearbox casing. To engineer what Lotus calls ‘Lotusness’ into the German running gear, the company has engineered a new engine management system. Although no other physical changes were made to the engine; even the turbocharger is the same as the Mercedes-Benz intended – which is probably a good thing.

4-Focus – New vehicle innovations from Hyundai, Rolls-Royce, Peugeot and Mercedes



Introduced by Hyundai five years ago, semi-autonomous steering, which could be most annoying to drivers unfamiliar with its ‘steering-nudge’ cues, worked in conjunction with exterior sensors, which ‘read’ road marker lines and issued both audible and visual warnings, as well as the ‘nudge’, to avoid straying out of a lane, unless the appropriate direction indicator was selected. For the latest revised Kona model, both electronic steering and brake technology have been advanced to a level even closer to full autonomy. While the laws related to the latter have yet to be ratified,

Hyundai is introducing the AI-influenced tech through several aspects of ADAS. Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA) engages both the brakes and counter-steering, should another vehicle appear within the ‘blind spot’ but the unsighted driver attempts a lane change. Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) can also incorporate an optional camera, which increases the range of obstacle detection and is no longer good weather dependent. Should the system detect a potential collision, it applies the brakes firmly, as the car is steered away from it, which is a first for Hyundai. As aspects of a growing suite of ADAS features that are targeted at meeting full autonomy in a few years’ time, one of the more intriguing developments is Safe Exit Warning (SEW), which will inhibit a passenger exiting the Kona, when it is not safe to do so, by disabling the door release, which will be a relief to members of the two-wheeled fraternity that often insist on squeezing past vehicles on their blind sides. How dependable the sensors will remain is the $64,000 question.


BMW should be applauded for its commitment to the sometime ‘Englishness’ of its Rolls-Royce motorcars. While some of the renowned ‘magic carpet ride’ can be attributed historically to Citroën (RR having used developments of the French company’s oleo-pneumatic suspension spheres for many years), its latest development for the all-new Ghost is more scientifically based. Known as Planar Suspension System, it is named after a flat and level geometric plane and is the result of an exhaustive, ten years’ development period, to create a sense of ‘flight on land’ never before achieved in a car.

In essence, an additional upper wishbone damper unit is located above the front suspension assembly, its activities controlled by forward reading cameras that monitor the road surface and prepare the system for any changes in it. The controlling planar software is also assisted by the car’s sat-nav system (a BMW development, already available on the new 7-Series, being readied for broader range use in the future era of autonomous motoring). The continuously variable, electronically controlled dampers, already fitted to the high-volume air suspension struts, provide the mechanical functions as usual, the new upper damper serves to refine ride and stability qualities that Rolls-Royce now believes to be the world’s best, which remains true to the ethos of Sir Henry Royce, to take the best and make it better.


As pointless as its ‘i-cockpit’ is, with its teensy steering-wheel-in-the-driver’s-lap and reverse sweep speedo and rev-counter needles, it is mildly gratifying to note that the latest version of the 3008 SUV has inherited night driving safety technology introduced by tech-master Mercedes-Benz more than a decade ago. ‘Night Vision’ makes use of a front-mounted infra-red camera that can detect pedestrians, animals and objects located more than 200m beyond the reach of the headlamps on full beam. It displays them on the 12.3-inch programmable LED screen ahead of the driver…the same screen that can also display four different styles of presentation, including the ‘unconventional’ digital dials. As a means to avoid ‘roadkill’ and demonstrate a fuller extent of digital dashboard technology, it is to be applauded and welcomed. However, of slightly greater interest is more flexible use of LED frontal lighting technology, by the introduction of ‘fog mode’.

While LED headlamps are purported to be more efficient and longer lasting than conventional filament bulbs, they also carry a high price replacement premium. Thus, reducing the number of LED elements, by removing the lower damage-prone separate foglamps and introducing a lower intensity but more focused fog-lamp function, within the ‘normal’ headlamp units that works as soon as the high-intensity rear foglamp switch is activated, shows that Peugeot is considering finally proper consolidation of its lighting technology. The new ‘frameless’ front grille does mean a loss of the familiar Peugeot ‘face’ but that is a small price to pay for the safety gains.


As the world’s oldest carmaker, Daimler- Benz has seldom disappointed with its market-leading developments for over 130 years. The latest S-Class has exceeded on all expectations and, apart from an innovative automatic side-impact mitigation system that raises the car by 8cm to reduce potential damage, or the first application of Mahle’s latest and most effective cabin air filtration system, it is the use of camera technology both inside and outside the new S-Class that is not merely innovative but is sure to impact on future technical advancements across the entire motor industry. While digital touchscreens are not new, Merc employs no less than five (only three in UK-spec models) in its new luxury car, some with OLED technology. However, at the touch of a solitary button, a new 3D driver display employs spatial perception by using eye-tracking technology for the first time in a vehicle. This feeds into the enlarged head-up display to provide additional information that can be projected in 3D virtual reality form onto the virtual road surface ahead. Changing speed restrictions are an ideal example of flagging-up issues that will affect driver responses. Tiny cameras mounted in the overhead control panel interpret eye, head, hand and even body movements using AI learning algorithm technology and linking them to corresponding vehicle functions. As an example, should the driver turn slightly to take an over-shoulder view, if ‘closed’, the sunblind will open automatically to improve the view. Boasting the highest customer retention of any car sold, the new S-Class serves to underscore Merc’s constant search for both physical and sensual safety advances.

Case study: Mercedes-Benz C-Class, electrical fault

Opus IVS supports a workshop with an electrical fault malfunction on a Mercedes-Benz W205 chassis.

Opus IVS OEM brand-specific Master Technicians support its customers globally via its IVS 360 diagnostic support service, assisting workshops and technicians in the repair of complex vehicle technology.

Using the DrivePro’s diagnostic software and extensive product knowledge, the IVS 360 team provide workshops with the confidence to repair the most complex vehicles with speed and efficiency.

All of the IVS 360 team of OEM-Trained Master Technicians have extensive main dealership workshop experience, which Opus IVS keep up to date through ongoing VM and OEM training. This allows the IVS 360 team to have knowledge of the latest models and systems, enabling them to support customers effectively from initial diagnosis through to final repair.

Mickey Syrota, Mercedes-Benz Master Technician at Opus IVS recently supported a customer with an electrical fault malfunction on a Mercedes-Benz W205.

Using Opus IVS diagnostic software and his extensive brand knowledge, Mickey was able to identify the cause and provide his customer with step-by-step guidance needed to repair the fault.

Vehicle: Mercedes-Benz (C- Class) W205 chassis Issue: Auxiliary battery malfunction warning message

displayed on instrument panel cluster Fault codes presented: b21dc01

The Cause:

A code read was performed and sent via the customers’ DrivePro device, which revealed the following fault: ‘b21dc01 buffer battery of the EIS malfunction, there is a general electrical fault’.

The most likely cause of an EIS fault code is that one of the power supplies to the EIS switch (Electronic Ignition Switch) is not present. Mickey suggested that the most likely possible cause of a general electrical fault would be a result of the internal c8 capacitor shorting out.

Mickey also explained that the W205 does not have a separate auto start/stop battery, instead it has a current limiter device on the positive terminal of the battery under the bonnet, and that this works in conjunction with the C8 Park Pawl capacitor. Therefore, the cause would most likely be because of no voltage to the ignition switch on the 30b circuit. The voltage converter would therefore need to be inspected and tested along with the C8 Park Pawl capacitor.

The Fix:

The following steps were provided to the customer:

The C8 Park Pawl capacitor is in the N/S/F foot well area. Checks required:

1. At the C8 capacitor pin 2 = red 12v
2. Pin 1 = earth brown
3. Pin 3 = red/blue to EIS switch plug 1 pin 28, 30b voltage

To remove the C8 Park Pawl capacitor, the following guidance was provided:

1. Remove the N/S/F kick panel trim
2. Remove the glove box under dash panel
3. Remove the N/S/F section of carpet
4. Remove the plastic panel on the floor against the bulk head

The C8 Park Pawl capacitor is bolted to the left-hand side of the electrics panel, remove the 8mm nut and lift out the voltage converter. This feeds in to the EIS at plug 1, pin 28 =30b voltage.

The voltage supply to the C8 Park Pawl capacitor comes from the rear SAM control unit in the trunk/ boot from fuse 448.

Further remedies supplied:

Mickey further explained that if the C8 capacitor has shorted internally then it is possible that the feed into the EIS at plug, pin 28=30b voltage or additional battery voltage will still be missing after the repair, and still result in the same fault message on the dashboard.

If the voltage converter is replaced, and the fault remains, the following checks would be required:

1. K40/5 f448 (Electrical fuse 448)
rear SAM (signal acquisition module)
2. Check electrical lines, connections and connectors for damage, correct connection, loose contact and corrosion, and repair or replace if necessary
3. Check regulator and alternator
4. Additional battery
5. Replace C8 (Park Pawl capacitor).

For information on IVS 360 support, visit, email or call 01865 870 060.

Creating friction in the racing scene – Pagid at Silverstone

I’m stood next to the Hangar Straight, right where the world- renowned Silverstone circuit deviates its course and turns hard right on a corner called Stowe. Thundering towards me is the unmistakable deep burbling growl of a Mercedes-AMG GT3. 

Travelling at close to 160 mph, it’s about to scrub off approximately 80 mph of speed in around 50 metres. The brakes glow orange as the driver smashes the brake pedal, with temperatures reaching stratospheric levels. The forces involved are immense, and the car will continue to do this multiple times a lap for the next three hours alongside 47 other GT3 cars, all vying for the same piece of asphalt. 

The Blancpain GT Series is, and there’s no other way to say this, mental. With GT3 cars costing over €400,000, plus running costs. To see so many of them racing together at break-neck speed is a sight to behold. 

The series is split into two distinctly different types of racing. Utilising the same machinery, there’s the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe with two 60-minute races each event weekend and the GT Endurance Cup, with one three-hour race. The championship is held at such iconic venues as the Nürburgring, Zandvoort and the Hungaroring, plus there’s also a flagship 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps. 

This time though, it’s the turn of Silverstone, and we are guests of aftermarket braking brand Pagid, (manufactured by TMD Friction), the official braking partner to The Black Falcon team with its Mercedes-AMG GT3 PRO class car. The Pagid team were proudly hosting a trackside hospitality day for over 100 lucky workshop customers, having won a recent competition through exclusive distributor Euro Car Parts. The Pagid Racing division supplies brake parts to the team throughout the season, providing an excellent opportunity for us to get up close to the action and see what makes a professional race team tick. 

Luckily, in a rare occurrence for Northamptonshire in May, the weather is perfect. Sadly, in an equally scarce event, the qualifying result isn’t. In the first two races this season, BLACK FALCON has won one race in the 60-minute races series and came third in the first of the longer races at Monza. However, being caught out by a red flag when an Audi spins into the gravel during the first part of qualifying this weekend, means the Pagid-livered GT3 racer is languishing down in 37th on the grid. Still, it will make the race more than a bit interesting. 

As the car enters parc fermé – an allotted time where no work is allowed to be done on the cars in-between qualifying and the race – the drivers sit down for their briefing, the strategists are working through various permutations for the afternoon ahead and the team manager goes to talk to the race officials. A perfect time to sit down with Team Technical Director, Marvin Wagner. 

Pagid competition winners enjoy trackside hospitality.

Marvin tells me that his role is to essentially spot if anything is going in the wrong direction, and if so, assist. 

“I try to support the team as much as possible across all aspects. It can be with the car performance, a special request from one of the drivers or even in the kitchen! It doesn’t matter what, I deal with things as they happen.” 

After the unfortunate qualifying session, Marvin is philosophical about the team’s chances: “It’s early in the season and we did well [at the previous race] in Monza. You will not win every round, but we want to win the championship again as we did in 2018, so we need to finish in the top 10, where the points are awarded, in every race.” 

During any race event, braking performance is critical. As I will learn by standing trackside, the straight line speed and noise of the cars is impressive, but the relatively short braking distances are what boggles the mind when compared to road cars. 

“Road car brake pads have different tasks,”explains Marvin. “Race car brake pads are very pure, with the only goal of performance. Our operating brake temperature is between 300°C and 800°C. We are always wanting the brakes to be very hot. Whereas, on a road car, they have to work well in -20°C as well as hot conditions. 

“One important aspect of race car braking is the feedback and feeling inspires confidence in the drivers. If they are happy, then their confidence increases and the same is true of Pagid road car brakes. To that end, we use the same brakes for the whole race, but during a 24-hour event, we do at least one brake change. Across the season – including practice, testing and qualifying – we use on average 100 Pagid Racing front brake pads and 30 on the rear too.” 

On that note, Marvin persuades me to try one of Team Black Falcon’s yoghurt energy drinks and leaves to tend to something far more demanding than answering my questions. Meanwhile, my head is spinning at the costs for the brake pads each season. I’ve also got to leave, as the race is about to begin. 

If you’ve never spectated at a Blancpain GT race event and are interested in motorsport, I urge you to try and visit when possible. The sight of over 40 race cars from prestigious brands such as Mercedes-AMG, Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini tearing around a race circuit is joyous. The noise, earth- shattering. 

“When you see the racing in person, it really makes you appreciate the closeness of competition and the effort that goes into it. The technology is mega – I’m sure our customers will be safe in the knowledge that Pagid tests their brakes to the extreme on the track,” enthuses Jason Brown and John Cullum of Wheels Van Centres. 

As the race enters the midpoint, I can start to see the strategies being played out, and the Pagid-adorned Team Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG is rising through the ranks. I enjoy watching the start-finish straight with the invited guests, but also walk a full lap of the track, enabling me to get close to the action. 

Phil Woodcock, Key Accounts Manager of Pagid, is anxiously watching the timing screens: “They are close to the top 10 now, this will be a great result considering where they started from. It’s been really amazing to see so many happy Pagid customers, and working with Team Black Falcon to drive the performance of the car and our aftermarket products forward is very satisfying. We just need a strong finish now!” 

In the end, after a gruelling event against the best competition in the world, the Pagid car driven by Maro Engel, Luca Stolz and Yelmer Buurman rises to finish in seventh position. Passing 30 other cars, a suite of professional drivers – including hobbyists Top Gear presenter Chris Harris and ex-Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez (yes, very random) – is no mean feat and sets the team up for a championship charge. 

The mood of the team at the end of the race is of relief, rather than jubilation, but there’s one person with a massive grin on his face. Phil Woodcock is a very happy man. He’s shown how impressive Pagid brake parts can be, his customers are thankful and even the sun came out to celebrate. 

Vehicle Profile: Mercedes Benz E300 Bluetec Hybrid [2012 – 2015]

Vehicle Profile: Mercedes Benz E300 Bluetec Hybrid [2012 – 2015] – By Peter Melville, Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Repair Alliance.

Based on the established ‘212’ model E220/E250 CDI, the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid adds a 27bhp electric motor to the powertrain although, unusually, retains a 12V starter motor and alternator. W212 (Saloon) models can be identified by a WDD212098… VIN, and S212 (Estate, or ‘T-Model’) WDD212298. 

The system features a 12V starter motor and alternator, plus a two-way DC-DC converter. As well as charging the 12V battery, it can charge the hybrid battery from the 12V system if required. The high-voltage motor- generator is used for starting the engine when stationary, and the starter is used when in motion. The starter can also be used for starting if the high-voltage battery charge is low. 

This article details the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid – a similar system is used in the C300 BlueTEC Hybrid and S300 BlueTEC Hybrid, and the later C300h, S300h. The earlier S400 petrol hybrid uses a similar system without the 12V starter and alternator. The later plug-in models are different again. 

Despite the name, the E300 BlueTEC HYBRID is not a 3.0-litre engine, it’s a 2.1, and does not have an Adblue system. 


The E-Class uses the 651.924 engine, the 651 being an established engine used in other Mercedes cars and Vito/Sprinter vans. Measuring 2143cc, and developing 201bhp, the engine has fuel-saving features such as a volume-controlled oil pump and demand-controlled coolant pump. The engine has twin- turbochargers in series, cooled exhaust gas recirculation, balance shafts and has the timing gears and timing chain on the gearbox end. 

Some engines were originally supplied with Delphi Piezo injectors, which have no leak-off pipes. These may have been replaced with the later version, with leak-off pipes, due to reliability problems. Injectors have individual codes for fine- tuning and these must be entered with diagnostic equipment when replacing. Injector seals are prone to leak, to prevent this, the injector and bore must be completely clean and a new sealing washer and bolt used, and the bolt tightened to the correct torque. If there is any resistance to putting the injector in the bore, the bore is not sufficiently clean and may lead to future leaks.

It has two turbochargers in series, the first designed to provide boost at low engine speeds and the second for high engine speeds. The exhaust manifold features a boost pressure control flap (Mercedes calls it ‘LRK’) which is like a throttle flap. When closed, the exhaust gas is sent to the first turbo, when open, the gas bypasses the first turbo and goes straight to the second. On the intake side, the air goes through the second turbo first and then can either go into the intake or through the first turbo, depending on the position of the charge air bypass flap.

As with most modern diesel engines there is also a throttle flap on the engine intake. This creates a partial vacuum in the inlet manifold to help draw in recirculated exhaust gas. The flap is also closed when switching off the engine to avoid the vibration caused by a diesel engine’s compression. The exhaust gas is cooled by the engine coolant and features a cooler bypass flap for when hot EGR is required (such as during a DPF regeneration). 

The engine has four valves per cylinder – eight inlet ports. One of the ports for each cylinder is covered by a swirl flap. The flaps can be closed during part-load acceleration to improve air-fuel mixing (imagine putting your finger over the end of a hosepipe – the faster flow helps mixing). At full load, more air is required, so the flaps are opened by an electric motor. 

The exhaust system is fitted with an oxidation catalyst and a particulate filter. The particulate filter catches soot produced by the engine and burns it into smaller particles during regeneration. The filter needs to reach temperatures of around 600°C to burn off the soot. This is done by hot exhaust gas recirculation, operating the glow plugs, and later injection. The late injection results in a higher exhaust gas temperature. The motor generator is also used to increase the load on the engine, which further increases exhaust gas temperature. If driving conditions permit (e.g. motorway driving), a regeneration is possible without using these extra measures. The car will normally do a regeneration whilst driving about every 500-600 miles. DPF problems should be rectified as soon as possible as further driving may cause the filter to block and need a new filter. A differential pressure sensor and back-pressure sensor are both fitted. 

The engine’s water pump can be switched on and off by a vacuum-operated clutch. Depending on coolant and air temperature, the pump can be de-activated for up to eight minutes after engine start to save energy. The thermostat is also electronically controlled. A normal thermostat with an increased opening temperature is used, with an electric heating element. The engine ECU can use the heating element to open the thermostat earlier if desired. The engine cooling system and high voltage cooling system share the same coolant and expansion tank, but a valve closes at around 60°C to prevent the engine’s hot coolant from heating the high-voltage system. 

The gearbox is a 7-speed 724.208 and has a 12V electric oil pump to operate the transmission when the vehicle is driving with the engine off. The motor-generator, or ‘electric machine’, is installed in the transmission bellhousing and is connected to the engine via a wet clutch. For starting, the gearbox can be put into neutral, and the motor-generator used to turn the engine. For electric driving, the wet clutch is disengaged and the motor- generator drives the vehicle via the gearbox. If it is necessary to start the engine during driving, the arrangement does not allow for this, so the engine is turned via a 12V starter motor and, once started, the wet clutch can be engaged for the engine to drive the wheels. 

An 12V electric vacuum pump located on the engine next to the air conditioning compressor is used to provide vacuum to the brake booster when the engine is not running. 

The Power Electronics Module is located on the lower left of the engine and incorporates the inverter and the DC-DC converter, it is liquid cooled. The DC-DC converter is bidirectional, so can charge the high-voltage battery from the 12V system if required.

The 12V alternator is used as and when required. Under normal circumstances, 12V power is provided by the DC-DC converter. If further power is needed, or a fault develops, the engine control module switches on the alternator over a LIN network.

If the driving conditions and battery charge permits, the engine will be switched off. Before switching off, the system checks the electric transmission oil pump is working. Start-Stop is disabled if the bonnet is open or if the engine is not at operating temperature.

The engine is shut off whenever it is not needed at speeds up to 100mph so, even if the cruising speed is high but only a small amount of power is needed to maintain cruising speed, the engine will be switched off and the motor-generator will provide the power needed.


The 23kg Lithium-Ion battery is just 0.8kWh, but this is not a plug-in vehicle, so the battery’s only function is to store energy for use later on. The battery is on the nearside corner of the engine bay and is cooled by the air conditioning system. The battery ECU and system main relays are inside the unit. An interlock circuit travels from the high voltage battery to check the presence of its high-voltage connector, and that of the Power Electronics Module, Motor-generator and the air conditioning compressor. 


Service A: £650, Diagnostic check: £162, Front brake pads and discs: £431, Rear brake pads and discs: £437, Front wiper blades: £55

To receive the full overview, which also details the Air Conditioning, High Voltage cooling, Electrical & Braking system, please email:


NOTE: Procedures described are for guidance only. Refer to vehicle manufacturer’s technical information for up-to-date procedures. HEVRA cannot take responsibility for injury, malfunction or accident.



Diagnostic results in a flash

Autotechnician visits BMW & Mercedes specialists Burton Motor Workshop to see how pass-thru diagnostics has affected their business. 

Burton Motor Workshop, a large, independent MOT/repair and used car sales business in Burton-on-Trent, has evolved alongside vehicle technology over the years, with owner Jeremy Scott investing in the latest diagnostic equipment and training for his staff, to ensure they remain competitive with local dealers. When we visit, there are three diagnostic jobs in the workshop where Burton Motors are the second or third garage the vehicle has been to, they often get referrals from other local garages. 

This time last year, they invested in the Delphi DS-Flash Pass- Through package, which enables independents to undertake dealer-level diagnostics and services. It facilitates online access to vehicle manufacturer’s websites, enabling workshops to reprogram and update electronic control units. 

We spoke with technicians Michael Rowland and Carl Atkinson to see how they are getting on with the equipment. 

In a nutshell, what does the DS-Flash package enable you to do? 

Michael Rowland (MR): “The interface enables you to access the dealer – Volkswagen Audi Group, Vauxhall, Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover… It comes updated with everything that each particular manufacturer requires to run their Pass-Thru system. First, you have to set up an account with BMW; with VAG you have to get your user ID, get your GeKo license [this allows teaching of engine immobiliser components and keys] to be able to use their software. Once you are up and running, you can use it as a diagnostic tool.” 

Was it easy to set up?

MR: “There is no user manual, as such. It’s a case of playing with it. Every manufacturer is different; how it’s set up, what it allows you to do, what it doesn’t – and it’s down to you to find out what it’s capable of but Delphi’s Technical support team are there to help you get set up.”

What is the benefit of using the DS-Flash over a dealer tool?

MR: “For us, it’s the ability to carry out software updates and code.”

Carl Atkinson (CA): “If you buy the dealer tool on its own, you are restricted to a computer per manufacturer, whereas what Delphi has managed to do is partition the computer.”

MR: “We are a Bosch Car Service garage, I attend regular courses and we bought the KTS 590 to get ready to do it ourselves [perform pass-thru] but each manufacturer wants the computer set up in a different way to the others, so we’d need a laptop that could run Toyota on, one for BMW, VAG and so on. Plus, you need to sit down, figure out what it needs, make the investment on each laptop… With the Delphi machine, although we’ve still got the Delphi interface to hook up to the various VMs, we’ve managed to hook up ICOM to that pass-thru computer, a BMW dealer level interface. Software updates are now a lot faster.”

Have you experienced any problems whilst using it?

CA: “If you are struggling with a connection or there’s something not quite right about the configuration of the computer Delphi has a helpline so you can get the computer back online, so we don’t have to spend days messing about with it. When updating the BMW drivers, as it loaded a Java update onto our system,
it crashed. We would have had to sit down and work our way through that, whereas we could just leave it. We rang the Delphi helpline, they took us through a few items then they took control of the computer and dealt with BMW direct. We wouldn’t have had the time… they were just brilliant.” 

MR: “Two days after calling Delphi, they had BMW Germany involved in it, it was a massive issue. There’s no way Carl and I would have been able to sort that.” 

CA: “We might have moved a bit away from the Flash box for BMW, but that’s our main business. If we were a general workshop, not specialising in BMW, we wouldn’t have invested in ICOM, the BMW interface, it’s just that its quicker for us…. There are some big BMW software update files that can take days.” 

MR: “We use the Flash every day and we can’t afford to be without it for that time.” 

“We’ve got new broadband, it’s about 82 MBPS now and that’s made a massive difference. You really have to have the infrastructure in place.” 

How has the DS-Flash impacted on the business? 

MR: “We specialise in Mercedes, VMW and VAG. We were in limbo… we were sending work elsewhere, we knew pass-thru was the way forward. If you specialise in something, you have to operate at dealer level. Couple of phone calls later, we had a demonstration in the workshop and we knew straightaway that was the one.” 

Is it mainly used for software updates? 

MR: “We mainly use it for BMWs, we tend to get a lot of them. Every manufacturer is different in how they run their online platform tool, but BMW takes a read of all the control units and a full identification. It will generate a fault code list from that and generate test plans. I’ve learnt it can make you lazy. You’ve still got to use your diagnostic process. It will be specific, in the sense that sometimes the CAS (BMW antitheft alarm system) goes out of alignment. I had one where another garage had constantly been starting it, as it was a non-runner. That’s thrown the CAS out of line with the DDE [Digital Diesel Electronics system manages all engine functions in BMW diesel models]. So, it generated the CAS alignment fault code and it instantly took me to realign the CAS and that was all within half hour.” 

CA: “With BMW, once you have a fault code locked, it will give you a test plan and if you follow it, it will ask you to test something and lead you to where that fault lies. These cars are so clever, think how many times your computer will do a Windows or OS update, a car’s the same. A lot of faults can come down to a software issue rather than a physical fault.” 

Can you give us an example of how the DS-Flash was particularly helpful with diagnostics? 

CA “We had a hybrid Lexus in and two cells in the battery were faulty…” 

MR: “It attached a photo of the live data of the battery block that had gone under voltage. You can take it with you and see the live data, so we could pinpoint which cells were dropping out. We just went in, ripped the battery out, ordered a new cell. So that’s one job we’d never have been able to do without that tool. When you think that a battery replacement would have been four grand? Seven? He came to us from the main dealer. The dealers do us a big favour by not doing things quite right!” 

Paul Sinderberry, Delphi Technical Sales Manager, admits it can be a complicated tool to use because you’re accessing VM software and they all differ in their set up but for garages who are already heavily involved in diagnostics, it’s capabilities can prove very lucrative. “Many garages who will buy this product are workshops who are already doing a lot of diagnostics and they want to take their business to the next level – they may be doing diagnostic work for other workshops,” Paul explains. “One of the great things with the DS-Flash and using the OE software is that you get very in-depth diagnostics. When you have to replace a control unit, it normally means a trip to the dealer and dealerships tend to put independent garages to the back of the queue and you have to wait days to get it programmed.”

The DS Flash comes complete with a DS-FLASH VCI, cables, a battery support unit, licence keys and a laptop PC – pre-configured for VAG Group, BMW, General Motors, Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Customers get a 12-month support package with the equipment, support via the technical helpline and a full day of training, for anybody that’s maybe not used to vehicle manufacturer software. They can come along, set the accounts up, install the software on the day and get some basic user interface training – how to navigate the websites and the software. It is a complex product and to use it to its full potential you need to understand the ins and outs of it – the training incorporates an overview of what pass-thru is and its capabilities. 

Delphi’s VE2 & VE3 courses ensure technicians are up to speed with the principles of EOBD, ECU communication and CAN protocols. This level of knowledge is essential to ensuring that they get the most out of the DS Flash.