Kamis, 31 Januari 2008

Hot News: The Returning of Jaguar E-Type

A legend is returning! In one of the most dramatic comebacks in British motoring history, Auto Express has learned that Jaguar is set to resurrect the best-loved machine in its stable – the E-Type.In a bid to take on the Porsche 911 and Aston Martin V8 Vantage, the Coventry manufacturer is planning a sensational two-seater sports car. It will revive the spirit of the original Sixties coupé and introduce the Jaguar brand to a whole new range of buyers.Hot on the heels of the XF – which is driven in the UK for the first time on Page 8 – and the forthcoming new XJ saloon, which we told you all about in Issue 987, the 21st Century E-Type should arrive in show-rooms in 2011. The sale of the firm is likely to be completed within the next couple of weeks, and giving the green light to the sports car is one of the first major decisions faced by Jaguar’s expected new owner, Indian giant Tata. The big cat’s chairman Geoff Polites has confirmed that the company is looking at a number of options for future models, including the two-seater sports car.From the C-Type of the Fifties to the legendary E-Type, Jaguar has a history of making great sporting machines, and our illustration shows how the newcomer might look. Mixing the marque’s brand new grille and headlight arrangement with a muscular coupé body, it is simply stunning. Senior bosses believe that a two-seater would be a better bet than replacing the current X-Type saloon. The X-Type has always struggled to compete with rivals such as the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4, but a pure sports car is seen as fitting in perfectly with Jaguar’s new niche line-up led by the XK Coupé and XF.The big cat came very close to putting a sports car into production back in 2000. That model was based on the F-Type concept, a vehicle which won rave reviews when it was unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show. Design chief Ian Callum developed a machine based on the study, but Ford bosses in America opted instead to invest in both the X-Type and diesel power. The F-Type was targeted directly at the Porsche Boxster, yet the latest model is aiming even higher. Designers and engineers are now working on a sports car that would be seen as a direct rival to the German company’s 911. It would be based on a shortened version of the XJ’s all-aluminium chassis, making it lightweight with Porsche-matching performance and handling.A decision on the car’s name is some way off, but it will be aimed at real sports car enthusiasts, leaving the current XK Coupé and convertible to cater for owners wanting a more luxurious Grand Tourer.Power will come from the firm’s V8 engines, with a 4.2-litre unit for the entry-level model which will give scope for a 500bhp 5.0 supercharged flagship. All motors will be hooked up to Jaguar’s six-speed automatic gearbox, and come complete with steering wheel-mounted paddleshifters, while the suspension will feature special Audi-style magnetic dampers. However, the company’s priority for the next few years is the stunning new XJ saloon. Polites has told designers to “let your creative juices run free” and tells us that the result is simply the “best car I have ever seen”. Evolving the look of the XF, it will feature an even more rakish shape, and will be powered by a range of revised engines, including the company’s first hybrid.With a two-seater sports car giving an added dimension to the line-up and underlining the firm’s recent revival with the sexy XK Coupé and XF saloon, the future looks extremely bright for the big cat.

Spied: 2011 Rolls-Royce RR4

The most important new Rolls-Royce in a decade is coming closer to a road-going reality, and these are the pictures that prove it. According to Autocar’s information, you’re looking at one of the first full-bodied prototypes for the car known internally at Rolls' Goodwood HQ as ‘RR4’ - the firm's all-new smaller saloon model due to go on sale in 2010.
A Phantom that will fit on your driveway
Our spies have exposed the new smallest Rolls-Royce in its entirety for the first time. These shots, snapped recently in Munich, show how faithfully the new car will adopt the Phantom’s design language (reference the car’s thick C-pillar and suicide rear doors). However, it’s also significantly lower and shorter than a Phantom, has a shorter bonnet, and a much less upright grille, than its bigger sibling.
Rolls-Royce’s plans to build RR4 have been public knowledge since the Paris motor show in 2006, when CEO Ian Robertson announced them on the eve of first press day. Construction is already underway at the firm’s Goodwood factory to expand production facilities and increase capacity in preparation for the new car.
RR4 should be in showrooms by the end of the decade and, priced from around £175,000, will make entry to one of the most prestigious owners’ clubs in the motoring world almost £50,000 cheaper.
BMW mechanicals; special engines
Unlike the Phantom, which has its own extruded aluminium monocoque skeleton, RR4 will have a steel body structure shared, in many respects, with the new BMW 7-series. As Autocar understands it, the new BMW’s platform is a hybrid of aluminium and steel, and is flexible enough to allow Rolls-Royce to give RR4 a wheelbase, roof height, bonnet height and track widths all of its own.
Various chassis, cabin, drivetrain and electrics components will also be shared with the new Seven, but according to one RR source, they’ll be confined wherever possible to those components the owner can’t see.
One area where Rolls won’t look to save costs is under RR4’s bonnet. The car will have at least one, and possibly two multicylinder powerplants that, like the Phantom’s 6.75-litre V12, will be exclusive to Rolls-Royce. Developments of the 407bhp 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 from the BMW X6, or the 441bhp 6.0-litre V12 from the current 760i, are possibilities. Neither would be allowed to eclipse the Phantom’s 453bhp and generous 531lb ft of torque though, in order to maintain the brand’s model hierarchy.
One company source told us that Rolls-Royce high-ups are even warming towards the idea of a diesel-engined Rolls-Royce. “It would have all the important characteristics of the Rolls-Royce driving experience,” he said – “i.e. plenty of low-range torque and ‘waftability’.”
“What’s more, the old-money buyers who might have been put off by the idea of a diesel engine are becoming a much less important part of our customer base.”

New Car: 2009 Suzuki Equator

There’s a bejeweled look to the Equator compact pickup truck that marks Suzuki’s entry into the segment in North America.
This is the first illustration the Japanese automaker has released of the new Equator which makes its world debut at the Chicago auto show. Nissan promises to show “several lightly modified versions of its new truck,” which could suggest more cab configurations than the one in this teaser picture.

The Suzuki “S” is prominently displayed on a grille that adopts some cues from other Suzuki vehicles, but no whole-scale familiarity. The bumper shares styling with the Suzuki X-Head concept. The truck also relies on chrome accents, door handles, and a running board to add a bit more bling.
The Equator is essentially a Nissan Frontier and Nissan will build the Suzuki-badged version at its plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, starting in 2008. We must wait for the Chicago show to learn to what extent the two share components, including powertrains, as well as common sheetmetal.
The two automakers reached an agreement in 2006 for Nissan to build a mid-size pickup for Suzuki to sell in North America as well as a version of the Nissan Serena mini-minivan for sale in Japan. In return, Suzuki was to produce a mini-vehicle for Nissan in Japan and a new A-segment car for Europe.
The move mirrors that of Mitsubishi, which contracted Chrysler to build the Raider pickup as a rebadged Dodge Dakota. The Raider has not been a sales success and will be dropped from the Mitsubishi lineup when the assembly contract between the two automakers expires.
Suzuki has modest sales goals in the 20,000 range for the Equator, saying it largely is a vehicle for loyal customers to haul their Suzuki-brand powersports toys without having to turn to the competition.

First Sketch: Pininfarina Sintesi

Pininfarina has released a sketch of a new concept car on a dedicated microsite, counting down the weeks before the car's debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
Dubbed the Sintesi, the concept is claimed to be the 'natural heir' to the last two prototypes unveiled by the Italian coachbuilder: The Birdcage 75th and the Nido. Created under the direction of Design Director Lowie Vermeersch, the Sintesi was inspired by the 'sportiness and innovative styling' of the Birdcage 75th unveiled at Geneva in 2005, but also incorporates functional aspects learned from the 2004 Nido prototype.
According to Vermeersch, the prototype "embraces innovative technologies that allow us to explore new typologies of mobility, active safety and packaging solutions."

Selasa, 29 Januari 2008

New Car: 2009 Hummer H3T

Hummer enters the pickup market with the H3T after flirting with the notion with its H2 SUT (Sport-Utility Truck). The H3T, unveiled at the Chicago auto show in February, will be available this fall.
“We’re in the pickup business now,” says Carl Zipfel, director of Hummer exterior design, in describing the five-passenger H3T crew cab that is sized between a mid-size and a full-size pickup, as opposed to the H2 SUT, which is an SUV with a quasi-bed that’s shorter than four-feet long.

We first saw an H3T concept from Hummer at the 2004 L.A. auto show. Now, four years later, we are seeing the production-ready model. Hummer took the H3 SUV (they are the same from the B-pillar forward) and essentially added rear doors and a five-foot box, Zipfel says. The four-door H3T’s 134-inch wheelbase is 22 inches longer than H3 SUV and the total length of the pickup is 210 inches.
The H3T shares powertrains with the SUV upon which it is based, which means the H3T Alpha has a 5.3-liter V-8 that delivers 300 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque, mates to a four-speed automatic transmission, and can tow up to 5900 pounds. The standard engine is the 242-hp, 3.7-liter inline-five with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. The new pickup has standard full-time four-wheel drive and skid pla

Senin, 28 Januari 2008

First Sktech: 2009 Mitusbishi Lancer Sportback

These are the first images of the hot hatch version of the Mitsubishi Lancer, the car it hopes will steal sales from the Impreza WRX when it goes on sale in Britain later this year.
To be officially unveiled at the Geneva show in March, the Lancer Prototype-S blends a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine producing 237bhp (10bhp up on the Impreza), the same SST twin-clutch gearbox as the Evo X and a full-time four-wheel drive system. The car's front-end styling is pure Evo X, but the rear features a rakish tailgate that makes it more hatchback than pure estate car.
Mitsubishi expects the Lancer hatchback to account for 80 per cent of the model's sales in the UK when it reaches showrooms in the autumn. But if you're thinking of rushing down to your local Mitsubishi dealer to put down money on a hatchback Evo, don't; the hottest Lancer will continue to be available in saloon only.

New Car: 2009 Mercedes CLC

Following on from Mercedes’ provocative teaser pictures of its new Sports Coupe replacing CLC, the firm has now revealed these official pictures of the new car.While it is not an all-new model, the three-door model takes its new front end from the latest C-Class, and has a total of 1,100 redeveloped parts.The biggest changes have been made to the Merc’s looks. Now clearly more conservative at the rear, the CLC falls in line with other models in the German firm’s current line-up.The interior has also been given a makeover, and while many parts will look familiar to Sports Coupe drivers, new dials have been fitted.Under the bonnet, the three-door benefits from new four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines offering improved efficiency, while Dynamic Steering alters the sensitivity of the wheel depending on the driving conditions.

Spied: 2011 Peugeot 3008

Here’s a top-secret Peugeot you’re not supposed to see until late next year! This is the all-new 3008 off-roader, and it promises to be the most car-like SUV yet.
The tough-looking family model will go head-to-head with rivals such as Nissan’s Qashqai and the Volks­wagen Tiguan. And as our exclusive picture shows, it takes styling cues – especially those slanted headlights – from the 308 RC Z coupé, driven by Auto Express in Issue 993.
Our spy photographers have also captured a heavily disguised 3008 test mule undergoing cold weather trials (right). This confirms the newcomer’s chunky, estate-style profile and low ride height, which should mean a spa­cious interior and car-like handling.
Inside, as well as providing plenty of room, the model will be available with a range of luxury options. These are likely to include a pano­ramic glass roof and integrated sat-nav.
As its name suggests, the 3008 – which is referred to internally at Peu­geot as the T8 – will join the range below the Mitsubishi-derived 4007.
This off-roader sells along­side a Citroen sister model, in the shape of the C-Crosser, and engineers at the double chevron are also developing their own version of the new mach­ine, currently codenamed the B8.
Our sources have revealed that the 3008 will be available in both five and seven-seat configurations, with the latter featuring a third row of fold-flat chairs. Customers will also be able to choose between two and four-wheel drive on both models.
Entry-level variants will be front-driven, and promise lower CO2 emissions and strong fuel economy as a result. The four-wheel-drive transmission is to be reserved for top-of-the-range models, which will provide the go-anywhere traction of a proper 4x4 – although the car’s limited ride height prevents extreme off-roading.
The 3008 is set to borrow its engines from the 308 line-up, with a wide range of petrol powerplants on offer. These will include the turbocharged 1.6-litre seen in the 207 supermini, and shared with the new MINI line-up. Diesel models look set to account for the majority of sales, though, and the newcomer is likely to be offered with a choice of 1.6 and 2.0-litre HDi oil-burners.
Peugeot top brass are scheduled to take the wraps off the new model towards the end of next year. It’s expected to arrive in UK showrooms in 2010, with its Citroen counterpart following close behind.

Spied: 2009 Opel/Vauxhall Insignia

We’ve got the inside story on Vauxhall’s Vectra replacement. Not only have we spied virtually undisguised test mules for the all-new Insignia family model being put through their paces, but our photographers have even managed to get a sneaky look at the interior.
This is the best picture yet of the Ford Mondeo rival’s cabin and, as you can see, it looks set to up the stakes when it comes to quality. The smartly styled dashboard includes a four-strong instrument cluster featuring sporty Alfa Romeo-style cowlings angled towards the driver.
Smart alloy trim on the multi-function steering wheel adds a welcome touch of class, while there’s a user-friendly digital read-out for the stereo mounted high on the swooping centre console.
The new Insignia will make its hotly anticipated debut at the British Motor Show in London’s Docklands this July and hit UK showrooms in September. To help it come out on top in the competitive family car sector, the Insignia is even bigger than the Vectra, with more space for both passengers and luggage. The new model is inspired by the firm’s GTC Concept and bosses claim it will also deliver a much sharper drive than its predecessor, as well as improved comfort and refinement.
Engines will be carried over from the existing Vectra line-up but from the look of our pictures, it certainly promises to improve on the look of the firm’s current family model. Meanwhile, the flagship VXR version will feature a turbocharged 2.8-litre V6 engine producing 296bhp, and

New Car: 2009 Mazda 2 3-Door

Mazda has announced that it will debut a three-door version of its Mazda 2 small car at the Geneva auto show in March, the same venue where it unveiled the new, redesigned five-door last year.
The three-door Mazda 2 effectively doubles the 2 lineup, except in the U.S., where it doesn’t do anything—it isn’t available here. The platform it rides on, however, will underpin the Verve-concept-based subcompact sedan Ford plans to offer for U.S. consumption beginning in 2010.
Powertrains are unchanged from the five-door and consist of two gasoline engines—a 1.3-liter four available with 74 or 85 horsepower and a 102-hp, 1.5-liter four, the latter of which we’ve driven—and a 67-hp, 1.4-liter turbo-diesel.

Sabtu, 26 Januari 2008

  1. Mazda Furai (33%)
  2. Cadillac CTS Coupe (29%)
  3. Toyota A-BAT (16%)
  4. Chrysler ecoVoyager (8%)
  5. Land Rover LRX (8%)
  6. Saab 9-4x (8%)

Unofficial Picture: 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT-8

Dodge Challnger fans, this is your lucky day. It appears a couple photos of the production 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 have been leaked slightly ahead of schedule, so you get a glimpse of Chrysler's latest muscle machine before it makes its debut at the Chicago auto show next month. You can click on either photo to get a bigger image.
What we know about the production Challenger so far is that it will in fact produce 425 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque from its 6.1-liter Hemi engine. Pricing was already released for the initial Challenger SRT8-only production run, set at $37,995 -- though the first example was already sold at Barrett-Jackson's Scottsdale auction to BJ CEO Craig Jackson himself for $400,000.

Jumat, 25 Januari 2008

Spied: 2009 Lotus Eagle

The Eagle has landed! It’s a grainy spy shot, but this is the photo that gives Lotus fans their first glimpse of the firm’s next new model.Codenamed the Eagle, the newcomer is tipped to appear on the firm’s British Motor Show stand this summer. Based on Lotus's versatile platform structure, the high performance model will offer a similar package to the Europa grand tourer with the extra versatility of a four-seat cabin.Expect more official information to be revealed ahead of the car’s debut in July.

Hot News: 2009 Fiat 500 Cabriolet

Fiat's going to roll back the years – literally. The firm will pull the wraps off a new soft-top 500 at the Geneva Motor Show in March. And in keeping with the city car’s retro design, it will have a similar roof mechanism to the original 500’s.The newcomer will use a full-length fabric roof that slides back to store on top of the parcel shelf. It will retain a glass rear window, plus full-frame doors and the hatch’s roofline. The Swiss show will also see the debut of the 500 Abarth SS hot hatch. This has a 1.4-litre turbo engine which delivers 155bhp. Expect these new versions of the 500 to arrive in dealerships by the end of the year.

Spied: 2009 Volvo XC60

Despite the cold there has been no freeze on development of the Volvo XC60. Our spies caught the exciting new compact SUV being put through tough winter testing.
Despite the heavy disguise it is possible to make out the rakish of profile of the newcomer. Influenced by the XC60 concept revealed at last year's Detroit show, the off-roader features a prominent Volvo grille, bold headlamps and deeply sculpted flanks. The low, sweeping roofline blends into a steeply raked tailgate that features a deep rear window to aid rear visibility
Inside, the XC60 will boast a cabin that's as stylish as the exterior. The main feature of the dashboard will be the trademark 'floating' centre console, which debuted on the S40 saloon, while in front of the driver gets cool aluminium faced dials. It should be practical too, with seating for five adults and plenty of space for luggage.
Despite its rugged SUV looks and an electronically-controlled four-wheel drive system, the XC60 will be tuned for on-road performance. Company bosses are keen to stress that it will be a sporty vehicle aimed at the lifestyle market. However, both hill descent and traction control are available for owners that want to head onto the rough stuff.
Power is likely to come for a range of engines already found in the S40. Entry-level models get the 2.0-litre turbodiesel, while range-toppers will boast the powerful turbocharged 2.5-litre 5-cylinder petrol. It's unclear whether the bio-ethanol 3.2-litre straight-six used in the concept will be made available.
The public will get its first glimpse of the production XC60 at the Geneva Motor Show in March The first UK examples are expected to hit showrooms later in the year.

New Car: 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring

The first glimpse we had of the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring 5-Door came at last year's SEMA show, where a prototype was converted into a "Beach Cruiser" concept for that event. While we weren't wild about that concept, the production version of the Elantra Touring was unveiled today at the Montreal Auto Show, and it looks set to take on its primarily Japanese competition.
Equipped with a 141 horsepower, 16-valve 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and five-speed manual transmission (a four-speed automatic is optional), the Elantra Touring's acceleration will probably fall in the "peppy" category -- just shy of "brisk." Still, power should compare favorably with other front-drive competitors such as the Mazda3. Underpinning the hatchback is the same front strut/rear multi-link suspension as in the standard Elantra sedan, though stabilizer bars are now found at both ends, and the damper and spring rates have been retuned for slightly more aggressive driving dynamics.

Plenty of sporty touches have been added to the interior to distinguish the Elantra Touring from the more pedestrian standard sedan variant. Leather now wraps both steering wheel and shift knob, while blue backlit gauges fill the instrument panel with a cool glow. A six-speaker audio setup plays CDs and features both an auxiliary input and a USB port for playing MP3s from a mobile device. A storage tray even surrounds the inputs, offering a convenient place to store the device both while in use and when idle. The rear seatback is of the 60/40 folding type for ample storage space (Hyundai claims more useable room than the Mazda3 Sport), and leather seating is available.

Exterior styling seems to be par for the course, as far as the five-door segment is concerned. Chrome accents, tinted glass, fog lamps, and optional 17-inch wheels give the Elantra Touring a little edge, but it will take some bright paintwork (the red shown in these pictures will do nicely) before it gets a second look approaching in the rear-view mirror. Of course this is a mixed blessing, as just as your friends may not pay much attention to the Elantra Touring, the Highway Patrol is also unlikely to do so.
Pricing has not yet been determined for the 2009 Hyundai Elantra Touring, but we'll no doubt have an update in that regard before it hits U.S. showrooms later this year.

Selasa, 22 Januari 2008

Hot News: Renault - Nissan to Mass Produce EV

Israel is looking to become independent of oil by 2020, and with the help of California-based Project Better Place and Renault-Nissan, it just may get there. Drawing on the combined efforts of Renault, the government of Israel, and Project Better Place, the goal is to realize the dream of making electric cars a more common sight in Israel than cars relying on $6-a-gallon gas.
Renault's electric cars, which will reportedly be available to the Israeli public in 2011, run purely on electricity and supposedly deliver performance on par with a 1.6-liter gas engine. The cars will come with lithium-ion batteries for extended range. According to Project Better Place, electric cars are well-suited to Israel because 90 percent of Israeli car owners drive less than 43.5 miles (70 kilometers) a day and major urban centers are less than about 93 miles (150 kilometers) away.
Unlike the current ethanol situation here in the United States, infrastructure is a central part of this ambitious plan. While Renault will supply the cars, Project Better Place will arrange for the installation of 500,000 charging spots in Israel. Electric car owners will pay for the energy they use based on how many kilometers they drive.
With about $200 million already raised, Project Better Place is confident a financially-solid business model can be made, claiming that in 2020, fueling a gas-powered car for just one year will cost more than charging an electric car for its entire life. It also helps that the Israeli government will offer a tax incentive on any zero-emission vehicle until 2019.
For more information on Project Better Place, go to their Web site at: projectbetterplace.com.
We hope the idea put together by Renault and Project Better Place is realized eventually, but know that a lot can change in three years of development on an electric car project--just ask Tesla.

New Car: 2009 Buick LacRosse Eco-Hybrid

General Motors debuted a hybrid variant of its Buick LaCrosse in Shanghai today at the inauguration of its Drive to Green strategy -- a program originating from Shanghai GM (GM's Chinese branch) that focuses on the production of green vehicles and environmentally responsible methods of building them.
Dubbed the Buick LaCrosse Eco-Hybrid, the premium sedan is Chinese-made and is the first mainstream hybrid model in its market segment. The LaCrosse Eco-Hybrid currently achieves approximately 28 mpg versus the non-hybrid model's 24 mpg, according to GM. The LaCrosse (pictured is the non-hybrid model) is currently Shanghai GM's flagship vehicle. An as-yet-unnamed future two-mode hybrid will be launched later boasting some 50 percent greater fuel economy than a standard gasoline-powered engine.
GM also announced that three new engines will see production in 2008 for the Chinese market, including a 1.2-liter S-TEC unit reportedly capable of over 38 mpg and a HFV6 3.6-liter SIDI dual mode direct injection engine that is said to produce 15 percent more horsepower and eight percent more lb-ft of torque than the previous version, while reducing fuel consumption by three percent. By 2012, Shanghai GM will produce 11 new, more fuel efficient engines, and GM's E-Flex drive and Fuel Cell E-Flex system are both expected to debut in China sometime after 2010.

Shanghai GM also has goals for its three Chinese assembly plants in the coming years, saying that by 2012, coal consumption should be reduced by 25 percent compared to 2007 levels, while wastewater volume will decrease by 21 percent and the availability of reclaimed water will double. The automaker has also set its sights on recycling 97 percent of its waste product, an increase of 15 percent over the current level.

New Car: 2009 Mercedes SL

This is the new Mercedes SL, details of which have been leaked onto the internet ahead of the official launch date later this month.
It may look like an entirely new model, but in reality this is a facelifted version of the current SL with updated steering and new engine range.
The most significant addition is the SL280; a new 228bhp, V6 model that will become the entry-level option. Claimed figures have the SL280 returning as much as 30mpg, whilst the 0-60mph run is done in 7.8sec.
A new variable ratio, speed sensitive steering system has also been added to enhance the SL's 'sporty driving pleasure' by making it more responsive. The same system has been fitted to the new SLK, which was revealed last year.
The V6 unit in the SL350 has received a significant upgrade, with power increased to 311bhp on the current car's 268bhp.
Otherwise, upgrades are restricted to the optional 'Intelligent Light System', facelifted interior and new infotainment system.
The biggest change is cleary the front end, which reflects the latest Mercedes design cues and is also intended to link to the historic SL Roadster models; the powerdomes on the bonnet and air outlets in the front wings take inspiration from the iconic 1954 300 SL.
The new Mercedes SL will be unveiled officially unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March, before going on sale in April.

Hot News: Maybach Laundaulet Goes Into Production

It started life as a luxurious concept, but wealthy buyers loved it so much the Maybach Laundaulet has gone into production!
Priced at around £350,000, the convertible limousine has proved too hard to resist to several customers in the middle east.
Based on the Maybach 62, the Landaulet is powered by a mighty 612bhp bi-turbo V12 and can do 0-62mph in just over five seconds and hit 155mph. The Landaulet’s cabin is trimmed in white leather and comes with all the latest in-car multimedia. Those in the back can separate themselves from the front by flicking a switch, rendering the glass partition opaque thanks to its liquid crystal membrane.

Spied: 2009 Ford Ka

The wraps are ready to come off the new Ford Ka. These are the best pictures yet of the Blue Oval's baby as it undergoes final testing.
Set to hit showrooms later this year, the newcomer is the next step in Ford's model line-up overhaul, and will replace one of the company's most popular and long-lived models.
As you can see, the car retains the same wheel-at-each-corner design of its predecessor. At the front will be a distinctive family nose featuring a large trapezoidal grille and wraparound headlamps. Like the previous generation model it has a high, rounded roofline and upright tail.
Taking its inspiration from the Verve concept car, the interior will get a bold new look. The quality of both build and materials will be vastly improved, while hi-tech kit such as iPod and Bluetooth connection will be available.
To keep development costs low, the Ka shares its underpinnings with the Fiat 500. However, engineers at Ford have been working hard to make sure the Ka retains its trademark sharp handling and composed ride. Refinement is set to take a step up, making the Ford as accomplished on the motorway as it will be in town.
The Italian connection is also expected to extend to the engines. Under the short bonnet wil be a choice of 63bhp 1.2-litre and 100bhp 1.4-litre petrol units. Performance fans will pleased to hear that a hot ST version is on the cards, which could be powered by the same 1.4-litre turbo as the forthcoming Fiat 500 Abarth. And for the first time the Ka will get a diesel - a punchy 75bhp 1.3-litre Multijet powerplant.
The fully undisguised car should make its world debut at the Paris Show in September, with the first production examples hitting showrooms shortly afterwards. Prices are expected to be similar to the outgoing model, with entry-level versions costing around £7,500.

Senin, 21 Januari 2008

Hot News: Honda Accord Fell Away

A tragic incident has happened in Jakarta, Indonesia. A Honda Accord fell away from 8th floor, Jamsostek Building in Jakarta, Indonesia. A driver named Heriyadi died. Before fell away, that car which was being parked by its driver. And don't know why (maybe its driver doesn't understand how to drive a car with automatic transmission), that car had moved quickly, and crashed stoper an then crashed the wall. That car crashed Honda City which was moving slowly in 1st floor. But the driver and passenger not dead.

Spied: 2009 Aston Martin DBS Roadster

As the temperature drops, so does the roof of the latest Aston Martin. Our spies caught the forthcoming DBS Roadster as it took a break from cold weather testing duties.
Using the same 510bhp powerplant as the coupe, it should make the Roadster one of the fastest drop-tops available.
As you can see, the convertible version gets the same aggressive visual treatment as the fixed head model. At the front is a deeper front bumper with large holes for cooling, while the bonnet gets extra vents for the same purpose. Down the sides are bulging wheel arches and side skirts that cover a wider track. Finally, the rear features an underbody diffuser for better high-speed aerodynamics.
However, above the waistline it's all change. The newcomer borrows its hood mechanism from the DB9 Roadster, which means it gets a canvas covering and electric operation.
Inside, the cabin is luxuriously trimmed with suede and leather, and features neat graphite backed dials. Strictly a two-seater, the standard sports chairs can be upgraded with optional Kevlar bucket seats. And with the roof stowed occupants will be able to enjoy the V12 motor's growling soundtrack.
Mechanically identical to the 510bhp 6.0-litre tin-top DBS, the Roadster is expected to accelerate from standstill to 60mph in around 4.5 seconds. Top speed should be in excess of 190mph.
In an effort to make the cabrio handle as well as the coupe, engineers have significantly stiffened the chassis. Combined with standard two-stage adaptive dampers it should give the Roadster sharp responses in the corners.
No production plans have yet been revealed, but expect the first cars to hit showrooms this summer with a price tag of about £170,000.

Jumat, 18 Januari 2008

Hot News: Say Hello to BMW's Double Clutch Gearbox

Wave goodbye to BMW's SMG sequential manual gearbox and say hello to its new DCG double clutch gearbox. Known formally as the M Double-Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic, the seven-speed gearbox will make its debut in the 2009 M3 when the first cars begin arriving in mid-spring in coupe, convertible, and sedan form. BMW has not said yet how much of a premium the system would carry over the standard six-speed manual.

Key to the DCG's operation are its two oil-cooled wet clutches, one for the even gears and one for the odd gears and reverse. During operation, the unused clutch remains open while the computer readies the next gear based on engine and road speed, allowing for a near instantaneous up- or downshifts, according to the automaker.
The computer is also programmed to adjust torque output and rev match between the engine and transmission in order to minimize power loss and increase shift smoothness. BMW says DCG is the first transmission of its kind designed to handle engine speeds of up to 9,000 RPM -- handy, given the M3's 414 horsepower (in U.S.-spec) V-8 redlines at 8,400.
In addition to the lightning quick shifts, the DCG will offer plenty of features (or complexity, depending on the outlook). A choice of eleven shift modes, five automatic and six manual, will be included in the logic, including a launch control mode. Hopefully, the settings will be easier to find in the depths of iDrive than the SMG modes for the M5 and M6 have been.
Shifts can be initiated using either a standard lever or steering-wheel mounted paddles. In manual mode, shifting is aided by eight LED shift lights in the dash, six yellow and two red -- presumably, one for each 1,000 RPMs. These lights turn on one by one as engine speed increases and begin to flash when the engine approaches redline.
Owners brave enough to wade through the menus will be able to customize operation of the gearbox via the MDrive button, though it's not clear what exactly can be changed. That said, if the DCG works as good as Volkswagen's much-lauded DSG, the six-speed manual may eventually become little more than the choice of purists.

New Car: 2009 Mercedes CLS

If restyled side mirrors excite you, then get ready for the newly refreshed Mercedes CLS, which goes on sale in Europe in March. The new mirrors -- 32 percent larger than before -- are perhaps the most eye-catching exterior change in an update that is fairly subtle. The enlarged mirrors incorporate the striking LED arrow design we first saw on the refreshed SLK and SLK 55AMG. CLS fans will also notice the grille now has just two horizontal strakes instead of the four on last year's model.
Not surprisingly, the refresh also involves restyled wheels as well as standard 19-inchers for the CLS63 AMG. In the rear, the new trapezoidal exhaust pipes fit better into the car's rear view much better than the ovals they replace. The new pipes are joined by LED taillamps and a rear bumper that stretches further downward than the previous model.
The previous four spoke steering wheel is replaced by a new three-spoke wheel, that, except for a touch of silver trim at its base, looks no more or less attractive than before. Along with a new instrument cluster, the CLS gets chestnut wood trim and the latest generation of its NTG telematics controls.
All CLS models get the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel shift paddles that can shorten the 0-62 mph run by 0.2 seconds and, for the CLS63 AMG, blips the throttle during downshifts. We hope Mercedes considers sending us the CLS350 CGI, which is powered by a V-6 engine benefitting from piezoelectric direct injection and spray-guided combustion to produce a healthy 292 horsepower good for the equivalent of about 25 mpg on the European tests.
The CLS63 AMG's new wheels are shod with 255/35 R19 rubber in the front and 285/30 R 19 in back. Behind the new AMG steering wheel's contoured grip areas are two aluminum AMG shift paddles. For those CLS63 AMG drivers wishing to take their cars over the $100,000 mark, Mercedes would be happy to oblige with AMG body add-ons, a flat-bottom steering wheel and other fun extras from the AMG Performance Studio.
Consumers looking for a premium four door with an emphasis on sexiness over practicality will still be knocking on Mercedes' door, but by the time the refreshed CLS goes on sale here later this year, it may need to defend itself from the Jaguar XF, which is poised to hit U.S. shores in March. In addition, planned four-door coupe offerings from German rivals VW/Audi (Passat CC, A7) and BMW (vehicle based on the Concept CS), among others, will put additional pressure on Mercedes to keep the CLS fresh.

  1. Ford Escape Hybrid (44%)
  2. Lexus LS600 Hybrid (33%)
  3. Toyota Prius (33%)
  4. Honda Civic Hybrid (22%)

Spied: 2010 Aston Martin Rapide

We’ve been waiting for what seems like an age to see the first road-going prototypes of Aston Martin’s next big thing, the Rapide four-door GT. Now, spy photographs of the car have surfaced on an American blogging ‘site, showing that road-based development work on the car is finally in full swing.
These photos show a British-registered Rapide stopped for refuelling at a motorway service station somewhere in continental Europe. It’s clearly a very early prototype; the car’s rear doors are held in place by clips. However, the images do show that the car’s basic exterior design and proportions haven’t changed much since the Rapide concept was shown two years ago.
Many within the motor industry were expecting the Rapide to enter production this year. By the look of these shots, and according to the latest inside information from Gaydon, the car will be more likely to arrive sometime in 2009.
Aston is expected to announce that the car will be developed and assembled outside of the UK, by an engineering specialist like Karmann, Magna Steyr or Pininfarina. As Aston CEO Ulrich Bez recently told Autocar, there isn't enough spare capacity at the firm's Gaydon assembly plant to build the Rapide there, and the project wouldn't be profitable enough to merit an investment in the facility to enlarge it.

Spied: 2009 Fiat 500 Abarth SS

It’s set to become one of the world's hottest hatchbacks, but here the new Abarth 500 SS is braving the winter chill!Our spies have been out in the cold in Scandinavia to get these great spy shots of Fiat’s eagerly anticipated new rival to MINI’s Cooper S.Set to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the 500 SS – Super Sport - will go on sale in the UK in the summer. Powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the feisty three-door will feed around 155bhp to the front wheels.The Abarth SS will get an aggressive bodykit complete with a low front splitter, deep air intakes and twin bonnet vents. Once the disguise is peeled back this hot hatch promises to turn heads wherever it goes.A standard Abarth 500 will also be offered, delivering 155bhp. The lower powered model is likely to be priced at £13,500, while the range-topper will cost around £15,000.

Kamis, 17 Januari 2008

New Car: 2009 Nissan Note

Japanese firm Nissan has changed its tune – by giving the Note supermini- MPV a new look. There’s an updated front end design, with fresh headlights, bonnet and bumper.
The redesigned grille comes in a choice of body-coloured, gunmetal or smoky-chrome finishes. Inside, a new instrument panel is the most notable difference, as it comprises larger dials and an LCD odometer.
The newcomer also gets Nissan’s Plus navi entertainment package. This boasts a seven-inch widescreen LCD display with a 30GB hard drive – which stores mapping for the sat-nav – plus a TV tuner and iPod compatibility.Alterations have been made to the 1.5-litre petrol engine and CVT box to enhance economy, too. The revi­sions are already on the Japanese car, and a spokeswoman for Nissan UK told us the styling could be adopted when the European-spec Note is face­lifted within the next two years.

Detroit Show Highlights: 2009 Hyundai Genesis

The Genesis is based on the new rear-wheel-drive platform previewed at the New York Auto Show last year, and has high hopes as the first entrant into the luxury car market for Hyundai in the US car. In its domestic market, Hyundai have had a large rear wheel drive V8 powered Equus for years, but this is the first time that they have developed a premium car of this type for more demanding export markets as well.The Genesis is the same size and will compete with the Infiniti M, Pontiac G8 and Lexus GS. It is an undeniably handsome and well-resolved design, but is also very conservative and slightly derivative with some of the flavor of a Lexus LS mixed with an Infiniti M, and a post E60 3-series rear trunk.
Interior styling is dominated by a ‘retro-style' organic, flowing center IP combining well with the exterior graphical detail aspects.It has a higher level of perceived quality than any Hyundai before and is very well-equipped, but overall it is very generic.The large sedan market in the US is one of the most conservative in the world, so perhaps this conservative new entry from Hyundai makes sense. Together with the forthcoming and more distinctive Genesis coupe, Hyundai will be entering the premium sector with a very competitive pair of designs.

Sabtu, 12 Januari 2008

New Car: 2009 Dodge Ram

Even though large-pickup-truck sales have been falling of late, due mainly to relatively high gas prices, they are still hugely important cash cows to the Detroit automakers. The 2009 model year is going to be vital to Ford and Dodge, as both companies are introducing new versions of their pickups, the F-150 and the Ram, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The new Ram is, as expected, a monster, with the kind of grille that can take on full-grown steers. And the Dodge folks are very proud that its hood is adorned with the largest ram’s head to date. The 2009 Ram is even more aggressive than the current model, with a huge forward-leaning grille akin to that on the Dodge Charger and a more exaggerated hood dome. The beltline has been raised a half-inch, but the results of market research warned the truck’s designers away from increasing the box height. A spoiler has been built into the tailgate. The Sport and Laramie models get 20-inch wheels, which are good for the trucks’ manly stance; the Sport model features a body-color grille and mirrors.

The aerodynamics have been improved as well, with Dodge claiming a 0.42 coefficient of drag for crew-cab models riding on 20-inch wheels (compared with 0.46 for a 2008 Quad Cab).
As before, there are three cabs: standard, extended cab (Quad Cab), and a new-for-2009 true-four-door crew cab that replaces the gargantuan Mega Cab. Bed lengths vary from six feet three inches and eight feet long on the standard and Quad Cab, and a new five-foot, seven-inch bed on the crew cab to “maintain garageability.” The Ram will be offered in ST, SLT, Sport, TRX (off-road version), and Laramie (upscale) trim levels.
Dodge is proud of its so-called Ram Boxes, which are dry, lockable stowage spaces on each side of the bed. These pockets are available on crew cabs only and run the length of the bed over the wheel wells. Combined, they have nine cubic feet of capacity, enough to fit 10 cases of pop, Chrysler says. This means a narrower bed, but it will still take a four-by-eight-foot sheet of plywood. Although these storage additions are useful, bulky items such as a toolbox still won’t fit as easily as they do in the Honda Ridgeline’s in-bed trunk.

Hot News: Chrysler Gets Badged of Nissan Versa

Starting next year, Chrysler will have its own version of the Nissan Versa subcompact B-segment car running around select regions of South America, thanks to a new partnership between the two automakers announced on January 11.
Nissan will use excess capacity at its Mexican assembly plant to make additional cars for Chrysler. They will be sold as 2010 models in a number of body styles. And while we expect them to carry Dodge branding, Chrysler LLC president Tom LaSorda won’t confirm which badge they will carry, how much differentiation there will be from the Versa, or what kind of volume is targeted (although some reports peg it at 20,000 a year). And if Chrysler has chosen a name, LaSorda isn’t spilling the beans yet.
Chrysler gains immediate access to new segments in which it does not compete, as its deal with Chinese automaker Chery will not yield B-cars for North America for three or four years, despite efforts to accelerate the timeline with Chrysler resources allocated to the project.

Spied: 2009 Dodge Challenger

With the Detroit auto show looming and all the excitement over the dozens of production and concept debuts taking place, our spies remind us of one notable absentee.
The much-anticipated Dodge Challenger will not appear in Detroit, instead waiting until February’s Chicago auto show to bow to the crowds in 425-hp 6.1-liter SRT8 guise.

For the 2008 model year, the SRT8 will be the only Challenger available, with the lower-powered and less-exciting models following after the way has been paved and interest piqued.
Dodge has already released a few rather tantalizing teaser photos of the SRT8, but nobody has snared any photos yet of a complete car sans camouflage. Until that happens, these will have to suffice.
As previous spy shots have shown, there will be little derivation from the original Challenger concept’s styling. The slab sides and clean shape remain, as do the quad headlamps and narrow back glass.
Also visible beneath the heavy winter blanket worn by this mule is the sculpted hood which will, on SRT8 models, offer the carbon-fiber racing stripes of the concept.
The car goes on sale this spring at $40,095. Pricing for base and R/T V-8 models will be disclosed in March at the New York auto show.

New Car: 2009 MMI Avocet

MM Industries is currently displaying its new British-built sports car at the 2008 AutoSport International Show. Called the Avocet, the new car makes extensive use of weight saving technology and existing componentry to enhance driving dynamics while keeping cost low.
Designed as an affordable sport car for the masses, the Avocet is a no frills vehicle with a specific purpose. The latest lightweight composite materials utilized in the construction of its doorless molded bodyshell has resulted the two-seater sport car weighing only 700kg. Powered by a 2-liter Ford-sourced engine tuned by Roush, the powerplant is said to create 150bhp (or 225bhp in uprated form) - enabling the vehicle to achieve 0-60mph in under 5 seconds.
Seeking to differentiate from kit car offerings, the Avocet will be sold as a fully assembled and homologated road-going car. Extras such as a removable roof and detachable travel luggage, which clip into cradles behind the cockpit, will also be available. While the standard car (pictured) is fitted with a conventional windshield, a 'Spyder' version with a low-line wraparound windscreen is also expected to be offered.
"The Avocet is an attractive looking car which uses core Ford componentry - all widely available off the shelf," says MMI Founder and Managing Director, Martin Miles. "We believe that the Avocet will satisfy the gap in the market which has remained unoccupied for far too long - for an affordable performance sports car with proven volume market reliability."
MMI has plans to build 50 cars in the first year, in both left and right-hand drive configurations.

Jumat, 11 Januari 2008

Official Pictures: 2009 Mercedes CLC

These are the first official images of the new Mercedes CLC – the car that will replace the Mercedes C-Class Sports Coupé.
It will make its debut at the Berlin Fashion Week between 27-31 January, where it will also appear with Eva Padberg; the model used in the teaser photos as the most tasteful car disguise we've ever seen.
The CLC will form the entry-level coupé in Mercedes' lineup, but contrary to appearances it will not be based on the new C-Class.
Mercedes has chosen to base the car on the old C-Class structure, with only the external design taken from the new model. It's also likely that the CLC will use the same engine range as the new C-Class saloon.
We'll have to wait until the end of the month for full details and images of the CLC, though there's no promise of the same in depth analysis of Eva Padberg. Sorry.

New Concept Car: Hummer HX

That Hummer plans to continue to downsize and create a Jeep Wrangler–sized H4 has been one of the worst-kept secrets in the industry. Each new Hummer entry has been smaller than the one before it.
But for three new designers at General Motors, the timing couldn’t have been better. The recent graduates of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit were hired by GM a couple years ago, about the time the automaker decided it wanted a concept in a new segment to augment the mid-size H3 and the full-size H2 SUVs.

From the separate designs of David Rojas, Min Young Kang, and Robert Jablonski came the HX concept, sketches of which are included in our photo gallery. It’s the same width as the H3, but this open-air, four-passenger off-roader rides on a 103-inch wheelbase that is 10 inches shorter than the H3’s.
GM will gauge public reaction to the HX at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, as well as at the Chicago show in February, to see if this is the design direction for the long-awaited H4. The concept explores the idea of a two-door fastback Hummer, says Martin Walsh, Hummer general manager, and is designed to appeal to affluent young buyers aged 20 to 30.
If the response is favorable, little stands in the way of production—this concept is a runner. It would be more premium than the Wrangler, which would be among its competitors.
The HX is a body-on-frame, rear-wheel-drive SUV on its own chassis (GM didn’t have an existing platform it could use). The young designers offered a modern take on the Hummer grille, and the concept has a standard built-in winch in the front, full underbody protection, and 35-inch tires. The suspension is independent up front and has a solid axle in the rear. Under the hood is the 3.6-liter, direct-injection V-6 from the Cadillac CTS that generates 304 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.
The concept is designed to run on biofuels. For those of you hankering to get 30-percent-worse fuel economy, Walsh confirms that Hummer is still moving to become an exclusively biofuel brand, starting next August with the E85 (15-percent gasoline and 85-percent ethanol) H2. Over the next few years, Hummer will upgrade all its powertrains so that, by 2010, the entire lineup is E85 or biodiesel compatible, Walsh says.
The trio of designers also incorporated practicality in the form of removable fender flares. If there is damage to one on the trail, the driver can hop out and release the fasteners and remove it. The big hinges help facilitate removing the doors, and the roof panels come off, too.
Design creativity also manifests itself in a choice of backs: a slantback, an open SUT type, or a squareback or wagon body. Essentially, you would pick one, and the others would be available as accessories.Inside, the center console is a prominent feature, incorporating the shifter, a giant lever that can be pulled from its flush position. The four seats have a helicopter theme: thin and lightweight, and designed to look good when the doors are removed. Embedded in the front-passenger seat is a shovel; the driver's side has a flashlight and a first-aid kit.The giant aluminum instrument panel, mounted on an exposed crossbeam, has removable storage bins and reconfigurable LCDs with different information when the vehicle is on- or off-road.

New Car: 2009 Tata Nano

Tata Motors has just unveiled its hotly anticipated 'one-rakh' car at the New Delhi Auto Expo. Officially called the Nano, the new car is also known as the 'People's Car', as it aims to get the upwardly mobile Indian market motoring for a starting price of 100,000 rupees ($2,500).
Available in either Standard (red) or Luxury (yellow) guise, the 624cc, rear-engined four-door Nano has been designed for a four person family and is claimed to have generous interior space despite its compact exterior dimensions - the car is just 3.1m long, 1.5m wide and stands 1.6m high. The mono-volume design, with wheels at the corners, enables this combination of space while facilitating maneuverability in crowded urban areas.
Aside from its low price, a strong selling point of the new Nano will also likely be the ability to personalize the vehicle, like the Mini and the Fiat 500. Buyers will be able to specify different scoop trim (situated ahead of the rear wheels), decals, seat covers and dash colors. It is expected to launch in India later this year.



  1. Mercedes GLK (40%)
  2. BMW X3 (33%)
  3. VW Tiguan (20%)
  4. Land Rover Freelander (13%)

Rabu, 09 Januari 2008

New Car: 2009 Peugeot Partner

Peugeot has announced the arrival of a new Partner MPV for 2008. As was its predecessor, the new car will be available as a panel van as well as an MPV in the model range, but Peugeot has also introduced a more rugged Tepee version for weekend adventurers.
With its refreshed and dynamic style the new Partner has been brought up to date, but is still expected to be the ideal working companion thanks to its high versatility. Featuring an 850kg maximum load capacity, a length of 4.38m, and a load volume of 3.3 cubic meters, the new Partner promises to push the utility envelope further. The load area length of 1.8m can also be extended to 3m thanks to the new innovative Multi-Flex passenger seat, which allows three people to sit in the front - a first for the small panel van segment. Meanwhile, quality perception in the cabin is enhanced by the use of the Peugeot 308 powertrain, resulting in improved acoustic comfort.
Representing a logical progression for the next generation Partner lineup is the practical multi-usage Tepee variant. Featuring modular styling, a new Zenith multi-purpose roof that allows more light into the passenger compartment, and three individual folding rear seats, the Tepee is a more luxurious and versatile Partner. Seeking to appeal to adventure seekers, the Partner Tepee Outdoor adds a more aggressive off-road look to the package.

New Car: 2009 Audi TT-S

The fastest-ever TT has broken cover - and these are the first official pictures. With more performance and a stylish makeover, the sporty Audi has the Porsche Cayman firmly in its sights.
Called the TTS, the newcomer is marked out by a revised nose that features R8 supercar style LED lamps. These distinctive daytime running lights combine with powerful xenon headlamps and deep grille to give the Audi an imposing presence on the road. Finally, 18-inch alloy wheels and silver finish door mirrors help distinguish the S from lesser models.
Futher changes have taken place in the cabin. A chunky flat-bottomed steering wheel is joined by leather trimmed sports seats, and aluminium trim for pedals and doors.
However, the really big news takes place under the bonnet, where engineers have managed to squeeze 270bhp out of the 2.0-litre TFSI powerplant. Linked to the grippy standard fit quattro drivetrain it results in a time of 5.2 seconds for the sprint from standstill to 62mph. Choose the swift-shifting DSG semi-auto and the figure drops to a blistering 5 seconds.
To keep up with the Porsche Cayman in the corners, the TTS gets Audi's hi-tech magnetic active dampers. The steering has been sharpened, while the ESP gets a new, less intrusive setting.
When the TTS is launched at this month's Detroit Show it will be available in both coupe and roadster bodystyles. Later in the year the first UK examples will arrive, priced at around £34,000 for the fixed head and £36,000 for the soft top.

New Car: 2009 Ford Fiesta ST

The sensational new Ford Fiesta ST has broken cover – and I have the first pictures. With the performance, pace and personality to leave its rivals trailing, the all-new hot hatch promises to raise the bar in the supermini sector. The blue oval faces stiff competition from models such as the Abarth Grande Punto and Vauxhall’s Corsa VXR, but bosses are aiming to put the Fiesta back at the top of the class.Our spies have already caught prototypes for the hot Fiesta being put through their paces, and as our exclusive pictures show, it will certainly look the part. The new ST will bring a range of cosmetic additions, including handsome alloy wheels and a spoiler above the rear windscreen. The revised front bumper includes a purposeful air intake and a pair of foglamps, while a diffuser-style back bumper incorporates racy twin tailpipes. Pronounced side sills and lowered suspension also help to provide a more aggressive stance.Inside, buyers can expect a much more luxurious cabin than offered in the current model, with high-quality soft-touch plastics as well as vastly improved switchgear. The ST will also benefit from supportive sports seats. Top-spec cars even get a pano­ramic glass sunroof and Blue­tooth phone connectivity, using Ford’s new Sync in-car entertainment set-up. The go-faster model also promises to be more practical than ever, thanks to the new Fiesta’s spacious interior. Officially, Ford isn’t announcing plans for a hot version of the next generation, but Auto Express can reveal it will take the wraps off a new range of hi-tech turbocharged direct-injection EcoBoost petrol powerplants at the Detroit Motor Show next week. The line-up will appear across the model range, and includes a 2.0-litre engine producing 275bhp. But the ST is likely to get a smaller 1.6-litre unit, making around 180-190bhp. This will put the newcomer on a par with the likes of the 189bhp Corsa VXR. With the supermini’s lightweight construction, the engine should be powerful enough to take the range-topper from 0-60mph in around seven seconds. Buyers will also be able to boost their model’s performance using officially sanctioned upgrade packages available from Essex-based engineering firm Mountune. It has developed similar parts for the outgoing ST and the hot Focus. In addition, the flagship Fiesta is set to feature economy-enhancing stop-start technology, while a punchy TDCi diesel version is on the cards, too.Ford’s chassis experts have been hard at work fine-tuning the hot sup­ermini to ensure it’s entertaining to drive. The brand has a reputation for producing sharp-handling cars, and the lightweight ST is expected to deli­ver unrivalled cornering agility, thanks to its bespoke suspension set-up.The all-new Fiesta will make its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and hit dealerships here in October. But fans of the ST will have to wait. It isn’t expected in UK showrooms before 2009. When it does arrive, though, expect a price tag in the region of £15,500.

Spied: 2011 Mercedes E-Class Estate

These are the first pictures of the stylish new Mercedes E-Class wagon. With a bold new look, the newcomer is set to go head to head with the BMW 5-Series Touring - and judging by these images it will offer masses of space inside.
At the front will be C-Class style nose with wraparound headlamps, while the flanks feature sharp creases and a purposeful rising waistline. Powerful bulging wheelarches ape those found on the executive S-Class saloon. The upright tail hints at a capacious load carrying potential.
Under the skin the car will be packed with hi-tech kit. Gadgets include selective brake cornering control, a carbon ceramic brake option and the latest version of the firm's COMMAND multi-media interface. Also expected are lane-departure warnings, an eye-movement monitor, traffic-sign identification, road-condition sensors, and stability control that accounts for crosswinds, camber changes, and tyre wear.
Power will come from a line-up of engines familiar to existing Merc owners. Entry-level models get a supercharged 184bhp four-cylinder petrol untit, while rapid AMG versions receive the 500bhp plus 6.3-litre V8. Diesel fans can choose between 2.2, 2.7 and 3.2-litre oil-burners.
Expect the all-new E-Class make its debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Show.

Selasa, 08 Januari 2008

New Concept Car: Saab 9-4x

The barrage of crossover SUVs set to be unveiled at the NAIAS continues, with these images of Saab's new compact crossover leaked online prior to its scheduled debut. Called the 9-4X, the crossover concept looks to be quite close to production reality, with well-executed - though a bit bland - design cues.
Built atop the same platform as the Cadillac Provoq concept, the 9-4X is the latest vehicle aiming to do battle with the BMW X3 and the Land Rover Freelander in the compact crossover SUV marketplace. Due to the flagging dollar and the popularity of SUV/crossovers in the US, the 9-4X is expected to built in Mexico and should be available to consumers starting in 2009. Aside from being all-wheel-drive, the vehicle should also be fitted with Saab's BioPower powerplants, capable of running E85 bio-ethanol fuel, gasoline, or a mix of both.

Hot News: Ferrari SUV

Your eyes are not deceiving you – this SUV has a prancing horse on the bonnet. In a move set to cause a stir across the world, Ferrari is considering putting its famous name to a rival for the Porsche Cayenne.
Called project F151, the prospect of a Ferrari SUV will cause uproar with car enthusiasts across the globe. However, the firm’s bosses have watched the success of Porsche’s 4x4 with interest, and want to increase profits.With a practical interior, estate car luggage capacity and rough-road ability, the model would open the Ferrari range up to a huge new customer base. Still in its early stages, the project is yet to be given the green light by bosses nervous of tarnishing Ferrari’s legendary brand image. Our shots shows what the classy off-roader could look like in showroom-ready trim. At around five metres long and two metres wide, the jacked-up Ferrari would offer luxurious transport for five passengers to travel in style. While designers face the challenge of making the Ferrari beautiful, engineers have to make it live up to the firm’s dynamic reputation. Powerplants are yet to be finalised, but it’s thought that the Ferrari will be offered with a choice of V8 and V12 engines from the firm’s existing stable.The four-wheel-drive transmission will be a more difficult challenge. With no system of its own available, Ferrari is expected to develop existing technology borrowed from another car maker, with Mercedes the hot favourite.A cheaper alternative would be to use Ferrari’s own rear-drive 612 Scaglietti platform. Coupled to a hi-tech traction control system, the running gear could be set up to cope with off-road conditions, but it’s most likely the maker would focus on class-leading handling.While an SUV from sister firm Maserati was planned, bosses have shelved that idea in favour of a Ferrari 4x4 with a higher price tag. Buyers will be asked to pay well in excess of £100,000. If the F151 gets the go-ahead, the Ferrari will be revealed in concept form in 2010 before going on sale a year later.

New Car: 2009 Cadillac CTS-V

This is it. The fastest, most powerful Cadillac ever built. The fastest, most powerful American sedan in history, for that matter. Locked, loaded, and gunning for Europe's heavy-hitting sport sedans-BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, Audi RS6. Read all that again. Now pinch yourself. No, you're not dreaming. Motown-well, GM at least-has its mojo back. Meet Cadillac's monster new CTS-V. Cadzilla, if you will.Here are the raw numbers: 550 horsepower at 6200 rpm. 550 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. They're only official "estimates," but as the engine under the new CTS-V's power-domed hood is fundamentally the same as the supercharged V-8 that's credited with 620-plus horsepower and at least 600 pound-feet in the hot new Corvette ZR1, you can safely assume the real SAE-certified figures will be close. "I'm confident we'll disappoint nobody with the numbers," says Ed Piatek, the CTS-V's program engineering manager.

There are no performance figures yet, but by way of context, AMG's E63 Benz nails 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. The new CTS-V weighs about the same and has at least 43 more horses and 85 pound-feet more torque. Draw your own conclusions: The car also has been extensively tested on the legendary Nrburgring Nordschliefe, and while insiders are tight-lipped on the actual lap time-for now-they will admit Cadzilla has terrorized factory hotshoes from Munich out on the daunting 13-mile road course. "People who've never been passed by a Cadillac have now had that experience," smiles Piatek.Piatek works for the GM in-house hot-shop, High Performance Vehicle Operations, headed by John Heinricy, and was the man tasked with overseeing the transformation of the COTY-winning CTS into Cadzilla. He had good raw material to work with: Unlike the previous model, the new CTS was engineered from the outset with the high-performance V-series model in mind, with extra stiffening and strengthening built in. "That was a lesson we learned with the first CTS-V," says Piatek. "If you start with this [idea] going in, there may be a small mass penalty on the base car, but there's less cost and tooling needed to do the V."

As a result, the basic CTS body structure is little altered. Most of the changes that have been made-mainly around the front and rear suspension cradles and the suspension links-are purely to handle the much higher cornering loads induced by the specially developed 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires and the prodigious torque output from the engine. On that last point, everything rear of the front transmission flange has been beefed up. There's a larger-diameter prop shaft, and asymmetric halfshafts (one side is a 55mm-diameter unit, the other 35mm) to help reduce wheelhop under full power launches).

Hot News: 2010 Porsche Panamera Hybrid

Because buyers of expensive luxury grand touring cars demanded it, Porsche has announced a hybrid version of its forthcoming Panamera four-door sedan. OK, perhaps it wasn’t clamoring from the landed gentry that did it—more likely Porsche wants to pull its lineup more in line with tightening efficiency and emissions requirements in the U.S. and abroad—but a second hybrid Porsche has nevertheless been confirmed.

The hybrid Panamera will utilize the same technology found in the Cayenne hybrid SUV, which will hit the roads in 2009, around the same time as the conventionally powered Panamera.
Porsche has not announced timing for the Panamera hybrid, only saying that it “will be offered at a later date.” We might add that hybrids make nice introductions for the second model year of a new vehicle.
The Panamera’s hybrid system will be laid out with the engine up front (as with all Panameras) and the batteries under the trunk floor. If the system remains unchanged from the Cayenne hybrid, that means an additional clutch and 34-kW electric motor sandwiched between a six-speed automatic transmission and a 3.6-liter V-6.
As a full hybrid, the Panamera will have the ability to run off of the gas-fired motor, the electric motor, or both. Power figures are unknown for now.
The Panamera hybrid may also share several other efficiency-oriented features from the Cayenne hybrid. These include a move to an electrohydraulic steering system—we can only hope Porsche can tune it as perfectly as its conventional setups—and switching the vacuum pump for the brakes, the transmission’s oil pump, and the air conditioning over to electric power.
Fuel savings information is unavailable, but the Cayenne hybrid is claimed to have 30 percent better fuel economy, with the target for the big ute being 24 to 26 combined mpg. As the Panamera will likely weigh much less then the Cayenne, 30 mpg combined could be within reach.
The regular Panamera will almost certainly be powered by a Porsche-built V-8, but we also wouldn’t rule out a non-hybrid application of the VW-sourced V-6 or even possibly the V-10 from the departed Carrera GT supercar.
Prices for the entire Panamera range are expected to range from $75,000 to well over $100,000, with the hybrid falling somewhere near the top.

Spied: 2010 Mini SUV

Check out the best spy shots of the year so far – the MINI SUV has finally been snapped up close.Our spies could barely believe their luck when they managed to seek out this prototype testing in Europe. While the bodywork appears to be near-identical to a standard Clubman, there are several visual clues to this being the new rough-road MINI.The most obvious change is the increase in ride height. This will give the MINI greater ground clearance and extra visual muscle. The large wheels sit wider in the arches than standard rims, while the wheelbase is also a little longer.Take a look underneath the rear of the car and the purpose of this MINI becomes perfectly clear. A rear differential is visible between the wheels, proving that this model is all-wheel drive. It won’t be a true mud-plugger, but it will aim to steal sales away from Land Rover’s larger Freelander.Expected to be revealed later this year, the rough-road MINI has been confirmed for production but bosses are yet to confirm a name. Both Crossman and Monte are said to be in the running, with prices likely to start at around £20,000.

New Concept Car: Cadillac Provoq

Cadillac's Provoq concept, making its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas today, follows the angular design theme pioneered by current Cadillac production models but is powered by an environmentally friendly E-Flex propulsion system, which combines GM's fifth-generation fuel cell system and a lithium-ion battery. This power source effectively attributes an element of elegance to the vehicle and furthers GM's stride towards creating 'a vision for a petroleum-free future of luxury transportation'.
"Everything about the vehicle reinforces the notion that great style and environmentally conscious transportation can go hand in hand," said Hoon Kim, exterior lead designer. "We didn't sacrifice proportion, stance or Cadillac's iconic design cues; we used them to support the efficiency of the vehicle."
As with the exterior, the interior blends form and function and makes no compromises to accommodate the fuel cell powertrain and fuel tanks, indicating that technology and real-world feasibility are growing closer together.

Minggu, 06 Januari 2008

Hot News: Peugeot to Produce 308 RC Z

Watch out Audi! Peugeot is preparing to shift into top gear as it puts the finishing touches to a thrilling new TT rival.The car is set to go on sale in 2009, and insiders suggest it could cost around 20 per cent less than its German rival, meaning entry-level models would be priced from £17,500.Based loosely on the chassis of the new 308 hatchback, the two-plus-two coupé – likely to be called the 308 RC Z – would be front-wheel drive and closely resemble the similarly named concept car which debuted at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show.Public response to the show car, which was created by a team led by design chief Jerome Gallix, has been massively positive. As a result, the firm is looking to put it into production, with some minor changes. The distinctive carbon fibre roof and flashy chromed A-pillars will be ditched, but the curvaceous rear windscreen could be retained.
While the prototype item fitted to the concept was an expensive one-off, the technology required to create such a shape is already being used to make the convex rear ‘screen fitted to Citroen’s C6 and forthcoming C5.

Sabtu, 05 Januari 2008

Hot News: Nissan Pathfinder's Future Decided

Nissan has made the decision as to whether the next-generation Pathfinder SUV will be a car-based crossover or continue to use body-on frame construction. And while Larry Dominique, Nissan North America vice president in charge of product and advanced planning, isn’t telling, our money’s on a switch back to unibody construction.

In its brief history, the Pathfinder has been both. It was launched in 1986 with a body-on-frame construction, but when it was redone in 1997, it became unibody. For 2005, it was back to a ladder frame, sharing the F-Alpha platform with the Nissan Titan full-size pickup and the Armada full-size SUV.
If it is deemed a towing capacity of about 5000 is sufficient for most mid-size SUV buyers, then a car-based crossover architecture will work for the next-gen Pathfinder, Dominique says. But if the consensus is buyers need to tow 8000-9000 pounds, the Pathfinder would have to stay on a truck frame.
“Five years ago, we would have said SUV without hesitation,” Dominique says in an interview. “But there are more options today from different platforms for a (crossover) to meet needs.” He says people want more amenities and comforts in their utility vehicles today, and front-wheel-drive crossover platforms meet many of those needs today.
Bruce Campbell, vice president of Nissan Design America, tells us switching back to a crossover offers more freedom within the architecture and in packaging, allowing for more differentiation with a new vehicle. But the Pathfinder also has a truck heritage that the designer must be respectful of.
“Pathfinder means something in North America and something completely different in Europe. In Asia, it’s just another large SUV,” Campbell says. For North America, the SUV has a chance to evolve. The way the designer sees it, the Pathfinder has taken the brawny off-road image as far as Nissan cares to, but the automaker doesn’t want to follow the conventional crossover or hybrid path either.
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