Jumat, 29 Februari 2008

New Car: 2009 Volkswagen Scirocco

Photos of the Volkswagen Scirocco have made their way onto the web ahead of the hot hatch's Geneva Motor Show Debut next week. Sleeker and sportier looking than its GTI sibling, the production Scirocco retains the shape of the IROC concept (green car) from which it was born while improving in the looks department.

Gone is the IROC's gaping maw. In its place is a simple two piece upper/lower grille that is unlike that of any other Volkswagen on the road. It's almost French in its design and works well with the car's shape. The rear end doesn't change quite as drastically. Both exhaust outlets are now on the car's left side and the lower fascia is body color instead of gray.

Spied: 2010 Cadillac CTS Coupe

Since blowing the minds of 2008 Detroit auto show goers with its sensational, sculptural CTS coupe concept, Cadillac has been relatively quiet about its production plans.
These first spy shots tell us is that not only is the coupe well into its development cycle, but that much of the concept’s striking styling will make it to the production car, too.
GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz himself said that when he and his team saw the proposed bob-tail styling of the coupe during its earliest design phase—with its radically sloping roof and rear window; chopped rear; tall, spear-like taillamps; and razor-thin windows—they knew they had to bring it to life. However, Lutz stopped short of making a formal production announcement (though we had sources that winked and nodded and more or less confirmed it for us).
Then appeared not one, but two CTS coupes in a convoy on public roads, and though we were only able to catch them from a rear three-quarter angle, we’d seen enough: the severely canted roofline, cropped tush, big wheels, dual center-mounted exhaust, and parking assistance sensors (which will probably come standard, given the trunk height and poor rearward vision inherent to the design).
In other words, it appears that what we saw and loved so much on the CTS coupe concept will make it to the showroom. But that may not be until the end of 2009, which for many of us here, can’t arrive soon enough.

Hot News: Diesel-Hybrid Golf on Way

The Volkswagen Golf is ready to join the hybrid club! The German company will unveil a new diesel-electric version of its best-selling hatchback at next month’s Geneva Motor Show. Set to be the most efficient and cost-effective model in the line-up, the Golf will return an incredible 83.1mpg and emit only 89g/km of CO2.Unlike the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic IMA, the newcomer will use an oil-burner instead of a petrol engine as its main source of power. While no details have been officially released, the unit in question is expected to be the common-rail 2.0-litre recently launched in the Tiguan SUV, as it will need to meet strict Euro V emissions rules.Driving the front wheels, this powerplant will be boosted by an electric motor that not only gives extra performance, but could allow the car to run on its battery only at low speeds, too. The Golf is also likely to get a modified version of VW’s efficient, quick-shifting DSG double-clutch transmission. In addition, engineers will fit a stop-start system to cut the engine when the car is stationary.Further fuel-saving measures will include regenerative braking and aero-dynamic tweaks similar to those seen on VW’s efficient Bluemotion models. For now, only Peugeot has a potential rival for the VW. The French marque unveiled its 308 Hybride HDi at last autumn’s Frankfurt expo, and plans to bring it to dealers by 2010. Mating a 110bhp 1.6-litre diesel with a 22bhp electric motor, the family hatchback is capable of returning 83mpg economy, and puts out only 90g/km of CO2.The first hybrid Golfs are expected here late next year. And the innovative drivetrain will find its way into other VW Group cars, including Audi’s A3.

Rabu, 27 Februari 2008

New Concept Car: Opel Meriva

It was supposed to be a secret until next week's Geneva Motor Show, but Vauxhall’s Meriva concept has been leaked!

Following on from the official sketch of the new city car, these images reveal all the details of the new Corsa based five-door. With a sharp style and attractive details the new Meriva is set to see Vauxhall tempt buyers away from trendy rivals.

The features set to draw the biggest crowds at the Geneva show are undoubtedly the revolutionary rear hinged back doors. While Mazda RX-8 and MINI Clubman already have similar openings, the Vauxhall’s FlexDoors are unique because the front and rear doors can be opened independently of each other.

The downside is that designers have been forced to include a conventional B-pillar to maintain occupant protection in side impacts.

Other styling cues include what Vauxhall calls Blade body sides - neat ticks stamped into the bodywork behind the front wheels.

At the back, designers have penned a rear screen that stretches up over the roof to create a lighter cabin environment.

The production version of the new Meriva is set to go on sale in the UK early next year. Sharing many parts with the current Corsa, the people carrier will get a range of engines including 1.3-litre and 1.7-litre CDTI diesels and a 1.6-litre turbo petrol. What’s more, all units will have stop-start technology to help to improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions.

First Sketch: Saleen S5S Raptor

American tuner and boutique automaker Saleen has released this sketch of a supercar concept it plans to unveil at March’s New York auto show.

The producer of the prodigiously powerful and prodigiously expensive S7 and S7 Twin Turbo, Saleen says the S5S Raptor concept is “designed for the premium performance market,” which to us places it in competition with anything from the Corvette ZR1 up to the Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 or beyond. Remember that the awesome S7 Twin Turbo’s base price was near $600K, a figure nearly as eye-popping as its 750 horsepower.

While the Raptor’s exact horsepower figure remains a secret for now, it will be powered by an E85-burning, 5.0-liter supercharged powerplant. Based on Saleen’s past body of work, we can assume the engine will be a V-8. The car will utilize aluminum construction and composite body panels to keep weight down, and top speed is claimed to be in excess of 200 mph.

Check back during the New York auto show press days for all the details on this sure-to-be-hot supercar concept.

New Car: 2009 Alfa Romeo Spider

It's all change at Alfa. The Italian brand has revamped its range for 2008 – and first up is the Spider (above), which now comes in an Ice White finish. There are new, lightweight 18-inch alloys, while the drop-top’s upgraded cabin gets more supportive seats. The tin-top Brera benefits from the same changes. Also revamped is the 159, with new wheels and aluminium brake calipers shaving 45kg off the weight, and sharpening up performance across the range. A Q2 electronic differential is now fitted on all front-wheel-drive Brera, Spider and 159 models. And finally, from July, buyers of Alfa’s GT coupé will be able to specify the more potent 168bhp 1.9 JTDM diesel engine.

Spied: 2009 Lotus Eagle

Look out Porsche – the new Lotus Eagle is almost ready to swoop.Auto Express can exclusively reveal the best spy shots yet of the new Lotus flagship that promises to propel the Norfolk based firm back into the supercar premier league. As you can see, the aggressive lines and low stance show that Lotus means business!Rumoured to be powered by a twin-turbo V8 BMW engine shared with the new X6, the mid-engined model will sprint from 0-60mph in around 4.0 seconds and on to a top speed in excess of 175mph.Codenamed the Eagle, it’s not yet known what the high performance model will be called in showroom ready form. All will be revealed when the Lotus makes its official debut at the British Motor Show in July.

New Car: 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback

Mitsubishi’s hatching a plan to launch a cut-price Evo X – and this is how it will look.These are the first official pictures of the Lancer Sportback, which will make its public debut at next week’s Geneva Motor Show.The Japanese firm states the model shown here “closely previews the Lancer Sportback”, but the sporty elements of the design will all feature most prominently on a Ralliart badged hot hatch flagship.At the front, the four-sided Mitsubishi grille gives an aggressive look, while 19-inch wheels hint at the performance on offer. The final production version won’t have the extreme looks of the Evo X, but will offer a cheaper and more practical alternative to the four-door flagship.The Ralliart gets a 238bhp version of the Evo’s 2.0-litre turbo engine and a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox. This combination should launch the five-door from 0-60mph in less than six seconds.When all variants of the five-door go on sale in the UK later this year, they are expected to account for 80 per cent of Lancer sales in Britain.

Senin, 25 Februari 2008

New Car: 2009 Mini Cooper S Works

Has MINI Worked another marvel? Take a look at the first official pictures of the MINI Cooper S Works – in both hatchback and Clubman form for the first time.With the John Cooper Works brand now brought in house, we can expect to see more JCW badged MINIs than ever, and it looks like enthusiasts will be far from disappointed.Set to make its debut at next week’s Geneva Motor Show, the pair of red hot MINIs promise to be the wildest pocket rockets on the road.Equipped with a 208bhp turbocharged engine, race-developed chassis and hi-tech limited-slip diff, the John Cooper Works is capable of keeping pace with performancecars which have twice its power.To set the Works variants apart from standard Cooper S models, the range toppers get 17-inch alloy wheels, while the rear is dominated by stainless steel exhausts. Subtle Works logos sit on the grille, the tailgate and the large, bright red front brake callipers. Many more beefy extras are available on the options list.Inside, there’s a tactile leather-trimmed three-spoke steering wheel and heavily bolstered sports seats. Deep Recaro buckets are optional.Powered by a thoroughly redeveloped version of the Cooper S’s 1.6-litre petrol engine from the Cooper S, the JCW models come with a new twin-scroll turbocharger, strengthened pistons, a bigger oil cooler and revised fuel injection system create 208bhp and 260Nm of torque. That rises to 280Nm with an overboost facility.In the hatchback the sprint from 0-60mph takes a thrilling 6.5 seconds – and the Clubman is only 0.3 seconds slower.What’s more, thanks to parent company BMW’s Efficient Dynamics technology the design of the engine means the hatchback will return 40.9mpg and emit 165g/km ofcarbon dioxide, while the Clubman achieves 40.4mpg and 167g/km.The MINI chassis has also been thoroughly reworked, and there’s also the optionof a 10mm lower ‘Extreme’ suspension pack. The ace up the MINI’s sleeve is the new Dynamic Traction Control differential. With three separate settings, drivers can tailor the set-up to suit the circumstances, from a full electronic safety net to race-readymode.The John Cooper Works will go on sale in the UK in July. Prices are expected to start at £20,500 for the hatchback, while the Clubman is estimated to cost £21,700.

Minggu, 24 Februari 2008

  1. Mercedes E-Class (45%)
  2. Audi A6 (36%)
  3. BMW 5-Series (27%)
  4. Lexus GS (0%)

Sabtu, 23 Februari 2008

Hot News: Next Generation of Reanult Clio

Ford's next-generation Fiesta isn’t the only supermini heading for the limelight. As our spies can reveal, Renault also has plans to shake up the sector – with an all-new evolution of the Clio.Inspired by the latest Laguna, the Clio MkIV is expected to go on sale early in 2009. There will be three and five-door hatchbacks, plus a new estate, and the most obvious changes have been made to the nose. As part of a push to improve its pedestrian safety rating and road presence, it has revised headlights, a fresh grille, larger badge and reshaped bonnet.At the rear, the alterations are less obvious, but include distinctive lamps and a sharp horizontal crease across the tailgate which helps to improve boot capacity. Changes to the supermini’s profile are less pronounced, mainly because the next Clio shares its chassis with the current machine. That means the wheelbase remains the same, as does the roofline. Inside, however, a host of enhancements to the layout and equipment have been made. As a result, the Ren-ault will be more of a match for the new Fiesta, which promises to be the best-equipped car in its class. Clio buyers can expect rain-sensing wipers and keyless entry and start, as well as a new satellite navigation system to replace the basic set-up in the existing model. Although details of the engines remain secret, it’s thought the French firm will carry over the current line-up – so the Clio will get a varied range of petrol and diesel units.

New Car: 2009 Renault Laguna GT

Renault will be unveiling the GT performance variant of the the Laguna midsize sedan and wagon next month at the Geneva Motor Show. Powering the Laguna GT will be either a 2.0-liter turbo four that makes 205 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque or a 2.0-liter turbodiesel that makes 180 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Additonally, the Laguna GT is equipped with bigger brakes, 12.9 inch discs up front and 11.8 inch discs in the rear and four-wheel steering using a chassis called Active Drive.Visually, the Laguna GT is separated from the standard Laguna with 18-inch alloy wheels, larger front grille and air intakes, smoked taillights, and black-background headlamps in addition to the obligatory GT badging. Inside, the Laguna GT is fitted with leather/alcantara sports seats, aluminum pedals and shift knob, and a GT steering wheel.

Jumat, 22 Februari 2008

Spied: 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

Hyundai's coming Genesis Coupe, far and away the hottest car at last year's L.A. auto show in concept guise, has been caught chilling in the great white north during cold-weather testing in advance of its debut in production form at the upcoming New York show in March.
The highly anticipated rear-drive coupe is sporting some significant differences through its camouflage cloak. The grille looks to be bigger and is now sporting more of a traditional Hyundai look. The rest of the front fascia has toned down as well, with a look that's more in line with a production vehicle. The bottom area appears to be sporting chrome-style strakes and the foglamps seem rounded off.
Out back, the biggest visible changes are the exhaust pipes, which are now fitted horizontally as opposed to the vertical trapezoids of the concept show car, and the rear taillights also appear to have been transformed and now look to have three vertical elements. There have also been some changes to the car's side profile. The prominent creases on the concept that moved from the fender along the top of the door look to have been smoothed out some, as has the line along the bottom of the concept. The tapering of the rear windows has also apparently not made it to the production version.
The Genesis Coupe will join the sedan as Hyundai's one-two rear-drive punch. The vehicle is expected to be powered by two engines, a 3.8-liter V-6 boasting some 300 horsepower and about 250 lb-ft of torque, and a 2.0-liter turbo four pushing somewhere north of 200 horsepower, mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic.
Hyundai is reportedly working hard to keep the weight to a minimum and to achieve a 50/50 weight balance, which should help make the coupe a competent handler. Other options likely to be available on the car will be Brembo brakes and a limited-slip differential.
Expect pricing to start in the low 20s for the turbo four, and mid-20s for the V-6-equipped models when the car hits Hyundai showrooms, likely late this year or early in 2009.

First Sketch: Fioravanti Hidra

Leonardo Fioravanti is scheduled to unveil his latest creation at the Geneva Motor Show in a few weeks time.
Called the Hidra, the new multi-purpose coupe concept is a four-seater, five-door vehicle based on a layout that produces 'notable results' in vehicle dynamics, passive safety and flexibility. Claimed to marry Fioravanti's propensity for innovation, functionality and elegance, the Hindra also holds a revolutionary patent for transparent surfaces.
As the former Managing Director of Pininfarina's research arm, Fioravanti also worked at Fiat Group between 1988 and 1991, first as deputy General Manager at Ferrari and then as head of Fiat's design center.
The company, which showed the Thalia at last year's Geneva show (pictured bottom right), is based in the historic Italian town of Moncalieri, outside of Turin. It is now in its 20th year of researching new architectures for future vehicles utilizing alternative sources of energy.

Rabu, 20 Februari 2008

Hot News: Nissan Studies GT-R Based 4-Door

A senior Nissan source has confirmed the company is studying the possibility of producing a high-performance four-door sedan based on the exotic Nissan GT-R hardware. The source suggested the car may be sold as an Infiniti.
Producing a four-door GT-R is certainly feasible, though it wouldn't be cheap. Although the GT-R coupe is based on Nissan's flexible FM (front midship) platform, it is what one analyst calls "a major deviation" from that platform's architecture, to the point where it's known internally as PM (premium midship).
The PM platform could be stretched to allow an extra set of doors and useable rear passenger space, while keeping the existing suspension pickup points, powertrain mountings, and other sheetmetal. This would enable the four-door to share a lot of the GT-R's mechanical hardware, including the 480-horsepower twin-turbo 3.8-liter VR38 V-6 engine, all wheel drive, and the rear-mounted six-speed DSG-style auto-clutch transmission.
However a sedan version would require a new bodyside, plus expensive revisions to the carbon fiber intensive front structure, so while Nissan could save some money through component sharing with the GT-R, it's likely that a sedan variant would cost $3000 to $5000 more. One alternative would be to make the car with a conventional steel body (it would add weight, but Nissan would want the GT-R coupe to remain its performance flagship anyway).

The drawings here are purely illustrative; it's unlikely Nissan would retain too many GT-R cues on an Infiniti-badged car. Nissan knows a four-door GT-R would have about as much credibility in Japan as a four-door Corvette would here in the U.S. Furthermore, American and European buyers likely would balk at the idea of paying $85,000 for a sedan with Nissan badges. Making the car an Infiniti could help solve both problems, and it would give the brand the halo vehicle it lacks.
A high-tech, high-performance Infiniti sedan also could serve as a halo car for the expansion of Nissan's luxury brand into Europe, China, Japan, and other world markets. After dithering for a decade or more, Toyota has finally made Lexus a global brand, and its new IS-F sedan signals an entry into the premium high-performance segment dominated by Mercedes-Benz's AMG and BMW's M cars.
The significance of both moves won't have been lost on Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn.

First Sketch Up Date: Opel/Vauxhall Meriva

Ahead of its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month, the new Meriva has been revealed!This is the most detailed official sketch yet of the car that Vauxhall hopes will draw younger buyers to its baby people mover. The newcomer’s shape has been heavily influenced by the Flextreme concept, which debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September.With suspension borrowed from the Corsa, the model will offer excellent agility and plenty of driver appeal. The newcomer will also use the super-mini’s engines, including 1.3-litre and 1.7-litre CDTI diesels and a 1.6-litre turbo petrol. All units will have stop-start technology to help to improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions.Sales of the new Meriva are scheduled to kick off in early 2009.

Hot News: Alfa Romeo Duetto is Back

A legend is returning at Alfa Romeo, and it’s got the Mazda MX-5 in its sights! This striking machine is the new Duetto – a drop-top that revives a famous model from the Sixties. Back then, the Duetto starred in the cult Dustin Hoffman film, The Graduate, and it has been affectionately known as the Alfa Graduate ever since. The car was a big hit for the firm, and the new version could repeat this success by offering beautiful looks and driver appeal in a £20,000 package. That would put the Alfa in direct competition with the Mazda roadster. As you can see from our main image, the Duetto would be a sleek two-seater with gorgeous detailing and lots of Italian style. It would sit on the same front-wheel-drive platform as the forthcoming 147 replacement – which in turn is shared with Fiat’s Bravo and Lancia’s Delta – and be offered with a range of engines including the Abarth 500’s 1.4-litre turbo. But as the Delta is likely to get a four-wheel-drive option, there is also scope for an all-wheel-drive Duetto. Expect to see the model in 2010. Before then, an even more beautiful topless Alfa will arrive. The Italian firm will unveil a production version of the 8C Spider at March’s Geneva Motor Show. The car is due on sale later this year in very limited numbers.

Selasa, 19 Februari 2008

Spied: 2009 Mercedes E-Class

You've got to get up really early in the morning it you want to escape our spies! Manufacturers are normally extremely careful about hiding their top-secret new models, but our snapper caught these forthcoming Mercedes all parked in the open outside a Swedish hotel.Underneath the covers are three variants of the new E-Class – saloon, estate and CLK coupe. With winter testing now in full swing, the German firm has brought its cars to Scandinavia to undergo cold weather evaluation.Out on the road it was the four-door that underwent the most testing. As these pictures show, the newcomer is clearly influenced by the recently launched C-Class. At the front one-piece wraparound headlamps replace the existing twin-light system, while distinctive character lines run down the car’s flanks.Hi-tech systems will be be a standout feature of the E-Class, with PRE-SAFE collision warning, an ESP system that automatically adjusts the steering to compensate for cross winds and a range BlueTec diesel engines.Expect the executive Merc to make its public debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Senin, 18 Februari 2008

Hot News: Peugeot SUV on Course

It's set to be one of the most striking models in its class - and is almost ready to take on small 4x4s such as Ford’s forthcoming Kuga, the Nissan Qashqai and VW’s Tiguan.
As you can see, the 3008 takes styling cues from its big brother, the 4007. It has similar proportions and a bold front end that’s dominated by a vast grille, large Peugeot badge and distinctive headlights. Inside, the 4x4 is expected to offer plenty of flexibility. Our sources have revealed that the 3008 will be offered in five and seven-seat configurations, with the latter featuring a third row of fold-flat chairs. Options including a panoramic glass sunroof and satellite navigation will also be available.
In terms of the driving experience, the 3008 promises to be one of the most car-like SUVs in its class. Peugeot is famous for combining driver involvement with good road manners, and the newcomer is expected to be agile and fun, yet comfortable. Customers will also be able to choose between two and four-wheel-drive versions, with base models front-drive only, to keep emissions and fuel consumption as low as possible.
A mix of 1.6-litre turbo petrol and diesel engines will power the majority of models. Cold weather testing is well underway, as you can see from our spy picture (below). The newcomer will go on sale in the UK in 2010, with partner firm Citroen launching its own version of the compact SUV soon after.

Minggu, 17 Februari 2008

  1. Dodge Challenger (42%)
  2. VW Routan (35%)
  3. Hummer H3T (21%)
  4. Chevrolet Traverse (0%)

New Car: 2009 Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe

This year marks the ten-year anniversary of Rolls-Royce falling under non-British ownership, and BMW stewardship has served the company well, both where reliability is concerned—soiling your Savile Row suit as you dive under the hood to fix an oil leak or track down an electrical short is a blessedly rare occurrence—and in the proliferation of new models.
Applying the large-scale manufacturing practice of platform-sharing, BMW has been able to flesh out what is—for Rolls—a large and varied lineup. Indeed, the newest Roller isn’t really even all that new: slap some hand-welded sheetmetal in place of the Phantom Drophead Coupé’s canvas top, and you’ve got the Phantom Coupé, which makes its worldwide debut at the 2008 Geneva auto show. Yes, the suicide doors carry over intact.
In an automotive world where too many vehicles have strayed from their respective brand’s design heritage, Rolls-Royce has stayed true to its traditions. Indeed, the new Coupé is tastefully elegant—the seven-foot long hood, characteristic waterfall grille, and short front and long rear overhangs are all distinctly Rolls-Royce—yet contemporary.
In designing the four-seat Coupé, Ian Cameron, Rolls-Royce’s chief designer, said the team wanted to emphasize the “dynamism” of the vehicle. This car, he believes, caters to an entirely different driver than the similarly styled Drophead convertible. We guess that’s true; obscenely rich guys who want a mind-blowingly expensive two-door car with a fixed roof will be interested in the Phantom Coupé. Obscenely rich guys who want a mind-blowingly expensive two-door car with a roof that goes down will be interested in the Phantom Drophead Coupé.

Sabtu, 16 Februari 2008

New Car: 2009 Ford Kuga

Ford first showed the Kuga, its new for-Europe-only compact crossover, last September at the Frankfurt Motor Show in pre-production "concept" form. With all the details now ironed out and the factory ready to roll, the production Kuga is set to bow at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
The Kuga is based on the same C1 platform that underpins the S-Max compact minivan and European Focus. Only one engine will be offered, a 2.0-liter common rail diesel rated at 134 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. Only one gearbox too, a six-speed manual. Those unable to row their own gears need not apply. FWD will be standard, with a Haldex AWD system available as an option.
The Kuga rides on a 105.9 inch wheelbase and checks in at 174.4 inches long, 72.5 inches wide, 67.3 inches high, which is almost the same size as the U.S. market Escape. The only notable size difference between the pair is the Kuga's wheelbase, which is 2.8 inches longer than the Escape's, though it's also a bit heavier. In FWD form, the Kuga weighs in at 3468 lbs, 101 lbs more than the FWD V-6 Escape. AWD models weigh 3556 lbs, 34 pounds heavier than its U.S. counterpart.

Stylistically, the kinetic design-styled Kuga is more stylish and modern than the Escape, which looks like a throwback to the second-generation Explorer, though the lower grille, which looks massive in comparison to the small upper grille, throws proportions off somewhat. The fender gill which has become an odd staple of Ford design makes its appearance on the Kuga and, as on the other cars its made its way onto, is completely unnecessary.
Where the kinetic design language falters is the rear end. Its not bad looking per se, but the words "derivative styling" come to mind - take off the badging and it looks like any other crossover on the road from the back. Only the diffuser-like lower fascia and the dual exhausts give the Kuga a feeling of individuality from the rear. The tailgate does feature a creative two-piece design Ford calls "liftgate in liftgate" that can be opened either in its entirety or just partially for access in close quarters.

The interior is unlike anything sold in a U.S. Ford in its design. Its more rounded and enveloping, with nary a hint of truck-based inspiration. Ford says that it is appointed with plenty of gloss finishes and leather trim pieces -- the center console appears leather wrapped and the seats are upholstered in a two-tone cloth/leather mix.
Available in two trims, base Trend and premium Titanium, the Kuga goes on sale in Europe shortly after its Geneva debut. It will not be making its way across the Atlantic, however, as the Escape was recently redesigned and is a solid seller. The next product cycle, however, should produce a vehicle that will be similar both here and in Europe that will have been developed under Ford's recently-introduced global development process.

Spied: 2009 BMW PAS

We want to start with a disclosure: We don’t understand why BMW needs this car, and we fear the Bavarian master is slicing the sausage a little too thin.
BMW says the PAS, which stands for "progressive activity sedan," is designed to slot between the 5-series and X6, creating a new segment of sedan with the functionality of a multipurpose vehicle.
But the PAS is based on the next-generation 5-series, which amply fills mid-size-car needs already, and BMW is preparing to launch the X6 that, in size, is the SUV equivalent to the 5-series for those who want a bit more utility.
The PAS has a fastback like the X6 (which we also are not sure fills as big a demand niche as BMW thinks it does) but offers more headroom and presumably a more-dynamic, carlike ride, like the 5-series. Forgive our redundancy, hence our point.
Even so, based on these latest spy shots and illustrations, the PAS is an elegant take on a roomy mid-size passenger car.
Powertrains likely would mirror those already in the 5-series stable, and the PAS looks like a good candidate for all-wheel drive.
The PAS is plan B, replacing original plans by BMW to offer the vanlike Space-Functional concept that debuted at the 2005 Geneva auto show and was envisioned to compete against the Mercedes R-class—probably a good switch.

Spied: 2009 Infiniti FX

This year’s Geneva auto show marks the first time that Infiniti will unveil a brand-new product outside the United States, with the Swiss exhibition hosting the reveal of the all-new 2009 Infiniti FX crossover.
Infiniti also is using the occasion to herald the launch of the luxury brand in Western Europe—starting in October—part of a multi-year global rollout.
However, it was in the U.S., on the brand’s original and primary sales turf, that our spies caught a lightly camouflaged FX parked on the streets of Los Angeles.
Built on the prodigious FM platform—which also underpins the Nissan 350Z, Infiniti G sedan and coupe, Infiniti EX35 crossover, and Infiniti M sedan—the second-generation FX appears as if it will remain a five-seater and continue to wear rakish styling.
The headlamps look much faster, cutting back into a point along the fender, and the hood has gained more pronounced bulges. The grille is wider and shorter, which should serve to visually reduce front-end height. At the rear, the non-glass portion of the liftgate is less curved and more upright, much like that of the smaller EX35.
We also expect a properly luxurious interior if the FX expects to remain a rung above the new Nissan Murano, which has soft-touch materials throughout its new cabin.
We expect the powertrains to mirror those currently available—that is to say a V-6 and a V-8. It's unknown at this point whether the V-6 will jump in displacement from 3.5 liters to, say, 3.7. If it does stay with the 3.5, it still gains a power upgrade as the VQ engine has been tweaked.
V-6 models will probably continue to be available with rear- or all-wheel drive, with the top-dog

Kamis, 14 Februari 2008

Hot News: Infiniti to Introduce New FX at Geneva Show 2008

Infiniti has confirmed that it will unveil the second-generation of its FX crossover next month at the Geneva Motor Show. Though Nissan's luxury brand did not divulge any details about the vehicle, the launch is designed to spearhead its entry into the European market. It will be the first Infiniti to be launched outside the U.S.The second-generation FX goes on sale in Europe along with the rest of Infiniti's European portfolio, which will consist the G sedan and coupe and the EX crossover, in October of 2008.

Rabu, 13 Februari 2008

New Car: 2009 Ford Ka

Forget the Fiat 500 – this is 2008’s most hotly anticipated small car! Replac­ing one of Ford’s longest-lived models, it’s the all-new Ka – and Auto Express is the only magazine to give you an exclusive first look.
Hot on the heels of our spy shots in Issue 997, we can now bring you these images, which provide the best view yet of the blue oval’s new baby.
The Ka is the latest step in a thorough overhaul of Ford’s range. As you can see, the newcomer retains the familiar design cues of the original model, which was launched in 1996.
The city runabout has a loyal legion of fans in the UK, and they are sure to recognise the Ka’s wheel-at-each-corner stance, curvy shape and short overhangs.
But the second-generation car also brings in new styling details that have made other Ford models – such as the Mondeo and S-MAX – stand out from the competition.
Heavily influenced by the Fiesta-replacing Verve concept, the Ka gets a distinctive family nose, with a large grille set low in the front bumper and big headlamps that extend up the bonnet. At the rear, it’s a similar mix of old and new, with a high, arcing roofline and upright rear end reminiscent of the current Ka, which is completed with fresh tail-lights.
Inside, designers will take further inspiration from the Verve concept and address one of the major flaws of the current Ka – its dated cabin. In comes a classy dashboard with soft-touch materials and a host of hi-tech equipment, including a socket to plug in MP3 players and a hands-free Bluetooth phone connection.
Under the skin lies a chassis shared with Fiat’s 500 and Panda, but Ford’s engineers have been working hard to ensure the Ka offers the same driver-pleasing handling and sharp steering feel of its predecessor.
With quality taking a leap forward, so will refinement and the new Ka will have a far better ride than the current car, as well as lower noise levels. It promises to be able to cope better with town and motorway use than any rival in its class – and that includes the 500.
Engines will be shared with the Fiat, so buyers can expect to see a choice of two petrol units at launch – a 63bhp 1.2-litre and 100bhp 1.4-litre – along with the Ka’s first-ever diesel, in the shape of a 75bhp 1.3-litre Multijet powerplant.
The firm’s current Sportka is a popular budget hot hatch, and Ford will seek to repeat its success with an ST model. Performance will eclipse its predecessor though, thanks to power from the same 1.4-litre turbocharged engine as used in the Fiat 500 Abarth. Pumping out 135bhp in standard form, the new Ka ST promises to be a real pocket rocket – and there’s a chance that an even hotter version will be available with the 155bhp unit from the Abarth SS.
The all-new Ka will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show in Sep­tember, with the first showroom-ready models arriving before the end of the year. Prices will be similar to the current model, starting at around £7,500 for entry-level versions.

Hot News: GM's Mini Fighter

GM left drawings of a proposed Mini Cooper-fighter in a design studio room where journalists got a preview of the work being done on the production Chevrolet Volt.
The drawings illustrated what appeared to be a BMW Mini copy, a two-box, threedoor hatchback design with a conventional, vertical B-pillar. Both were illustrated in green with a white top, and one drawing showed what looks like a lift-off roof panel between the A- and B-pillars. It had a large, egg-crate grille and Chevy bowties.The other was a profile view of a light-blue car with a white top, its B-pillar raked, like that of a Chevy Nomad wagon.

The car, if GM goes forth with the project, will not be a Chevrolet. To make a profit for GM, it would probably have to sell in the $20,000-plus price range. One published report suggested it could go to any of GM's 'tweeners -- Pontiac, Buick, Saturn, or Saab -- and that it could be built on a reardrive platform, either Kappa or the larger, upcoming Alpha.
Drawings of the green car suggest front drive, however. Even as a premium small car, it doesn't seem to fit where Buick is heading. Cadillac, as we've reported, will get a version of the rear-drive Alpha and shouldn't go any smaller and certainly not front drive.
Our guess: a Saturn at the very least, or, more likely, a Saab, which has more room in its pricing and could sell such a car in the $25,000 range. Saab needs a higher-volume car as the ill-fated 9-3x was designed to be and has a European dealer network.

Selasa, 12 Februari 2008

First Sketch: Hyundai HED-5

The product lineup that Hyundai is scheduled to display at the 2008 Geneva Auto Show includes this new HED-5 concept car, a six-seat MPV that promises a new level of versatility combined with exceptional fuel economy, the automaker says.
If the car looks anything like these sketches, the firm will have successfully developed a stylish minivan which appears to be moving the design direction for MPVs closer to 'sporty', incorporating many crossover styling cues. The new concept is also claimed to feature revolutionary materials and construction techniques which have been developed in co-operation with partners such as Recaro, Bayer and LG.
Though Hyundai's release doesn't provide much more information, the company is also touting its 'near production' environmentally-friendly 'Eco-Dynamic' package set to be revealed at the show, leading us to believe that this technology, which reduces CO2 emissions by 29 percent, will be fitted to the concept car as well.

Senin, 11 Februari 2008

New Car: 2009 Honda Accord

The new Honda Accord has landed – and here are the first official pictures of both the saloon and estate!The production car’s design closely follows the sleek Accord Tourer Concept, which was first seen at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year. It has a similar, sharp-edged look with a lower and wider stance than the current model.This extra width gives more space inside for occupants, and also allows the dashboard to extend from the centre console and sweep around the seats, creating a cockpit-like feel.The dash has floating backlit instruments with an LCD multifunction menu display, which the driver can navigate through steering wheel-mounted controls. New seats provide more support for added comfort.There’s big news under the Accord’s bonnet. The family car is the first model to get Honda’s second-generation diesel, the i-DTEC, which has 148bhp and 350Nm.Not only is this unit more powerful than the old i-CTDi, but it also uses a special particulate filter for much lower emissions. Other engine options include a 154bhp 2.0-litre petrol and a flagship 2.4-litre i-VTEC with 197bhp.The Accord saloon goes on sale in June, with the Tourer arriving in September. Prices are likely to be similar to those for the current model.

New Car: 2009 Acura TSX

Acura has made it official: Its next-generation 2009 Acura TSX sedan will make its world debut at March's New York auto show. Based largely on the upcoming European Honda Accord which is scheduled to be unveiled a couple of weeks before at the Geneva Motor Show, the TSX is expected to be the first Honda to come with the automaker's new, much-hyped, i-DTEC clean diesel engine. The TSX will hit dealer showrooms in the spring, shortly after its New York debut.

No other information is available as of yet on the new car, but it is clearly sporting a version of the "Dynamic Power Plenum" grille that debuted to grave reviews recently on the new RL that was just shown at the Chicago auto show. At first glance, the application on the TSX is a bit more palatable then the version on Acura's flagship. Other than the new grille, the vehicle's exterior styling looks to be more of an evolutionary update.

Minggu, 10 Februari 2008

  1. Kia C'eed (37%)
  2. VW Golf (31%)
  3. Ford Focus Hatch (25%)
  4. Honda Civic Hatch (25%)

Hot News: Nissan 370Z

In the fall of 2008, we'll be seeing the revamped version of the six-year-old Nissan 350Z, according to the Japanese magazine Best Car. The Z has a long and storied history as Datsun/Nissan's flagship sports car and it appears that the automaker will buck industry trends by making the next-generation vehicle -- which by all accounts will be named 370Z -- both smaller and lighter.
It is rumored that one of the main modifications to the new Z is a shorter (reportedly by about 4 inches) wheelbase, which would help explain the spy photos of what looked like a scrunched up 350Z that were circulating a couple of months back. A shorter wheelbase car would also point to it being lighter as well.

Reports also indicate that a version of the 3.7-liter V-6 used from the Infiniti G37 will propel the new Z, hence the 370Z moniker. Estimated horsepower figures are ranging from 333 to 350 horsepower. Another notable change is the new look to the front and rear fascia and smooth, continuous bodylines on the car's flanks.
As for when the car will first be shown, it's been reported that it will debut at either the Paris Motor Show in early October or at November's LA auto show, most likely in a pre-production concept form. We'll find out later this year. One thing's for sure, six years on market is a long time and the Z is overdue for a redo.

Jumat, 08 Februari 2008

Spied: 2010 Mercedes S400 Hybrid

Here are the pictures that prove Mercedes’ first hybrid is about to come in from the cold. Meet the S400 Hybrid – a petrol-electric version of the company’s S-Class flagship. The much anticipated newcomer is set to go on sale in the UK in 2009. Despite the snow covering the bootlid of this prototype, caught by our spies undergoing winter testing, it’s easy to make out the badging, which shows this is no ordinary S-Class. Initially revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year in concept form, the production version uses the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine from the S350, and is assisted by an electric motor. This boosts output by 20bhp to 299bhp and peak torque to 375Nm. Mercedes says the model can accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph. Competing with Lexus’ range of hybrid models, including the GS450h and LS600h, the S400 Hybrid will offer an impressive mix of performance, fuel economy and low emissions. It promises to return 36mpg combined and emit only 190g/km of CO2. The Mercedes features stop-start technology, while heat energy from the brakes is stored in lithium-ion batteries mounted in the engine bay. It isn’t the only low-emission luxury saloon the German manufacturer is planning. Mercedes will also launch a diesel version, which will be based on the S400 Bluetec Hybrid concept revealed at last year’s Los Angeles Motor Show. The new oil-burner will have a 265bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel to go with its electric motor, and return upwards of 40mpg. The firm will also launch a smaller S300 Bluetec Hybrid powered by a 2.2-litre four-cylinder oil-burner. This is due to arrive in 2010, while a luxury V8 petrol-hybrid flagship will round out the range.

First Sketch: Opel Meriva Concept

GM will debut its Opel Meriva Concept at the Geneva Motor Show in March, as a small monocab vehicle with styling elements from the GTC Coupe and Flextreme concepts of previous shows.
The Meriva Concept features extensive use of glass, giving all passengers better visibility -- a nice touch on what is essentially a design study for a European minivan. As we've seen in the past, GM's Opel models are starting to hit U.S. roads under the Saturn banner so we may well be seeing some of the Meriva's design features on upcoming stateside models.

Kamis, 07 Februari 2008

New Car: 2009 Acura RL

For the most positive change in the refresh of the 2009 Acura RL, the flagging flagship of Honda's luxury division that's making its production debut at the 2008 Chicago show, you'll need to look beyond its odd chrome snout and under the blow-formed aluminum hood. New for 2009 is the 3.7-liter, 300-horsepower VTEC V-6 that also powers the MDX, with 275 lb-ft of torque (up from 256 lb-ft on the 2008 RL) on tap.
In the "if it ain't broke, let's just make minor improvements" category, the engine is mated to an upgraded version of the Acura's Sequential SportShift five-speed automatic transmission that you can shift two ways: via F1-style steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters or the new straight-gate console-mounted gear selector. While adequate, we hope Acura is developing a six- or seven-speed transmission to better keep it inline with today's luxury competition. The RL's fuel-economy ratings check in a bit lower for 2009 at 15 city/22 highway.

Also updated for the 2009 RL is the automaker's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which is now "quicker-responding and better-performing," according to the automaker. The SH-AWD system employs torque vectoring to increase the rotation speed of the outside rear wheel during aggressive cornering maneuvers, enabling the car to turn more effectively under power, while reducing understeer and improving overall handling and cornering grip. While SH-AWD is by all accounts a solid system, most of the RL's main competition is rear drive. The system is rumored to be more rear-biased than before in an effort to play up more of a rear-drive angle.
A number of other changes also have been made to the car's fully independent suspension in an effort to improve the RL's handling, including the use of larger-diameter stabilizer bars, stiffer subframe mount bushings, higher-rate coil springs, and improved steering-rack components.

Eight colors are now offered for the RL, which has been restyled both front and rear. Acura says the sheetmetal changes lend the car a more athletic stance -- we're not so sure yet based on the photo we've seen so far (we'll have more shortly). Seven-spoke 18-inch rims shod with more aggressive Michelin Pilot HX P245/45R18 rubber are now standard equipment. Five of the colors are new and feature a pearl pigment process that Acura says improves luster and shine.
In the cabin, some much-needed room has been added for the rear-seat passengers, but Acura has not yet said how much. The front passenger seat has 10-way power adjustability and is ventilated, as is the driver's seat. Both driver and passenger are treated to softer armrests, redesigned air vents, and what Acura says is a more intuitive climate-control system. The steering wheel is fitted with a better quality wood and "metal-like" accents, with the latter also used on the new gauge cluster.

Rabu, 06 Februari 2008

New Car: 2009 Lancia Delta

The Lancia Delta is back! Following on from the Delta HPE concept car revealed at the 2006 Paris Motor Show, these are the first images of the production model.Set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month, the Delta will be Lancia’s first all-new model of this century. Measuring 4.5 metres in length, 1.8 metres wide and 1.5 metres high, the newcomer has a wheelbase of 2.7 metres.Inside, the cabin will be luxuriously trimmed. A hi-tech Bose Hi-Fi system is also fitted while a brand new Sat-Nav will also be offered. Buyers after peace and quiet can even enjoy a special sound absorbing headlining. Luggage space is enhanced by sliding rear seats, while the squab also reclines.Based on the same platform as the latest Fiat Bravo, the Delta will be available with a choice of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines providing between 120bhp and 200bhp.The new Lancia will be launched to the world’s motoring press in the summer. Expect the newcomer to spearhead the marque’s return to the UK towards the end of the year.Delta is not only one of Lancia’s best known names from the past, but it’s also a mathematical symbol that stands for change, difference and evolution.

Hot News: Next Generation of Opel/Vauxhall Meriva

Feast your eyes on the ‘Super Corsa’. This is Vauxhall’s striking new baby – a sleeker and more practical sister car to the popular supermini, which will offer buyers real flexibility and style when it goes on sale next year. Effectively replacing the Meriva in the firm’s line-up, the newcomer is a very definite step upmarket. It will go into battle with models such as VW’s Golf Plus, the MINI Clubman and Ford’s upcoming Fiesta-based MPV. As you can see from our exclusive pictures, which have been produced using insider information, the model drops the Meriva’s upright stance for something much more desirable. Its shape has been heavily influenced by the Flextreme concept, which debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show last September. At the front, the model has the same pronounced grille, faired-in headlights and raised bonnet edges – a look that will also appear on the Vectra-replacing Insignia (see our new spy shots on Page 14). Its flanks get the same bold cut-outs as the Flextreme too, but it’s the rakish roofline – complete with panoramic glass – and rising waistline, which runs to the angled C-pillars, that really mark the newcomer out. Together with a roof spoiler and a sharply styled rear, the design is sporty compared to the traditional look of the supermini-MPV Meriva.
In addition to our exclusive images, we can also reveal Vauxhall's first official sketch of the Concept Meriva. The drawing shows what to expect on the show stands of the Geneva Motor Show next month where the eye-catching hatchback will be revealed.Although our illustrations show a model with conventional back doors, there’s a possibility that the newcomer will feature Flextreme-style rear-hinged items to boost practicality. With suspension borrowed from the Corsa, the model will offer excellent agility and plenty of driver appeal. The newcomer will also use the super-mini’s engines, including 1.3-litre and 1.7-litre CDTI diesels and a 1.6-litre turbo petrol. All units will have stop-start technology to help to improve fuel economy and reduce CO2 emissions. Sales of the newcomer are scheduled to kick off in early 2009

New Car: 2009 Buick Lucerne Super

The Buick Lucerne Super -- with an MSRP of $39,395 including a $765 destination charge -- has the most expensive base price of any 2008 Buick. For the money, a Super driver gets a healthy dose of standard equipment, starting with a tweaked 4.6-liter Northstar V-8 engine delivering 292 horsepower, up from the Lucerne CXS's 275 horsepower Northstar, but curiously down eight horses on the 5.3-liter V-8 in the LaCrosse Super.
Nevertheless, the Lucerne Super is set apart from lesser Lucernes with its specially-calibrated version of GM's Magnetic Ride Control technology for reduced body roll, suede inserts in the interior, a leather-covered instrument panel with French stitching, and the larger chrome waterfall grille, which will likely be applied to all Lucernes soon. The Lucerne also comes with heated and cooled front seats, Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, XM radio, a nine-speaker 280-watt Harman Kardon audio system and floor mats embroidered with the Buick insignia.
Loaded Supers will be equipped with a Lane Departure Warning System, which uses a camera located between the rear view mirror and the windshield, to alert drivers they can't keep their Buick in one lane. Buick also offers the Side Blind Zone Alert, a radar-based system which can detect vehicles in a zone 11 feet on either side of the Lucerne and up to 16 feet behind the side mirrors. The system's sensors are located at the rear corners of the car.
Surprisingly, Buick lists 18-inch chrome wheels, a touch screen DVD-based navigation system, and even a power sunroof as "available features" we think should be covered in the MSRP, and no, using OnStar as a navigation system does not provide the same experience as having an in-dash screen like the one pictured below.
A V-6 Toyota Avalon is in the same price range as the V-8 Lucerne Super, but for those drivers who want a bit more exterior style with their full-size entry luxury sedan, the Buick makes a convincing argument.

New Car: 2009 Volkswagen Routan

The Volkswagen Routan makes its world debut at the Chicago Auto Show, begging comparisons with the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan with which it shares its underpinnings.
The newest entry in VW’s North American lineup clearly shows its German lineage with its VW grille which, along with the headlamps, differ greatly from the Chrysler vans.
The overall shape of the seven-passenger minivan strikes a middle ground between the curves of past-generation Chrysler minivans and the boxy profile of the 2008 model that has received mixed reviews. If you were looking for the VW Eurovan or Microbus to be resurrected, you will be disappointed.

But the silhouette of the Routan does have contemporary lines and a sexier roofline than the Chryslers, down to the rear spoiler. VW designers softened the squared back, although where the tailgate meets the load floor, inset from the rear bumper, looks to be the same.
A VW Minivan for Under $25,000
We expected top-notch materials in a high-end minivan from VW, and are surprised to learn the German automaker will offer an economical entry with a starting price under $25,000 (the cheapest Chrysler starts at $22,470, the lineup tops out at $36,400). But the center stack in our first look at the Routan reminded us of old-school Chrysler.
The Routan has second-row captain’s chairs, with almost 33 cubic feet behind the third row seats and a full 83 cubic feet available behind the second row. The Chrysler minivans offer Stow ’n Go second-row seats that fold into the floor, or Swivel ’n Go seats that turn to face the rear, with an optional table that fits between the two rows, which the Routan does not appear to have inherited.
The Volkswagen offers dual power-sliding doors with power windows, a power liftgate, and touch-screen navigation system with twenty-gig hard drive.
A minivan is a family room on wheels. To that end, the Routan has the prerequisite rear-seat entertainment system with two nine-inch screens for the second and third row, and wireless headsets.
Powertrain Partners
There is powertrain sharing as well. The Routan offers the top two engine choices found in the Chrysler minivans: the standard 3.8-liter pushrod V-6 (197 hp and 230 lb-ft of torque) or the newer and optional 4.0-liter V-6 (251-hp and 259 lb-ft of torque). Both are mated to a standard six-speed automatic transmission. When Chrysler introduced its new minivans last year, it was the first in the segment to offer a six-speed automatic.
Volkswagen says it gave the Routan a European-tuned suspension and steering optimized for handling and improved driving dynamics. Well, we’ll have to wait until we get behind the wheel to verify those bold claims. The minivan also comes with standard traction control and ESP.
Under the partnership between VW and Chrysler, the Routan will be assembled alongside Caravan and Town & Country minivans at the Chrysler plant in Windsor, Ontario. Prototypes (testers that are not for sale) have already been running down the line.
As for the name, it is the word “route” with the suffix “an,” following the pattern set by the Touran and Sharan, both European minivans, as well as the Tiguan small SUV.

Selasa, 05 Februari 2008

Spied: 2009 Porsche 911 Turbo

Nothing can stand in the way of the Porsche 911’s never-ending development – and the latest new version to be spied is the next generation Turbo.Our exclusive shots show an almost undisguised prototype out on test. Expected to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show later this year, the new range-topper will feature several styling tweaks as well as some mechanical upgrades.The most obvious change comes at the rear, where more shapely lights replace the existing units. Tweaks at the front have also been made to give the 911 a fresh appearance.Buyers can expect some trim upgrades on the inside, too.

Spied: 2010 Alfa Romeo 149

As the new Alfa Romeo 149 launch date approaches, engineers have taken to the road in the first prototypes. We were there to capture the moment on film!Ready to go on sale early in 2009, the newcomer will replace the 147, but bosses have their eye on more upmarket rivals. The premium three and five-door versions of Audi’s A3 and BMW’s 1-Series are both set to get a new rival.Priced from around £20,000, the 149 is still wearing test mule bodywork in these photos. However, the firm has already released two official computer generated images giving us a clue as to what to expect.Hoping to attract buyers in the 27 to 40-year-old age group, the 149 will be around 4.3 metres long and come with a wide range of engines.Basic variants will get 120bhp, while the four-wheel-drive GTA will provide 265bhp as Alfa bids to take on Subaru’s brand new Impreza STi and Mitsubishi’s Lancer Ralliart. Drivers are set to benefit from multi-link rear suspension, plus technology to improve body control when cornering.Before the 149 arrives, the firm will launch its new small hatchback – the Junior – this summer.

Spied: 2009 Audi A6

It’s one of the busiest design studios of any car maker, but Audi’s style centre has been working on yet another new model.This time it’s just a facelift, and it’s the A6 that is in line for a makeover. Having been on sale for three years, the four-ring executive model is due a nip and tuck as it won’t be replaced until 2011.Our exclusive spy shots from Northern Sweden show the revised saloon wearing a light disguise. The facelift will consist of a slightly redesigned front bumper, new rectangular fog lamps and bigger air-intakes left and right of the grille.Still disguised on this prototype are the LED day-time driving lights which debuted on the A4, A5 and all-new A3 Cabrio.

New Car: 2009 Ford Edge Sport

Ford’s Edge has been a welcome success for a company in downsize mode. The five-door, five-passenger crossover, which shares some mechanical bits with the Mazda 6, sold more than 130,000 units in 2007.
The Edge’s strong beginnings in the market are no doubt due in large part to its clean, subtle shape, which Ford hopes to improve on with the Edge Sport.

Revised front and rear fascias and new rocker trim are painted body color, instead of the dark strip currently rimming the Edge’s lower periphery, and polished dual exhaust tips poke out from the rear. Smoked head- and taillights set off the new bodywork.
Nothing says “sport” like big, heavy wheels, so the Edge Sport comes with 20-inch hoops wrapped in low-profile Pirelli Scorpion Zero rubber. Optional 22s keep the Edge Sport on level with the Cadillac Escalade’s available deuce-deuces and will no doubt degrade acceleration and braking performance further than the 20s.
Four exterior colors will be offered: blue, black, silver, and red. Regardless of exterior color choice, Edge Sports will wear a dark gray leather interior. Contrasting “suede-feel” inserts and light gray stitching trim the seats and the center console wears a faux etched-metal appliqué.
We’re fans of the Edge’s appearance, but also proponents of putting the 4500-pound ute on a diet. The Sport package deepens our affection for the styling, but the big wheels will likely exacerbate its already somewhat average performance.
Those who are light on the pedals and don’t care about performance (there are no boosts to the 265-hp V-6 in this package) as much as looking good will be able to buy an Edge Sport in this fall. No pricing yet, but we would hope the body kit doesn’t add more than a couple thousand dollars extra.

Minggu, 03 Februari 2008

Hot News: BMW's City Car is Go!!

A new range of city models is being planned by BMW, and they could be called Isetta after the famous bubble car of the Fifties.In Issue 989, we revealed how the firm was looking at the designs for such a vehicle (above). But now, it seems the project is being developed into a range of eco-friendly models to sit below MINI.Back in September, bosses announced plans for a fourth brand – and this is the clearest indication of what it will be. StrongAn insider revealed the range would be primarily designed for town use, but driver appeal would still be key. As with MINI, it would need a badge with a strong heritage. And while Isetta is the likeliest candidate, BMW has some classic British badges at its disposal – most notably Triumph.There has been speculation that BMW’s new range would be hybrids. However, our insider said: “That technology is reserved for larger models, such as our SUVs.”Instead, small turbo petrol and diesel engines would be used to help keep costs down, yet provide decent performance and excellent economy and emissions. This last feature is a key reason for BMW giving the city car project the go-ahead. It needs to reduce the average CO2 outputs from its vehicles to meet new EU targets

Spied: 2009 Mercedes M-Class Facelift

This is the new Mercedes M-Class, which was caught testing recently in Lapland.
Mercedes claims to be aiming for a 'more aggressive' look with the new M-Class, and these images show only minor alterations have been made to try and achieve it.
Most of the changes have been made at the front end, which sports a deeper bumper with more sculpted lines around the slightly larger, lightly revised grille.
Though they're disguised in these images, expect redesigned headlights to add to the new 'more aggressive' M-Class.
Changes to the rear are even less obvious, with mild alterations made to the bumper and LED lights added to the options list.
Interior changes will be more evident, with new seat design, leather dash and the latest Mercedes infotainment system seen in the recently revealed SL and SLK will also make an appearance.
However, the 3.0-litre V6 Blutec diesel engine that will form one of the most popular engines in the forthcoming M-Class range in the US, is unlikely to go on sale over here due to issues with making it conform to UK legislation.
Instead, the green option will arrive in the form of a hybrid model based on the ML450 concept seen at the Detroit motor show this year. The ML450 will utilise an electric motor teamed to a petrol V6, allowing pure electric power from low speeds.
The new M-CLass will to go on sale in September this year, with the hybrid ML450 likely to reach the UK in 2009.

New Car: 2009 Mitsubishi Galant

Despite the vehicle's official unveiling at the 2008 Chicago auto show next week, Mitsubishi has chosen to release images and information for its 2009 Galant ahead of schedule. A number of changes have been made for the new model year ranging from styling to equipment.
Most noticeable, the 2009 features a revised design with a completely redesigned front end. New hood lines, grille, and front intake all provide a slightly more aggressive look for the 2009 Galant, and the rear of the vehicle has its share of changes too. A revised bumper, rear deck, taillamps, and new rear glass all contribute to a wider-looking rear end. Fresh 17-inch wheels at all four corners and a new center high-mounted brake light considerably update the Galant's image.
A variety of trim packages is offered on the new Galant -- four in total. The range starts at the Galant ES and Sport Edition, both of which are 160-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder models. Two V-6 options are also offered: the 3.8-liter, 230-horsepower V-6 Sport model and the topline sport-tuned 3.8-liter 258-horsepower Galant Ralliart -- a true sport sedan said to give a 0-to-60-mph run in around six seconds. All models include a Sportronic automatic gearbox for 2009, the four-cylinder engines receiving four-speed units and the six-cylinder engines with five-speed 'boxes. All Galants also get a tire-pressure monitoring system standard for 2008, while the V-6 models also receive standard traction control.
New for the 2009 Sport models (both four- and six-cylinder) is a longer list of standard equipment that offers over a $1000 discount versus purchasing the included options separately. Those features include an automatic climate control system, eight-way power driver's seat, multifunction steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink garage door opener/transmitter, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, foglights, heated sideview mirrors, theft-deterrent alarm system, color-keyed rear spoiler, dark chrome headlamp reflectors, and an illuminated glovebox.
The Ralliart Galant also includes a Rockford Acoustic Design premium stereo (also standard on the Sport V-6), a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, perforated leather-trimmed seating surfaces, heated front seats, automatic climate control system, power glass sunroof, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink transmitter. Aluminum pedals and Micro-delta print accent panels are also included as standard equipment.
The 2009 Mitsubishi Galant will be available in all forms of trim this month at dealerships, and we'll bring you even more photos and information when we see the car in person at the 2008 Chicago auto show next week.

  1. Hyundai Genesis (31%)
  2. BMW X6 (18%)
  3. Dodge Ram (18%)
  4. VW Passat Coupe (18%)
  5. Toyota Venza (12%)
  6. Ford F-150 (6%)

Jumat, 01 Februari 2008

New Car: 2009 Renault Twingo RS

Is this the car that will save the reputation of Renault's baby? Following a lukewarm reception from city car fans, the firm's hopes rest on the hot Renaultsport version of the new Twingo to win customers over.
These are the first official pictures. As you can see, in RS form the Twingo is transformed from cute city car to aggressive hot hatch. Wider wheel arches feature all round, while low side skirts an oval exhaust complete the makeover.
Power comes from the firm's 1.6-litre petrol engine, tuned to produce 131bhp. Extensive chassis tuning has also been carried out to give the car the handling to match its feisty pace.
Renault describes its newest hot hatch to be "an affordable high performance car". Full performance details will be revealed when the car is revealed to the public at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
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