Selasa, 30 September 2008

Hot News Up Date: Aston Martin One-77

New pictures have surfaced online of Aston Martin’s sensational One-77 hypercar.
Along with these two new images, a document has emerged which purports to be a sales contract between Aston Martin and potential One-77 buyers.
There’s no way of verifying whether it’s real, but it does suggest new details about the car.
Excluding local taxes, the base price of the One-77 is claimed to be £1,050,000 – making it more expensive than a Bugatti Veyron. Selected customers can secure one with a £200,000 deposit, according to the document.

The leaked paperwork also states that the One-77’s engine is a 7.3-litre version of Aston’s V12, with around 700bhp on offer - not 650bhp, as was previously reported.
It’s also claims that the One-77 will have 550lb ft torque and that the gearbox is a six-speed automated manual unit.
And, as Autocar had previously reported, it’ll feature a retractable rear spoiler to aid aerodynamic downforce.
The One-77 is expected to use aluminium and carbon fibre extensively in production to keep kerb weight down to around 1500kg.
It’s brakes will be carbon ceramic and it will get adaptive suspension as standard.
For the time being, Aston Martin won’t confirm or deny any of these details about the One-77.
But with deliveries starting from the end of 2009, it won’t be long before we know more about the most opulent and fastest car the British brand has ever built. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

New Car: 2010 Mini Convertible

The new MINI convertible has sprung a leak! These low-res images have appeared on MINI blog website MotoringFile - presumably leaked by an insider at MINI, because they appear to be brochure scans.The open top MINI isn't due to make its debut until the Detroit Motor Show in January (leaving the Paris show limelight for the MINI Crossover Concept), but the car is evidently ready to hit showrooms now.As you can see, the look is very similar to the outgoing first-generation car, which has lasted well into the second-generation because it continues to sell well. MINI will, of course, point out the raft of changes that have been made when the car is unveiled, but the winning formula of the current Convertible remains largely intact - most notably the 'pram roof' that stows on top of the rear bulkhead.Major changes include a new pop-up roll bar in place of the fixed pair on the current car, and a new 'Always Open' display, which tells the driver how many miles they've done with the roof down.These pictures show Cooper and Cooper S Convertibles, but the complete range of engines powering the fixed head will appear in the rag top, meaning MINI One and Cooper D versions will appear too.

Hot News: VW Plans Three Hot Golfs

Autocar has learned that Volkswagen is planning to launch three all-new performance VW Golf variants within the next three years.
A performance diesel Golf – dubbed the GTD - is scheduled for launch in the spring of 2009. It will use the VW Group’s latest twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre TDI engine, offering in excess of 200bhp and 260lb ft torque.

VW bosses have wanted to deliver a diesel-engined GTI since the Mark 5 went on sale in 2003. The combination of stringent European CO2 laws, the current economic climate and the arrival of the latest twin-turbo TDI technology means that the VW Golf GTD is now a certainty.
VW is also looking at a Golf GTI ‘plus’ model. This harder-core version of the GTI will use a tuned version of the standard car’s 2.0-litre TSI engine to deliver up to 270bhp. It will also have a seven-speed DSG gearbox and a Haldex clutch providing non-permanent four-wheel-drive. This GTI ‘plus’ will replace the current-generation R32, although it also looks set to come close to entering the territory already occupied by sister company Audi’s S3.
The final new performance Golf is likely to be another ‘R’ variant, possibly the ‘R42’, which is pencilled in for a 2010 launch. This will use a 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine that will be shared with the forthcoming Audi TT RS, giving the Golf around 350bhp along with competitive fuel economy and CO2 figures.
According to Volkswagen insiders the spate of new high performance Golfs has been brought about by an influx of Audi engineers into Volkswagen, and a move to bring about more component sharing between the two companies. (Thanks to Autocar for News)

First Sketch: Lamborghini Estoque

Supercar fans take E-stoque...There's a new Lamborghini on the way!
This collection of teaser sketches apparently shows Lamborghini's forthcoming third model - reportedly a four-door supersaloon called the Estoque and set to compete with a new breed of family supercars spearheaded by the Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide.
Little is known about the new car at present, but this leaked sketch shows how it might look. The only official glimpses we've had of the car to date are via a set of teaser pictures showing close details, but revealing nothing of the final form of the car.
What is clear is that Lamborghini will unveil the new car at the Paris Motor Show, so we don't have long to wait before seeing the exciting newcomer in full.

Jumat, 26 September 2008

Spied: 2010 Audi A5 Cabriolet

The A4 isn’t the only Audi range that’s set to expand – as these grainy spy shots prove. This is the A5 Cabriolet, which will signal the end for the current A4 drop-top when it makes its world debut on the stands at the Paris Motor Show next month.

Our spies caught the cabrio on Switzerland’s mountain roads, and snapped it with its cloth roof down for the first time. Engines will be carried over from the A5 coupé range, with petrol units ranging from a 168bhp 1.8 to a 3.2-litre V6, along with 2.7 and 3.0-litre TDI diesels. An S5 is expected to follow later.

Sneak Peek: Mitsubishi Colt

As this teaser shot (above) shows, Mitsubishi is trying to keep us in the dark about one of its world debuts in Paris. But Auto Express can see beyond the smoke and mirrors!

The disguised car is the new Colt supermini – and the fresh front end brings it in line with the Lancer and Evo. It features the same grille, but has rounder bumpers and headlights to give a friendlier appearance.

With its copycat Evo looks, speculation is rife that Mitsubishi will produce a junior version of the rally-bred road car with more firepower than the current 147bhp Colt CZT. The 1.1, 1.3 and 1.5-litre petrol engines from the existing car will be carried over, though, joined by a 1.5-litre diesel promising CO2 emissions of less than 120g/km. UK buyers will get their hands on the updated Colt when it hits showrooms in the spring.

Kamis, 25 September 2008

Sneak Peek: SEAT Exeo

Seat have released several teaser images of its new mid size sedan, the Exeo, ahead of its unveil at next weeks Paris Motor Show. Due to go on sale throughout Europe in the first quarter of 2009, the Exeo is basically the previous generation Audi A4 (B6 generation 2000, B7 facelift 2004) that was replaced with the current car (B8 generation) in 2007.

As the images show, the Exeo will receive its own distinctive front and rear styling. The interior is not expected to drastically change from the A4’s, however this is no bad thing as the B6/B7 generation interior still looks contemporary today. And the build quality is second to none.

Hot News: Two Hybrids from Kia

Kia will unveil two new hybrid concept versions of the Soul and the Cee’d at the Paris Motor Show. Both cars use the same drivertrain, with a 1.6-litre petrol engine backed up by a 20bhp motor.

Both are ‘mild hybrids’ that work on the same principle as Honda’s Civic IMA, the motor provides assistance to the engine, but the car cannon run on electrical power alone. They use Kia’s new ‘Idle Stop & Go’ stop-start technology and a part-time alternator to help trim CO2 emissions to 117g/km for the Soul and 114g/km for the Cee’d.

Although the Cee’d was built for testing by Kia on the continent, there are no plans to bring the firms hybrid technology to Europe. The firm’s first production hybrid will be based on an as yet unspecified large Korean-market saloon with an LPG-powered petrol engine.

However the company has confirmed that we will get a stop-start version of the Cee’d early next year. This will be equipped with a new 1.4-litre petrol engine which will cut CO2 emissions to 137g/km. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

Spied: 2010 Fiat Doblo

It’s not the most exciting of vehicles, but our spy photographers have snapped the next-generation Fiat Doblo being put through its paces ahead of its launch next year.

As with the current model, both commercial and passenger versions will be available.

The new Doblo will be the bigger sister to the recently unveiled Fiorino Qubo and will compete against the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Renault Kangoo.

The engine range will be familiar from other Fiat offerings, with most versions likely to ship with MultiJet diesels.

The current Doblo was introduced in 2001 and, although it has sold steadily rather than spectacularly in Europe, it’s turned into something of a ‘world car’ in other developing automotive markets through localised production. Fiat currently builds it in Brazil, Turkey (with Tofas), Russia (with Severstal-Auto) and Vietnam (with Mekong).

A version of the Doblo is even sold in North Korea as the Pyeonghwa Ppeokkugi. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

New Car: 2009 Ford F-450 Harley Davidson

Ford realizes that most of its F-Series Super Duty customers buy their truck for work, not play, so the Dearborn automaker is giving them more standard options, more high-tech options, and two new special-edition trim packages. Model year 2009 will bring a new Cabela's FX4 model for outdoor enthusiasts and the first-ever F-450 Harley Davidson model called the "Big Hog Daddy."
The Cabela's FX4 expands Ford's partnership with outdoor-equipment company Cabela's and introduces a special trim level to commemorate the partnership. Outside, the Cabela's FX4 will be easy to spot thanks to its special two-tone paint scheme. The Cabela's FX4 comes in Ebony, Oxford White, Forest Green Metallic, Royal Red Metallic, and Silver Metallic, all with Sterling Gray Metallic lower body accents, running boards, and wheel-lip moldings. Cabela's trucks will also get Cabela's badging and special mudflaps to complete the look. Inside, riders will be treated to either cloth or leather seats with the Cabela's logo, all-weather floormats with the Cabela's logo, wood trim on the dash, and lockable storage in the front console and under the rear seats. Ford's internal documents show that 76% of F-Series buyers are also into hunting and fishing, so the company hopes this model will appeal to those outdoor enthusiasts.
For the first time, an F-450 will come with a Harley-Davidson package in 2009 known as the "Big Hog Daddy" (seriously). Like other Harley-Davidson F-Series trucks, the F-450 will have plenty of Harley-Davidson badges on the outside and the Harley-Davidson script on the side of the bed. Making it stand out even more are the blue flames emanating from the side vents and reaching down the side of the truck. Inside, the theme will carry on with blue flames on the gauges and instrument cluster, as well as perforated black leather seats, door panels, and center console with blue leather underneath that will show through the perforation.

Rabu, 24 September 2008

Sneak Peek Up Date: Lamborghini 'Panamera'

Lamborghini will unveil a shock new front-engined, four-seater at the Paris motorshow, Autocar has learned. It will be priced to compete with the likes of the Ferrari Scaglietti and forthcoming Aston Martin Rapide.
Lamborghini hasn't produced a four-seater car since the Espada of 1978, but the company has decided to join the growing trend for mega-luxury four-seaters among its rivals.
The car will use a V12 engine and have four-wheel drive, with its underpinnings rumoured to be based on Audi's spaceframe architecture.
Three 'teaser' shots of the car have been released so far, but we'll get to see the full production version at the show next week.
The car has been developed under tight secrecy at the personal behest of Ferdinand Piech, say well-placed insiders within the VW group. He seems determined to take the wind out of the sales of the rival Porsche Panamera, which doesn't go on sale until 2010.
We'll bring you the technical details when we get them, but expect a top speed on the far side of 200mph with 0-60mph in less than four seconds. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

New Car: 2010 Volkswagen Golf GTI

The latest VW Golf GTI, which is due to make its debut next week at the Paris motor show, uses the reskinned Golf's wide, shallow upper grille to underpin the front of the hot hatch with a dominant, road-eating lower grille.
"The effect is to visually widen the GTI to make it look much more aggressive and sporty," said exterior design chief Mark Lichte.
The aggressive styling of the new Volkswagen Golf GTI will become the family look for the next generation of GTI-badged Volkswagens.

This combination of design elements will become a consistent feature of all future GTI models, such as the Polo. "I'm not saying there will be a Scirocco GTI," explained Lichte, "but if there is, it would have the same graphic treatment."
The visual emphasis on the base of the front bumper changes the stance of the sixth-generation GTI, claims Lichte. To reinforce this, the foglamps have been repositioned at the extremes of the lower grille. "On the old car the fogs were about 150mm in from the headlamps; now they're outboard," he said.
Volkswagen believes that the Mk5 Golf GTI appeared taller than it was because of the front grille and dumpy, three-piece lower intake. But whether such changes are sufficient to distinguish the Mk6 GTI from the Mk5 remains to be seen.
New alloy wheels would have helped, but VW has decided to continue with the current five-hole alloys, adding a minor tweak. Instead of being finished with grey paint, they've got gloss black inside the holes.
A strong plus point is the Mk6's higher-quality interior. The Golf GTI builds on this with the extensive use of Audi-style illuminated switchgear and backlighting. Other parts such as the seats and steering wheel are carried over, but modified.
The flat-bottomed wheel is retrimmed with a different leather, while the seats get tweaks to the cushioning and trim material.
Other details that VW has worked on include the exhaust pipes. These have moved to the far left and right of the rear bumper moulding. "Large, single exhaust pipes positioned at the edges of the rear bumper will be a GTI feature in future," said Lichte.
A key aim has been to beef up the Golf shape without a body kit or spoilers. "We're really proud of the clean, simple shapes. We don't want unnecessary add-ons that increase weight."
When it goes on sale next spring, the new GTI will be powered by a version of the EA888 2.0-litre turbo engine used in the Edition 30 version of the Mk5 GTI, with 207bhp and 206lb ft of torque. In its latest guise the GTI covers the 0-62mph dash in 7.2sec and goes on to 149mph.
The Mk6 GTI will also benefit from DCC adaptive damping and VW's XDS electronic differential.A 265bhp, four-wheel-drive R version is expected later to replace the V6 R32. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

New Concept Car: Volkswagen Pick Up

Volkswagen is on a search and rescue mission! This is VW’s new Pickup concept, penned by a team led by ex-Audi design chief Walter de Silva, and set to go into production at the end of this year.When the Pickup hits showrooms early next year it will be the first of its type in Volkswagen’s lineup, joining the Caddy, Transporter and Crafter in the German maker’s commercial vehicles stable.The concept you see here is dressed up as a search and rescue (SAR) vehicle, but look through the decoration and you’ll see VW’s answer to pickups like the Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi L200 and Toyota Hilux. The newcomer’s combination of sharp styling and VW’s fabled bombproof quality should ensure it creates a real stir among these established rivals.Set to debut at the IAA commercial vehicles show in Hanover this week, the Pickup will be powered exclusively by familiar turbodiesel engines, though VW has yet to confirm exactly which they’ll be. A five-cylinder 2.5-litre TDI unit in various states of tune is likely, with outputs ranging between 108bhp and 161bhp.

Unofficial Picture: 2010 Renault Megane 3-Door

The Renault Mégane has leaked again! These grainy black and white images found their way onto the Internet today via the European patents office, giving us a complete look at the production-ready three-door hatchback.

Borrowing heavily from the Mégane Coupé concept, the three-door Mégane is set apart from the five-door with a steeply raked roofline, stronger shoulders above the rear wheelarches, and distinct taillights and headlamps.

The front bumper in particular separates the sporty three-door from the more family-oriented five-door version, with a pair of silver inserts following the flow of the headlamps over the grille, making the car appear lower and wider.

The bold, squared tailgate of the current Mégane has been ditched, in favour of a more curved look, with a shallow glass screen and high shoulder line.

Official images of the five-door Mégane’s cabin have already been unveiled, but whether the three-door’s interior will follow the blueprint of the exterior and feature unique architecture is unknown. Trim combinations distinct to the three-door, featuring aluminium effect inserts and darker colours, are the least that can be expected.

Due to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in October, these leaked images are the latest twist in the Mégane tale, after French motor magazine Auto Plus was raided by police following publication of leaked pictures of the Mégane last year. Renault filed a complaint citing breach of intellectual property, claiming it aimed only to root out the spy who leaked the pictures to the magazine in the first place.

But with the car so close to production now, these latest spies are unlikely to ruffle Renault’s feathers in the same way.

The new car sits on a revised version of the current Mégane’s platform, with an engine line-up similarly modified. The diesel crop will comprise six dCi engines, three of which will emit less than 120g/km of CO2, with power outputs ranging between 84bhp and 160bhp. Petrol power will start with a 99bhp 1.6-litre unit, peaking with 1.4-litre turbo TCe generating 178bhp. Of course, flagship Renaultsport versions will appear too, powered by both petrol and diesel.

With the newcomer’s Paris debut looming, it won’t be long before Renault unveils official pictures and specs, so keep coming back to Auto Express online for all the latest on this French stunner.

New Car: 2009 Bentley Arnage Final Series

Bentley is readying a Final Series model of its Arnage flagship that it will show at the 2008 Paris auto show. In addition to being a final sendoff for the old-school sedan —due for cancellation after the 2009 model year —the Final Series is the automaker’s celebration of 10 years of the Arnage, 50 years of its legendary V-8 powertrain, and 90 years of the marque itself.

The Final Series is based on the sporting Arnage T, meaning it receives the most potent version of the twin-turbocharged 6.75-liter —which Bentley has always insisted on refering to as 6¾-liter —V-8 producing 500 hp and cranking out a massive 738 lb-ft of torque. Also carried over are the T’s silky smooth six-speed automatic transmission and its chassis and running gear.

The exterior bears subtle hints that this car is the last of its kind, the most prominent being the “Final Series” badges on the front fenders. The wheels and tires are borrowed from the Brooklands coupe along with the “Le Mans” lower front fender vents. Other distinctive features include the body-color front and rear lamp bezels. To round off the look, Bentley throws in the retractable hood ornament and the jewel gas cap as standard equipment.

Inside, the Final Series wouldn’t be a proper tribute without an abundance of ultra-luxury features. There are handmade wood accents and hand-stitched leather surfaces. Up front are “Final Series” plates in the door sills. But the rear is where the party’s at. Back-seat passengers can celebrate with a stiff drink from a bespoke flask and shot glasses stowed in the cocktail cabinet. The picnic tables come in various veneers upon which to serve the hors d’oeuvres.

Handcrafted in Crewe, U.K., the Final Series will be limited to a run of 150 cars with pricing yet to be announced. Bentley is confident that it has created the perfect model to give the Arnage a grand farewell.

Meanwhile, a few details have emerged about the car’s successor, for which Bentley is expected to take full advantage of its VW/Audi partnership. Reports say that the next-generation Arnage will utilize Audi’s spaceframe technology as well as other new engineering techniques to shed weight. The Arnage may also lose its iconic powertrain in favor of one of Audi’s big 10- or 12-cylinder engines.

Selasa, 23 September 2008

New Concept Car: Chrysler GEM Pepod

Along with an electric sports car, minivan and Jeep, today Chrysler also unveiled a new all-electric car from their GEM subsidiary called the Peapod. The Peapod is first of a new generation of GEM electric vehicles that will be more user-friendly and more efficient.

"We have evolved the GEM design language to better reflect its eco-friendly performance and its upbeat, positive image," said Peter Arnell, Chrysler's Chief Innovation Officer who led the design process. "These vehicles use no gasoline and emit no pollutants. So whether it's a trip around the neighborhood or the drive to school or work, the GEM Peapod is the ideal way to contribute to a greener planet, and a healthy lifestyle."Unlike some past GEM vehicles, the Peapod is fully enclosed and designed to be more aerodynamic. Chrysler hasn't released any details about the Peapod's range or any new battery technology it may incorporate, but it's likely it will be an improvement over previous models. Chrysler has released some information about the driver comforts, though. The Peapod will have a built-in interface in the dash for your iPod or iPhone and will interface with the iPhone for hands-free calling. The seats will be made from a mesh material to allow better air circulation and will be made from eco-friendly and recycled materials.

GEM hopes to have the Peapod into production in 2009, and will follow it with more new models. For now, future plans include an electric light-duty commercial truck and a large city electric car with more range and performance, both of which GEM hopes to get into production next year along with the Peapod. Chrysler also announced today that the GEM name will be changed from Global Electric Motors to GreenEcoMobility, in what appears to be an obvious marketing stunt to cash in on environmentally-friendly buzzwords.

Senin, 22 September 2008

Hot News: Fiat Topolino to be Produced in Serbia

The forthcoming Fiat Topolino budget hatchback will be produced at the Zastava plant in Kragujevac, sources in Serbia have reported.
Fiat signed a memorandum of understanding with Zastava earlier this year, the Italian car maker planning to use Kragujevac’s under-utilised plant and local car-building expertise to increase production capacity.
Although Fiat has not confirmed that its new budget car will carry the Topolino name, the company has committed itself to creating a new ultra-cheap city car beneath the current line-up – and plenty of detail about the fascinating project has leaked out.
Insiders say the Topolino will be less than three metres long, and will be powered by a new two-cylinder petrol engine that will come in both normally aspirated and turbocharged form, producing around 65bhp and 90bhp respectively.
The new motor uses a cost-saving iron engine block in place of aluminium, but features Fiat’s innovative ‘MultiAir’ variable valve system, which should make it impressively clean: the company is believed to be targeting CO2 emissions of less than 90g/km.
When the Topolino goes on sale in 2010 it will be the first two-cylinder car to be sold across western European markets since the demise of the Citroen 2CV.
In richer markets it will be sold as a small, stylish city car – while in developing markets it will be pushed as a value choice, with pricing set to start at about €6500. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

New Car: 2010 Audi S4

Audi’s performance version of the excellent A4 is coming stateside in September 2009, about six months after the Europeans first get to snap it up. But everyone will get their first official look at the S4 and S4 Avant at the same time: in October at the 2008 Paris auto show. In the case of the S4 Avant, U.S. residents shouldn’t get too attached—unlike the last generation, we won’t get it here.
Key to the new S models is the redesigned 3.0-liter TFSI (supercharged) V-6 that generates 333 horsepower, replacing the 4.2-liter V-8 of the past. Horsepower is down slightly from 340 with the V-8, but the new engine makes up for it with 325 lb-ft of torque.
Audi claims the new engine will propel the sedan from 0 to 62 mph in 5.1 seconds and the wagon will do the dash in 5.2 seconds. Top speed is 155 mph. Channeling the power is Audi’s latest dual-clutch S tronic automated manual transmission, designed for quick and seamless shifts—this time with seven forward speeds instead of six. Shifts are accomplished either completely automatically, or via paddles or the shift lever. A six-speed manual is standard.
Torque is distributed between the rear wheels via a new “active sport differential” designed to combat understeer or oversteer by directing virtually all power to the outer rear wheel when needed. The differential is positioned in front of the clutch, allowing Audi to push the engine six inches forward and even out the axle loads, which the automaker says will increase stability as a result. We’ll get back to you after we’ve had some seat time.
The German automaker says it prefers the combination of gasoline direct injection and supercharging for the new V-6, as opposed to going the twin-turbocharger (both super- and turbocharged) route, saying the choice is superior “both in terms of packaging and of starting performance and responsiveness.” The other benefit is fuel economy: Audi says the S4 will average 24 mpg.

Jumat, 19 September 2008

Sneak Peek: Citroen GT Concept

This is Citroen's brand-new GT concept and it's set to make its debut at the Paris Motor Show.
We discovered this picture on the popular photo-sharing website Flickr and sources have confirmed the hi-res image was uploaded by Sony the result of its Gran Turismo roots.
This teaser is all that's available at the moment but there are believed to be more on the way very shortly, so watch this space...

Kamis, 18 September 2008

Hot News: Specs for ferrari FX150 Leak

We’ve already reported on sightings of development mules apparently being used to test the engine for Ferrari’s Enzo successor, but now a leaked internal memo has apparently given some details about the new car.
The memo first appeared on a Ferrari fan forum, and although it’s authenticity hasn’t been confirmed, it appears to have been sent from company president Luca di Montezemolo to Ferrari’s Chinese importer.

It is written in English and confirms that the new car, still codenamed ‘FX150’ will have 794bhp and use a mid-mounted turbocharged V8 engine. The 0-62 mph time is claimed to be just 2.7 seconds, while the top speed is quoted at 390km/h: a cool 242mph.
The memo says that the car will use an all-carbonfibre body and chassis, keeping weight down to just 1300kg, and will have a seven-speed ‘Superfast’ gearbox capable of changing gear in just 50 milliseconds. It concludes by estimating that the price will be in the region of €1.2-€1.3 million, and that the car will go on sale ‘circa 2009’.
Is it genuine? If not, it’s a very convincing forgery – and with specs as impressive as these we hope it’s the real deal. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

Spied: 2010 Audi A4 Allroad

Audi’s all-encompassing product strategy continues to throw out more unexpected niche products – with what appears to be a prototype for a new Allroad version of the A4 snapped by our spy photographers circulating at the Nurburgring.
Like this existing A6 Allroad, the A4 gets jacked-up suspension and butch plastic wheelarch extensions, with the prototype riding a couple of inches higher than a standard A4.
When backed-up by Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system, that should be enough to give it soft-roader levels of off-tarmac ability.

The mule is using standard A4 bumpers, but if it does go into production it will be certain to get chunkier mouldings similar to those of the A6 Allroad.
The big surprise is that the A4 Allroad prototype is a saloon, a car that’s extremely unlikely to go into production – both generations of the A6 Allroad have only been available with the Avant estate bodyshell.)
It’s possible that, as development of the car must have begun before the current A4 Avant was introduced, the decision was made to build the mule around a four-door shell.
The legend ‘Bosch ESP’ is visible below the registration plate – along with a small skid-plate – suggesting that this car is being used for stability control calibration.
Presuming the A4 Allroad does make it into production, it will fit into the Audi range between the Q3 and Q5 SUVs. Engines will be shared with the rest of the A4 range, and if Audi offers a version fitted with its new 2.0-litre common-rail TDI motor then the A4 should be more economical and better on CO2 than conventional SUV rivals. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

New Car: 2010 Pontiac G3

Expanding its portfolio in the rapidly growing small car segment, Pontiac announced plans to bring the sporty, five-door hatchback G3 to U.S. showrooms early next year. When it arrives, the G3 will provide Pontiac with a total of four vehicles capable of more than 30 miles per gallon on the highway.
Already successful in Canada (as the Pontiac G3 Wave) and Mexico (as a sedan model), the G3 offers an EPA estimated 27 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway while providing the best shoulder and hip room in the segment for seating five adults.
"The small car segment has literally exploded in recent months, with sales up nearly 33 percent in the first six months of 2008 alone," said Susan Docherty, vice president of Buick-Pontiac-GMC. "With its proven success in other markets, we felt the time was right to bring the G3 into the BPG portfolio for our U.S. customers."
The 2009 G3 will join the all-new 2009 Vibe (32 mpg) and recently enhanced 2009 versions of the G6 sedan (33 mpg) and G5 coupe (37 mpg) in Pontiac's "Over 30" club.
"More than ever, fuel economy is an important factor in Pontiac's formula of style and performance," said Docherty. "The Vibe, G3, G5, and G6 prove that you don't have to sacrifice sporty design and responsive driving to achieve impressive fuel economy."
Generating 106 horsepower (79 kW), the G3's 1.6L Ecotec four-cylinder engine is mated to a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission. It will also feature an unusually rich mix of standard features for an entry-level car, including air conditioning, a CD/MP3 audio system with auxiliary input jack, fog lamps, rear spoiler, OnStar, and a host of standard safety features, including four airbags, that gain the G3 a five-star frontal crash rating.
Interior space is optimized to comfortably seat five adults, including "theater"-style seating for rear seat passengers. The rear seats also feature a 60/40 split to offer up to 42 cubic feet of cargo space.
The Pontiac G3 will arrive in U.S. showrooms in spring 2009 as a 2009 model and will be backed by GM's five-year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. Pricing will be announced closer to introduction.

Spied: 2010 Range Rover

Our spy photographers have grabbed these shots of a slightly facelifted version of the Range Rover.
Following on from the Discovery’s recent mild makoever, Land Rover is giving the Rangie a similar visual going over, with the mild disguise suggesting new headlamps, radiator grille and front bumper – with the arrival of LED tail lights at the rear. Externally, the rest of the car remains unchanged.

The Range Rover is the oldest car in Land Rover’s portfolio, having been introduced in 2001 – after being developed during BMW’s ownership of the brand. It’s already had one mild refresh and this one will take it through to 2012, when an all-new aluminium-bodied Range Rover is scheduled to arrive. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

Selasa, 16 September 2008

Hot News: Lamborghini to Introduce All New Car in Paris

Ahead of the Paris Auto Show, Lamborghini has released a mysterious picture of an all-new car set to debut at the show.
Like Porsche’s recent Panamera teaser, Lamborghini’s being secretive. The lone, tightly-cropped press image shows that the car will feature a carbon-fiber rear diffuser—like most modern supercars—and twin hexagonal exhausts, but not much else. Lambo’s ten-word press release doesn’t elucidate anything more, with the cryptic line: “It’s not just a new Lamborghini. It’s a new world.”
Our best guess is that this is the long-rumored four-seat Espada. Lamborghini promises to release full pictures and details October 1, and we’ll let you know then.

New Car: 2009 Citroen C4

Citroen released pricing and specs for its redesigned European market C4 model slated to go head-to-head with the venerable small cars lineups from rivals Ford and Opel/Vauxhall. Key to its efforts in the economy car segment are two new gasoline engines co-developed with BMW that are said to be extremely fuel efficient and low-polluting.

Under the revised, more rounded hood lies a choice of five engines. For the gasoline variety, Citroen offers a 1.6L four-cylinder in either a 120 hp naturally-aspirated or 150 hp turbo application. The gasoline engines achieve a respectable 42.2 mpg and 40.9 mpg in combined European cycle. Three diesel powertrains include the all-new 2.0L HDi turbo, 1.6HDi (92 hp) and 1.6HDi (110 hp). Combined with a six-speed manual gearbox, the 2.0L unit gets 53.3 mpg on combined Euro cycle. On the exterior, designers incorporated clear crystal tail lamps out back to update the car's look, as well as new 16-in. and 17-in. alloy wheels. Two body colors, Borrasque and Recif Blue, have been added to the car's color palate. Below the curvier hood rests repositioned Chevron badging. Directional headlamps, front and rear parking assist, lane departure notification and integrated air freshener are available on the mid-cycle refresh

Within the cabin, drivers will first find the tachometer moved to the translucent central display. Plush leather grain has been employed on the dashboard and various door inserts to give the C4 a more upscale, contemporary feel. Prices for the 2009 Citroen C4 start at 12,695 pounds ($22,838) for the five-door hatchback and top out at 18,895 pounds ($33, 992) in coupe form.

Senin, 15 September 2008

Hot News: Cadillac's 3-Series Rival is Go

The BMW 3 Series-size Alpha RWD Cadillacs are scheduled for the 2011 model year to replace the failed Epsilon front-drive Cadillac BLS in Europe while expanding the division's car lineup in North America. The Cadillac Alphas will include a sedan and either a folding hardtop coupe, or a conventional coupe and convertible.
Meanwhile, the program to combine the STS and DTS models into one, rear-wheel-drive flagship sedan, codenamed DT7, is on hold. Cadillac has recently locked in the DT7's design, but is waiting as GM now considers the proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations and capital conservation implications of building the car.
That means without further delays or cancellation, the DT7 will launch for the 2012 model year, instead of '11. That also separates its timeline from the more eco-friendly Chevy Volt and Cruze launches, due in 2010 as '11 models.

Hot News: Peugeot PROLOGUE at Paris Motor Show 2008

It would be unnatural for a French automaker to not bring something significant to its home auto show - in this case, the Paris Motor Show. To that end, Peugeot will be showing off its latest hybrid concept, the PROLOGUE, and though we don't have many details yet, we do have a preliminary image of what the car will look like.
With a steeply-raked windscreen, and a bold front end with a gaping central grille and angular headlights, the PROLOGUE's aggressive details may seem a bit optimistic, considering the car's hybrid powertrain, five-door bodywork, and almost SUVish profile. But after learning that the internal-combustion and electric units combined are good for a full 200 hp, the car's design begins to make a little more sense. Peugeot claims ultra-low emissions with the combustion engine activated, and an electric-only mode which produces zero emissions.

Unofficial Picture: Saab 9-X Air

Not one to miss a good auto show, Swedish automaker Saab will be on hand in Paris next month to unveil its latest concept, known as the Saab 9-X Air. Essentially a roofless version of the 9-X BioHybrid concept shown in Geneva earlier this year (pictured below), the new concept features much the same styling, retaining a wraparound windscreen in its topless configuration. Aero-X styling cues are notable up front and Saab's "ice block" headlight and gauge cluster design is present. The photo shown comes from a GM presentation earlier today that our very own Todd Lassa attended.

Powering the Saab 9-X Air concept is the same 1.4L BioPower bioethanol turbo engine that formed the internal-combustion half of the original 9-X hybrid concept. Thus far, that's all we can confirm about the concept, except to say that Saab is planning a production Saab 9-1 and 9-1X (AWD) small car for the European market that is said to borrow heavily from the 9-X in the size and styling departments. Expect to see that car hit cross-pond roads around 2012, but we wouldn't hold our breath waiting for a convertible version that keeps the same windscreen. The frameless, wraparound glass looks way to cool to be production-viable.

Sneak Peek: 2010 Porsche Panamera

Porsche has finally released an official photo of its long-awaited four-door sports car, the Panamera. The image shows the nose and wheel of a Panamera alongside Porsche’s four other model offerings, the Boxster, Cayman, 911 Carrera, and Cayenne.
Unfortunately, the teaser shot doesn’t reveal much we haven’t already seen in spy photos showing an almost-undisguised Panamera caught testing. Porsche says that this “limited view” highlights how Porsche-like the Panamera will be, but we’d like to see the entire car before passing judgment.
Panamera fans can visit, a new website replete with videos and blurbs about the car. Sadly, there are no additional pictures of a production-ready car. The site touts the Panamera as a sports car in keeping with typical Porsche tradition, using the tagline, “Four, uncompromised.”
Visitors to the site can also sign up to be included on a mailing list in order to get updates on the Panamera’s march to production—not unlike Ford’s website for the 2010 Mustang. Starting Oct. 20, Porsche will begin placing ads in newspapers and magazines, which will also only show the Panamera’s nose.
Check back here soon for more info as the Panamera marches toward its fall 2009 on-sale date.

Sabtu, 13 September 2008

Hot News: Lexus IS Loses Its Roof

Lexus will launch an IS 250 convertible in the UK next summer, and the car will be revealed at the Paris Show next month.
Badged IS 250 C, the fresh-air IS will use the same 2.5-litre V6 as its saloon stablemate and will feature a folding-metal roof, like the original LF-C concept (pictured) and the Lexus SC.
Despite the arrival of the newer IS open-top, Lexus will keep the seven-year-old SC in production for at least another 18 months. Global sales of the SC are under 6000 units per year, with 4000 of those in the US.
The new all-wheel-drive Lexus LS 460 will also be on show at Paris. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

Hot News: Ford Acts on Lincoln

Ford Motor Company president of the Americas Mark Fields has confirmed that Lincoln will sell the Ford Flex-based MKT crossover next year after a January Detroit show reveal. Lincoln showed the concept last January at Detroit. And Lincoln will unveil a refreshed MKZ at the Los Angeles auto show in November.
While an embargo prevents us from saying too much about these two models, we can say it looks like Lincoln will try to fill the price and prestige gap between Buick and Cadillac. While Lincoln would like to compete with Cadillac, it won't go after the European business the GM brand covets. Lincoln's reliance on front-drive platforms with AWD variants places it a half-notch below its American competitor.
Like the concept, the production MKT will have the 1941 Continental-style bow-wave grille first seen on the MKS and destined to become a Lincoln signature face, a chamfered surface parallel to the beltline and a thick C-pillar, with very little other than overall dimensions to hint at its connection with the Flex. It will come in six- or seven-passenger variants and will add a plethora of high-tech conveniences, including Blind Spot Monitoring and Cross Traffic Alert System. The latter uses two multibeam sonar modules in the rear quarter panels that alert the driver with an indicator light on the corresponding outside mirror when another vehicle enters the blind-spot zone.
Fields says the Mercury will go after less volume than Lincoln, with fewer models at lower prices. Alan Mulally's plans to bring in European Fords would seem to make badging the Mondeo as a Merc a natural, although Fields hinted against it. In Ford dealers, the smaller Mondeo would have to be priced above the Taurus in order to be profitable, but it would share the showroom with the Taurus and Fusion. In L-M dealers, Mercury could pull the Sable (which has no 2010 replacement anyway) and the Milan and use that space for the Mondeo.

Jumat, 12 September 2008

Spied Up - Date: 2010 Saab 9-4x

This is Saab’s long-awaited 9-4X ‘crossover’ SUV, now less than a year away from showrooms.
The 9-4X is a sister car to Cadillac’s upcoming SRX; both vehicles will be built at a GM plant in Mexico. Similar in size to a Volvo XC90, though it’s expected to be strict five-seater, the 9-4X is an absolutely crucial model for Saab in North America as buyers shift from traditional, truck-based SUVs to lighter and more fuel efficient car-based SUVs.

The 9-4X and SRX are based on GM’s new Theta chassis and get all-wheel drive. More upmarket versions of the car will have the option of Saab’s XWD system, which uses two clutches to individually distribute the engine’s torque between all four wheels.
The 9-4X’s styling has been made more svelte compared to the original concept version shown earlier this year. It will also get a distinctive wrap-around dash which builds on Saab’s interior design language.
The most popular engine option in the US market is expected to be Saab’s turbocharged four-cylinder unit, rather than a traditional, but much thirstier, V6. Four-cylinder diesels will be offered in Europe.
By building the 9-4X in the Americas, Saab is expected to realise a decent profit on every example sold. Exporting the 9-3 and 9-5 from Sweden to the US has long been a financial disaster for the firm, because of the strength of the Swedish Krona against the dollar. Equally, by building the 9-4X in dollars and exporting it to Europe should also make the 9-4X profitable in Europe.
Saab’s US dealers currently sell the 9-7X SUV, which is based on GM’s GMT360 truck chassis and is effectively a made-over version of the Chevrolet Trailblazer. Launched in 2005, the 9-7X was designed a quick-fix for Saab dealers in the US, desperate for an SUV model.

Hot News: 2010 Citroen C3 Hatch

Citroen is aiming to introduce its new C3 hatchback by the beginning of 2010. The new Citroen C3 will take design cues from the recently revealed C3 Picasso MPV but still keep its own individual design.
“We do not want to produce Russian dolls,” said Carlo Bonzanigo, head of concept design at Citroen, “and as long as we communicate clearly the values of the Citroen brand then we have a lot of freedom of design.”
The company is remaining tight-lipped about the new Golf-rival, but expect it to be smaller and lighter than the current C3. Citroen is also making a push towards “a more upper-class, premium feel” across the range, according to Bonzanigo, so expect a big improvement in materials, layout and usable space inside the next C3.
The stop-start system already in use in the current C3 hatch will also appear in the next-generation model and the new C3 Picasso. (THanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

Spied: 2010 Fiat 500 Convertible

Our spy photographers have snapped the new Fiat 500 cabriolet out testing.
Fiat is striving to sneak the new 500 Convertible under the £10k barrier to make it one of the cheapest soft-tops on sale in the UK. According to Fiat’s head of marketing, Luca de Meo, the open-top 500 is likely to carry a 1500 Euro premium over a 500 hatchback. Translated into Sterling With the Fiat 500 hatchback ranging in price from £8100 to £10,900, Fiat could sneak the 1.2 Pop drop-top under £10k, not quite low enough to beat a £9245 Smart ForTwo Cabrio but just enough to undercut the £10,199 Mitsubishi Colt current rates, that’s around £1200 extra.

The 500 soft-top will have a simple roof mechanism to keep costs down, just like the original 500 and its predecessor, the Topolino.
Both of those cars featured a fabric roof and rear screen that folded away on rails supported by the original car’s pillars and side windows.
That’s the system that Fiat is engineering for the new 500 convertible, as can be seen on the spy pictures, which show the side structure and glasshouse of the hatch intact.
To keep the folding system simple, the roof stacks on top of the rear parcel shelf, rather than slotting into a storage bin. That allows Fiat to retain the lower part of the existing hatch pressing and to hinge it from the parcel shelf.
The roof is understood to have a manual operation, again to keep costs down, although a powered option is likely.

Kamis, 11 September 2008

Hot News: Return of Porsche 914

With the recent announcement by Volkswagen chairman Martin Winterkorn that VW will unveil a sports car concept at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show in November, it appears that the German automaker has once again resurrected its plan to build an affordable midengine coupe and roadster.
But even bigger news could be coming from VW's new masters, er, partners at Porsche. Inside sources say that VW's majority shareholder is said to have shown strong interest in the same project -- opening the door for a possible revival of the 914.
The original 914 -- Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year in 1970 -- was sold in the U.S. from 1969 to 1976, and was a collaborative effort between Volkswagen and Porsche. The guiding force behind the 914 project at the time was none other than Dr. Ferdinand Piech, now the head man in Zuffenhausen and the driving force behind the takeover of VW.
According to reports, the Volkswagen model will borrow heavily from VW's vast parts bin in order to keep development costs low. The new VW coupe and roadster have been described as cars designed to be stylish and lightweight but, at the same time, offering sporty performance in combination with all important fuel economy.
Based on a midengine, rear-wheel-drive layout, two four-cylinder powerplants are said to be under consideration: a 170-horsepower version of the 1.4L twincharger TSI gasoline mill, and a new 125-hp, 1.6L TDI common-rail diesel engine, both mated to VW's new seven-speed DSG gearbox. The model could possibly be assembled in Germany by VW's longtime partner Karmann, also another key player in the original 914's production.

The new car is expected to be less than 2200 lbs and VW is reportedly inquiring with fellow VW Group member Audi about aluminum space frame construction. The collaboration could also mean that a much rumored Audi R4 version could also be potentially on the horizon.
The VW project is resurfacing for the fifth time in five years but insiders are expressing optimism that the car will finally make it into production this go round. Depending on the public's acceptance of the L.A. show concept, the new car could be in showrooms by as early as 2011.
As for the Porsche model, any 914 would almost certainly have one of the automaker's flat sixes on board, with the 2.7-liter base engine from the Boxster being the most likely candidate. Rumors have also been circulating recently about the possibility of Porsche returning to four cylinder power, with the 914 being an extremely logical candidate for an engine smaller than six cylinders. The original four cylinder 914 was more popular than the six.
Porsche has continued to expand from its 911 base with the Cayenne and the coming Panamera, and the addition of a model priced below the Boxster could be just what the Dr. (Piech) orders.

New Concept Car: Renault Onedelios

This is Renault's Paris motor show-stopper, the Onedelios. Described by the French brand as its "vision of the high-end crossover", the new concept is a six-seater (three rows of two) that attempts to recreate the 'perks' of long-haul business travel in a car.
As such, the Onedelios is large - 4.8 metres long and 1.6 metres high, with 23-inch wheels - and its interior has more than a little 'aviator' about it; the six seats are individually adjustable, taking occupants into business class-like reclining positions.
From behind the wheel, the Onedelios has typical concept features such as a triple-strip display, a digital speedometer and a monitor that displays menus and pictures from the door-mirror cameras. The passengers all get individual Samsung multimedia devices, too, with seat-integrated headsets. Access to the vehicle is via a mobile phone that acts as a hands-free key, and roof-hinged gullwing doors.
Patrick Le Quement, Renault's design director, says that the Onedelios's styling is "inspired by motion rather than speed", but we think there are shades of the Bertone's 1950s BAT concepts in its front end. Despite its blunt nose, it's pretty aerodynamic; its drag co-efficient is just 0.29.
As is now seemingly the norm for concept cars, the Onedelios uses a hybrid powerplant; Renault's system mates a 201bhp version of the firm's 2.0-litre dCi diesel powerplant with two 20kW electric motors at the front and rear. The electric systems give the engine extra power when required, and recover energy during braking, and the rear-mounted motor can drive the rear wheels when the ESP detects a loss of traction, giving the Onedelios four-wheel drive capability.
The powertrain is coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, allowing the Onedelios to crack 0-62mph in 7.8sec while returning 63mpg and emitting 120g/km of CO2. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

New Car: 2009 Honda City

Forget about the City. Honda is about as likely to import the City subcompact sedan to the U.S. market as it is to introduce a production-ready Accord convertible at the L.A. Auto Show.

Still, the City -- now in its third generation with the car pictured here -- sells in 39 countries. Honda says it sold its one-millionth City at the end of May 2008.The new City goes on sale today in Thailand, one of seven countries in which the car is currently produced. You'll also find City factories in the Philippines, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, China, and Turkey. Once the second plant in Thailand opens in late October, Honda will have a 240,000 City capacity.Emerging markets may be the primary target for the City, but like the U.S. specification Fit, the car is powered by a 1.5L i-VTEC engine. Customers choose between an automatic or manual five-speed transmission. In Thailand, the base price of the city is 524,000 baht, or about $15,150 U.S. dollars.

Compared to the Fit, the City is about 11 inches longer, two inches shorter, and the same 66.7-inch width.Honda wants to sell 90,000 Fits in the U.S. by the end of 2008. Would the addition of the City help Honda push its U.S. subcompact presence over 100,000 units? How well might the City fit into the inexpensive end of Honda's lineup?

New Concept Car: Mercedes ConceptFASCINATION

This may just be the sexiest station wagon ever.
Technically, with just two doors instead of four, Mercedes-Benz’s Paris auto show design study is a shooting brake and not a wagon, but it is a looker nonetheless. The angular, businesslike nose isn’t too dissimilar to current Mercedes-Benz models, while a sharply sloped roof and chunky rear haunches make for an aggressive stance. All the side windows are frameless, à la CLS-class, and can be lowered all the way.
Things look just as good on the inside. The cabin is decked out in walnut wood trim, aluminum, and leather. The cargo bay is exquisitely finished but poorly adapted for hauling. It has a wooden floor with aluminum rails to prevent scratching, and there’s 11 square feet or so of floor space for hauling stuff.
Compartments in the cargo area conceal two pairs of binoculars and a high-end digital camera. Mercedes says these are “the perfect equipment for a day at the races, for example.” The bay also houses a smoked-glass table that hides a humidor and refrigerator. The table slides to the rear of the car for picnicking, presumably with cigars and champagne.
No concept is complete without a panoramic glass roof, and the typical Mercedes two-bulb headlight design has been squared off into rhomboid shapes now employing LED bulbs with fiber-optic running lights.
The ConceptFASCINATION is powered by a 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder. The engine boasts Mercedes’s BlueTec and AdBlue planet-saving technology and produces 204 horsepower.
Mercedes says the underpinnings of this concept will be the basis for the next-generation E-class. It’s doubtful that toys like the humidor and LED headlights will make production, but we’re crossing our fingers in hopes that the sleek lines will one day sit in Benz dealerships, and we’re confident that the front-end styling provides more than a hint at the look of the new E-class.
We don’t expect an official look at the new E-class until next year’s Geneva auto show, with sales beginning in fall 2009.

Selasa, 09 September 2008

First Sketch: Mini Crossover

BMW-owned Mini has been hinting for a while that it might branch out into other genres, with the Clubman being its first effort, growing beside the Cooper line. Today, Mini has released sketches and renderings of a possible crossover vehicle that we've heard the company has been considering for some time.

The imaginatively named Mini Crossover Concept is an AWD vehicle that's been stretched in all directions. It is slightly longer and wider than the Clubman and rides higher than any other Mini product. The vehicle will, if it ever becomes a physical concept car, offer a host of new features. Running the length of the four-seat vehicle between the seats will be a tie-down bar for securing cargo, and most of the roof will open up to let in the sun or haul long items. The roof will also have racks for carrying more cargo and the car will have an optional add-on cargo container that attaches to the rear. On the passenger's side, the Crossover Concept will have two standard doors, but on the driver's side, the rear door will slide to allow easier cargo loading and unloading. The rear hatch will be a single side-hinged door with a retractable window.

Inside, most of the vehicle controls will be integrated into a unique, touch-sensitive, sphere-shaped interface in the center console called the Center Globe. It will be controlled by buttons and sliding switches on the lower part of the Globe, as well as a keyboard that extends out of the dash for the passenger. The driver will also have control of the interface via a trackball on the steering wheel. We hope it's easier to use than iDrive, but we're not counting on it.
Difficult-to-describe control interfaces aside, the Crossover Concept is an intriguing vehicle, even if it is outside of Mini's normal vehicle range. Is this one worth pursuing, or should Mini concentrate on cars instead? Tell us what you think in the comments below.We'll see the Crossover Concept at the Paris show, where Mini will no doubt share more details about how much of this concept we'll see in a future production vehicle.

Spied: 2010 Ford Mustang Convertible/Shelby GT500

The 2010 Ford Mustang continues to be seen with less and less camouflage as its launch date sometime during the coming auto show circuit approaches. Most recently, a barely-disguised prototype was captured on camera by a sharp-eyed novice. A similarly undisguised prototype of a new Shelby GT500 Convertible was caught testing as well by the veteran shooters at KGP photography.

What can be gleaned from these latest shots are new headlights with integrated amber lights and more rounded taillights in less blocky front and rear ends. While the retro style is definitely still there, the 2010 Mustang is more refined and modern looking than the 2005 design.

The Shelby gets more pronounced front end changes than the regular Mustang, featuring a larger hood bulge to accommodate what should be a supercharged V-8 (the current car has a blown 5.4-liter on board), revised hood ducts, and possibly fender vents -- a design touch currently en vogue at the Blue Oval.
The interior will get some subtle updates as well, which can be seen HERE. These include new air vents, new gauges, and a new steering wheel, but so far Ford has been able to keep a tight lid on all engine information.

New Car: 2011 Chevrolet Volt

Take a look at the production version of General Motors much-touted plug-in electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, due to go on sale in November 2010. GM certainly didn't want you to see it just yet: these photos were mistakenly posted on the Volt's dedicated media site in an apparent mix-up ahead of the car's official debut, and they have since been pulled down.
The photo gallery looks like a calendar, with proud GM execs posing by the car. The Volt is propelled by an electric motor—on which it can exclusively run for about 40 miles—with a small gasoline engine to recharge the batteries and extend the range to about 400 miles. Plugging in the car recharges the batteries between uses.
The full images of the Volt confirm what the teaser shots foretold: it is much more conservative than the concept that bowed amidst a media frenzy at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Gone are the squinting headlamps and three-dimensional grille of the concept, but the front is unmistakably Chevy. The overall car looks a bit like a nondescript compact but with a lower opening to feed and cool the massive battery pack and the small engine/generator. It appears black plastic has been used to mimic the neat, curved side windows of the concept.
We know the focus is on the alternative powertrain, and it appears GM has concluded that styling must be distinct, but not necessarily sexy, as evidenced by the popularity of the Toyota Prius hybrid and the copycat Honda Insight hybrid.
While the cat is out of the bag on the Volt, GM will continue the hype tour with the first real showing of the Volt to employees and media as part of the automaker’s 100th anniversary celebrations in Detroit in mid-September. The public will get its first look in October at the 2008 Paris auto show.

Hot News: Volvo Into 'Eco' Mode

Volvo has introduced ‘green’ versions of the C30, S40 and V50 coming to the UK next year. Called DRIVe, the efficiency package will be officially unveiled at next month’s Paris motor show.
Working on the same principles as Ford’s Econetic and VW’s Bluemotion, Volvo has equipped the models with various aerodynamic tweaks, the most striking being the odd-looking wind-resistant alloy wAll three DRIVe Volvos are powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine (the same as that in the Focus Econetic) mated to a high ratio gearbox. Volvo is claiming over 60mpg and sub-120g/km for all the models.
Other additions like a lowered chassis, covered radiator grille and low resistance tyres reduce drag, thus increasing range and reducing consumption.
A spokesperson for Volvo UK said that UK deliveries would begin in January and the cars would cost between £122 and £366 more than regular Volvos. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

Senin, 08 September 2008

Spied: 2010 Porsche 911 GT3

If you were holding out for a next-gen 911 GT3 that was radically different than its predecessor, you may be out of luck. We've just received photos of the new 2010 Porsche 911 GT3, and from what we can glean, it's certainly evolutionary.
Perhaps most evolutionary is the GT3's exterior. While our spies report the front fascia differs little from the current GT3, changes at the aft end are equally miniscule. Most visible are the new upswept taillights (introduced on the 2009 Porsche 911), as well as a smooth rear bumper, now devoid of scoops or flared surfaces. These prototypes also wear a smaller rear spoiler, which resembles the single-plane wing of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
Those changes are hardly earth-shattering, but those beneath the surface may be. We're expecting to see direct fuel injection, introduced with the 2009 Porsche 911, added to the next GT3. Although early reports suggested the new fuel delivery system would be fitted to the current GT3's 3.6-liter flat-six, rumor has it Porsche's looking at a high-horsepower version of the larger 3.8-liter flat-six out of the new 911. Either way, look for the new GT3 to produce significantly more power, perhaps in the neighborhood of 440 hp.
Speculation still surrounds the implementation of PDK, Porsche's dual-clutch seven-speed transmission. Although early speculation suggested mating the PDK transaxle with the GT3's 3.6-liter engine posed numerous headaches, new reports suggest those issues were solved by switching to the 3.8-liter engine.
While the 2009 Porsche 911 will slowly make its way to dealers this fall, look for the 2010 Porsche GT3 to be unveiled at either the 2009 Geneva or Frankfurt motor show, and reach dealers by early 2010.

New Car: 2010 Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion

Volkswagen has released details of its new Golf BlueMotion concept.
The eco-hatchback uses a 1.6-litre common-rail diesel engine producing 104bhp and 184lb ft of torque, an identical output to the current 1.9-litre Golf BlueMotion.
The new, smaller capacity engine also improves on emissions and economy, achieving 74.3mpg combined and 99g/km of CO2 – figures that beat the current model by 11.5mpg and 20g/km, and match the smaller Polo BlueMotion.
As with all of the BlueMotion models, the Golf concept uses improved aerodynamics, revised gear ratios and low-resistance tyres to achieve its green credentials. Performance is reasonable, with 0-62mph covered in 11.3sec and a top speed of 117mph.
Though the new VW Golf BlueMotion is officially dubbed a concept, the production car will be almost identical when it goes on sale in summer next year, following the launch of the new Golf in January. (Thanks to Autocar for News and Pictures).

First Sketch: Opel/Vauxhall Astra

Details may still be sketchy, but Auto Express has got these exclusive teaser images of Vauxhall’s new Astra.
The next Astra will take styling inspiration from the recently revealed Insignia – so the ‘blade’ and ‘wing’ themes found on that car will feature prominently, as owner General Motors seeks to take the fourth-generation model upmarket.
As these teaser sketches show, Vauxhall has followed the VW Golf by evolving the current Astra’s styling, rather than coming up with a radically different look. Our spies have already spotted a number of test mules, and can confirm the current Astra’s silhouette will remain largely intact, although the details will contain more than a hint of Insignia.
Production starts next year at the firm’s Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire, and the Astra is sure to wow onlookers when it debuts at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Hot News: Next Cadillac Escalade to Go to Lambda

Why not? Cadillac's breakout hit began life as a gussied-up Chevy Tahoe. How big a hit? Word is that Cadillac paid off tooling for the current Escalade just three months after it went on sale. And that's why the division can consider a new SUV -- okay, a crossover SUV -- just as it's putting the big DT7 DTS/STS sedan convergence on ice for a year.
The fact that the Lambda platform already is over-subscribed, with the Chevrolet Traverse, Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave is why a Cadillac version makes economic sense. And since GM had considered, but cancelled, a V-8-powered Enclave Super, we know a Lambda Escalade will easily package a V-8, in this case a small block, since the Northstar replacement that was supposed to power the Enclave Super also has been cancelled.
If the Lambda Escalade gets the green light, look for much different sheetmetal than any of the current models. It would have to be CTS-edgy, making the Cadillac as distinctive as the Lincoln MKT is from the Ford Flex. And with all this canceling going on, you'd think that the Escalade EXT would be doomed. You'd be wrong: GM also is rumored to be considering a unibody pickup as hinted by the GMC Denali XT concept, to replace the EXT and Chevy Avalanche.

Jumat, 05 September 2008

New Car: 2009 Holden Veritas

GM Holden today presented its newest export program – the GM Daewoo Veritas, a long wheelbase luxury flagship tailored for the demanding South Korean market.
GM Holden is building Veritas at its vehicle assembly plant in Elizabeth, South Australia, and the Global V6 engine at its engine operations plant in Port Melbourne, Victoria.
GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Reuss, today described the vehicle as a great addition to Holden’s export portfolio demonstrating the company’s reach and flexibility.
Reuss was joined by Federal Minister for Trade, the Hon. Simon Crean MP and Victorian Minister for Industry and Trade, the Hon. Theo Theophanous MLC at a ceremony at GM’s Holden headquarters in Port Melbourne.
Reuss said GM Daewoo had drawn on Australian expertise and resources for a vehicle tailored to meet the needs of the Korean market.
“GM Holden develops its large cars to be world class and we are seeing that paying dividends with new export programs like the one announced today,” Reuss said.
“Cars we build here in Australia are being exported to every continent except Antarctica for brands including Holden, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Vauxhall and GM Daewoo.
“And with the engine in the Veritas also being built by Holden, it’s fair to say we are exporting the complete package.
“Exports are an increasingly important part of our business and Veritas again proves we have the capability to design, engineer and build vehicles for a wide range of consumers and markets.”
Based on GM’s Global Rear Wheel Drive architecture, Veritas is powered by a 3.6 litre Alloytec V6 and is fitted with a five-speed automatic transmission with fully optimized gear ratio settings, Active Select and Sport Shift.
The vehicle, based on the L4X showcar which made its debut at the 2007 Seoul Motor Show, is expected by GM Daewoo to redefine the premium image of a large sedan in Korea.
Veritas will boast segment-leading legroom in the Korean market as well as luxury features including massaging rear seats, electric-adjustable headrests and LCD screen and headset.
GM Daewoo President and CEO, Michael Grimaldi said at the Veritas launch in Korea that the car reflected GM Daewoo’s determination to take Korea’s large sedan segment to an entirely new level.
Korean customers were well known for their high expectations on rear passenger comfort and features.
“This luxurious rear-wheel-drive sedan offers excellent driving performance while ensuring unmatched interior comfort, spaciousness and safety,” Grimaldi said.
“Veritas represents the start of a new era for GM Daewoo, as we begin to replace our entire current product line-up with new segment-leading models between now and 2010.”
Veritas is the second export arrangement for Australian-built vehicles between GM Daewoo and GM Holden. In 2005, GM Holden exported nearly 2000 of the previous generation WL Statesman to Korea marketed as the GM Daewoo Statesman.
GM Holden has exported more than 800,000 vehicles since commencing its export program in 1954. Holden has exported more vehicles than any other Australian carmaker. It currently exports vehicles to the USA, Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand, Middle East, UK and Canada.

Spied: 2011 Ferrari FX/FX70

To maintain its standing as the indisputable leader of the go-fast world, Ferrari channels most of its energies into its highly successful F1 racing program, and then pumps out a couple thousand really fast road cars per year to sustain it. And every few years, Ferrari builds something that more or less blends both worlds together. These are the superstars of supercars with names like F40, F50, Enzo, the track-only FXX, and soon, the car you see (kind of) here: the FX70.
Underneath the clever camouflage—seemingly cobbled together from the front clip of an F430, the body and rear of a Scuderia, and the outer taillamps of the 599GTB Fiorano—is the chassis of Ferrari’s next big thing.
The massive FXX rear wheels give it away, placed further back in the body than they would be if this was a real Scuderia and, of course, looking far too big for the car—like a little kid wearing his dad’s shoes. Oh, and there’s a big, center-mounted tailpipe that recalls those of the Lamborghini LP640 Murciélago and Reventón.

What’s underneath all that? That’s unconfirmed at this point, but our spies say it sounded completely awesome as it rumbled by, amid rumors it houses either a twin-turbo V-12 of about 800 horsepower, or a more eco-sensitive (in adherence to Euro emissions requirements) twin-turbo V-8 of perhaps 700 horsepower. Either way, don’t expect to catch up to one unless you’re in an F-18 fighter jet.
What we don’t know is if this is the rumored Millechili (or whatever its name will be in production), or will exist in addition to the lightweight two-seater.
Production would be extremely limited and, in proper Ferrari tradition, the precious few will be offered first to the tycoons, royalty, and dictators currently nestled at the top of Ferrari’s VIP list who already own several of this car’s predecessors. And they can each expect to shell out at least a million bucks for one.
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