Kamis, 31 Desember 2009

Sneak Peek: 2011/2012 Toyota Etios

These are the first teaser images of the Toyota Etios, a new small car for emerging markets.

The car, which will be unveiled as a concept at next month’s New Dehli motor, won't be a Nano rival, however, as it's set to cost around $10,000 (£6000). Instead, it will challenge one of India's other best-selling cars on price, the Maruti Swift.

The Etios name means 'the origin of', and the concept car is said to be 90 per cent production reality.

Toyota will showcase both the hatch and notchback body styles in Delhi, with the latter set to go on sale first, followed three months later by the hatch.

Toyota wants a gradual ramp-up in production to ensure that there is no compromise on its quality and hence wants the hatch, which will sell in larger volumes, to come later.

Toyota is understood to have squeezed out costs wherever possible to ensure that the Etios is as price-competitive as possible. That means limited sound-proofing, a hard but durable interior, basic seats and one windscreen wiper.

The Etios will come with two engine options — a 1.4 diesel which powers the Yaris and a 1.2 or 1.3-litre petrol. Toyota already has a 1.3 (K3) engine but it is not clear if that motor will be further downsized to under 1200cc to meet small car regulations.

It will be sold from the end of 2010 in markets including India, Russian and South America, and it is likely to be built at Toyota’s new Indian factory from late 2010, with production also earmarked for Brazil in 2011.

Toyota will display the car alongside 13 other concept and production vehicles at the New Delhi show, which begins on January 5.

Thanks to: Autocar

Unofficial Picture Up Date: 2011 Honda CR-Z

These are the first pictures of the production version of Honda’s new CR-Z hybrid sports car, according to reports on Japanese websites.

The pictures are reported to be taken from a promotional video for the car, and confirm that visual changes from the concept are minimal – only different front and rear lights and alloy wheels, as well as minor modifications to its front feature. LED front and rear lights will make production.

Details have been scarce so far on its tech features, but a leaked sales brochure recently confirmws that the production Honda CR-Z will be powered by the 1.5-litre i-VTEC four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox seen in the concept. It produces, according to the brochure, 113bhp at 6000rpm and 107lb ft at 4800rpm.

Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist electric motor adds a further 13bhp at 1500rpm and 58lb ft at 1000rpm. The brochure also claims the CR-Z will get from 0-62mph in 9.7sec.

The interior will glow three different colours depending on which mode is selected: Econ, Normal or Sport.

Dimensions have also been revealed in the brochure. The Honda CR-Z will have a 2435mm wheelbase, a length of 4080mm, a width of 1740mm and a height of 1395mm.

The production car will be launched at next month’s Detroit motor show before sales start in April with a price tag of around £18,000.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Toyota MR-2 to Make Return?

Toyota may need to rethink its sports car plans. According to survey results that just came to light in Japan, the Honda CR-Z generated far greater interest among the media and the public at October's 2009 Tokyo Motor Show than Toyota's FT-86 Concept. One of the main reasons given was that the CR-Z is ready for the market and will land in showrooms in Japan by February 2010, while the FT-86 won't appear until late 2011 and potentially will have a revised design.

That's not to say Toyota will scrap its edgy rear-drive FT-86. Far from it. Co-developed with Subaru, the FT-86 will employ a Subaru platform, 2.0-liter naturally aspirated boxer engine with revised Toyota head unit, and a six-speed manual gearbox from the Impreza. It will also have a Subaru twin brother -- albeit wearing a slightly different body.

The survey results also show that there is a definite and growing market interest in hybrid sports cars along the lines of the CR-Z. Interestingly, Toyota has had one on the drawing board for some time. Spotted circling Germany's Nurburgring way back in 2005, draped in heavy black camouflage, was a hybrid prototype employing a widened MR2 platform.

At the time, the MR2 prototype was powered by a mid-mounted, 3.3-liter V-6 hybrid driving the rear wheels and electric motors propelling the fronts. And at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, Toyota collaborated with ItalDesign to create the Alessandro Volta concept car, powered by a 3.3-liter hybrid and said to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 4 seconds. While Toyota dropped the MR2 in 2007 (the car was also known in Japan as the MR-S), rumors of its revival have been heating up recently, with a hybrid version reportedly heading the list.

A rear drive, hybrid-powered sports car with MR2 roots would fit in perfectly with what new Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda has been saying of late. "We want to design cars with more exciting exteriors and handling," he stressed at a recent gathering of Japan's Car of the Year jurors.

To help it tap into what the market really wants, the world's biggest carmaker will create Toyota Marketing Japan Ltd in January next year. No doubt topping the division's to do list will be developing a plan for a CR-Z fighter combining solid performance, high fuel economy and low emissions -- all wrapped up in a excitingly styled body. Calling it MR2 -- a name familiar to enthusiasts around the world -- would seem to be a solid fit, although Prius Coupe could also be a possibility. We should know much more as 2010 unfolds.

Happy New Year 2010!!!

It's 2010 now!!! I just wanna say Happy New Year. Hoping all things will be better. I hope the automotive world will shine again. And I hope my blog will be better. Thanks readers for visiting my blog. Keep visiting my blog.

Rabu, 30 Desember 2009

Hot News: Saab to Continue Production

GM has canned tomorrow’s deadline for the closure of Saab and announced that production lines will roll again to fulfil orders for the new 9-5 and 9-3 Cabrio the company has announced.

However this does not mean that GM has abandoned plans to sell off its troubled Swedish outpost and is still considering offers after a failed bid from Dutch car maker Spyker. "We are preparing a wind-down process . at the same time we are open to options to bids that come in," a Saab spokesman said.

GM is thought to still be in talks with potential buyers for Saab. A revised Spyker bid is thought to still be on the table, as well as the American company Merbanco Inc. General Motors is also believed to be considering continuing making the soon to be launch 9-5 saloon, albeit with Buick branding.

Thanks to: Autocar

Selasa, 29 Desember 2009

New Car: 2010 Mahindra Xylo D2

Mahindra & Mahindra has launched a new variant of the Xylo with a heart transplant. Christened as Xylo D2, the MPV gets a 2.5-litre mDI CRDe engine – a combination of M&M’s direct injection and common-rail diesel technology.

The engine complies to the BSIII norms and this ensures better fuel efficiency figures. The 2.5-litre mDI CRDe motor produces a max power of 95bhp which is 17bhp less to the existing Xylo. Torque too has gone down by 2kgm and the new engine churns out 22kgm of max torque at 1600-2600rpm.

Available only with black bumpers, there are no significant changes on the outside to differentiate it from the existing Xylo. Interiors remain the same and the D2 will have seating options for seven and eight passengers.

With just one variant on offer and retailing at Rs 7.28 lakh, on-road Mumbai, the D2 will be available in three colors - Gold Shimmer, Mist Silver and Fiery Black.

Thanks to: Autocar India

Hot News: Audi Q5 Hybrid Confirmed

Audi will launch its first hybrid model, the Q5, at the end of 2010, the company has confirmed.

The Audi Q5 hybrid is likely to be powered by a 3.2-litre V6 petrol engine in combination with a pair of electric motors housed within the gearbox and a lithium-ion battery pack.

In an interview with Autocar last year, Audi's R&D chief Michael Dick said the firm had postponed development of a hybrid Q7 in favour of the smaller Q5.

“We are looking to make the Q5 our first true hybrid model, and the plan is to have it ready for lithium ion technology,” said Dick in the exclusive interview.

The hybrid Q5 had been tipped to be launched at this year's Frankfurt motor show, but Audi said it will be unveiled later in 2010 with sales starting in early 2011.

The Q5 will be one of a number of new models Audi is planning to introduce before 2015. The firm said in a statement it wants to increase the number of models it offers from 34 to 42, with next year also seeing the arrival of the A1, A7, A8 and R8 Spyder models.

Thanks to: Autocar

Senin, 28 Desember 2009

Hot News: Fiat/Zastava Topolino is Coming

Fiat SpA's purchase of a majority holding in Serbian car-maker Zastava looks set to go through before the new year.

The 1bil EUR joint venture between Fiat and the Serbian government was originally planned to go ahead in 2008. The global economic slowdown put paid to that, but since a meeting between Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne and Serbian President Boris Tadic last week, the deal is expected to be finalised within days.

Fiat is expected to make its new Topolino city car, a three-metre two-seater based on the Panda, on the Serbian company's production lines. The car will be positioned below the Panda and the 500 on price, and is expected to use Fiat's new 900cc 'MultiAir' engine in 65bhp, normally aspirated form.

Hot News: GM Recalls 59,031 Units Chevrolet Equinoxes and GMC Terrains

In addition to its Corvette targa top recall, two of GM's newest crossovers -- the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain -- have also made this week's recall list, with 59,031 vehicles being called back in all by the automaker to fix a faulty computer module that can disable the climate controls, radio, center stack illumination and the defroster.

While the problem can affect nearly all aspects of the center stack, the NHTSA is most interested in the defroster for safety reasons. Should the defroster be disabled, the vehicle's windows could fog up and make it hard to see out, possibly leading to an accident.

To keep owners' windows fog-free, your local Chevrolet and GMC dealers will replace the bad computer module in the center stack for free under NHTSA Recall ID No. 09V489000 and GM Recall ID No. 090298. The recall is expected to begin in January 2010 alongside the Corvette recall.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Chevrolet Recalls 22,090 units 2005-2007 Corvettes

Corvette buyers who opt for the removable targa roof are no doubt enticed by the idea of being able to enjoy open-air motoring when desired as well as having the security and comfort of a hard top when needed. Some of them may be getting a bit more than they bargained for, though, as GM is recalling thousands of targa top Vettes to replace roof panels that are coming apart.

The recall covers 22,090 model-year 2005 through 2007 Corvettes and model-year 2005 and 2006 Corvette Z06s equipped with the targa roof to replace the removable roof with a new design. Roofs that came with the cars have shown an unfortunate tendency to have the adhesive holding the actual roof panel on the removable roof to its frame fail. Failed adhesive leads to a loose panel that can cause wind noise, poor roof fit and water leaks. Should the adhesive fail completely, the roof panel can separate from its frame and come off of the car, possibly while driving and possibly causing an accident with vehicles caught in the path of the flying roof panel.

Chevrolet dealers will replace the entire removable roof with a new unit that has a different design that will eliminate the adhesive problem. The recall will begin in January 2010 under NHTSA Recall ID No. 09V491000 and GM Recall ID No. 090230.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Jumat, 25 Desember 2009

Unofficial Picture: 2011 Ford Mustang 5.0 V8

Tis' the embargo breaking season, and various outlets on the Web have given Mustang fans a bright red Christmas present: the first official photos of the the 2011 Ford Mustang GT in advance of its world debut at the 2010 Detroit auto show. Pictured here is the first shot of the car, with the 5.0 badge proudly adorning its flank, along with our first look at the engine bay.

Key information about the 2011 Ford Mustang GT has already been leaked - namely that a 5.0L V-8 will come packing a full 412 hp at 6500 rpm, and 390 lb-ft of torque.

The engine itself features an aluminum block with lined cylinders that, along with the four-valve cylinder heads, are all new for 2011. Variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust cams, a counterweighted crankshaft, and new tubular headers are part of a package that, Ford claims, can still achieve 25 mpg. Available transmissions will be the 6R80 six-speed automatic, or the MT82 six-speed manual.

The 2011 Mustang GT's extra oomph should help it to stay competitive among its archrivals. The Chevrolet Camaro SS pumps out 426 horses in its top spec form, while the Dodge Challenger SRT8 makes 425. The 2011 GT doesn't exactly blow those numbers away, but its lighter curb weight and cornering prowess could give it an advantage.

We'll have all the complete details on the new Mustang in the next few days, or before if the embargo dam continues to break.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Kamis, 24 Desember 2009

Merry Christmas

Hey readers! I just wanna say Merry Christmas to you who celebrates it. Hoping all your hope will be answered. Keep visiting my blog and enjoy your holiday!

Hot News: Ferrari 599 GTB Hybrid

We may see the fruits of Ferrari's F1 experience with the kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) in production by next year. According to Italian automotive magazine Quattroruote, Ferrari is readying a 599 GTB Hybrid that may debut at the Geneva auto show in early March.

To little surprise, the magazine says the system uses lithium-ion batteries and an electric motor, and that the system recovers energy through deceleration and braking. A mild hybrid? Sounds like. But the magazine says the system could reduce fuel consumption by 35%. Currently, the EPA puts the 599 GTB (pictured) city/hwy fuel economy at 11/15 mpg.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Geely to Buy Volvo

IT’S official – Volvo is heading into Chinese hands. Ford has agreed to sell the Swedish manufacturer to Chinese giant Geely. In a statement, the Blue Oval said that it still had ‘some work to do to complete the deal’ but it is likely to be finalised in the Spring.

The news at last gives Volvo security, ensuring that cars like the upcoming new S60 and an electric version of the C30 hatchback have a future. Following the sale of Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin, Volvo is the last of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group (PAG) brands to go. The sale to Geely will give the Chinese firm a vital foothold in the European market.

However, while Volvo is now safe, fellow Swedish firm Saab is still waiting a last minute lifeline following General Motors' plans to wind down the company. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News Up Date: Toyota Etios

Toyota’s new small car for emerging markets will be called the Etios, according to Autocar India sources.

The car, which will be unveiled as a concept at next month’s New Dehli motor, won't be a Nano rival, however, as it's set to cost around $10,000 (£6000). Instead, it will challenge one of India's other best-selling cars on price, the Maruti Swift.

The Etios name means 'the origin of', and the concept car is said to be 90 per cent production reality.

Toyota will showcase both the hatch and notchback body styles in Delhi, with the latter set to go on sale first, followed three months later by the hatch.

Toyota wants a gradual ramp-up in production to ensure that there is no compromise on its quality and hence wants the hatch, which will sell in larger volumes, to come later.

Toyota is understood to have squeezed out costs wherever possible to ensure that the Etios is as price-competitive as possible. That means limited sound-proofing, a hard but durable interior, basic seats and one windscreen wiper.

The Etios will come with two engine options — a 1.4 diesel which powers the Yaris and a 1.2 or 1.3-litre petrol. Toyota already has a 1.3 (K3) engine but it is not clear if that motor will be further downsized to under 1200cc to meet small car regulations.

It will be sold from the end of 2010 in markets including India, Russian and South America, and it is likely to be built at Toyota’s new Indian factory from late 2010, with production also earmarked for Brazil in 2011.

Toyota will display the car alongside 13 other concept and production vehicles at the New Delhi show, which begins on January 5.

Thanks to: Autocar

Selasa, 22 Desember 2009

Hot News: Fiat 500 Electric at Detroit Show 2010?

Earlier today, we reported that a Chrysler-badged Lancia could turn up on Chrysler's stand at the Detroit show next month and speculated that it could be the Delta. Now sources are telling Automotive News the same thing and that it will be joined by an all-electric Fiat 500.

According to Automotive News' sources, the Lancia model badged as a Chrysler on the show stand will indeed be the Delta and will feature a Chrysler family grille to go along with the badges. They say that while Chrysler doesn't plan to bring it or the electric 500 to the U.S. in the near future, the company is likely testing the waters with the Delta and production plans could come quickly if public reaction is good.

In addition to the all-electric 500 concept, Fiat will also bring the entire 500 line to Detroit. That includes the basic 500 coupe, the 500C convertible and the high-performance 500 Abarth. The gasoline-powered 500s are expected to go on-sale in the U.S. in late 2010. They will be powered by Fiat's 1.4L FIRE MultiAir four-cylinder engine, which produces 100 hp naturally aspirated and up to 175 hp when turbocharged. Chrysler and Fiat recently announced that the engine would be built at Chrysler's Dundee plant in Michigan while the 500 itself is built in Toluca, Mexico.

Performance enthusiasts in Detroit will also be in for a treat, as Chrysler will reportedly carve out a section of its stand to feature Fiat's high-end makes. On the supposed guest list are the new Maserati GranCabrio convertible and the Ferrari 458 Italia supercar. A Chrysler spokesman declined to identify which cars would be on the show stand, but confirmed that Chrysler and Fiat will not hold press conferences as they have no new production vehicles to show.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Chrysler Badged Lancia Delta to Debut at Detroit Show 2010

Chrysler recently told reporters it wouldn't be holding a press conference at the 2010 Detroit auto show next month because it has nothing to show. Or does it? Rumor has it that Chrysler may be planning to unveil a Lancia rebadged as a Chrysler at Detroit.

Reports are starting to spread across the 'net that Fiat is planning to jumpstart the American company's aging lineup with an Italian Lancia rebadged as a Chrysler. Numerous anonymous sources told Bloomberg News that the vehicle will be shown in Detroit and will demonstrate how Fiat products can be integrated into Chrysler's line. Fiat is also reportedly looking at using the Chrysler name on Lancias in other parts of the world.

The question then becomes, which Lancia model to use? The company only has four models, so any guess has a decent chance of being right. All are either hatchbacks or small vans, and with the Chrysler Town & Country already in the lineup, the Lancia Phedra is out and the Musa likely is as well. That leaves the Ypsilon and the Delta, and of the two, the five-door hatchback Delta seems the more likely candidate.

Looking vaguely like a Mazda3 hatchback, the Delta would slot below the Chrysler Sebring in size, but if all the features make it across the pond, it would offer more content than the Sebring and give shoppers an alternative to the blocky Dodge Caliber elsewhere on the lot. In Europe, the Delta is offered with five engines, three gas and two diesel, all of which are inline-fours. For the U.S., the gasoline engines would be the most likely candidates and range from 120 hp to 197 hp and 152 lb-ft to 236 lb-ft of torque, good enough to move the Delta to 62 mph in 7.5 to 10 secs. Fiat has recently committed to building a 1.4-liter, MultiAir four-cylinder gasoline engine in the U.S. for Fiat and Chrysler products, a version of which would be a good candidate to power a Delta-sized car.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Senin, 21 Desember 2009

Hot News: Cadillac to Reveal CTS-V Coupe and a New Concept Car at Detroit Show

Cadillac has revealed that a V-Series high-performance variant of the new 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe will share the spotlight with a new concept at the Detroit auto show next month. The concept is believed to be a pre-production version of either the ATS or XTS small and large cars that Cadillac has been teasing over the past year or so.

So far, Cadillac has released only this tightly cropped teaser picture of the unnamed concept and the promise that it will showcase the latest advances in Cadillac's Art and Science design language. While the picture purposely obscures the vehicle, we can see that it is a sedan and bears significant resemblance to the current CTS but with new headlights and mirrors likely too small to see production.

Based on information provided by our own Todd Lassa during a no-photographs open house at GM headquarters back in August, we believe this concept is the XTS. Lassa described the XTS as having a short axle-to-dash ratio and a grille that blended styling elements of the Sixteen and Converj concepts. The car he was shown was also painted gray while the ATS was painted blue, though GM has had more than enough time to repaint them. The ATS, meanwhile, was described as having a shorter, wider grille to make the car look wider, not taller. This picture appears to suggest a larger car, but the angle makes it difficult to be certain.

If it is the XTS, it will most likely be built on a stretched version of GM's Epsilon II FWD architecture and will likely feature the 3.6L direct-injection V-6 engine and will offer AWD. If it's the ATS, it would likely be built on a shortened Sigma platform and will be RWD, likely using both V-6 and four-cylinder engines. Both cars are planned for a 2011 debut likely as 2012 models.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied up Date: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg

Our spy shooter just caught the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg SUV cold-weather testing in advance of an expected 2010 Detroit auto show debut.

The Touareg has always been a capable off-road performer, but this next-generation SUV will likely put most of that heavy equipment on the options list to allow for better handling and, oh yes, fuel economy far better than the 2010 Touareg V-6's 14/19 mpg city/highway.

Even so, that doesn't mean some Touareg owners might not drive their SUVs through extreme conditions, which is what brings us to these photos. Viewed from the side, it's clear this Touareg has classic SUV proportions like the outgoing model. Where it might differ is in front overhang, which appears to have grown just a bit in this 2011 model.

Without all the camouflage, the Touareg should fit right in with the rest of the Volkswagen lineup thanks to its wide grille and horizontal lines. In the U.S., the Touareg isn't offered with a V-8 anymore -- only V-6 gas and diesel engines are on the powertrain menu. For the 2011 Touareg, expect this to continue. A supercharged 3.0L V-6 making 290 hp mated to an eight-speed automatic will replace the V-8's former position; the present V-6 won't carry over to the new Touareg, but a diesel will. Eventually, a hybrid will become an option. But, regardless of the powertrain, Volkswagen might want to lower prices before sending the 2011 Touareg to dealerships. A 2010 Touareg VR6 FSI starts at $41,240.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Honda to Unveil New City Car Concept at New Delhi Show

Honda will unveil a low-cost city car concept at the Delhi motor show next month.
The car, which is expected to be built in India and Thailand, is currently being referred to as the "New Small Concept".

It will be sold in emerging markets, but Honda insiders have suggested it could be sold in the West

The new Nissan Micra is being developed in much the same way; it is the first car to be built on a new global small car platform, designed to be cheap enough to build and sell in developing markets but also sophisticated enough for Western Europe.

The Honda concept will be launched in Delhi on 5 January - the same time as Toyota's clow-cost city car, which is codenamed EFC, or Entry Family Car. It is expected to be given a different production name, however.

A production date and target price for the Honda city car will be revealed at the Delhi show.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: GM Evaluating New Saab Offers

GM says it is evaluating several last-gasp offers for Saab - including a dramatic late bid from Spyker.

Dutch supercar maker Spyker submitted an 11-point proposal on Sunday, giving GM until 5pm Eastern Standard Time (10pm UK time) on Monday 21 December to accept. GM had said on Friday that it had ended talks, and would begin closing Saab down.

Spyker CEO Victor R. Muller said the proposal to GM addressed each of the issues that arose during the due diligence process. He added that the renewed offer would remove each of the obstacles that were standing in the way of a swift transaction.

“We have made every effort to resolve the issues that were preventing the conclusion of this matter and we have asked GM and all other involved parties to seriously consider this offer,” said Muller.

“We are very confident that our renewed offer will remove the impasse that was standing in the way of an agreement on Friday, and this would still allow us to conclude the deal prior to the expiry of the deadline originally set by GM of 31 December.

“Despite our collective eleventh hour set-back, we are returning to the table with a renewed offer, that addresses every known issue brought to light during the initial negotiations and that has the full backing of the Saab management.

"The new offer eliminates the need for an EIB loan approval prior to year end, for example, which will allow the deal to be concluded within GM’s deadline.

"Our efforts are based on our passion for saving an iconic brand that we would be honoured to shepherd, and the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of loyal Saab employees, suppliers and dealers around the world."

Sweden's unions have urged GM to consider the new offer, with If Metall chairman Stefan Loefven saying: " I understand the frustration felt by everyone who is dependent on Saab, to be thrown between hope and despair is terrible. GM must now respond with a serious examination of the new bid."
Thanks to: Autocar

Sabtu, 19 Desember 2009

Hot News: Saab is Gone

Saab is to be closed down by General Motors, after no new buyer for the troubled Swedish firm could be found. Some 3400 people employed directly by Saab are expected to lose their jobs, and 1100 dealers worldwide will have to find new franchises.

GM’s European president Nick Reilly said no deal could be reached with the sole remaining bidder, Spyker Cars.

“Despite the best efforts of all involved, it has become very clear that the due diligence required to complete this complex transaction could not be executed in a reasonable time. In order to maintain operations, Saab needed a quick resolution,” he said.
Thanks to: Autocar

Kamis, 17 Desember 2009

Unofficial Picture: 2011 Audi A1

Looks like Audi is attempting to get N'Sync with younger customers! This amazing spyshot has been leaked onto Facebook by an unknown user showing what's believed to be the first undisguised image of the production-ready Audi A1.

Snapped during what appears to be a promotional video shoot, the front-end of the MINI-rival can be clearly seen. The similarity to the graffiti-style sketch in the teaser video (click here) is also uncanny.

If you were wondering why Justin Timberlake was being filmed alongside the newcomer, as the recently announced Audi A1 ambassador, Timberlake will be featured in a series of advertisements for the new supermini, which is set for a debut at the Geneva show in March. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Kia Soul Ignition

Kia seems to love special-edition Souls nowadays and has released what it says is number two of four heading our way. Called the Ignition Soul, it follows the footsteps of the previously released Denim edition and wears largely cosmetic, but distinct, attributes said to be cool and hip.

The first thing you'll notice is it's bright orange, or ignition orange in Kia speak, livery that makes the uniquely styled model really stand out. It's matched with an offset black stripe, sporty body kit, rear spoiler, and black-faced 18-in. alloys. A metal fuel door adds a nice touch to the exterior too.

Since it's based on the Soul+ model, the Ignition gets all the usual bits like cruise control, Bluetooth, iPod connection, rear passenger tinted windows, and an upgraded audio package. A bevy of storage bins and power outlets are included inside as well, while body colored door handles and rearview mirrors spruce up the already fiery exterior.

All this orange coolness can be had for $17,500 (not including destination and handling), or around $305 more than the top tier Soul Sport.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2011 GMC Acadia Denali

When the GMC Acadia debuted as a full-size, three-row crossover, it aggressively invaded the territory of the GMC Yukon. Although the Yukon’s full-frame platform is stouter and therefore capable of heavier towing and hauling—whereas the unibody Acadia is comparatively light and more fuel efficient—two three-row trucks sharing a showroom are bound to share customer interest.

So it’s only natural, then, that the Acadia would poach the Denali tag from the Yukon catalog as well. According to GMC, nearly half of all Yukon sales are loaded-to-the-brim Denalis, which makes a Denali version of the Acadia full-size crossover a “logical extension.” (Guess when you’re being run by the government you try to avoid the term “no brainer.”) Like the Yukon Denali, the Acadia Denali will be showroom shorthand for “I’ll take one with everything, please,” or maybe “Give me the one the most like an Escalade.”
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 16 Desember 2009

New Car: 2011 BMW 740i/iL

Americans will finally see a rational application of BMW’s Euro-centric EfficientDynamics mantra when BMW unveils six-cylinder versions of its 7-series at the Detroit auto show in January. The 740i will occupy the lowest rung on the company’s executive-sedan ladder, below the plenty-powerful 750i, the extreme 760i, and the slightly ridiculous ActiveHybrid 7.

Power comes from BMW’s twin-turbo inline-six, which in this application makes 315 hp at 5800 rpm and 330 lb-ft of torque at a low 1600 rpm. Keeping track of BMW’s turbocharged sixes is becoming more complicated by the day; this represents a higher state of tune than the 300-hp twin-turbo version used in the 1-, 3-, and 5-series, which is separate from the high-output, 335-hp version recently announced for the Z4 sDrive35is, which is also different from the new single-turbo unit that also makes 300 hp and is debuting in the 5-series GT this spring. The engine will be backed by a six-speed automatic in the 7-series. The sixed 7 will look just like its V-8 siblings and will likewise be offered with a short (740i) or long (740Li) wheelbase as well with the full menu of packages and standalone options.

If we’re going to have to deal with downsized engines, at least the one sliding into the 7 is a sweetheart, and this car sure does make a lot more sense than the ActiveHybrid 7. Fuel economy hasn’t been disclosed, but we can safely expect mileage slightly better than the 15 mpg city/22 highway that the twin-turbo V-8 750i achieves, but not quite as good as the 535i’s 17/26 ratings. Let’s say maybe 16/24.

When the models launch in the spring of 2010 as 2011 models, it will have been 19 years since the U.S. was offered a six-cylinder 7. Mercedes hasn’t sold a six-cylinder S-class since the end of the car’s last generation, so, at least for now, the 7-series will own the six-cylinder (non-hybrid) luxury-sedan market.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Concept Car: BMW Concept ActiveE

BMW doesn’t typically trumpet its ownership of Mini, but its announcement of the Concept ActiveE was rife with references to the Bavarian brand’s British beneficiary. That’s because BMW is considering the recently launched Mini E as a precursor to the Concept ActiveE, which will debut in January at the 2010 Detroit auto show.

Based on the 1-series coupe, the Concept ActiveE will see limited production and distribution of the sort that put the Mini E into the hands of consumers for a brief lease. BMW says, however, that it intends the ActiveE project to exceed the 500 units the Mini E dispersed. The next step, according to the company, is an electric production vehicle that will enter the market in the first half of the next decade under a yet-to-be-announced sub-brand. Currently, BMW is referring to the project as the Megacity Vehicle.

Like the Mini E, the ActiveE will place an electric drivetrain into a current body shell with no major external modifications. The Concept ActiveE of course boasts bespoke 18-inch wheels, a rear fascia devoid of any exhaust outlet, and environmentally friendly blue accent trim inspired by electronic circuitry on the doors and side panels. What would normally be the fuel filler cap is now a translucent blue panel covering the charging port. Matching blue and white trim is found inside.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2011 Aston Martin Cygnet

This summer, we reported on the ridiculous possibility of Aston restyling the Toyota iQ and calling it the Cygnet. Now it’s here.

All we saw before was a picture of a styling mockup that resembled a first-semester design student’s effort to apply the Aston Martin styling language to the iQ. The task was achieved not by a philosophical analysis of the bigger, Henrik Fisker–styled models and an original application onto a smaller platform. Instead, the styling department has grafted shrunken variations of the well-known Aston headlight contour, air intakes, and side scoops onto the iQ at what seems to be minimal cost.

Now we see the final product and, alas, it looks exactly like the design proposal. We also get treated to a picture of the rear; the Cygnet gets a unique rear bumper and taillights, and—we still find it hard to believe—the Aston Martin logo. The wheels are exclusive to the Cygnet as well.

The interior of the Cygnet is a spiced-up version of the iQ’s; there is leather and beautiful stitching everywhere, the instrument graphics are altered, and the iPod touch prominently featured on the dashboard hints that Cygnet drivers probably have many things in mind which are more important than serious motoring.

The interior shot also betrays the transmission used: Toyota's Multidrive box, a continuously variable transmission which is just perfect for buzzing around town in a Japanese minicar. Mark it down as another first for Aston.

Toyota will deliver iQs to the Aston Martin factory in Gaydon, where they will be completed. Likely to be priced in the equivalent of the $35,000 to $42,000 range, they have already been met with eager interest by current Aston Martin owners, the company claims. And you need to be one of those to qualify for buying the tiny Cygnet—at least for the time being. Not a bad marketing ploy.

"Launching in 2010 is our target," says an Aston Martin spokesperson, adding that "Continental Europe and the U.K. are our priorities now, but we won't rule out a U.S. launch.” We can hear it now: “Daddy, can I have one?”
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Selasa, 15 Desember 2009

New Concept Car: Mini Beachcomber

Mini’s intent to launch an SUV has been an open secret since the Crossover concept debuted at the 2008 Paris auto show. Typically, as concepts near the production stage, those displayed to the public get less weird. Not so much with the Beachcomber concept.

The Crossover concept featured one of the weirdest collections of doors since Escher stopped sketching: two regular doors on the passenger side, a sliding rear driver-side door, a side-hinged rear hatch, and a sliding roof. Rather than fix that and present a more production-ready solution, Mini just lopped them all off this time around Jeep Wrangler–style, while the sliding roof stays. Half of a tailgate remains, holding a faux external-spare cover that the company recommends packing with the periphery of your active lifestyle. We think a bunch of MaMa Rosa’s frozen pizzas would fit—and probably thaw nicely over a campfire.

The purpose of this paucity of body work is supposedly to remove anything that would “limit the intensity of the occupants’ encounter with their surrounding world,” but that statement just seems insincere to us. An oak tree caving in your face is pretty frickin’ intense, after all; but for some reason the Beachcomber has seatbelts.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Hot News: Volkswagen Plans to Release Golf VII Hybrid and EV

With the Golf VI launch out of the way, Volkswagen is turning its attention to the next generation. And it's moving with the times, it seems. UK magazine Autocar has reported that the company will be putting both hybrid and full electric power under the upcoming Golf VII's bonnet.

"We're looking at a hybrid version of a compact car for Europe and it will come on the next Golf, and an EV version," R&D head Ulrich Hackenberg told media at the recent Los Angeles motor show.

Details are scarce, but it's rumoured the next generation will be a revolutionary affair, rather than evolutionary as the last couple of generations have been.

It's a mark of the industry's desperation to keep up with political and legislative change that it's coming pretty soon, too -- Auto Express reports the company has it scheduled for release in 2012, reducing the just-released sixth-generation's lifespan to around half that of its predecessors.

The new platform could incorporate a diesel hybrid option, too -- an interpretation of the Up Lite concept's combination of a two-cylinder, 800cc oiler generating 38kW with a 10kW electric motor.

To accommodate the extra bulk -- the Up Lite weighs a tiny 685kg -- it would be upsized to a bigger burner and a 30kW spindle. Hackenberg told Autocar such an arrangement is "easily achievable".
Thanks to: Car Point

Hot News: Mercedes S-Class to Get 4-Cylinder Engine

The current Mercedes S-class will receive an eco-boost with the arrival of a four-cylinder diesel version next year.

Called the 300 CDI the new model is expected to be powered by the E250 CDI’s 201bhp turbodiesel, pushing out 384lb ft of torque.

Mercedes' R&D boss Thomas Weber admitted that downsizing the S-class diesel was an engineering challenge.

"The issue is NVH [noise, vibration and harshness]," he said. "Getting refinement to S-class levels was difficult and we had to change engine mounts and add additional body stiffness".
Thanks to: Autocar

New Cars: 2011 Bugatti Veyron Sang d'Argent, Veyron Nocturne, & Grand Sport Soleil de Nuit

As you might already know, the Middle Eastern market has a thing for brand-spanking-new Bugatti Veyrons -- especially the special-edition ones. A hefty chunk of the planned 300-unit vehicle run has already made its way into the region. To commemorate their well-heeled Mid-East buyers, the French automaker will release three bespoke models only available in the market at this year's Dubai Motor Show.

Called the Veyron "Sang d'Argent," the Grand Sport "Soleil de Nuit," and the Veyron "Nocturne," each sports a new collection of preexisting traits. Of the bunch, the Nocturne will be sold in a five unit run, while the other two are one-offs.

Unique to the Nocturne are its polished aluminum upper body panels with all-new galvanized side windows. Inside, passengers are welcomed by a black nanocoated magnesium dashboard and a galvanized platinum center console. Yes, we said platinum.
The Sang d'Argent gets bathed in a silver metallic livery that flows neatly into the aluminum body. Grand Sport wheels wrapped in massive Michelin rubber sit at each corner. A Havana interior with quilted pattern comfortably encapsulates those inside.

Designers implemented the brand's black blue metallic paint on the upper portion of the Soleil de Nuit, with the familiar polished aluminum pieces below. Every aspect of the cabin is covered in burnt orange leather.

It'll take around $2.4 million to put one of the five Nocturnes in your Gulf-area winter home. The one-off Sang d'Argent and Soleil de Nuit retail for a cool $2.1 million and $2.25 million, respectively.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Cars: 2011 Mercedes SLS AMG Desert Gold & G55 AMG Edition 79

Where else but Dubai would Mercedes-Benz's AMG show a special edition of the SLS AMG sports car donning a bespoke livery called AMG Desert Gold. Joining the eye-catching exotic at the bi-annual Dubai auto show is the G55 AMG Kompressor "Edition 79" sporting more unique features than the standard go-fast SUV.

Every chrome accent on the regular SLS has been dipped in a glossy black finish to accentuate the matte gold paintjob. If there's enough customer demand, officials will include the color in the car's standard palette. Black wheels continue the unique color scheme, while inside, designers bathed the cabin in black leather, Alcantara, and carbon fiber trimmings.

Well heeled Middle Eastern buyers have had a thing for the G55 AMG since its consumer market launch way back in 1979. To celebrate its success there, AMG has outfitted its boxy SUV with a 'designo magno alanite grey' paint scheme matched with a crash bar up front, carbon fiber-esque side steps, and titanium finished 19-in. AMG wheels. Inside, carbon fiber welcomes passengers, as do the supple high-grade design leather seats. As you probably already surmised, only 79 examples of the special edition G55 will be built.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2012 Dodge Durango

Just a week ago, we saw the first signs of Chrysler waking from dormancy when we caught the 2011 Dodge Charger romping around. Now, it seems as if the latch on the stable gates has been broken off as we catch our first glimpse of the next Dodge Durango.

A year ago, we reported that the Durango was not dead after Chrysler gave us a sneak peek of a very early mock-up. Now, while these shots prove Dodge will have an entry in the full-size SUV segment, we hear reports that the vehicle may ditch the Durango moniker, used since 1998. The new name will be attached to a unibody crossover that will grow in length and significantly drop in ride height, partially due to the loss of its body-on-frame construction.

With camouflage obstructing many of the updates, there isn’t much we can glean from these shots. But we expect this CUV to be riding on a lengthened version of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cheroke platform, which was developed alongside the next Mercedes-Benz ML. The front fascia will be distinctly different from that of the current Durango, with an even larger surface area including the notable presence of a hefty chin. Although the front-door length appears to be similar in size to, if not longer than, the current model’s, the rear doors are definitely stretched, as is the rear overhang, pointing to what we hope is a roomy third row.

As far as engines are concerned, expect to find the new corporate Pentastar V-6 underhood with some 280 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. A 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 will be available for power-hungry customers or those looking for added utility. An all-wheel-drive option is a given.

By the time this next Durango—or whatever it’s called—hits the market sometime in late 2011 or early 2012, the full-size crossover triplets of GM, including the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, and GMC Acadia, should be due for a hearty freshening, while Ford’s next Explorer will also be out in crossover form. Even though Dodge will be late to the party, it is picking an opportune time to make an entrance.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2011 Alfa Romeo Brera Italy Independent Special Edition

Alfa Romeo has teamed up with Italian fashion designer Italia Independent to launch a special-edition version of the Brera.

Just 900 examples of the Alfa Romeo Brera Italy Independent Special Edition will be built. An Alfa source told Autocar that the model is likely to be launched in the UK next year.

Styling changes over a standard Brera include matte black paint, 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels, red brake calipers and an aluminium fuel filler cap.

The new model gets black leather sports seats with red stitching, a leather sports steering wheel and aluminium pedals. The interior is also trimmed with materials including linen, Kevlar, carbonfibre, Alcantara and cashmere.

Power comes from either the 2.2-litre JTS unit or the 3.2-litre V6, which puts out 256bhp.
The car will be used on a tour of fashion boutiques across Europe, including in Rome, Zurich, Paris and London. The first unit was delivered last week to a founding member of Italia Independent.

A UK price for the model has yet to be revealed, but prospective buyers can take it for a virtual test drive on the Xbox’s Forza Motorsport 3 game.
Thanks to: Autocar

New Cars: 2010 Ford Galaxy & S-Max

Ford will launch the European versions of its new Ecoboost petrol engine in the facelifted S-Max and Galaxy in January.

The new turbocharged 2.0-litre motor, badged STCi, delivers 200bhp and 221lb ft, taking the S-Max to 62mph in 8.5sec; that’s over 2.0sec faster than the 2.3-litre model it replaces.
It’s also 25 per cent more powerful than the outgoing unit, with CO2 emissions cut 19 per cent to 189g/km. Combined fuel economy is 34.8mpg, while all STCi models get Ford’s Powershift dual-clutch gearbox.

The 2.0-litre diesel is upgraded too, and comes with three different outputs: 113bhp, 138bhp and 161bhp. The entry-level diesel emits 152g/km of CO2 and has a combined economy figure of 49.5mpg. The Powershift gearbox is an option on these models.

Both models get new lights, including LED tail-lights, while more expensive S-Max models will feature LED daytime running lights as standard. Styling changes include new fascias, bonnets and lower grilles on both models, while the Galaxy also benefits from new fog lights and roof rails.

Inside, Ford has boosted quality by offering new materials and colours. Both vehicles come with Ford’s Fold Flat System for the second and third rows of seats to increase load capacity.
New technology on both models includes a rear camera, Ford’s blind spot information system and a speed limiter device.

The two new models will be revealed at the Brussels motor show on 13 January and will continue to be built alongside the Mondeo at Ford’s Genk plant in Belgium. Prices have yet to be revealed.
Thanks to: Autocar

Senin, 14 Desember 2009

New Car: 2011 Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet

This past year, Mercedes-Benz released its new E-class sedan and coupe, and now the 2011 E-class convertible has been unveiled, replacing the CLK droptop in the Mercedes lineup just as the E coupe replaced the fixed-roof CLK. The E-class sedan has long been one of the bread-and-butter cars for M-B, and the E lineup as a whole should be guaranteed bestselling-Benz status given its four-model breadth: E-class sedan, E-class coupe, E-class convertible, and the forthcoming E-class wagon.

Despite its new name, this cab follows the formula of CLKs past, being as it is based on a mix of E- and C-class mechanicals. Chopping the top off the coupe required reinforcements baked into the pillars and bulkheads to resist chassis flex. M-B claims the convertible gains roughly 150 pounds in the transformation, but we expect the real-world difference to be closer to 250 pounds. The E convertible carries over some nice features from the coupe such as a pass-through in the rear center armrest for skis, a nice touch lacking on many convertibles, and because M-B designed the current E platform with the droptop in mind, trunk space goes surprisingly uncompromised by the seven-layer softtop.

As you’d expect, the styling is similar to the coupe’s. Even the raked rear window carries over to the cabriolet, surprising, since such elements usually are left behind in the transition from coupe to convertible. The new E’s aggressive, boxed-off fender flares remain at the rear, as does the massive three-pointed star in the grille. The car is pretty handsome top-up or top-down, although we note that it resembles a Toyota Camry Solara from the front-three-quarter view.

Sadly, we only get the two gas engines found in the E-class sedan and coupe: a 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 for the E350 and a 382-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 for the E550. Europeans get their choice of six diesels, too, one of which is scheduled to hit American shores in the E-class sedan in June; it won’t make it into U.S.-spec droptops. An unblinking German stare was the only response when we asked about an E63 cabriolet—do you think that’s a good sign? (Nah, us either.)

The E-class coupe carries what Mercedes claims is the lowest drag coefficient of any production car, ever: 0.24. The convertible slips by at a slightly worse 0.28 with the top up. Drag increases to 0.33 with the top down. The most fascinating bit of tech debuting in the E convertible is a wind deflector Mercedes has dubbed Aircap. The system will be standard on U.S.-bound E-class cabs. Going beyond the typical large piece of mesh behind the front seats, the Aircap involves a deployable spoiler that lives on the top of the windshield frame; it raises 2.4 inches above the header and redirects air higher and further back over the cabin than it would normally flow. If it sounds simple, think again: There are a total of 211 parts in the thing.

We have yet to drive the E convertible, but M-B did set us up in its wind tunnel in Stuttgart-Untert├╝rkheim to experience Aircap for ourselves. We were subjected to “speeds” of 50, 62, 75, and 87 mph in both the front and back seat. The effect could be felt at all the speeds, and it is convincing. In the back seat with Aircap deployed, wind hits the top of your head rather then the middle of your forehead. In the front seat, Aircap basically eliminates wind buffeting. Don’t be surprised if you see this on all Benz convertibles to come.

But there is a price to pay for not feeling the wind in your hair (but isn’t that the point of convertibles?). The low drag coefficient rises to 0.38 with your jaunty little Aircap in place. That, believe it or not, is essentially the same as that of a 2004 Dodge Durango (0.39). Official fuel-economy numbers haven’t been disclosed, but expect them to be 1 or 2 mpg worse than those of the coupe, which stand at 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway for the V-6 and 15/23 for the V-8.

The 2010 E350 coupe starts around $49K, the V-8 around $55K. Expect to pay about a $6000 premium for a comparable convertible version when they go on sale in May. The cars debut at January’s Detroit auto show.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Sneak Peek: 2011 Audi A1

Audi's been teasing us with its upcoming A1 small car since the A1 Sportback Concept at the 2008 Paris show, though the production car is not scheduled to make its debut until the Geneva show in March 2010. Audi is hoping the premium subcompact will target a younger, hipper demographic who are clamoring for a premium automotive experience without the stuffiness of a sedan - or the high price tag.

To that end, Audi's latest A1 teaser features a video of a graffiti hooligan (that's 'street artist' for the more politically correct among us) who scrawls out a vague A1 rendering on a wall, giving us a better peek at the small car through his mischievous actions. It's a stylistic view of the premium subcompact, but it will have to do for now.

Audi will likely place BMW Group's Mini Cooper straight in its sight line with the new A1, with a host of small-displacement turbocharged four-cylinder engines under its hood (both gasoline and diesel) along with a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The last we've heard, Audi isn't able to make a business case for bringing the A1 Stateside, proclaiming that there is too limited of a market for premium small cars in America. We suspect that the Audi would have to be price competitive with the Mini Cooper in the U.S. in order to stand a chance.

Do you think that the Audi A1 could sell here? Let us know in the comments section below. And Click Here to watch the video.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Mercedes to Reveal New Concept Car at Detroit Show 2010

A concept car will reveal the future of Mercedes-Benz design at the Detroit auto show next month, Autocar reports.

Gordon Wagener, Mercedes design head, wouldn't reveal details of the concept car to the British publication, but illustrated his goals. "We want to elevate our design towards art and if any company can do it Mercedes can," he said.

Of the car, Wagener said it would be a "pure design concept which is long and exaggerated." Wagener didn't say whether the car had production roots. But Autocar mentions rumors that say the concept will carry CLS design influences, and that the next CLS will be introduced next year.

We'll bring you more details as they come.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: Toyota Hybrid Concept

Toyota will debut another dedicated hybrid vehicle at next year's Detroit Auto Show, the automaker revealed today. Although details have yet to be announced, it's speculated the new concept will utilize Toyota's latest Hybrid Synergy Drive.

The next-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive propels vehicles solely on electric or gasoline power. Vehicles with HSD can also be powered by a combination of the two sources. Its gasoline engine can be used for both propulsion and generator duties.
Check back for more information and pictures once the new concept makes its debut directly from Cobo Hall.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is

The 2009 Detroit auto show saw the reveal of the gorgeous BMW Z4 roadster, one of the best recent designs to come from the company. In nearly a year since then, we’ve also been impressed with the car dynamically, awarding it a second-place finish in our most recent comparo of four luxury drop-tops, just behind our longtime favorite Porsche Boxster S. For the 2010 Detroit show, BMW is bringing along a new range-topping Z4, one with a massaged engine, subtly modified looks, and a load of M Sport touches.

Just when we thought BMW’s convoluted naming scheme couldn’t get any longer, the company resurrects the “is” suffix and tacks it onto the sDrive35 badge. We're surprised the company didn't call it a Z4 M. Until this year, BMW M cars all had engines distinct from those in standard BMWs, but the X5 M and X6 M—which share the guts of their V-8s with more pedestrian BMW models—have already crossed that line.

Tuners have proven it time and again: the twin-turbo BMW inline-six is capable of more than the factory-provided 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. BMW is now ready to admit as much, apparently, and has given the engine better intake breathing and higher boost pressure for new output of 335 hp at 5900 rpm and 332 lb-ft from 1500 rpm, with overboost providing quick bursts of 369 lb-ft. A specifically tuned exhaust system is promised to provide a “deep rumble with a focus on the low-frequency sound range.”

Transmission options number one; the sDrive35is will be available only with BMW’s seven-speed double-clutch transmission. Here, it features a dual-mass flywheel to handle the increased power. The programming is also unique to the model. Gear changes can be effected either via the console selector or wheel-mounted paddles. Launch control is part of the package, as well.
BMW estimates a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.7 seconds—we’ve seen 4.8-second runs from a standard sDrive35i and wouldn’t be surprised if the sDrive35is can manage the task in something closer to 4.5 seconds. (Incidentally, that would put it ahead of the now-defunct, 320-hp Z4 M roadster’s time of 4.6 seconds.) Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. What’s more, BMW expects the 35is car to match the EPA mileage rating of the 35i with dual-clutch transmission—17 mpg city/24 highway. We expect real-world mileage will suffer a bit, though, especially with our feet on the pedals.

The Z4 35is gets unique, sporty programming for its electric power steering system. We’ve derided this system in the standard car, calling it vague and lacking in feedback. Hopefully the new programming will bring back some of the feel as claimed. Driving Dynamics Control, included on other Z4 models, allows the driver to adjust between normal, Sport, and Sport+ settings for shift speed, throttle sensitivity, and the adaptive M suspension, which also comes standard on the sDrive35is.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Minggu, 13 Desember 2009

Hot News: Kia Plans Toyobaru Coupe Rival

Kia’s 2008 Kee coupe concept could be turned into a compact, rear-driven, affordable production sports car using recycled platform technology from Hyundai’s Genesis Coupe.

In an exclusive interview Kia design director Peter Schreyer told Autocar that the Kee wasn’t in the European product plan for the next two years, but also confirmed that he is very keen to bring added strength and desirability to the Kia brand with such a car.

What’s more, Schreyer would back the adoption of a rear-driven platform, even though it could make the Kee more costly to manufacture.

“The next two years are about replacing and renewing our current line up of core models,” he said. “Before the end of 2011 we will launch an all-new Picanto, a replacement for the Rio and a new Magentis.

“These are naturally our priorities because they are proven volume sellers. And the problem with Kee is that no one – not in Europe, the USA or Korea – can say with confidence what numbers the Kee would sell in.

“We are not like Audi or Porsche. We are not in a position to just create something and then announce to the market that it’s the perfect kind of sports car.”

Schreyer also told Autocar that Kia’s Korean executive management board is habitually conservative and pragmatic. meaning that, unlike Lexus with the IS-F, Kia would never invest in a sports car before a watertight and profitable business case was made.

“When you’re making cars like this, it’s important to make them with a great deal of confidence,” he went on. “So I think the Kia brand has to grow a little more in stature before the time will be right for Kee.”

“Assuming Kia’s European fortunes continue to improve at the rate they are now, we could be ready in, say, five years for a car like Kee. We could spin it off the Cee’d or Magentis platform, but for me, it would be important for the Kee to be rear-wheel drive. And there is, of course, already a rear-driven platform within the Hyundai-Kia group that we could look to use, if our timing was good.

“We would have to aim to rival the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota’s new rear-driven coupe. The car would not need to be very fast or very powerful, but it should be compact, affordable and fun – a true sports car.”

“Personally, I have to say that I’m very excited by the idea, and very enthusiastic to make it happen.”
Thanks to: Autocar
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