Sabtu, 31 Januari 2009

Spied: 2012 Jaguar XK Diesel

Jaguar has a V6 diesel-engined version of its XK sports car in development.
The company has tested the car at the Nürburgring, where Autocar’s spy photographers heard the engine’s diesel rattle.
The Jaguar XK D is powered by the new 272bhp twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 that’s due to be launched in the XF this spring.
Despite putting the engine through its paces on the track, Jaguar has chosen to monitor sales of the new 5.0-litre V8-powered XK before deciding whether to put the XK D into production.
A decision is now unlikely before the end of 2009, so the XK D wouldn't go on sale until at least 2011.
Jaguar is concerned that the XK D might scavenge sales from the naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 XK, on which it can make a greater profit.
A sales analysis of the BMW 6-series supports these worries. Sales of the twin-turbo 635d have displaced those of the 630i and 650i.
A Jaguar XK D would be a potent tool. Powered by the highest-output version of Jaguar’s new twin-turbodiesel, which develops 442lb ft, it could match the XF 3.0D’s 0-60mph in 5.9sec, 50-70mph in 3.2sec and 42mpg combined economy.
That would put the Jaguar XK D close to the new 5.0-litre V8 XK’s 0-60mph in 5.2sec and 50-70mph in 2.5sec, themselves impressive figures, since they match those of the outgoing XKR.
Another possibility is for the diesel to be held in abeyance until an all-new XK arrives in 2014 or 2015.
That car could grow in size to become a full four-seater like the Maserati Gran Turismo, leaving space for the Boxster-chasing front-engined XE two-seater.
Thanks to: Autocar

Unofficial Picture: 2010 Volkswagen Golf GTi

VW wants to hype the smallish Polo at the Geneva auto show this March, but we don't really care. The significant news for us is the next-generation GTI, of which production-version pictures have now been leaked courtesy of
The GTI was previewed with a concept car at the 2008 Paris auto show, and we are pleased to report that VW executives were truthful when they told us the concept was 99-percent true to the series production model. The only things that may differ from the Paris concept are minor interior trim details.
The new GTI comes with the current model's 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four, but it is upgraded to 210 hp from 200. That's not class-leading, but smooth power delivery in a well-tuned package has made the GTI one of our favorites for years. It even made its third consecutive appearance on our 10Best list in 2009, despite the imminent model changeover.
While U.S. models will likely stay governed at 130 mph, the GTI is capable of speeds up to 149 mph. We expect 0–60 times in the upper fives. Buyers will be able to choose between a six-speed manual and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission that blips the throttle ever so sweetly on downshifts. We will give you first driving impressions of the new GTI in early March, and the European market will be served shortly thereafter. The U.S. will get the GTI in late 2009, in both three- and five-door configurations.
The GTI has always been cool and we here at C/D like the regular Golf, too (currently called Rabbit in North America). The forthcoming MkVI Golf is lower, wider, and more premium inside than its predecessor, and it has pleased us on the road. The GTI should be even better.
That said, there's one competitor against which the GTI doesn't stand a chance: The upcoming R version of the Golf/Rabbit. Stay tuned.

Jumat, 30 Januari 2009

Unofficial Picture: 2010 Renault Clio

Auto Express has got its hands on the clearest images yet of the eagerly anticipated Renault Clio III.
First shown on the website, the images reveal the Geneva Motor Show car - set to be unveiled on March 4th - being prepared for transport
While the lights are barely changed, new front and rear bumpers will give the model a fresh look when the car hits dealers in June.
But you needn’t wait until next month’s expo to see the supermini undisguised – as we’ll have official pictures on the website from 5 February.
The Clio is only the start of the firm’s plans for Geneva. Sport Tourer and Renaultsport versions of the Mégane will be revealed, adding practicality and pace to the range.
The estate is due early in the autumn, with the hot model appearing at the end of the year. And as if that wasn’t enough, the new five-seater Scenic and seven-seater Grand Scenic MPVs will debut in Switzerland, ahead of their arrival here at the end of May. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2011 McLaren P11

Here are the pictures that prove McLaren's new supercar is almost showroom ready. Spied undergoing winter testing in Sweden, the stunning machine is entering one of the final phases in its development ahead of a projected unveiling in Spring this year. Following in the wheeltracks of the original F1 road car and replacing the joint venture McLaren-Mercedes SLR, the new model will target rivals such as Ferrari's F430 and Lamborghini's Gallardo with a price tag of between £150,000 and £200,000. Codenamed P11, Auto Express was the first to spy the newcomer when we caught it testing outside McLaren's factory in Surrey. As you can see, this latest prototype is slightly different to the original shakedown mule we spied in Woking, wearing re-profiled panels at the rear and a longer nose to disguise the real look. Although it's heavily-camouflaged, you can still make out the distinctive profile and compact proportions of the mid-engined machine, which draws much of its inspiration from the original McLaren F1. Power is rumoured to come from a Mercedes AMG-tuned 550bhp 6.2-litre V8, hooked up to a semi-automatic paddleshift gearbox. Lightweight composite body panels will keep weight down to around 1,250kg, ensuring the P11 will boast awesome performance. Although it's thought that the newcomer will be unveiled later this year, sales won't start until 2010. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Kamis, 29 Januari 2009

New Car: 2010 Aston Martin Rapide

These are the first official images of the Aston Martin Rapide super-saloon, released ahead of its launch this autumn.
Based on a long-wheelbase DB9 chassis and powered by a 480bhp, 6.0-litre V12, the £140k Aston Martin Rapide should slot between the DB9 and DBS in the company’s range. It will have a six-speed ZF auto with Aston’s Touchtronic control.
These CAD images show a production car very faithful to the concept shown at Detroit in 2006.
The exaggerated styling line running along the front wing and door is new, but otherwise the Rapide’s skin follows the handsome, swooping look of the concept, but with crisper shoulders and bonnet creases.
The front apron also features a cleaner look, with a single wide lower air intake. The concept — and prototypes — featured flanking inlets either side of the lower air intake.
Aston’s engineers have stretched the DB9’s wheelbase by 255mm, making the car five metres long, the benchmark for luxury saloons like the Mercedes S-class.
Despite the swooping roofline, the Aston Rapide is 63mm higher than a DB9, an increase that ensures the styling retains its balance, yet also offers practical rear headroom.
The Rapide will be heavier than a DB9, tipping the scales at around 1940kg, a 130kg increase in kerb weight. The extra power should compensate for this, giving it a 0-60mph time of around 4.5secs and top speed of more than 180mph.
The Aston Rapide’s rear cabin is designed to seat a pair of young adults in individual buckets. Access is through rear doors that hinge with a wider version of the swan-neck operation on the front doors.
Aston has created more space under the front seats to allow passengers to slide their feet under the seat base, and enhanced the practicality with a foldable bulkhead and parcel shelf.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: BMW Z10 ED. The Eco-Supercar

Plans for an advanced green BMW supercar, the BMW Z10 ED, have been revealed.
The two-seat BMW Z10 ED, a product of the company’s secretive Technik division, will be BMW’s flagship. It is being developed as a showcase for new drivelines, electronic technologies, body construction and auxiliary components.
The Z10’s ‘ED’ suffix stands for Efficient Dynamics, BMW’s suite of fuel-saving technologies that also cut carbon emissions.
Technology proved on the Z10 will trickle down to volume models in the next decade.
The BMW Z10 ED will be built in limited numbers and sold for around £80,000 in today’s money.
It was originally planned as a one-off concept, but when bosses in Munich abandoned plans for a V10-powered mid-engined rival to the Audi R8 last year, a decision was made to make green technology a primary focus by advancing the Z10 to production.
“The idea is to bring all the very latest technology together in a way that will allow a high level of performance without overburdening the environment in a way that the current crop of supercars do,” said an insider privy to BMW’s plans. “There is no reason why they need to be mutually exclusive when you consider the sort of technology that exists today. It is just a matter of applying it correctly.”
BMW has a history of using its Technik division to bolster the image of its line-up. Previous models to head straight from its workshops to the showroom include the 3-series-based Z1 and, more recently, the E39 M5-based Z8.
Drawing on the carbonfibre construction techniques used on BMW’s one-off Z22 show car, plus the extensive use of aluminium chassis components, the BMW Z10 ED is intended to weigh no more than 1400kg.
Moving on from simple carbonfibre body panels, Munich engineers have patented a process that combines several parts into a single sub-assembly.
BMW is exploring integrated door frames and sill panels for the Z10, a move designed to ensure a low kerb weight and high bodyshell rigidity.
BMW will also use the Z10 ED to highlight its engine downsizing plans. “With recent advances in turbocharging, direct injection and thermal technology, we can now produce petrol engines with a comparatively small swept volume without any drop in performance over our existing powerplants,” a source told Autocar.
Among the engines said to be under consideration for the green supercar is a new high-pressure turbocharged direct-injection straight six. It would replace the 3.0-litre unit that’s used across the current BMW line-up.
The new motor has been conceived in two different guises; one uses a conventional mechanical valve system in combination with BMW’s double VANOS variable valve timing system, and another features electronic valve control that allows a variable compression ratio.
Expect the new engine to deliver in the region of 400bhp and drive through BMW’s recently introduced seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
In conjunction with stop-start, an integrated starter/generator and a refined version of today’s brake energy regeneration system, the new engine could boost efficiency by nearly 15 per cent.
The brake energy regeneration system will be modified to store energy in an additional lithium-ion battery, in effect making the BMW Z10 ED a hybrid.
Thanks to: Autocar

Unofficial Picture: 2010 Opel/Vauxhall Insignia OPC/VXR

The Vauxhall Insignia VXR has finally broken cover! This production ready prototype, spied at a secret gathering of top executives, shows a hatchback version finished in white.
The pictures, first revealed at, prove just how commited the Luton firm is to producing high performance variants of all its cars.
Both saloon and estate car variants will also be available, all of which will be fitted with vertical front air intakes that were a striking feature of the Opel GTC Concept coupé that debuted at the 2007 Geneva motor show. The car also gets wider wheel arches and a special bodykit.
Set to make its debut sometime in March, the car is tipped to go on sale later this year.According to one insider, the twin-turbo V6 engine produces around 320bhp - while test cars have lapped the Nürburgring in a little over eight minutes.
With its four-wheel drive and 255/35 R20 tyres it's claimed to have progressive, secure handling and a huge amount of grip. Wheels have five concave spokes, are painted in dark metallic grey and have polished rims and spoke outlines. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Porsche 911 GT3

If the 911 is the quintessential Porsche, then the weight-optimized and more powerful—yet naturally aspirated—GT3 is the quintessential 911. But its aficionados needed patience; while the more humble versions of the 911 were updated last summer, the GT3 and Turbo have soldiered on without changes.
Now, Porsche has released pictures and information on the latest GT3, which debuts at the Geneva auto show in March. The Turbo will have to wait until the Frankfurt show in September, and then it may still be some time before the Turbo Cabriolet and the Turbo-based GT2 are updated. Porsche clearly intends to keep us busy.
Changes to the GT3’s exterior are subtle but clearly recognizable. Front LED daytime running lights and LED taillights are taken directly from the regular 911. The exterior mirrors have grown in size to conform to upcoming European regulations. We think the front has lost some of its aggressive edge. Two vertical strips in the lower central air intake are now painted black and thus seem to vanish; the small air intake just below the hood now is body colored to blend in more smoothly. The rear end, on the other hand, gets additional horizontal slits for ventilation. The provocative spoiler looks less stylized and more business-like, the GT3’s business being racing. The vertical slits on the extreme corners of the rear bumper are now uninterrupted—again, for a cleaner look.
The styling changes make sense insofar as they bring about aerodynamic improvements. Porsche says total downforce has been doubled. The wheels are now of the super-cool center-lock variety and weigh less than those they replace. Porsche’s active suspension remains standard.
Power output rises from 415 to 435 hp, achieved mainly by increasing displacement from 3.6 to 3.8 liters. The exhaust camshafts are now adjustable with Porsche’s VarioCam variable valve-timing system; previously, only the intake camshafts were so equipped. Porsche’s goal was to improve mid-range torque, but sheer performance figures have been improved as well: 0-to-60-mph times drop from 4.1 to 4.0 seconds, and 0–100 mph comes in 8.2 seconds, down from 8.7. Top speed climbs ever so slightly from 193 mph to 194 mph. The GT3’s engine still has true dry-sump lubrication and is still related to the motor in the Turbo; this family is distinct from the series powering other naturally aspirated 911s.
Porsche has been savvy enough to recognize that the cool-looking GT3 is not bought exclusively by experts and racers. To make the GT3 safe even for clumsy drivers, the stability control system is available on this 911 version for the first time. Beware: Once it’s turned off, there is no safety net. Unlike with other 911 models, PSM does not reintroduce itself when you hit the brakes—unless you push the button again very quickly (not something we’d recommend trying mid-skid). The GT3's standard brakes are larger, lighter, and better-ventilated, with carbon-ceramic discs continuing as an option.
Porsche has come up with two more innovations that make sense to us: An active drivetrain mount—called PADM—recognizes racing conditions and stiffens the engine mounts, which are usually elastic to keep the GT3’s chassis comfortable in normal driving. And there is an optional lift, similar to the Lamborghini Gallardo’s system, that lets you raise the front end by just over an inch. It keeps your chin spoiler happy on poor roads or when encountering a steep bump. Porsche is considering offering the system on other 911 versions but wants to prove it on the low-volume GT3 first.
What the GT3 doesn’t get: A dual-clutch transmission, which would be out of place in this racer, and, surprisingly, the automaker’s direct-fuel-injection technology. Expect future GT3 models to switch to the fuel-saving technology.
Europe gets the new 911 GT3 in May, but we will have to wait until October. It will be priced at $112,200 when it hits the States, a $4700 over the current model.

Rabu, 28 Januari 2009

Unofficial Picture: 2011 Peugeot 408

Here’s the picture that proves Peugeot’s all-new 408 is purring into production! The undisguised black Lion was caught out in the open by our spies, giving the best indication yet of how the firm’s Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia rival will look when it hits UK showrooms in 2010.
With its steeply raked roof, swooping bonnet and narrow, swept-back headlights, the new model has plenty of French flair. But that was to be expected when you consider it was previewed by the handsome RC HYmotion4 Concept, seen at last year’s Paris Motor Show.
There was more than simply style to admire about that car, though. Under its sculpted body was Peugeot’s innovative petrol-electric hybrid powertrain – and this is set to be offered for the first time on the 408. It drives all four wheels, with a gutsy 1.6-litre THP engine sending power to the rear, and a 70KW motor turning the fronts. The set-up generates 313bhp, with 109g/km emissions and Toyota Prius-rivalling 62.7mpg economy.
Despite its green credentials, the RC Concept is claimed to cover 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds – giving most supercars a run for their money. An all-electric mode offers the possibility of zero-emissions motoring, too.
Since Peugeot revealed its 308 diesel-electric hybrid – capable of 83mpg fuel returns and 90g/km emissions – at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007, rumours have been circulating that the hatch would be the first full hybrid offered by the firm.
But with the appearance of this production-ready 408 – and the feasibility of the RC Concept’s powertrain – it seems Peugeot will launch the larger 408 hybrid first, possibly by 2011. After that, the technology will filter down to smaller cars in the range. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Sneak Peek: Bentley 'Biofuel'

Bentley has released the first image and precious few details about a new model it claims will be its fastest, most powerful production car ever. The unnamed supercar will debut at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show on March 3.
Nearly all we know about this Bentley we've gleaned from the supplied picture. The car appears to be based on the Bentley Continental GT, as the only noticeable differences are the small hood vents and the new front fascia, which features a reshaped lower grille and brake-cooling ducts. Beyond that, Bentley tells us that the car will deliver supercar performance while running on biofuel.Hopefully, more images and details will come to light as the Geneva Motor show approaches. For now, we can only speculate that this new monster Bentley will be more powerful than the existing 602-hp Continental GT Speed, which can hit 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and reach 202 mph.

Selasa, 27 Januari 2009

Sneak Peek: Opel Ampera

Opel has released a teaser sketch of its new five-door extended-range electric car ahead of its public debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March. Based on the Voltec powertrain and chassis architecture of Chevrolet's Volt, the Ampera promises to surpass that car in terms of style by some margin. The body appears to be nearly identical between the A- and C-pillars, but the deformed horseshoe-shaped headlamp design and two-bar grille come straight from the 2007 Flextreme concept, as do the car's tree-branch alloy wheels. Sadly, the Ampera prototype will feature a conventional rear hatch rather than the Flextreme's novel two-piece gullwing design.

Senin, 26 Januari 2009

First Sketch: Mitsubishi Electric 2+2

Mitsubishi is set to reveal a new version of its electric i MiEV Sport concept at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
The vehicle will preview the sporty 2+2 due in 2011. As with the ‘i’ supermini, it will be built at Mitsubishi’s expanded electric car factory in Japan, set to open in 2011. It can produce 20,000 models per year.
Mitsubishi has shown a 2+2 i MiEV Sport concept before, at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Salon. That had four-wheel drive and 430Nm of torque, and did 124 miles on a charge. The second-generation version is likely to get a new look and production-ready technologies including lithium-ion batteries sourced from Mitsubishi’s joint venture with electronics giant GS Yuasa.

Sabtu, 24 Januari 2009

Spied: 2012 Porsche Boxster

As you read this, we’re tearing up country roads in Sicily flogging the face-lifted Boxster with its new direct-injection engine and the PDK dual-clutch transmission. At the same time, our spy photographers were busy tracking down the entirely new Boxster—program code 981—that will hit the road as soon as the fall of 2011.
If the prototypes don't seem very different from the current model, consider it a sign. Porsche is happy with the current styling formula, but proportions will be altered slightly. We believe it will look closer than ever to the original concept car that stunned the 1993 Detroit auto show.
With the next Boxster, Porsche is copying the approach to the next-generation 911—to be dubbed the 991, not 998—a car which we have have also spied. That 911 will be launched about six months before the Boxster. The trilogy will be completed with the next Cayman, to be launched in mid-2012.

Jumat, 23 Januari 2009

Spied: 2011 BMW 6-Series Convertible

The next-generation BMW 6-series convertible will stick with a conventional folding soft-top, these spy pics of the new car taken in Germany have confirmed.
The new BMW 6-series coupe and its convertible variant, based on the new 5-series platform, are pencilled in for launches at Geneva in 2010, with UK sales kicking off that summer.
As with the current BMW 6-series, the new car shares no body panels with the saloon on which it’s based. It sits on a wheelbase very close to that of the BMW 5-series.
Like luxury rivals Bentley and Aston Martin, BMW is sticking with a fabric roof because of weight and packaging concerns over a folding metal roof.
Another issue with a large folding metal roof is the effect of its mass on weight distribution when the roof is folded away and the weight is concentrated towards the rear of the car.
The new BMW 6-series’ engines will be drawn from the 5-series; they will be mildly revised versions of today’s six-cylinder petrols and diesels, and V8 petrols. The big-selling powerplants will be the 3.0-litre petrol (630i) and twin-turbo 3.0-litre diesel (635d).
An important development on the next 6-series will be the introduction of ZF’s new eight-speed automatic transmission. It will be capable of running with stop-start systems, the first time the car has had this ability. Coupled with BMW’s Efficient Dynamics, this should boost economy and cut emissions.
BMW is shortening the launch gaps for M models, and the new M6 will be no exception. M6 sales are tipped to start by early 2011.
Expect a major change under the M6’s bonnet, where a new turbocharged V8 engine will replace today’s V10.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: PI Eco-Sport Car

It's the electric dream that could soon become a reality. This is the P1-E – a sports car that can do 0-60mph in 2.9 seconds without emitting any carbon dioxide at all.The work of ex-McLaren F1 designer Jim Dowle, the P1-E is powered by a combination of lithium-ion batteries and twin electric motors. Although it's still on the drawing board at the moment, Dowle predicts that as well as offering storming acceleration, the four-wheel drive machine will be able to cover 230 miles before it needs to be re-charged. Weighing in at just 1,055kg, the P1-E features gullwing doors and a stunning bodyshell, while the batteries and motors are mounted as low down in the chassis as possible. Together with wishbone suspension front and rear, the P1-E is said to have brilliant handling. The first working prototype is expected to be revealed before the end of 2009. Sales could kick off in 2010 with a projected price tag of £55,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Who Killed Ford F-100? (1000th Post!!!)

As gas prices spiraled skyward last year, Ford product planners became more than a little concerned over the long term future of the company cash cow, the F-150 pickup. Although the all-new F-150, then undergoing final testing before launch, was a careful evolution of a highly successful formula, no-one knew whether that meant much anymore.
In May, as the average price of a gallon of gas neared $4.00, the F-150 was knocked off the top of the monthly sales charts for the first time in 17 years, outsold by Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, and Honda Accord. That sent a chill through Dearborn: Ford's product planners knew that for most of the 30-plus years the F-150 had reigned as America's -- the world's -- best selling vehicle, gas had cost $2 a gallon or less. The world had changed. America was changing. Maybe the F-150 would have to change, too.

The solution wasn't rocket science: develop a pickup truck that was smaller and lighter. The product planners looked at three options -- adapting the T6 Ranger pickup being developed by Ford Australia for the world market; engineering a unibody pickup off the Ford Flex's D4 platform; or engineering a lighter, more fuel efficient truck using as much existing F-150 hardware as possible.
The T6 Ranger was discounted because it was simply too small. A D4-based unibody truck looked costly and time consuming. That left a lighter truck built around the new F-150 hardware. For more details click here.

Spied: 2010 Saab 9-5

This is the all-new Saab 9-5, the long-awaited replacement for the company’s 12-year-old flagship, spied here in testing.
Although there had been rumours that the final development of the car had been put on hold as a result of the global recession, sources say that it is due to be unveiled at the Frankfurt show in September.
Prices for the new 9-5 should kick off at £22,000. There’s no news yet on whether Saab will build a conventional estate version of the new 9-5, though studio sketches of a dramatic fastback version (similar to the Audi A7) have been leaked.
Like the current Saab 9-5, the new car is front-wheel drive, but will have the option of four-wheel drive.
The engine range will be similar to that in the Vauxhall Insignia, though Saab may concentrate more on a range of downsized turbocharged petrol engines, including a frugal 1.6-litre unit.
Few people have seen the 9-5 in its final form, but the first model will be a substantial four-door notchback saloon.
Inside, Saab has reportedly pulled out the styling stops with a dramatic wrap-around interior of far higher quality than anything currently produced by the company.
The 9-5 was originally scheduled to be built at the Opel factory in Russelsheim, Germany, but GM’s plans to give Saab greater independence ahead of a possible sell-off, means production may be moved to Saab’s Trollhattan HQ in Sweden.
Because the 9-5 is based on the same Epsilon 2 chassis that underpins the new Vauxhall Insignia (and many other future GM cars) Saab has invested extra money on the interior and exterior of the 9-5, rather than on bespoke engineering changes.
Previously, Saab substantially modified its base GM-supplied platforms (the current 9-5 shares only 35 per cent of parts with the 1997 Vectra and the current 9-3 was heavily modified from the 2002 Vectra). This added engineering costs and reduced the budget available for the parts of the car the customer could see.
Thanks to: Autocar

Kamis, 22 Januari 2009

Hot News: Jaguar Supercar

It’s set to be one of the fastest cars ever built, and positive proof that the future of the British motor industry has never been brighter…Jaguar is getting ready to reinvent its stunning XJ220, Auto Express can sensationally reveal – and it looks likely to make a dramatic appearance at a major international motor show in the next 18 months.According to our network of spies, the revolutionary sports car is being developed by the firm’s best engineers as a rival to the Audi R8. It’s based on an all-new aluminium chassis, which has been developed using the same know-how behind both the XJ and XK models. The car will have aluminium panels stretched over an alloy and composite tub, while under the bonnet is likely to be a tuned version of the 503bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8, set to power the eagerly anticipated XFR. A mildly modified version of this engine has already propelled a near-showroom-spec XFR to an incredible 225mph on the Bonneville salt flats in the US. The new supercar is likely to match this figure, while the sprint from 0-60mph should take less than four seconds.The two-seater is tipped to be called the XE, and has been styled by a team led by Ian Callum. Our exclusive pictures offer a taste of what drivers can look forward to. Pulling together the very latest in design and combining it with influences from the company’s history, the model evokes the best of Jaguar’s past and present.At the front, there’s an oval grille – inspired by that on the E-Type – framed by narrow, ultra-efficient LED headlamps. A steeply raked windscreen keeps the car’s overall height as low as possible, while the wide rear end supports buttress C-pillars, similar to those on the new Ferrari 599 GTB. As in the R8 and Ferrari’s F430, the engine will be visible through the rear windscreen.Wide air intakes dominate the model’s front end, and deep scoops in the flanks help feed cooling air to the supercharged engine. Yet despite the new Jaguar’s huge performance potential, environmental credentials are set to be at the top of the agenda. CO2 emissions will be less than 300g/km, while the powerplant will be capable of running on biofuel-blended petrol – so the newcomer will be one of the cleanest high-performance cars money can buy. Liberal use of lightweight materials, including aluminium and carbon fibre, will further improve the machine’s fuel efficiency and performance.Despite Auto Express’s scoop, Jaguar is denying this car exists. A spokesperson insisted that it was not in the company’s product plans… Speaking at the Detroit Motor Show, Jaguar managing director Mike O’Driscoll didn’t rule out the potential to add to the line-up, but claimed the company’s focus at present was solidly on the XK, XF and forthcoming XJ.
“I’d love Jaguar to build a sports car one day,” he said. “It would complement our flagship XK coupé. The brand is all about producing great sports cars and sports saloons.” For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2010 Range Rover

A refreshed Range Rover, powered by JLR’s new supercharged 5.0-litre V8, has been confirmed for an April on-sale date.
This lightly disguised prototype doesn’t hide the mild exterior revisions that Land Rover has made to the Range Rover.
Behind the perforated ‘bumper-bra’ are a new grille, headlamps and bumper moulding, while tape over the tail lamps hides new LED lights.
A mildly revised interior includes a new steering wheel, chrome trim around the centre console and revised sat-nav system.
The biggest change is the new supercharged V8, with more performance yet better fuel economy and lower emissions.
Land Rover is also understood to have revised the chassis and steering for the more powerful Range Rover V8, improvements that also carry over to the Range Rover TDV8.
These revisions will attempt to arrest a slide in Range Rover sales, which slipped to around 5000 in the UK and 7000 in the US last year.
The revised Range Rover will be revealed at the New York show in April, since the US is the biggest market for Range Rover.
The Range Rover’s TDV8 engine – by far the best-seller in the UK, with around 95 per cent of sales – will continue in the freshened RR without revision.
Land Rover has chosen to ignore Jag’s new twin-turbo 3.0 V6 for the RR, even though it has identical 272bhp peak power as the TDV8.
The superior torque of the TDV8 – 472lb ft against the V6’s 420lb ft – is one reason. The prestige of a V8 badge in Land Rover’s flagship is another.
Land Rover has engineered its own version of the 3.0 V6 turbodiesel, which produces 242bhp and 442lb ft of torque and will replace the 2.7-litre V6 diesel in the Discovery and Range Rover Sport and is due on sale in September.

Hot News: Saab to Split with GM

Saab has been locked in negotiations with owner General Motors and the Swedish Government as the Scandinavian car maker struggles to re-establish itself as an independent entity.
GM and Saab are said to be co-operating smoothly on the plans. The split is also in GM’s interests as it races to produce a new business plan that will see it concentrate on the Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac and Buick brands. GM has also to meet a US Government deadline to prove its own long-term viability.
Saab and GM have been working on a plan in which most of Saab car production would move back to Saab’s Trollhattan HQ, according to reports in the Swedish press.
Saab would also untangle its new product development work from GM Europe, re-establishing its own research and development facilities at Trollhattan, as well moving all design work back.
A key part of the plan would involve moving production of this year’s all-new 9-5 from the Opel factory in Russelsheim, Germany, to Saab’s Trollhattan facility.
Although this would be expensive and complex, it is seen as the keystone of Saab regaining its independence after 20 years of GM ownership.
The Swedish government has already readied a bailout package for the Swedish car industry, and insiders say this money could be tapped to move the Saab 9-5 and get it in the showrooms by the end of this year, or early 2010.
It’s likely that $100m (£72m) would be needed to finish the Saab 9-5 engineering work and pay for the launch and global marketing costs of the new car.
Initially, Saab 9-5 body shells would probably be shipped from Germany to Sweden, but eventually the whole car would be made domestically.
Saab also wants to bring production of its 9-3 cabriolet back in house. Austrian company Magna currently builds the car.
Saab is likely to agree a straightforward deal to buy the upcoming Saab 9-4x SUV at an agreed ex-factory cost from the GM factory in Mexico that will build it.
Saab sources have said that the plan for independence is financially viable, pointing out that Trollhattan is currently running at around half its potential capacity of 170,000 units per annum. Sources also confirmed that there are substantial savings in build costs compared with the German factories.
Saab has only had one profitable year in the past two decades, but one senior Saab insider said that the company made money on European sales of the Saab 9-3, so that the addition of 60,000 new Saab 9-5s and production of the 9-4x in the dollar zone (total production of around 185,000 units) would push the company into decent profitabilty.
Perhaps the main problem on the horizon for Saab is how it will replace the ageing Saab 9-3. It had originally planned to base the new 9-3 on the next-generation Opel/Vauxhall Astra platform, as part of a ‘downsizing’ philosophy.
Thanks to: Autocar

Selasa, 20 Januari 2009

Hot News: Chrysler Confirms Fiat Alliance

Chrysler LLC confirmed Tuesday morning that Fiat S.p.A. will share vehicle platforms, powertrains and components to be built in Chrysler’s U.S. manufacturing facilities in exchange for a 35-percent share in the American automaker. That leaves Cerberus Capital Management with 45.1-percent of Chrysler, assuming Daimler AG still owns the other 19.9 percent. (The statement issued Tuesday morning does not mention the German company’s interest.) The announcement, made on the same day as Barack Obama’s inauguration, says Fiat “would provide management supporting Chrysler’s submission of a viability plan to the U.S. Treasury as required.”
Of course, Daimler last fall made it clear it wants to unload its shares of Chrysler, which led to a squabble over the value of those shares. Fiat is providing no cash in the Chrysler alliance deal, although Automotive News reports that Fiat may take its interest up to 55 percent in the future.
Chrysler’s statement goes on to note that Fiat “has been very successful in executing its own restructuring plan for the past several years. The alliance would also allow Fiat Group and Chrysler to take advantage of each other’s distribution networks and to optimize fully their respective manufacturing footprint and global supply base.”
Fiat is anxious to sell its 500 in the same market that has become the largest in the world for BMW Group’s Mini. Fiat wants to build its car here, for cost-savings and to avoid the vagaries of the euro-to-dollar relationship. And this deal may finally help return Alfa Romeo to the U.S.
Meanwhile, Chrysler gets much-needed mass-distribution in Europe and other overseas markets. The statement, calling the nascent alliance “a non-binding term sheet,” says it will provide Chrysler city and compact segment vehicle platforms, and will share such technology as fuel-efficient powertrains. And the United Auto Workers has been in the loop and is on-board. Why not? Fiats could become the only European cars built here in unionized U.S. factories.
Because Chrysler received $4 billion in federal loan guarantees late last year, the Treasury department must approve it. We knew last week at the North American International Auto Show that Chrysler would need a new ownership structure before the end of the year in order to survive. We (the collected automotive press) didn’t know it would come so quickly.
So a half-decade after General Motors had to pay Fiat Auto more than $3-billion not to buy it, the Italian company has finally found the right U.S. partner. Thanks in part to that GM “contribution,” Fiat is a much different company, in much better shape, although like the rest of the world, it’s suffering the same downturn as the rest of the global automotive industry.
Check back here for more details as they become available. Meanwhile, here are statements from the two automakers’ leaders.
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Group (which is the part of Fiat S.p.A. that runs Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia, but not Ferrari and Maserati): “This initiative represents a key milestone in the rapidly changing landscape of the automotive sector and confirms Fiat and Chrysler commitment and determination to continue to play a significant role in this global process. The agreement will offer both companies opportunities to gain access to most relevant automotive markets with innovative and environmentally friendly product offering, a field in which Fiat is a recognized world leader while benefiting from additional cost synergies. The deal follows a number of targeted alliances and partnerships signed by the Fiat Group with leading carmakers and automotive suppliers over the last five years aimed at supporting the growth and volume aspirations of the partners involved.”
And Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli: "A Chrysler/Fiat partnership is a great fit as it creates the potential for a powerful, new global competitor, offering Chrysler a number of strategic benefits, including access to products that complement our current portfolio; a distribution network outside North America; and cost savings in design, engineering, manufacturing, purchasing and sales and marketing. This transaction will enable Chrysler to offer a broader competitive line-up of vehicles for our dealers and customers that meet emissions and fuel efficiency standards, while adhering to conditions of the government loan. The partnership would also provide a return on investment for the American taxpayer by securing the long-term viability of Chrysler brands in the marketplace, sustaining future product and technology development for our country and building renewed consumer confidence, while preserving American jobs."

Senin, 19 Januari 2009

Spied: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro Cabriolet

Here are the pictures that prove that Chevrolet's Camaro Cabriolet is still on target for launch next year.
What's more, this latest model also helps prove that it won't just be US enthusaists that get to enjoy its good looks and impressive performance... For the first time ever, buyers in the UK will be offered the model too.
The newcomer, spied testing in the Australian outback, had been rumoured to be victim of parent firm GM's latest round of cost cutting. However these latest pictures dismiss that out of hand.
Just like its fixed-roof stablemate, the new drop-top is will be powered by a 6.0-litre V8, delivering more than 400bhp to the rear wheels. Drivers will also be offered a six-speed manual gearbox. It also had independent rear suspension.
Both versions of the Camaro will be available in the US later this year, with right-hand-drive variants expected to reach UK showrooms in 2010. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Jumat, 16 Januari 2009

New Car: 2010 Mini One Clubman

Times are tough economically, but BMW wants to help European city-dwellers on a shrunken budget save some coin with two new entry-level versions of its cars, which while they remain some of the smallest on the market, certainly aren’t among the cheapest.
In Europe, you have always been able to get the new-generation Minis sans the Cooper moniker. Called the Mini One, it is currently equipped with a 94-hp, 1.4-liter engine developed alongside the Cooper's 118-hp, 1.6-liter four. It’s built by the French PSA juggernaut, and you will find variations of this engine in a number of Peugeot and Citroën vehicles.
This engine now becomes available in the funky Clubman, possibly the least practical but one of the coolest station wagons to grace the roads. In the One version, maximum torque drops to 103 lb-ft from 114 in Cooper trim, and 0–62 mph now comes up in 11.6 seconds and top speed is 114 mph. You can get the Clubman One with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The front grille slats are all black and thus differ from the upscale Cooper versions. Opting for less power will save you 1700 euros ($2200) over the German price of 19,900 euros ($26,200). To appeal to a broader taste, all Mini Clubman models will now be available with a monochromatic paint scheme; contrasting colors for the rear body edges are no longer obligatory.

Kamis, 15 Januari 2009

New Car: 2011 Peugeot 3008

Who said cars had to fall into only one category? Nissan bucked the trend first with its quirky Qashqai hatchback-SUV crossover, and now Peugeot are taking mixed DNA a step further with the 3008 – using elements from an SUV, hatchback and MPV. And Auto Express has the first official pictures of the French Frankenstein.Formerly known as the T84 and previewed by the Prologue Concept at Paris last year, the 3008 is unmistakeably Peugeot. Its grille is stretched vertically to match the car’s tall but chunky stance, and gives the imposing look of an SUV. Large window areas in profile, as well as an optional glass roof, help to flood the cabin with light, while the over size LED rear lights and split tailgate demonstrate the 3008’s fusion of fashion and practicality.On the inside Peugeot’s innovative Multiflex interior means that folding the rear and front passenger seats leaves a perfectly flat loading area, capable of swallowing 1,604-litres of luggage. Plus there’s a raft of new hi-tech kit - things such as a fighter-jet-style head-up display and a radar-controlled distance alert to help the driver maintain a safe distance to the car ahead. To ensure it drives more like a hatchback and less like an MPV, Peugeot has introduced Dynamic Roll Control to the rear suspension, which keeps unwanted body-roll in check. Engine choices include three diesels – the most frugal of which, the 1.6 HDi 110, emits just 130g/km of CO2 and returns 58mpg at the pumps. Petrol options consist of a 1.6-litre unit in naturally aspirated or turbocharged form. More importantly however, from 2011 the 3008 will become the first hybrid Peugeot ever, using the same technology previewed on the Prologue concept. The diesel-electric powertrain will use the oil-burner to power the front wheels and an electric motor to turn the rears, resulting in a 35 per cent increase in fuel economy.Prices for the 3008 range are set carry a premium of about £1,000 over the equivalent 308 hatchback models when it hits UK showrooms this summer. However, that’s not all Peugeot has in store. Our sources say the company is also readying an all-new seven-seat MPV, based on the same platform. This is due to appear in 2010. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Detroit Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Cadillac SRX

Cadillac makes no bones about attempting to set a new design standard for every segment it competes in, and the 2010 Cadillac SRX aims to up Caddy's style game in the all-important luxury crossover business. Its sights are set squarely on the Lexus RX350 this time around, and the proportioning has been altered toward that end. Gone is the third-row seating option that gives the current-gen SRX a slightly stretched look. Also gone is the rear-drive architecture.
Underpinning this reinterpreted SRX is a mixture of Theta (Chevy Equinox) and new Epsilon (Buick LaCrosse) transverse-engine front-drive hardware, so there goes the long dash-to-axle look. You may not miss it; the styling is dramatic.
Two sixes are offered: a direct-injected 3.0L (basically a debored and destroked 3.6) producing 260 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, and a 2.8L turbocharged unit (Caddy's first domestic turbo) borrowed from Saab/Opel, producing 300 hp and 295 lb-ft. The former boasts variable valve timing on both cams and burns either regular or E85 fuel, while the latter drinks premium and injects it at the intake ports. Both are mated to a six-speed automatic paddle-shifted transmission that helps boost base V-6 fuel economy by 10-15%, and highway fuel economy "in the mid-20s," for all, which would be a step up from the current model's 20-23 highway figures. The 3.0L can tow 2500 lb, the turbo 3500.

Detroit Show 2009 Highlights: Subaru Legacy Concept

In Subaru's lineup, the Legacy has mostly been forgotten -- the midsize all-wheel drive car sells less than all Subarus except the Tribeca. The Legacy concept, debuting at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, looks to change that.
Subaru has only released one teaser image of the concept so far, but what we do see is promising. Then again, with the new Impreza, Subaru didn't exactly set the styling bar high. The Legacy concept's grille fits into the Subaru design language well while vertical foglights are nice touches we hope make it to the production Legacy.
Under the hood is a 3.6L Boxer engine. The six-cylinder engine offered on the 2009 Legacy is a 3.0L Boxer producing 245 hp. We expect that figure and fuel economy numbers to rise with the new engine.
The Legacy's 20th anniversary is next year, and we can't think of a better way to celebrate then to introduce a new model. Subaru says 43 percent of Legacys head to the U.S., so it's not too surprising that the automaker has chosen Detroit as the concept's debut location.

Detroit Show 2009 Highlights: Kia Soulster Concept

Though the Kia Soul hasn't quite hit showroom floors in the U.S. yet, Kia has already brought out a new concept, dubbed the Soul'ster, to illustrate possible future adaptations of the Soul.
Kia promises that the Soul'ster is more than just fresh sheet metal. The biggest change is the two-piece removable roof, that Kia says uses "elbow grease technology." We're pretty sure that means you have to take it off yourself, especially considering that this vehicle has crank windows. They attach to permanent roll bar running across the middle of the vehicle. Kia says the Soul'ster is targeted at hip, young buyers looking for sportiness and versatility on a budget.
With that in mind, the company designed the Soul'ster to seat five, though they admit that four would fit more comfortably. They'll be riding on seats that aren't bolted to the floor, a feature Kia added to increase storage space. To drastically increase storage space, the rear seats can be folded flat.
The Soul'ster utilizes the same engines as the standard Soul, a set of small four-cylinder units. The base engine is a 1.6L mill mated to a five-speed manual transmission and generating 120 hp. Optional is a more-powerful 140-hp 2.0L engine mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. Kia says both powerplants are good for 30 mpg fuel-efficiency or better. Non-U.S. markets can also choose from a 124-hp 1.6L engine or a 1.6L turbo-diesel.
Debuting in "Soul'r" yellow, the Soul'ster also features a number of cosmetic updates beyond the new roofline. Also featured on the concept are a new front end and new lighting all the way around, as well as special 19-in. wheels and dual chrome exhaust tips with carbon-fiber interior sleeves. It is not yet known if the Soul'ster will ever make it past the concept stage, and its future likely depends on the success of the original Soul, once it finally goes on sale.

Detroit Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Honda Insight

Because it's a hybrid, the familiar Honda starter hiccup has been replaced by the silent stirring of a 10-kilowatt DC electric motor. The 1.3-liter gas engine flickers to life only the moment your foot leaves the brake for the throttle. Driven normally, the Insight responds like a normal compact car-if you're used to the peculiar feel of a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Matting the throttle unleashes the full fury of motor and engine, though only the latter is heard; the busy buzz of a small-displacement four-cylinder mixed with a monotone CVT drone.
More fun comes from going green. Pushing the emerald-green ECON button on the dash initiates Ecological Drive Assist: a wide array of fuel-saving functions, including earlier idle-stop engagement, a smoothing out of throttle inputs and CVT operation, and more-efficient air-conditioning and cruise-control modes.

Detroit Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Fisker Karma

Fisker Automotive offers its four-door 2010 Fisker Karma electric hybrid as a premium-oriented, environmentally friendly sports sedan. On styling alone, the $87,900 Karma seems a steal. It looks like an Italian GT design study; the headlights are pure Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, while the rest could double for a Maserati GranTurismo or an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, depending on the angle. The proportions fall in line too; the Karma is 1.4-in. longer and 1.0-in. taller than the GranTurismo, and is wider than the 599 by 0.9-in.
Unlike a car like the 599, however, with its ferocious V-12 and flat-plane crank, the Karma will be feature a turbocharged 2.0L engine sourced from General Motors. The Ecotec four-banger produces 260 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque -- an insulting figure to modern Maranello standards. Fisker says the car will accelerate from 0-60 in less than 6 seconds and have a top speed higher than 125 mph.

Selasa, 13 Januari 2009

Detroit Show 2009 Highlights: Chrysler 200C Concept

The 200C hybrid-electric sedan concept was one of the few surprises of NAIAS 2009. Based on a shortened version of the company's rear-drive 300C platform, it provides a glimpse not only of an electric-powered replacement for the company's popular range-topping sedan, but also marks Chrysler design director Ralph Gilles' vision for the future of the troubled US brand.
The 200C was designed by Nick Malachowski (exterior) and Ryan Nagode (interior) at Chrysler's design HQ and Advanced Interior Design studios in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It's a handsome and well executed take on the mid-size sedan format, featuring parallel window and character lines that arc gently downwards as they run from a stepped trunk and dissolve as they meet distended front wheelarches. This emphasizes the height of the hood, giving the car a muscular down-the-road graphic in keeping with the 200C sporting pretensions. A recessed area of sheet metal above the side sills runs in a band around the entire car, housing full-width chrome air intakes and exhaust surrounds at the rear.
Interior designer Ryan Patrick Joyce tells us that the interior was all about "clean, organic, asymmetrical design and open space". The Zen rock garden-inspired floor rises up in waves to provide support for the car's four identical bucket seats, which feature intersecting leaf forms that leave natural gaps in the backrests for cooling. Each slim chair is made up of a number of differently colored layers, providing what Joyce calls "great attention to ‘thick to thin'."
The driver sits in front of an EcoVoyager-style single-rim steering wheel and a huge single-surface touch-screen IP that uses a system called 'uconnect' to allow many of the vehicles functions to be controlled via an iPhone. We don't have enough space here to detail its myriad functions, but a full demonstration left us suitably impressed.

Detroit Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Lexus HS250h

On the 20th anniversary of the launch of the brand the Lexus kept its five-year streak of one new luxury hybrid per year alive by introducing its first hybrid-only model, the HS250. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is based on parent-company Toyota's other hybrid-only vehicle, the Prius (note the little quarter windows in front of the A-pillars).
In addition to grafting on a proper sedan trunk, the Prius's Lexusification involves upsizing to the Camry Hybrid's 2.4-liter Atkinson-cycle engine, good for 187 hp total-system horsepower. Size-wise the HS slots neatly in between the IS and ES, with an overall length near that of the former and width approaching the latter.
Interior packaging is also helped by ultra-slim front seat backs. A wide-view front monitor that looks around coners when exiting a blind alley, 10-way power seats, a head-up display, and an available pop-up nav screen with XM NavTraffic and weather and Lexus Empower are among the luxury upgrades that distinguish the HS from its Toyota cousin.
Empower aims to do some of what Ford Sync does in terms of connecting the car with the world outisde, enabling 911-assistance, stollen-vehicle tracking, and allowing owners to send navigation destinations from their computer or PDA to their car.
Spoilers, underbody trays and a "gullwing" shaped roof panel reportedly contribute to a 0.27 drag coefficient. EPA testing is not yet complete, but Lexus expects fuel economy to be 30 percent better than anything else in its lineup, to be best in the luxury class, and to top that of the tiny smart Fortwo, which is EPA-rated at 33 city/41 highway.
Lexus reckons that 60 percent of entry-lux car buyers would have considered a hybrid if one had been available, and that by connecting the HS with some of these buyers will help them reach 1 million annual hybid sales early in the twenty-teens

Detroit Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Mercedes SLR Stirling Moss

The Mercedes-Benz SLR Stirling Moss can accelerate to 62 mph in 3.5 sec. It's capable of 217 mph. So what, you say. Those numbers have become standard supercar fare. The Ferrari Enzo can touch 225 mph. The Corvette ZR1 barrels to 60 mph in 3.3 sec. Ah, but here's the twist -- this SLR does its thing without roof, windows, and windshield.
Envision the wind buffeting you mercilessly at 150 mph or how a bug or rock would feel hitting you at that speed. That's the SLR Stirling Moss sensation. It's a car created as a tribute to the man crazy enough to drive a Formula 1-based car 1000 miles flat out at an average speed of nearly 100 mph -- all with little more than an open-face helmet and goggles protecting him from the violently onrushing air and debris.
For those uneducated in motorsport heroes of yesteryear, Moss is a bona-fide racing legend. Versatile as he was fast, he competed in both Le Mans and Formula 1 with much success. Later, he became known as "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship." Moss' most prolific victory among the many he scored behind the wheel of a Mercedes came in the aforementioned endurance race: the 1955 Mille Miglia. There he piloted a Mercedes Benz 300SLR bearing the number 722, and covered 1000 miles in 10 hours/seven minutes/48 seconds.
That's why this windshield-free SLR bears the Stirling Moss name.

Detroit Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Lincoln MKT

With the introduction of the Ford-Flex based Lincoln MKT, we're starting to believe all that stuff about FoMoCo's commitment to the Lincoln brand. There isn't a single significant visible part shared with its platformmate, though most of what you don't see is the same. Overall dimensions are within a whisker, except for height, which is 1.7 in. lower. That lower roof and stylishly raked bustle-back hatch limit third-row headroom to kid-size and give the MKT slightly more station-wagon proportioning. The waterfall grille cements the family resemblance with the MKS and restyled 2010 MKZ in front, and we're told to expect the cross-car taillamp design (with distinctive light pipes like those on the MKX) to become a new Lincoln trademark. A fixed panoramic glass roof will be standard, with a sliding one optional.
Power comes from a 3.7L V-6 producing 267 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque (down slightly from the 273/270 it produces in Mazda's CX-9, thanks partly to Lincolnizing of the exhaust note). An EcoBoost turbo V-6 making 355 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque will follow driving all four wheels (base MKTs get front drive). Both engines mate to a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The ride-tuning design brief was "rolling plushness," so expect softer-than-Flex spring and damper rates. Standard wheels are 19-inchers, with 20s optional (standard unique 20s will come with the EcoBoost option). Leadfoots will want to wait for the EcoBoost engine, because even with weight-saving measures like using cast magnesium for the radiator support and tailgate inner panel, a loaded MKT is expected to weigh 2.5 tons.
Upscale features include adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation (warns driver of impending accident, primes brakes, delivers full brake-assist power when driver brakes), blind-spot indication with cross-traffic alert, "neural THX surround sound" that upconverts compressed media like MP3s for improved sound quality, adaptive headlamps, and active park assist.

Senin, 12 Januari 2009

Detroit Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Ford Taurus

Ford used NAIAS to introduce its 2010 Taurus, a full-size car (D-Segment) aimed at the North American market. During its glory days in the '80s and early '90s, the Taurus nameplate was used on a midsize family car, but now it will become a flagship for the Ford brand. Thus, the design team had to "elevate the game" by creating a car with dramatic proportions, powerful lines and yet a certain sophistication and gracefulness. Vice President of Design, Peter Horbury, says that this gracefulness comes from the line that starts off at the front wheel and then falls downwards toward the rear, which was very much part of the American cars of the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Given the vehicle's dual purpose, it's no surprise that the surface treatment could never be called clean or uncluttered. The front end, while carrying over the three-bar theme from the grille, is inspired by the recent work of Martin Smith's European division, particularly in the treatment of the trapezoidal lower grille. In its shape, the rear of the Taurus borrows a lot from the Interceptor concept of 2007. While this car shares its underpinnings with the Lincoln MKS, the design team chose to implement a new roof design that would give the car a lower stance - a courageous but costly decision.
Horbury calls the interior treatment "driver centric", because "when the driver is on his own, he will feel that this is his personal car". Attention has been paid to craftsmanship, and designers "sculptured the trims to convey the message of luxury". The latter is particularly true of the steering wheel, with its palm swells and F1-type shifters.

Minggu, 11 Januari 2009

New Car: 2010 Mercedes E-Class

Mercedes-Benz has released official photos of the E-class in advance of the car’s official debut at March’s Geneva auto show, confirming the car’s new styling direction previewed by photos leaked last month. The four-oval face of old is out and the future is apparently rectangular, a look first seen on the ConceptFASCINATION at the 2008 Paris show. Aside from the unique face of the new E-class, the rest of the car is very much in the style of the big S-class and small C-class sedans. We’ll reserve final judgment until we’re able to see the car in person, but—like those of the latest C-class—the new looks will take some getting used to.
The interior design borrows heavily from the GLK crossover SUV and is a festival of 90-degree angles. A few S-class characteristics make it to the interior; the shifter has moved off the floor and onto the steering column, there’s adjustable ambient lighting, and the COMAND controller is standard. An array of buttons covers most of the available center-console real-estate, with some advanced seat controls sandwiched between the front seats and center tunnel.
In typical Mercedes-Benz fashion, the new E is awash in safety equipment. The E-class looks as if it will be nearly able to drive itself, but a new safety system makes sure that it doesn’t have to. The gizmo, dubbed Attention Assist, is standard and monitors the steering angle to detect drowsy drivers. An audible alarm and coffee-cup icon remind drivers to take a break.
Within the Mercedes lineup, the new E-class will be the only model with an optional lane-departure warning system and adaptive high-beam headlights. Crash-detecting radar cruise control, blind-spot assistance, and infrared night vision that can pick out pedestrians are features shared with the S-class and will be extra-cost options.
We’ve never complained much about the current E-class’s engine choices and we’re pleased to report that the 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 and the 382-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 will both be available when the new E-class goes on sale this summer. In a recent comparison test, the V-8 E550 in its current guise finished in third place behind a BMW 550i and an Infiniti M45. We loved the powerful V-8 but wished for better body control and handling. Until we drive the new E-class, we won’t know if the handling has improved. Later in the year, the E63 AMG and the all-wheel-drive 4Matic variants will debut. Diesel fans will have to wait until early 2010 for the fuel-sipping E320 BlueTec. The E-class line will also absorb the current CLK coupes and convertibles—which will be renamed E-class coupe and E-class convertible—and are expected to bow sometime after the sedan, likely for the 2011 model year.

New Car: 2010 Ford Taurus

Back in 1985, the then-futuristic 1986 Ford Taurus set the world (and Ford’s sales charts) on fire with its spacey yet stylish design and family-friendly mid-size-sedan packaging, even nabbing a spot on our 10Best list. Of course, we all know what happened next: the car was only significantly updated once in two decades, and what was once revolutionary became an irrelevant rental queen. Moving the Taurus name to the large Five Hundred body for 2008 made news, but hardly proved the sales success Ford hoped it might be.
Now with the vastly improved 2010 Fusion holding down the mid-size sedan spot in Ford’s lineup, the Taurus really has no choice but to continue on as a larger and more luxurious vehicle. The Taurus’s extensive redo comes on the heels of the Fusion’s similarly extensive one, and based on what we’ve seen at its debut at the 2009 NAIAS in Detroit, it looks to be a whole lot better than it’s been in a long time.

Save for perhaps Lexus and Hyundai, it’s rarely any automaker’s intention to mimic another’s styling, and other than a very Subaru Legacy–ish grille, the Taurus seems to avoid looking much like anything else while also avoiding looking terribly like a Taurus. But as we’ve seen with other cars like the Toyota Avalon and Honda Accord, handsome banality can work for this buyer, so long as there’s enough style not to embarrass drivers when they pick up the kids at school.
Indeed, however indistinct, the Taurus is stylish, its proportions having been corrected with a lower roofline and a taller body, complemented by far-sexier front and rear lighting elements. Fender vents and scalloped doors help break up the thickness of the bodysides, while wheels range in size from a puny 17 inches to 20, the largest ever for a Ford sedan.

Befitting the exterior is a more upscale full-size interior. The flowing center stack reminds of the one in the Lincoln MKS and is just as button-ridden as most recent Ford dashes, but at least the graphics are elegant and the assembly quality is convincing. New assembly processes allow more creative color and trim combos.
New features include radar cruise control and collision-warning systems, push-button start, automatic high beams, blind-spot warning with cross-traffic alert, SYNC integrated audio/navigation, SIRIUS Travel Link with a screen that can be personalized with up to 32 pictures, and, most interesting, “Multi-Contour” massaging seats with “Active Motion” cushions that, according to Ford, subtly and continuously move beneath the driver, “stirring a change of muscular activation, helping a driver avoid back pain.” Other tech-y features include MyKey, via which individual keys can be programmed to restrict things like top speed and audio volume, and Ford’s capless fuel-filler system.

Sabtu, 10 Januari 2009

Spied: 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Chrysler may be teetering on bankruptcy, but product development soldiers on, as evidenced by these spy shots of the successor to one of the company’s most popular and successful models, the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Clearly visible is the new model’s significantly longer wheelbase and rear overhang, suggesting that it has grown a bunch and may accommodate a third-row seat. According to our shooter’s sources, the styling looks a bit like the way-cool Jeep Trailhawk Concept from the 2007 NAIAS, sans the T-bar roof and with normal-sized windows and wheels. Through the camo we can see quad headlamps, a leaning seven-slat grille, and trapezoidal wheel arches, as well as a slick dashboard with a mix of materials and an instrument cluster that more than recalls the Mercedes-Benz ML-class/GL-class. In fact, this prototype’s proportions and stance also recall those former corporate cousins, vehicles with which the Grand Cherokee will share much of its architecture. Oh, and don’t believe that squared-off rear greenhouse prop; the rear window will remain more like a steep slope than a cliff.
As for what’s under the hood, there’s not a lot we can share with you, but we do expect whatever’s under the hood to be more fuel efficient while remaining powerful enough to move the vehicle with enthusiasm. Expect V-6 and HEMI V-8 engines to continue to be offered, and a diesel option could reemerge, as well. (The diesel was quietly discontinued for 2009.) Also look for a Hemi-based hybrid Grand Cherokee for the first time. As for another Grand Cherokee SRT8? It’s not likely, at least at first.
The new Grand Cherokee will be launched as a 2010 model but is not a 2009 NAIAS debut. Rather, we expect to see it either at the Chicago Auto Show in February or at the New York International Auto Show in April, at which point we’ll bring you much more information.

Jumat, 09 Januari 2009

New Car: 2010 Jaguar XFR

It's not a stretch to say the Jaguar XF is the car that has reshaped and reinvigorated the brand -- its S-Type predecessor a distant memory. In a recent comparison, we ranked the XF above its BMW, Benz and Lexus competitors. It was a serious contender for the 2009 Car of the Year. Despite the occasional niggle, we're enamored of the Jag sedan.
Now, with the 2010 Jaguar XFR, the crew in Coventry has gone and made the XF even better. The hottest XF gets more power, but at no loss in fuel economy. It's stronger -- with more rakish looks -- and the R-rated feline is sure to be a more involving drive.
The XFR receives a new, direct-injected 5.0L V-8 (also available for the 2010 XF). But the XFR's mill receives pressurization from a Roots-type, twin-intercooled supercharger. Despite a mighty output of 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque, the new engine comes sans weight or fuel mileage penalty -- its 15/23-mpg rating is the same as the outgoing supercharged 4.2L. Jaguar attributes this to a variety of new and altered components, including a direct-injection system, a variable-length intake manifold, and variable camshaft timing.
The new cam timing system relies on forces generated by the valves, rather than by oil pressure. The oil pump has been decreased in size and relocated as a result, reducing engine length by 0.94-in. These new technologies allow Jaguar to raise the compression of the engine to 9.5:1 (up from 9.1:1 on the 4.2L). Service intervals have been lengthened to 15,000 miles as well.
To transmit the engine's enthusiasm to the ground (and the driver), Jaguar employs two new electronically controlled systems in the XFR. The first, Active Differential Control, varies torque between the rear wheels depending on the surface. It attempts to prevent excessive wheel slip, but does not impede slippage with brake application. The press materials read: "The traditional, mechanical differential can compromise stability under hard applications of power, demanding more corrective input from the driver." Translation: This Jag allows easy power slides.
The second, Adaptive Dynamics, attempts to control the vertical movement, roll rate, and pitch rate of the chassis by analyzing the rates and adjusting the dampening to compensate. It can also predict rates based on driver inputs -- whether you're chucking the steering wheel in one direction or stomping on the 14.9-in. front brakes -- and preemptively adjust.

New Concept Car: Kia Soulster

Leaking on to the Web today is an image of Kia's newest concept due out at next week's 2009 Detroit auto show. The two-door Soul-based show car has been unofficially dubbed the 'Soulster' and by the looks of it, takes the four-door people mover's hip theme to a new level.
Starting with the exterior, a variety of LEDs have been added to the rearview mirrors as well as headlights -- a trait most likely found on its taillights as well. A complete overhaul of the Soul's roof and rear section has been made to accommodate the open configuration with roll bar. Bigger Brembo binders can be seen peeking out behind a revised wheel and tire combo. As for the interior and engine bay fun, nothing has been released.

First Sketch: Hyundai VI

Hyundai has released two renderings of its forthcoming flagship sedan, the Equus. Codenamed VI, this second-generation luxury sedan is positioned above the Genesis at the top of Hyundai's product portfolio. It will compete with the likes of the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class and Audi A8 in the Korean market.
The Korean automaker claims that the design of the VI displays ‘luxurious and powerful style, with a unique bodyside character line and silhouette to highlight the modern sculptural touches'. Judging from the renderings, the VI seems to embody good vehicle proportions with short front and rear overhangs, and an excellent body-to-DLO ratio anchored by large alloy wheels. The new car will measure 5160mm long, 1900mm wide and 1495mm tall. The abundance of high-end details - including LED lamps, and chrome bumpers and side strips - will enhance the vehicle's luxury image.
The Hyundai VI will be officially unveiled in Korea next month. As yet there is no official word on whether it will be available in overseas markets.

Kamis, 08 Januari 2009

Hot News: Nissan Axes 1200 UK Jobs

Nissan is to cut its Sunderland plant workforce by 30 per cent in a bid to scale back production, the company has announced.
Around 1200 jobs will go from the 3800-strong production staff. Part of the cuts will come from 400 temporary staff that will not have their contracts renewed, and Nissan hopes the remaining job losses will be achieved through voluntary redundancy.
The plant, which currently assembles the Nissan Micra, Qashqai and Qashqai+2, will reduce production until the end of March. It will operate three shifts on two lines, with one of the two cancelled shifts being reinstated in April.
The cutbacks come ahead of more changes for the Sunderland plant. Production of the Nissan Micra is to stop when the next model shifts to India, and a new ‘baby Qashqai’ will take its place midway through 2010.
The Sunderland site remains the UK’s largest car producer, turning out around 350,000 units per year.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Jaguar Plans F-Type

Plans for Jaguar’s on-again, off-again two-seater roadster are set to be revived. The car, code-named Jaguar F-type, could be launched in time for an end-of-recession launch in 2011.
The Jaguar F-type, a Porsche Boxster rival, has the enthusiastic backing of group chairman Ratan Tata, who signalled his openness to it last year, even before his acquisition of Jaguar was complete. He believes Jaguar must use image projects like the new roadster to “show a new face” when demand for a new wave of more efficient luxury returns.
The move signals Tata’s complete break with the management style of Ford, JLR’s former owner, which believed Jaguar needed to spend its restricted model development funds on ‘mainstream’ projects like the Jaguar X-type estate and diesel.
“Putting exciting projects on the back burner is the thing we should not do,” said Tata. “Certainly we must attend to business by doing our utmost to cut costs and reduce time-frames, but above all we must ensure that we come out of this slump ahead of where we were – with exciting cars like the roadster that show where we want to go.”
Jaguar showed a promising front-engine, rear-drive F-type concept car in 2000, touting it as evidence of an “intent to return to the sports car market in which we so successful in the ’50s and ’60s”, but subsequently dropped it to concentrate on more mainstream projects.
Thanks to: Autocar
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