Sabtu, 28 Februari 2009

Hot News: GM Would Sell Opel to Save it

General Motors is willing to give up as much 50 per cent of its stake in Opel if it helps its subsidiary to agree a rescue deal with the German government.
Opel needs €3.3bn (£2.9bn) in aid and loans to stay in business, according to company boss Carl-Peter Forster. Reports say that Opel is talking to the Spanish and UK governments, as well as the German Federal government, about aid.
Opel’s management has concluded that it needs to become semi-detached from GM in order to convince EU governments to underwrite bailout loans.
GM has owned Opel since 1929 but reports suggest that if the firm does become semi-independent, it may have to start paying license fees to GM for the use of the new Epsilon 2 and Delta platforms, as well as engine technology.
Opel says it can begin repaying the loans by 2014, after returning to profitability in 2011. The company cannot survive without funds from owner General Motors, but these have come to a halt as the US giant struggles to stay solvent. American government loans to GM cannot be used to prop up its overseas operations.
Opel is also submitting its business plan to the four different German states in which it has factories. Sources say that the car maker hopes that one of them might take a stake in Opel in the same way that the state of Lower Saxony owns a 20 per cent stake in VW.
Opel did not make an official comment on plant closures this afternoon, though they are under consideration, particularly the Eisenach (which it has offered to Daimler) and Bochum plants in Germany, and a factory in Antwerp.
Vauxhall’s plant in Ellesmere Port appears to be safe as long as the rescue deal can be pulled off.
However, one source told Autocar that Opel management had calculated the potential savings that would come from using the Opel brand across the whole of Europe. Although these savings were described as "substantial", dropping the Vauxhall badge is not currently on the agenda.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Ferrari Readies Two New 599 XX and 599 HGTE

In a surprise move, Ferrari will reveal not one but two modified versions of the front-engined 599 GTB Fiorano at Geneva. To sharpen up the V12 super-coupe’s responses further, a Handling GT Evoluzione (HGTE) package will be offered as an aftermarket addition or a factory-fit option.Details are scarce at this point but enhancements are likely to include more track-focused rubber, lighter alloys, stiffened suspension and lashings of carbon-fibre in the cabin. A new triple-layer metallic Rosso paint job will help mark it out from the standard model, although the monster 612bhp engine should remain untouched.Even more intriguing though is the 599XX – an experimental prototype stuffed with Ferrari’s latest F1 technology. Unfortunately only a handful of select customers will be invited to drive the vehicle, designed to help research future road-cars. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Vauxhall Astra and Corsa VX Racing SE

Vauxhall is revving up for the 2009 BTCC season with a pair of race-inspired special editions. Both the Corsa and Astra VXR have received a makeover in celebration of Vauxhall’s unprecedented success in the 2008 championship, where it scooped the drivers’, manufacturers’ and team trophies.Known as the Corsa and Astra VX Racing Editions, each is finished in red and black – Vauxhall’s team colours – and gain full leather Recaros as standard. Other additions include tinted rear glass, black rear diffusers and VX Racing logos on the B-pillars and scuff plates. To finish the look off there’s a set of gloss black alloys – 18-inch for the Corsa, 19-inch for the Astra.And finally, to ensure they don’t just look like touring cars, but sound like them too, an optional Remus exhaust system can be added for £410 on the Corsa and £720 on the Astra – boosting power by up to 19bhp. A combined run of just 888 models will be produced – coinciding with the name of Triple Eight Engineering, who build and prepare all the VX Racing Cars. You can order your Corsa or Astra VX Racing Edition now for £17,425 and £21,445 respectively. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Magna Steyr Mila

Adding another economical vehicle to the long line forming at the Geneva Motor Show, Magna Steyr will debut its Mila EV concept, Automotive News reports. The Austrian parts supplier and automobile manufacturer doesn’t plan to sell the vehicle as shown, but intends to use the Mila as a sales piece for its technology expertise.
Magna, which produces the BMW X3 and Chrysler 300C, designed the Mila with flexibility in mind. As a result, the chassis allows for multiple powertrains and drive configurations. In Geneva trim, a 67-hp electric motor powers the four-door hatchback to a range of just below 100 miles. Its lithium-ion battery recharges in just 2.5 hours.

Spied: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

Relax, Cadillac fans. As we surmised, General Motors’ decision to shutter its High-Performance Vehicle Operations will not leave the highly anticipated V-badged CTS coupe stillborn. While the Detroit automaker’s financial problems have pushed the shapely two-door CTS’s rollout back a year to 2010, as well as prompted the discontinuation of the XLR roadster, these spy images reveal that the car’s development has progressed substantially since we last saw a camouflaged mule running around last summer.
Photographed in near-production form (notice the tape over the V-series badges), this CTS-V coupe clearly displays the bulging bodywork, wire mesh grille, bigger brakes, and larger wheels and tires of the current V-series CTS sedan. Also visible are dual center-exiting exhaust pipes, which are expected to expel gases from the same 556-hp, 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 found in the four-door. Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions and a more-sporting interior will be part of the package as well, with the upgrades allowing the vehicle to take over the brand’s high-performance-flagship role from the XLR-V.
Production of the CTS-V coupe in Lansing, Michigan, should start next summer shortly after that of the regular V-6 model, with pricing expected to be in the $65K neighborhood. It’s unclear if the coupe will introduce any new features to the CTS-V range, but Cadillac officials have said before that an adjustable traction-control system—developed in conjunction with the Speed World Challenge CTS-V race car—might be added in the future. What’s also unclear is if this vehicle will be the last of the V-badged Cadillacs, as the HPVO team that nurtured the beast—and numerous other tire-melting GM cars—has been reassigned to other GM projects more focused on fuel economy and turning a healthy profit.

Kamis, 26 Februari 2009

Hot News: Saab Halts Production

The production line at Saab's Trollhattan plant has come to a screeching halt today, following allegations from the Swedish Customs agency that the automaker has unpaid customs duties, reports say. Swedish authorities have put a hold on shipments to and from the recently bankrupted automaker, leaving the Trollhattan plant short of some crucial parts needed for vehicles currently being assembled.
Saab's production manager Gunnar Brunius, speaking with news agency TT has confirmed that production has ceased after the plant ran out of parts needed to build its vehicles. Still, Brunius said that he expects production to commence tomorrow as the issue is likely to be resolved over the course of the evening.
Swedish Customs representative Hans Ohlsson told reporters that Saab owes a "considerable" amount of money in back customs duties and that all goods arriving at Saab from outside of the European Union would be held until the duties are paid. Saab will either have to pay the owed duties itself to resume operations, or find an agency that is willing to pay the debt.
"They would have to pay all of Saab's credit," said Ohlsson. "Saab is not getting a penny of credit from us."
How soon Saab is able to return to production is anyone's guess -- we'd suspect it may be a bit more difficult than Brunius is letting on. Especially since Saab is, you know, bankrupt and all.

Spied: 2010 Alfa Romeo Milano

These are the first spy pictures of the new Alfa Romeo Milano, snapped during winter testing. The Alfa Romeo Milano is Alfa’s Focus-rivalling replacement for the 147 hatch.
Despite the heavy disguise, the Alfa Mito-influenced grille and headlights are clearly evident, while at the rear the lights use a mixture of Mito and 159 design cues.
The most distinctive departure from the design of the current 147 is the Alfa Romeo Milano’s doorhandles, the rear pair of which are no longer concealed in the C-pillar.
The Alfa Milano uses an extensively modified version of the Fiat Bravo platform, fitted with multi-link rear suspension. An extended version of the same platform is being engineered for the Alfa Romeo Giulia, the replacement for the Alfa Romeo 159 compact executive saloon.
Expect a production version of the Alfa Romeo Millano to be unveiled in 2010.
Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2010 Skoda Yeti

It’s the abominable snowmobile! Here’s proof that the Yeti really does exist. Caught on the prowl in cold weather testing – Skoda’s latest model is set to break cover at next week’s Geneva show, but these virtually undisguised shots give us the best look yet at how the boxy compact SUV will shape up. Offering a choice of two or four-wheel drive transmissions, the rough and ready model will sit as a value-for-money rival to the likes of the Ford Kuga and Toyota RAV4. Engine options are likely to include a choice of 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrols as well as 1.9 and 2.0-litre TDI diesels.

For more details click here.

New Concept Car: Rinspeed E2

It seems the engineers at crazy Swiss firm Rinspeed have turned their attention to the environment. Not only will the all-electric, body-morphing iChange wow the crowds at Geneva – it will be joined by another innovative concept called the E2.Based on the high-powered Abarth 500 esseesse, but with most of the scorpion decals removed and a copper paint job added, the E2 offers two distinct engine settings.There’s a choice between the full-fat 158bhp and 40.4mpg in ‘Highway’ mode, or at the touch of a button power is limited to just 59bhp for a special ‘Commuting’ setting – boosting fuel efficiency to an incredible 70.5mpg. The E2 remains a concept at this stage, but it’s an idea that could soon catch on with customers demanding for their cars to be fun and frugal at the same time. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Audi TT-RS

Our prognostication was correct: Audi is indeed revealing its highest-powered TT in Geneva, marking the return of the five-cylinder Audi.
Details are few, but Audi does confirm a 300-plus-hp, 2.5-liter turbo engine and Quattro all-wheel drive are part of the TT RS package. Top speed is 155 mph and the 0-to-62-mph trip is said to take “nowhere near five seconds”—we assume that means under five seconds. Upgraded brakes will accompany the power increase. The short release isn’t devoid of bad news, though; it clearly states that the car is not yet approved for a U.S. launch. One more car for our wish list.
We’ll have more juicy details for you when the show starts on March 3. Sample the sound of the TT RS here.

Rabu, 25 Februari 2009

New Car: 2010 Nissan NV200

Designed from the outset as both a commercial and a passenger vehicle, the Nissan NV200 brings new levels of space, comfort and practicality to the small van market, both in Europe and other global markets.
NV200 will be available in three different versions: a van with the largest load space in its class and two seven seat variants – the functional Combi version for loads and passengers, and the more plush passenger car version, which will be shown at Geneva Motor Show next month.
“The Nissan LCV business is in a phase of expansion even in these challenging financial circumstances,” said Andy Palmer, Senior Vice President, Global Product Planning, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “We aim to expand our business with smart new products and services that meet the needs of our customers, both in Europe and around the world.”
He added: “The NV200 is our proposal for a global small van. It offers outstanding utility and smart convenience with low cost of ownership, packaged in a highly functional design. With this vehicle, Nissan aims to meet the needs of customers looking for a functional, adaptable light van. We will launch the NV200 in Japan before summer, in Europe in autumn 2009 and then in China and other markets.” For more details click here.
Thanks to: Press Portal

Hot News: Renault Scraps New Alpine

Renault has scrapped plans to revitalise the sporty Alpine brand, chief operating officer Patrick Pelata has told Autocar.
"It's a casualty of the [economic] crisis," said Pelata, hinting that the decision to not bring Alpine back was permanent.
Plans for the rear-wheel-drive sports car were thought to have been well advanced. It was said to have shared a platform with a new Nissan 200SX, which is also believed to have been scrapped.
Pelata also admitted that the current recession also means that Renault has shelved plans to move production to Chenai in India.
The next Nissan Micra will be made there and the new Clio, expected next year, was thought to be joining it. However, Pelata did not rule out Renaults being built in India in the future.
Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2010 Toyota Verso

Verso by name, versatile by nature! Toyota has announced a new version of its seven-seat MPV will take a bow at the Geneva show next week. The model borrows its styling from the recently launched Avensis, but has five individually folding seats in the back.Power is increased by up to 20 per cent, while fuel economy and CO2 emissions are improved by up to 12 per cent compared to the current model. Engine choices will comprise 1.6 and 1.8-litre petrols, plus 2.0-litre D-4D and 2.2 D-CAT diesels when it goes on sale in spring.Toyota is hoping the Verso will match the Avensis and iQ, both of which achieved the full five stars in Euro NCAP’s latest crash tests. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Aston Martin DBS Volante

Auto Express can bring you first official images of Aston Martin’s latest head-turner – the DBS Volante convertible. Making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month, the new drop-top will line up alongside the V12 Vantage and new Lagonda luxury saloon, giving show goers a triple treat of fresh metal. Described by Aston Martin as the “the ultimate open air motoring experience”, the DBS Volante gets the same mighty 6.0-litre V12 as the coupe and stunning looks with a fabric hood that closely follows the silhouette of the coupe.Capable of dropping at the touch of a button in just 14 seconds and at up to speeds of 30mph, the roof automatically stows under a re–sculpted tonneau cover, which maintains the slick look of the coupe. And as you can see, all the styling cues from the storming DBS coupe are carried across.
The front end gets sleek air intakes, a low splitter and bonnet air vents, the side skirts are lower while at the rear are clear lens covers for the taillights, a subtle boot-lid spoiler and a diffuser. While the bonnet, front wings and boot lid are made from carbon fibre, the DBS Volante is quite a bit heavier than the coupe. To cope with the loss in stiffness associated with the removal of the hard-top, extra strengthening – including a rigidly mounted rear subframe – has gone into the bonded aluminium chassis chassis. As a result the Volante tips the scales at 1810kg – some 115kg more than the coupe. Despite this extra weight, performance isn’t really affected. Under the bonnet lies the same 6.0-litre V12 as the DBS coupe. Based on the same unit that powers the DB9, it gets an uprated airbox, which takes peak power to 510bhp and torque to 570Nm. Standard transmission is a six-speed manual gearbox with the option of Aston Martin’s semi-automatic Touchtronic ‘box. The Volante posts almost identical performance figures to the coupe, accelerating from 0-62mph in just 4.2seconds (0.1seconds down) and hitting the same top speed of 191mph. Carbon ceramic brakes do the stopping while adaptive dampers and double wishbone suspension with 20-inch alloy wheels and sticky Pirelli P-Zero rubber should mean the Volante is prodigious around corners. Inside the luxurious 2+2 cabin gets a bespoke Bang and Olufsen sound system as standard. On sale this autumn, the DBS Volante is expected to cost around £170,000 – some £11,000 more than the coupe. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Bentley Continental Supersports

Bentley, Ettore Bugatti reportedly once sneered, built the fastest trucks in Europe. Okay, Mr. Bugatti was probably a mite peeved his delicate little sports cars were routinely trounced by W.O. Bentley's thundering green giants at Le Mans during the late 1920s, but he had a point. Bentleys were big, and they were heavy. And they certainly were fast.
Fast forward 80 years, and little has changed. The 621-horsepower Bentley Continental Supersports is fast. In fact, it's the fastest Bentley in history. Engineering boss Ulrich Eichhorn claims the Supersports will sprint from 0-to-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, nail 100 mph in 8.9 seconds, and hit 204 mph. Eichhorn also says it is -- shock! -- a lightweight Bentley. Then he pauses and, with a twinkle in his eye, adds, "but it still weighs 4800 pounds" Ettore's still sneering.
Then there's this: The Continental Supersports will deliver that staggering performance running on the same E85 ethanol/gasoline mix you pump into a flex-fuel Chevy SUV. That's right, the fastest Bentley ever is also the first bio-fuel Bentley. So it's a tree-hugger's supercar? Well, that depends on how you track the carbon-dioxide molecules (see sidebar), although Eichhorn points out the Supersports is also 95 percent recyclable. "Not that this happens with a Bentley," he grins. "Most of our cars typically end up in museums, not landfills."
The Supersports is a car that coalesced into being. Bentley vehicle validation manager Paul Edwards had figured out how to trim over 300 pounds from the Continental coupe during the development of the GT Speed versions. At the same time, engineers working for chassis and powertrain director Brian Gush had discovered that a mild increase in turbo boost coupled with improved intercooling delivered an additional horsepower bump beyond the 48 horses achieved with the Speed program. Gush's team was also looking at tweaks to the driveline that included faster shift times for the ZF 6HP26 six-speed automatic transmission and a 40/60 front/rear torque split to balance the Conti GT's nose-heavy weight bias. For more details click here.

Senin, 23 Februari 2009

Unofficial Picture: 2010 Audi TT-RS

Following the white-hot teaser shots of the TT RS released by Audi last week, a full set of photos have been leaked onto the web, along with further details about the newcomer. The biggest revelation is that from launch the German flyer will be available as either a Coupe or a Roadster.In a nod towards the original Quattro models of the seventies it uses a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine with direct fuel injection and four-wheel-drive. The result is a Porsche Cayman-toppling 335bhp and 450Nm of torque – enough for 0-62mph in under five seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph. To cope with all that performance Audi has beefed up the brakes, lowered and stiffened the suspension and tweaked the electronic safety systems to help keep the car on the road.Styling-wise a subtle makeover includes enlarged front air vents, compared to the 268bhp TT S, a rear diffuser and a fixed rear wing. Inside the cabin it’s the usual TT blend of sportiness and luxury with Alcantara sports seats and a racing-style flat-bottomed steering wheel. Due to hit UK showrooms in time for summer, prices will start from around £40,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Jumat, 20 Februari 2009

First Sketch: ItalDesign Concept

Six months ago, we were blown away by the performance of the Italdesign Quaranta Concept Car when our very own executive editor Matt Stone took an exclusive first drive. Now, the Geneva 2008 show-stopper is about to be one-upped by Italdesign itself in the form of a new unnamed concept that will bow at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show in two weeks.
"The fastest hybrid concept car in the world" Italdesign's press release boasts. We were impressed when the Quaranta topped 125 mph at the test track last year and hit 60 mph in under six seconds, but that was nothing compared to what this new car will do. Italdesign says the unnamed car, co-developed with Brit Frazer Nash, will hit 62 mph in under four seconds on its way to a top speed of 186 mph. And you remember how the Quaranta got about 37.5 mpg? That's kid's stuff. This car will travel 31 miles on a quarter of a gallon of gas. Do the math and that works out to 124 mpg. To top it all off, it emits just 0.18 lbs of CO2 per mile. To put that in perspective, the current generation Toyota Prius emits twice as much CO2, 0.37 lb per mile.The question, of course, is: how do they do it? Careful management of weight appears to be the key here. The body is made of aluminum and carbon, while the chassis itself is made of carbon-fiber. No specific figures have been given, but it will likely weigh in under the Quaranta's 3,100-lb curb weight. As for the power source, Italdesign will only say that the car uses an electric-drive system mated to a "medium-powered" engine. In the Quaranta, it was Toyota's 3.3L V-6 and Hybrid Synergy Drive lifted from the Lexus RX 400h, so another Toyota-derived powertrain is a possibility.In the cockpit, Italdesign promises you'll find "exquisitely tailored upholstery" and some very comfy seats. In fact, Italdesign boasts that the seat ergonomics were specially researched and engineered by their in-house Italdesign Design Center. On the outside, the provided sketch shows a car reminiscent of contemporary Lamborghinis, some of which designer Fabrizio Giugiaro had a hand in designing.

Sneak Peek 2010 Audi TT-RS

The fastest TT ever is emerging from the shadows. Audi has released the first official teaser shots of its flagship performance coupé, the RS.
The front spoiler boasts a pair of distinctive piano black vents, while there’s an RS badge on the bootlid. A new five-cylinder 2.5-litre turbo engine producing around 350bhp should launch the TT RS from 0-60mph in under six seconds and on to a 155mph top speed.
Both six-speed manual and seven-speed twin-clutch S tronic gearboxes will be offered, channelling the engine’s power through all four wheels. The TT RS will debut at next week’s Geneva show, with sales likely to start before the end of the year. The car will be priced at around £40,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Sneak Peek: Koenigsegg Quant

The pre-Geneva teasers are coming thick and fast now – but none are more intriguing than this! Ultra-exotic Swis supercar maker Koenigsegg has released this mean and moody shot of a brand new concept called the Quant.There’s no information to go by other than one line, which describes the car as a “new creation for the future.” Rumours have been circulating about a this new model for some time, and suggest that it will sit on an all-new platform for the firm and seat up to four passengers – possibly in a 2+2 configuration. Mix in an 800bhp+ engine based on the unit used in its CCX supercar range, and it’s clear that this will be one concept that’s not easily forgotten.Another image released by the firm shows a new infotainment system for the CCX and now the Quant, which controls all the entertainment functions as well as the car’s mechanical settings from one centralised touch-screen. Watch this space for more Koenigsegg details closer to the Geneva show. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: German Government to Help Opel

Contrary to their counterparts in Sweden, German government officials from various states are interested in helping their homeland hero, Opel -- one of GM's major European divisions -- through these tough financial times. Like its parent company, Opel has suffered dearly in vehicle sales and overall profit numbers. Recent news emanating from government and GM meetings has indicated none of the brand's four German plants will get closed, and if need be, the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Thuringia will consider offering financial support, per their terms in a vast restructuring plan.
North Rhine-Westphalia leaders stated in an interview with Reuters that aid will only go Opel's way if the company adheres to its stipulations -- much the same way Congress is doing with GM as we speak. An example of some terms include the automaker keeping four plants (as aforementioned) as well as all patents and branding rights, should it be turned independent. Thuringia state officials are prepared to take a direct stake in Opel, should the opportunity arise. Financial aid in addition to or in place of a piece of Opel is also being considered. The eastern region is home to one of the brand's manufacturing facilities and wants to help the automaker out as much as possible.There's even a restructuring plan for no government intervention that's being drummed up too by German state economists.Whatever the case maybe, GM's Vauxhall, Opel and Saab divisions wouldn't see a profit until 2011 at the soonest, the automaker claims. And that's if they're still under the GM umbrella with substantial cost cuts in place.

Unofficial Picture: 2010 Alfa Romeo 159 & 2010 Alfa Romeo MiTo GTA

Yesterday, images of a red Alfa Romeo 159 began flying around the web attached to claims that they were leaked photos of the new 2009 car that would debut in Geneva. A quick check on Alfa's press site, revealed the photos to bear the tag "MY 2008," though it appears now that the images are in fact of a refreshed car for the new model year. The images have since been removed from Alfa's Website.
Alfa fans know that the 159 debuted in production form at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show and has been on sale in Europe since then. If they were reading our WOT news yesterday, they also know that Chrysler has revealed that the 159 will likely come to the U.S. as the Alfa Romeo Giulia when/if the Chrysler/Fiat merger goes through.
While this particular 159 doesn't appear to be much updated cosmetically from the current car, the big news, according to reports, is that its 1.8L gas engine has been turbocharged and direct-injected and now makes 200 hp, up from just 138 hp in naturally aspirated form. It will reportedly be mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic FWD gearbox with an electronic limited-slip differential.The question is: is this the "new" 159? If it is, it is a very mild refresh, which isn't surprising given that the car has only been on the road a few years and that Alfa doesn't always stick to the traditional three-year product cycle. If the rumors are correct, we'll find out all the details on this slightly-updated 159 in Geneva next month.
Also leaking to the Web today is the reported first picture of the Alfa Romeo Mi.To GTA. This picture is not on Alfa's Website and the car shown is significantly altered. The Mi.To GTA, you may recall, also uses a turbocharged 1.8L engine, only it makes 237 hp. This car is also expected to debut at Geneva and possibly later in the U.S.

Kamis, 19 Februari 2009

Unofficial Picture: Opel/Vauxhall Ampera Concept

The Vauxhall/Opel Ampera has been caught undisguised ahead of its public unveil next week. These spy pictures show the European version of the Chevrolet Volt at a GM facility in Germany.
The new Vauxhall Ampera, which will be built in Europe and could be made at the Ellesmere Port factory, will go on sale in the second half of 2011.
Because the Ampera is based on GM’s new Delta platform, used in the Chevrolet Cruze and the next Astra, GM has said it can be built at any factory equipped to build Delta cars. However, there’s no guarantee Ellesmere Port will get the next Astra.
The front of the Vauxhall Ampera gets big slot intakes inspired by the GTC concept that previewed the Insignia, and the grille is a smooth, blanked-off fitting designed to improve airflow over the car.
Although it is essentially the same car as the Volt, but with a new front and rear end, redesigning the Ampera would have been significantly harder for the GM Europe team due to the need to match the Volt’s very efficient aerodynamic performance.
Every detail on the Volt’s body has been honed to improve airflow over the car, and therefore cut fuel consumption; the Ampera’s designers will have faced the same challenge.
GM claims the Ampera will be capable of returning 176mpg, with CO2 emissions of under 40g/km.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Peugeot to Launch 308 MPV

Peugeot is set to reveal a second 308-based MPV at the Frankfurt show this September.
Marc Bocque, the company’s head of global communications, described the car as “a more conventional MPV” that will take on the ever-popular Renault Scenic.
The car will sit in the Peugeot range between the 308 hatch and the new 3008 crossover. Though the French manufacturer already offers a seven-seat 308 in the form of the SW estate, Bocque justified the new car by saying, “It makes sense for us to take advantage of the flexibility of the 308 platform to fill as many different niches in the market as possible.”
Company insiders admit that the new MPV might affect sales of the 308 SW, but it’s believed that there are plenty of family buyers who want a people carrier but wouldn’t consider a seven-seat estate such as the SW.
The new MPV will be available as a five or seven-seat car, and will major on affordability and practicality. It will be the seventh Peugeot based on the 308 platform; the RCZ sports coupe is due to become the final 308-based model when it is unveiled next year.
Thanks to: Autocar

New Concept Car: Rolls-Royce 200EX

Rolls-Royce coyly calls this the 200EX, saying it's merely a concept that shows the design direction for an as yet unnamed smaller, less expensive sedan designed to sell alongside the stately Phantom. But the production version of this car, code-named RR4, will look virtually identical.
The RR4 will feature the third evolution of Rolls-Royce's now familiar headlight graphic, first seen on the BMW-designed Phantom, and a variation on the laid-back grille treatment that debuted on the Phantom coupe and convertible. With a 'faster' backlight and C-pillar, and convex bodyside, it's a much more rakish looking sedan than the Phantom, though at 212.6in long and 61in tall, it's still an imposing car.
Despite rumors the RR4 would be heavily based on the new BMW 7-series, Rolls-Royce says the car has a unique unibody "which is not shared with any other vehicle". The RR4's proportions, cowl height, and door apertures are totally different to those of the new 7-series; if the two cars share any metal, it's buried very deep in the structure. The body will be built at BMW's Dingolfing plant in Germany, then shipped to the purpose-built Rolls-Royce plant in Goodwood, England, for painting, trimming, and final assembly. BMW has added a mezzanine floor to the plant for the trim and wood shops, to create extra room for the RR4 line.
BMW says 80 percent of RR4's components are unique to Rolls-Royce. Under the hood will be an all-new direct injection V-12 engine, unique to Rolls-Royce and made exclusively for Rolls-Royce by BMW. It's said to have twin-turbos, enabling it to deliver 550hp and relatively good gas mileage. The RR4 may also get the forthcoming ZF eight speed automatic transmission, which is said to deliver a six percent improvement in fuel economy compared with a six speed auto.

New Car: 2010 Hyundai i20 3-Door

A few months back at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, Hyundai replaced the aging Getz with the slick new i20 five-door. To keep the momentum going now that the car has hit the streets of Europe, Hyundai is bringing a three-door version of the i20 to Geneva and it's set to go on sale later this year.
When the Hyundai i20 three-door does hit the road some time in the second quarter of 2009, Hyundai says it will be the best value in its class and targeted at young professionals that don't have kids. Slotted between the i10 and i30, the i20 will come with several gas and diesel engines for a total of seven, all of them Euro-IV emissions compliant. Hyundai expects that the volume sellers will be then new Kappa 1.2L gas engine and the 1.4L diesel engine. The Kappa engine is the latest in Hyundai's new Greek-named engine series, following the Tau V-8, and will pump 77 hp and 88 lb-ft of torque out of its four cylinders. At 182 lbs, Hyundai says it will be the lightest engine in its class and will help the i20 achieve 45 mpg combined while emitting only 0.44 lbs of CO2 per mile. The 1.4L diesel, meanwhile, will churn out 74 hp and pull off 53 mpg combined while emitting only 0.41 lbs of CO2 per mile.Cosmetically, the i20 three-door is little changed from the five-door. In fact, Hyundai really just took out the rear doors, lengthened the front doors and reshaped the back windows. The front and rear are completely unchanged. Despite the minor design changes, Hyundai did manage to shave 22 lbs off the curb weight, likely thanks to the removal of the extra doors. The i20 three-door will also be mostly the same inside and will come in the same three trim levels - Classic, Comfort and Style - as the five-door.

Hot News: New Alfa Romeo Name Revealed

Alfa Romeo will call its next two cars the Alfa Romeo Milano and Alfa Romeo Giulia, according to documents released as part of Chrysler’s proposed alliance with Fiat.
The names for the replacements for the Alfa Romeo 147 and Alfa Romeo 159 were included in Chrysler’s viability plan, submitted to the US government yesterday.
All future Alfas will use names instead of numbers, and Milano and Giulia have history within the brand. The Alfa Romeo Milano name was used for the US-market Alfa Romeo 75, while the Alfa Romeo Giulia was previously used as a model name in the 1960s.
Sources say Alfa Romeo will use a more sophisticated development of the Fiat Bravo platform for both models, with a stretched wheelbase version used for the Giulia.
As part of the global alliance plan, Alfa Romeo’s new production line and platforms will be installed in one of Chrysler’s factories and Chrysler will then adopt the two platforms for its own future models.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Baby McLaren Guns for Porsche

Take a look at the British supercar that’s got the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 in its sights! This striking machine is an all-new entry-level ‘baby’ model from Formula One racing team McLaren – and it will take the company into uncharted territory, rivalling established brands with a price tag of around £80,000.The sports car is a key part of McLaren boss Ron Dennis’ plans to expand McLaren Automotive – the division responsible for the Mercedes SLR McLaren and original F1 road car – into a volume producer.Already in the pipeline is the P11, a Ferrari F430 rival that we’ve scooped undergoing final testing. A hi-tech, expensive flagship that would revive the spirit of the original F1 supercar is on the horizon, too. However, McLaren has ambitious plans to produce several thousand units from its factory in Woking, Surrey, over the next five years. So, it needs to enter an entirely new sector – and that’s where this ‘baby’ model comes in.CompactBased on the same rear-wheel-drive chassis as the P11, it will boast a composite body and be very compact – slightly smaller than the Audi R8.Ex-Fiat and Ferrari designer Frank Stephenson has been installed as styling director at McLaren Automotive, and is working on a range of projects – including this car. These artist’s impressions give you the best idea yet of how the newcomer could look – and as you can see, there are clear influences from the P11, as well as cues from the original Peter Stevens-designed F1.To keep costs down and prevent the small McLaren from stepping on the toes of the turbocharged P11, power is likely to come from a normally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 sourced from Mercedes’ AMG division. With 450bhp in a car that weighs around 1,300kg, performance will still be scintillating. A 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds and top speed of 195mph will more than match the V8-powered R8. A semi-automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddles and carbon ceramic brakes will be standard. The baby McLaren is still some way off, though – it’s unlikely to appear before 2012. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Lamborghini LP650-4

It’s set to be the fastest open topped car Lamborghini has ever produced… and with a production run limited to just 50 models it’s likely to be one of the most exclusive.
Capable of a top speed of over 205mph, the LP650-4 aims to blend agressive looks with stunning performance, and will be the firm's new topless flagship.
The new LP650-4 arrives hot on the heels of the Reventon – a £650,000, 650bhp limited edition model released at last year’s Geneva Motor Show.Likely to cost more than £500,000, there is still no official confirmation of the new Lambo’s release date. However, sources close to the car have admitted that the car is to be powered by the same 6.5-litre, V12 engine found in the Reventon, and that like that model, will also get the firm’s e-gear automatic gearbox. The new LP650-4 will also get its own styling details. Key to the design, as shown in these images leaked onto the internet, are the bold orange sills, and see through engine cover. Inside, the newcomer also gets special black and orange colour scheme, as well as bright orange trim for the gear selector paddles, and steering wheel stitching. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Skoda Fabia Scout

Skoda’s Fabia is growing up! Joining the off road trail blazed by the Octavia and Roomster is is the all-new Fabia Scout. And it heads an impressive list of new Skoda’s including the VW Tiguan-based Yeti due to be revealed in Geneva on March 3rd.While the concept car made its debut in Frankfurt two year’s ago, these renderings give us the best look yet at what the show car will look like.
Apart from raised ground clearance over the standard Fabia, the A4 all-road and Saab 9-3X rival, the Scout will receive a serious rugged makeover. That means expect flared wheel arches, grey protective side panels, bigger wheels, new front and rear bumpers, a larger boot and it will be four-wheel drive.As expected, this new model will share a lot of parts with Fabia Wagon, so expect to see the same units powering the Scout which means there will be three petrol and three TDI engines. It is also likely both interiors will share many similarities. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Hyundai HED-6

A closer look at Hyundai's future SUV/CUV styling direction has become available with the release of more HED-6 concept car images ahead of the concept's Geneva Motor Show debut.
Touted as an 'urban nomad, a car of contrast for a world of contrast', the HED-6 sports a muscular posture, angular lines, swept back headlights with LED daytime running lights, hexagonal grille and 21-in. rolling stock. Lexan was used in place of glass in the rear window to evoke a 3D-like visual. Topping off the exterior is an 'Ice Blue' paintjob.
Engineers utilized the brand's 1.6L turbo motor making 175-hp, but should it make it into production, more engine options likely will become available.

Rabu, 18 Februari 2009

Sneak Peek: 2010 Kia Sorento

Arriving on the Web ahead of its expected Seoul Motor Show debut this April is a supposed official 2010 Kia Sorento production teaser image.

If you couldn't tell, the next-gen Sorento gets slightly bigger overall thanks to its shared Hyundai Veracruz unibody platform. As a result, the SUV likely will be quieter, ride better and achieve better fuel mileage. Our latest intel indicates that when it hits U.S. showrooms later this year, the Sorento will utilize the current model's 3.8L V-6, as well as a 3.0L diesel built in collaboration with Hyundai. Both engine options will be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Hot News: GM's Plan Reveals 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe, Deaths of Hummer, Saab and Saturn

Among the plethora of information gleaned from the viability plan submitted by General Motors to the U.S. government this week is the first image of the production 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe, which will be built alongside the sedan and Sport Wagon in Lansing, Michigan, starting in 2010. The shapely two-door that debuted as a concept at the 2008 Detroit auto show originally was to be released later this year as a 2010 model, but the automaker recently delayed the project as a means to save development funds. While the coupe is expected to be available with a range of powertrains, including a possible 556-hp CTS-V variant, GM’s documents only confirm the direct-injected 3.6-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic will be the most fuel-efficient combination offered.
GM also confirms it will eventually rid itself of the Hummer, Saab, and Saturn brands, all of which are under strategic review. Hummer and Saab are being shopped around to interested parties—which are few and far between—with Saab possibly entering reorganization as early as next month if a buyer is not found and a bailout deal fails to materialize with the Swedish government. Saturn, however, likely will remain in operation for several more years. GM says it is open to a spin-off or sale of Saturn during that time, but plans to phase out the brand at the end of its existing product lifecycle. With GM’s weakest brands gone, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC will receive the bulk of the company’s attention, while Pontiac will soldier on with a limited lineup of niche models in the essences of the current Solstice roadster and coupe and the G8 sedan. The automaker’s overall U.S. dealer count is expected to drop from 2008’s 6246 to 4700 in 2012 and 4100 in 2014. For more details click here.

Unofficial Picture: 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee

We recently showed you spy shots of the new Grand Cherokee, but now Chrysler has spilled (most of) the beans. Included in the viability plan just submitted by the automaker to the U.S. government was a rendering of the Grand Cherokee’s new look—as well as one of the next-generation 2010 Chrysler 300.
If the rendering is to be believed, the next Grand Cherokee will sport a flatter face with Jeep’s seven-slat grille gaining wider chrome bars. The headlight clusters shrink to create a look that’s much more modern and aggressive than the old quad bug-eye design. The lower intake moves to the bottom of the smoother front fascia, further reducing the visual chunkiness of its predecessor. The squared-off fender flares of the old GC become more subtle, and smaller door handles add to a sleeker overall shape. The glass portion of the rear liftgate appears to be more upright.
The Jeep looks as if it will carry its newfound exterior refinement to the inside. A simple-looking gauge cluster and center stack will greet the driver. Wrap-around wood trim lines the dash and doors, and we expect higher-quality and softer materials to be found throughout the cabin. Given the three-row Commander’s impending demise, we wouldn’t be shocked if the new Cherokee were to grow to allow for an optional third row of seats.
Although the 2010 Grand Cherokee’s mechanical details remain secret, we do know that it was developed alongside the current Mercedes-Benz M-class, so expect a lot of the Jeep’s underpinnings to be shared with the Benz. Jeep will likely continue to offer the Hemi V-8—with more power and increased fuel economy, we’d expect—along with an all-new fuel-efficient V-6 that will be shared with the 300 and Dodge Charger sedans. An output figure for the six hasn’t been revealed, but with other companies offering sixes that deliver as much as 300 hp, we would expect Chrysler to stay competitive in the power department. Speaking of power, it is unclear if Jeep plans to continue its 425-hp SRT8 performance variant, but we doubt that such a niche vehicle could find a place in the struggling automaker’s plans right now.
Look for the Grand Cherokee to debut as early as the New York auto show this April and be available for purchase in the first quarter of 2010.

Unofficial Picture: 2010 Chrysler 300C

A few details and a look at the next-generation Chrysler 300 full-size sedan—as well as the 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee—have seeped out via Chrysler’s viability plan recently submitted to the U.S. government.
As did Audi when redesigning the TT, Chrysler faced the difficult challenge of reinventing an icon when it went to the drawing board for the next 300. The new 300 possesses a shape similar to that of its predecessor, but looks more elegant. Up front, Chrysler moves to a new corporate grille, first previewed on the Imperial concept and most recently, the 200C EV concept shown at the 2009 Detroit auto show. The thin horizontal chrome bars are sleeker than the eggcrate worn by the current car, and they give the new 300 less of a boxy, road-barge look. Headlight clusters are squared and smoothed, while the front bumper is much more integrated, tightening up the chin.
The 300 will again feature fender flares, but the lower part of the arches is much less prominent. The upper body crease creates a gently arching shoulder in place of the straight and sharp line of the current model, and the new 300 also loses the side molding, giving the upper crease more definition. Expect visibility to be improved though slimmer A-pillars, more glass, and a much smaller C-pillar created through the use of a small A-frame window at the rear.
Although there is no view of the rear, expect to see a significant change from the current car. We anticipate the rear will mimic the clean front styling of the car, better integrating the exhaust tips in the lower valance. LED taillights are nearly a certainty.
With the latest Dodge Ram demonstrating Chrysler’s renewed interest in interior quality, we expect the new 300 to use similarly improved materials. Sticking with the clean theme of the exterior, the new cabin appears simple and refined. The instrument panel houses two large circular gauges—similar to those in the Ram—while a large display operating Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment system tops the center console. The climate controls reside below the screen.
Hemi fans can relax, as the V-8 featuring cylinder deactivation will carry over from the existing model, and it should boast increases in both power and fuel economy. Chrysler says that the new 300 will also be available with an all-new “fuel-efficient” six-cylinder engine—likely the Phoenix line the company has been promising—which we think will produce at least 260 hp. New safety features will include rear cross-path and blind-spot monitoring systems. Most, if not all, of these features will likely carry over to a similarly redesigned 2010 Dodge Charger.
No word yet on when the new 300 will be officially revealed, but you can expect to see it and the next Dodge Charger on dealer lots in 2010.

Hot News: SEAT Roadster Postpone

Seat has postponed plans to launch its own version of the mid-engined VW Bluesport roadster (pictured here in concept form) because of the poor state of the global economy.
Senior Seat executives are keen for VW’s Spanish arm to have a sports car flagship, but aren’t currently confident that there is a business case for it.
“In the long run we need such a car,” Seat’s sales and marketing director, Jan-Henrik Lafrentz, told Autocar, “but as we don’t sell in the US and there isn’t a big market domestically it’s hard to justify. Maybe in five to 10 years' time, but not now.”
A higher priority for the company, according to Lafrentz, is to conquer expanding markets, especially in South America. Seat already sells cars in Mexico, importing them from Spain.
But Seat has plans to expand into Brazil and Argentina with new cars such as a saloon based on the Ibiza and a unique model, based on VW’s forthcoming US-only saloon, that will be built in Tennesse.
Sources say that Seat is currently considering building cars in South America too, most likely at VW’s existing Mexican plant.
Plans are also afoot to expand Seat’s European portfolio. Company insiders claim that development of the Seat-badged Up! city car is well under way. An all-new version of the Alhambra MPV is due next year, as is the Tribu small SUV. And a mid-sized seven-seat Renault Scenic rival will be on sale by 2012.
Thanks to: Autocar

Sneak Peek: 2010 Renaulsport Megane

This fuzzy teaser image, released by Renault, is the first official glimpse of the new Renaultsport Megane.
The new hot Megane, a replacement for the Renault Megane R26, is due to be unveiled to the public at the Geneva motor show on 3 March. The Renaultsport Megane goes on sale in the UK in the summer.
Although the details are fuzzy, the teaser shot clearly shows the Renaultsport Megane’s unique nose treatment. The shape of its deep front splitter and cross-hatch radiator grille are similar to those of the Megane Trophy concept unveiled at the Paris show last September, but the overall lines are slightly toned down.
The new Renaultsport Megane is based on the three-door Megane Coupe and uses the same 2.0-litre turbocharged motor as the current Megane R26. Power is up, though, from 230bhp to around 250bhp.
Thanks to: Autocar

Selasa, 17 Februari 2009

Hot News: Lamborghini Halts Production

Lamborghini is to respond to the weakening market for top-end sports cars by halting production for two weeks between February and March.
Lamborghini's production slowdown will affect around 300 members of its 1000-plus workforce, but it has already agreed the move with unions.
“We have established a decade of sales and profit increases, including another record year for deliveries in 2008, but we cannot maintain the previous levels of production during the downturn,” said Lamborghini president and CEO Stephan Winkelmann.
“Therefore, in agreement with the unions, we have decided to implement the option of a working time reduction. This provides a flexible reaction to market volatilities and helps to ensure production jobs in the long term,” he said.
The head of the union representing Italy’s car workers. Alberto Cocchi, commented, “The working time reduction has been agreed in order to safeguard jobs and to retain the growth realised by the company during the previous two years. Paying attention to personnel will be crucial for economic recovery."
While both parties consider the move a prudent response to global economic conditions, Winkelmann emphasised that Lamborghini was not cutting back on R&D, its global brand expansion plans or investment.
“The company will not abandon its long-term strategy and is not making any reductions in its investment and growth plans," he said. "We are committed to introducing one new product to the market each year."
Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2010 Hyundai Equus

Hyundai revealed its new Equus in Korea today. What’s an Equus? Well, in Latin it means horse, but, in Hyundai’s case, it’s the company’s decade-running luxury flagship sedan. The new model, pictured above, rides on Genesis hardware and might make an appearance in the U.S. market.

Though bigger, longer and wider than the Genesis, the Equus borrows its powertrain options, launching with Hyundai's 3.8-liter V-6 and the Tau 4.6-liter V-8. Reports claim a 5.0-liter V-8 will make its way in to a long-wheelbase variant somewhere down the line. Otherwise, expect a number of other luxury amenities, including the LED treatment to head and taillights, and a bevy of safety options. If the Equus does come stateside, reports indicate its badge will read Genesis Prestige and it will compete with top-line luxury vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Sneak Peek: Infiniti Essence

Infiniti will display a concept at the Geneva Motor Show which will represent the "essence" of the brand. That essence, the automaker says, is a “celebration of Infiniti and its 20 years history as a creator of performance cars.” The brand has tapped Louis Vuitton to create a matching set of luggage for the concept.
There is no information beyond that, and the teaser picture above discloses little. The general shape reminds of the G37 coupe, but with some 370Z influence injected in. Look for our coverage of the reveal on March 3. Until then, feel free to commence wild speculation.

Senin, 16 Februari 2009

Hot News: GM to Axe Saturn

GM’s Saturn brand will probably be killed off by 2011 as part of the company’s restructuring, according to Bob Lutz, the troubled car maker's vice-chairman.
Lutz told Automotive News that he would personally like to see Saturn "survive and prosper". But he added, "The reality is that is probably not going to be the outcome."
Saturn was founded in January 1985 and started building cars in 1990. It was established by GM to directly rival the increasingly successful Japanese manufacturers.
The Tennessee factory brought in new contracts and working practices agreed with the unions, and Saturn dealerships were configured to price cars on a ‘no haggle’ basis. Eventually Saturn’s customer base became overwhelmingly female.
The first Saturns were built on an all-new platform and were clad in plastic panels, which GM had intended to make restyling easier and quicker.
However, GM was slow to add vehicles to Saturn’s range; it waited until 2000 to introduce a model based on the 1998 Opel/Vauxhall Vectra. And Saturn’s sales never climbed above 250,000 per year.
In recent years, GM decided that Saturn’s future was for it to rebadge Opels and last year, Opel began exporting Saturn-badged Astra hatchbacks to the US.
Thanks to: Autocar

New Concept Car: Rinspeed iChange

Car manufacturers don’t come any crazier than Swiss firm Rinspeed, and it’s pulled out all the stops for its home motor show in Geneva. Called the iChange, this unique concept claims to be the only car in the world that adapts according to the number of passengers on board. At the push of a button, the rear of the one-seater sports car transforms to create enough space for three. The iChange also marks a new direction for the company – keeping energy consumption to a minimum. Weighing in at just over 1,000kg the lightweight car is powered by an electric motor while its teardrop-shaped body is extremely aerodynamic. And this is one concept that can really shift too. The 0-60mph sprint takes under four seconds, and it keeps going all the way to 137mph.The iChange does without doors as well. Instead the entire roof assembly tilts forward to allow passengers on board. And technology junkies will love that instead of keys an Apple iPhone controls all the car's major functions.Unfortunately it will never make production, but the iChange should make larger manufacturers think twice about how a modern car is designed. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Mercedes E-Class Coupe

Last month, Mercedes-Benz unveiled a new E-Class that signaled a clear -- if somewhat reserved -- departure from past styling. Now, after months of rumors and spy pictures, the crew at Mercedes has dropped another E-Bomb on us: the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe.
Rather than starting with a concept, Mercedes is blasting straight into the market with the production E-Class coupe which is set make its debut alongside the redesigned E-Class sedan at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show next month. After its North American debut at the New York auto show in April, it will go on sale in the U.S. in June of this year.
Not a great deal of technical information on the new E-Class coupe or sedan has been made public yet, but one number Benz is making a big deal of when it comes to the coupe is 0.24, its coefficient of drag number that Stuttgart says makes it the most aerodynamically efficient series production vehicle in the world. There are significant styling differences inside and out between the two cars. This is most likely due to the fact that the coupe is not only a variation on the E-Class, but a replacement for the CLK-Class, which is being discontinued.
Starting in the front, the E-Class coupe will stand out with its own grille, featuring fewer, beefier horizontal bars. Gone is the tri-star Mercedes-Benz hood ornament, replaced with a massive tri-star logo in the center of the grille. Down below, the radiator opening in the lower fascia has been slightly revised and is narrower and helps the front end look a bit more aggressive.
Around the sides, two new sets of wheels are shown, including a five-spoke and a split six-spoke design. The most noticeable difference on the side, though, is the massive flanks. With the rear doors gone, Mercedes decided to beef up the rear quarters with big, thick wheel arches and a line that flows into the tips of the taillights - a nod to the automaker's legendary "Ponton" Coupe S 220 of 1955.
Out back, those taillights have been stretched and squished, wrapping further around the sides of the car for a sleeker look. A third brake light now resides in the top lip of the trunk, and the lower rear fascia has been slightly revised. The roofline has also smoothed out and now arches more gracefully with a gentler slope and rounder C-pillar.

New Car: 2010 Fiat 500 Cabriolet

The sky’s the limit for Fiat! The first official pictures of the 500 convertible – badged the 500C – have landed ahead of its Geneva debut in March. And in true Fiat style the quirky cabriolet has a style all of its own.Paying homage to the 1957 original, the 500C uses a targa-style retractable soft-top, which has a number of advantages over a more conventional folding roof. The dimensions are identical to the fixed-head version, saving on manufacturing costs – and ensuring it retains the same dart-like handling. The engines range is untouched, too – there’s the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel, or a choice of two petrol units with either 68bhp or 99bhp. To maximise fuel efficiency every 500C features Fiat’s ‘Start&Stop’ technology, cutting the engine as soon as you’re in neutral and release the clutch – but fires back up the moment you select a gear. More details will follow closer to the car’s UK launch this summer. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Returns?

These are strange times at post-bailout GM. Having taken taxpayer money, the company is no longer master of its own destiny. It was bad enough when, late last year, new-model programs were halted to conserve dwindling cash reserves. Now, though, there's another thread running through GM's product planning process: not, should we build this vehicle, but is this a vehicle we should be seen to be building?
The Camaro Z/28 is one of those vehicles.

Sources inside GM say the new Z/28 is basically done. The image you see on these pages is very close to the final signed-off design, based on photos of a scale clay model we've seen. Key details to note are the deeper front bumper fascia, with larger front aperture under the grille and the spotlights mounted in deep vents on either side. The Z/28 also gets a different grille mesh compared with the standard Camaro's.
At the rear is a taller lip spoiler that runs the full width of the car. A new rear-bumper fascia features a deeper section with integrated exhaust outlets. The wheels are 20-inchers with an aggressive "tuning-fork" five-spoke pattern.
A new hood features a large, forward-facing scoop. Underneath is the 6.2-liter supercharged LSA V-8 that also powers the Cadillac CTS-V. As we have already confirmed, this is quite a powerplant, delivering 556 horsepower at 6100 rpm and 551 pound-feet of torque at 3800 rpm. The Z/28 will also share the CTS-Vs six speed manual and automatic transmissions.
The near-4300-pound CTS-V thunders from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and nails the quarter mile in 12.3 seconds (automatic) or 12.4 seconds (manual). Top speed is limited to 175 mph in the auto (to preserve the tranny), but the manual will storm to an autobahn-melting 193 mph. As the Z/28 will weigh 200 to 300 pounds less than the CTS-V, it may nail 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and run the quarter in the very low 12s. This Z/28 could be the fastest Chevy ponycar since the legendary ZL-1-powered COPO 9560 Camaros built 40 years ago.
Only problem is the Z/28 is on hold. First, GM ran out of money to finish and launch the car. Now, some inside the company are wondering whether selling a super-fast, super-powerful two-door Chevy coupe that will likely get no better than 13-19 mpg is the right thing to do for a company that's had to beg for money from a bunch of politicians who seem to think it really ought to be building gas-sipping Prius clones.
"In the current environment, it would be very difficult to get any traction on a large rear-drive program," says one insider. But a hard core of performance enthusiasts inside GM are hopeful they can get the Z/28 back on track. "If we leave it too long, the car will become irrelevant," frets one source. One idea reportedly under study calls for a strictly limited production run, with each car individually numbered, to attract collectors and enthusiasts, and priced to ensure a solid profit margin.
According to sources, GM product chief Bob Lutz has said that, while he would love to do the car, "We need to make the world right first." However, that could take cash-crunched GM a long, long time. For more details click here.

Sabtu, 14 Februari 2009

New Car: 2010 Audi A4 Allroad

Audi has revealed this, the new Audi A4 Allroad quattro, only the second new model in the Allroad series since the first Audi A6 Allroad was launched in 1999.
Based on the A4 Avant, the Audi A4 Allroad quattro is expected to go on sale in the UK this summer, with prices kicking off at £29,500. Three engines will be available: one petrol and two diesels.
The 208bhp 2.0-litre TFSI petrol will be the entry-level Audi A4 Allroad quattro; it manages 0-62mph in 6.9sec and should average 29mpg. Next up is the 170bhp 2.0 TDI, which offers an 8.9sec 0-60mph time and 36.8mpg.
Top of the tree is the 237bhp Audi A4 Allroad quattro 3.0 V6 diesel, which is good for 62mph in 6.4sec and an average fuel consumption of 33.2mpg.
The TFSI unit is hooked up to a six-speed manual ’box, while the diesels get a seven-speed dual-clutch system, with wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The quattro transmission splits the power 40/60 front to rear.
Cosmetically, the Audi A4 Allroad avoids the usual lower body cladding, getting just grey sills and flared wheel arch extensions. The lower bumpers are painted the same colour and house stainless steel underbody guards. Roof rails are standard.
The A4 Allroad’s track is 20mm wider than the standard A4’s and it rides on taller springs, but Audi has not yet revealed the ground clearance.
All A4 Allroads get Offroad Detection Technology. This senses the type of road surface and automatically adjusts the car’s ESP system to cope.
The xenon lights pictured here are optional, along with a two-part panoramic glass sunroof, three-zone climate control, active cruise control, hard drive storage and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround sound system.
Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2010 Mazda CX-7

Rather than compete for headlines at the Chicago auto show, Mazda is using the concurrent Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto to unveil its 2010 CX-7 crossover SUV. As the CX-7 has seen few changes since its market introduction in 2006, the 2010 model’s revised front and rear fascias represent a significant mid-cycle freshening, as well as an expansion of the design cues applied to the 2009 MX-5 Miata, RX-8, and 6 sedan.
The real change, however, is the addition of an entry-level model with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Although the four-banger is the same as in the 170-hp Mazda 6 i, output is slightly less in the CX-7: 161 hp at 6000 rpm and 161 lb-ft of torque at 3500 rpm. Also similar to the 6 i, the engine only is available with a five-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which makes 244 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, carries over unchanged, as does the accompanying six-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive system.
Other changes for 2010 center around refining the CX-7’s interior, with Mazda claiming to have reduced noise, vibration, and harshness levels, as well as wind noise. The overall design is very similar to the current model, yet higher quality materials, new gauges, and two new information displays atop the dash should make spending time behind the wheel a bit more enjoyable. Also available is a blind-spot monitoring system—similar to that on the Mazda 6 and CX-9—as well as Bluetooth connectivity and a three-position memory driver’s seat. Mazda says it will release more information, including pricing, on the CX-7 closer to when it goes on sale later this year, but expect the new base model to sticker just above $20,000.

Jumat, 13 Februari 2009

Hot News: 2010 Ferrari F450 Set for Frankfurt Motor Show 2009

Ferrari will unveil its F430 replacement at Frankfurt in October, giving its biggest-selling model a life of just five years.
Code-named Ferrari F142 and expected to be christened Ferrari F450 in production, the new V8-powered car will be largely new, with few carryover components in the chassis or bodywork.
While it was only released in 2004, the Ferrari F430’s chassis was heavily based on the 360 Modena whose parts dated back to 1999.
The new Ferrari F450 will also be the first production Ferrari to reflect the ethos of green materials and weight reduction first seen on the Ferrari Mille Chili eco-concept (pictured) in 2007.
Production of F430s has slowed recently, ahead of the F450’s start-of-production in July. Insiders who have seen the F450 insist it is one of the most beautiful Ferraris in years.
While details on the car are scant, it will run an enlarged version of the F430’s V8, equipped with direct injection giving an output of more than 500bhp from its 4.5-litre capacity, hence the F450 moniker.
The transmission will be a variant of the seven-speed dual-clutch system shared with the new California.
Linked to Ferrari’s steering-wheel mounted ‘manettino’ control, the dual-clutch transmission promises drivers a choice between quick sporty changes and relaxed automatic operation.
Ferrari has been working hard on weight reduction with its suppliers and the F450 is expected to take Alcoa’s advances in aluminium chassis technology to new heights.
Sources also suggest the F450 is already as fast around the Fiorano test track as the compromise-free F430 Scuderia.
But it will also ride more firmly than the Ferrari California, leaving buyers in no doubt about the focus of either car.
European Ferrari F450 sales are expected to begin late this year or early in 2010.
Thanks to: Autocar

First Sketch: 2013 Volkswagen NMS

Is this the new 2012 Passat? Dr. Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the Volkswagen group has personally released this sketch of a mid-sized saloon car, codenamed the NMS (New Mid-sized Sedan). The sleek four-door will be manufactured at VW’s new plant at Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is currently under construction. The angular saloon is said to be slightly bigger than the Passat CC meaning more legroom for passengers in the back, while the creased bodywork and low roofline marks quite a departure from more conservative VW designs of the past. Unfortunately, Winterkorn has confirmed that the NMS is destined exclusively for the North American market – with a price tag of around USD 22,000 (around £15,000) when it hits the road in 2012. However, the new design language could be a big clue as to how the 2012 European Passat will shape up. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: BMW 5-Series GT

It’s official – the BMW 5-Series is hatching out! This is the all-new Gran Turismo, a striking hatchback crossover that will sit at the very top of the new 5-Series range when sales start later this year.Mixing a four-door coupe body with raised, sliding rear seats like an MPV and a Skoda Superb-style twin-door hatchback, the Gran Turismo enters a new sector for BMW, targeting buyers who want a flexible luxury car, but one that’s not an estate or an SUV.This almost showroom-ready concept will make its worldwide debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, with the finished article arriving in the UK in October, priced at around £40,000. And BMW bosses hope it will attract new customers to the brand.“The conventional saloon has been around since the car industry started so perhaps now is the time for something new,” said BMW board member Ian Robertson. “The Gran Turismo fills a new niche and is an appropriate alternative to an SUV.”Debuting the ‘face’ of the next generation 5-Series – which will be revealed in 2010 – with larger kidney grilles and new lights similar to those of the CS concept car, the Gran Turismo sits on a new modular rear-wheel-drive platform that will also underpin the next generation 5-Series.At the rear, there’s a steeply sloping coupe-style roofline with X6-style tail-lights, while all the doors feature pillarless windows. The tailgate is similar to Skoda’s twin-door, first seen on the Superb, although BMW maintains that it has been developing the boot concept for a number of years.It can be used as a hatchback, or like a saloon with just the lower section opening up. Two buttons under the bootlid allow owners to switch between the two modes.Inside, the concept has ample seating for two rear passengers. Each chair is mounted around six inches higher than in a regular 5-Series, and can be individually slid backwards and forwards. The seat backs can tilt too. A body length of five metres, a long wheelbase and wide rear doors aid access.“The Gran Turismo is easier to get in and out of than either an SUV or a saloon,” explained Chris Bangle, who was present at the Munich unveiling in his final capacity as BMW design boss. “But it has more rear seat space than a 7-Series. This is a car that has been designed from the inside out with rear passenger room similar to that in first class air travel.”Up front, the driver and passenger also sit higher than they do in a regular 5-Series while Bangle’s design team has brought in a new dashboard with a more prominent centre console that’s covered in high gloss piano black material.The rear seats also fold down and thanks to a removable bulkhead, the boot’s 430-litre capacity can be expanded to 1,650 litres, giving the Gran Turismo the second largest carrying capacity in the BMW range, after the X5.The production version will be offered with three rear seats, with the two-seater configuration of the concept available as an option. The extended sunroof, which stretches over the rear passengers’ heads, is likely to be carried over to the finished model too. BMW expects the Gran Turismo to account for 12-15 percent of 5-Series sales with around 2,500 models sold in the UK each year. Engines will mirror the next generation 5-Series line-up with the range kicking off with 3.0-litre petrol and turbodiesel six-cylinder powerplants.Expect more powerful turbocharged V8s too, while BMW is also likely to make a hybrid model available in 2010. Although bosses would not comment, it’s expected that the Gran Turismo heralds a new range of BMW models, which could be followed by a 3-Series flagship with a similar combination of style and practicality. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express
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