Kamis, 30 April 2009

Hot News: Mercedes V8 Stop-Start by 2011

Mercedes is working towards having stop-start technology fitted on all its engines, according to one of its senior engineers.
Christoph Spengel, head of engine development for Mercedes' latest six-cylinder diesel, said: “I won’t name a year when we will achieve this goal, but it is a priority for Mercedes. We are pushing hard, and there is the possibility to jump ahead of BMW.”
Mercedes will introduce stop-start for the first time on a four–cylinder petrol engine, the 181bhp turbocharged E200 CGI, from the middle of next year, but engineers aren't happy with the way the system works on automatic models yet.
By 2011, however, Mercedes expects to have overcome the problems of fitting stop-start to automatics. The technology will then be rolled out on all V6 and V8 models, which have automatic gearboxes fitted as standard.
“Fitting the system to any engine and gearbox is not a problem, we can get reliability quite easily,” said Spengel. “Achieving the smoothness of the start is the real problem. Engaging the starter takes a little time, and then firing the engine takes a little time, and it is important that our system does not disturb the driver.”

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Chrysler Files for Bankruptcy

Chrysler is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, President Barack Obama has confirmed.
The decision has been made at the behest of the US president, after Chrysler failed to meet his administration's deadline for turning itself into a viable business.
Announcing the decision, Obama, who famously owned a HEMI-powered V8 Chrysler 300C before taking office, said: "The necessary steps have been taken to give one of America’s most-storied companies a new lease on life."
Obama also announced that the US government will give additional aid to GMAC so that it can take over lending to Chrysler's customers and dealers from Chrysler Financial, which the government has said is no longer viable. The Canadian government will also provide financial aid in return for a two per cent stake in the restructured company.
The president also stressed that Chrysler will continue to operate as normal while it is under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, with no imminent job cuts planned until the restructuring is complete. Chrysler did confirm it would cut the number of dealerships it had, though, but did not say how many or when. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: New Ssangyong 4x4 in 2010

The SsangYong C200 soft-roader will go on sale in the UK early next year.
The Nissan Qashqai rival, which was shown as a concept model at this year's Seoul motor show, will be available in front- and all-wheel-drive versions, according to the company's UK boss, Paul Williams.
There will be a choice of a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a 2.0-litre diesel unit. There will be six-speed manual and five-speed automatic gearbox options.
A hybrid diesel version is under development, but no on-sale date has yet been set.
The arrival of thr C200 depends on the outcome of Ssangyong's current receivership battle.
In Korea, receivership works in a similar way to US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As a result, Ssangyong is preparing a restructuring plan, which will then be presented to the courts on 22 May.
As part of this plan, Ssangyong is proposing to introduce five new models in the next five years.
Thanks to: Autocar

Next Car: 2010 Audi A8

WHAT: Audi’s aluminum flagship sedan is restyled for the first time since 2003. A 350-hp V-8 carries over, while a 420-hp twin-turbo V-8 will debut later.

WHY: Continuing up the luxury ladder, Audi needs a new A8 to compete with the Mercedes S-class and BMW 7-series.

WHEN: Arrives in 2010; sportier S8 debuts in 2011. Priced from $75,000.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 29 April 2009

American Muscle Photo Hunt Contest!!

American Muscle Photo Hunt

American Muscle Photo Hunt Contest

$250 Gift Certificate Grand Prize

Find All 12 Irregularities To Enter To Win!

Think you have a keen eye? Then tune your visual acuity toward the AmericanMuscle.com Photo Hunt Contest for your chance to win a $250 American Muscle Gift Certificate! With summer right around the corner, why wouldn't you want to test your luck on one of our coolest contests yet.

This contest is pretty easy folks. In fact, it's just like the infamous bar game. All you have to do is study the two photos below and find the 12 differences in them. Then list the 12 differences and/or circle them in a photo editor if you know how and email them to contests@americanmuscle.com. It's as simple as that. The $250 winner will be drawn randomly from all of the correct entries submitted. Good luck!

Click Here to see the Mustang photos and start huntin'.

Spied: 2010 Porsche Boxster Speedster

Porsche may be hard at work developing an entirely new Boxster – but the current car is going out in style! This is a Speedster version, which gets a dramatic new look with a pair of roll hoops at the rear, just like the classic 911 Speedster of the Eighties and Nineties.
Porsche engineers have done their best to disguise the aerodynamic look with a fake rear roof section but look closely at these pictures and you can just make out the twin humps which run from the rear end to the driver and passenger headrests. In addition, the Speedster will also boast a lower windscreen and a modified canvas hood.
Power will come from same 299bhp 3.4-litre engine as the Boxster S Porsche Design Edition 2 special edition. Expect to see the new model at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Senin, 27 April 2009

New Car: 2010 Aston Martin One-77

Aston Martin has confirmed the first public display of the complete One-77 concept will be held at the world renowned Concorso d’Eleganza event in the grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como, Italy on 24-26 April 2009.
The One-77 is Aston Martin’s definitive sports car, one that epitomises everything Aston Martin from technology, hand-craftsmanship of the hand rolled aluminum panels to the attention to detail. A culmination of all the marque’s know-how, the One-77 delivers effortless beauty guaranteed to stir the senses with performance potential eclipsing any previous Aston Martin. It’s this extraordinary workmanship and money-no-object commitment to quality that makes the One-77 unique. It promises a driving experience of unrivalled intensity and excitement while representing the world’s most desirable automotive art form.
The One-77 concept will be revealed in the perfect setting at Lake Como showcasing for the first time a complete concept; including full running powertrain and the world premiere of the eagerly anticipated interior design. The interior environment blends the stunning detail of the exterior and draws it inside with incredible meticulousness through the use of exotic materials and hand made parts detailing the quintessence of Aston Martin engineering and design expertise.
Last month Aston Martin showcased a technical illustration of the One-77 at the Geneva Auto Salon, revealing the technical intricacies and engineering excellence that will exist beneath the One-77’s handmade body. Since then, the technical illustration has undergone painstaking handcraftsmanship to be developed into a complete car.
Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez said: “The One-77 demonstrates the unique capabilities of our company – it encompasses engineering excellence with a great passion from our engineers, designers and technical partners. For more details click here

New Car: 2010 Morgan Aero Super Sport

Throughout 2009 the Morgan Motor Company is celebrating one hundred years of continuous manufacture of motorcars. The company has remained in one family’s ownership since the founder HFS Morgan made his first car in 1909.
As part of the Centenary celebrations Morgan announces a truly special model.
Designed and engineered in house, the Morgan Aero SuperSports is a lightweight aluminum sports car with a luxurious specification. The interior features a comfortable combination of polished hardwoods, hand stitched leather and electronic technology to create a driving environment that is efficient, ergonomic and sumptuous. In spite of all this opulence the overall weight of the car is still minimal so the car is responsive to driver inputs and economical to run. The unique way Morgan can achieve this is down to our use of aircraft style superformed aluminum outer panels and the skills of our craftsmen to hand finish the assembly of each car.
This technology debuted in the 100 AeroMax coupes built by the factory in 2008 and 2009.
Such was demand for this model, that Morgan have taken the decision to produce the Morgan Aero SuperSports. A limited edition, the car makes use of two aluminum detachable roof panels. These can either turn the car effectively in to a coupe or when detached bring fresh air and the aromas of the seasons to the driving experience without undue wind disturbance to spoil the journey. The panels can be stored conveniently in the boot.
The car of course benefits from the lightweight aluminum Aero chassis which is adhesively bonded for class leading rigidity. Exceeding global crash protection standards, this is also the platform used by the Morgan Aero Eight GT3 currently competing successfully in the 2009 International FIA GT3 Championship. This chassis combined with the aluminum 4.8 liter BMW V8 engine and a choice of 6 speed automatic or manual gearboxes offers an unrivalled driving experience. No other automatic car offers such dynamic power transmission. For more details click here.

Hot News: GM to Axe Pontiac

GM will kill off the evocative Pontiac brand as it bids to cut costs.
As part of a measure of cost savings announced in a new viability plan today, GM confirmed it will phase the Pontiac brand out by the end of 2010, while also deciding the futures of Hummer, Saab and Saturn by the end of 2009. It has pledged to focus on Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC.
GM must convince the US government of the business sense of its viability plan if it is to continue receiving cash bailouts, rather than be put into bankruptcy protection.
Pontiac has produced cars since 1926, and they have been sold in the US, Canada and Mexico.
The name derives from Chief Pontiac, an American Indian chief who led an unsuccessful uprising against the French shortly after the French and Indian War.
As a result an American Indian Headdress was used as as a logo until 1956. It was then changed to an American Indian arrowhead, which is now known as the dart.
Pontiacs were also easily identifiable for their 'silver streaks' of stainless steel that extended from the grille down the centre of the bonnet.
Its first car was the Pontiac Chief, powered by a 39bhp 3.1-litre engine.
Classic Pontiac models include the GTO, Firebird, Trans-Am, Fiero and Bonneville.
The brand is also linked to some of film and television's most famous cars. Knight Rider's KITT was a Pontiac Trans-Am, while the Firebird Trans-Am starred in Smokey and the Bandit.
The Fiero is also a cult favourite, having spawned numerous replicas and influenced modern supercar styling.
In recent years Pontiac has introduced cars including the Holden Commodore-based G8, which replaced the GTO, Bonneville and Grand Prix models and is sold in the UK as the VXR8.
Other proposed cost-savings include cutting the number of models GM sells from 48 in 2008 to 34 by 2010, cutting the number of dealers from 6246 in 2008 to 3605 by the end of 2010 and cutting the number of assembly, powertrain and stamping plants in the US from 47 in 2008 to 34 by the end of 2010, and 31 by 2012.
An unspecified number of jobs will also be cut, while savings agreed with the UAW workers' union will cut labour costs from $7.6 billion (£5.2 billion) to $5 billion (£3.4 billion) in 2010.
As a result, GM says its market share will fall to 18.4-18.9 per cent from 2010. It says it will have to sell 10 million vehicles a year to break even - a figure that it says will be achievable when the economic climate picks up. It sold 8.35 million vehicles last year.
GM has also launched a bond exchange offer for approximately $27 billion (£18.4 billion) of unsecured public debt.
It also pledged to invest $5.3-6.7 billion (£3.6-4.6 billion) in future product development each year until 2014, and pledged that the Chevrolet Volt would be ready to start production at the end of 2010.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Bugatti 4-Door Saloon

It's the Veyron for all the family! This is our best look yet at the stunning Bugatti Royale – a four-door four-seater that’s set to take the famous firm into a new market.
With the £900,000, 253mph Veyron 16.4 already crowned the world’s most expensive and fastest supercar, Bugatti is seeking to go a step further: it will celebrate its 100th anniversary by unveiling this hyper-saloon at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
Inspired by the legendary 1927 Type 41 Royale, the new model would be as expensive as its brother and be available in a very limited production run for the company’s most loyal customers. As you can see, the exterior echoes the Veyron’s, while inside the cabin will offer unparalleled luxury, with the finest leather, suede and metal trim in addition to seating for four people and a luggage compartment at the rear.
Bugatti won’t be embarking on the project alone, though. It’s rumoured that the firm will team up with fellow VW Group luxury manufacturer Bentley in developing a new front-engined limousine platform. As well as underpinning the Royale, the chassis would be used on the next Arnage. However, the new Bugatti will keep much of the technology seen on the Veyron, such as its four-wheel-drive set-up and 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 engine, although this will be mounted at the front.
With the same 987bhp and 1,250Nm of torque, the Royale should cover 0-60mph in three seconds and hit a 250mph top speed, making it the fastest four-seater in the world. It will also feature the same seven-speed twin-clutch transmission – developed by UK firm Ricardo – along with that Haldex clutch-equipped all-wheel drive. There will be active aerodynamics, a Veyron-style hydraulic rear wing that rises at speed, huge carbon composite brake discs and adaptive dampers, too.
The current economic downturn means the Royale is still some way off. But with McLaren Automotive boss Ron Dennis predicting a return to growth in 2011, just in time for the launch of his company’s P11 supercar (see Issue 1,060), expect the four-door to go on sale in three years’ time.
In further celebration of its 100th birthday, Bugattiis also planning to launch a 1,350bhp ‘super’ Veyron later this year, along with additional special editions. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2011 Saab 9-5

Take a look at the best spy shots yet of Saab's new 9-5! As the troubled company's future hangs in the balance, engineers are continuing to develop the BMW 5-Series rival in time for an unveiling at September's Frankfurt Motor Show. Spied testing at the Nurburgring circuit, the long-awaited replacement for the ageing current car certainly looks the part with a sleek, sporty shape that boasts a coupe-style sloping roofline and front end that shows off some cues from the Aero-X concept car.Under the skin lies a platform that's shared with the Vauxhall Insignia, which means the new 9-5 will be larger than before and more spacious allowing it to tackle the 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class head-on. Crucially, though, that chassis should also mean a sharp driving experience, mixed with a comfortable ride. Power will come from a range of Vauxhall-sourced engines, including a 210bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol, a 2.8-litre V6 turbo petrol and a line-up of 2.0-litre diesels along with a hybrid model. Most versions will be front-wheel drive, with the range-topping V6 boasting a 4x4 system. For more detials click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Jumat, 24 April 2009

Spied: 2011 Audi A5 Sportback

Its official – the A5 Sportback has been spotted lurking in the shadows! Our snappers caught these amazing images of the almost undisguised Audi testing in Germany, ahead of its scheduled debut at the Frankfurt show in September.
Based on the two-door A5 coupe, the Sportback will use a more practical five-door configuration as you can see clearly in the photos. But a more curvy and sleek design will distinguish it from the more conservative A4 Avant. In effect, it will sit in the range as a smaller brother to the A7 four-door coupe – Audi’s rival to the Mercedes CLS.
Engine choices will include only the more powerful options, including V6 petrol and diesels, as well as a storming RS5 version producing around 450bhp from its 4.2-litre V8. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Peugeot RD

Concepts don’t get any more out-there than this! But according to Peugeot it’s exactly what we’ll all be driving in the ‘worldwide megalopolis of tomorrow’. The three-wheeled vision of future inner-city transport is the winning entry to Peugeot’s annual design competition, and a full-size clay model was on display in Shanghai.
The single-seater RD Concept shuns an internal combustion engine in favour of an all-electric powertrain, and makes do with just three wheels in contact with the floor. The idea behind this is to deliver all the fun of a three-wheel scooter that leans into bends, while maintaining the ride comfort of a family saloon.
This year’s competition attracted over 2,500 applications, but the man behind the winning proposal was the elaborately named 27-year old Columbian designer Carlos Arturo Torres Tovar (pictured). For his efforts the aspiring stylist received a cheque for 10,000 euros and an XBOX 360 games console. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Mini Speedster

Feast your eyes on the fastest and most desirable MINI ever! This is the Speedster – a head-turning two-seater drop-top that will combine dramatic looks with sizzling performance. Arriving hot on the heels of the Crossman – the firm’s first 4x4 – the stunning roadster will take the famous brand further into uncharted territory.
Rumours have been circulating for a number of years about the Speedster, which will rival the next-generation Mazda MX-5, as well as Honda’s upcoming CRZ. But it appears bosses at MINI’s parent company BMW have finally plucked up the courage to make the firm’s first genuine sports car a reality. And our exclusive images show how the flagship will look.
Unlike the Crossman, which borrows its underpinnings from the forthcoming BMW X1, the Speedster will use the same platform as the MINI Convertible. This allows maximum flexibility for component sharing with the current range, and will help to minimise development costs.
But to give the Speedster its own unique identity and sports car looks, the standard Convertible’s impractical rear seats have been ditched. By making it a strict two-seater, engineers have created more boot space, too.
Distinctive roll hoops, a lower and wider stance and oversized wheelarches make up the car’s classic roadster proportions. But the split front grille, familiar bonnet scoop and chrome-rimmed tail-lights, as well as the twin central exhausts, ensure it’s unmistakably a MINI.
An electric folding soft-top – similar to that on the standard Convertible – stows away in the boot when the driver wants to be exposed to the elements.
The fabric hood isn’t as complex as a folding hard-top design, and doesn’t weigh as much, either. Plus, it gives designers more scope to create a sportier silhouette to match the steeply raked windscreen.
A removable hard-top that fits snugly over the canvas hood will also be offered.
Not only will it provide better protection from the elements and reduce wind noise on long journeys, but by arcing smoothly from the top of the windscreen to the vehicle’s rear – behind the roll hoop extensions – it will create a coupé-like profile. So, buyers effectively get two cars in one.
The MINI’s unique styling will be developed in-house, but Auto Express believes there is a chance that the finished bodyshell will be built by a third party.
The shells will be cut down, modified and stiffened before they are then returned to MINI to have their running gear fitted.
A premium of £2,000 over the Convertible is likely, so prices should start at around £18,000 for the Cooper S version when it goes on sale here in 2011. There will also be a John Cooper Works model.
Given British buyers’ fondness for convertibles and the success of the brand, the Speedster seems a surefire hit for the expanding MINI empire. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Audi Q3 Confirmed

Audi has announced it will build a small Q3 crossover at a SEAT plant in Martorell, Spain, part of which is being retooled for the 2011 launch of the new model. While struggling SEAT gets a much needed boost in production capacity—and 1200 jobs are saved—Audi has postponed the decision on a U.S. production facility until a later date. The German automaker had been considering its own U.S. plant for a while, and potentially could share the Volkswagen Group's new factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is scheduled to produce VW’s New Mid-Size Sedan (NMS) and a VW-badged crossover vehicle from 2010 on. However, "there is currently no urgent need to select additional sites," says Audi CEO Rupert Stadler.
The Q3 will join Audi's portfolio of crossover SUVs, which includes the new Q5 and the updated-for-2010 Q7. But while the Q5 and the Q7 both have longitudinal engines, the Q3 is based on a layout with a transverse mounted powerplant. In fact, its platform is shared with a number of VW models, as well as the Audi A3. While the Q5 shares its architecture with the A4 (and the next-generation A6), think of the Q3 as the sister model of the VW Tiguan. But unlike the Tiguan, off-road capability was not on the list of Audi's engineering targets for the Q3. Sportiness was, though, making the company’s move to offer Quattro all-wheel drive as standard a sound decision.
Details are sketchy, but a gasoline-fueled 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder and a 2.0-liter TDI turbo-diesel, both tuned to about 200 hp, will be the obvious choices for the U.S. market. Audi will make a six-speed manual transmission available in Europe, but a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual (S tronic) or conventional automatic likely will be the sole gearbox offered in the U.S.
The Q3 should look a lot like the Cross Coupe Quattro concept unveiled at the 2007 Shanghai auto show, but with many of the details—such as the grille, lighting units, and air intakes—toned down for production. It is almost identical in size to the A3, but will be far taller. Audi says the Q3 also will have a "coupe-like appearance," but we’re not convinced. In our opinion, the concept appears less coupe-like than the BMW X6 or the Acura ZDX, with a more upright rear window than those bigger entries. Figure at least $30,000 for the Q3, with primary competition coming from BMW’s upcoming X1 crossover.

Senin, 20 April 2009

Sneak Peek: 2010 Jaguar XJ

Jaguar gave Shanghai show goers a sneak preview of the all-new XJ saloon.
A brief video of the roof of the new car was flashed up at the end of the press presentation, and we have official photos in our image gallery.
The company also revealed some more details about its new flagship. The XJ will make its proper debut in London on 9 July, although it won't go on sale until the end of the year.
Jag has also confirmed that the new car will be launched in both short and long wheelbase versions powered by the new range of petrol and diesel engines recently introduced in the XF saloon.
This includes the 503bhp supercharged V8, although it won't be an XJR. Company insiders have admitted that a hot XJ is still being planned and will be launched later.
All models are likely to be highly specified and customers will be able to tailor spec and options more than on previous Jags. The new XJ also comes with the option of a panoramic glass roof.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Land Rover Plans for New Defender

Land Rover is currently researching the market for a replacement of its most practical and long-lived model, the Defender, with a view to replacing it when the existing three-wheelbase model set falls foul of legislation in 2013.
Managing director Phil Popham says there is "huge passion" inside the company to produce a Defender successor, but believes the key to its viability is discovering exactly who its buyers would be.
Annual Defender sales have run at 20,000 to 24,000 units fror years, but to justify the development costs, a new model would have to generate sales of around 40,000 units.
One possibility would be to use the current Discovery’s T5 chassis/suspension, likely to be discarded for the next-generation Discovery and Range Rover Sport for weight-saving reasons. The chassis already comes in two wheelbase lengths.
But research would have to prove that a T5-equipped Defender would be economic to produce and have the current model’s excellent load-carrying abilities.
"We don’t have the solution today," says Popham, “but we fully intend to have one. I believe there is potentially a huge market there."
Thanks to: Autocar

Minggu, 19 April 2009

Spied: 2011 Hyundai Sonata

We have written before about Hyundai’s upcoming 2011 Sonata, but previous spy images didn’t allow for much to be said about its styling direction. But now our spies have brought us pictures of both the interior and exterior, and we can predict that the next Sonata will have a surprisingly saucy profile. The car appears to have grown measurably, although with the roofline stretching into the trunk, it has a four-door-coupe-ish, Volkswagen CC–like sleekness, with an upswept character line providing a convenient location for the door handles. Other than the more elegantly contoured grille surround, the front and rear graphic elements remain tough to make out beneath the cladding. It does appear that the Sonata will display Hyundai badging up front, unlike its rear-wheel-drive brother, the Genesis sedan.
Inside, the Sonata gets much sportier, with blue-accented controls and a swoopy four-spoke steering wheel. The HVAC controls look very Volvo-like, and the tunneled gauges could have been ripped right out of a Mercedes-Benz SLK.
Whether or not the Sonata sounds as sweet as it may look depends on how Hyundai tunes the engines. A four-cylinder and a V-6 are virtually guaranteed, and we expect output levels to compete with the leaders in the segment, including the Honda Accord, Mazda 6, Chevrolet Malibu, and Nissan Altima. We also have reported on the upcoming hybrid model that will mate the four-cylinder to a 40-hp electric motor powered by lithium-polymer batteries. In any case, all powertrains must be reconciled with the company’s very ambitious and self-imposed mandate of a corporate average fuel economy of 35 mpg by 2015, so expect to see some techno tricks such as direct injection and maybe even forced induction phased in as that date approaches.
We expect to see the 2011 Sonata in either concept or production form at the 2009 Los Angeles auto show in November or later at the 2010 Detroit auto show in January, and to arrive in dealerships sometime in the first half of 2010.

Kamis, 16 April 2009

New Car: 2010 Opel/Vauxhall Insignia OPC/VXR

This is the new Vauxhall Insignia VXR, General Motors’ 321bhp turbocharged super-saloon with four-wheel drive.
The Insignia is a Mondeo rival, but with the VXR version Vauxhall wants to take the fight upmarket, to the 328bhp Audi S4 and 295bhp VW Passat R36.
GM is taking this battle extremely seriously too, having spent a considerable amount of time honing the VXR’s chassis at the Nürburgring and packing it with as much technology as it can lay its hands on.
Thanks to a 2.8-litre V6 turbo Ecotec engine — which has the same block as the old Vectra VXR’s unit but gets a new head and camshafts, revised turbo and different mapping — the Insignia is good for 0-60mph in 5.8sec and a limited top speed of 155mph.
The engine features a micro-alloy forged steel crank, 60-degree cylinder angle and die-cast alloy oil sump. It’s fitted with a single twin-scroll turbocharger and variable valve control for improved throttle response.
The Insignia is the first VXR model to feature four-wheel drive; it gets a Haldex system similar to that found in the Saab 9-3 Turbo X, although the settings have been reworked.
The transmission is coupled to an electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) which applies more or less torque to either of the rear wheels to help that end of the car follow the direction of the front wheels.
Stuart Harris, brand manager for VXR, says the car’s handling will have a rearward bias and claims drivers will be able to power out of understeer.
“It [the VXR] has always been seen as a competitor to the Audi S4 and low-end BMW M products, and I think it is going to surprise a lot of people,” he added.
The VXR, which will be available as a saloon, hatch and estate, is 10mm lower than the Insignia SRi and rides on 19in wheels, although 20-inch lightweight forged alloys are available as a cost option.
Brembo brakes with colour-coded calipers and cross-drilled discs provide the stopping power.
The VXR’s styling is restrained, but it bears more than a passing resemblance to the GTC concept seen at the 2007 Geneva motor show.
There are twin mesh intakes at either side of the main front grille, and both the hatch and saloon get a small rear spoiler and dual matt chrome exhausts.
Inside there are Recaro front seats, a new VXR steering wheel, different instruments and a VXR gearknob.
The car is not due on sale until the summer. Pricing has yet to be revealed, but Autocar understands that it is likely to cost just over £30k, with estate variants carrying a premium of around £1400.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2010 Audi Q7

Form an orderly Q – Audi’s biggest SUV has been given a host of updates! As well as a facelift, the latest Q7 gets a more efficient diesel engine.
The changes up front include a redesigned radiator grille with vertical chrome bars and a contrasting black finish, plus a heavily ribbed bumper guard. Options include adaptive xenon lights with LED running lamps.The release comes after we brought you these spy shots of the undisguised facelifted model out testing.
At the rear, there’s a lighter aluminium tailgate, standard LED lamps plus a two-tone finish for the bumper. And four new colours have been made available, including the Teak Brown shown here. Inside, the seven-seater gets a redesigned instrument cluster with metallic edging for the dials and extra chrome.
The 240bhp 3.0 TDI is also available as a new ‘clean diesel’ with a complex exhaust gas recirculation system. At 31.7mpg as opposed to 31mpg, it is a little more economical, but nitrogen oxide emissions are drastically reduced. All engines get a brake energy recovery system, too. Sales start later this year. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Rabu, 15 April 2009

Hot News: Cadillac Converj Gets Green Light to Produce

General Motors has approved production of the stunning Cadillac Converj, its extended-range electric-powered coupe based on the Chevrolet Volt's Voltec architecture, a well-placed source says. GM brass wants the car on the road by 2011, making it a 2012 model. This is all contingent on improved finances for GM, of course, which means it's contingent on the government's reaction to the next version of the automaker's viability plan due June 1. It doesn't hurt that the Obama administration has called for automakers to bring more fuel-efficient cars and trucks to market. A production Converj is potentially profitable and would improve Cadillac's green image at the same time.
Our source says GM will follow up the Cadillac with a people-mover/crossover utility vehicle based on the Voltec architecture.
A GM spokesperson contacted for this report denies the Converj's green-light status and says that nothing has changed regarding the production prospects for the car. However, our source offers a number of details that lend credence to the probability of its approval.
First, of course, a 2011 on-sale date for the Converj is a target date, and it's an ambitious one at that. While the Voltec architecture is exclusive, there's a lot of GM's compact Delta architecture in it. A '12 Converj would need all-new sheetmetal and interior, and that's possible given the advanced status of Voltec development. The drivetrain would be similar to the lithium-ion battery pack and 1.4L four-cylinder engine to be used in the Chevy Volt, although GM is likely to add battery mass to make the Cadillac a more powerful car.
Our source says GM brass plans to build the car as a two-door coupe, like the concept, not a four-door with hidden rear door handles, an alternative product chief Bob Lutz floated in Motor Trend's April 2009 feature on the concept. While the concept is a tallish 55 inches, a production Converj would have to use the Volt's taller firewall, which means the car will have to grow upward in more than ground clearance to make production financially feasible while retaining general proportions.
Whether you believe our source, or the spokesperson, a production Converj seems an easier bet with half of the automaker's brands -- Saturn, Saab and Hummer -- on the way out. GM can better concentrate on core new models for Chevy and Cadillac. Having such advanced green technology available for GM's low-priced and premium "core" brands would resonate with the Obama administration and the public.
As for the Voltec people-mover/CUV, our source believes a Buick badge is most likely, though it also could delineate GMC from Chevy truck models and still please Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealers. The Voltec CUV could have two or three rows of seats - the compact Delta platform is related to the midsize Epsilon II platform, so this model could be larger than the Chevy and Cadillac, with more battery mass to handle the extra weight.

New Car: 2011 Aston Martin Rapide

Aston Martin has allowed some more specifics and an additional computer-generated image—this time showing the profile view—to fall out of the Rapide information folder. And although none of the images the company has released thus far are actual photographs, they are revealing enough to confirm that Aston Martin’s sex-a-licious form vocabulary is indeed scalable to four-door proportions. (It’s too bad the same can’t be said of Porsche and its Panamera.)
Essentially a DB9 coupe with an extra foot or so of wheelbase and two additional doors (all four will be of the trademark Aston "swan wing" variety), the Rapide shares much of its styling DNA—long nose, ducktail deck, and stacked grille—with its saucy two-door platform-mate. The Rapide also incorporates a door crease like that of the V-8 Vantage, as well as smoother cheeks and a thin strip of chrome trim on the back. Unique to the Rapide are One-77–style hood vents, nicely detailed headlamps with vertical LED running lights, and an all-glass roof (which, come to think of it, might be nice on the coupe, too). Inside, think DB9 with two rear bucket seats and perhaps a few unique touches and you won’t be far off.
Under the hood will be the DB9’s 5.9-liter V-12, making 470 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, with shifting handled exclusively by the ZF six-speed Touchtronic automatic transmission. Considering that the newly updated DB9 has a claimed 0-to-60-mph time of 4.6 seconds, we imagine that the Rapide should be able to do the same trick in under five while enveloping the passengers in aural ecstasy. Not fast enough? Well, it shouldn’t take long for Aston Martin to develop an even quicker version of the Rapide incorporating some of the powertrain and material upgrades used in the DBS.
The car will be built by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, with engines coming from Aston's engine facility in Cologne, Germany. The Rapide will make its first official appearance late this year—our money’s on a Frankfurt debut in September. Speaking of money, we’re not sure how much Aston Martin is going to ask for the Rapide when it arrives at dealers in early 2010, but we can’t imagine it coming in much lower than $250K.

New Car: 2010 Mercedes S63 AMG/S65 AMG

As Mercedes-Benz’s S-class gets a refresh for 2010, the high-performance AMG models will be updated as well. Official press pictures will be released during the Shanghai auto show later this month, but the automaker’s German-market online configurator has spilled the beans early.
If you found previous AMG versions of the S-class to be too discreet, you’ll be happy to know that the package has been sharpened considerably. The front fascia has been altered to make room for a large center air intake. The circular fog lights also have been removed, while the outer air intakes now integrate LED light strips. The S63 and S65 are distinguished by their badging, wheel choices, and front grilles. As to the grilles, the V-8–powered S63 wears five slim, horizontal bars, while the V-12 S65 displays three double strips, just like the S600. The quadruple exhaust tips are larger on the S65, and each pair meets in the middle. The taillights also feature new LED elements. We were hoping that AMG would move the shifter from the steering column to the center console where it belongs, as was done for the 2010 E63 AMG, but that’s not the case. For more details click here.

Minggu, 12 April 2009

First Sketch: 2011 Mercedes SLS

For the new SLS, Mercedes-Benz and AMG have developed a puristic sports car interior that combines lightweight construction with dynamism and high emotional appeal. Opening the unique swing-wing doors reveals an interior of a decidedly sporty nature – and immediately brings an aircraft cockpit to mind. The central design theme of "aviation engineering" is reflected in the wing-shaped dashboard, the center console in the style of a jet's operating console and the four striking air vents reminiscent of aircraft engines.
The interior of this new swing-wing car offers authentic motor sports practicality, the safety typical of a Mercedes and outstanding ergonomics. Fine materials such as nappa leather, solid metal and (optionally) genuine carbon-fiber facings underline the pronounced "custom-built" nature of the SLS interior, and show enormous attention to detail.
"The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is not only very special because of the exclusive swing-wing doors. The visible influence of aviation engineering, the high-grade materials and the practicality typical of a sports car will make the hearts of sports car enthusiasts beat faster. At the same time the new interior styling indicates the design philosophy for coming generations of Mercedes sports cars", says Gordon Wagener, Head of Design at Mercedes-Benz.
Sport, purism, reduction and authenticity are the design emphases for the interior of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Above all, the design is influenced by the world of aviation – which is clearly demonstrated by the new swing-wing. The characteristic styling feature is the dashboard, whose powerful and dramatic wing-shape makes for an impression of width. The four air vents with their adjustable, cruciform nozzles are reminiscent of a jet's engines. An aircraft cockpit is also the visual and practical design inspiration for the long "Silver Shadow" center console in solid metal, in which all the central controls including the AMG DRIVE UNIT, which is inclined towards the driver, are consolidated. On request the center console and other features are also available in carbon fiber. As a new feature, the E-SELECT shift lever controls the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission on the drive-by-wire principle. Its shape immediately calls the thrust control of a jet aircraft to mind, and the same applies to the concave inner panels of the swing-wing doors. The high waistline reinforces the cockpit-like impression, while imparting a feeling of safety and security at the same time.
All the controls are ergonomically grouped around the driver, easy to reach and intuitive to operate. In this respect too, the interior of the SLS is reminiscent of an aircraft cockpit. The logically conceived control and display concept follows well-proven Mercedes principles, easy identification of the major functions and rapid access to frequently used functions being the major attributes. For more details click here.

Hot News: Jaguar to Build XJ Hybrid

Jaguar is poised to launch the world’s first electric-drive luxury saloon, a version of the next-gen XJ, after the European Union last week agreed a loan for new green technology.
The breakthrough Jag XJ four-door will use similar tech to the Vauxhall Ampera/Chevy Volt. Those cars run on electric power from batteries that are charged mainly by hooking up to the grid, but are also capable of being recharged on the move by a small-capacity engine.
Jaguar’s goals for the ‘Limo Green’ are an electric range of 30 miles, fuel economy of 57mpg, CO2 emissions of less than 120g/km and a top speed of 112mph. The firm has committed to start production in 2011, a year after the next-generation XJ is launched.
Jaguar’s alloy body technology should ensure a low kerb weight and the electric XJ’s powertrain is being developed in conjunction with British engineering brains at Lotus Engineering, MIRA and Caparo.
The £307 million loan cleared last week by the European Investment Bank will boost JLR’s green investments to £800m as it bids to cut overall emissions by 25 per cent by 2012.
Cash will also be sunk into developing full hybrids, micro-hybrids, small-capacity diesel engines and ‘soft-turbocharged’ petrol engines.
A new mini-Range Rover hybrid based on the LRX concept and powered by a 2.0-litre diesel is also planned.
Land Rover also has a ‘mild hybrid’ Range Rover Sport in development, with a super-capacitor for short-term electricity storage and a starter-generator that reclaims energy during engine braking.
JLR has also pledged to look at more extensive use of lightweight materials such as aluminium across the range.
Land Rover is set to make the next Range Rover and Sport with alloy bodyshells, and the new XE two-seat sports car is pencilled in as a variant of the next-generation alloy XK.
It is also anticipated that Jag will reconsider making the XF replacement in alloy, once the plan with the current model.
Another possibility is to ‘dress’ steel cars like the next-gen XF in alloy body panels. Doing so could shave around 100kg off the kerb weight.
Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2010 Opel/Vauxhall Astra

It’s the shock of the week – this is the first official picture of Vauxhall’s new Astra! In a measure of the desperation that the company faces, this image of its new compact family car has just arrived at Auto Express without any warning at all, completely out of the blue! The new Ford Focus rival has finally broken cover in five-door form – although there’s also a striking three-door variant and a Sport Tourer estate version on the way too. As you can see, it’s clear from this image that it’s taking much of its inspiration from its big brother, the Insignia. It boasts a sporty look with a low nose and high tail, mixing a sleeker version of the Insignia’s nose along with the same stylish kick along its flanks. Set to go on sale before the end of the year, the new model will be based on troubled parent company General Motors’ Delta platform – which recently made its debut on the Chevrolet Cruze. Longer by 100mm and wider too, with a 2.7m wheelbase (up 86mm), the new Astra will protect its occupants better in the event of a crash and will offer more space inside than the current car. It will also take a leap forward on quality, with more stylish version of the Insignia’s cabin. There will be a host of new small fuel efficient engines too, including a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol turbo and a range of 1.3, 1.7 and 2.0 litre CDTi turbodiesels, with Ecoflex versions boasting CO2 emissions of less than 120g/km. The flagship Astra VXR three-door will boast a sporty look with a coupe-style body and a diffuser-style rear bumper arrangement. It will get a 270bhp version of the current 2.0-litre turbo engine. Other variants will include a Sport Tourer estate model which will boast class-leading boot space thanks to a body that’s some 20cm longer than that of the five-door hatchback. The Astra range will also spawn a new seven-seater Zafira too, going on sale in 2012. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Jumat, 10 April 2009

NY Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Kia Forte Koup

The 2010 Kia Forte Koup shares its front-wheel drive unibody platform with the Forte sedan, but manages to be slightly shorter in height and length than the four-door. It also shares the Forte's engine lineup consisting of an EX trim level base 2.0L four-cylinder (156-hp/144 lb-ft) and a bigger 2.4L four-banger (173-hp/168 lb-ft) in the higher SX model. Both receive two gearbox choices, with the entry level getting either a five-speed manual or four-speed auto. Transmissions in the SX get one more gear each.
Both trims receive the same sleek styling highlighted by the automaker's attractive new front-end. The nose is accented by wraparound headlights and muscular wheel surrounds, while at the back, a dual exhaust set on either side of the rear diffuser further indicates the two-door's athletic character. Sixteen-in. rolling stock come standard on the EX, but 17-inchers can be had when customer moves up to the SX. Engineers claim the suspensions of both trim levels were tuned to be highly responsive when pushing through the twisties -- a claim we will be sure to put to the test. At the same time, Kia says much care was taken in reducing overall noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).
Despite its size, the 2010 Koupe sports a generous 90.7 cu ft of interior volume -- 12.6 cu ft of which is dedicated to cargo. Standard bolstered sport seats, air conditioning, power widows and door locks keep passengers as comfortable as possible. SX owners see red stitching, tilt and telescoping leather wrapped steering wheels and metal trimmings added to the amenities list. 2010 Kia Forte Koup pricing and availability has yet to be announced.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: Hyundai Nuvis Concept

The Hyundai Nuvis Concept is yet another hybrid-crossover dream machine designed to blend utility with small-car fuel-economy and sci-fi futuristic styling. Powered by a parallel hybrid system backed up by a 270-watt lithium-polymer battery, the Nuvis delivers an estimated 34 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, according to Hyundai.
The Nuvis employs Hyundai's Hybrid Blue Drive system, which operates on a principle similar to Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive setup. In this case, Hyundai's 228-hp Theta II 2.4L inline four-cylinder engine is mated to a 30 kW electric motor that can get the vehicle moving from a stop and provide extra power for accelerating and passing.
Its six-speed automatic transmission has seen its fourth, fifth and sixth gears extended for better highway fuel-economy. Hyundai says its lithium-polymer battery pack, which is stored under the rear cargo floor, is more space-efficient and durable than nickel-metal hydride or lithium-ion battery packs found in other hybrids.
Blue Drive is a styling influence as well. To drive the point home, the color blue has turned up all over the vehicle. It's in the headlights, it's trimming the brake ducts in the lower front fascia, it's hiding in character lines behind the front wheels and it's lighting up the Hyundai logos at either end of the vehicle. Pull open the massive gullwing doors and you'll find plenty more where that came from. On the floors, you'll find blue accent lighting running from front to rear that looks like a river flowing beneath your feet and pulses to emulate moving water. That is, if you notice the floor. Most people likely won't be able to take their eyes of the alien-space-ship dash and center console.
While Hyundai says that the Nuvis serves as a platform for a new styling direction for the brand, it's likely most of its extreme lines and features won't see showrooms, although we wouldn't be surprised to see a Ford Edge and Toyota Highlander-fighting hybrid CUV from Hyundai employing cues from the Nuvis in the near future.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Subaru Outback

A week after unveiling its bigger and better Legacy, Subaru is now letting the other shoe drop. Or should we say letting its hiking boot drop. Since 1994, the Outback has been the Legacy's rough-and-tumble alter ego. Their Indiana Jones to the Legacy's tweedy Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr. And like Harrison Ford himself, the Outback has gained in both savvy and physical size since his swashbuckling debut, though neither one appears to be any less willing to tackle genuine adventure.
As with the Legacy's architecture, the 2010 Outback has swelled in size. Its wheelbase has added 2.8 inches, it's been widened by 2.0 inches, and its height has been elevated by 4.0 inches. The consequence is an interior that's ballooned by 8 cubic feet of passenger room (up 7.6 percent), while cargo volume (with folded rear seats) is up 8.4 cubic feet. Aging whip-crackers will appreciate its additional 3.5 inches of front hip room (1.3 in the back) and 4 extra inches of rear legroom in which to straighten arthritic knees. Although the Outback's overall length has actually contracted by nearly an inch, those gains in width and height give it a much more imposing visual presence.
As the Legacy and Outback share much sheetmetal in common, the styling of either one has always been a delicate compromise. In this case, we think the Outback has gotten the better end of the deal; here, the thick eye-browed wheel arches, wide-eyed headlamps, and general musculature, make a lot more sense. Adding to this wagon-ized Legacy's bodywork are such bush-whacking filigree as a toothy lower front valance, side rocker cladding, and a standard roof rack featuring pivoting cross bars which either link the side rails or fold back to reduce wind resistance and aero-noise. Underneath, ground clearance has risen to a lofty 8.7-inches.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Subaru Legacy

When the product developers responsible for the 2010 Subaru Legacy began probing Legacy loyalists about their likes and dislikes with the current model, the loud-and-clear message was: "We want more space!" And by far the loudest shouts from the chorus were to expand its rear legroom. Well, Subaru has gotten the hint -- and then some. The new Legacy is way bigger. Up by 1.4 in. overall, 3.2 in. taller, and 3.6 in. wider, the wheelbase grows by 3.6 in. resulting in a 12% gain in both interior space and that critical number, rear legroom. The car is simply cavernous inside. The good news for those few among us who remain "conventionally proportioned" (well, almost) is that despite the supersizing, the Legacy's weight has risen by just 1.4% (credit 38% of its chassis being composed of high-strength steel).
As before, the Legacy arrives in three horizontally opposed flavors -- the normally aspirated 2.5i four-cylinder, the 2.5GT turbocharged four, and the 3.6R six-cylinder. The base engine powering the 2.5i produces 170 hp at 5600 rpm and 170 lb-ft of torque at 5600 rpm, but its emphasis is on tweaks to improve responsiveness and fuel economy. Power for the 2.5GT climbs from 243 hp at 6000 rpm to 265 hp at 5600 rpm (torque rises from 241 lb-ft to 258 at 2000 rpm). The 3.6R's six-cylinder is hardware already familiar from its Tribeca application, but to recap, it offers 256 hp at 6000 rpm (247 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm).
There's bigger news in the transmission department. Reducing the crankshaft revs are either a six-speed manual or new Subaru's Lineartronic CVT in the 2.5i, a six-speed manual for the 2.5GT, and a conventional five-speed auto for the 3.6R. Not only is Lineartronic the first Subaru CVT since the wonderful old days of the Justy, this is the industry's first application of a CVT in a longitudinal, AWD configuration. No prices have been announced, but Subaru is hinting that it'll be very competitive with its current levels. Which is a lack of upsizing we can all appreciate.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: Scion iQ Concept

After much speculation and anticipation, Scion finally pulled the wraps off its Scion iQ Concept citycar. The ultra-compact hatchback is touted as the "future of transportation" and aims to revolutionize urban American mobility. What you see here is not the final production version, but rather a design concept built by noted Scion tuner Five Axis. It wears a sportier body kit, flashy paintjob and huge 18-in. rolling stock. The aggressive compact design is further accented by matte black head and taillights on all four corners.
Step inside and three adults plus one smaller person (i.e. child) can supposedly fit comfortably with luggage. The cabin is said to be the perfect fusion of "function, style and entertainment." Illuminated door handles brighten up the already eye-catching green and gray upholstered compartment, while raw nickel and aluminum panels rest atop the diminutive dash. A centrally placed 10-in. screen commands all infotainment functions including in-car movie playback (when it's not in motion, of course). To the rear, 50-50 folding seats allow for a bit more extra storage space. As an added bonus, an 'Ecolamp' on the front dash indicates efficient driving to help drivers achieve maximum fuel economy.
Fuel economy shouldn't be a problem considering Scion is thinking about implementing the concept's 1.3L four-cylinder into to the real model. The borderline riding lawn mower engine produces 93-hp and 89 lb-ft of torque, but it's more than likely it'll be replaced by the Yaris' slightly larger 1.5L motor come production time. Just as with the iQ currently sold under the Toyota badge in Europe and Asia, the Scion iQ will come with stability control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist and nine SRS airbags.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

This smaller Range Rover, based on the LR4 platform yet with the panache and features of the Range Rover, receives many of the upgrades and improvements of its big brother. It gets the new 5.0-liter engines (all 5.0-liter-equipped Land Rovers now have 15,000-mile service intervals) and revised transmission, improved suspension and steering, larger brakes, sand launch control, RSC, redesigned interior, Towing Assist, surround camera system, and a new center stack. It still uses real gauges with a five-inch TFT display for the driver, and high-beam assist. On the outside, two-bar side vents and side marker lights help differentiate the Sport from the larger Range Rover. Also, for now, the Sport (and Sport Supercharged) are the only Land Rover models to include a new option in the Terrain Response system -- Dynamic Program. This mode, like the others in the system, optimizes suspension and shift points for agility and ride quality. But there's no way an automaker creates something like this without offering it through the rest of the line -- we'd be shocked if it wasn't available on the Range Rover in the next couple of years.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Land Rover Range Rover

As is the case with the rest of the 2010 class of new Land Rovers, the 2010 Land Rover Range Rover receives as its base model the 5.0-liter V-8 designed by Jaguar Land Rover (the first engine designed with both brands in mind). This engine uses torque-actuated variable camshaft timing on all four cams, cam profile switching, and a variable-length inlet manifold. The supercharged version has 510 bhp, the standard 375, which is only 25 horses shy of the outgoing Supercharged Range Rover. Estimates put 0-to-60 times at 7.2 for the normally aspirated Rover and a speedy 5.9 for the Supercharged. Both use a revised ZF six-speed automatic, revised for improved response to driver input and reprogrammed for better fuel efficiency. The supercharger is a sixth-generation Eaton twin-vortex Roots-type unit, which uses twin intercoolers. This entire setup is packaged within the engine's vee.
The manufacturer also made revisions to the vehicle's suspension, integrating Adaptive Dynamics. This system, which also works off-road, optimizes shock settings based on current terrain. It uses DampTronic shock valves, which are continuously adjustable, and wheel monitors that take measurements 500 times per second to provide the ideal ride ranging from comfortable and soft to a firmer, sportier ride. The sport/utility also has new, larger brakes -- front 15-inchers for the Supercharged, 14.2 for the standard Rover -- plus improved stability control and DSC. It now also comes with Roll Stability Control.
Styling has been redone inside and out, with subtle changes to the front end that make it look cleaner and also make it more aerodynamic. New for 2010 and not offered in any other SUV, the gauge cluster is now entirely made up of a TFT screen -- there are no actual gauges here. Between the virtual tachometer and speedometer is a customizable driver information center. When driving off-road, the speedometer shifts to the right (odds are you won't be driving over 100 mph off-road), and the space created with this move provides more space for detailed information while on the trail.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: 2009 Nissan Nismo 370Z

Built by Nissan's Specialty Vehicles Group with the help of Autech Japan, Nissan's longtime conversion partner, project engineers focused their efforts on making the new 2009 Nissan Nismo 370Z more aggressive in just about every aspect. First off, it looks the part. Its race-car-like body kit fits the stock lines well and produces more downforce at speed, officials say. Look closely at its nose and the integrated canard design on each side becomes evident. Although it has the same wheelbase as the stock 370Z at 100.4 in., the Nismo model is some 7-in. longer (167.2 in. stock vs. 174.3 in. Nismo) overall and slightly narrower (72.8 in. stock vs. 72.6 in. Nismo). Matching the kit's racer attitude on each corner are a set of wider, edition-specific lightweight five-spoke 19-in. Rays Japan alloys. The car's Nismo sport brakes (the same binders as on the 370Z Sport Package) at 14 in. front/13.8 in. rear, hide behind the forged rollers.
Speaking of corners, the Nismo Z is poised to attack all types of bends in full force thanks to a sturdier suspension setup. Engineers managed to tighten up the spring rates by 15% and 10%, front and rear, respectively, and chassis bars by 15% (front) and 50% (rear). Yes, 50%. The Nismo Z's complete stiffness rate is up an impressive 15% overall, according to Nissan.
In addition, a Nismo-tuned H-configured dual-exhaust and remapped ECU were included in the 3.7L V-6's slight massage. In its new form, the VQ37VHR makes 350 hp at 7400 rpm and 276 lb-ft at 5200 rpm or 18 hp and 6 lb-ft more than stock. The exhaust utilizes larger-diameter piping for lower back pressure, and it's designed to make more power on the upper end - we're also guessing its meaner-sounding when you plant your right foot in it. In being a pure enthusiast-only ride, only Nissan's close-ratio six-speed manual with its slick auto-blipping "SynchroRevMatch" feature will be available.

Kamis, 09 April 2009

NY Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Nissan 370Z Convertible

Nissan boasts that the 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster's glass rear window is larger than the one on the outgoing 350Z convertible, which should help with rear sightlines when you have to have to raise the top. While you're looking back, though, you'll see something far more interesting than the rear defroster. Like most convertibles, the 370Z Roadster comes with a wind deflector between the seats. But unlike most other deflector setups, Nissan has permanently mounted it in the car and fashioned it out of glass with a "Z" logo etched into it -- a classy touch.
If you really want to drive/tan in style, the Touring edition will load you up with just about every feature you could want, but performance enthusiasts will likely be more interested in the Sport Package. It upgrades you from 18-in. wheels wearing 225/50R18 front and 245/45R18 rear Bridgestone Potenas on the base car to 19-in. RAYS wheels wearing 245/40R19 Potenzas front and 275/35R19 rear. It'll also upgrade your brakes from 12.6-in. rotors on all corners standard to 14.0-in. rotors in front and 13.8-in. rotors in the rear. Best of all, the Sport Package adds a limited-slip differential.
Any Roadster model you chose will come with the same stuff under the hood. As in the hardtop coupe, the roadster is motivated by a 332-hp, 3.7L V-6 mated to either a seven-speed automatic or six-speed manual. The auto box features paddle shifters, Downshift Rev Matching, and Adaptive Shift Control, which adapts to your shifting style. The manual, meanwhile, gets Nissan's SynchroRev Match added with the Sport Package. Nissan says both transmissions will return an EPA-estimated 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, one mpg less than the hardtop on the highway.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: Mitsubishi Outlander GT Concept

To be shown in Diamond White paint, the Mistubishi Outlander GT Prototype's most prominent exterior feature is up front where the automaker has grafted on the menacing "Jet Fighter" snout from the Lancer Evolution. And the fun doesn't stop there. Mitsu is planning to use the sportier Outlander to showcase a host of technological goodies including Idle Neutral Logic, a system that automatically shifts the Outlander's six-speed Sportronic automatic transmission into neutral when at a standstill to conserve fuel. Under the hood, the 220-hp 3.0-liter MIVEC V-6 engine from the top-line Outlander XLS will be linked to Mitsubishi's Super-All-Wheel-Control drive system.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Mercedes E63AMG

Revealed barely months after the launch of the new E-Class sedan, the 2010 Mercedes Benz E63 AMG marks a departure from the usual AMG formula. A big horsepower, big block V-8 -- in this case the AMG-designed 6.2L M156 V-8, which punches out 518 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque -- remains the heart of the car. But Mercedes-AMG boss Volker Mornhinweg promises a radical improvement in handling as well. Canyon carving agility, rather than brute horsepower, is the new mantra at AMG (at least for its smaller sedans). The new E63 therefore boasts an entirely new front suspension, with a track that's been widened 2.2 in. over the standard E-Class.
Other changes include steel front springs (more sensitive than air springs, which are retained at the rear for ride height control, says AMG), a tubular stabilizer bar, new control arms, new wheel bearings, new bushing geometry and kinematics, and new wheel location for more negative camber. The rack-and-pinion steering features a 14:1 ratio, 22 percent quicker than the regular E-Class. The new E63 also gets the latest version of the Speedshift wet clutch seven-speed transmission that debuted last year in the SL63. The transmission has four modes -- "C" (for "controlled efficiency," says Benz, not comfort), "S" (sport), "S+" (sport plus) and "M" (manual). In full-commando manual mode, the transmission switches ratios in 100 milliseconds. And it offers launch control.
Mornhinweg claims the E63 will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 sec. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, though if you order the optional AMG Performance Package, they'll re-flash the computer to allow you to reach 186 mph. The Performance Package (as if the regular E63 is soft-core) also buys you lightweight 19-in. forged alloy wheels (standard wheels are 18 in.), stiffer springs, and a trick locking rear diff. Oh, and a three spoke steering wheel. The E63 AMG makes its U.S. sales debut in November.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 Land Rover LR4

The 2010 Land Rover LR4 is powered by Jaguar Land Rover's all-new 5.0L, direct-injection V-8 -- a significant increase in size from the outgoing LR3's current 4.4L engine. With the new engine comes more power: 375 brake horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque, up from 300 and 315, respectively. The new engine (also employed in the Jaguar XF) uses variable camshaft timing, which works independently on all four camshafts, improving engine response. It also boasts lower fuel consumption, reduced CO2 emissions, and is ULEV2 compliant. It's backed by a revised ZF HP-28 six-speed automatic that should help improve fuel economy (not yet rated) and make quicker, more refined shifts.
Underneath, updates were made to the suspension, including new knuckles, new shocks, and a stiffer anti-roll bar, and the LR4 also receives larger brakes (now 14.2-in. at the front as opposed to the LR3's 13.3) and an updated traction control system. Terrain Reponse now offers a sand launch control, and Hill Descent Control now uses Gradient Release Control, which reduces initial acceleration on extremely steep grades.
Styling has been refreshed, with smoother, more aerodynamic lines, a new two-bar grille and LED headlights with high-beam assist. There are now side vents and new wheel styles. The interior has been completely redesigned. There's a new center stack and the Terrain Response control now sits above the shifter. There are new seats for the first two rows, new leather colors, and the addition of ambient lighting. There's also a new five-inch TFT driver information screen, flanked by redesigned gauges. For those who felt the LR3's stack was too cluttered, the number of buttons was cut nearly in half. To make the LR4 easier to park, buyers can get a five-camera system -- also handy when towing and in off-road situations. With more than 1300 new parts in all, Jaguar Land Rover engineers did as much as possible without creating an all-new platform. Their efforts will no doubt make the LR4 a more capable, powerful, and fuel-efficient vehicle than the outgoing LR3. Expect it to go on sale in October.

Rabu, 08 April 2009

NY Show 2009 Highlights: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The 2011 Grand Cherokee is the first Chrysler product to make use of the new Phoenix V-6 engine family, in this case a 280-horsepower, 260 pound-foot 3.6L unit. The 360 horsepower, 390 pound-foot 5.7L Hemi V-8 will still be offered and Europeans will be able to check a box labeled "diesel." Suspension is all-new, independent at the four corners.
Three 4x4 options remain: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II with electronic limited slip. A new Selec-Terrain system with Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II has five terrain settings, automatic, sand/mud, sport, snow and rock. The 4x2 will have the highest tow rating, however, at 7,400 pounds.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has also long been one of the most handsome SUVs on the market, and the new 2011 model is no exception. With Chrysler design's newfound emphasis on what's on the inside, the interior may no longer be a disappointment. The company touts the crossover's "premium soft-touch interior materials for all price classes," and even a leather instrument panel for the top-of-the-range Overland trim model.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 GMC Terrain

Based on the second-gen Chevrolet Equinox on sale soon, the 2010 GMC Terrain has distinct sheetmetal and a slightly upgraded interior featuring lots of red ambient lighting, including along the center-stack-control outline, the CD player opening, and in the door handle openings. The Terrain will come with slightly more standard equipment than the new Equinox, and we'd expect base prices for the SLE and SLT trim levels, both available in front or all-wheel drive and I-4 or V-6 configurations, to run from the very low to the upper-mid $20s.
Underneath it all, the Terrain will be familiar to those of you who have studied the '10 Equinox's spec sheet: 2.4L Ecotec gas direct-injection four or a new 3.0-liter gas direct-injection V-6, with fuel economy ranging up to 30 mpg highway. The driving range will top 500 miles with either engine and the Ecotec four features an "ECO" mode in which the driver can lower torque lockup speed to 1125 rpm with the touch of a button.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: 2010 BMW X6M & X5M

With the intro of the BMW X5 M and X6 M at the New York auto show, BMW is giving in to competition from the Porsche Cayenne GTS and the Mercedes-Benz ML65 AMG. In more certain times, the X5/6 Ms would be surefire profit-makers. Instead of the M5's 500-horse, 5.0L V-10, the X5/6 M are powered by a new, 555-hp version of the 4.4L twin-turbo V-8, this one featuring a new exhaust manifold set in the engine's vee. The manifold has one turbo inlet for every two cylinders (normally, it's one inlet per turbo scroll) and swaps out cylinders to get a pulse every 90 degrees. The two Garrett twin-scroll turbos work both sides of the vee, not one per bank. The new M twin-turbo V-8's max engine speed is 6800 rpm (with turbos spooling to about 16,000 rpm at maximum turbo boost) and the engine produces a heady 502 pound-feet of torque from 1800 rpm on. BMW claims both vehicles will sprint to 60 mph in 4.5 sec.
The X5/6 M set another BMW precedent, as the first M models with an automatic transmission. The X5/6 M's "sport" mode speeds up shifting among the six gears, and the "M" mode speeds them up even further. Click on the X5/6 M's M mode and all-wheel-drive bias shifts heavily to the rear wheels, making them great drift competition candidates, BMW says. The rear bias is well past 20/80, although BMW says it's not pure rear drive. Both the X5 and X6 M go on sale late this year.

NY Show 2009 Highlights: Acura ZDX Concept

A few weeks after Acura released a series of teaser images, Acura officially pulled the wraps off the concept version of the ZDX crossover at the 2009 New York International Auto Show. Interestingly, the previously released teaser shots actually show early production lighting elements, rather than those found on the NYIAS concept, but we’re told that, other than the lights, there are few changes between the concept and the ZDX that will roll into Acura showrooms this fall as a 2010 model.
Designed by 28-year-old Michelle Christensen (who was only 25 when she penned the first version of the vehicle), the five-passenger ZDX is based on the MDX platform and will be positioned above that seven-seater as a flagship within Acura’s lineup. Although Acura claims that the ZDX will introduce “an entirely new category of luxury vehicle,” no one will be able to help comparing it to that other four-door coupe crossover thingy, the BMW X6, although the ZDX’s ride height is markedly lower. Still, like the X6, it is none too dainty at 192.6 inches long, a vast 78.5 inches wide, and 61.8 inches tall. There are 108.5 inches between the centerlines of the 20-inch wheels, which are shod with 275/40-series Michelin Latitude tires.
Acura confirms that it will be powered by a V-6—likely the MDX’s 3.7-liter—mated to an all-new six-speed automatic, but declined to reveal output specifics. It will, of course, come standard with Acura’s nifty Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system.
The interior of every ZDX will feature leather seating surfaces, and occupants will get plenty of light from above via the standard full-length glass roof. For lane changes—which undoubtedly will be hampered by those huge C-pillars—the ZDX will offer a blind-spot information system, as well as a multi-angle rear-view camera, surround-sound audio, navigation and, we imagine, a whole lot more if it is to, as Acura claims, achieve “a whole new level of prestige” for the brand.

New Car: 2010 Mercedes S-Class

Though it won't be appearing at this week's 2009 New York Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz decided to drop the details on its updated 2010 Mercedes-Benz S-Class anyway. The automaker's flagship sedan arrives later this year with a revised exterior, a hybrid option, and numerous technological upgrades.

The new S400 Hybrid (check our our first drive of the European model) receives power from a 3.5L V-6 mated to a seven-speed automatic and an electric motor with a lithium-ion battery. Output is 295 hp and 284 lb.-ft. of torque, with the electric motor contributing 20 hp and 118 lb.-ft. With a start-stop system and regenerative braking, Mercedes claims that the hybrid returns 29 mpg combined. As a bonus, the hybrid system resides in the engine bay and doesn't compromise trunk or interior space. 
For those less green-inclined, the 382-horse S550 remains an available with optional 4Matic all-wheel drive along with the 510-hp V-12-powered S600. High-performance AMG variants still include the 518-hp S63 and twin-turbo, 604-hp S65. For more details click here.

New Car: 2010 Land Rover LR4

To distance itself from the Discovery name, which conjured thoughts of unreliability among some, Land Rover changed the name of U.S.-bound Discos to LR3 when the latest model debuted for 2005. For 2010, the model has again acquired a new name—it’s now the LR4—on account of a host of changes and 1300 new parts. 

Like the other V-8–powered Land Rovers, the LR4 retires the 4.4-liter in favor of Jaguar’s new 5.0-liter direct-injection V-8 that here boosts output from 300 hp and 315 lb-ft of torque to a far more serious 375 hp and 375 lb-ft. Acceleration is said to have improved substantially, with a claimed 0–60 time of 7.5 seconds (our long-term LR3 did the 0–60 run in as quickly as 8.6). Maximum towing capacity stays the same, at over 7700 lb.
On the outside, the functional look and the sheetmetal of the LR3 remain. The exterior styling changes are limited to new headlights, grillwork, bumpers, and taillights. LEDs are now found front and rear. Inside, the upright center console and the two-tier glove box elements are similar, but the dashboard is new and shares some of its switchgear with the Range Rover Sport. The only carry-over items on the dash are the round vents. A Jaguar-sourced touch screen infotainment and navigation system greatly simplifies the interior and cuts down on the number of buttons, although Jag’s system isn’t exactly fast-acting and can be a bit frustrating to use. The cabin retains its airy and upright feel, but improved materials and the updated electronics lend the LR4 a more modern and expensive appearance. Seven-passenger seating remains optional, and automatic high-beam headlamps and an Infiniti-like five-camera “surround” view system are newly available. 
Under the skin, the LR4 has received a number of suspension changes. They include a wider track front and rear, suspension knuckles that lower the roll center, larger anti-roll bars, and revised bushings and shocks. The goal was to improve handling and reduce body roll while improving the ride. Other alterations include the addition of a roll sensor to the stability-control system—which also gains a trailer-towing algorithm—and new variable-ratio steering that quickens as the wheel is turned off-center. Larger brakes adapted from the Range Rover Sport with four-piston front calipers aim to keep the additional power from overwhelming the LR4. 
On sale this fall, the LR4 should avoid a big price increase despite the numerous improvements.
Custom Search