Jumat, 29 Mei 2009

Hot News: Koenigsegg Bidding for Saab


Supercar maker Koenigsegg is among the remaining bidders for fellow Swedish firm Saab, it has been reported.
The other front-runner for the loss-making manufacturer is understood to be US financier Ira Rennert and his Renco Group.
Fiat is also interested in Saab as part of its strategy to take over GM’s European units.
GM has made it clear that Saab must go by the end of the year and three suitors have been shortlisted, with a deal expected in weeks.
"According to sources close to GM the toughest battle is expected between US billionaire Ira Rennert and Swedish carmaker Koenigsegg," a Swedish newspaper reported.
It also said that Koenigsegg was lining up financing for the purchase among a group of “very wealthy people”.
Saab has said it has narrowed down a list of suitors to three and hopes to have a deal concluded in the coming weeks after its US parent, which is facing bankruptcy, said earlier this year it would cut loose the brand by year-end.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Magna Agrees Opel/Vauxhall Deal


General Motors and Canadian car parts group Magna International are close to an outline agreement for the sale of Vauxhall/Opel.
GM and the German government are now trying to agree on a memorandum of understanding with Magna that would serve as the basis for bridge financing of 1.5 billion euros (£1.3 billion), as well as a solution that would protect Opel from creditors if GM files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US.

"A framework agreement has been reached. The goal is to work out as many of the details as possible before the meeting with (Chancellor Angela) Merkel in order to sign a memorandum of understanding today," a source told the Reuters news agency.
Germany's economy minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg confirmed that all his attentions were now on reaching a deal with Magna, which has been asked to submit new proposals for Opel ahead of a meeting tonight.
Juergen Reinholz, economy minister of German state Thuringia, where Opel has a plant, added “What’s crucial though is that GM and Magna reach an agreement. If that agreement isn’t reached, Opel has no choice but to file for insolvency.”
A meeting is now taking place between Chancellor Angela Merkel, the ministers involved and officials from the German states that contain GM plants to discuss whether to approve the deal.
Magna has said it will inject between 500m (£437m) and 700m (£612m) Euros into Opel, assuming the deal gains government approval.
It also plans to cut 2500 jobs in Germany, about 10 per cent of Opel's workforce in that country. Fiat had said it would cut 10,000 jobs.
It is not known what its plans for Vauxhall's plants in Luton and Ellesmere Port in the UK are. However, the European Commission gathered members at a meeting yesterday to discuss concerns that job cuts resulting from the deal will be concentrated outside Germany.
A statement from the EC after the meeting said any state support should "not include non-commercial conditions concerning the location of investments and/or the geographic distribution of restructuring measures". Germany said the loan to Opel would benefit plants in all countries.
Under the agreement with Magna, GM would keep a 35 per cent stake in the company, while 10 cent would be owned by Opel employees.
Magna's bid is backed by Russia's state-run Sberbank and Oleg Deripaska's truck firm Gaz.
Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2009 Volkswagen California Black EDition



What better way to enjoy the warm summer days that are nearly upon us than to cruise in one of Volkswagen's new California vans, right? Well, for those van-types looking to get away for away in style, VW has just released a limited California Black Edition featuring classy and sophisticated appointments suitable for the most discerning of campers.
Its exterior wears a single dark black livery matched with numerous chrome accents. Each corner receives 18-in. black faced wheels, while up front, headlights get the bi-xenon treatment. Open up any of the doors and passengers are treated to Alcantara and leather trimmings. Front occupants are in command of a three-zone climate control system, as well as a GPS navigation. Drivers get the latest in park distance controllers too.Powering the mighty California is the same 130-hp TDI engine found in run-of-the-mill editions.All this coolness doesn't come cheap though. Pricing for this sleek people mover is 77,736.75 euro, or around $109,921 in Yankee money. Of course, that's if you could buy one here -- which, ironically, you can't. At least we get the actual state as a consolation prize.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied Up Date: 2010 BMW X1


If these barely disguised prototypes look familiar to you, it’s no surprise: This BMW X1 was already shown at last year's Paris auto show under the rather unimaginative but BMW-typical "Concept X1" moniker. Now BMW is testing prototypes on the Spanish island of Mallorca and releasing some details as the car is readied for its official launch later this summer. This will be BMW's fourth size of SUV—sorry, “SAV”—after the X3, X5, and X6.
The elderly X3 is having an increasingly difficult time in a changing marketplace that now includes the Audi Q5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLK. The X5 and X6, on the other hand, have been getting flak for their politically incorrect appetite for fuel—even before BMW, in a somewhat incendiary move, added the over-the-top X5 M and X6 M. For more details click here
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Kamis, 28 Mei 2009

Hot News: Mini Launches Anniversary Models


Mini used its 50th birthday celebrations held at Silverstone last weekend to launch three new limited-edtion models: the Mini Mayfair, the Mini Camden and the Mini John Cooper Works World Championship 50.
The Mini Camden, available in Cooper, Cooper S or Cooper D guise, gets bespoke 17-inch alloys, a solid white roof, and is available in Midnight Black White Silver, and Horizon Blue. It starts from £18,165.
The Mini Mayfair, £300 more than the Camden, comes in Pepper White, Midnight Black or Hot Chocolate, and is fitted with toffee-coloured leather seats and 17-inch wheels. Like the Mayfair, the Mini Camden is also available in Cooper, Cooper S and Cooper D forms.
The final special edition is the Mini John Cooper Works World Championship 50. Only 250 will be made, finished in green with black alloys. Prices for the John Cooper Works World Championship 50 are yet to be confirmed.
The Mini Camden and Mayfair start from £18,165 and £18,415 respectively and deliveries start in August. The special editions will be produced for one year.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Opel/Vauxhall Talks Break Down


Negotiations over the sale of Vauxhall and Opel broke down last night after parent company GM made a last-minute request for an emergency loan of 300 million Euros (£260m).
GM, which faces a June 1 deadline to restructure itself or file for bankruptcy, had been in talks with the German government, when it made the unexpected cash request.
“This was a bizarre night” Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Germany's economy minister, told the Bloomberg news agency after eight hours of talks in Berlin. "The talks were turned upside down by GM’s unexpected demands. We do not have the assurances we need in order to extend a bridge loan.”
Peer Steinbrueck, Germany's finance minister added: "We had a nasty surprise when this demand turned up literally at 8pm. "We did consider this a bit of an outrage."
Reports suggest that Belgium's RHJ has now withdrawn from the bidding process, while Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC)'s late bid is not being considered. As a result two preferred bidders for Vauxhall remain - Fiat and Magna International.
Talks are set to resume today, and German government officials are stll optimistic of the sale being completed by Friday.
Magna, which insiders say is the German government's preferred bidder, said on Thursday night it may loan GM the 300m Euros as long as it has an assurance from the German government it will recover the money in the event GM goes bust.
Thanks to: Autocar

Rabu, 27 Mei 2009

Hot News: 2011 Ford Focus Coupe


If the 2011 Ford Focus Coupe is to look anything like these renderings, supplied to us by a knowledgeable source, then sign us up. The images shown are the closest thus far to showing what the new three-door Focus will look like when it eventually hits U.S. soil, likely sometime in either late 2010 or early 2011.
Sporty and aggressive, these renderings show how mean the three-door coupe version of the new Focus could look. A chopped-down roofline, large trapezoidal front grille, swept-back headlamps, and large-diameter wheels conspire to show that this grocery-getter means business. Looking at the new car from the front, there are even some Volvo C30 cues, especially towards the rear roofline and quarter panel.Of course, that shouldn't be surprising. Ford's C346 architecture -- an evolution of the current European Focus platform shared with the Mazda3 and Volvo C30 -- is the basis for the 2011 Focus. As the new platform will be global, the U.S. will no longer get a different version of the Focus than the rest of the world. Three- (pictured), four-, and five-door versions will be available (though not all will be sold in every market) and a range of engines will be offered -- from small diesels, to direct-injection gas engines, and ultimately EcoBoost turbo engines. A six-speed dual-clutch gearbox is also being developed for the car by Borg-Warner.The current European Focus is vastly refined over relative to its U.S. counterpart. With a single platform for 2011, we could even see the coveted ST and RS coupe performance versions hit our shores, although the standard four-door sedan is still expected to be the volume leader. Regardless, it's fairly clear at this point that U.S. consumers can expect to be surprised by this future Focus -- a car that should be miles ahead of its contemporary counterpart.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: USA Won't Get Ford Focus RS


Ford will not sell the new Focus RS in the US, the firm’s new director of performance cars has confirmed.
Jost Capito, recently installed as the man in charge of Ford’s global performance division, said in an interview with Autocar that it would be too expensive to make the car suitable for sale in the US, despite Ford’s intentions to bring more European models to America.
“We’d like to, but the base car isn’t homologated for North America and that’s too costly a job to carry out just for a niche vehicle like the RS,” said Capito.
Ford will start selling the Fiesta in America next year, and already sells the Transit Connect there.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: VW Polo Mini-MPV Plan Revealed


Volkswagen is planning a mini-MPV version of its new Polo that could be on sale within two years, as well as a "more macho" successor to the Beetle.
Hans Dieter Potsch, VW board member responsible for finance, said, "A mini-MPV is in an area we have under active consideration. In terms of downsizing, people will not stick to one type of small car or another."
A European VW source told Autocar, "Some firms with excellent core superminis struggle with mini-MPVs or crossovers and vice versa. Properly executed, they can be complementary."
Potsch said, "We have a full product agenda. Markets change more rapidly than we appreciated before. Cutting back on R&D can place you in a troublesome position just when a recovery happens."
Work is continuing on the next Beetle, meanwhile. Another VW insider said, "The new car will be less effeminate, more assertive and masculine so guys are not deterred from buying it. Women buy cars liked by men but it is less the case the other way round."
Thanks to: Autocar

Selasa, 26 Mei 2009

Hot News: GM on the Brink of Chapter 11


GM is set to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week, despite last-gasp efforts by the car maker to cut costs.
GM, which has already received $19.4 billion (£12.2 billion) in government funding since the beginning of the year, has been given until 1 June by the Obama administration to present itself as a viable business.
As a result, it is racing to find a buyer for Vauxhall/Opel this week, with a decision possible as early as tomorrow (Wednesday).
It is also trying to persude debtors to swap $27 billion (£17 billion) of debt in exchange for ten per cent of the shares in the company. GM has been set the target of persuading 90 per cent of its debtors to agree to this deal - a level that analysts say will be impossible.
Another hurdle the company must overcome is a $20 billion (£12.6 billion) payment it owes to the UAW workers' union trust fund. Workers will vote this week on whether to agree to changes in how this money - and other payments - will be covered.
Canadian workers have already agreed to contract changes, which have cut GM's hourly labour costs by almost 30 per cent.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Supercar Trio Show Future's Bright



Take a look at the supercars of tomorrow. These amazing machines are the work of Iranian designer Emil Baddal.
He’s taken styling cues from BMW, Lamborghini and Ferrari sports cars – and then let his imagination run free. Of the three striking drawings, the BMW design is perhaps the most successful, taking the famous ‘sharknose’ look of much-loved coupés, such as the 635i, and giving it a new twist.
The kidney grilles are painted black, emphasising the highly detailed headlights further, while the bonnet gets enormous power bulges. Together with a chopped roof and deep air intakes, it looks the part.
As for the Lamborghini design, it’s clear that the inspiration has come from the firm’s Murciélago LP-640. Baddal has dragged the rear end down to a focal point around the central exhaust, and with recessed air intakes and vents, the tail-lights look menacingly deep set.
Meanwhile, the silver machine could almost be one of Ferrari’s own concepts for the new F450. With wide-set headlamps and an F1-style low splitter, it looks incredibly mean and convincing. You’ll be able to see how the F430 replacement really looks when it arrives next year. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Jumat, 22 Mei 2009

Hot News: Ferrari's 4x4 Hybrid Plan Leak


Ferrari has made a patent application for a clever four-wheel drive hybrid system, which could be fitted to both its front- and rear-engined models.
The company’s idea is to reduce the complexity of conventional hybrid systems by separating the roles of the engine and the electric motor.
Under the Ferrari proposals, the electric motor will independently operate one pair of wheels and the engine the other pair.
Ferrari has submitted six different layouts for the patent. In all of them the engine drives a motor/generator, which in turn drives one pair of wheels via electricity provided by an on-board battery.
However, some of the proposals see the wheels driven by a conventional differential and axles and in the others, small, in-wheel, electric motors will be used to drive the wheels.
The patent application says that the hybrid system is designed to improve handling rather than reducing fuel consumption.
“The aim of the present invention is to provide a four-wheel - drive vehicle with hybrid propulsion…and being at the same time easy and inexpensive to produce.”
Ferrari says that this kind of ‘part time’ 4x4 system is not only less complex, but lighter and less troubled by frictional losses. It also means all-out performance is not permanently blunted because the engine does not have to drive all four wheels all of the time.
According to application, “The four-wheel drive that can be engaged enables the driver of the automobile to decide whether to use the rear drive or the four-wheel drive; in this way, the driver can use the rear drive in optimal conditions of adherence and can use the four- wheel drive in poor conditions of adherence”.
Even though Ferrari has not mentioned the ecological aspects of adopting hybrid drive, the set-up would almost certainly allow engineers to incorporate a stop-start system for the engine, reducing fuel consumption.
The electric drivetrain should also allow the car to pull away from a standing start using only electric power. Starting the engine only when the car is travelling at 10mph+, will also reduce the level of pollutants produced by the engine.
Ferrari engineers could incorporate a ‘city’ mode in future hybrid models, which allows electric-only starting and a ‘performance’ mode for out-of-town performance driving.
Onboard rain and temperature sensors could also be used to automatically activate four-wheel drive running in bad weather. Information from the car’s chassis electronics could also bring the 4x4 system into play when the driver is pushing the car hard.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News Up Date: 2011 Honda Civic


New chatter regarding the 2012 Honda Civic has come up on dedicated Honda forum Temple Of VTEC that's indicating the brand's future econo car will sport three body styles -- 3 box (sedan), 2 box (hatchback) and some configuration never before seen. The speculative info comes courtesy of a loose Japanese to English translation of Mag-x magazine.
According to the publication, the unique 'middle of the road' body style (not really sedan, not exactly a true hatchback) will be sold internationally as well as in Japan. North America will keep its traditional sedan and coupe variants, while Europeans are said to get Fit based hatchback versions of the car as well.Contrary to the general perception, the upcoming Civic Hybrid -- not the Insight -- will be positioned as the primary competitor to the Toyota Prius. It will reportedly be powered by a 1.5L unit mated to an electric motor. The powertrain will likely be shared with the 2011 CR-Z sporty model (left). Our intel indicates a different 1.8L motor, but regardless, the CR-Z is poised to be a sporty hybrid.The new Civic is expected to arrive in CY2011.Speaking of the CR-Z, it's dubbed as the 21st century CR-X and will employ a CVT or six-speed manual transmission along with the hybrid powerplant. Rumor has it, a production prototype will make its way to this year's Tokyo Motor Show ahead of an early 2010 introduction.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Tata Gets Loan Reprieve


Tata is expected to avoid defaulting on $1 billion (£660m) of debt, after banks indicated they would extend an upcoming loan payment until the end of 2010.
The news is crucial to Tata's future, as the $1 billion was due to be repaid next Friday. This deal
will complete the refinancing of a $3 billion (£1.9bn) bridge loan Tata Motors took out last year to finance its purchase of Jaguar-Land Rover.
Tata is estimated to have lost £800m-£900m covering operating losses since car sales slumped last year. It is also seeking UK government loan guarantees worth more than £800m to raise further capital, although progress has been slow.
Tata has alrady prepayed $1.11bn (£700m) of its bridge loan through equity fundraising and other measures.
This week, it raised an additional $885 million (£560m) from a domestic bond issue, a deal that has set the stage for the rollover of the $1.05bn remaining of the bridge loan.
Thanks to: Autocar.

Kamis, 21 Mei 2009

New Car: 2010 BMW 5-Series GT


Full photos and details have been leaked ahead of schedule concerning the production version of BMW's upcoming 5 Series Gran Turismo. Attempting to combine a grand touring sports coupe, sports activity vehicle, and luxury sedan in one vehicle, the newest addition to the 5 Series features few exterior changes from the concept version we saw at this year's Geneva Auto Show.
Power will come from BMW's twin-turbo V-8 producing 400 hp - good enough for a 5.4-sec. dash from 0 to 60 mph. The engine will be mated to an all-new eight-speed automatic gearbox, capable of delivering the engine's 450 lb-ft of torque reliably. The transmission features a taller top gear than BMW's more common six-speed gearbox, giving reduced fuel consumption and quieter cruising. Regenerative braking is also on the menu, allowing the alternator to remain disengaged from the engine most of the time for improved efficiency. BMW expects a top speed of 150 mph when equipped with the optional Sport Package which includes high-speed tires. Vehicles equipped with the standard all-season tires will be limited to 130 mph for reasons of safety, claims BMW.
Style-wise, the distinct "Hofmeister Kink" remains intact in six-window form, with its characteristic upswept tail at the rear three-quarter window. Both upper and lower side character lines are also remain; the upper being a sharp crease along the door handle lines that extends from headlights to taillights, and the lower being a softer scallop beginning halfway along the front fender and terminating at the rear door's trailing edge. Front and rear valances were also left largely alone, with a stout, vertical nose and L-shaped, wraparound taillights. The gently rearward-sloping roofline culminates in a similar upswept tail to the concept version, although the fin-like antenna has been moved from the subtle roof spoiler to just aft of the standard panoramic sunroof.
As expected, larger changes are to be found inside. Gone is the concept's keystone center console that extended from front cabin to rear as a singular shared element. Thankfully, the scalloped rear ceiling remains, giving occupants a touch more headroom to compensate for the car's sloped rear roof. In standard configuration, the 5 Series GT seats five, although an optional extra includes two individual reclining rear seats separated by a tall, stubby center console with cupholders and a storage compartment. All seating is higher from the ground than in typical BMWs in order to provide better exterior visibility for all occupants, as well as easy ingress and egress to the vehicle.

The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo Concept's two-piece dual-opening trunk has survived the cut and will live on in the production version. Access to the trunk is given either by lifting the entire rear hatch, or by opening a panel under the rear glass, as one would a trunk lid. The trunk assembly is constructed of aluminum, as are the vehicle's doors and many suspension components, in an effort to save weight.
BMW expects the 5 Series Gran Turismo's world premiere to be at the Frankfurt show this September, and the first production models should arrive at U.S. showrooms in the fourth quarter of this year, as 2010 models. The vehicle's MSRP, though not finalized, is planned to start in the $65,000 to $70,000 range. For more information, be sure to stay tuned for our First Look article, but meanwhile, have a glance at the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo Concept here.

Thanks to: Motor Trend.

New Car: 2010 Volkswagen Golf Estate


A fourth variant of Volkswagen’s unshakable Golf will be available from November. The MkVI version of the hugely successful all-rounder already comes as a three and five-door hatch, Golf Plus, and now as an even roomier estate. Minor revisions to the styling have been made at the rear to accommodate the larger boot and longer overhang – the result is a very respectable 1,495-litre boot capacity. And thanks to a flexible seating arrangement it can adapt to any task.VW’s existing engines will be available, which amongst others includes a 120bhp TSI petrol and two turbodiesels, with 104bhp and 138bhp. Expect to pay a premium of between £500 and £700 over the five-door hatch, with prices starting from around £15,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg


The Volkswagen Touareg and its Porsche Cayenne sibling serve as the perfect example for the synergies between VW and Porsche. Porsche developed both SUVs, while VW builds them at its Bratislava, Slovenia, plant. Porsche fits V-8 engines into the SUVs’ bodies in its Leipzig, Germany, facility, while the V-6 engines of the entry Cayennes are fitted at VW’s plant in Slovakia. The partnership has worked well: the Cayenne has served Porsche's existing customer base while bringing new buyers to the brand, and the Touareg bolstered VW's claim that it is a premium carmaker more convincingly than the ill-fated Phaeton.
To the latter point, the Touareg has always impressed us with its mountain-goat-like off-road capability and superbly finished interior. Where it falls short of the competition, however, is in seating capacity—unlike some others in its class, it is just a five-seater—and its heft. It is simply too heavy, with curb weights well into the 5000-pound range.
With the next-generation Touareg, spied here, VW aims to address both shortcomings. A VW source hints at available third-row seating, but we advise you not to sell your Suburban yet, since, as in most SUVs of this type, it will be mostly symbolic in nature.
Impressively, the specification brief for the new Touareg called for up to 600 pounds to be shaved from the portly SUV, although our VW source acknowledges this target was rather optimistic, and won't stand when the Touareg reaches showrooms. With variation depending on engine choices, we believe half of the original target to be a more realistic figure.
We suspect that VW could either permanently diminish the Touareg’s off-road capability or make it optional; the company’s engineers must have watched with dismay as customers thwarted the capabilities of the all-wheel drive hardware with their beloved 18- to 20-inch wheels. In terms of saving weight and cost, taking out some of that unused capability is nearly a no-brainer.
U.S.-spec engine choices will likely include the current 3.6-liter V-6 and 4.2-liter V-8 gasoline engines, as well as the 3.0-liter V-6 TDI diesel. In Europe, the current V-10 TDI will make way for an Audi-sourced V-8 TDI with similar power—VW wouldn't abandon the upper diesel segment, our source says—since adjusting the V-10 for upcoming emission limits is too costly. The V-8 TDI does everything just as well, anyway. The silky-smooth 450-hp, W-12 gasoline engine, identical to the unit used in the top-of-the-line Audi A8L W12, will die or—we hope—simply hibernate until the economic crisis is over. A gasoline hybrid based on Audi's supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 is a done deal—we’ve already driven a Cayenne so equipped—but it will be added to the lineup about a year after launch.
The exterior will be a forceful evolution of the current styling, and the interior will be slightly more sporty in style, adding contemporary infotainment systems. Don't expect too much of the Tiguan's kitschy details to migrate to the next-generation Touareg. This SUV, finalized under the guidance of Walter de'Silva, will break away from the glitzy style of Murat Günak, his predecessor.
The Touareg will be launched in Europe next April and in the U.S. later in 2010. While VW and Porsche are currently engaged in a war as to who will occupy the throne in their partnership, the dust should have settled by the time this ute reaches the market.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 20 Mei 2009

New Car: 2010 Subaru Legacy Estate


These are the first official photos of the Subaru Legacy Touring Wagon, released to co-incide with the Legacy's launch in Japan.
The Touring Wagon shares flat-four mechanicals with the saloon, and fills out the customary three model range.
The message with this fifth generation Legacy is that Subaru’s decided to push its major breadwinner substantially upmarket.
The new cars are bigger all round, more plush and the main Boxer engine now spans 2.5 to 3.6-litres. Europe will be in line for an updated version of Subaru’s excellent 2.0-litre Boxer diesel but precise details on that, and the launch timing for the new Legacy in Europe are still under wraps. However, an appearance at September’s Frankfurt Show looks almost certain.
With their Boxer engines and Symmetrical 4WD, the new Legacy and Outback follow a hi-tech design path that’s been an essential part of Subaru’s DNA for years
For 2009, however, this is essentially a brand new package, packed with new technology including Lineartronic CVT transmission, a first for the Legacy, to help boost economy and lower C02 emissions.
Subaru has also spent the cash on a completely new platform with a substantial 80mm stretch in wheelbase (75mm for the Outback), plus wider tracks.
Dimensions grow in tandem. The new saloon and Touring Wagon are each 95mm longer and 50mm wider than outgoing versions.
The new uppercrust Outback grows 45mm in length and 50mm in width and rooflines in the new series push up by as much as 80mm.
Controversially, Subaru has dropped the lead-in 2.0-litre option, starting things off with a revised version of its long running 2.5 flat-four (170 ps). A turbo 2.5 pumps out 281bhp and replaces the former 3.0-litre sports model.
The new Outback kicks off with the atmo 2.5 but top versions get the creamy 3.6-litre flat-six from the Tribeca SUV.
Visually, the new looks might well divide opinion, but this is clearly this is the most sophisticated and ambitious Legacy yet.
Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2010 Opel/Vauxhall Insignia OPC/VXR Estate



Get a load of Vauxhall’s fastest-ever estate. The firm has released the first official pictures of its Insignia VXR Sports Tourer.
It joins the hatch and saloon to complete the flagship range, and the deeper bumpers, large mesh front grille, matt-finished chrome exhaust pipes and VXR badges make it easy to identify.The newcomer also rides 10mm lower than the standard car on 19-inch alloys, features Brembo brakes and gets an adaptive 4WD system and a limited slip differential.
Inside are Recaro race seats, as well as a VXR steering wheel and gearknob. The car delivers on all this promise, too. Under the bonnet is a 2.8-litre turbo V6. This 320bhp unit propels the Insignia from 0-62mph in six seconds, on the way to a top speed of 155mph.The suspension is stiffer than that of the standard car, while engineers have covered in excess of 6,000 miles during testing at Germany’s gruelling Nürburgring race track to ensure supreme handling ability.Practicality hasn’t been compromised in the pursuit of performance, though. The 540-litre boot can be expanded to a huge 1,530 litres with the rear seats folded flat. This blend of flexibility and pace has left bosses confident that the newcomer will tempt buyers of more expensive rivals such as the BMW 335i Touring and Audi S4 Avant. Prices will be announced in the summer, but buyers can expect to pay around £25,000 for the VXR Sports Tourer when it arrives towards the end of the year. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Volkswagen Polo GTi


The Polo just got a whole lot more interesting! This fiery little number is one of two offerings from VW at this years GTI meeting in Worthersee, Austria – where Audi and VW fans gather to celebrate their shared passion.Known as the Polo Worthersee 09 it offers our first glimpse at how a high-performance GTI version would shape up. Unfortunately there’s no fireworks under the bonnet – the show car is fitted with a standard 85bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine – but the outlandish looks more than make up for that. The ‘Flash Red’ paint job is complimented by a pair of black racing stripes, while the wheelarches are stuffed with18-inch polished alloys. And the black on red theme continues with dark wing mirrors, radiator grille and the headlight backdrop - all adopting the menacing colour scheme.It’s a similar story on the inside too. A high-gloss black finish is applied to the air-vents, steering wheel and radio panel, while white and black leather along with red nappa leather piping is applied to the specially-made sports seats.Fans of the iconic Golf GTI haven’t been overlooked either. A unique Worthersee 09 edition is finished in eye-catching ‘Firespark Metallic’, which is repeated as a fine trim line on the 19-inch gloss black alloys and classic stripes on the GTI grille.Unlike the Polo, the one-off Golf has been fettled for an improved dynamics. Lowered and stiffened suspension add to the car’s sporty stance as well as its cornering ability and a retuned exhaust offers an even fruitier soundtrack. The 207bhp 2.0-litre TSI engine remains untouched however.Both cars are being presented as design studies, with no plans for these special editions to reach showrooms. But if reaction to the Polo is sufficiently positive, it could act as inspiration for the forthcoming GTI. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Volkswagen to Reveal an Electric Car


The electric dream will take a step closer for VW at this September’s Frankfurt Motor Show where the German firm is planning to take the wraps off an all-new electrically powered concept car. Following in the footsteps of the hybrid Golf TwinDrive and the super-frugal Up! – the forthcoming replacement for the Lupo – VW will reveal the next step in its green plans with a model that could rival Vauxhall’s Ampera and lay the foundations for a solely electric VW of the near future. “We will have a host of concept cars at Frankfurt and although we haven’t yet decided, we want to show an electric car,” said Peter Thul, head of communications, Volkswagen.Asked what form the concept could take, Thul was tight-lipped but admitted the model was unlikely to be a rival for the Tesla, nor would it be an electric version of the BlueSport roadster concept revealed at Detroit earlier this year. “We will not launch a niche market car just to show our electric technology,” he continued. “We would only launch a car that people could actually buy at a reasonable price. It would need to have a range of 200km, be safe, reliable and able to be used everyday. It would be a car that fits with the Volkswagen brand.”VW already has a joint venture with to develop batteries with Sanyo and Thul revealed that the firm is advanced in its electric car programme. “At the moment we are heading down two routes – continued development of fuel efficient, high performance petrol engines, like our TSI range but side-by-side with this, we are heavily developing electric powertrains. We see hybrids as a stepping stone, not a solution.” For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Volkswagen Scirocco R



THE ’Roc just got harder! The Scirocco R is the fastest, most aggressive version of the Golf-based coupé yet, and Auto Express has been granted an exclusive audience with it – giving us the chance to bag these first official images.
Joining the Touareg R50 and the Passat R36 as one of the performance flagships in the VW range, the Scirocco R is the first model to use the simplified ‘R’ designation – and it’s a thrilling prospect. At its heart is a revised 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine with uprated pistons, high-pressure injectors and a bigger turbocharger.
The result is a startling 261bhp and 350Nm of torque – up 57bhp on the existing 2.0 TSI. Despite the significant hike in power, drive is still sent exclusively to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual or a twin-clutch DSG gearbox.
To help contain wheelspin on exiting corners, an XDS electronic differential, first seen on the new Golf GTI, is fitted as standard. Larger brake discs and gloss black calipers ensure the newcomer has excellent stopping power.
Even when parked up, there’s no mistaking the Scirocco R for lesser models. A redesigned front bumper is punctuated with a trio of deep air intakes and incorporates a pair of jewel-like LED running lights.
There’s a gloss black finish on the wing mirrors and grille, while the rubbing strips on the side of the standard car are removed for a smoother profile. More pronounced body-coloured side skirts add to the drama.
At the back, more gloss black can be found on the enlarged diffuser, bracketed by a pair of wide-set oval exhausts. A more prominent rear spoiler plus a single ‘R’ badge marks this car out. The interior also gets a makeover, featuring new sports seats embossed with ‘R’ logos, black trim and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.
White backlit dials swept by blue needles are a unique feature we’ll see more of on ‘R’ models in the future – including the Golf R, set to debut with the Scirocco at the Nürburgring 24 hours race this weekend. Sales of the Scriocco R are set to start in September, with prices from around £26,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Selasa, 19 Mei 2009

Hot News: Porsche Plans Spyder RS Supercar


Porsche is in the midst of developing a new mid-engined supercar, likely to be called the Porsche Spyder RS, to fill the void left by the Carrera GT.

Contrary to initial reports from a French car magazine, the new Spyder RS will provide the basis for an advanced new endurance racer, rather than using the current LMP2 RS Spyder racer as a base.

The two-seat open top was originally conceived to go on sale in limited numbers in early 2012, but is now possibly delayed owning to Porsche’s rocky financial situation and a planned fusion with Volkswagen.

The new Spyder RS will run a newly developed twin-turbocharged 3.4-litre V8 engine that, in its ultimate state of tune, is claimed to kick out in the region of 480bhp, with drive reaching the rear wheels via a ZF-developed seven-speed double-clutch gearbox.

Using design and engineering ideas initially brought to the Carrera GT, the new Porsche supercar is based around a sturdy carbonfibre monocoque structure that uses a separate cradle for the engine and its ancillaries. But while the Carrera GT was conceived to be built in very limited numbers, its direct successor is likely to produced in larger numbers over a period of at least five years.

Despite the heavy cloak of secrecy that surrounded the new supercar up until now, Autocar sources in Zuffenhausen indicate it is in fact quite well advanced; if not at prototype mule stage, then not far off.

Further details remain scarce, but plans call for assembly to be carried out on a dedicated line at Porsche's Leipzig plant.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Daimler Buys in to Tesla


Daimler has taken a 10 per cent stake in American electric car firm Tesla as it prepares for production of the electric Smart, which uses batteries and charging systems developed by Tesla.

The move will provide Daimler with access to Tesla’s experience in bringing the world’s first all-electric car to the open market.

In addition to the Smart, which will be begin production later this year with a batch of 1000, Mercedes-Benz is planning to launch an electric car based in the current A-class platform next year.

Tesla said it will utilise Daimler’s "engineering, production and supply chain expertise," including Daimler’s own lithium-ion battery pack, to speed up the development of its next car, the Model S.

The saloon will go on sale in the US towards the end of 2011.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Porsche Tries to Rescue VW Deal


VW and Porsche are expected to resume tie-in talks later this week, as the battling companies seek common ground for a merger.

Last weekend VW called off talks, saying Porsche was not ready for a merger. Porsche is currently struggling to service huge debts it built up as it borrowed money to buy VW stock, in its own failed attempt to take control of the company.

VW's decision to call of the merger talks prompted 6000 Porsche workers to take to the streets in protest against Ferdinand Piech, VW’s chairman, and it now appears that the talks may be reinstated.

“The families will have to agree on clear guidelines for further negotiations. On this basis, the talks could resume,” a person close to one of Porsche’s shareholders told the Financial Times newspaper.

Martin Winterkorn, VW’s chief executive, had previously said that a "constructive atmosphere" for the talks did not exist.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Concept Car: Audi Q5 Custom


Audi will show this customised Q5 at the annual Worthersee Tour gathering of VW and Audi enthusiasts, which starts tomorrow.
The Q5 Custom Concept is a lowered, widened version of Audi’s mid-size SUV, with a retuned 3.0-litre TFSI V6 engine.
The car’s track has been increased by 90mm and the ride height has been lowered by 60mm. The Q5 Custom Concept is fitted with 21-inch wheels.
The engine’s power has been increased from 333hp to 408hp, and torque is up to 369lb ft, which gives the Q5 a claimed 0-62mph time of 4.4sec. That makes the Q5 theoretically as fast as a 4.2 R8.
Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2010 Lexus GX470 Facelift


We wouldn't blame you if you forgot about the Lexus GX470's existence, but come next fall, a new version of the midsize luxury SUV is on its way, Ward's Auto reports.
The GX470, which is based on the European Toyota Land Cruiser shown at left, arrived in the U.S. in 2003 and has only been mildly updated since. With the larger LX570 (Lexus' U.S.-market Land Cruiser) now powered by a 5.7L V-8 producing 383 hp, the GX's powerplant will be upgraded as well.A 310-hp 4.6L V-8 -- the same one in the 2010 Toyota Tundra -- will power the new GX, replacing the 263-hp 4.7L V-8 currently under the hood. This means the new SUV's moniker probably will become the GX460.Lexus GX sales have fallen from a 2004 peak of 35,420 units annually -- about 2950 a month on average -- to just 2210 last month. Still, the segment is an important one for Lexus to fill. The RX only seats five, compared to the current GX's maximum of eight. There's also towing capacity to consider: An AWD RX350 can tow 3500 lbs with the tow package, but the GX can tow 6500 lbs. Let's not forget that you could buy two RXs and still not equal the base price of the LX570 SUV.The 2010 GX will sport different sheetmetal, an updated interior and, perhaps most importantly, a different rear door than the side-opening version presently on the SUV.The 2009 Lexus GX470 (pictured at top) currently lists for $48,490, including the destination fee. Expect that figure to move closer to $50,000 for the next-generation model.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Senin, 18 Mei 2009

New Concept Car: Green GT Le Mans


A Swiss company has unveiled the electric Green GT racing car, which it hopes to race at Le Mans in 2011.
Designed by Frenchman Thomas Clavet, the Green GT design study is powered by two 100kW water-cooled electric motors. The company claims this equates to the around 350-400bhp and, more impressively, 1475lb ft of torque up to 100mph and then 590lb ft.
The car weighs 860kg, which the car's builders claim means the car will have a 0-62mph time of under four seconds and a top speed of 171mph.
Although the Green GT would run in its own category for electric cars, for comparison last year's winning Audi R10 has around 700bhp, weighs 925kg and takes about 3.5sec to go from 0-62mph. The Audi R10 hit a top speed of 204mph at last year's Le Mans.
Details of the battery pack are sketchy, but the car uses lithium ion batteries, while solar panels help power the ancillary electronic systems. How these would work during night racing conditions is unclear.
The car's builders say they plan to have two Green GTs at Le Mans in 2011, and will be building 22 road-going version over the next three years.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Geely Denies Saab/Volvo Interest


Chinese car maker Geely has again denied it has any interest in buying Saab or Volvo.
In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, Geely said: "Geely has not submitted, and has no plans to submit, any bids concerning the takeovers of 'Volvo' or 'Saab' as stated in recent press articles."
Geely was forced to make the statement after its shares rose more than 13 per cent on the back of speculation it was about to make a takeover bid for one of the companies.
However, analysts say that the statement could be a bargaining move by Geely's management, as it tries to drive the price of the companies down.
Analysts point to reports suggesting that Geely's top management has met with Volvo executives in Sweden three times in recent months as evidence of this.
They also point out that the statement says only that there are no current plans to make a bid, a situation that could change immediately if the conditions of sale were to become more favourable.
Thanks to: Autocar

Spied Up Date: 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost


Travellers at the ferry port in Calais were treated to quite a spectre-cal this week! The Rolls-Royce Ghost has been spotted waiting patiently in line, but without camouflage and in production-ready trim for the first time. Looking almost identical to the 200EX concept shown at Geneva, the only clear differences are new alloys, the headlight assembly and small interior trim changes. Despite being a 5.4 metre long super saloon, it has gained the nickname ‘Baby Rolls’ thanks to the striking resemblance to its larger sibling, the Phantom. The two cars share the same styling cues, with colossal, stately grilles and long overhangs. But underneath the Ghost has more in common with BMW’s new 7-Series – the car with which it shares its platform. Despite going on sale as early as the end of the year, only a handful of details have been confirmed. Under the bonnet is an all-new BMW-developed 6.6-litre, turbocharged V12, producing upwards of 500bhp and hooked up to an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. The Ghost will also keep the suicide door layout made famous by the Phantom. Expect prices to start from around £180,000, but we’ll know more following the car’s launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Kamis, 14 Mei 2009

Hot News: Next Generation Mini Scooped


These scoop pictures show a full-size design proposal for the next-generation Mini, which sources say is close to being given the green light.
Expected in early 2011, the car has been given a new exterior treatment, even though it is based on today’s Mini.

BMW’s Munich-based design team has decided to move the Mini design language on a generation, introducing a wedge-like look to the car.
An additional picture seen by Autocar, but which cannot be published due to embargo restrictions until next Wednesday, shows that Mini has also added more ‘sculpture’ to the car’s flanks.
Inside, the Mini gets another makeover, although much of the switchgear will be carried over from today’s car. Some sources say that the interior pictured here may find its way into next year’s Mini Crossover first.
Judging by these spy shots, BMW has gone to considerable expense in re-engineering the Mini’s body. This model seems to show that the new car will have a clamshell tailgate, as well a new nose design with a much shorter bonnet and new one-piece bumper moulding.
Perhaps the biggest change is a more rising waistline, which, combined with the sloping roof, gives the Mini a much more dynamic and coupé-like appearance. The clamshell shut line is said to be a direct reference to the rear body seam of the original Austin Mini.
Although the new Mini sticks to the philosophy of design boss Gert Hildebrand (he says the car should be made from three slices – roof, windows and body side), it is much more poised than today’s car.
Hildebrand has also reworked the ‘trapezoidal’ rear lamps, bringing them proud of the body in another nod to the original Austin Mini.
At the front the Mini gets more aggressive headlamps, which are no longer round but subtly four-sided. The shortened bonnet (today’s car has one-piece steel clamshell bonnet) is a direct result of pedestrian protection regs.
In future, the nose will be a softer one-piece plastic moulding. The grille and lower air intake are larger, suggesting that the Mini 3 will have BMW’s Valvetronic engines, including larger units than today’s 1.6-litre motor.
Inside BMW’s stylists have changed the dash’s appearance with new upper and lower mouldings and a different central speedo. However, the lower half of the centre console (including the climate controls and gearstick surround) remains the same, as do the steering and circular air vents.
The new Mini is likely to pitched as more of a sporting three-door coupé and less of a compact hatch. By pushing it as a rival for the Audi TT, at around £10,000 less, BMW hopes to secure higher showroom ‘transaction prices’.
If the typical Mini 3 purchase is a £17,000 Cooper S then the car will, according to the marketing logic, be seen as a bargain high-quality sports coupé rather than an expensive three-door hatch.
Thanks to: Autocar

Spied Up Date: 2010 Jaguar XJ


Jaguar has stripped off the heavy cladding that has disguised its new XJ for the final testing of the car ahead of its launch in July.
The new car borrows nothing from the styling of the current XJ, which has remained true to the original model launched in 1968. The clean sheet design introduces a completely new look for the flagship Jaguar, although it does use styling cues and detailing from the XF saloon.

At the front is a huge grille, bigger than the XF’s – Jaguar has attempted to make the car look like a BMW with a false divider – that’s deeply inset behind the frame. The headlights, almost entirely taped up on this car, are from the C-XF concept car; they’re much narrower and more striking than the production XF’s.
The ridge in the front doors is a fake, designed to distract attention from the location of the wing-mounted air vents, which are said to be a different shape from the XF’s vertical vents. The door mirrors are lifted from the XF.
With the cladding lifted, the XJ’s low roofline and shallowly raked rear screen are clearly visible for the first time. At the rear the car’s coupé-look styling is clearly visible, making it unique in a market dominated by three box saloons such as the S-class and Audi A8.
The full-length glass roof has been obscured, but the effect will be of a single piece of glass that runs from the base of the windscreen to the base of the rear window. The C-pillars will be blacked out to create the impression of a floating roof, but will have a curved trim strip behind the rear doors to provide a visual stop to the rear window.
The rear lights are also fully taped up, but they actually wrap over the top of the rear wings in the style of the Citroen C6.
Although it owes nothing to the traditional look of the XJ, the new car does share a chassis and plenty of engineering with it. The all-aluminium frame remains – at a very basic level this is a very thorough reskin – although it will have been altered for new engines.
That means the XJ will be the lightest car in its class, which should also provide it with a performance and handling advantage.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2010 Opel/Vauxhall Insignia OPC/VXR Sport Tourer


Red-hot and raring to go! This is the first undisguised shot of the Vauxhall Insignia VXR Sports Tourer – a high-performance version of the Insignia estate. Our spies have already caught an early mule in testing, but this is the first time production-ready car, complete with a griffin badge on the bonnet and the chrome-rimmed nostrils lifted from the VXR saloon, has been spotted out in the open.Shoehorned under the bonnet is a 2.8-litre turbocharged V6 producing a stonking 321bhp. And for the first time in a car wearing the VXR nameplate – power will be juggled between all four tyres for maximum traction and stability on the move. Expect a 0-60mph sprint in under six seconds and an electronically-limited top-speed of 155mph.Due to go on sale alongside the saloon variant before the end of the year, the Insignia VXR Sports Tourer will be a performance bargain – starting from around £27,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Rabu, 13 Mei 2009

Hot News: Peugeot to Give New Face to i-MIEV



Peugeot are to jump on the electric bandwagon, by rebadging the i-MiEV by Mitsubishi.
The two manufacturers have had an agreement since June last year to work together on electric cars, but nothing had been made official until now. The partnership will mean you can see the prancing Peugeot lion logo sitting on the nose of the Japanese i MiEV fairly soon.
It will save Peugeot waiting to develop the technology which has proved increasingly popular. The UK road tax scheme favours those using eco-friendly cars, but until now the french carmaker had no green badge. Depending on the popularity and success of the rebadged i-MiEV, that could all change.
With an identical body to the Japanese micro car, the French make plan to build upon the electric motor, which runs off lithium-ion batteries under the seats. Peugeot Société Anonyme will now have a readily-developed electric vehicle to have at showrooms, and hopes are that they could sell 10,000 MiEVs in 2011, doubling Mistubishi's expected production figures.
Prices will probably be the same as the Mitsubishi, which will remain in Japan. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2011 Aston Martin V12 Roadster


The onslaught of new models from Aston continues! The DBS Volante, V12 Vantage and One-77 hypercar are all close to going on sale – and now our team of spies has caught a fourth newcomer undergoing final durability tests.Just like the V8 Vantage Roadster on which it’s based – the V12 Roadster will use a traditional fabric roof and feature many of the key design cues from it’s fixed-roof stablemate. Vents in the bonnet to help cool the 6.0-litre V12, a new carbon front-splitter and deeper side sills are the big giveaways of this car’s potential, but more subtle cues such as wider tyres, larger exhausts and carbon-ceramic brake discs are part of the uprated package too. And with 510bhp and 570Nm torque, expect a 0-60mph time in the region of 4.4 seconds and a top speed of over 185mph. We’ll get our chance to see the new 12-cylinder drop-top at the Frankfurt show in September. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Hyundai Eyes Up Tata Nao



How low can we go? That's the question top brass at Hyundai are asking themselves, as they seek to build a similar priced car to Tata's Nano.
The budget micro car has seen interest from Hyundai, who have said that while they don't want to compete with the Nano, the car "will expand the automotive market".
Hyundai joins Ford, GM and VW in looking towards the domestic markets of India in these difficult times for manufacturers.
Vice President Young Kil Chun says the 0.8 and 1-litre petrol-engined car would be available when the basic model is launched in the second half of 2010. However, Auto Express can reveal that a small diesel vrsion will be made, especially for Europe.
You won't have to wait too long to see pictures either. Indian engineers are working with their Korean colleagues to test the project, so will mean the car will no doubt be picked up by our snappers soon! For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Audi Introduces Stop-Start System


Audi will introduce a stop-start system to some of its models this summer, the company has announced.
First to get the technology is the Audi A3 1.4 TFSI, and the 2.0-litre versions of the A4 and A5 (both petrol and diesel variants), all with manual gearboxes. Other models will follow later this year, says Audi.
Although BMW has offered stop-start technology for some time, Audi will beat premium rival Mercedes to the technology; Mercedes won’t offer stop-start until the middle of 2010.
Audi claims that the introduction of stop-start lowers fuel consumption by around 1.7mpg, and consequently shaves approximately 5g/km from a stop-start Audi’s CO2 emissions.
Thanks to: Autocar

Spied Up Date: 2011 Lexus LF-A


The saga continues! We saw Lexus’ first ever supercar way back at the Detroit show in 2005, but these spy shots prove that while it’s been a long time coming, a production version is still on the cards. Spied testing at the Nurburgring, the Japanese rocket is seen here in showroom-spec, with only light camouflage at the front and rear. A self-raising spoiler which deploys automatically at high-speeds, a triangular exhaust arrangement and distinctive air intake behind the B-pillar can all be seen clearly and will be distinguish the LF-A when it goes on sale next year.As part of the car’s intensive testing regime, Lexus has confirmed that two race cars, with only light-modifications compared to the road-going version shown here, will compete in the Nurburgring 24hr race on May 23 this year. The racers will use a 5.0-litre V10 tuned to produce around 500bhp, but the exact specification of the road-legal car is yet to be confirmed. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2010 Volkswagen Scirocco R



Here's proof that the launch of the hottest Scirocco ever is edging ever closer! This is one of last Scirocco R development prototypes, spied here undergoing testing at a gloomy and wet Nurburgring circuit in Germany. The Golf-based coupe will feature a storming 262bhp version of the 2.0 TFSI engine already available in 197bhp form. That means a 0-60mph sprint in around six seconds and a 155mph top speed. The same engine will power a Golf R20 model too.
In addition, the R will get a bodykit, with lower front and rear bumpers and more sculpted side skirts, as well as larger 19-inch wheels. It's inspired by the Studie R concept which was first revealed at the Bologna Motor Show last year. Prices should start from around £25,000 when it goes on sale later this year. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Opel/Vauxhall Astra


Hot off the Internet are these images of the next Opel Astra. This next iteration, which is set to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, is an important player in the subcompact field as Opel's future remains in question.
We expect more details shortly, but what we know for now is that the Astra shares its Delta II small car front-drive platform with the Chevrolet Cruze and Volt, among others. This means when it goes on sale the Astra is expected to offer a base 1.4L gas engine, with 1.4L and 1.6L turbocharged gasoline engines reportedly available as options. Diesel options will likely include 1.3L, 1.7L, and 2.0L mills, and a higher mileage ecoFlex is also expected to become available sometime after launch. Per Opel, the Astra is 174.0-in. long (7.0-in. shorter than the Cruze), and it receives bi-xenon headlights and the Opel Eye camera system. Visually (thankfully, too), the 2010 Astra retains the design language of the Opel Insignia.
Now, the imported version under Saturn's moniker didn't set showrooms ablaze with sales and there's no call yet on whether the new model will make it stateside either. In any event, we've scrounged up some video of the new Astra in motion; click here to visit our YouTube channel to view it.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Selasa, 12 Mei 2009

Spied: 2011 Maserati Gran Turismo Spyder


We’ve just driven the third and final coupe variant of the Maserati GranTurismo – but it’s not the end of the line yet! These close-up spies confirm that a convertible version is almost open for business. And judging by the heavy camouflage at the rear, a fabric-roof has been shunned in favour of a folding hard-top, much like its cross-town cousin, the Ferrari California.A 2+2 seating configuration will be carried over from the fixed roof version, although space will inevitably be tighter in the back, to make room for storing the roof. Surprising amounts of rear legroom is one of the Coupe’s strengths though, so expect the Spyder to still be a genuine four-seater. The engine line-up will mimic the Coupe – that means a choice of 4.2-litre or 4.7-litre V8's producing 405bhp and 433bhp respectively, hooked up to either the six-speed ZF automatic or a faster-shifting robotised manual gearbox.Prices for the Coupe range from £78,215 to £88,005, so anticipating a modest increase the Spyder will start from around £90,000. We’ll get our chance to see the finished product in the flesh at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Senin, 11 Mei 2009

Spied Up Date: 2010 Saab 9-5


Despite the fact the Swedish carmaker is currently under Swedish bankruptcy protection, the Saab 9-5 is on schedule to be sold by early summer.
The big saloon is being finalised for production after an anticipated debut at the Frankfurt show this September.
The new 9-5 is based on the same GM Epsilon II chassis as the Vauxhall Insignia, although the styling inside and out is unique.
The new 9-5 will have a range of ‘downsized’ turbocharged petrol engines as well as the option of a turbocharged V6 engine and the company’s innovative ‘torque vectoring’ all-wheel drive system.
The car scooped here shows it has more than a hint of Saab’s classic upright windscreen pillars as well the ‘hockey stick’ shape around rear window line.
The side-on pictures also show that new car has a very steeply raked rear window and extended boot lid. An estate version is scheduled to appear next year.
Also visible in these pictures are a car’s headlamps and the new Saab corporate ‘horseshoe’ grille.
Although Fiat’s bid for the whole of General Motor’s European arm (including Saab) has only just got underway, Saab could itself be sold to a new buyer by early summer. Reports suggest that the bidding process is down to just two interested parties.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: MG Prepares Budget TF


MG UK is preparing to launch a new, entry-level, version of its UK-built TF roadster.
Expected this summer, the new model is expected to cost £13,500 on the road, around £2500 cheaper than the sole current MG TF LE 500 model.
The car will be powered by the updated version of 1.8-litre 16v K-series engine, which is good for 135bhp.
MG UK will also roll out a new 85th Anniversary version of the TF. Expected to cost around £15,750 on the road, it will be marked out by its uprated suspension, and bespoke trim and wheels.
The two cars were shown to MG enthusiasts who attended the Royal Windsor MG Heritage Festival late last month.
Enthusiast websites also reported that MG dealers and MG UK will attempt to raise the low profile of the revived marque with new advertising campaigns alongside the two new models.
Reports also suggest that the new MG6 hatchback and saloon models – which were unveiled at the Shanghai motor show last month - could go on sale in the UK as early as next summer.
A decision on whether to assemble the new cars at Longbridge – as opposed to importing it complete from the Nanjing factory in China – will reportedly be made in the next few months.
Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2011 Bentley Continental Supersports


Our spy shooters are a busy bunch. Fresh off the spotting of BMW's 5 Series Gran Turismo on the streets of Munich, their latest find came as it was being unloaded from its trailer just outside of the famous (or, perhaps, infamous) Nurburgring race circuit. Pictured here in all its matte-grey glory is Bentley Continental Supersports test mule, no doubt getting ready to run some Nordschleife laps in preparation for its production debut either later this year or in early 2010.
As we reported in our First Look article, the Bentley Continental Supersports is pegged to be the fastest Bentley ever produced - and also the greenest. Using an eco-friendly E85 ethanol/gasoline mix, the Continental Supersports will produce 621 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque from its VW-derived 6.0L W-12 engine. Of course, that motor has been extensively revised with new valves and injectors, among other components, to produce the same performance whether running 100% gasoline or an 85% ethanol mix. A new "Quickshift" ZF six-speed automatic gearbox swaps cogs twice as fast as the standard unit and will send 40% of that power to the Conti's front wheels and the remaining 60% to the rear, in an effort to counteract the luxury coupe's heavy nose.
But there's more to the Continental Supersports' performance than just the engine. Bentley engineers have shaved over 300 lbs from its newest supercoupe, while ensuring that the car is 95% percent recyclable - not that any examples are bound to end up in a landfill anytime soon, as Bentley is quick to point out. While the Supersports looks similar in appearance to its standard GT counterpart, both the front and rear valances have been revised to improve aerodynamics and cooling. Two hood vents have been added to the same effect, and the car's rear haunches are larger to contain the wider track. Carbon framed, leather-lined bucket seats are found in the cabin, behind which a large brace runs the width of the cockpit for structural rigidity.
The end result? Expect a 3.7-second 0 to 60 mph sprint with 100 mph coming up just 5.2 seconds later. The Conti Supersports' top speed is a staggering 204 mph. Thought Bentleys are for posers? Think again - this is serious stuff. Oh, and this is no one-off publicity special aimed at improving Bentley's green image. By 2012, all Bentley's will be bio-fuel compatible.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Fiat Denies Suzuki Interest


Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne has denied that a tie-in with Suzuki could follow if his company succeeds in its takeover of Opel.
Suzuki already has ties with Fiat and Opel, and speculation has suggested it could join an expanded Fiat if it took over Opel and Chrysler. The company builds the Opel/Vauxhall Agila and the Fiat Sedici cars at its plant in Esztergom, in Hungary.
"It is nonsense," said Marchionne at an event in Turin.
Marchionne also told reporters that he is confident he will successfully close the deal to merge Fiat and Opel/Vauxhall by the end of the month.
He said Fiat's engine, platform and industrial experience gave it the edge over competing bids.
"This is our daily job, others want to start doing it," he said, referring to rival Opel bidder Magna, which is chiefly a car parts supplier.
Thanks to: Autocar

Sneak Peek: 2010 Opel/Vauxhall Astra


The new Astra is almost here! Vauxhall’s stunning newcomer makes its official debut this Wednesday, but the game has almost been given away with this revealing teaser image.The stylish newcomer will share much of its styling DNA with the larger Insignia. As you can see from this image, which features Astra designer Marc van der Haegen and engineer Laszlo Kreth, the new model boasts a more angular look, with a much more more rakish and curvy shape. It’ll be larger too for class leading passenger room while a wider track should mean even sharper handling dynamics. Vauxhall will show off its new star to the public at September's Frankfurt Motor Show, before the car goes on sale in the UK at the end of the year. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Sabtu, 09 Mei 2009

Hot News: GM Axes HHR SS and STS-V


Yesterday we got wind that the Chevrolet Cobalt SS sedan and Impala SS won't survive past the 2010 model year due to the General's restructuring measures.

Well, the bad news keeps coming, and GM officials have revealed that three more will join the list, including the Chevrolet HHR SS panel van and Cadillac STS-V. Production of the HHR SS panel van will culminate next June 2010, but we wonder how many more they'll have to make to keep up with demand. The standard HHR SS will continue to be avaliable.

The decision to axe the 2010 Cadillac STS-V is immediate and couldn't have been too difficult either, with the new 2010 CTS-V arriving in showrooms across the country -- a car that embodies the V spirit much more successfully.

Never afraid to state the obvious, GM is also listing the Pontiac G6 GXP as a goner for 2010 (you know, like the rest of the Pontiac brand).

Still, we're sorry to see the departure of any performance models from GM's North American lineup.

Thanks to : Motor Trend

Spied: 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost


Our spy photographers have snared some shots of a right-hand drive Rolls-Royce Ghost undergoing some routine final testing in Munich, Germany. The Ghost is about 7.5-in. longer than the BMW 750Li, a vehicle the new Rolls reportedly shares some componentry with (BMW owns Rolls-Royce).

Rolls-Royce's latest ultra-luxury sedan, which had been known as RR4 and 200EX (the concept's name), was recently shown in near-production guise under the official Ghost moniker that was announced at the 2009 Shanghai Motor Show.

The name was originally given to one of the brand's classic sedans built in the early part of the 20th century and has been brought out of an 84-year hibernation to adorn the new, smaller Rolls.

Contrary to many reports, underpinning the Ghost is a unique unibody "which is not shared with any other vehicle," our sources have stated. It sports a wheelbase of roughly 130-in., a 75-in. width, and 61-in. height.

With the Ghost, designers aimed at creating a sleeker or "faster"-looking design than the current range-topping Phantom. Its rakish profile, as well as the less-chunky front trademark grille, add much to this cause.

The sedan's bespoke BMW-sourced 6.6L twin-turbo V-12 has been massaged by Goodwood builders and is mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Insiders claim the motor produces in the area of 544 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque.

Despite its slighter stature, it still carries the traditional Rolls-Royce price tag: An estimated $250,000 to $280,000. Expect the final production series model to debut at this year's Frankfurt show in September.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Next Car: 2011 Ford Explorer


What it is: A huge favorite in the 1990s, Explorer sales have, uh, cooled over the past few years. This latest Explorer ditches the body-on-frame platform and the V-8 for a V-6 and a lighter unibody structure based on the Ford Flex.

Why it’s important: Buyers have been shying away from body-on-frame SUVs for years. Ford’s only hope of growing Explorer sales is to change to a unibody platform.

Powertrain: Basic versions will get a 262-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. For those seeking more firepower, a twin-turbo version will be available with 355 horses.

Competition: Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Traverse, Mazda CX-7/CX-9, Dodge Durango.

Estimated arrival: Look for it in blue-oval shops at the end of 2010. Prices should range from $28,000 to $35,000.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Jumat, 08 Mei 2009

New Car: 2010 Mercedes GL Class


BlueEFFICIENCY and BlueTEC technologies, efficient engines, even more attractive appointments, all-new body elements and an upgraded interior will make the Mercedes-Benz GL even more appealing. In its new model year, the world's top-class luxury SUV will consume up to 8 percent less fuel (preliminary value) and be even more environmentally compatible.
Other outstanding features of the GL-Class will include excellent handling both on road and off road, exceptional roominess and the comfort of a luxury saloon. Beginning in autumn 2009, Mercedes-Benz will also offer the world's most extensive range of SUV models equipped with especially efficient SCR exhaust gas treatment technology. Besides the GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC, customers will also have the ML 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC and R 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC models to choose from. The fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly trio of models already created a stir during their first sales year in the USA and they are sure to also boost the appeal of this vehicle class in Europe. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Press Portal
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