Minggu, 30 Agustus 2009

Hot News: Mini Crossover Launched Delayed

BMW has confirmed it will not be showing a production version of its Mini Crossover until 2010 at the earliest.
At the Frankfurt motor show next month, it will be showing two new concepts; the Mini Coupe concept and the Mini Roadster concept.
A baby crossover SUV, rumoured to be called the Crossman, was first seen as a concept car at the Paris motor show last year. It will be the fourth production model in Mini’s line-up.
A BMW Mini spokesman told media in the US: “The Crossover launch has been pushed back as we wish to first explore differentiation within future Mini smaller models and get feedback.”
The production launch is likely to take place at the Geneva motor show next spring.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Toyota/BMW iQ Tie-up

Toyota is in talks with BMW about using the Mini Coupe and Roadster platform to future model variants, according to reports from the US.
Although neither company has confirmed the reports, it is claimed that BMW would get use of the next-generation iQ, specifically its interior and platform, in return for Toyota using the Mini platform.
The iQ platform could also be used to underpin a production version of BMW’s micro electric car, rumoured to be called the Isetta.
The concept version of the Mini Coupe was shown off last week and it and its sister Roadster will be on show at the Frankfurt motor show next month. Both models are expected to make production in two to three years time, although BMW has yet to give the green light.
Aston Martin has already arranged a similar deal with Toyota to use the iQ as the basis for its Cygnet micro car.
Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2010 Fiat Punto Evo

This is the Fiat Punto Evo, the revised version of the Grande Punto that will be displayed at next month’s Frankfurt motor show and go on sale in the UK next spring.
As well as a mild restyling, the Fiat Punto Evo gets an updated engine range that includes the innovative 1.4-litre petrol Multiair unit.

The Punto Evo is expected to be the second car in the Fiat empire to be sold with the engine; current schedules mean the Alfa Romeo Mito should just pip the Punto Evo into UK showrooms.
The Multiair system works by allowing direct control of air and combustion in engines, cylinder by cylinder and stroke by stroke, without the use of a conventional throttle.
It saves energy wasted in traditional systems, cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by around 10 per cent over a comparable standard engine, and increasing power by up to 10 per cent and torque by up to 15 per cent.
It can also reduce particulate emissions by up to 40 per cent and NOx emissions by up to 60 per cent. Fiat plans to fit the technology to all its engines in coming years.
Other engines in the range include a new Multijet 1.3-litre diesel, which features a new common-rail injector that reduces consumption by around two per cent and NOx emissions by 30 per cent, plus methane and LPG units that boost the car’s eco credentials but which won’t be on sale in the UK.
Fiat is also fitting stop-start as standard on all its Euro5-compliant petrol and diesel engines.
Fiat says the interior has been completely reworked, while the exterior has been tweaked by the addition of new bumpers and light clusters. The car is slightly longer than before, at 406cm from 403cm. All other dimensions are the same.
The Punto Evo has seven airbags as standard, including a driver’s kneebag. Options include a hill holder function to make hillstarts easier, and adaptive cornering fog lights that switch on according to the angle of steering.
A new sat-nav system is also available. Called Blue&Me-TomTom, it allows the driver to manage telephone, sat-nav and information systems via a single colour touch screen.
Thanks to: Autocar

Sabtu, 29 Agustus 2009

Unofficial Sketch: Mini Roadster

An official picture of the Mini Roadster concept has been spied ahead of its official unveiling at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

The photo was taken from an official BMW poster used to promote the Mini brand as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations. The Roadster is an open-top version of the Mini Coupe concept unveiled earlier this week.

The Roadster will be shown alongside the Coupe concept in Germany next month and both models are set to inspire production models in 2011. They are part of BMW's plans to extend and diversify the Mini brand and both models could inspire further variants.

The Roadster is expected to share its underpinnings with the Mini JCW and it will rival established roadsters such as the Audi TT and Mazda MX-5.

In reference to the chances of the Mini Coupe making production, Mini design director Gert Hildebrand said: "Hopefully we can get the okay before the end of the year. Everything you see is do-able for production — not cheap, but do-able.” The same is likely to apply to the Mini Roadster.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Concept Car: BMW Vision EfficientDynamics

Bayerische Motoren Werke's engineering prowess is long established, as is its well-worn rep as purveyors of 'ultimate driving machines.' With its EfficientDynamics program, BMW is drawing from its considerable expertise in an effort to continue to develop engaging, sports-themed cars while at the same time improving the efficiency of its vehicles through the use of new technologies.

The BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept is designed and billed as the ultimate expression of BMW's emerging strategy. The Vision features seemingly every high-tech, lightweight, and aerodynamic trick the company has developed in an all-out effort to improve efficiency. And of course, BMW also says the Vision is designed to deliver an exhilarating driving experience. The end result is a lightweight, 2+2 coupe powered by a plug-in hybrid drivetrain that BMW says develops a total output of 356 horsepower.

One look at the Vision and its clear BMW has created a vehicle that goes way beyond today's hybrid. Case it point, the exterior, which employs advanced layering technology to layer the various pieces of the Vision's bodywork over each other. The process smooths out joints and seams and help to reduce the number of overall components. The wild bits and pieces jutting off the car are all there for a reason. At the front, the A-pillars are designed to guide air around the greenhouse where a wrap-around spoiler, fin-like rear fenders and blade-like taillights all duct the airflow off the back of the car to in an effort to further minimize turbulence and drag.

The aerodynamic tricks aren't limited to obvious body modifications, either. Underneath, the entire underbody of the car is smooth and flat to minimize drag. Up front, active louvers in the fascia close when the airflow to the radiator isn't needed, streamlining the front of the car. Below them, small ducts in the air dam direct air through special passageways and out into the front wheel wells, creating a high-velocity curtain of air over the front wheels that BMW says aids stability.

The wheels themselves are also designed for aerodynamics with the profiles of the individual spokes designed to cut cleanly through the air and, again, minimize turbulence and drag. Despite their massive size, the wheels are wrapped in 195/55 narrow, low-profile tires to minimize rolling resistance. To keep the handling sporty, they're wrapped around 21-in. wheels that help give the tires a larger contact patch, one that is longer than it is wide for minimal wind resistance. All told, the Vision slips through the air with only a 0.22 coefficient of drag, significantly better than the 2010 Toyota Prius' 0.25.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Jumat, 28 Agustus 2009

Sneak Peek Up Date: BMW Vision EfficientDynamics

BMW has released another teaser today of its Vision EfficientDynamics concept car that will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, giving us another angle on the unconventional taillights but little else to go on.

From the two angles, all we can tell so far is that the blue piece on top that stands off from the body appears to be a spoiler that not only wraps around the rear of the car but also reaches up around the rear window at least as far as the roof. While it's interrupted by the fin-like taillights, the line continues on the rear fenders, which have been pulled up to a point and are quite fin-like themselves. Has BMW suddenly decided to go retro and try to bring back fins? We're going to assume that, based on the idea behind BMW's EfficientDynamics program, these radical body lines are more for aerodynamic efficiency than classic-Cadillac nostalgia.

About the only other thing we can see so far are fairly large wheels wrapped in tiny low-profile tires. Based on the one wheel spoke we can see, it appears as though they'll be a five-spoke design similar to those BMW has used in the past, but no doubt with a modern twist. We can also say definitively that these are not the wheels on the red BMW concept we spied recently, meaning BMW has either switched wheels and changed the paint or was telling the truth when they said that the red car was an old concept and not the Vision EfficientDynamics car. It seems more likely, at this point, that it was the latter.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2011 Mercedes E63 AMG Estate

The standard version of Mercedes' new E-Class estate goes on sale at the beginning of next year but this is no ordinary estate. This is the E63 flagship, and these are the best pictures yet of what the newcomer will look like.

Spied here in Germany carrying out the final stages testing ahead of its release next spring, the virtually undisguised super estate clearly shows that the E-Class wagon will borrow many of its styling cues from the new saloon.

Under the bonnet, like the saloon there will be Mercedes’ award winning 6.3-litre V8 engine producing around 520bhp and over 600Nm of torque. This means 0-62mph will take well under 5 seconds making it one of the fastest estates around.

Expect to pay for this though as the E63 wagon will come will a pricetag of around £70,000 when it hits the road next year. For more details click here
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2011 Audi S5 Sportback

With added power and more style, Audi is giving its new A5 Sportback the ‘S’ treatment ahead of its Frankfurt debut. And this is the first offical picture of the newcomer!

Under the bonnet the new flagship gets the same 3.0-litre supercharged V6 found in the latest S4. And this means power output comes in at 328bhp while torque is rated at 440Nm between 2,900 and 5,300 rpm. As a result 0-62mph takes 5.4seconds, with the top speed limited to 155mph.

Mated to a seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch ‘box the S5 Sportback also gets quattro permanent all-wheel drive as standard. The flagship Audi gets 19” alloy wheels and sports suspension too, but sport differential costs extra.

As well as the usual sports orientated exterior and selection of S5 badges the Sportback also gets electrically adjustable S sports seats covered with Silk Nappa leather.

Although the A5 Sportback goes on sale this October the S5 will be a little bit longer with sales starting next spring. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2011 Ford Focus

It's the news blue oval fans have been waiting for! The all new Ford Focus prototype has finally hit the road.

These are the first pictures of the newcomer. Set to go on sale in 2010, the third generation of the family car will take the company’s brand values to the next level. It gets a dramatic new look that’s backed up by a range of hi-tech small- capacity turbocharged engines.

Ford gave the strongest hint of how its upcoming models will look when it revealed the Iosis Max at the Geneva Motor Show in March. And it’s from this car that the new Focus takes much of its styling inspiration. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta

When asked this week if the company is going to change the name of the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, its best-selling car, U.S. CEO Stefan Jacoby said, "We are not that stupid." Any speculation that the so-called New Compact Sedan (NCS) will wear a different badge can end.

Our spy shots of the sixth-generation Jetta show a sexy roof line and simple, attractive flanks. What you can’t see are front- and rear-end styling, but expect a much crisper look than the current, bulbous Jetta. Allegedly, the new Jetta will retain VW driving characteristics. The 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine will continue as the base engine for now, and the company's excellent 2.0-liter turbo-diesel will be on offer, too. The gasoline-fired turbo-four may continue in the Jetta, but it is an expensive engine for VW because it is imported from Europe. Looking forward, VW will bring production of smaller, forced-induction motors to North America as fuel-economy regulations get stricter.

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta will be a little bit bigger than the current car to better compete with the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. Ergonomics will be cleaned up so that Japanese brand loyalists who jump ship to VW will be able to set a temperature, recline the seats, and tune in a radio station without having a nervous breakdown.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Kamis, 27 Agustus 2009

New Car: 2011 Mercedes B-Class F-Cell

Mercedes has launched its first-ever production fuel-cell vehicle, the B-class F-cell.

The first 200 models will be produced later this year and will be delivered to customers who have leased it in the US and Europe in early 2010.

Mercedes claims its hydrogen-electric hybrid is comparable in performance to a 2.0-litre petrol car, but its zero-emission powertrain can manage the equivalent of 86.6mpg on the combined cycle.

The electric motor produces 134bhp and 214lb ft of torque. Its range is around 250 miles and it takes three minutes to refuel the car with hydrogen. By comparison, a 1.8-litre petrol B-class (no 2.0-litre petrol model is available) produces 114bhp and 114lb ft of torque in B180 BlueEfficiency SE guise.

The German firm has addressed one of the weaknesses in existing fuel-cell vehicles which is the ability to perform cold starts. The B-Class F-cell can start in temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius - lthough its Honda FCX Clarity rival is able to start from minus 30 degrees Celsius.

A 35kw lithium-ion battery is used to store any power wasted under acceleration, recovers energy lost under braking and it provides back-up power to the electric motor.

Interior and boot space are both unaffected by the addition of the F-cell powertrain. The boot’s capacity of 416 litres is the same as a regular B-class and the drive components are stored in the floor. Safety is also unaffected, with the system undergoing 30 crash tests prior to production.

A Mercedes statement said: “2009 is the year in which we are establishing further milestones where sustainable mobility is concerned. The B-Class F-cell is taking on a pioneering role as the world’s first fuel cell powered automobile to be produced under series production conditions.”

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Toyota Recalls 95,700 Corollas, Matrix, and Scion xD

Toyota has announced a voluntary recall of approximately 95,700 Toyota and Scion cars to correct a problem with the braking system. In extremely cold temperatures, the problem could result in less assistance from the brake booster and more difficulty in stopping the car.

The cars in question are 2009 and 2010 Toyota Corollas and Toyota Matrixs and 2008 and 2009 Scion xDs equipped with the 1.8L four-cylinder engine. No other engines or Toyota or Scion models are affected. Toyota has discovered that in extremely low temperatures, moistures from the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system can leak into the brake vacuum port and freeze, closing off the port.

With the brake vacuum port partially or totally blocked by ice, the brake system will loose vacuum pressure and will therefore lose its power-assist, making the brake pedal much harder to apply and increasing the effort needed to apply the brakes and stop the vehicle, which could lead to longer stopping distances and possible accidents.

Because the problem only occurs at very low temperatures, the recall is only being put into effect in 19 states where temperatures typically get low enough to cause a problem. Those states include Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

To remedy the problem, Toyota will install for free a new air intake connector that moves the brake vacuum port away from the PCV port. The repair should take only an hour to complete. Owners will begin getting notices in the mail early next month.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: BMW Vision EfficientDynamics

A couple weeks ago, a previously unseen BMW concept car was spotted being loaded into a transporter and speculation ensued over whether or not it was the well-hidden EfficientDynamics car BMW is bringing to Frankfurt. Now BMW has dropped a teaser of the real thing, and it's still a head-scratcher.

Now apparently named the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics, the teaser was slipped into the end of a video posted on BMW's online video site, BMW TV. The rest of the video offers no clues at all about the Vision, so all we have to go on is this close-up picture of a very unusual tail light.

Apparently taking a minimalist approach, BMW has removed as much material from rear body work and the tail light itself as possible. While the negative space makes for some very avant garde styling and architecture on the rear of the vehicle, it may well serve to reduce weight and improve aerodynamics. Or it could all be for style, we don't really know. All we really know is that the car is expected to showcase BMW's latest efforts at building greener, more sustainable cars.

We also know that it doesn't look much like the more conventionally-styled concept we spotted earlier this month. On the other hand, BMW could have stuffed all sorts of things underneath that plastic wrap to alter the appearance of the body work and throw us off the trail.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: 2010 Toyota 4Runner

Toyota is getting ready to take the wraps off its all-new 2010 Toyota 4Runner, and has broken off the first teaser image of the fifth-generation SUV, which is set to make its debut in the sheetmetal at the State Fair of Texas on September 24.

The automaker is promising the vehicle will continue to have plenty of mud-slinging, down-and-dirty ability the vehicle has become known for. Glancing at the image, it certainly looks the off-road part, with a boxy, cladded-up grille, plenty of ground clearance, and burly tires. Of course, Toyota also says the new 4Runner will be more comfortable and have a roomier interior package. More than 1.8 million 4Runners have been produced since its introduction in 1984, with 70 percent of those still on the road today, according to Toyota.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Unofficial Picture: 2010 Toyota 4Runner

Among cattle, myriad fried-food concoctions (including fried Coke), and plenty of truck-driving Texans at this year’s Texas State Fair will be the latest Toyota 4Runner. The Japanese automaker says the 2010 model will be introduced there on September 24, the day before the gates open to the public, and has released a teaser photo showing the new rig crawling on one very inclined rock. We can do one better: a crafty reader snapped these 4Runners with a cell-phone camera, giving us a sneak peek.

The saying goes that everything’s bigger in Texas, and Toyota tells us the new 4Runner will indeed be roomier inside. This is likely thanks to new squared-off, slab-sided, blunt-nose looks. As seen in these shots, the interior is nicely updated with a look similar to the Land Cruiser’s cabin.

We’re expecting a more rugged 4Runner with new off-road features to make its debut at the fair. As our last spied story explained, we already know—from leaked product info guides from yet another helpful reader—that the 2010 model will offer a choice of four- or six-cylinder power, instead of the six- and eight-pot configurations of the current truck. The four is a 161-hp 2.7-liter and the V-6 is the same 4.0-liter, although it’s been upgraded to put out 19 more hp, for a total of 258.

Options like a dynamic suspension system, crawl control, off-road ABS, and water-repellant seats should ready the 4Runner for off-road adventure. Luxury features will not all vanish, though, with keyless start, 20-inch wheels, nav with satellite traffic info, and Bluetooth and USB connectivity making the order sheet.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car; 2010 Volkswagen Polo 3-Door

Volkswagen is getting ready to officially launch the three-door version of its new subcompact Polo, a diesel version of which gets 70 mpg.

Keep in mind VW's admission that the Polo or a Polo-sized vehicle might make its way to the U.S. market, so we could ultimately see a version of this frugal hatchback on U.S. soil.

The three-door Polo sports more modern styling than the model it replaces, falling in line with VW's new design language that we've already seen on the upcoming Golf. Longer doors are part of the three-door Polo package yet the five-door shares the same length, width, and height. Compared to the Ford Fiesta (three- or five-door), the Polo is 0.8 in. longer, 1.6 in. narrower, and 0.2 in. shorter.

A total of seven engines will be offered on the three- and five-door Polo: three diesels, three gas and, sometime early in 2010, a 1.2L diesel BlueMotion oriented toward efficiency. Interestingly, on a car that sits near the bottom of VW's European lineup (above the Fox), a seven-speed DSG transmission will be offered. We'd love to try the 103-hp direct-injection turbo four paired with the DSG, but even if that combination makes it to the U.S., it might price itself far above its intended competition.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Chrysler - Nissan to End Joint Project

How a year can change things. In early 2008, Nissan and Chrysler were best buddies, announcing a trio of joint-venture projects for the near future. Fast forward to today. A joint statement has been written, with both companies agreeing to discontinue work on all three of them.

Two of the projects were almost destined to fail, after Fiat's purchase of Chrysler following the domestic automaker's bankruptcy proceedings. They involved Nissan providing Chrysler with small cars -- a compact Nissan Versa-based sedan for the South American market and a subcompact vehicle for global markets. Creating new small cars is what a majority of the Fiat-Chrysler deal is all about, leaving little room or reason for Nissan to provide small car tech anymore.

The third project is where the trouble lies. Chrysler was to provide large-vehicle tech to Nissan -- namely, for the Japanese automaker's full-size Titan pickup truck. With the current Titan slated to be discontinued in the near future, Chrysler's Dodge Ram pickup was to provide the underpinnings for the 2012 Titan, due out in 2011. Two days ago, we reported that Nissan was mulling backup options should Chrysler decide to pull out of the deal, and it now appears that Nissan's concerns weren't unfounded.

Unfortunately, the 2012 Nissan Titan has been under development for some time. With preliminary cab, interior, and body plans all based on utilizing the Dodge Ram's underpinnings, it's back to the drawing board -- rather literally -- for the new Titan. And that's assuming that a new partner can be found for the deal. If Nissan can't persuade another automaker to share its full-size platform soon, the Titan may have to settle for a refresh and solider on past its previous expiration date.

The agreement for Nissan affiliate JATCO to supply transmissions to Chrysler, as has been in place since 2004, will remain unaffected, the automakers said.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Mercedes S-Class Four-Cylinder

Mercedes-Benz no longer offers a six-cylinder engine on its flagship S-Class sedan in the U.S., but in Europe, the S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8 all offer diesel and gas six-cylinder engines.

Now we're hearing rumors Mercedes might be preparing an S250 CDI BlueEfficiency model or, in other words, the first-ever four-cylinder S-Class. Such a vehicle would debut at the fast-approaching Frankfurt Motor Show and have the Mercedes' 2.1L diesel engine used in the C- and E-Class models.

Along with the S400 Hybrid, which Mercedes claims will get 29 mpg combined with its 3.5L V-6 paired to an electric motor and lithium-ion battery, the S250 CDI BlueEfficiency could make the S-Class lineup one of the more fuel-efficient in the high-end sedan segment. Expect the S250 CDI BlueEfficiency to get at least 4 mpg more when tested by U.S. standards.'

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2010 Lincoln Mark LT

For U.S. dealers, the announcement that the slow-selling Lincoln Mark LT pickup would be discontinued for 2009 was no big deal. However, the reaction was very different south of the border. For Lincoln dealers in Mexico, the Mark LT had represented 40 percent of sales. Thus, a historical decision: As of September, the 2010 Mark LT will be the first Lincoln model in history not available in the U.S.

Serious determination was needed for the truck to see the light of day, especially from Lincoln’s General Director in Mexico, Fernando Avila. Curiously enough, he tells us that convincing Mexican executives proved more challenging than convincing the suits in Dearborn, who embraced with unusual enthusiasm the task of developing a vehicle of which only 2000 would be built annually. Indeed, producing a 2010 Mark LT made several departments, such as the design team, reopen their file cabinets and pull out ideas they had set aside when Lincoln initially canceled the second generation of the luxury pickup.

Naturally, the 2010 LT is based on the Ford F-150, and in particular the top-level Platinum model, which essentially took the place of the Mark LT in the U.S. Imbuing the truck with Lincoln-ness required aesthetic changes as well as the addition of more upscale standard equipment. Among the former is Lincoln’s new split-waterfall grille, which became the brand’s hallmark beginning with the arrival of the MKS. Another design cue is found in the rear, with the tailgate carrying the broad metallic stripe as found on the F-150 Platinum, and the Mark LT also gets that truck’s retractable running boards. Chromed mirror caps, wheels, and trim add more flair, too.

Inside, the seats are swathed in brown leather exclusive to this vehicle, and the instrument cluster cowl is also lined with leather, with stitching that aims to give the vehicle a rustic look. Other items, such as the Sync infotainment system, also place this pickup above even the most highly equipped Ford trucks sold in Mexico (the F-150 Platinum is not sold there).

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Hot News: Chrysler Sues Daimler

Chrysler is suing former parent company Daimler in a bid to force it to deliver parts for its cars.

In its court filings, made last week, Chrysler asked for the court to prohibit Daimler from suspending shipments of the engines, steering columns and torque converters.

It also asked the court to decide whether it must pay Daimler a higher price for the engines if it buys fewer than originally agreed.

The dispute stems from Chrysler reducing its order for parts at short notice - something Daimler feels it was not entitled to do unless a penalty fee was paid.

"Daimler's bad faith conduct and contractual breaches threaten to derail (Chrysler) and send devastating ripple effects through the automotive industry," Chrysler's court filing reads.

However, Chrysler has declined to say which cars would be affected by the non-delivery of parts.

A Daimler spokesman told AUtomotive News: "We believe these claims are without merit, and we will defend ourselves vigorously."

It is the second lawsuit Chrysler has issued against Daimler in recent weeks, with a previous filing claiming Daimler diverted assets worth around £5.5 billion from Chrysler just before selling 80.1 per cent of the company to Cerberus Capital Management in August 2007.

The filings also accused Daimler of selling Chrysler's World Headquarters and Tech Center for $325 million (£200m), less than prevailing market prices, two years ago.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Lamborghini Reventon Roadster

Lamborghini is dropping the top on their awesome Reventon! According to our exclusive sources, the original car, which was limited to just 20 models, will lose its roof and go on sale for a cool 1.2 million Euros, or £1million when it hits our shores next year.

Production has already started on the roofless roadster, which will use the same engine from the Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce, delivering 653Nm of torque, and 20bhp more than the original coupé.

Although top brass at Sant'Agata said it was "just speculation" earlier this year, a recent VIP event was held at their factory for a pre-release unveiling of the mid-engined V12 convertible, and parts for the car are even being built right here in the UK!

Auto Express can exclusively confirm that the car will be officially unveilled at Frankfurt next month, but if you want to get one, you'll need to be quick, as the 670bhp Italian supercar will be limited to a maximum of 10 models. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Rabu, 26 Agustus 2009

New Concept Car: Mini Coupe

Meet the sensational new MINI Coupé! Exactly 50 years after the original Mini made its debut – on 26 August 1959 – the British firm is set to reveal its most forward-thinking model to date.

The car will make its debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, but Auto Express has all the images and details on the latest homegrown hero after being allowed up close for exclusive access to the new car.

Taking the shape of a sporty two-seater, the MINI Coupé Concept is a vision of things to come as it looks to compete with the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupé, Audi TT and the Peugeot RC Z unveiled in last week’s issue. Blending styling cues from the past, present and future, the new MINI’s remit is simple; to broaden the appeal beyond the hatchback, Convertible and Clubman.

And with its light weight and low centre of gravity, it promises to be the most driver-oriented roadgoing MINI ever. The familiar front end is borrowed from the four-seater hatchback, but incorporates a number of unique touches to set it apart.

Among this car’s firsts are body-coloured bars inside the chrome grille surround, plus the bonnet stripes continuing through the grille itself. View the Coupé in profile and the differences become even more pronounced. The front side panels are lifted straight from the current Convertible, yet a more steeply raked windscreen sweeps overhead and lends a dynamic feel to the design, even at a standstill.

A high, gently rising waistline is nothing new for a MINI, but this show car combines it with an ultra-slim glass area and short overhangs for a powerful and stocky stance.

Yet it’s the ‘floating’ roof that will provoke most debate. Using the trick of blacking out the A, B and acutely angled C-pillars, this beautifully crafted panel appears to sit unsupported on top of the car. But the roof serves as more than an aesthetic component – integrated into its trailing edge is a blade-like spoiler.

This helps to guide airflow over the tapered rear window, not only to give added downforce at speed but also for greater aerodynamic efficiency. A twin-section diffuser, exiting either side of the trademark double exhausts, cleans up underbody airflow, and demonstrates the car’s high-performance intentions.

The interior is as extrovert as the exterior; slide into the cabin and the racy theme continues. Deeply bolstered sports seats are finished in a combination of woven leather strands and larger-stitched panels.

Elsewhere, the dinner-plate central speedo and column-mounted rev counter, as well most of the switchgear, are lifted directly from the hatch.

However, two Chronoswiss clocks on either side of the rev counter neatly link Minis of the future with those of the past. One is a purpose-built digital stopwatch for taking lap times, while the other shows the time in classic analogue style.

Under the air-scooped hood is a familiar engine – the 1.6-litre turbo from the MINI John Cooper Works. This kicks out 208bhp and 260Nm of torque, although the latter can climb as high as 280Nm for short bursts thanks to the overboost function. And due to its light weight, the Coupé should display even more devastating performance than the hatch or Convertible versions fitted with the same motor.

That aluminium roof not only reduces the entire weight of the car, boosting performance and efficiency, but also lowers the centre of gravity. So despite using identical suspension geometry to the JCW hatchback, the Coupé should corner with more bite and less body roll.

However, MINI hasn’t forgotten a car such as this can’t be exclusively focused on outright speed and dynamic ability – it needs an element of practicality, too. Which is why, with the rear seats removed, load capacity is up to a usable 250 litres – 40 litres less than in a TT. But to make the most of this luggage area, the entire tailgate hinges at the top of the roof spoiler, revealing a huge opening.

Officially, its maker says the Coupé is a “fascinating vision of how the MINI model family may continue”. But based on the cabin finish and practical, production-ready touches that have been built into the package, the car could be closer to the road than MINI is letting on. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Selasa, 25 Agustus 2009

Hot News: Mitsubishi Small-SUV

Mitsubishi is planning to bring forward the introduction of its new compact SUV, based on the Concept cX from the 2007 Frankfurt motor show.

The new car, which will provide Mitsubishi with a rival for Nissan’s Qashqai, was originally due in May next year, but improving sales of compact SUVs in Japan have forced the firm onto a more aggressive schedule.

The new SUV will now be launched in Japan next February; Europe will follow soon after.

The production version of the cX (the name will change) will use the Lancer platform and come with petrol and diesel options, from 1.8 to 2.2 litres. An Evo-style SST dual-clutch ’box and four-wheel drive will also be available.

Mitsubishi is not planning a hybrid cX, but it will unveil a plug-in hybrid system in a fresh SUV concept at October’s Tokyo show. The technology is earmarked for the next Outlander.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Range Rover LRX's 2010 Launch

The final production version of the Range Rover LRX could be unveiled on 17 June next year, according to Land Rover sources.

The premium compact SUV will finally be given the go-ahead for production by the end of the year, insiders have told Autocar. Production would probably begin in early 2011.

The June date is being considered because it will mark exactly 40 years since the original Range Rover was first revealed to the public.

The LRX would be positioned as the new, more environmentally friendly face of Range Rover as part of the brand’s 40th anniversary.

It’s expected that the styling of the final version of the LRX will differ from the concept. The car will also have the option of a hybrid drivetrain, which could be standard on more expensive versions.

The LRX is based on the same basic transverse engine platform as the Freelander and will be built at that model’s home, the Halewood factory on Merseyside.

The hybrid version of the LRX will probably use an electrically driven rear axle, which will work in combination with the engine-driven front wheels.

The LRX will arrive at a time when most industry analysts expect new car buyers in western Europe to embrace the concept of downsizing, with upmarket vehicles in the Golf class (B segment) becoming particularly popular.

As part of this, sales of the largest SUVs are expected to be hit hard in the EU, although they will remain popular in the Middle East and other developing markets.
Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2011 Hyundai ix35/Tucson

Hyundai is putting on a brave new face for Frankfurt. These are the first official images of its brand new crossover, the ix35, the first car to feature Hyundai's revised family face with its pronounced hexagonal grille.

Showcasing Hyundai's 'fluidic sculpture' design language, the ix35 is a feast of strong creases and bold shapes - a must if it wants to mix it with popular compact SUVs such as the Ford Kuga and VW Tiguan.

The sleek styling has another hidden benefit - enhanced aerodynamics. Combine this with an refined and efficient range of powertrains, and Hyundai claims the ix35 will lead the way when it comes to low CO2 emissions and fuel consumption comparable to a Focus-sized hatchback.
More information will be made available when the car debuts in Frankfurt next month. Expect the ix35 to reach UK showroom in Spring 2010. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Sneak Peek: 2010 Skoda Superb Estate

It’s the Superb, Skoda fans have been longing for. This is the first official teaser shot of the Superb estate and following on from last year’s innovative hatch/saloon model, Skoda says the estate is the logical continuation of the Czech firms flagship model.

Few of the cars exterior details can be confirmed from the silhouette style teaser shot, butlike the saloon, the Superb estate will offer class-leading levels of practicality and comfort plus the addition of a huge boot.

Equipped with the same engines as the rest of the Superb range, there will be three petrol and diesel units plus we can also expect a 3.6-litre V6 VRS model.

The Superb estate will be making its world debut on 15th September at the firms show stand in Frankfurt and should be on sale early next year. Prices for the estate are still to be confirmed but the new estate range should start from around £16,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Honda CR-V

Honda may not be making an appearance at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, but that hasn’t stop the Japanese firm from making big plans for September. This is the first image of the facelifted CR-V and has surfaced after being leaked on the Internet by a Japanese based Honda website.From the image we can see that the bumper, grille and bonnet have all had slight revisions but any changes to the rear are yet to be confirmed.Details on the engine line-up have still not been released but we expect cleaner, more frugal and better performing versions of the current 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2 diesel units.The only other bit of information leaked through the website was the release date. With the world’s media focused on Frankfurt this September, Honda has said the CR-V will make its world debut on September 17th, which conveniently coincides with the German expo. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2011 Opel/Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall's upcoming Corsa has been spotted falling of the back of a lorry and our spies have managed to capture the car for the first time out in the open.
Debuting back in 2006, the latest generation of Corsa is long overdue a makeover. These pictures clearly show a facelifted vesion is on the way and it looks like it could be ready as early as next year!

From the images, the facelifted Corsa looks like it will get a subtley restyled front end.
But as well as getting a good look at the outside, our spies have also managed to get a glimpse inside the car. Keeping in line with the current versions smart and simple layout, the new car looks like it will continue on the same path, so expect good levels of standard equipment too.
The majority of changes are likely to happen under the bonnet though. And although details about engines are still a bit scarce, expect the usual mix of petrol and diesel units ranging from 1.0 up to 1.7-litres as well as plenty of eco models and a sporty VXR flagship. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Senin, 24 Agustus 2009

Hot News: Koenigsegg's Plan for Saab

Prospective Saab boss Christian Von Koenigsegg has vowed to protect the company's heritage in all future models it brings out.

In a company produced video Koenigsegg says he has spent the summer test driving the next Saab 9-5, and says he wants all future models to share its qualities of being "unique, Swedish, innovative, environmentally friendly and - of course - fun to drive."

Koenigsegg is also asked about raising the necessary funds to continue new car development.

He responds: "Absolutely, money is an important factor. We are working with GM, the Swedish government and our group to get the money we need. We've got far enough to get the deal moving, and we continue to work.

"It is a huge challenge, but a very rewarding challenge. I am very confident we will make this work."

In response to a question about the sale from GM providing security for Saab workers, he says: "We have great plans for the future of Saab. We will do our best to build a strong and exciting future for the company, and of course that's good for employees as well."

Koenigsegg also stresses that it is wrong to associate the sale solely with his eponymous supercar company.

"Koenigsegg the supercar manufacturer is not buying Saab, it's a company called the Koenigsegg Group, which I personally, the supercar company and a group of investors are in. Within that group of people there's a strength and energy to get the job done."

Thanks to: Autocar

Unofficial Picture: 2011 Hyundai Sonata

These are the first spy shots of the new Hyundai Sonata, which will go on sale in late 2010 and which company insiders believe will have sufficient 'wow factor' to sell on its looks as well as dynamic merits.

The pictures were taken during a photo shoot in Korea, and leaked on to the Hyundai Blog website over the weekend.

They are believed to show the car designed for the US and Korean markets, although the European bound version is not reported to be dramatically different.

The interior photo shows a dramatically new, modern design direction, while the exterior is also dramatically different.

"We expect the car to be close to or class leading in every department such as emissions, handling, ride and so on, but what really marks it out is that it will sell on its looks as well as all its other attributes," said a Hyundai insider.

"The design of this car is every bit as big a leap forward for the sector as the Accent to the i30 was for its sector."

European sales are expected to begin with an estate version, with saloon and hatch models following later in 2011.

The engine range is described by an insider as 'exceptional' and will include the 'R' diesels recently announced for the ix35 and Santa F1, plus a series of small petrol and diesel engines.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2010 Maserati Gran Turismo Spider

First we had the stunning GranTurismo. Then the high-performance GranTurismo S arrived. Now, along comes a Spider which makes good on Maserati’s promise to unveil a new car at every major motor expo in 2009!

The GranCabrio will debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and become the trident brand’s first ever four-seat convertible. These are the first official pictures of the Pininfarina-designed model, and it clearly takes inspiration from the tin-topped GranTurismo.

It’s fitted with a fabric roof – the metal folding arrangement originally seen on early prototypes of the machine has been dropped. Power will come from a 433bhp version of Maserati’s new 4.7-litre V8 engine, and a semi-automatic gearbox modelled on the one used in the powerful GranTurismo S is likely.

This will be equipped with the firm’s own ‘MC-Shift’ technology to improve performance, and can switch between ratios in only 100 milliseconds.

Details of the car’s performance remain top secret, but as it uses this engine and gearbox combination, a 0-60mph sprint time of five seconds is anticipated, as well as a maximum speed of around 180mph.

None of this is expected to come cheap, though. With the standard GranTurismo S costing at least £90,000, the GranCabrio is predicted to start from £100,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car; 2010 Citroem DS3

Here's our first official look at the small car that opens a big new chapter for Citroen – and what’s more, the line-up will be headed by a hot 150bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged version.

This is the DS3 – a luxury supermini which revives the legendary DS badge and spearheads a fresh premium range for the French firm. It features a wide selection of engines – including that turbo flagship – and personalisation options, and is intended to compete head-on with the MINI, but will also battle the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Audi A1.

One of the most eagerly awaited Citroens since the original 1959 DS, it is hoping to carry on its successor’s legacy – and this striking car is certain to stand out on the high street.

First seen in concept form in February, the showroom version retains that model’s distinctive face thanks to bold headlights and a trapezoidal grille. The latter is the only detail to have been updated – instead of a complete chrome outline, it’s now split by a central strip. On the nose sits a DS badge, which comprises a rearranged version of the Citroen’s new double chevron motif.

Other details which have been carried over include the circular spotlights complete with LEDs ahead of the front wheelarches and the reverse-angled B-pillar, which kicks off above the arch and finishes just short of the ‘floating’ roof.

As with the MINI, DS3 buyers will be able to choose from a wide line-up of personalisation options – such as a range of contrasting roof colours.

The theme continues inside, where owners can select the colour of the strip that runs across the dashboard. Adding to the luxury feel are neat blue needles for the instruments, soft-touch plastics and high-gloss trim. Practicality will be a key part of the DS3’s appeal: this three-door has a bigger boot than the MINI Clubman (at 285 litres) and more rear legroom than a standard MINI.

Kit includes a gearchange indicator to help drivers shift up at the most efficient point, sat-nav, an MP3-compatible CD player, Bluetooth and a new hi-fi with a speaker mounted in the upper part of the dashboard plus a sub-woofer in the boot.

Under the skin, the DS3 is essentially Citroen’s new C3, and gets McPherson front struts with a transverse beam rear suspension layout. Five engines will be available, including two 1.6-litre HDi diesels, in either 90bhp or 110bhp form, and three 1.6 petrols, with 95bhp, 120bhp or, in the case of the flagship turbo, 150bhp. The 90bhp oil-burner will emit only 99g/km of CO2, making it free from road tax.

Buyers can expect to pay from around £12,000 when the DS3 goes on sale in March. The car will get its first public airing at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, alongside the all-new C3. A C4-sized DS4 and a C5-sized DS5 will follow. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Sabtu, 22 Agustus 2009

Spied Up Date: 2011 Ford C-Max

It's been eight months since last we spied the updated Ford C-Max, and my, how things have changed. In the intervening months, the C-Max has grown itself some new sliding doors and a completely new tail.

The biggest, and probably the most important difference to be gleaned from these new spy photos is that of the rear doors. When last we saw the C-Max, it had standard rear doors and a more sharply sloping roofline, making it look more like a hatchback and less like a minivan. Now, it's sporting a pair of sliding rear doors and a more boxy rear end, making it far more similar to a minivan than a hatch. Indeed, it's beginning to look a lot like the Mazda5, which it shares a platform with. A key difference between the two, though, is that the C-Max will reportedly seat seven rather than the six that the Mazda5 holds, though the middle seat in the rear will likely be reserved for small children only.

The other significant change has come to the rear end. Where our last spy shots revealed a split-folding rear gate with separate glass and tailgate elements, the C-Max now appears to have a single-piece lift gate. Along with the new rear entry, the C-Max has picked up a fresh set of tail lights that more closely resemble those of a sedan than the long, tall lenses that stretched up the D-pillars to the roof of the last C-Max we saw.

While not many specifics are known yet, our sources tell us that the new C-Max is still over a year away from its debut and won't been seen in production form until the 2010 Paris Motor Show next fall. We're told that powertrains are unlikely to change, meaning several sizes of Ford's Duratec four-cylinder gas engine will be offered as well as several sizes of the Duratorq four-cylinder diesel. Some minor tweaking may be in order, though, to improve efficiency and fuel economy.

Of course, that's for the European model. Our sources indicate that the C-Max is still on for America and last we heard, it may well be built at Ford's small car plant in Wayne, Indiana, to compete with its platform mate, the Mazda5. If it does, the Duratec engine is a solid bet and it's possible Ford's new EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder could find its way under the hood as well. The diesel engines, unfortunately, are far less likely to make it across the pond.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Jumat, 21 Agustus 2009

New Car: 2010 Chevrolet Agile

A few weeks ago, we brought you sketches of a new small Chevrolet car for the South American market known as the Agile. Today, we have the first official picture of the car.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look much like the sketches, or the concept. In fact, it kind of looks like a now-dead Pontiac Vibe with a Chevrolet nose and Chrysler Sebring headlights. It isn't an offensive design, but it isn't as modern and interesting as the sketches, which is a shame since the sketches showed a good-looking small car.

Little is known about the car at this point. As we understand it, the Agile has been designed in Brazil using the new Viva platform believed to underpin several new GM cars worldwide. The Viva family of cars is expected to produce a car for the U.S. to replace the aging Chevrolet Aveo, though we don't know yet which one it will be. In fact, we don't know if it will even be called Aveo, Viva, Agile, or something else altogether.

We do know, however, that it won't be this car since our own Todd Lassa saw the Aveo replacement at GM's product expo last week and confirmed that is is in fact the quad-headlight hatch we caught track testing. We believe the U.S. spec car will in fact be called the Viva and will be built in the Lake Orion, Michigan, small car plant. While this Agile won't be the Aveo replacement, it's still possible it could be called on to serve as another small car in Chevrolet's North American lineup.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: 2010 Honda Crosstour

We could express our frustration yet again for the current trend in agonizingly slow vehicle debuts - the notorious teaser photo - but we'll let the first official image of the 2010 Honda Crosstour do the talking for us. Based on Honda's Accord sedan platform, the new crossover is set to debut this fall in North America, but for now, Honda's only willing to show us the front grille.

As an Accord-derived vehicle, the Crosstour is expected to receive that car's pair of 2.4L four-cylinder engines producing 177 and 190 horsepower. The 271-hp 3.5L V-6 from the Accord V6 could also arrive in the Crosstour's engine bay as a top-line option, along with Honda's SH-AWD all-wheel-drive system.

Last month, we showed you a spy image of what the Crosstour should look like when it hits showrooms. Essentially, the crossover will target a similar buyer as Acura's stylish ZDX , which will go on sale this fall, but with a lower cost and Honda family styling. We will bring you more as Honda fills us in on the details.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Kamis, 20 Agustus 2009

Unofficial Picture: 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander

When Mitsubishi brought its Outlander GT Prototype to the New York Auto Show earlier this year, we were excited by the prospect of the Lancer's "Jet Fighter" nose becoming the new face of Mitsubishi and the spy shots we've received today confirm that the new Outlander will wear it proudly.

On sale in the U.S. since the 2004 model year and only lightly updated after a face-lift in 2007, the Mitsubishi Outlander has been showing its age with a conservative and rather dated look. Not anymore, though. Mitsubishi rolled out an aggressive new concept in New York called the Outlander GT Prototype that fused the powerful, angry looks of the hot new Lancer with an SUV body, a move we whole-heartedly approved of.

Of course, it's not unusual for concepts to lose a lot of their spark on the way to production, but the Outlander has apparently proved itself an exception to the rule. Our eagle-eyed spy photographer caught this production-looking Outlander V6 sitting quietly in the parking lot at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races this past weekend completely unmasked and shod with California distributor license plates.

From what we can tell, Mitsubishi has made very few changes to the Outlander GT Prototype on the way to production. The "Jet Fighter" nose remains mostly intact, with only a small swath of the lower fascia now clad in black plastic rather than body-color paint, which tones down the look of the gun-slit brake ducts. Around on the sides, the running boards have lost their chrome trim and the GT moniker is gone, but the lower edges of the windows have picked up some slim chrome trim pieces to set them off.

Out back, the edgier styling of the Outlander GT Prototype has again survived and the only noticeable difference is to the tail lights, which no longer feature the dark, smoked lenses of the concept but are instead clearer and a bit less tuner-looking. Down below, the Outlander has picked itself up a new pair of shoes that are decidedly more OEM and less aftermarket in appearance, though we're hoping some more stylish wheels are also offered.

Taking a look at the badging, we see that this is no grocery-getter CUV but still an off-road-ready machine with 4WD and a V-6 engine, possibly the upgraded 230-hp 3.0L MIVEC from the Outlander GT Prototype. If it is, a small boost in fuel economy and a drop in emissions are also possibilities. It isn't known whether the automatic transmission in this vehicle features Mitsubishi's new Idle Neutral Logic system, which shifts the transmission into neutral when idling, but it's a fair bet.

Glancing through the driver's side window, we see an interior clearly inspired by the one found in the Lancer and very similar to the one see on the concept. Again, only one major element stands out and that is the new steering wheel, which is a bit softer in design than the hard-edged wheel seen on the concept. The Rockford Fosgate stereo/nav system and the manually-shiftable automatic transmission have also survived the transition from concept to production.

As Mitsubishi has given no indication to this point that the Outlander GT Prototype would ever see production in the first place, we know very little about when or where this production-spec model might debut. Given how production-ready it looks, we wouldn't be surprised to see it debut by the end of this year as a 2010 model, since no 2010 Outlander has yet been revealed. Check back for more information as it becomes available.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Buick PHEV Already Dead

The plug-in hybrid Buick SUV -- a retouched Saturn Vue based on the above teaser -- will never see the light of a showroom floor. That's the news this morning from General Motors Vice Chairman Tom Stephens, who wrote the following on the FastLane Blog after a new product showcase for media, dealers, and potential customers:

"The Buick crossover we showed received consistent feedback from large parts of all the audiences that it didn’t fit the premium characteristics that customers have come to expect from Buick."

In other words, the styling was more fitting for the Saturn the PHEV was originally intended to be, and not an upmarket Buick. The vehicle's green technology will, no doubt, be used in another vehicle, but Stephens didn't elaborate on which one.

"We were all struck by the consistency of the criticism of the compact crossover," Stephens writes.

We can't say we're surprised, but we are looking forward to seeing what vehicle GM decides to make a PHEV.

"In the past," Stephens says, "this would have been a several-month process...and also many 'offline' follow-up discussions before a decision was reached and enacted."

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Rabu, 19 Agustus 2009

New Car; 2010 SEAT Leon Cupra R

SEAT has unveiled its most potent model to date - the awesome new Leon Cupra R.

Set to make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show on 17 September, the new flagship offers a powerful 263bhp 2.0 TSI turbocharged petrol engine - matching the power output of the title-winning SEAT Leon TDI World Touring Car.

Among the four-cylinder 16V unit’s key features is a new, high-pressure fuel pump injector to satisfy its greater performance demands while also allowing it to fully comply with strict EU5 emissions standards.

Transmitting that urge to its driven front wheels, the Cupra R is capable of prodigious performance. The zero to 62 mph time, for instance, is a formidable 6.1 seconds, while the top speed of 155 mph is comfortably adequate. All this, and yet the new SEAT’s combined fuel consumption figure is put at just a shade under 35 mpg.

Inside and out, the car gets the distinctive letter ‘R’ on the central grille and at the lower right of the hatch. The all-important initial also appears inside, on the right instrument dial and the remote control key. Meanwhile, the exclusive Cupra logo graces the front bumper, the centre of the hatch and, inside, the steering wheel and seat backrests.

Though UK sales are not yet officially confirmed, it's likley the car will go on sale early in 2010, with prices expected to start at around £20,000. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2011 Mercedes SLS Cabriolet

Soaking up the summer sun, Mercedes' SLS cabrio has broken cover and we have the best pictures yet of the soft-top stunner out on test.

Using the same 563bhp 6.2-litre V8 AMG engine as the coupe, the soft-top will have blistering pace, reaching 60mph in less than 4 seconds on its way to a top speed just shy of 200mph.

On close inspection, we can also see the convertible in the picture has opted for conventional doors unlike the retro-inspired vertical-opening Gullwing doors found on the coupe.

Scheduled to make its debut at next months Frankfurt Motor Show, the soft-top supercar is expected to cost an eye-watering £175,000, when it goes on sale next year. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Hyundai-Kia Passes Ford as World's Fourth-Larger Automotive

If you're still not convinced that Hyundai-Kia is a force to be reckoned with, take a look at the latest sales numbers. Hyundai-Kia has passed Ford as the fourth-largest automaker in the world by outselling the Blue Oval gang in the first half of 2009.

At the end of 2008, Hyundai-Kia was trailing Ford by roughly 1 million annual sales. As of the halfway point in 2009, though, Hyundai-Kia outsold Ford by 8,000 units with 2.153 million sales globally to Ford's 2.145 million. Of the top 10 automakers by sales volume, Ford has had the worst year so far, seeing worldwide sales drop by 30.6%.

While the folks at Hyundai-Kia are no doubt happy with their latest upset, they now find themselves in a similar predicament. As of the midway point, Hyundai-Kia trailed third-place automaker Volkswagen by nearly 1 million sales. While conquering Ford was made easier by Ford's own sales drop, Volkswagen won't be such an easy target, as its sales are only down 5.1% this year.

Up at the top of the leader board, it's a similar story. Toyota made history earlier this year by unseating GM as the world's largest automaker, but its reign may be cut short. GM trailed Toyota by only 12,000 sales at the halfway mark and despite its bankruptcy issues has posted a smaller sales decline over 2008. Bolstered by its huge success in China, GM's worldwide sales were only down 21.8% compared to Toyota's 26% decline. Toyota isn't likely to take this lying down, though. The company's new president has already made a commitment to more passionate vehicles that he hopes will rekindle sales. Will it make a difference come December? We'll just have to wait and see.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Hot on the heels of announcing the 2010 911 Turbo for the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, Porsche has also spilled the beans on its newest hard-core, purist sports car - the next-generation 911 GT3 RS. Yes, what many consider to be the ultimate road-going Porsche 911 has just gotten more, well, ultimate. With increased power, shorter gear ratios, and a higher-tuned chassis, the new 911 GT3 RS takes extreme to a whole new level.

Based on the previous iteration, the new GT3 RS utilizes the same core flat-six engine as the previous version, but its been bored out from 3.6L to 3.8L - enough to provide an extra 15 horsepower over the standard 911 GT3, bringing output totals to a full 450 naturally-aspirated ponies. A revised, short-throw, close-ratio six-speed gearbox has been thrown in the package to produce a vehicle that revs faster and produces more dynamic acceleration traits - and higher top speed -- than the version that goes before.

But this being Porsche, the powertrain is only half the story. The newest GT3 RS has also been sharpened underneath, resulting in a wider track both front and aft, and corresponding wider bodywork. New wheels measure a full 9-in. wide up front and 12-in. wide at rear, wrapped in 245/35 ZR 19 rubber and 325/30 ZR 19 respectively. Porsche Active Drivetrain Mounts (PADM) are featured as standard, changing in stiffness and damping according to road surface and driving behavior - this resulting in reduced body roll and dive.

Even the details have been fine-tuned, with the new 911 GT3 RS featuring a larger carbon fiber rear wing and lower ride height than previous versions, along with an optional lithium-ion battery that saves weight over the conventionally lead-based version by over 22 lbs. The distinctive dual exhaust tips of the 911 GT3 RS remain a trademark feature of the new car, and as before the entire exhaust system is constructed of lightweight titanium.

The new Porsche 911 GT3 RS is slated to hit U.S. showrooms next year after a Frankfurt debut. Base price will be $132,800 exluding delivery charges.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car; 2010 Daihatsu Mira Cocoa

You've heard of automakers targeting specific segments like younger hipsters, affluent retirees, or even dog lovers. But how about blatantly devising a vehicle for a certain gender? Well, Japanese automaker Daihatsu has done just that, launching its women-specific Mira Cocoa "mini passenger vehicle" in its domestic market.

Indeed, it is cute, and a few of our female MT staffers agree. Officials say its "easy-to-love" styling and "rich color" options will definitely attract female buyers "who pursue a fun and laidback lifestyle."

They say it's easy to use, safe (with plenty of airbags and ABS brakes), capacious, and fuel efficient. Under its stubby hood resides a KF-VE engine making 57 hp and 48 lb-ft of torque. Power is routed through either a four-speed automatic or CVT gearbox, and can be sent to all four wheels, or just two.

MSRPs begin at around $10,550 for base models.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Selasa, 18 Agustus 2009

Sneak Peek: 2011 Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai's Tucson compact SUV has not exactly aged gracefully, which makes us even more interested in what its replacement will have to offer. The photo you're seeing above is the first official glimpse of the next Tucson, which in Korea will be called the Tucson ix.

The Tucson ix SUV pictured above is most likely that of a 4WD model powered by a diesel engine, possibly with 3.5L of displacement. Regardless of whether such an engine makes it to a Tucson in the U.S. lineup, we're curious to see how a new Tucson powered by a four-cylinder engine will behave -- after all, the vast majority of compact SUVs are sold with fours.

It appears the rear styling of the new Tucson will borrow more from the full-size Veracruz than midsize Santa Fe. Judging by the small teaser photo, the Tucson looks to eschew the current generation's more rugged appeal for a crossover-like and curvaceous style.

As you can see by the front view teaser, the new Tucson will have much more visual attitude than before. Clearly, the Tucson has been influenced -- especially its front grille -- by the ix-onic concept we saw in Geneva, shown below. Unless the Tucson changes much from ix-onic concept to production, it will have significantly improved from the last generation. That concept, by the way, was powered by a 1.6L direct-injected and turbocharged engine good for 168 hp.

We'll have more information and full photos when the Korean-spec Tucson is revealed August 25, in Seoul. Today is the first day Hyundai Korea is accepting preorders for the SUV. More details about the U.S. model, we're told, will be provided closer to launch. In the U.S., the Tucson will go on sale early 2010.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

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