Kamis, 30 September 2010

Paris Show 2010 Highlights: 2011 Chevrolet Orlando


Chevrolet has taken the wraps off its striking new Orlando MPV at the Paris motor show.

The compact seven-seat crossover MPV was first seen as a concept in Paris two years ago and much of that car’s styling has made it into the production version that will reach UK showrooms in early 2011.

Although some of the concept’s sharper lines at the front have been rounded off, much of the rear three-quarters of the concept remains unchanged, including its sloping window line and narrow glasshouse, while its pronounced wheel arches can house alloys up to 18 inches in size.

The Orlando uses General Motors' Delta platform, also seen on the new Vauxhall Astra and Chevrolet’s new Cruze range. Its UK engine line-up includes a 139bhp 1.8-litre petrol unit and a 2.0-litre diesel with either 129bhp or 161bhp.

Chevrolet claims its dual cockpit is inspired by the Corvette and features the firm’s new blue-backlit centre console.

The load area is described as “generous”, while the rear two rows of seats are raised, in spite of the low roofline, in a theatre-style arrangement to give rear passengers a better forward and side view. As in the norm in the class, there's a variety of seating configurations to boost load capacity.

Several storage compartments are offered, including the concept’s storage area hidden behind the front fascia of the audio system; this is revealed by flipping the face of the audio and is described as a “usefully large area”. The Orlando also offers USB, MP3 and iPod connectivity.

Thanks to: Autocar


Paris Show 2010 Highlights: Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Concept


Meet the Cruze that’s hatching big plans in Europe! This compact version of the Cruze was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, and is the second of four new cars that will feature on the American firm’s stand.

The Cruze hatchback will join the Orlando, as well as a facelift of the Captiva SUV and a new version of the Aveo. The fastback design has an almost Japanese flavour, and the car looks similar to the Subaru Impreza in profile, although the big wheels and LED running lights from the show car are likely to be dropped from the production model.

The Cruze saloon has recently overtaken the Aveo to become Chevrolet’s best selling car globally, so to broaden its appeal and further boost sales this new hatch is set to offer great value for money and compete with the likes of the Kia C’eed and Hyundai i30.

The hatch will offer nearly 400 litres of boot space, and although that’s 50 less than the saloon, a 60/40 folding seat arrangement and bigger load space should ensure this is the most practical Cruze yet.

Wayne Brannon, Managing Director of Chevrolet Europe, said that by offering a hatch back variant they were “sending out a signal that Chevrolet is now a serious mainstream player in Europe."

The current Cruze comes in S, LS and LT trims, and the new car will continue to offer the familiar line-up of four-pot engines from the saloon. That means either a 1.6 or a 1.8-litre with 112bhp or 139bhp. The diesel option is a 2.0L with 123bhp, and 300Nm of torque.

Prices should remain broadly the same as the current range, although the hatchback could end up costing less than its stable mate, starting at around £13,000 for the 1.6i S when it goes on sale mid-way through next year. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Paris Show 2010 Highlights: 2011 BMW X3


Big on space and big on efficiency! That's BMW's promise for the second-generation X3, and we have first official photos of the X5’s baby brother, which made its European debut at the Paris Motor Show.

Set to hit showrooms in January 2011, the cleanest variants will be capable of returning 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions of only 147g/km thanks to the use of stop/start technology and an eight-speed automatic gearbox developed by specialists, ZF.

Achieving 149g/km with a manual gearbox, the entry-level xDrive20d uses a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine producing 181bhp and 380Nm of torque – enough to reach 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and a top speed of 131mph. At launch, the only other model will be the xDrive35i, which is capable of sprinting from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 152mph.

The X3 now sports a more robust appearance using elements from the smaller X1 and larger X5, while the body has grown in every dimension except width allowing for improved interior space and wider door openings. Luggage space is increased by 70 litres as a result and can be expanded to 1,600 litres when the rear seats, which split 60:40 or an optional 40:20:40, are folded flat.

Build quality is set to receive a hike in the all-new interior whilst technical gadgetry including a head-up display and internet access will be made available thanks to BMW's ConnectedDrive system. A 6.5-inch colour monitor and the latest generation of iDrive will be standard on all models, although this can be upgraded to a class-leading 8.8-inch high-resolution screen if buyers opt for the Professional Multimedia package.

Under the skin the X3 will feature Variable Damper Control for the first time, allowing drivers to adjust the suspension settings to suit their needs, with Normal, Sport, and Sport+ selected by a button on the dash. Adjustable Electric Power Steering and Dynamic Stability Control further enhance the handling, assisted by double-joint spring-strut front axles and a multi-link rear axle.

Prices start at £30,490 for the xDrive20d, rising to around £36,000 for the xDrive35i.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Paris Show 2010 Highlights: 2011 Audi A7


Audi has unveiled its new A7 at the Paris motor show.

This is the car that Audi hopes will take sales from Mercedes-Benz’s CLS and continue the Ingolstadt firm’s evolution of its ‘big car’ design: the new A7 Sportback.

The A7 Sportback is designed to fill a niche between the A6 and A8. It offers big-car interior packaging for four people, the practicality of a rear hatch, a sizeable boot and what Audi calls a ‘four-door coupé’ shape.

The A7 is 4.97m long and 1.91m wide, which is 17cm shorter and 4cm narrower than the A8. But it sits 4cm lower than Audi’s luxury saloon, at 1.42m. At 2.91 metres, the wheelbase is around 8cm shorter than the regular A8’s, but longer than the current A6’s by a similar amount. It’s likely that the next generation of A6 will sit on the same platform.

The A7 was previewed by a concept at the Detroit show last year, and the production car sticks closely to the show model’s appearance. Its looks are dominated by a deep front grille, a low nose, narrow headlights, a sharp crease that runs along its flanks from nose to tail, and a bootline that tails off quickly, minimising the rear overhang. That last element, and a distinctive lip on the third side window, reference Audi’s 100 Coupé from the 1970s.

The new model will be offered with four V6 engines, all with direct injection, Audi’s thermal management system, stop-start and brake energy recuperation. The petrol units are a 2.8-litre V6 with 201bhp and 207lb ft, and a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 producing 295bhp and 325lb ft.

They are available with a seven-speed S-tronic transmission and quattro four-wheel drive only. In 3.0 TFSI form the A7 can reach 62mph in 5.6sec and go on to a limited top speed of 155mph. The 2.8 emits 187g/km of CO2 and the 3.0 190g/km.

The line-up will include two V6 diesels. The more potent of the pair comes with four-wheel drive and S-tronic only, and it has 241bhp and 369lb ft of torque. That’s enough for the A7 to crack 0-62mph in 6.5sec and reach a maximum of 155mph.

The lower-powered oil-burner, which will arrive soon after the A7 Sportback’s launch, is being positioned as the eco model in the range.

The 201bhp powerplant is available with the same S-tronic/quattro set-up as the other variants, or with the combination of front-wheel drive and Audi’s multitronic CVT transmission.

Thanks to: Autocar

Paris Show 2010 Highlights: BMW 6 Series Concept


Sleek, sporty and oozing style – that’s the promise of BMW’s new 6-Series, which was officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show.

The newcomer displays classic coupé proportions, with its long bonnet, short front overhang and low-slung silhouette. Smooth lines mimic the design cues first seen on the latest 5-Series and 7-Series.

A shark-like nose features glass inserts at the top of the grille bars for a modern look, while the distinctive headlights are, for the first time, entirely LED, producing a dazzling white light and reducing energy use. Adaptive light technology also means they swivel according to the steering angle and speed of the car, while the daytime running lights are in BMW’s familiar ring design.

At the rear, twin trapezoid exhaust tips create an aggressive look, while LED light strips inside the rear clusters ensure the 6 even has a distinctive appearance at night. Unique 20-inch alloy wheels, each milled from a solid piece of aluminium, finish off the handsome exterior design. The elegant new 2+2 cabin has a full-length glass roof to flood the interior with light, and a tilted centre console to put the emphasis on the driver. Two individual leather-lined rear seats have enough room to accommodate a pair of adults.

There’s a wealth of technology, too. Taking pride of place is a huge 26cm flatscreen displaying the audio, climate and sat-nav menus. A head-up display and digital panel, in place of traditional dials, show a range of information, while a Bang & Olufsen stereo with 16 speakers, including one that rises from the top of the dash, delivers superb sound quality.

The engine range is likely to match the current line-up, with straight-six and V8 petrol offerings. But since the diesel 635d accounted for around 70 per cent of sales, a new range-topping 306bhp 640d is expected to scoop up the majority of buyers.

Still officially a concept, the BMW Concept 6-Series Coupé, to use its full name, could receive some minor tweaks before it arrives in showrooms. But essentially this is the car that will make production.

Despite the coupé breaking cover, it will be the convertible that arrives first in March. The hard-top follows in September 2011. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Paris Show 2010 Highlights: 2011 Bentley Continental GT


Bentley has made a splash at the Paris show with its all-new Continental GT. The super-coupe made a dramatic entrance at the VW Group's pre-show party when hi-tech water jets spelt out the newcomer's name.

The Crewe firm has also now confirmed that the luxury coupe will cost from £135,760 when its reaches dealerships in the first quarter of 2011. The price includes the new 20 per cent VAT rate that comes into force in January and adds up to an increase of almost £10,000 on the current car's £126,500 price.

To get the full story on the new Continental GT, Auto Express was granted exclusive access to the car ahead of the show with Bentley’s head of exterior design, Raul Pires.

“We had three key goals for this car - to improve the proportions, to make the signature lines more contemporary and to give the car a more bespoke, handmade feel,” Pires explained. Get up close, and the Continental’s sharp new look is immediately noticeable - every panel is new except the wing mirrors, which are borrowed from the Mulsanne.

Thanks to a new cutting-edge process known as aluminium super forming, the muscular bodywork has been given a sharper edge. All the major feature lines, especially the trademark rear wheel arches are crisper and more defined, smartening up the coupe’s appearance. Whereas before the GT featured a steel bonnet and plastic bumper arrangement, now the entire front wing is made from one single sheet of metal.

“This proces is more expensive and more time consuming, but with a low-volume car like this it’s possible to try new things.” said Pires.

The imposing front grille now sits more upright and 40mm lower, allowing the sculpted bonnet to fit snugly between the bulging front wheel arches. The four headlight layout is familiar, but now each of the lamps features jewel-like LEDs surrounding the main bulb. A wider track, front and rear, as well as the double-elipse LED taillights that wrap around the corners of car add to the GT’s already impressive width, while the height and length remain roughly the same. And for the first time 21-inch wheels are offered as an option, in either ‘Elegant’ or split-rim ‘Sports’ design.

As with all Bentleys the devil is in the detail, and Pires was keen to point out some of the car’s finer points: “This car has the least amount of chrome detailing of any model in the range, but it all has a function. The rubbing strips on the side of the car are now protruding, to help prevent stone chips on the rear wheel arch.” Other clever touches include headlight washers incorporated into the light assembly and no shut lines running through the rear lights - both to create a less-cluttered surface. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express


Paris Show 2010 Highlights: Audi e-Tron Spyder Concept


A little more than a year after first showing off the first e-tron Concept to the world, Audi has unveiled the roofless version, known as the e-tron Spyder. But the differences between the two concepts are far more substantial.

Unlike the all-electric e-tron, the e-tron Spyder is a complex diesel-electric plug-in hybrid. The internal combustion engine is a twin-turbo 3.0-liter diesel V-6 that makes 300 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The mid-mounted engine drives just the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The front wheels, meanwhile, are driven by a pair of electric motors with a combined output of 88 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

Performance-wise, the e-tron Spyder can accelerate from 0-62 mph in a claimed 4.4 seconds. More impressively, Audi claims that the 3,200-pound car achieves a stunning fuel economy figure of 107 mpg and a range of over 621 miles from its 13.2 gallon tank. It is also capable of operating in full-electric mode for 31 miles at speeds of up to 37 mph thanks to its front-mounted 9.1-kWh battery.

Because it has motors for both axles, the e-tron Spyder operates as an all-wheel drive vehicle, with 25% of torque going to the front wheels and 75% to the rear wheels in normal operating conditions.
The e-tron Spyder rides on a 95.7-inch wheelbase, which is 8.7 inches shorter than that of the R8. At 159.8 inches long, 71.3 inches wide, and 43.7 inches tall, it's slightly larger than the second hardtop e-tron that Audi showed in January at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show but still considerably smaller than an Audi TT.

Design-wise, the e-tron Spyder is similar to the Detroit car, but with a more aggressive look thanks to its crisper lines and new fascias. The front fascia has larger, bolder-looking grille elements, while the rear end is completely different.

Though nobody is quite sure yet if the rumored R5, which these e-tron concepts are said to preview, is actually real, some of the hybrid elements of the e-tron Spyder are likely to end up in future Audi production models.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Paris Show 2010 Highlights: Audi Quattro Concept


Audi is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its iconic Quattro with this Paris show star: the Quattro Concept.

Based on a shortened RS5 platform, the concept is actually closer in spirit to 1984’s Sport Quattro, a more compact version of the original coupé that was designed to improve the car’s agility on the world’s rallying stages.

Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn has told Autocar he wants the firm "to do" the Quattro, with the possibility of it entering production within three years. He said the cost of putting a new body on an existing platform was between 400-500 million euro and this money would be recouped by either high volume or high prices. If it makes production, Winterkorn expects a combination of both strategies in making and selling the car: around 30-35,000 Quattro units would be made per year with a "solid price" tag.

The concept’s wheelbase is 150mm shorter than the RS5’s, its roofline is around 40mm lower and the 4.28m overall length is around the same as a Volkswagen Scirocco’s. That's 200mm shorter than an Audi A5. Unlike the RS5, though, the concept is a strict two-seater.

Most of the bodywork is aluminium, but the bonnet and rear hatchback are carbonfibre. Audi says the car weighs approximately 1300kg, around the same as the Sport Quattro.

Power comes from a 408bhp version of the TT RS’s twin-turbocharged five-pot, mounted north-south insetad of its transverse installation in the TT-RS. This is comfortably more than the 300bhp of the original roadgoing special. It is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and the Quattro is good for 0-62mph in just 3.9sec.

Like the RS5, the Quattro "has full four-wheel-drive, not the TT's [part-time] Haldex system," the Quattro Concept's designer, Steve Lewis, told Autocar.

The front styling is dominated by a huge rectangular grille, while the side profile’s key feature is an extra-thick C-pillar that also has Audi’s four-ring logo stamped into its metal. No images of the cabin have been released, but Audi says it features a slender, ‘floating’ dashboard and bucket seats that are 40 per cent lighter than regular items.

The concept was built at Volkswagen Group's latest acquisition, Italdesign, which has form in producing limited-run sports cars, such as the BMW M1. However, even if it does get the green light, don't expect a public announcement on that for another year.

Thanks to: Autocar

Rabu, 29 September 2010

American Muscle 2010 Car Show


When Mustangs started pouring into the Kimberton Fairgrounds last weekend, it quickly became apparent that this was not going to be a typical car show! Within a few short hours, over 500 of the sickest Mustangs from all over the country had arrived! Some came in packs, others rode solo. There was everything from classics to special editions to fox bodies and late models. Some will say it was a mixture of a great cause, hot girls and free food! Others will say it was the perfect weather (I’m not buying it!). Either way, this car show was kicking off the right way…

With such a great turnout, it was very hard to decide our trophy winners. Congrats goes out to some beautiful rides:

  • Cindy Iacocca & Family - 1st Place Specialty (2009 Iacocca Mustang)
  • Stephen Donapel - Runner Up Specialty (2009 Super Snake)
  • Rob Horner - Runner Up Speciality (2004 Mach 1)
  • Joe Ferro - 1st Place 05-11 (2008 Mustang GT)
  • Mary Mullin - Runner Up 05-11 (2006 Mustang GT)
  • John Bartholomew - Runner Up 05-11 (2011 Shelby GT500)
  • Emil Hibian - 1st Place 99-04 (2004 Cobra)
  • Janice Hall - Runner Up 99-04 (2000 Mustang V6)
  • Ralph D’Ambrosio - Runner Up 99-04 (2003 Cobra)
  • Wayne Stamps – 1st Place 94-98 (1998 Mustang GT)
  • Fred Tollin - Runner Up 94-98 (1998 Mustang GT)
  • Rich Nagle - 1st Place 79-93 (1993 Mustang GT)
  • Joe Caria – Runner Up 79-93 (1989 Mustang GT)
  • Ralph Tuckett - Runner Up 79-93 (1989 Mustang GT)
  • Ruben Tabares - 1st Place 1964.5-1978 (1967 Convertible)
  • Frank Hoover - Runner Up 1964.5-1978 (1969 Mach 1 428CJ)
  • Tim Brillhart - Runner Up 1964.5-1978 (1968 GT500KR)
  • Karen Baum - Employee Ride (2003 Mustang GT)
  • Valley Forge Mustang Club - Club Participation Award

As you can see we had some of the hottest, loudest and baddest Mustangs in the country show up, and at the end of the day we had raised nearly $15,000 for Homes for our Troops! Hats off to a great day with some awesome Mustangs! Click here to see more...

Hot News: Maruti to Wear VW & Skoda Badge


India will be one of the first countries to see the effects of Volkswagen’s $2.5 billion investment in Suzuki for a 20 percent stake. With Maruti Suzuki cornering just under 50 percent of the market, India is clearly the most important market for Suzuki and VW sees a huge opportunity to piggyback on Maruti’s success.

Cooperation between VW and Suzuki has already begun at a high level and an organisation structure has been put in place for regular interactions between teams from Wolfsburg and Hamamatsu to jointly explore opportunities. For VW, India is a key market and the Suzuki alliance presents the German automaker with a huge range of possibilities in the small car segment.

The alliance with Suzuki coincides with VW’s decision to axe the Up!-based mini-car for India, but that would leave VW with no presence in the core segment of the Indian market below the Polo. Also, VW’s cost structure is too high for it to effectively compete in such segments that are super-sensitive to price. Yet, it’s a part of the market which no carmaker can afford to ignore.

However, Maruti’s dominance in the lower band of the market where VW is completely absent could prove to be a golden opportunity for German giant. The VW Group has identified two models from the Maruti stable that it is keen to rebadge as its own brands. According to company sources, at a meeting, Maruti, VW and Skoda India officials explored the possibility of putting a VW badge on the A-star and a Skoda badge on the WagonR.

The thinking is that the sophisticated looks, driving dynamics and overall styling of the A-star are more suited for the VW badge while the WagonR with its roominess and space, a Skoda attribute too, is better suited for the Czech brand.

VW is keen to begin the its rebadging exercise as soon as possible and in fact, wants to have the VW- badged A-star and Skoda-badged WagonR in their respective showrooms as early as 2012. To meet this deadline, we understand that only minimal changes would be done. Reskinning is not feasible.

Apart from new lights, bumpers and grilles, the rebadged cars could end up looking unmistakably like Marutis. Even the interiors would remain largely untouched as a redesigned instrument panel will take too long develop.

Talks on powertrain sharing between the two companies are on and while the logical first step is to plonk a VW diesel under a Maruti hood, especially since Suzuki doesn’t have its own diesel motors, the reality is that it’s still cheaper to use a Fiat Multi-jet (even after paying license fees to Fiat) because of the huge amount of investment that’s gone into localisation of the Multi-jet.

In fact, VW is looking at some of Suzuki’s motors and indications are that VW engineers have been greatly impressed with the K-series engine, especially the 1.2 litre. We wouldn’t be surprised if these motors ended up under the hood of a future VW or Skoda. It is not clear where these ‘Volkzukis’ will be made. Again, it would be logical for Maruti to produce them for VW and Skoda in the same way it produces the A-star as the Pixo for Nissan. However, Maruti has huge capacity constraints at present, which may not be freed up by 2012. VW has a huge plant at Chakan with capacity to fill and may consider this location to produce VW’s A00 platform cars.

Both VW and Suzuki are totally mum on the subject and are unlikely to announce any cooperation immediately. But VW is in a big hurry to expand its presence here and the alliance with Suzuki will play a key role in VW’s big ambitions on the sub-continent.

Thanks to: Autocar India

New Car: 2011 Isuzu D-Max LE II 4WD


Isuzu Ute Australia (IUA) is marking its second year of local sales with the launch of a limited edition D-MAX 'LE II' 4WD crew-cab one-tonne ute.

Following successful sales of the D-MAX 'Pearler' special edition last year, the 'LE II' is a strictly limited build, offering only 180 units for sale across the country, priced at $47,300 before on-road costs.

"Last year's 'Pearler' limited edition D-MAX was very well received so we've sweetened this year's special edition with some even greater value unique elements at very reasonable cost," said IUA's general manager of sales, Paul Vuko.

Available in two new and exclusive paint colours – 140 Lunar White and 40 Solar Bronze – the D-MAX LE II is based on the well-equipped D-MAX LS-U 4WD crew-cab ute and offers an additional $9000 retail value for only $5000 more than typical D-MAX LS-U retail pricing.

Offered in both manual and automatic guise, the Isuzu Ute D-MAX LE II offers a Kenwood touch-screen infotainment system featuring satellite navigation, reversing camera, DVD player, USB music player connectivity, Bluetooth, CD and AM/FM tuner. The integrated unit also features a detachable face for added security and includes a remote control.

Also included in LE II's additions list are side steps with integrated polished aluminium step inserts and rubber grip stipples, a lockable hard tonneau cover, chrome nudge bar, chrome sports bar, bonnet protector, fog light recess bezels, tail lamp guards and optional monogrammed leather upholstery, available for an extra $2400.

Of course no limited edition model would be complete without the obligatory badging, D-MAX LE II featuring 'Limited Edition II' badging on the tub's rear flanks and an 'LE II' graphic integrated into custom striping on the lower doors to denote the special model.

As with other models in the D-MAX range, the LE II is equipped with air conditioning, folding wing mirrors with integrated LED indicators, cruise control, projector headlamps, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking, rear limited slip differential, lockable tailgate, rubber tub liner, chrome rear step and 16-inch alloy wheels.

The high-riding 4WD model also offers impressive specifications including 225mm of ground clearance and a 3000kg (braked) towing capacity.

Isuzu D-MAX Limited Edition II is available now and is priced from $47,300.

Thanks to: Car Point

Spied: 2012 Nissan GT-R


Several undisguised 2012 Nissan GT-Rs have been spied at the Nurburgring.

The revised model will be at the Paris motor show, but Autocar understands it will not be on public display and will instead be shown to selected VIPs.

The pictures, taken at a very wet and foggy Nürburgring, reveal the addition of new LED lights at the front and revised styling to front and rear bumper designs.

The GT-R is also understood to have undergone a rigorous weight-saving programme to ensure the latest model tips the scales at 30 kilos lighter than the current car.

Thanks to modified turbos, oil cooler and exhaust system, the GT-R’s twin-turbo V6 now pumps out 506bhp at 6400rpm and produces 448lb ft of torque between 3200 and 5200rpm.

There are also tweaked gear ratios, while completing the changes are revised spring rates and rear suspension geometry – which should help deliver a more compliant ride with sharper handling.

Thanks to: Autocar

Unofficial Picture: Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Concept


This grainy leaked image is believed to be the first picture of Lamborghini’s new Paris motor show concept.

The image, leaked on to the internet by French blogging site blogautomobile, reveals the name of the concept to be Sesto Elemento Concept. According to the site, the name (which means Sixth Element in English) refers to the concept’s extensive use of carbonfibre – carbon having an atomic number of six in the periodic table.

It is said to weigh just 999kg and be capable of being powered from 0-62mph by its V10 engine in just 2.5sec and reach a top speed of 217.5mph.

Lamborghini will formally reveal its Paris concept on tomorrow’s first press day of the show.

Thanks to: Autocar

Unofficial Picture: 2012 Saab 9-4x


Although Saab’s first foray into the people-hauler segment—a Saab-badged Chevy TrailBlazer SUV called the 9-7X—is most memorable for being a punchline, the embattled company is finally ready to launch a far more serious product as its second salvo, the 9-4X crossover. This picture—posted on SaabsUnited.com, where you’ll also find a rear shot—shows a pre-production 9-4x in advance of its official reveal at the L.A. auto show in November.

As expected, aside from the usual show-car-to-production tweaks, little has changed in the 9-4X’s final design from the 2008 9-4X BioPower concept. The characteristic and attractive blacked-out A-, B-, and C-pillars have been retained, giving the 9-4X some design cohesion with the recently introduced 9-5 sedan. The 9-4X’s underpinnings are the same as those of the Cadillac SRX, and the 9-4X will in fact be built alongside that model at a GM plant in Mexico; the General will sell fully finished vehicles to Spyker-owned Saab. Powerplants for the 9-4X most likely will include the 2.8-liter turbocharged six found in both the SRX and 9-5, and the Caddy’s naturally aspirated 3.0-liter V-6 is a possibility, too.

Even though it’s still weeks away from its L.A. reveal—and months from its April on-sale date—the 9-4X is perhaps the most important Saab product we’ll see for the foreseeable future. This isn’t just because it may be several years until we begin to see Spyker-helmed Saabs (although that’s a good reason on its own), but because the crossover segment is where the action and profits are: the best-selling vehicle last month for Saab’s fellow Swedish brand, Volvo, was the XC60 crossover.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Selasa, 28 September 2010

New Concept Car: Furtive e-GT


French race team Exagon Engineering will branch out into road cars when it launches this 2+2, the Furtive-eGT, at this week’s Paris show.

The new car has been developed with input from several top-line engineering firms, including Siemens Corporate Technology (engines), Saft (batteries) and Michelin (tyres).

The 4.5m-long Furtive-eGT has two electric motors, each producing the equivalent of 168bhp. Exagon claims the car can crack 0-62mph in 3.5sec and reach a limited 155mph. Its range is around 250 miles on electric power alone, but a small generator can extend this to just over 500 miles, using 5.5 gallons of petrol.

Exagon does have prior experience with electric vehicles: it developed a one-off electric prototype Andros Trophy ice-racer during 2009. It aims to put the Furtive-eGT on sale before the end of 2012.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Porsche Baby SUV to be Called Cajun


Porsche’s model line-up will expand further with the addition of a new baby SUV, according to Volkswagen Group boss Martin Winterkorn.

Winterkorn, speaking to German magazine Der Spiegel, said that Porsche would launch “a new SUV, a smaller brother to the Cayenne which might be named Cajun.”

Volkswagen wants to double Porsche sales in the medium term to 150,000 units and the new baby SUV, expected to be based on the Audi Q5 and be launched by 2015, will play a key role.

Another new Porsche that will help significantly boost volume is the forthcoming ‘baby Boxster’; this will be based on the VW Bluesport and will be available in both roadster and coupe forms, starting at just under £30,000.

In the interview, Winterkron also conceded that VW Group’s plans to overtake Toyota by 2018 as the world’s leading car maker had been made more difficult as it had to incorporate both Porsche and Suzuki into its operations.

“We know how ambitious our goals are,” he said. “All this won’t happen automatically.”

Winterkorn added that he would like to carry on with his role after his contract expired next year. “[I] would not object to carrying on if the supervisory board should so wish,” he said.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo Blancpain Edition


Meet the most hardcore Gallardo yet! Lamborghini has unveiled the Gallardo 570-4 Blancpain edition– a road-legal version of the cars used in the Super Trofeo race-series, which will be shown on Lamborghini’s show-stand at the Paris Motor Show.

At the last race of the Super Trofeo race season – sponsored by Swiss watchmakers Blancpain– the Italian marque took the wraps off the newcomer, which boasts the same 562bhp V10 unit, ventilated engine cover and large rear wing seen on the race-car. Carbon-ceramic brakes also feature.

Thanks to the extensive use of carbon fibre inside and out– including the rear diffuser and mirror casings– the Blancpain edition weighs in at just 1340kg. The standard Gallardo 560-4 weighs 1,549kg.

With the huge drop in weight, there’s also a significant leap in performance. Acceleration from 0-62mph is down to 3.4 seconds– that’s 0.6 seconds quicker than the 560-4. Incredibly, 0-124mph takes only 10.2 seconds.

There’s been a few cosmetic updates too. The newcomer is finished in matt black and gets a set of black Skorpius alloy wheels and yellow-painted brake callipers.

Inside, the cabin is finished in black alcantara, with the Blancpain logo stitched in yellow into the seats. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Range Rover


Range Rover is taking a leaf out of Lotus’ book and adding lightness to its new flagship off-roader to dramatically improve fuel efficiency. The next generation of Range Rover is due to arrive this time in 2012, and will feature all-alloy construction for the first time.

The aluminium chassis will draw on Jaguar’s experience when building the current XJ. However, Land Rover’s engineers have done so much work to reinforce the car’s underpinnings and monocoque bodyshell that the firm calls it a separate platform. The chassis will also underpin the next Range Rover Sport, which currently uses the Discovery's mechanicals.

The Range Rover will become the world’s first all-alloy off-roader, ensuring that the newcomer stays ahead of the pack. The firm is targeting a weight cut of over 400kg, taking the kerbweight closer to 2,100kg.

As you can see from this engineering prototype, the newcomer’s wheelbase doesn’t change much from the current model. The finished car will feature a slightly longer set of dimensions in both the wheelbase and track, to liberate extra room inside.

And while the current car’s interior is among the best available on any luxury vehicle, the next Range Rover will feature a more spacious cabin, particularly in the rear, and a hike in quality of materials, fit and finish.

Designed by Gerry McGovern, the new Range Rover will feature the clamshell bonnet, floating roof and jewel-like lights of the current car, albeit with a lower roof and rounder front end to improved aerodynamics.

Engines will begin with improved TDV6 and TDV8 diesels which get stop-start for the first time, mated to an improved eight-speed auto gearbox. Petrol units will follow shortly after launch, followed by a diesel-electric hybrid.

Off-road performance will still be exemplary, with the latest generation of the firm’s Terrain Response system controlling the power delivery to keep you going whatever the landscape throws at you. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Unofficial Picture: 2012 Range Rover Evoque 5-Door


The baby Range Rover is growing up already! Pictures of five-door Evoque have leaked onto the web via a Romanian site, showing the car surrounded by Paris Motor Show signs.

The world-premiere of the three-door variant has already been confirmed for Paris - and we had an exclusive audience with the car and its designer here - but the appearance of the five-door in the French capital has come as a surprise. Sources have revealed however, that the car was only there for a pre-show dealers event, and won't be officially unveiled until the LA Motor Show in November.

Besides the extra pair of doors, the two Evoque model will be identical. That means a choice of the new 148bhp 2.2-litre eD4 diesel engine fitted with stop-start – returning close to 60mpg and CO2 emissions below 130g/km - plus a more powerful 187bhp diesel and a new 2.0-litre turbo petrol unit with 240bhp, both will only be available with four-wheel drive. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Peugeot 2008


Is this the new Peugeot 2008? According to our French sister magazine Auto Plus, which caught this show star totally undisguised at a photoshoot in a remote corner of Iceland, this is our first glimpse at how an all- new supermini SUV could look.

Peugeot disputes this, though. It claims that the high-riding three-door, which was supposed to stay under wraps until the Paris show, doesn’t preview a specific car.

Instead, the newcomer showcases design themes that will appear on the next generation of Peugeot’s small cars, beginning with the 208. The low-down angle of the pictures makes the car look a lot bigger than it is, but also contributing to the effect are oversized alloys that are pushed right out to the corners of the body and shrouded by muscular arches.

Featuring the same angled-back A-pillar as seen on the firm’s BB1 electric car, the new machine also develops design themes from the SR1 concept from Geneva earlier this year. These include angular scoops in the rear bumper, sharply styled boomerang tail-lights and a tick- shaped crease in the door panel.

Expect the wheel-at-each-corner look to extend to the 208 to help increase cabin space, while the elegant lines favoured by design chief Gilles Vidal are also likely to make it to production. With Peugeot aiming to become the world’s seventh biggest car maker by 2015, climbing from its current position of 10th, the new 208 will spawn a family that adopts these design cues.

As well as three and five-door hatchbacks and a folding hard-top CC, a supermini-MPV to rival the Kia Venga is likely. The firm already offers the 4007, while a smaller crossover based on the Mitsubishi ASX is expected next year. A 208-based mini-SUV would take on the new Nissan Juke. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Sneak Peek Up Date: Lamborghini Concept


Another day, another teaser. We've yet to see Lamborghini's new concept car in its entirety, but true to its word, the company has pushed out another secretive teaser image before the vehicle's world debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

Although the first three images showed portions of the exterior, engine cover, and dashboard, we're a little puzzled by the photo above. Are we looking at the carbon fiber-laden intake runner for a V-10 or V-12, or is this some mysterious bit of interior trim? We're inclined to think this is the former, although we'll know for sure by Thursday, at the very latest.

We don't, however, think this car will be a thinly veiled look at the Murcielago's successor. Instead, expect this concept to showcase Lamborghini's newfound fetish for carbon fiber, along with an illustration of how the company's new mantra can translate into a rolling vehicle.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sabtu, 25 September 2010

New Car: 2011 Ferrari 599 SA APERTA


Meet the sensational Ferrari 599 SA APERTA! Just 80 examples of the super-desirable drop-top will be built and each car has already been sold.

Ferrari chose the number 80 to celebrate design house Pininfarina’s 80th anniversary. The SA in the name stands for Sergio and Andrea Pininfarina, whose company and work has been linked to Ferrari’s most successful road-going cars ever built.

APERTA is Italian for open, which is appropriate, given that the car is designed to be driven predominantly with the top down - a light soft top which Ferrari says is “designed to be resorted to only if the weather gets particularly bad” is included.

The SA APERTA features a low-slung windscreen and suspension that is lower than the standard 599 to give it an even more dramatic appearance. The A-pillars have been designed to retain the flying buttresses of the hard-top car, but also incorporate two roll bars which mimic the lines of the seats.

Under the bonnet the engine is the same 661bhp 6.0-litre V12 that powers the Ferrari 599 GTO, while the chassis has been redesigned to deliver a standard of stiffness comparable to that of a closed berlinetta with a negligible weight difference.

Prices have not been released, but a spokesman confirmed that the car will cost in excess of £340,000. However, just like the 599 GTO, APERTA buyers will be encouraged to personalize their cars at extra cost, ensuring that each of the 80 examples produced is unique. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

First Sketch: 2014 Infiniti Luxury EV


Infiniti has released a teaser sketch of a luxury electric vehicle the automaker says will launch in 2013.

The as-yet unnamed five-seater is likely the Nissan Leaf-based electric vehicle we're expecting from Infiniti.

It's unclear how the electric vehicle's range and power will be affected by changes required to make it meet Infiniti's standards.

As we've seen with the lackluster market performance of the hybrid-only Lexus HS 250h, styling will be a key factor for the Infiniti. The preliminary Infiniti sketch shows a small car with pulled back headlights and a black roof, suggesting it might be a panoramic sunroof. Five-spoke wheels have centers featuring a glowing Infiniti sign.

Naturally, the section of the sketch we find most interesting is the blurriest. The Infiniti electric vehicle could prove to be a hatchback like the Leaf or Toyota Prius, or may simply be a sedan.

Regardless, we'll have the latest on this electric car as it comes into focus over the next couple years.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2011 Infiniti IPL G Convertible


Infiniti may have already dressed its G Coupe in high-performance IPL goods, but the automaker vowed other models in its lineup would soon receive a similar treatment. Following through with its promises, Infiniti will unveil its IPL G Convertible concept at next week's 2010 Paris auto show.

Following closely in the footsteps of the IPL G Coupe seen last month, the IPL G Convertible is powered by the same 3.7-liter V-6 producing 348 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque. A true dual exhaust, improved air-fuel mixture, and altered ignition timing combine to produce an extra 18 horsepower and six pound-feet of torque more than the standard VQ engine found in a G Convertible. Like the IPL G Coupe, power will likely be sent to the rear wheels through the same six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes.

Aesthetic upgrades also remain largely similar to that of the IPL G Coupe. Its front and rear fascias share the aggressive, sharp edges as do the side skirts. Gunmetal, split-spoke 19-inch wheels are the same, with increased spring rates and a quicker steering ratio also expected to be carried over. The concept also features the optional Monaco-red leather interior. The same three-piece retractable hardtop found on the standard convertible will make its way onto the concept.

Though billed as a concept, we wouldn’t be surprised if the IPL G Convertible makes its way into dealer showrooms shortly after the coupe, which is scheduled to arrive in December.

Thanks to: Motor Trend


Jumat, 24 September 2010

New Car: 2011 Ssangyong Korando


It’s not obvious from the impressively generic exterior, but this is the new Ssangyong Korando. This is the first monocoque vehicle that the Korean company has ever produced and represents the first steps in a re-launch that is intended to make the brand more competitive against major budget European makers.

A 173bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel motor, developed by the company independently, is the only motor available in the Korando. A six-speed auto and all-wheel drive is on offer, but we’re testing the entry-level two-wheel drive model.

Rather bland in many respects, which for many will be an improvement on the rather eccentric previous models. When not under load the Korando is impressively refined by class standards, but otherwise the motor fails to meet modern diesel standards in terms of its usability.

Power delivery is very peaky – significantly more so than is now usual in modern turbodiesels - with all of the 266lb ft of torque arriving between 2000-3000rpm. The effect of this is amplified by awkwardly spaced gear ratios. Second is very short, but changing up into third leaves the engine floundering beneath its limited power range.

So powertrain is not something that Ssangyong can yet claim to have reached current European standards in, but ride quality is well judged – a little bouncy occasionally but nothing you wouldn’t expect of a softly sprung compact SUV, and body roll is also kept in check.

Steering is entirely sterile and has a disconcerting elasticity around the dead-ahead, but it is linear enough in response. Passenger space is also very competitive, particularly for those in the back, though luggage capacity of 486 litres is some way behind class best.

Thanks to: Autocar

Kamis, 23 September 2010

Hot News: Eco Skoda at Paris Show 2010


Skoda will unveil its next-generation of Greenline models at the Paris motor show at the end of the month.

The new line will see two reworked engines – a 103bhp 1.6 TDI and a 74bhp 1.2 TDI – with stop-start and braking energy-recuperation technology fitted.

The Fabia Greenline and the Fabia Estate Greenline, both fitted with the 1.2 engine, will now emit 89g/km of CO2.

The Roomster compact MPV, which will also use the 1.2 unit, will have CO2 emissions of 109g/km, which Skoda claims is the best in class.

The Greenline models of the Octavia, Yeti and Superb use the 1.6 engine. The hatchback version of the Octavia will emit 99g/km of CO2 and the estate variant will emit 109g/km of CO2.

The Yeti and the Superb Estate have not been previously included in the Greenline range.

The Greenline version of the Yeti will emit 119g/km of CO2, accelerate from 0-62mph in 12.1 seconds and have a top speed of 109mph. Both the Superb and the Superb estate will emit 114g/km of CO2.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Concept Car: Kia Pop


The 2010 Paris Motor Show is still roughly a week away, but Korean automaker Kia has opened the floodgates on images of its newest concept vehicle, the Pop.

The Kia Pop is an electric city car concept that seats passengers in a 2+1 configuration, similar to the upcoming Scion iQ. Overall size is said to be larger than a Smart Fortwo and several stylistic touches - including a couch-like front bench seat - are said to be in store for the concept. Unfortunately, that's all we really know about the Pop for now, as Kia has been tight-lipped about powertrain details and production intent.

Should the Kia Pop ultimately hit showrooms, we're guessing it would could offer a budget alternative to not only the iQ, but also BMW's upcoming Megacity range. We'll be bringing you more information live from the Paris Motor Show at the end of the month, but until then, let us know what you think of the Kia Pop's styling in the comments section below.
Thanks to: Motor Trend









New Car: 2011 Ram Laramie Longhorn Edition


Ram is debuting its most expensive and luxurious full-size truck yet at the State Fair of Texas today, called the Laramie Longhorn Edition.

Available on the 1500, 2500, and 3500 models, the 2011 Laramie Longhorn Edition is expected to reach some very high-end neighborhoods.

“The Ram Laramie Longhorn edition is going to share a driveway with some fine luxury cars,” said Fred Diaz, head of the Ram Truck brand. “The only difference is the Ram Laramie Longhorn edition is going to be the vehicle with the full-time job – towing the horse trailer, taking the crew to the game, picking up supplies. It’s ready to go from the dirt to downtown.”

The interior of this luxury truck gets as much attention as the outside. In a live chat today, Ryan Nagode, the design lead of the project, talked about his influences.

"As a designer," Nagode said in the chat, "I was thinking about the favorite possessions that a buyer of an expensive truck would own. So, that meant items like an antique pocket watch, a leather saddle or a nice hand-crafted pair of cowboy boots."

Two-tone paint is standard on every Laramie Longhorn and, while the special edition is offered in five colors, only the Sagebrush color is unique to this model. Chrome 20-inch wheels are standard on the 1500. Polished aluminum wheels come on the 2500 and 3500 models, the latter receiving special Laramie Longhorn center caps.

Inside, two different color schemes are available. Whichever one you choose, Nagode says that "it's the most premium leather we've ever offered. Period."

On the bark brown leather, laser etching gives it an almost hand-crafted appeal. The leather-wrapped steering wheel gets special stitching and there's LED lighting near the door handles and map pockets.

Ram goes so far as to say the revised instrument cluster has the appearance of "hand-wrought jewelry." Another neat detail are the storage pockets behind the front seats, which resemble saddle bags. Details like these are everywhere on this truck.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but as the most expensive Ram model, expect a base price of at least $43,000 when it arrives in dealerships during the first quarter of 2011.

Before you start asking who is going to pay for a truck like that, know that Ram claims the high-end Laramie already accounts for 25 percent of all Ram sales. Ram figures 6-10 percent of sales will be the Laramie Longhorn edition, and a greater percentage with Heavy Duty models.

Looks like Ford and GMC's Denali trucks have some real competition from Ram for the 2011 model year. Which luxury truck -- if any -- would you choose?

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Selasa, 21 September 2010

New Car: 2011 HSV Maloo R8 Ute Anniversary Edition


Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) will celebrate the 20 years of thunder with a limited edition anniversary model of its Maloo R8 ute.

The first Maloo was revealed at the Sydney Motor Show in October 1990, and is claimed by HSV to be the only V8-powered sports ute available on the Australian market at the time.

Powered by a 180kW/400Nm 5.0-litre V8, the first VG-Series HSV Maloo was a standout blend of hard working utility with performance car street cred, paving the way for a raft of models to come, each upping the ante with more power, better handling and aggressive new looks.

A decade later, Maloo again hit the headlines when it received the famous Corvette LS1 5.7-litre V8 producing 255kW/475Nm, and just six years later (in 2006), landed itself in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "world's fastest production pick-up/utility" when V8 Supercar driver Mark Skaife piloted the Aussie icon to a top speed of 271.44km/h.

Strictly limited to just 100 examples, the 20 years of Maloo R8 scores unique exterior equipment, including matte black 'Vector E' vents on the front guards and bonnet, 20-inch GTS alloy wheels, bi-modal exhaust system and new hero colours, including 'Hazard' yellow.

Power comes from a revised 6.2-litre LS3 V8 developing 317kW/550Nm.

Inside, special leather upholstery, bi-modal exhaust system, Side Blind Zone Alert (SBZA), satellite navigation, Enhanced Driver Interface (EDI), rear window decal and a numbered build plate.

The 20 years of Maloo R8 joins HSV's new E3-Series for a limited time, and is available now for $67,600 (six-speed manual) and $69,600 (six-speed automatic).

Thanks to: Car Point

New Car: 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster


Porsche is plundering its past once again! Only months after building the retro duck-tailed 
911 Sport Classic, the German marque has revived another legendary model from its heritage – the chop-top Speedster.

Due to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show next week, this will be the first Speedster version of the 911 in 18 years, and fans of previous incarnations will instantly recognise the classic styling touches.

The sharply raked windscreen has been shortened by 60mm compared to the standard car, while the swollen ‘double-bubble’ roof covers and the Eighties-inspired black stone guards on the rear arches hark back to original Speedsters.

Other unique touches on the new machine include black surrounds for the headlights, while the Speedster also gets the same silver-rimmed Fuchs alloys and the big-bore twin exhausts found on the Sport Classic.

As with previous drop-tops, Porsche reckons the Speedster will be used purely for top-down thrills, but if the weather does turn bad, a lightweight canvas roof is stowed under the rear humps and comes with no electric assistance.

Underneath, the new car shares its running gear with the new 911 GTS – a possible last hurrah for the 997 with rumours that the latest model is being readied for production. That means the rear track is 44mm wider than on the standard Carrera 4, while power comes from an uprated version of the standard 3.8-litre direct-injection flat six engine, now producing 402bhp.

That’s delivered to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential for better control of the power. It will certainly shift: top speed is 189mph, while the benchmark 0-62mph sprint is dealt with in only 4.6 seconds.

Helping you achieve that is the crisp seven-speed PDK double-clutch gearbox, with steering wheel paddles as standard. For extra stopping power, ceramic composite brakes are standard. Fuel economy is rated at 27.4mpg – exactly the same as the less potent Carrera S.

The dramatic ‘Pure Blue’ paintwork you see here has been developed especially for this car, with colour-coordinated inserts on the seatbacks, door handles and dashboard giving the interior a bolder look. A metal plaque displays the model number, while a chequered flag motif is stitched into the seat squabs.

Order books will open in October, and the Speedster is due on sale in January with a hefty price tag of £144,000 – making it Porsche’s second most expensive model after the GT2 RS flagship. The new car will be a rare sight. Only 356 examples of the model are planned, in a deliberate homage to the original 356 Speedster from the Fifties. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express


New Concept Car: Peugeot EX1


When is a trike not a trike? When it uses four wheels like Peugeot's EX1 concept, which will debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

At first glimpse, the EX1 appears to be simply an update of the three-wheeled 20Cup concept, which wooed crowds at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show, but take a close look at that rear axle. Although the carbon-fiber body tapers to an extremely narrow track, Peugeot's fitted two rear wheels, firmly establishing the EX1 as an automobile -- at least in the eyes of most regulatory bodies.

Still, it's easy enough to see how the EX1 blurs the line between sport compact and sport bike. Apart from a pair of rear-hinged doors, both driver and passenger are completely open to the surrounding world. Don't look for protection from either a windshield or a top. Seeing as there are none to be found on this concept, you'd best bring a full-face helmet (preferably not the Mega Man-esque design shown here) and proper rain gear along for the ride.

Up front, the EX1 showcases a nose inspired in part by Peugeot's latest design language, albeit pushed to a new extreme. A wide, flat hood helps emphasize the car's wild proportions, while the slender LED headlamps echo the leading edges of the front fenders. Interestingly, designers chose to skip a grille insert, leaving a pair of cooling fans relatively exposed.

Unlike the 20Cup, which utilized a hopped-up 170-horsepower I-4, the EX1 is a pure electric vehicle. Peugeot has yet to release any extensive details on the eco-friendly powertrain, but notes the EX1 makes use of two electric motors -- one at each axle -- that produce a combined 345 horsepower. Reportedly, the EX1 can exert more than 1G on its occupants during acceleration, and the car has reportedly broken an FIA record for standing-start acceleration for electric vehicles.

So, is a small, open-wheel, trike-like appliance in Peugeot's future plans? Not likely. In fact, the accompanying release notes the EX1 was built to commemorate the launch of the Peugeot iOn EV (a badge-engineered Mitsubishi i-MiEV), along with the company's 200th anniversary. Disappointing, perhaps, but it's certainly a better way to celebrate a birthday than the obligatory piece of cake.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied Up Date: 2012 Audi S7


Luscious sheetmetal is the must-have in the four-door-coupe arena, but power doesn’t rate far behind, at least in the U.S. The Mercedes-Benz CLS-class is available here exclusively with V-8 engines, the same goes for the rakish Jaguar XF, and even the BMW 5-series GT—admittedly a bit of an outlier to the segment—is available with a twin-turbo V-8. And so for the Audi A7, a V-8 option seems indispensable. Enter the top-spec A7, the S7 spied here.

To be sure, we like the A7’s responsive and gutsy, 300-hp supercharged V-6, but its muted snarl just can’t deliver the aural satisfaction and hearty growl of a V-8. In addition, the 333 hp the engine produces in the S4 is likely near its maximum output. So we’re not entirely surprised that Audi has chosen to add an entirely new engine to its arsenal for the S7 (as well as the next S8): a turbocharged and direct-injected 4.0-liter V-8 good for at least 400 hp.

Loosely based on the old naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V-8, the 4.0 will launch in the S7 next year, and will also serve as the base engine for the redesigned 2011 Bentley Continental GT. The fact that the power addicts at Bentley deem this powerplant fit to move their portly luxo-cruiser with sufficient authority can be taken as a strong indicator of its capabilities. We expect it to be equipped with a single turbocharger in the S7 and with twin turbos in the S8, where it could make around 450 hp. We hear rumblings that the S7 will scoot to 60 mph in fewer than five seconds; top speed will be a governed 155 mph. Power will be channeled to a rear-biased Quattro all-wheel-drive system through Audi’s seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual, which will surely be programmed to deliver all sorts of sweet-sounding, rev-matched downshifts.

The prototypes caught by our photographer are running on the same parallel-spoke 18-inch “S-Design” wheels that are standard on the Europe-only S5 Sportback. They will certainly be the smallest available on the S7; count on Audi to offer optional 19- and 20-inchers to visually offset the S7’s considerable size. The exterior of this prototype is rather low-key, and in fact virtually identical to the A7 with the optional S-line package that we sampled during the A7’s launch in Sardinia earlier this month. The gaping, rectangular air intakes do little to improve the look of the base model, and we hope—probably in vain—that the S7 will come to market with a somewhat more sophisticated front bumper. The four exhaust pipes out back, on the other hand, look just fine to us.

The suspension will naturally be upgraded to deliver sportier responses, and Audi will offer a number of assistance systems, such as the torque-vectoring “sports differential” and active steering. Inside, the S7 will receive specific trim and décor.

The S7 won’t arrive at U.S. dealers before the 2012 model year. By then, Mercedes will have unveiled its 550-plus-hp CLS63 AMG, which begs the question: How about an RS7?

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Senin, 20 September 2010

New Concept Car: BMW 6-Series


BMW is ditching the bullish appearance of the existing 6-series for a more svelte and classically elegant look, revealed here for the first time on a lightly veiled concept version that’s set to make its debut at the upcoming Paris motor show.

This highly refined look was first hinted at on the four-door Gran Coupé concept at the Beijing motor show in April. It ties the new 6-series in visually with other recent BMW models, notably the 5-series, with which it shares much of its mechanical package.

The new 6-series is set to go on sale in the UK in coupé guise next April. A fabric-roofed convertible version will follow before the end of next year.

The new 6-series continues BMW’s design revolution under the watch of Adrian van Hooydonk, whose mould-breaking Z9 Gran Turismo concept car of 1999 laid down the styling template for today’s 6-series.

“With this car, I feel like I have come full circle,” he said. “I was lucky enough to influence today’s 6-series. And I’ve also been heavily involved in defining the new look of the coupé concept.”

Despite this car’s billing as a concept, van Hooydonk confirms that the production version of the new 6-series will vary little from it. The only expected changes are altered exterior mirror housings, different tailpipes and less flamboyant wheels. “What you see is largely what we intend to place into production,” he said.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2011 Maserati Gran Turismo MC Stradale


Meet the fastest, lightest, most powerful Maserati money can buy! This is the new Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale, a more track-focused, tuned version of the current GranTurismo S.

Taking its inspiration from the Italian firm's Trofeo racing models, the standard car's 4.7-litre V8 has been tweaked to give 444bhp, and although that's only a 10bhp increase, Maserati claim the MC Stradale can now achieve a top-speed of over 186mph.

The new car has also been drastically lightened by removing the rear seats and the further use of featherweight materials throughout the cabin, while the exterior has been given some hardcore styling upgrades designed to decrease drag and improve cornering down force.

The aggressive looking front-end now features a deeper grille and spoiler, and at the back the chrome twin-exhausts are mounted centrally in the wide rear diffuser, while vertical air-vents in the front wheel arches channel air around the car. The MC Stradale also gets a new set of unique lighter, ten-spoke alloy wheels as well.

Maserati claim that the new car will give "razor-sharp handling" without compromising the silky ride quality of the standard car, and that despite the extra performance, fuel economy will be unchanged over the GranTurismo S.

More details will emerge when the wraps come off at the Paris Motor Show at the end of the month, but expect the new car to cost over £100,000, am increase of around 15 percent over the S version. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

First Sketch: Audi e-Tron Spyder


Is this Audi's latest installation in its series of e-tron concept cars? These three images have leaked onto the web and appear to show a Spyder version of the smaller e-tron concept which debuted earlier this year in Detroit, and since become nicknamed the R4.

Featuring a wraparound windscreen and no roof whatsoever, making it a permanent convertible, the R4 Spyder gets an identical front end to the fixed-roof e-tron, while at the back the bodywork surrounding the rear lights is finished in black.

There's no confirmation of what's under the bonnet, but based on the lack of exhaust pipes and the all-electric powertrain fitted to the hard-top e-tron concept, twin electric motors producing around 200bhp and driving the rear wheels seems likely.

Apparently the open-top e-tron won't be Audi's only offering in Paris either. Rumours are circulating that to mark the 30th aniverssary of the Audi Quattro in style, an Ur-Quattro inspired concept has also been bullt. Check back next week when we'll have more details of Audi's Paris Motor Show stars. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Citroen Lacoste


It’s a Tonka toy for grown-ups! Citroen’s new off-road concept, designed with the help of fashion label Lacoste, has been stripped back to the essentials to hint at a future economical supermini-sized SUV.

The Lacoste Concept, which debuts at next week’s Paris Motor Show, measures 3.45m, making it over 50cm shorter than MINI’s Countryman and Nissan’s Juke. Aiming to steer customers away from these two, any production car based on this concept would form part of a new breed of tiny off-roaders in the mould of the 4x4 Fiesta seen here.

The car’s pared-back ethos evokes Citroen’s Seventies Mini Moke rival – the Mehari. This is evident on the dash, which is cleared of all clutter to leave a two-spoke steering wheel and LED display strip. It would be practical, though – the steering wheel can be moved out of the way to improve access, the rear bench can slide into the boot to carry large items and there is storage in the two benches.

The exterior is an evolution of 2007’s C-Cactus concept and features a high waistline, bulging wheelarches and a wheel at each corner. An innovative soft-top inflates along the centre rail to keep passengers dry. Power comes from a three-cylinder petrol engine, likely to be Citroen’s next-generation 1.2-litre unit, with 100g/km of CO2 emissions. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

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