Rabu, 21 Desember 2011

Sneak Peek: Toyota NS4 Concept

This teaser image shows the front of the new Toyota NS4 concept which the Japanese manufacturer will unveil at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

Toyota has not revealed any information about the NS4 concept, apart from describing it as an 'advanced plug-in hybrid concept'. The NS4 will follow three alternatively fuelled concepts that were revealed by Toyota at the Tokyo motor show late last month.

The NS4 is likely to be the latest vehicle to used the Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system Toyota shares with sister marque Lexus. HSD technology is forming the backbone of the two companies' future strategy. Together Toyota and Lexus will launch or update 25 models in its range across the next two years.

The Toyota NS4 will be revealed at Detroit on January 10, along with the North American debut of the Toyota Prius C hybrid supermini.

The Prius C made its official public debut at the Tokyo show and will be the smallest car in Toyota’s newly expanded range of Prius-badged cars.

Thanks to: Autocar

Sneak Peek Up Date: 2013 Buick Encore

The latest trend in new-car debuts is to mete out teaser photos via social media websites, and the 2013 Buick Encore is no exception. The company’s Facebook page has just revealed one quarter of an image of the new Encore; subsequent portions of the image will be revealed each week leading up to the crossover’s debut in Detroit on January 10.

The first teaser photo of the 2013 Encore showed us a close-up view of the crossover’s grille and headlight, while the new Facebook picture reveals the Buick’s hood and windshield. From what we’ve seen, the baby Buick crossover will wear smooth and elegant lines, along with subtle hood vents, and chrome roof rails. So far, it looks like a scaled-down version of the Enclave.

The company has promised that its newest vehicle will feature “contemporary Buick styling, signature QuietTuning technology, and segment-leading content and space.” The Encore will be a smaller crossover, designed to slot below the Enclave — both in size and in price.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2011 - 2012 Chevrolet Captiva

GM is recalling a number of Chevy Captivas due to issues with the power steering pump and fluid.

The Problem: The engine will operate at excessive speeds when the transmission is set to manual mode and first gear. Continued driving in this situation will increase steering pump speed. The heat from the pump will transfer to the fluid, which could reach the reservoir’s melting point and cause a leak. A fire could result if the leaking fluid ignites.

The Fix: Dealers will install an improved power steering fluid cooler free of charge. The part is expected to arrive in dealers by March 2012. Contact Chevy at 1-800-630-2438 with any questions.

Number of Affected Vehicles: A total of 3,150 model year 2011 to 2012 Chevy Captiva crossovers.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2010 - 2011 Cadillac SRX

General Motors responded to a letter from a customer who experienced “unintended vehicle motion” after shifting his Cadillac SRX from “park to “drive” and back. GM investigated the claim and has now issued a recall on model year 2010 to 2011 Cadillac SRX crossovers built at the company’s Ramos Arizpe plant in Mexico. The recall affects vehicles in China and the United States.

The Problem: Affected vehicles have a transmission cable that is not properly aligned in the engine compartment. The cable will not shift gears properly causing unintended vehicle motions.

The Fix: GM is recalling and inspected affected vehicles in China and the United States. Customers should call GM customer service for questions or concerns.

Number of Affected Vehicles: GM is recalling 9,862 Cadillac SRX crossovers in China and 8,789 vehicles in the United States. The recall affects model year 2010 to 2011 vehicles.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Concept Car: Lexus LF-LC

Though it wasn’t meant to be revealed until the 2012 Detroit auto show in January, photos of the Lexus LF-LC concept have leaked online, and in response, Lexus has released the first official photo of its new sports coupe concept, pictured above. The photos reveal that Lexus’ new show car is a 2+2 wearing sharp lines and aggressive air intakes. As with the LF-Gh concept, the first two letters stand for Lexus Future.

According to Autocar, the LF-LC may be headed for production in the near future. The publication suggests a production LF-LC would be built on a shortened version of the next Lexus LS chassis, and will have a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Autocar reports the name LC600h is likely, as is a 2015 on-sale date.

The new car is supposed to show the next evolution of Lexus’ design language, and many of the cues on this show car have appeared in prior Lexus production and concept vehicles. The mesh spindle-shaped front grille resembles that of the Lexus GS, for instance, while the swept-back headlights and stubby trunk recall the LFA supercar. Other design elements include a panoramic glass roof and deep air intakes ahead of the front wheels.

The Lexus concept had originally been previewed by two small teaser images, and was slated to appear publicly in Detroit next month. The company promised the designed hinted “at the new contemporary, upscale and uniquely Lexus design direction.” It was styled by Toyota’s Calty design studio in California.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2013 Audi A1 Quattro

Audi has launched a new volley in the realm of small, performance-oriented hatchbacks with the A1 Quattro. The new car is a go-fast variant that will be limited to just 333 examples, and will pack a 256-hp wallop.

Regular readers will note that the A1 Quattro looks remarkably similar to a car we spied on the Nürburgring two months ago; whereas we expected the moniker RS1, Audi has instead simply appended “Quattro” to the small car’s name.

The key ingredient in the new car is Audi’s 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged inline-four engine, producing a solid 256 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Its output is transferred exclusively to quattro all-wheel-drive by way of a six-speed manual transmission. Audi says the A1 Quattro hits 62 mph in 5.7 seconds and can reach 152 mph.

Visual upgrades come in the form of a big rear wing, tinted rear windows and taillights, dual 3.9-inch exhaust tips, and subtle red accents in the headlights. The A1 wears unique turbine-style white wheels measuring 18 inches in diameter and eight inches wide. An aluminum shift knob, stainless-steel pedals, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a racy red-faced tachometer accent the car’s interior.

To match the power upgrades, Audi gifted the Quattro with larger, vented brake discs gripped by black-painted calipers; firmer suspension tuning; a more direct steering ratio; and a revised stability-control system that can be fully disabled for track use.

The A1 Quattro goes on sale in the second half of 2012, and just 333 lucky customers will have a chance to buy one. Pricing hasn’t yet been announced and, sadly, the car will not make an appearance on American soil.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Selasa, 20 Desember 2011

Hot News: Saab to Go Bankrupt

The saga has been running for two years but Saab’s fate looks as if it has finally been sealed, with news that the Swedish manufacturer has filed for bankruptcy.

In a very public struggle to stay afloat, Saab was almost sold off to Pang Da and Youngman – both Chinese manufacturers – but the deal was called off by Saab’s former owners, General Motors, who didn’t want its technology falling into Chinese hands.

The troubles began when General Motors sold a struggling Saab to Spyker in January 2010, and there was never a successful model to kick-start sales in the competitive segment Saab is a part of.

An official statement read: “The Board of Saab Automobile subsequently decided that the company without further funding will be insolvent and that filing bankruptcy is in the best interests of its creditors. It is expected that the Court will approve of the filing and appoint receivers for Saab Automobile very shortly.” For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Mercedes to Show off E-Class Hybrid at Detroit Show 2012

Mercedes is set to join the ranks of manufacturers selling hybrid-powered executive cars with this diesel-electric Mercedes E-class.

The E300 BlueTec, due on sale next September in both saloon and estate bodystyles, is engineered around the most powerful version of Mercedes’ 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine.

The E300, and its petrol twin, the US-only E400, will be revealed at the Detroit show next month.

The headline CO2 figure of 109g/km will make the E300 BlueTec popular with company car users. It undercuts BMW’s petrol-powered Active5 Hybrid by a significant 40g/km.

The 201bhp/369lb ft diesel engine is mated to a 27bhp/184lb ft brushless electric motor sited within the gearbox housing. A 0.8kWh lithium ion battery is said to provide an all-electric range of less than a mile at speeds below 35mph. Together, they are claimed to provide the E300 with a 0-62mph time of 7.5sec and a top speed of 150mph.

With a host of fuel saving measures, including stop-start, brake energy recuperation, a sailing mode and low rolling resistance tyres, it is claimed to return a combined 67.3mpg — an improvement of 9.6mpg on the existing E250 CDI saloon.

The US-only E400 Hybrid uses a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine mated to the same electric motor used in the E300. This delivers 32.4mpg on the US fuel cycle, which is regarded as beingtougher than the European cycle.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2012 Donkervoort D8 GTO

Donkervoort has revealed the latest addition to its track-focused range, the Donkervoort D8 GTO. The open-topped Donkervoort D8 GTO features the same 2.5-litre, five-cylinder engine as used in the Audi TT RS, with power increased to 395bhp and maximum torque of 331lb ft delivered at 1600rpm.

The D8 GTO weighs about 700kg and has a 0-60mph time of around three seconds and a top speed of 158mph.

It follows on from the Donkervoort D8 RS and GT, with a design reminiscent of the Lotus 7, and a steel tubular chassis joined to carbon composite body panels. The D8 GTO has also been extended by 35cm, and widened by 15cm in order to fit the longitudinally mounted engine.

Despite similarities however, the GTO will share just five per cent of the parts with the RS and about 30 per cent with the GT, and company founder Joop Donkervoort describes the car as ‘the first in a new generation’ of models.

The first 25 GTOs will be fitted with a special lightweight engine that utilises items such a new intake manifold to save an extra 30kg. This variant of the D8 GTO is fitted with a race module switch, which increases power to 400bhp when it is deployed.

Donkervoort has used aviation-inspired design features such as a one-piece door with integrated hinges that weighs just 980g, and lightweight locking devices for the aluminium bonnet.

The undercarriage of the car has been revised, the front axle has been equipped with a totally new anti-roll bar and the rear axle construction - to give the GTO extra stability - has a completely new design.

Half of the first batch of 25 D8 GTOs have been sold already and will be delivered next summer. A run of ‘standard’ versions will follow in 2013. The car is expected to be priced between £84,000 and £126,000.

Thanks to: Autocar

Sneak Peek: Ford Concept

We’ve seen early prototypes and heard rumours of a Ford Fiesta-based SUV but now we’ve got our first look at how the new model is shaping up thanks to this teaser shot.

The picture reveals a model thought to be called the EcoSport Concept that will be unveiled at the New Delhi Auto Show in January. Its world debut in India is no surprise as Ford is planning on making it only the second of its models available there.

As part of the ‘One Ford’ strategy, which sees almost identical cars sold the world over – much like the most recent Focus – the EcoSport will be the same in India as it is when it reaches Europe in late 2012. Expect to see a higher level of standard specification for European models though.

Judging by this teaser, much of the styling is inspired by the Vertrek concept seen at January’s Detroit expo. It gets the same multi-layered headlights, sculpted bonnet and lowered roofline.

There will also be a wide range of petrol and diesel engines. The petrol line-up will include two versions of the firm’s efficient EcoBoost turbo engines: a new three-cylinder 90bhp 1.0-litre unit, and the powerful 1.6-litre from the bigger Focus. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Sneak Peek: Nissan Pathfinder Concept

It’s not news that Nissan will be showing off a concept version of its all-new 2013 Pathfinder in a few weeks at the Detroit auto show, but the company has now revealed a teaser of the new SUV.

Not too much can be seen in Nissan’s shadowy image, but the Pathfinder will definitely be eschewing its squared-off look for a more curvaceous form. The photo shows a strong character line running the length of the car from the center of the hood to the taillights, with a dip just above the door handles. Large, five-spoke wheels and roof rails may lend the Pathfinder to a sportier look.

What we know is that the new Pathfinder will shed its truck-based roots and become a crossover, similar to what the Ford Explorer did last year. It’s most likely that the new Pathfinder will share its platform and mechanicals with the recently unveiled Infiniti JX35. That car rides on a stretched version of the front- and all-wheel drive platform that underpins the Murano crossover, but provides room for a third row of seats. We wouldn’t be surprised if this also helps Nissan differentiate the Pathfinder from the Murano within its own lineup.

The Pathfinder will also probably share the 3.5-liter V-6 engine with the JX, which is rated for 265 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque in that car. Expect to also see the same CVT transmission, standard front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive as an option.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Senin, 19 Desember 2011

Recall Up Date: 2010 - 2011 Nissan Sentra

Nissan is recalling model year 2010 and 2011 Sentras due to the installation of an incorrect engine bolt. The bolt could cause a series of issues leading to an engine stall.

The Problem: During manufacturing, a terminal stud bolt could have received zinc coating that was thicker than the proper specification. The coating could cause a voltage drop. The engine may have a hard time starting or it could stall when the vehicle is in motion, causing an accident. Additionally, the voltage drop could damage the engine control module (ECM).

The Fix: Nissan will start the recall on or before January 23, 2012. Dealers will replace the positive battery terminal and cover. Call 1-800-647-7261 to reach Nissan with any questions.

Number of Vehicles Affected: Sentras with the MR20 engine manufactured from May 11 to May 22, 2010 and from July 8 to October 25, 2010; a total of 33,803 vehicles.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sabtu, 17 Desember 2011

New Car: 2012 Proton Exora Bold Premium & Prime

The refreshed Proton Exora has been the most talked about car of late, with spyshots, unmasked units being transported and leaked brochures all out in the open. With this as background, Proton has finally released official details of the facelifted MPV, confirming much of the details we already know.

The long-awaited Campro Charge Fuel Efficiency (CFE) engine powers the Exora Bold Premium and the range-topping Exora Prime. This CFE engine puts out 138 hp at 5,000 rpm and 205 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm from 1.6 litres. Paired to a CVT gearbox, top speed is 185 km/h and 0-100 km/h is done in 13.3 seconds. Claimed fuel consumption is 7.8 litres per 100 km.

As our eagle-eyed Anthony spotted, the CFE isn’t just a Campro with a turbo bolted on. The stroke of the engine has been shortened from 88 mm to 86 mm, resulting in a smaller displacement of 1,561 cc vs the Campro CPS’ 1,597 cc.

“Boosted with the more efficient 1.6L engine, customers will experience powerful performance which is comparable to a 2.0L engine, with much lower fuel consumption. The additional power kicks in to provide more pulling power when accelerating or overtaking. In short, it’s what you can aptly describe as a ‘pay-as-you-go’ engine, which gives you more ‘vroom’ for every litre of petrol used,” says Proton Group MD Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin.

Besides the two CFE+CVT variants, the Exora is also being offered in Bold Executive trim (1.6L Campro CPS with manual or torque converter auto) and non-Bold Standard trim, which is only available as a manual.

Spec-wise, the Bold Premium CVT gets leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering, front fog lamps, rear spoiler, electric foldable wing mirrors, cruise control and reverse camera with rear view mirror LCD. The latter is similar to the system seen in the Kia Forte 6-Speed.

Thanks to: Paultan

First Sketch: Hyundai i-Oniq Concept

Hyundai's ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language takes a step forward at March’s Geneva Motor Show with the unveiling of the i-oniq concept car.

Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President of Hyundai Europe, told Auto Express: “It’s a maturing of fluidic sculpture, making it a bit more adult.”

Although the i-oniq itself won’t make production, Rushforth hinted that it may offer clues to the shape of the next generation of Hyundai’s upmarket Genesis coupé, currently sold in the US and mainland Europe.

However, Rushforth said that Genesis would not be expanded in Europe. Next year sees the arrival of Hyundai’s i40 saloon, a new i30 in five-door, estate and, possibly, three-door form, a revised i20 and a new Santa Fe. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Chevrolet Impala

The current generation Chevrolet Impala has been living in the past for years now – it is still available with a front bench seat, after all. For the 2013 model year, GM wants the Impala to take a step back from the geriatric (and fleet) crowds, and once again become the styling icon it once was in its heyday. If these first-ever spy shots of the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Impala are any indication, Chevy is well on its way to returning that swagger to the Impala line.

Ask any 15-year old and they’ll tell you the key to swagger is a cool (hot?) outward appearance with a bit of attitude, which is something this camouflaged 2013 Impala looks to have. Losing both the meekness and the blandness of the previous Impala, the new Impala seems to pick up some styling cues from the hot-selling Camaro like a nose that tapers to a slight point, and a similar-looking grille. The 2013 Impala also looks like it grows a bit larger, while dropping down closer to the ground, giving it a low-slung stance. Out back the Impala seems to share some cues like its stylized exhaust tips with its platform mate, the Buick LaCrosse.

What good is looking good on the outside if you can’t back it up on the inside? From the looks of it, Chevrolet is seriously stepping up its game when it comes to the 2013 Impala’s interior. The spy shots show an interior that looks like it was actually designed. The 2013 Impala’s interior will lose the dark, hard plastics and get upscale bits like a stitched dashboard, aluminum trim, a new steering wheel, and a large centrally located nav screen. The 2013 Impala also looks to be getting a redesigned instrument panel with a large multifunction screen flanked by two crisp-looking gauges.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Unofficial Picture: 2013 Kia Forte

Sketches that have leaked online purport to provide an early look at the 2013 Kia Forte. According to Kia World, the sketches show a redesign for the Forte sedan that will be officially revealed sometime in 2012.

The leaked photo reveals a Forte sedan that is much more rounded and modern than the current model. In the profile sketch, the Kia appears to have a sloping roofline similar to the Hyundai Elantra, and is vaguely reminiscent of the Kia Ray concept from 2010. The front grille, headlights, and taillights are all in tune with the latest Kia designs, like those seen on the Optima sedan.

The current Forte sedan was launched in 2009; the car also is available as a two-door coupe and four-door hatchback. Regardless of body style, power comes either from a 156-hp 2.0-liter inline-four, or a 173-hp 2.4-liter inline-four engine.

The Kia Forte is currently built on the same platform that underpinned the prior-generation (through model-year 2010) Hyundai Elantra, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Forte once again adopted the Elantra’s underpinnings. If so, it could mean a bump in the Forte’s fuel economy ratings. The new Elantra uses a 148-hp, 1.8-liter inline-four engine that returns 29/40 mpg (city/highway) whether mated to a manual or automatic transmission.

We reached out to Kia to see whether a 2013 Forte is indeed on the way, but did not receive a response before deadline. If a Forte makeover is nigh, we imagine it will debut at a major auto show some time in the next six months.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Honda to Produce EV-STER Concept?

Honda CEO Takanobu Ito told German auto magazine Auto Motor und Sport that the funky Honda EV-STER concept we showed you last month during the Tokyo Motor Show will go into production. The EC-STER was conceived as a modern-day Honda Beat and comes close to the size of that Japanese market Kei-car.

The concept comes in less than two inches wider than the Beat and the JDM Kei-car standard. The concept is powered by a 58kW (78 horsepower) lithium-ion motor and is said to hit 60km/h (just over 37 mph) in 5.0 seconds. Power is sent to the rear wheels. Honda says the electric-powered EV-STER would have a range of 100 miles and top speed of 100 mph.

But don’t fret if these numbers don’t impress. The Honda EV-STER is package-protected for a gasoline engine – behind the seats, making it a mid-engine, rear-drive replacement for the gone but not forgotten Honda S2000. Still no word on size or power level of the hypothetical internal combustion engine, but it would likely create more power and produce better times than the electric motor.

One show car feature that would not likely make production is the twin-lever steering. A conventional steering wheel would probably get the nod for the production car. No details whether either model will come stateside. We are crossing our fingers for the gas-powered version with at least 200 horsepower – maybe from the rumored 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: 2012 BMW X6M Diesel

Could BMW be prepping a diesel-powered variant of the X6 M? All signs are pointing to yes, and the automaker releasing the second teaser video for a new M-tuned X6 model.

Earlier this month, BMW released a minute-long video showing an X6 driving along serpentine roads and tracks with its front and rear fascias, mirrors, exhausts, and badge blurred out. Most notable was the fact that the badge was long – possibly denoting the rumored tri-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder diesel powerplant slated for M models.

There are reportedly plans for the Munich-based automaker to make a diesel-powered performance variant of the 5 Series that could end up wearing the M550dX badge, so it wouldn’t be a far stretch for the same powerplant to make its way into the X6. The proposed oil-burner could potentially offer 318 hp and a massive 516 lb-ft of torque. While it would be less than the 555 hp and 500 lb-ft currently offered in the X6 M, a diesel would yield much better fuel economy and a longer cruising range.

The second video, titled “Step 2,” includes sound bites from BMW M head of global sales and marketing Brian Watts and M director of sales Thomas Schemera declaring that the new X6 variant “looks like a sports machine, sounds like a sports machine” and “turns any road into a racetrack.” Most importantly, Watts says that it is “deserves the M badge.”

We also get a quick tease of the X6’s exhaust note. It sounds deep and throaty, and we can definitely hear some form of forced induction. Check out the video below to hear for yourself and let us know what you think may be under the hood of this revised X6.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Kamis, 15 Desember 2011

Sneak Peek: 2013 Buick Encore

Buick has announced that a new five-passenger crossover called the Encore will join its 2013 lineup and released a teaser photograph of the sub-Enclave-sized SUV. Judging from the headlight seen here, the Encore will be somewhat less exciting than the Envision concept from this year’s Shanghai auto show. While we speculated that a production version of the Envision might utilize the Cadillac SRX’s architecture, rumor has it that the Encore will ride on a smaller, front-drive platform shared with the surprisingly good Chevrolet Sonic. We’ll likely have to wait until the Encore debuts at the 2012 Detroit auto show in January.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2013 Mercedes SL550

Sport leicht, or sport and lightweight. Despite the two-plus-ton heft of Mercedes’ big boulevardier, that’s what SL has supposedly stood for ever since the car debuted in the ’50s. Now in its sixth generation, the SL promises to be more car than ever: more powerful, more efficient, and more light.

Adding power was the easy part. The SL550, which will be the first of the updated SLs to go on sale, will be powered by Mercedes’ new 4.7-liter twin-turbo V-8. The direct-injected engine makes the same numbers here as it does in the CL550: 429 hp at 5250 rpm, 516 lb-ft at 1800. Those figures represent increases of 47 hp and 125 lb-ft compared to the outgoing SL550’s 5.5-liter V-8. The engine is backed by a seven-speed automatic transmission and now gets standard stop/start functionality. Mercedes predicts a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.5 seconds, 0.8 better than its claim for the last SL550, although runs that begin with the engine off will take a few extra tenths. Since the company’s estimates are generally conservative—we hit 60 in 4.8 seconds with a 2011 SL550—figure on something closer to four seconds flat. And then realize that’s as quick as the outgoing SL63.

Some of this newfound quickness will be thanks in no small part to a reduction in weight. The 2013 SL550 uses the company’s first all-aluminum body in a series-production model, which is claimed to make it 275 pounds lighter than the car it replaces. If you’re having trouble imagining the weight difference, Dr. Thomas Rudlaff, who was responsible for the aluminum shell, puts it into perspective: “The effect is as if a large passenger has stepped out of the car.” (Keep the fat American jokes to yourself.) We should mention that some high-strength steel tubing is used to reinforce the A-pillars, lest they accordion in a crash. The suspension also uses lightweight pieces, and Active Body Control, M-B’s adaptive suspension, continues to be an option. The SL will switch to electric power steering, which should improve efficiency while hopefully retaining some semblance of feedback.

All of this weight loss is despite a dimensional gain. The 2013 car is 1.4 inches longer, 2.2 inches wider, and rides on a 1-inch-longer wheelbase. Front and rear track also are increased. Mercedes says this all helps create a larger cabin. We had no complaints about the interior room before.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 14 Desember 2011

New Car: 2013 Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

Volvo has released full details of its V60 plug-in hybrid, which is set to cost £42,000 (including the Government grant) when it goes on sale in November next year.

The world’s first plug-in diesel hybrid will be able to cover 32 miles in pure electric mode. Despite a combined power output of 212bhp from the 2.4-litre five-cylinder engine and 69bhp electric motor, it will emit a miniscule 49g/km of CO2.

Only 1,000 cars will be built next year, and Volvo plans to bring around 100 of those to the UK. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Sneak Peek: Honda Accord Coupe Concept

With the mid-size sedan segment hotter than ever, it’s long past time for the Honda Accord to be freshened up. Very well: Honda has announced it will preview the future of the Accord with a 2013 Honda Accord Coupe Concept at next month’s Detroit auto show.

As for what we know for sure about the concept, we know that it’ll have two doors… and that’s about it. Honda has been predictably tight-lipped so far about the new concept.

What we can predict, however, is that the Coupe Concept is the first in a line of Honda Accord concepts we’ll see in the future, culminating with a new Accord production model. It’s about time: the current generation of Accord has been sold since 2008. That might not seem like a lot of time, but the past few years have seen some stiff competition.

The Accord must compete against the usual suspects in the form of the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and Ford Fusion, but also fend off fights by the Hyundai Sonata/Kia Optima. It must also deal with the emerging Volkswagen Passat, the new Chevrolet Malibu, and the dark horse of the mid-size sales market, the Chrysler 200/Dodge Avenger. Keep in mind the Accord came in fifth place among these competitors last month, and all but the Altima have been recently updated or will be soon.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: Lexus Concept

Lexus has released this single image of a new concept car which will make its world debut at the Detroit Motor Show early next year.

It has been designed by Calty, Lexus' design studio in Newport Beach, California, and is thought to hint at how an all-new luxury sports car could look.

Officially described as "showcasing a new design direction for Lexus" the concept car is very sporty, evolving the look of the latest GS. The headlights feature a trio of circular LEDs, while the wide bumper incorporates a cooling duct for the brakes.

You can also make out the sharp lines of the bonnet which flow down to meet with a prominent grille. Look closely at the tyre and you'll see the concept wears dramatic 21-inch wheels too.

We'll learn more about the new car in the coming weeks ahead of its motor show debut.For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: New Toyota Supra Will be a Hybrid?

According to our man in Japan Peter Lyon, Toyota R&D is working on a Supra successor that is being tested with a 3.5-liter V-6 hybrid system generating over 400 hp. Rumored to be wearing a design close to the FT-HS concept’s body (pictured below) revealed at the 2007 Detroit show, the rear-drive coupe is expected to target the Nissan GT-R in terms of performance and price.

But our insider tells us that Toyota bean counters “are not too pushing to get this car out quickly,” and are waiting to see how the GT86 goes. If it gets the go-ahead, we won’t see it until 2015.

In contrast, Toyota engineers ARE putting more effort into readying a test mule of the MR-S based 4WD GRMN coupe boasting the same Lexus GS sourced 3.5-liter hybrid system. If this project gets the green light, we can expect to see it in showrooms by late 2014.

However, there seems to be one issue for Toyota product planners. They are in the final developmental stages of a Lexus IS coupe that will be powered by the same powertrain, a fact that creates a differentiation problem for Toyota.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Unofficial Picture: 2013 Mercedes SL

The 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL looks like it’s ready for its primetime debut; photos of a promotional brochure for the new SL hardtop convertible have leaked to the Web, and it looks as though the new SL-Class is ready to be parked in a nice driveway near you.

The shots were picked up by Autoblog.nl, who reportedly pulled them from a German car forum. While Mercedes-Benz is predictably tight-lipped about if the shots are real or not, we don’t hear anyone crying about them being a Photoshop job.

Visually, the first thing one will notice off the bat is that it looks…quite like an SL. The new car preserves much of the old car’s visual DNA, including the protruding grille and long, lightly creased rear deck, as well as the long retractable hardtop, but also sprinkles in a bit of the CLS four-door coupe in the long taillamps and the SLS AMG in the front vents.

Underneath, it’s also business as usual, as the SL will use a full line of Mercedes’ most popular engines. The Europe-only SL350 will likely continue to use Benz’s 3.5-liter V-6, while the SL500 will utilize the company’s new 435-hp, 4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. AMG options will likely include a SL63 variant — which should pack a 565-hp, twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 — and a SL65, which will likely use a 630-hp, twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12.

Autoblog.nl also reports that the new car will be about 309 lbs lighter than the car it replaces. That’s no doubt thanks to the fact that this SL will be an aluminum-intensive vehicle. By weight, the new SL is about 89 percent aluminum.

Expect to see the SL debut in all its glory early next year.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Selasa, 13 Desember 2011

New Car: 2013 Bentley Continental GT V8

Old luxury brands tend to evolve at a snail’s pace, maybe because their (often old) buyers aren’t the most accepting of change. Nevertheless, survival of any carmaker depends on its appeal to varying generations, ultimately making change inevitable. Bentley took a gigantic step off the beaten path when it introduced its 12-cylinder “starter” Bentley, the Continental GT, in 2003. The swoopy coupe, which later spawned the GTC convertible and Flying Spur sedan, was hugely successful and is currently in its second generation (although it’s hard to tell by looking at it). Now, with world economies even closer to the brink of turmoil, Bentley is taking the next step in its evolution and introducing the entry-entry-level Bentley, the 2013 Continental GT and GTC V-8 models.

We reported a year ago during our first sampling of the second-generation 2012 Conti GT that a V-8–powered model with a lower price was in the works. While Bentley has yet to share what exactly that price will be (we figure on at least $10K less than the W-12 GT’s $195,495 base), the company has released most other details prior to the V-8’s debut at the 2012 Detroit auto show. Displacing 4.0 liters, the direct-injection, twin-turbo V-8 is a version of the mills found in Audi’s upcoming S6, S7, and S8. Here, the engine is tuned to produce 500 hp at 6000 rpm and 487 lb-ft of torque from 1700 to 5000 rpm. It will send power through an eight-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. The power numbers aren’t all that far from the 567 hp and 516 lb-ft produced by the twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12 currently in the Continental, and neither is Bentley’s prediction of a sub-five-second sprint to 60 mph and a top speed over 180 mph. Credit what we figure will be a slightly lower curb weight, which also will help improve fuel economy, but perhaps not as much as the new cylinder-deactivation system that transitions from eight- to four-cylinder mode under light loads.

A few subtle cues distinguish the V-8 car. In front, the most notable change is a mesh grille now rendered in black rather than chrome, plus a slightly revised lower fascia in which the three air inlets are now more evenly sized. In the rear, the chrome exhaust finishers resemble a figure eight and are connected by a black finishing panel. All of the Bentley “B” logos on the car front and back are surrounded by red paint rather than the traditional black.

A full list of options and standard equipment has yet to cross our desk, but we don’t expect a whole lot less on offer than what can be had in the existing Conti. We do know it’ll have an Eliade cloth headliner and a new Fiddleback Eucalyptus wood veneer, along with the option of two-tone leather seats. Twenty-inch wheels will be standard, with 21s an option.

With the V-8 Bentleys being so close in output to their 12-cylinder siblings, it’s entirely possible that the “lesser” (and lighter) model could become the sportier or even preferred one. We know it sounds pretty good and look forward to some time behind the wheel.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Senin, 12 Desember 2011

Recall Up Date: 2010 - 2011 Ford Fusion & Mercury Milan

Ford is recalling a number of Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan equipped with 17-inch steel wheels. Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into the vehicles following reports of defective wheels.

The Problem: Affected cars and wheels are subject to wheel stud fractures that may cause wheel vibrations. Additionally, the wheels may separate and cause the vehicle to crash.

The Fix: Ford has scheduled to start the recall on January 24, 2012. Dealers will inspect the wheel and rear brake disc and will replace all lug nuts. Customers can call Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332.

Number of Vehicles Affected: 128,616 vehicles with 17-inch steel wheels produced from April 1, 2009 to April 30, 2009 and from December 1, 2009 to November 13, 2010.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Minggu, 11 Desember 2011

New Car: 2013 BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe

It probably happens all the time. A BMW shopper stands frozen with indecision in the middle of a showroom. To his left sits the 5-series sedan. On his right, the 6-series coupe. The two share a platform and several powertrains, the 6 having more attractive sheetmetal, and the 5er being the practical choice. If only there were a product that took the average of these two, a sort of 5.5-series. Enter the 6-series Gran Coupe.

Previewed first by the Concept CS and more recently by the Concept Gran Coupe, this addition to the 6-series lineup swells a market sliver first split off by Mercedes’ CLS-class. Where the Gran Coupe differs from the CLS and the newcomer Audi A7 is in the rear seat: BMW calls its offering a 4+1, as the back row includes a third seat. It’s actually more of an armrest with a seatbelt; the center floor console continues all the way up to the bottom cushion’s edge. That ought to set the BMW apart in a now-crowded segment of stylish sedans. (It will certainly set middle passengers' legs apart, but we digress.)

The Gran Coupe rides on the 5-series’ 116.9-inch wheelbase (4.5 longer than the two-door 6’s), but is about four inches longer than a 5 sedan or 6 coupe and shares its width with its 6-series counterparts. It is nearly identical to the two-doors from the A-pillar forward, and its interior mimics those of the coupe and convertible, albeit with the different seating arrangement and more rear legroom. Per the usual style-over-practicality trade-off, expect less headroom back there than in the more traditional four-door 5-series.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Jumat, 09 Desember 2011

New Car: 2013 Luxgen 5

Taiwanese car manufacturer Luxgen says its first premium saloon, the Luxgen5, will be angled towards European buyers. The Luxgen5, which will be unveiled in April 2012, will be come with the choice of two turbocharged engines.

An all-new 2.0-litre unit will produce 170bhp and 188lb ft when coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission manufactured by the Japanese company AISIN. The car will cover 0-62mph in 8.48sec and has a top speed of 130mph. The second engine offering is a 1.8-litre that comes with a five-speed automatic gearbox and produces 150bhp and 170lb ft.

Luxgen worked with smartphone manufacturer HTC to develop the driver aids and multimedia systems on the Luxgen5. The car can be linked to smartphones using the Android operating system. The Think+ multimedia interface allows full mobile phone functionality to be controlled directly through a 9in smart touch screen on the central console.

The Luxgen5 also gets head-up display, lane departure warning system, blind-spot assist, satnav and Bluetooth connectivity.

Designed with global sales in mind, the Luxgen5’s chassis has had input from US engineering company, Altair. Athough Luxgen hasn’t confirmed whether the car will definitely go on sale to Britain, the fact that the car has undergone testing on a mixture of European and UK roads, including suspension configuration sessions at MIRA, suggests it is designed with this purpose in mind.

The Luxgen5 will make its public debut at the Taipei auto show next April.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: VW Plans to Release Range Rover Evoque Rival

Volkswagen is preparing to launch a Range Rover Evoque rival within the next three years, with the style-led SUV’s looks shown by the Cross Coupé concept unveiled at the Tokyo show. The compact SUV concept, which sits on the same platform as the next Audi A3 and VW Golf, was described by VW R&D boss Ulrich Hackenberg as “testing reaction” to the car.

“We think the SUV segment will grow, and the number of SUV variants will grow,” he said. “Customers are showing that they like SUVs with a sporty, muscular image, and especially because of the high seating position.” However, he conceded the car’s radical interior was less likely to make production than the exterior styling.

Hackenberg added the Cross Coupé would spawn several variants if it made production, including a more sporty three-door version. He also said the concept’s hybrid four-wheel drive system could make production in the longer term.

The system has an electric motor on each axle, giving the car four-wheel drive capability and a 24-mile electric range. Linked to a 1.4-litre petrol engine and seven-speed DSG gearbox, it is said to return a combined average of 104mpg with CO2 emissions of 65g/km.

Design boss Klaus Bischoff also confirmed that the Cross Coupé’s styling previewed VW’s future SUVs. In particular, the front-end treatment is expected to influence the new Tiguan. That range is also likely to include a new seven-seat SUV targeted at the US market. “The US needs such a car, as parents don’t always want to drive MPVs around when they need to transport their children,” said Hackenberg.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2013 Ferrari 599GTB 60F1

This is the Ferrari 599GTB 60F1 – a package of colour and trim options that celebrates 60 years of Prancing Horse victories in Formula One.

Available as part of Ferrari's Tailor Made Programme of customisation options, the '60F1' is available on the HGTE model, and involves modifications to both the car’s exterior and cabin with detailing, colours and materials inspired by the racing cars of Frolian Gonzalez and Fernando Alonso.

Ferrari scored its first ever F1 victory when Froilan Gonzalez and his 375 F1 racing car crossed the line at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 14th 1951. Ferrari then celebrated 60 years of F1 victories – also at the British Grand Prix – on July 10th 2011, with Fernando Alonso taking the chequered flag in his 150 Italia racing car.

A choice of three different paint liveries are available for the exterior. Buyers can choose from the Ferrari F150 Italia livery (above), which uses the same Scuderia 2011 red paint found on Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari F150 Italia racer. The package also features Formula One white on the lower part of the front bumpers, bonnet, A-pillars and buttresses. The tri-colour featured on the spoiler of the F150 is also represented on the rear.

The F150 Italia 2 livery is the same except white is used only on the lower part of the bumpers and there is no tricolour at the rear.

The 375 F1 livery is the simplest, featuring the same red as used on Froilan Gonzalez’s 375 F1 car –the same colour used by Ferrari for its very first Formula One cars. It is darker than modern day cars.

In addition, all models get the Scuderia Ferrari shield on front wheel arches painted the same colour as the racing cars, a satin-finish aluminium fuel cap and 20-inch diamond-finish forged alloy wheels.

Inside, the seats have Sabelt seatbelts and black Alcantara upholstery with the Scuderia Ferrari logo stitched into the headrests. The four-point safety harnesses are in the Red and Blue specified by FIA for the 2010-2011 Formula 1 Championship too.

Alutex – a material made of metallic fibres and fibreglass – is used on the dashboard and is both extremely tough and light. It has been given a matt finish that highlights its texture whilst preventing glare.

The cabin is also trimmed in black Alcantara too, while the dashboard gets a special silver plaque featuring the signatures of Froilan Gonzalez and Fernando Alonso. There's no word on price, but expect to pay around £245,000.For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

First Sketch: Smart For-Us Concept

In America it’s a case of ‘the bigger, the better’ when it comes to pick-up trucks, so this Smart For-Us concept is sure to raise a few eyebrows when it debuts at the Detroit Motor Show next month.

At just over 3.5 metres long it’s just under two metres shorter than America’s best-selling pick-up – the Ford F150. And while that model boasts a two metre-long loading bed, the Smart For-Us has a bed just half that length.

But the For-Us has a few tricks up its sleeve. That load bed has an in-built docking station for two electric smart e-bikes and there’s a tail-gate that opens and retracts electronically.

Power for the car itself comes from the same all-electric set-up used in the Smart EV. That means it produces 74bhp and 130Nm of torque.

Expect to see official pictures and details for the new concept released nearer to its debut in Detroit on the 12th January. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Renault Scenic

Renault has released the first pictures and details of its updated Scenic and Grand Scenic, with more efficient engines and some hi-tech equipment amongst the upgrades.

Changes to the exterior aren’t too drastic, but the headlights and front bumper have been slightly redesigned and there’s now the option of LED daytime running lights too. It’s a similar story at the rear, with tweaked lights and a reshaped bumper.

The big news underneath the bonnet concerns the new efficient range of Energy engines. Most impressive of all is the 1.6-litre Energy dCi, which produces 109bhp but just 105g/km of CO2 and can return up to 69mpg. A more powerful 128bhp version of this engine is also available claiming figures of 115g/km and 64mpg respectively.

A turbocharged 114bhp 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine replaces the old 109bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine in the range. It emits 135g/km and reduces fuel consumption by 20 per cent over the old unit.

Standard and optional equipment have both been improved, and all Scenic models now come with hill start assist whatever the trim level. Renault’s Visio system debuts on the Scenic as an optional extra, and includes lane departure warning and an automatic headlight function.

Renault hasn’t yet announced UK pricing or availability for the updated Scenic and Grand Scenic models but expect it to go on sale at the beginning of next year with a slightly inflated price-tag compared to the current car. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: VW Design Chief Confirms Audi Q4 & Q6

Confirming earlier rumors, an Audi official has said that the company will fight BMW’s successful X6 with a luxury coupe-crossover that could be called the Q6. According to Automotive News, Audi plans to launch a new vehicle positioned between the two-row Q5 and three-row Q7.

“We will definitely launch a sportier crossover in between the Q7 and Q5,” Volkswagen Group design chief Walter de’ Silva told Automotive News. He would not specify when the BMW X6 competitor will debut. The Q6 will probably be built on the same chassis as the larger Q7, but will have five seats and a lower, sloping roofline.

The Q6 will also get a more steeply raked windshield and a broader stance. Power choices should comprise a 220-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, a 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6, and a 252-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6. Though the Q6 could go on sale by 2013, we believe Audi could wait to launch the car until the next-generation Q5 debuts in 2016.

Audi also is reportedly considering a rival for the upcoming BMW X4, possibly called the Q4. If so, the new vehicle would slot between the Q3 and Q5 in Audi’s lineup. The X4, confirmed for production by BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer, is a sportier crossover based on the X3. It is expected to debut by 2014.

The Q4 would probably be a two-door affair, either designed a sporty on-road crossover or a masculine off-roader. It will probably use the same engine lineup as the Q6 — a 2.0-liter turbo-four, 3.0-liter turbo-V-6, and 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6. We believe it won’t debut until 2017.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2011 Nissan Juke

Nissan will launch a recall campaign for the quirky Juke crossover in order to address door locks that could freeze in cold weather, and engine boost-pressure sensors that could come loose.

The Problem: In cold weather, the locking mechanism for the Juke’s front doors can freeze, making it difficult to close the doors, or open them from the outside. At the same time, Nissan says that a boost-pressure sensor on turbocharged engines could come loose. If so, the sensor would provide incorrect readings and could cause the check engine light to illuminate.

The Fix: Nissan says the issues don’t pose safety concerns, and can easily be corrected at a dealership.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: Nissan says the freezing door issues affects vehicles in Japan, North American, and colder countries in Europe. The turbocharger issue affects vehicles in Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, South America, and Africa. Reuters reports that about 118,000 Jukes will be recalled globally. That means almost every Juke sold is affected — 41,497 examples of the car have been sold in the U.S. so far, and more than 51,000 copies have been sold in Europe.

Thanks to: Motor TrendLink

Sneak Peek: 2013 Dodge Dart

Dodge has pulled the sheet off of its new Alfa Romeo–based 2013 compact car and announced that it will be called Dart. Set to debut in January at the Detroit auto show, the Dart features three engines and three transmission options and aggressive styling reminiscent of the larger Charger. We’ve only got one question: How do you say “Dart” in Italian? Actually, it’s a three-part question: Wouldn’t you rather say “Demon” in Italian? Or “Hornet”?

If the resurrected Dart name had you daydreaming of late-1960s Mopar muscle, we’ll stop you right here. The 2013 Dart rides on a front-wheel-drive platform adapted from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Compared to the Giulietta, the Dart is wider and longer, its new architecture dubbed Compact U.S. Wide. Don’t let all of the air out of the Fun Balloon quite yet; the small Alfa is a fine driver’s car (you can read our drive of a 2010 Giulietta here).

The Dart’s appearance at least fulfills Dodge’s sportiness claims. The company released just two images of an up-level R/T model, but what’s visible is very Charger-like. The front wears a crosshair grille stuffed into a large, blacked-out cutout and flanked by swept-back headlights. The rear is basically a downsized rendition of the Charger’s, complete with a full-width LED taillight treatment and dual exhaust outlets. As opposed to many others in its segment—as well as its Caliber predecessor—the Dart will exist only as a four-door. Dodge has given no indication that a hatchback is in the works. An image of the interior will be released on December 13, according to a mini-site set up for the Dart, but our spy photographers already took a peek inside.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 07 Desember 2011

Tokyo Show 2011 Highlights: 2013 Toyota Aqua

The Toyota Aqua is the JDM name for the Toyota Prius c – it’s essentially a compact hatchback with a Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system. It measures less than four metres long with a 2,550mm wheelbase – the same as that of a Toyota Vios.

To suit its downsized dimensions, Toyota has also reengineered the HSD system. For usage in the Aqua/Prius c, it is more compact and lighter, with a reduced displacement. As opposed to the 1.8 litre and 2.4 litre systems in the Prius and the Camry Hybrid, the Aqua uses a HSD system based around a smaller 1.5 litre engine.

Toyota claims a fuel efficiency of 35.4 km/L under the JC08 test cycle and 40.0 km/L under MLIT 10-15 test cycle, which are some very impressive numbers. Now that the government has extended the hybrid car tax breaks, will UMW Toyota Motor offer the rest of the Prius family such as this Toyota Aqua in Malaysia? Not everyone needs the space offered by a Prius – a more affordable Prius could go head to head against the Honda Insight.

Thanks to: Paultan

Tokyo Show 2011 Highlights: Audi A1 Samurai Blue Concept

Here’s something that should tug the hearts of Japanese soccer fans attending the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. It’s called the Audi A1 Samurai Blue and its wild paint job – blue and white with red accents — mimics the uniform of Japan’s national soccer team.

Additionally, the unique A1’s name is a spin on the team’s nickname, “Blue Samurai.” Audi’s marketing team picked the perfect time for its creation following a good soccer season for Japan. The men’s team is the current reigning Asian champion. The women, however, are the bigger stars in the country following their championship title in the World Soccer Cup, which took place in Audi’s home country of Germany.

The A1 Samurai Blue will be a one-off model and Audi will give a portion of the profits to charity. It’s powered by Audi’s 1.4-liter, TSFI, inline-four rated at 122 hp. Other unique touches include 18-inch, polygonal rims and a leather interior with blue accent stitching. While this particular A1 will go home to one lucky owner, Audi plans to release a limited edition version based on the Samurai Blue’s design.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Tokyo Show 2011 Highlights: Toyota FS Hybrid Concept

The Kanto Auto Works currently builds over 360,000 copies of 10 different car models for Toyota, one of which is the old-school, chrome-bumpered, chauffeur-driven Century. This V-12-powered ’60s Yank-tank design dribbles out at a rate of one per day for consumption by only the biggest of Japan’s big cheeses.

The company also assists Toyota with some engineering projects, and the FS Hybrid concept making its debut in Tokyo may just be one such project. Company reps were tight lipped, and refused to acknowledge the car’s obvious stylistic link with the vintage Century, but that’s all it can possibly be. The V-12 engine is most likely replaced by the hybrid drivetrain from the Lexus LS600h, but here again we are limited to conjecture.

Dimensions of the concept were also undisclosed, but if we were to hazard a guess, we’d say it’s a bit wider and taller, but possibly shorter in length. We’d love to know what the Japanese press makes of this car. The original has seen so little change in the many decades it has been in production, that the Century faithful may view this wholesale redesign as sacrilege. We’re all for change, as long as it’s still available in black and dark blue.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Tokyo Show 2011 Highlights: Toray Teewave AR1 Concept

Up in the supplier hall of the Tokyo Motor Show, Toray (motto “innovation by chemistry”) showed off a quite fetching concept car built to show off its carbon-fiber monocoque technology, dubbed TEEWAVE AR1 (Toray Eco Efficient Wave Advanced Roadster 1).

The Gordon Murray Design bodywork looks like it could be a reskin of a Lotus Elise, but it’s all bespoke and considerably lighter (1865 lb). It’s also a pure electric, powered by a 47-hp/133-lb-ft electric motor and a 16-kW-hr lithium-ion battery pack that can scoot the TEEWAVE to 62 mph in a reportedly leisurely 11 seconds on its way to a 91-mph top speed. Range is said to be 115 miles.

The most interesting part of the car, though, are the 3-piece, carbon-fiber tub (which supposedly has a 10-minute curing cycle time), and the energy-absorbing carbon-fiber front crush box. Hopefully the stylish skin helps gain Toray some notice for this promising weight-saving tech.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Tokyo Show 2011 Highlights: Suzuki Q Concept

Need something quirkier? That's where the Q-concept comes in. The Q - which apparently draws its name from its exterior form -- is described as a new kind of mobility that's "positioned between motorcycles and cars." Designed primarily for urban use, the car is only 8.2-feet long, is purportedly "ideal for trips under 10 km." Tandem seating for two is provided, though Suzuki says the smaller rear seat can be folded flat to provide enough cargo space for use as a delivery vehicle.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Selasa, 06 Desember 2011

Tokyo Show 2011 Highlights: 2013 Subaru BRZ

The Subaru BRZ production car has been officially unveiled at the Tokyo motor show, and the man behind the sports coupé has promised that it will offer "pure driving pleasure".

Toshio Masuda, Subaru product planning senior general manager, who led the development of the BRZ, has spoken about the challenges of creating the joint project with Toyota.

Masuda said: “The car you see here will make it to Europe with no changes. We’ve always had all-wheel drive and a turbo, so this is a new brand image for us. The packaging of the car is ideal to show off the best of the boxer engine."

According to the Masuda, the Subaru BRZ will remain in production for a long time in various guises: “Subaru is a sports brand. We first want to show you the base for BRZ and it will have a long life cycle and will consider future derivatives. There will be no turbo though.

“When you drive the car you will be surprised at just how good the handling and steering feel is.”

The BRZ is mechanically identical to the Toyota GT 86, which was revealed earlier this week, but has different body work and a different, more stripped down interior.

The BRZ is 4240mm long, 1775 mm wide and 1300 mm) high. The ‘boxer’ engine in the BRZ has been installed as low as possible, enabling the car to feature a low hood and sleek roofline. The hexagonal lower front grille, hawk eye headlights and fin-shaped fog lamps are designed to evoke other cars in the Subaru family.

Subaru UK has also recently confirmed that the BRZ - short for Boxer, engine, Rear-drive, Zenith - will come to the UK next spring, although the adverse exchange rate of the Yen versus the Pound is forecast to keep prices high and limit sales to around 500 cars a year in the UK.

Thanks to: Autocar

Tokyo Show 2011 Highlights: Mazda Takeri Concept

The Mazda Takeri is the company's vision for the next-generation Mazda 6 saloon, due on sale in around 18 months time. Only door handles, wheels, and wing mirrors will change for production.

The handsome Takeri saloon sports the firm’s new ‘Kodo – Soul of Motion’ design language, also seen on the CX-5. The result is a much bolder look than the current-generation 6 saloon, complete a more distinctive treatment front grille and slim, technical headlights, crisper lines and a more coupe-like profile. There also appears to be a Jaguar XF inspiration for the rear styling, particularly with the lights and brightwork across the boot.

The new saloon will benefit from the full array of SkyActiv technology, which includes new highly efficient petrol and diesel engines, compact, lightweight automatic and manual transmissions, new suspension systems and a new modular steel platform.

Interior shots reveal an Apple-style minimalistic premium look and feel for the driver-orientated four-seat cabin. A BMW i-Drive style rotary controller has also been adopted instead of more traditional controls.

Mazda chief Takashi Yamanouchi believes the concept is a showcase for the potential of the Japanese manufacturer’s technology. "It embodies SkyActiv, as efficient as a hybrid without any electrification," he said. "It is a symbol of what we can achieve with our plans. It is about driving pleasure and efficiency.”

The concept is powered by the new SkyActiv-D 173bhp, 310lb ft 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine. Its lightweight, low friction design, together with the lowest compression ratio of any production diesel engine and clever new stop-start and regenerative braking systems, results in CO2 emissions of just 104g/km and “excellent” fuel economy. This engine is mated to a new torque convertor automatic gearbox, which offers economy similar to that of a manual.

The SkyActiv technology is designed to allow Mazda to prosper as an independent car maker after its split from Ford, and to future-proof the company from strict future emissions regulations. It will appear in a production car for the first time in the Mazda CX-5 when it goes on sale in spring 2012.

The Mazda 6 will be the second car to be spun off the lighter, stiffer SkyActiv platform. This steel spaceframe is made in small sections so it can be easily scaled up or down to underpin anything from a Mazda 3 family hatchback to a full-size CX-9 SUV.

Thanks to: Autocar

Tokyo Show 2011 Highlights: Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept

Subaru is previewing its next-generation Subaru Legacy with this new Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept, which has been shown at the Tokyo motor show. It has been launched in Tokyo alongside the final production version of the Subaru BRZ coupe and an ‘ultimate’ version of the Subaru Impreza WRX STI called S206.

The Legacy-previewing estate concept is at the forefront of Subaru’s engine downsizing strategy, featuring a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder boxer engine mated to an electric motor. The set-up is claimed to offer the same power output of its 2.5-litre boxer unit, but with much improved CO2 emissions and fuel economy. Latest versions of Subaru’s CVT gearbox and trademark all-wheel drive system also feature.

The concept is able to travel on power from its lithium-ion battery pack alone over short distances. Regenerative braking is another addition to boost the economy.

The 4580mm long, 1840mm wide and 1430mm Advanced Tourer features Subaru’s new ‘Confidence in Motion’ design language, first seen on the Impreza concept at last year’s LA show.

The concept’s interior previews the future of Subaru’s interior designs, featuring high-quality woods and metals and a large monitor built into the steering wheel that displays maps and internet services.

Thanks to: Autocar

Tokyo Show 2011 Highlights: Nissan Juke Nismo Concept

The Nissan Juke Nismo Concept, revealed here at the Tokyo motor show, is a Nismo-fettled more powerful, more focused version of the compact crossover. Company sources have revealed to Autocar there is a desire to bring a production version to Europe.

“The future for Nismo is to develop premium sports designs for an ever-widening range of customers,” said Nismo boss Shoichi Miyatani. “Our forthcoming range of cars will be just as accessible and innovative as every Nissan product, but with added Nismo energy they will be even more fun to own and drive."

Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn said: “Nismo will drive creation of performance vehicles for Nissan. The Juke is creating its own market segment and is a strong starting point for Nismo. Nismo moves to a new facility close to Nissan's core research and developments operations next year and will become a centre of excellence for racing and performance models.”

Nissan is remaining coy on the exact power and performance details of the concept, but has said that the turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol unit will be retuned to give more power.

The Juke has also been lowered and stiffened by Nismo engineers. There are also new 19in alloys and larger tyres, plus a race car-inspired aerodynamic body kit. Improved handling and an increase in grip are the sum of these parts, according to Nissan.

The concept is finished in Nismo's signature pearl White colour scheme with red accents. The interior has also undergone an overhaul, with additions including a new style of steering wheel and pedals, aimed at bolstering driver appeal.

Thanks to: Autocar

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