Sabtu, 26 Februari 2011

New Car: 2012 Tata Indica V2 Turbomax

Tata Motors will soon launch a powerful diesel version of its Indica hatch, called the Indica V2 Turbomax. The diesel hatch will also adhere to the stricter BSIV emission norms.

The new 1405cc CR4 diesel motor will develop a healthy 70bhp and 13.7kgm of max torque. As per the car manufacturer claims, the new Indica V2 Turbomax will be India’s most fuel efficient car with 46percent improvement on fuel efficiency over the older Indica V2.

The Indica V2 Turbomax will sport bigger 14inch wheels, fresh exterior and interior looks and come loaded with added features. At present, the Indica V2 diesel is powered by a 1396cc unit producing 52bhp and 8.5kgm of max torque. This gives the new Indica V2 Turbomax a power boost of 32percent and 65percent increase in torque as compared to the older V2.

Official prices of the Indica V2 Turbomax are yet to be announced, but be ready to pay a small premium over the Indica V2 prices. The new Indica V2 Turbomax will hit the showrooms by the first week of March 2011.

Thanks to: Autocar India

New Concept Car: De Tomaso SLS

The model that will relaunch De Tomaso at next week’s Geneva motor show will be this Pininfarina-designed BMW 5-series GT-rivalling luxury crossover concept, dubbed SLS.

Former Fiat marketing executive Gian Mario Rossignolo will present De Tomaso’s new SLS (meaning sport luxury sedan) at the Geneva show and the Italian is also planning to launch new coupé and luxury saloon models.

De Tomaso went bankrupt seven years ago. Rossignolo purchased it from a bankruptcy court in November 2009.

He signed a deal with Pininfarina a month later to rent its Grugliasco plant near Turin, having previously failed to acquire Bertone’s coachbuliding facilities. The SLS, which will be renamed for production, is going to be put together at the Grugliasco plant from 2012, with Rossignolo planning an annual production run of 3000 units.

The plant has an assembly line, body shop and paint shop and employs 900 people. Planned production of the luxury saloon is 3000 units, while 2000 units of the coupé will be made.

All will be built on an aluminium chassis using an innovative construction technique known as Univis, full details of which will be revealed at Geneva by Rossignolo.

In production, the all-wheel-drive SLC will be offered with 542bhp V8 and 296bhp V6 petrol engines and a 247bhp V6 diesel.

Rossignolo is investing 116 million euros (£98m) in the project. The LC is pictured here in these teaser images ahead of its full reveal at Geneva.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Opel/Vauxhall Astra Cabriolet Gets Green Light

It’s official! Vauxhall has confirmed that it will build a convertible version of the Astra that will hit the road in 2013.

The new Cabrio is part of the company’s €11 billion investment pledge announced a year ago as part of its plan for the future, which also includes the all-new Zafira and the Ampera range extender. 2013 is also the year when Vauxhall’s junior city car is scheduled to arrive.

Just as with the previous Astra TwinTop convertible, the new cabrio will use the underpinnings of the current five-door Astra and SportsTourer and will be built at Opel’s Gliwice plant in Poland, alongside other Astra models.

“The new Convertible will be a great addition to our product lineup,” said Vauxhall boss Nick Reilly. “It follows the long-standing tradition of highly emotional and legendary Opel/Vauxhall Cabrios that provided important halo effects on our brand. With its sleek and elegant design, our new Convertible will fully deliver on that same promise.”

Further details, such as the car’s name, price and spec, will be announced closer to launch. This will also include whether the car will continue with a folding metal hard top roof, of revert to a canvas top. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback

General Motors is continuing its drive to build up the Chevrolet brand in Europe, and its new Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback is one of cars it is hoping will help with the effort. These are the first official photos of the production version of the Cruze hatch, which is making its debut at next week’s 2011 Geneva auto show.

GM says the Cruze hatch will launch with a new range of engines, likely meaning a mix of f gasoline and diesel I-4s introduced on the Cruze and Europe-only Orlando MPV. This is evidenced by GM’s confirmation that the range-topping turbodiesel unit will be the same 160-horsepower, 2.0-liter I-4 as in the Orlando coupled to a six-speed manual transmission.

European sales are scheduled to start this summer. While we’re unlikely to see this car in the States anytime soon, we wouldn’t bet against it possibly coming here at some point, especially when considering its main U.S. rival, the 2012 Ford Focus, is available in both hatch and sedan body styles.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Jumat, 25 Februari 2011

Spied: 2012 Chevrolet Beat Diesel

These fresh undisguised pictures show the new Chevrolet Beat diesel being tested which will be launched sometime later this year. The car was spotted testing by our reader Abhinavgiri Goswami near Fatehgunj, Vadodara.

The Beat diesel will be powered by the much-anticipated 936cc three-cylinder common-rail diesel engine which is basically Fiat’s 1.3 Multijet unit minus one cylinder. This means it has a good crack at being really impressive. It is expected to produce 57bhp and an impressive 14.52kgm of torque.

If GM can give the car good driveability and reasonable performance, it will split the market wide open. Fantastic fuel economy and very low running costs can be expected, a significant advantage in this segment, if you take into account the Beat’s chic styling and fantastic interiors.

Earlier this month, GM had launched the LPG version of the Beat and will soon introduce the hatch with a new 1.2-litre SMARTECH petrol engine as well. With the new 1-litre TCDi motor, Beat will be the first in its segment to sport a diesel motor and this can further boost its sales – the hatch is selling around 3000 units per month.

Expect the Beat diesel to be priced at around Rs 4 – 4.60 lakh (estimated ex-showroom prices).

Thanks to: Autocar India

New Concept Car: Opel/Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

FOR years, Vauxhall has sold only one seven-seater model. But now, the line-up is set to expand. These are the first official pictures of the Zafira Tourer Concept – a plush new Ford S-MAX-rivalling people carrier that makes its debut at this week’s Geneva Motor Show.

And Auto Express can reveal that this is precisely how the final production model will look when it hits dealers in September to 
sit above the current Zafira.

Up front are the boomerang-style headlight clusters first seen on the Ampera hybrid, along with Vauxhall’s new single-bar grille. And another design feature seen in the firm’s latest models is the ‘blade’ crease in the side panels.

Interior flexibility and comfort are key to MPV buyers, though, and no expense has been spared in this respect. The cabin is 
bathed in light by a panoramic screen which flows seamlessly into a full-length glass roof.

Plus, Vauxhall’s Flex7 seating layout has evolved. At the push of a button, the centre seat in the middle row folds to reveal a pair of armrests in the outer chairs. These seats can then slide back and towards each other to increase space, while extending footrests enhance comfort further. There’s also pair of Apple iPads mounted on pivots in the rear, although these are unlikely 
to make it to production.

Under the bonnet, the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine is equipped with stop-start. FlexRide adaptive dampers also feature, hinting that the Zafira Tourer will deliver a new level of driver appeal when it appears in showrooms. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Fiat 500 Gucci

Fancy the ultimate fashion accessory? This is the 500 by Gucci. The tiny city car has been given a makeover by Gucci’s creative director Frida Giannini to celebrate the fashion firm’s 90th birthday,

There are two models to choose from, either in black or white, with bumper trim, wing mirror caps and shoulderline all highlighted in chrome. Black cars get an interior trimmed in black and white, while white cars get black interior trim.

Special Gucci-branded 16-inch alloys which hide green-painted brake calipers are complimented by Gucci script on the B-pillar and bootlid. Gucci’s trademark green-red-green stripe along the car’s side and on the seats, carpets, keyfob and even seatbelts.

Based on the 100bhp 1.4-litre petrol powered model, the 500 by Gucci made its debut on the opening day of Milan fashion week, and will also be shown at Geneva Motor Show as part of a Gucci pop-up store on the Fiat stand.

The car will then be displayed around the world before going on sale here in July. UK prices are yet to be set, but the 500 by Gucci costs from €17,000 (£14,500) in Italy.

Alongside the car’s launch, Gucci has also created a fashion collection, which includes travel accessories, leather goods, clothes, sunglasses and a watch, which will be available in select Gucci stores from April. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Spyker Sells Sport Car Division

Spyker has signed a memorandum of understanding to sell its supercar business to CPP Global Holdings, a coachbuilding company based in Coventry.

The purchase price of €32million (£27million) is split - €15million (£12.7 million) is payable straight away, with the remainder to set to follow over a six-year earn-out period.

CPP is a coachbuilding company with a workforce of 250 automotive specialist designers, technicians and craftsmen. Vladimir Antonov, the Russian billionaire who is also the major shareholder in the Snoras Bank, owns CPP and had already signed a deal to build the firm’s new C8 Aileron supercar.

The deal ensures investment in the Spyker supercar brand, while also enhancing Antonov’s relationship with SAAB’s boss Victor Muller.

Antonov has also been rumoured to be planned to invest in the promoters of the World Rally Championship, securing the investment in the firm to develop and expand its coverage. As a long-time SAAB lover, it is believed that Antonov’s investment in North One is a precursor to SAAB entering the WRC with a car based on the forthcoming 9-1. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Kamis, 24 Februari 2011

Unofficial Picture: ItalDesign Volkswagen Concept 2

Italdesign is preparing to show two ideas for small Volkswagens at next week’s Geneva motor show, judging from this series of patent images that have leaked onto the internet.

The two cars are a rakish three-door and a more upright five-door. The first of the pair looks like a prospective study for a replacement for the current Scirocco. It has a full-length panoramic glass roof and its front end is dominated by a particularly slim headlight and grille treatment.

The five-door’s upright stance makes it more likely to be a Polo replacement - or even a larger development of VW’s forthcoming Up vehicles. The car features a slimline front grille treatment that’s similar to that of the three-door concept, an angular waistline and a large glasshouse enhanced by a panoramic roof.

VW has yet to comment on the renderings. But given that the firm now owns Italdesign, and that the cars feature prominent Volkswagen branding, the reaction at Geneva could well affect the future styling direction of Golf, Polo and Scirocco.

Thanks to: Autocar

Unofficial Picture: ItalDesign Volkswagen Concept 1

Italdesign is preparing to show two ideas for small Volkswagens at next week’s Geneva motor show, judging from this series of patent images that have leaked onto the internet.

The two cars are a rakish three-door and a more upright five-door. The first of the pair looks like a prospective study for a replacement for the current Scirocco. It has a full-length panoramic glass roof and its front end is dominated by a particularly slim headlight and grille treatment.

There’s a deep scallop in the door, drawn from what looks like a small vent at the rear of the front wheel arch. The car also features a ‘pinstripe’ of colour that runs from front wing to the edge of the tail.

Italdesign - the firm of Giorgetto Giugiaro, the designer of the original Golf and Scirocco - is also using both cars to experiment with ‘panels’ (plastics, most likely) within the glass area. The coupé study has a spoiler in the middle of the rear hatch, while the five-door also gets a pronounced strip that floats within the side glass and houses a small camera instead of a side mirror.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2012 Saab 9-3 Convertible Independence Edition

SAAB has built itself a one-year anniversary present! But instead of the traditional paper gift, the firm has gone to town on a special version of the 9-3 Convertible.

Called the Independence Edition, the newcomer features a unique, Amber Orange metallic paint finish and 18-inch alloys. New leather seats, carbon-look trim and an orange-stitched leather steering wheel complete the tweaks.

One powertrain is available, the 180bhp 1.9-litre TTiD diesel engine, hooked up to a six-speed automatic gearbox. Just 366 examples will be produced, one for each day during the first year and one extra for the start of a second year. Only 80 of these vehicles will be produced for the UK. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet

After months of teasing and speculation, Volkswagen has finally released the first details and images of its all-new Golf Cabriolet — its first in nearly eight years — prior to an official launch at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.

Since it is based upon the MkVI Golf, the new Golf Cabriolet largely resembles a two-door Golf with a missing top. Designers did take the opportunity to slightly restyle the front end of the car, blessing it with a tweaked grille, LED daytime running lamps, and a steeper windshield rake. The interior is virtually identical to those used in standard Golf models, although one longtime Cabrio hallmark — the fixed “basket handle” roll bar — has been eliminated in favor of a pop-up device.

Unlike VW’s other Golf-based convertible — the Eos — the Golf Cabriolet utilizes a traditional folding soft top. According to the automaker, the electro-hydraulic power top can be raised or lowered in just 9.5 seconds, and at speeds up to 18mph.

In Europe, Volkswagen will offer the Golf Cabriolet with a plethora of engines, including a 1.2-liter and a 1.4-liter I-4, along with a 1.6-liter turbo-diesel I-4. The Golf TDI’s 140-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo-diesel I-4 is also available, but buyers seeking GTI-like performance can always opt for the gasoline 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, which places nearly 210 horsepower on tap.

Production is scheduled to begin in Onsabruck, Germany (ironically, in the former Karmann plant that previously built earlier Golf Cabrios) later this year, but Volkswagen’s plans for the car in North America are still unknown. If the next-generation Beetle continues to be offered in a convertible guise, it may prove hard to squeeze three different drop-tops — Beetle, Golf, and Eos — into a single portfolio.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Saab 9-3

An all-new Saab 9-3 is still several years away, but in the meantime, the newly independent Swedish automaker will unveil a revised 2012 9-3 line at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

What’s new? Let’s start underhood. Power continues to be provided by a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, but the General Motors-sourced engines receive variable valve timing, direct fuel injection, twin-scroll turbochargers, and E85 capability for the 2012 model year. Top-end Aero models are rated at 210 horsepower, but engines fitted to entry-level Turbo4 cars see their output dialed back to 163 horsepower. Both forms, however, can be paired with either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission, and can be coupled with Saab’s Haldex-sourced XWD all-wheel-drive system. We’ve been given no word yet on fuel economy ratings, but the outgoing 2.0-liter turbo had a combined EPA city/highway rating between 20 and 24 mpg, depending on transmission and drivetrain.

Outside of the engine compartment, the modest upgrades are sprinkled about the car to visually bring the 9-3 into line with the new 9-5 and 9-4x. Up front, the 2012 9-3 receives new trapezoidal lower air intakes, a larger Saab script logo, and blue-tinted headlamps. The rear end receives a script emblem in place of the company’s traditional griffin logo, while sedan models receive a standard decklid spoiler across the board. 16-inch wheels are standard across the line, although XWD models do receive 17-inch rims. Buyers will have a choice of new optional 17- and 18-inch wheels, including some patterned after the 9-5’s turbine design.

Inside, the 9-3’s cabin receives either titanium metallic or graphite fiber dash trim, depending on Turbo4 or Aero model specification. In addition to the current two-tone black and parchment leatherette seats, Saab has added a new shark grey seat fabric for the Turbo4, and irregularly ribbed grey leather skins for Aero models.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Rabu, 23 Februari 2011

New Car; 2011 Nissan Micra Dig-S

Nissan has revealed its supercharged Micra Dig-S ahead of its official launch at the Geneva motor show next week.

The Dig-S – or Direct Injection Gasoline-Supercharger – features a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder supercharged engine with stop-start system and produces 98bhp and 105lb ft of torque – "the same power expected from a conventional 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine," according to Nissan.

When mated to the manual ‘box, the Dig-S will reach a top speed of 112mph and achieve 68.9mpg with emissions of just 95g/km. The CVT variant will be less frugal, emitting 115g/km of CO2.

Sales for the Micra Dig-S start in the summer this year.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2012 Aston Martin Virage

Call it a spicier DB9, or a medium strength DBS... Aston Martin has exploited the middle ground between its two V12-powered coupés and resurrected a famous name of old to create a brand new model.

The new Virage offers the best compromise between the refined cruising ability of the DB9 and sporty prowess of the DBS, according to the firm – and updates features from both. Power is from Aston’s hand-built 6.0-litre V12. It delivers exactly 20bhp more than a DB9 and 20bhp less than a DBS, at 490bhp, and drives the rear wheels through a six-speed auto box.

The engine also features a new exhaust manifold for an even more intoxicating sound, and develops its 570Nm of torque low down in the rev range for maximum driveability. Beneath the skin is the aluminium VH architecture that underpins all modern Astons, while the Virage gets newly developed adaptive dampers. These offer five different stiffness settings in normal mode, and five more when owners press the Sport button on the dashboard.

This also sharpens throttle response, holds on to gears for longer and speeds up shifts. Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard, too. Striking xenon lights help to distinguish the Virage from other Astons, while there’s a five-bar aluminium grille – inspired by the One-77 hypercar – and a cleaner front bumper, with a single lower grille in place of the DB9’s three-part element.

Also fitted are fresh sills, 20-inch alloys and side vents with a chrome highlight that extends on to the doors. A new rear diffuser completes the look. Inside, the Virage gets upgraded leather seats, and Aston has finally responded to criticism of its ageing Volvo-sourced sat-nav and replaced it with the latest integrated Garmin.

Heated seats, a 700W stereo and Bluetooth hands-free also feature. The Coupé comes as a 2+2, or with a storage shelf instead of rear seats to save weight. A Volante drop-top is also available. Prices will be confirmed at next week’s Geneva Motor Show, but are expected to split the DB9 and DBS, starting at £150,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: Renault R-Space Concept

The secret new Scenic has been exposed! Renault engineers had managed to keep their R-Space concept under wraps... until now. But our spies have scooped the people carrier just days before it makes its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

This striking bronze model was snapped during filming for a promotional video. It’s one of two concepts that will grace the Renault stand – the other is the Nissan Juke-rivalling Captur, revealed just a week ago.

The R-Space is the third of six concepts the firm plans to reveal over the coming months – a run that started with the debut of the DeZir sports car at last autumn’s Paris expo. These models are the work of new design chief Laurens van der Acker, and will dictate the look of Renault’s future product line-up.

Cues such as the large badge, a grille that narrows towards the car’s front corners and swept-back headlights will all grace the next Clio, Mégane and Scenic. The R-Space previews the latter.

Although it will be toned down considerably before it reaches dealers, it shows how Renault is set to get bolder with its people carriers. Curvy body panels give extra muscle, and the steeply raked windscreen gives a sporty stance. Added flair comes from the dramatic flowing shoulder line.

Designers will also inject a sporty feel into the newcomers’ interiors. In a bid to make the company’s MPVs exciting to drive again – rather than simply vehicles for taking people from A to B – the dashboards will be much more focused. Full details and more clues to the look and engineering of Renault’s future people carriers will be announced at the R-Space’s Geneva launch. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Skoda to Show New Design at Geneva Show 2011

Skoda celebrated its best ever year in 2010, but the Czech firm has set itself the ambitious goal of doubling its sales by 2018. And to do this, the Geneva show will host the unveiling of a new concept car.

The as-yet unnamed concept sets out the firm’s new design language that will dictate the look of the next generation models of its current line-up, plus a Skoda version of VW’s Up! city car. According to Skoda, it “boasts clearly defined shapes and a great sense of detail.”

The concept will also feature Skoda’s new logo, which will feature on all of its cars by 2012. As well as its cars, the firm is promising that the design and layout of its showrooms are going to be substantially modernised, too.

Alongside its concept and regular range, Skoda will also unveiled the Fabia Monte Carlo special-edition which celebrates the firm’s 110th year of motorsport. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2012 Peugeot 208

Peugeot’s new lion has been caught in the cold! This is the replacement for the 207, snapped testing in the snows of northern Finland.

And while these first shots don’t give much away, the 208 will feature a significantly different look to its predecessor as the firm aims to give the car much more interior space.

This is given away by the fact that the wheelbase has been stretched, with the front and rear wheels much closer to the corners of the car, and the A-pillar of this five-door car has been moved forwards.

Peugeot is also planning to up the perceived quality of its Fiesta fighter, with a design that borrows heavily from the firm’s SR1 and HR1 concepts and a more upmarket interior.

In addition to the three- and five-door hatchbacks, the 208 range will also include an SW estate and hard-top convertible, while the firm is also considering a Juke-rivalling small SUV and a small coupe, like the RCZ.

A sharper drive is also on the menu, as the firm bids to reconnect with its reputation for sharp driving hot hatchbacks established by the 205 GTI. Three- and four-cylinder engines will provide the power when the car arrives next year. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

First Sketch: Volvo V60 PHEV Concept

We already knew that Volvo would be showing its production-ready 2012 V60 Plug-In Hybrid at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, but the automaker released the first official photos and information on its semi-electric wagon earlier this morning.

Developed in partnership with European energy company Vattenfall, the V60 was developed in parallel with the automaker’s forthcoming C30 Electric, but that’s about where the similarities stop. The V60 sports all-wheel-drive, but allocates a 215-horsepower, 2.4-liter turbo-diesel I-5 to power the front wheels, while a 70-horsepower electric motor propels the rear axle. A 12-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is also integrated into the system.

How that powertrain is used is left entirely to the driver’s discretion. Three different drive modes — including one that renders the V60 as a pure electric vehicle — are selectable from behind the wheel. The so-called Pure method allows for up to 31 miles of pure EV driving. The conventional hybrid mode blends both power sources together to provide the most economical means of driving. A power mode combines both engine and electric motor to provide full power, and subsequently, all-wheel-drive.

In full power mode, the V60 PHEV can sprint from 0-62 mph in 6.9 seconds, but opting for the more efficient hybrid mode can allow up to 745 miles of travel before refueling the tank and recharging the battery. Volvo expects charging time to range from as little as three hours when using a 16-amp, 240-volt charger, to 7.5 hours when using a 230-volt, 6-amp supply — much like a conventional European household outlet. The car can also be pre-cooled or pre-warmed during charging, with those settings controlled either in the setup menu within the car in the car or via a mobile phone application.

The V60 Plug-In Hybrid is expected to launch in Europe sometime next year, and both pricing and rollout timing may be discussed next week at its Geneva debut. Executives have suggested the V60 PHEV may reach U.S. shores, but if it does, it may not retain the diesel engine. The swap could compromise range, but appeal to buyers in a traditionally diesel-unfriendly market.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Unofficial Picture: 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

As is so common these days, Lamborghini has carefully scheduled the release of photos and information pertaining to its upcoming Geneva debut, the long-awaited Murcielago successor. Unfortunately for Lambo, the automaker’s teaser images have just been usurped by this leaked frontal shot that leaves very little left to the imagination.

The photo, reputed to have been leaked from the pages of Evo Magazine Croatia, shows clear Reventon influence with an angular, jutting front fascia. Still overall, the body contours of the so-called Aventador LP700-4 are much more rounded than that of the Murcielago it replaces, while also appearing significantly wider. Just one frontal image has been revealed so far, and no official specs have been dropped.

All we know so far is that the car, likely to be the most advanced in Lamboghini history, will feature race-inspired pushrod-style front suspension, a curb weight of just 3472 lbs, and a 691-horsepower, 6.5-liter V-12 engine to push it all around with. As for the rest of the details, along with more photos, we’re still in the dark.

That means you’ll have to stay tuned for our live coverage of the Geneva Motor Show March 1 and 2 for the full scoop on this carbon-fiber-bodied, road rocket.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Cadillac ATS Goes Convertible

The convertible version of Cadillac’s 2014 3 Series-fighter, being designed under the codename ATS, will be a soft top, rather than a folding hardtop model. While the current BMW 3 Series convertible has a folding metal top, Cadillac’s decision saves money, complexity, and weight while lending the car a classic ragtop look. The ATS, a rear-drive car that will be smaller than the current Cadillac CTS, will be offered in sedan, coupe, convertible, and wagon body styles. It’s unlikely that all body styles will be offered when the car is launched some time in ’13, and the wagon may be offered in Europe only, depending on the sales success of the current CTS Sportwagon.

There has been a lot of speculation on what engine a Cadillac ATS-v (not its final name) would have. We’ve heard Cadillac is considering a twin-turbo 3.2-liter V-6, though recent reports suggest it will be the CTS-v’s supercharged 6.2-liter small-block V-8, making 470 horsepower. The 3.2-liter engine would be based on the V-6 GM developed with Fiat for Alfa Romeo models, reoriented to a longitudinal layout for the RWD Caddy.

The ATS-v may be a ’14 model, but we’ll predict that, like the CTS-v, it will launch up to a year after the standard ATS, as a ’15. That gives Cadillac a bit more time to decide between the two engines. Because it’s an overhead valve engine, the supercharged small block would fit and wouldn’t add too much weight to the ATS while competing with Mercedes AMG models. The twin-turbo V-6, though, would compete more directly with the next-generation M3 in terms of balancing power and responsible fuel efficiency.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Jaguar XKR-S

Jaguar has been promising for some time that it would use this year’s Geneva auto show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its iconic E-type. Many expected this nod to the company’s heritage would include the announcement of a new small sports car. That is not the vehicle you see here. This is the 2012 XKR-S, and it proves that someone decided to make the XKR very angry. The thing looks as if it’s been raised in the wild. By a pack of badly behaved race cars with an obsession for body jewelry.

On the subject of heritage, it should be noted that this is not the first time Jag has used these four letters in a row. The company brought a 550-hp XK-RS concept with a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 to the 2004 Chicago show. And then in 2009, Jaguar built a run of 200 XKR-S models for European customers, giving the cars unique appearance bits but no additional power. The 2012 XKR-S happens to combine traits of both cars: the engine is a hopped-up version of the XKR’s supercharged 5.0-liter, and the car takes aesthetic crazy to new levels.

The 5.0, tuned to the same 550 hp of the XK-RS show car and producing 502 lb-ft of torque, propels the car to a claimed top speed of 186 mph. Jag projects a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.2 seconds, but we would expect to better that time; a 2010 XKR we tested, with its V-8 producing 510 hp and 461 lb-ft, hit the mark in four seconds flat.

Unique front and rear fascias are evident, the hood is mostly vents and nostrils, and there’s a big fixed rear wing. We believe Jaguar when it says the design of the XKR-S was “aerodynamically driven.”

We’ll be able to relay additional details on the XKR-S once it debuts in Geneva. We’ll also keep you up to date on the merriment surrounding the E-type’s 50th, should that bear any fruit of interest.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Concept Car: Mini Rocketman

Mini’s stand at the 2011 Geneva auto show is the launchpad for its slick little Rocketman, a concept car that evokes the spirit and packaging of the original Mini even more faithfully than the current Cooper. For one thing, at 11 feet, 3 inches long, the Rocketman is barely longer than its eensy forefather. Its width is closer to that of the new car than the old, but this is about as mini as a car can get while making room for four occupants.

Yes, four. Mini claims that the Rocketman’s reconfigurable cabin can be set up for two or three seats, or a 3+1 arrangement with, in Mini’s words, “an exceptionally efficient division of space” (read: everybody’s gonna hurt). That sounds like a challenge to us: second only to driving it, the most fun you could have in an original Mini—or contemporary Beetle or Fiat 500—was seeing how many friends you could stuff inside. Now we know that the Rocketman’s starting point is four.

Getting everybody in and out shouldn’t be too much of a challenge, however, thanks to double-hinged doors that move forward as they swing out. Once inside, those whose faces aren’t smashed against the windows might be able to see the central speedo, which incorporates 3D graphics. Rather than the tiny console-mounted joystick that controls the infotainment system in today’s Minis, a trackball on the steering wheel handles those functions in the Rocketman. Connectivity is facilitated by a removable control unit that can be hooked up to a home computer to program destination and contact information, as well as to manage music files. (And here we thought that cars were going to do that wirelessly. Hmm.)

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Selasa, 22 Februari 2011

New Concept Car: Smart Forspeed

Smart has revealed its Forspeed concept ahead of its debut at the Geneva motor show.

The Forspeed is a zero-emissions roadster. It’s designed to complete Smart’s electric vehicle line-up, which also includes a scooter and a bicycle.

The company claims the Forspeed will reach a top speed of 75mph, thanks to a rear-mounted 40bhp electric motor with a 7bhp overboost function. It’s said to have a maximum range of 84 miles.

The car’s squat body features a high-end and seamless gloss finish, integrated solar cells in the wind deflectors to power on-board electrics, and a ‘smiling’ honeycombe grille. Mercedes's head of design Steffen Kohl says the Forspeed has a “unique and electric look, but is still recognisable as a Smart”.

On the inside, the car’s minimalist design mirrors the look of a motorboat, with individual binnacles for the driver and co-pilot. In front of the latter sits a Smartphone unit, which can be tilted 90 degrees to face the driver.

Other interior touches include leather door pulls, as well as a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob. A boost switch located in the centre console frees up the extra 7bhp.

Smart boss Dr. Annette Winkler says the Forspeed is not planned as a limited series. “We have to be profitable with Smart so it won’t make production,” she said. But she added, “Elements of the car will be carried over into future projects.”

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2012 Maserati GranCabrio Sport

Maserati has created a hardcore version of its graceful GranCabrio for next week’s Geneva Motor Show.

The Sport uses the highly tuned 4.7-litre V8 from the recently launched MC Stradale version of the GranTurismo coupé. This delivers 444bhp – an increase of 11bhp over the standard GranCabrio.

Although no performance figures have been released, the hike should cut the 0-62mph time to less than five seconds.

Shifting gears is a robotised manual transmission which is now positioned on the rear axle for better weight distribution, and allows the driver to swap ratios using paddleshifters.

Handling should be sharper than ever, with more advanced tuning of the Skyhook active suspension system. Grooved and drilled dual-cast brake discs also feature.

Marking the Sport out from the regular drop-top are black-look headlamps, plus body-coloured front corner splitters and side skirts.

Expect the GranCabrio Sport to cost around £110,000 when it goes on sale in the UK in October. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Sneak Peek: Rolls-Royce 102EX Concept

You know things are getting serious with EVs and looming emissions standards when Rolls-Royce announces it has begun testing an all-electric vehicle. Called the 102EX, the one-off Phantom is being billed by the automaker as ‘the world’s first battery electric vehicle for the ultra-luxury segment’ and will serve as a rolling lab for the brand.

The EV Phantom, which is set to hit the stage at the 2011 Geneva auto show, has been produced in large part to see what its extremely well-heeled clientele would make of an all-electric Roller (and more importantly, would they buy one). After Geneva, the 102EX will set out on a world tour where its customers will be able to experience the car’s attributes firsthand.

At this point, Rolls has no plans to build the 102EX. While it appears to be serious about deploying an alternative powertrain into its vehicles, it says it will only move forward if it can deliver the proper experience for its buyers. One thing’s for sure, the 102EX will be even quieter on the road.

“I must be convinced that any alternative drivetrain we choose for the future delivers an authentic Rolls-Royce experience,” said CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös in a statement announcing the effort. “It must be a technology that is right for our customers, our brand and which sets us on a sound footing for a sustainable future.”

Rolls officials say any Phantom EV would have to have enough range between charges to satisfy customers and an ability to perform as intended in any weather condition. Oh, and it needs to work perfectly, all the time. The automaker has even launched a Web site at as a way for people to debate whether electric luxury is ‘perfection or compromise.’

We’ll know more about the 102EX including the details of its powertrain on March 1, the first day of the Geneva show.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: BMW Announces i Sub Brand

BMW has been teasing us for years now with Project i, its plan for a future sub-brand focusing on hyper efficient and technologically advanced premium vehicles. Now the project is moving into reality with the formal announcement of Munich’s new BMW i sub brand.

We’ll let BMW AG’s Ian Robertson tell you what BMW i is all about:

“BMW i represents a new movement in premium mobility. With the introduction of this new sub-brand, the BMW Group reaffirms its leadership as the most innovative and sustainable premium car company. The products and services have been conceived around a revolutionary approach: purpose designed and purpose built for sustainable, premium mobility. It’s a new day in our industry; a new era for individual mobility. This is BMW i – Born Electric.” Robertson, BMW AG’s sales and marketing chief, said in a statement announcing the sub brand.

BMW says it has two vehicles, the BMW i3 and BMW i8, in development, and that those vehicles will launch sometime in 2013. Both of these vehicles have also been seen in various forms for a while as Project i ramped up. The i3, which was previously called Megacity, will be a small, urban-oriented vehicle that will be EV only.

The i8 will be the official name for the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics vehicle, a high-performance themed plug-in hybrid. The i8 should be more of a true BMW from a vehicle dynamics and performance standpoint, but with the emissions footprint of a small car.

Both vehicles will be underpinned by BMW’s LifeDrive architecture, what it’s billing as revolutionary construction concept. According to the automaker, an aluminium chassis houses the powertrain, and the passenger cell is constructed using carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP).

The strong, lightweight construction helps to offset the weight associated with the battery packs, which should both aid range and overall driving dynamics. Both the BMW i3 and i8 will be built at a BMW facility in Leipzig and will also share many common components.

In addition to the actual cars, BMW is spending roughly $100 million to set up a company called BMW i Ventures, which will focus on mobility services designed to enhance the overall driving experience. BMW will continue to develop its own in-house services as well as explore joint ventures. It has already acquired a stake in New York-based My City Way, which provides information on public transportation, parking availability, and local entertainment to some 40 cities in the U.S.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

First Sketch: Audi A3 Concept

If compact performance sedans rock your socks, prepare your feet for some wicked sweet riffs. The Geneva auto show will host a four-door sedan concept that hints strongly at the upcoming third-generation Audi A3, which will be the first VW Group car based on the company’s latest modular transverse platform. (It will also underpin the next Golf.)

The Audi A3 concept takes Audi's current styling language a step further, borrowing many design elements from the new A6 and stuffing them into a more compact and vibrant package. The new grille shape, as seen on the A1, A6, and A8, carries over to the new A3. We like the shape of the LED taillights, and the construction and layering of their assemblies are mirrored in the headlights, which are also LED units. The futuristic door handles and side mirrors look great, but they probably won't make it into series production. Dimensionally, the A3 concept is longer (at 174.8 inches versus 168.9), wider (72.4 versus 69.5), and lower (54.7 versus 56.0) than the current A3 hatchback.

If you find the lower front air intakes on the A3 concept a bit menacing, there’s a good reason: Behind the aggressive snout lurks Audi's wonderful 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five, which the company says makes 408 hp here. It sends power to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic automatic. This is the same engine that powers the Quattro concept; it’s also found in the current TT RS and RS3, but it makes “just” 340 hp in those models.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Jumat, 18 Februari 2011

New Car: 2012 Holden Captiva Series II

Holden has fired the first shot in the medium SUV war by launching its Captiva Series II range at a lower price than the model it replaces -- with seven of the nine models below $40,000.

Australia's biggest selling mid-sized softroader (when Captiva 5 and 7 models are combined) is trying to claim some early ground before the updated Ford Territory arrives in showrooms in April -- as well as undercut Korean rivals from Hyundai and Kia.

Despite extra equipment, a choice of all-new engines and a fresh face, the prices of most Captiva models have been trimmed by $2000 -- but one model has been slashed by $6000.

Large families struggling to make ends meet are potentially the big winners. The starting price of a seven-seater petrol-powered Captiva was previously $38,490 -- but now the cheapest ticket into a seven-seater petrol-powered Captiva is $32,490, making it one of the cheapest medium-sized family SUVs on the market.

There is a slight catch: that particular model now comes with a 2.4 four cylinder petrol engine instead of a V6. But contrary to expectations, the four-cylinder is no slouch and is possibly a better choice than the new V6.

The starting price of the whole Captiva range (the five-seater Captiva 5) starts at $27,990 -- the same as before -- but comes with more equipment.

And, the Captiva 5 is available with a diesel engine for the first time in two years (the diesel was dropped in early 2009 when Holden switched the Captiva Maxx from a premium-price proposition to a more affordable model).

At $33,990 the Captiva 5 diesel undercuts the Hyundai ix35 diesel softroader by $1500 and the Kia Sportage diesel by $1000.

Favourable exchange rates have helped Holden to source the Korean-made Captiva Series II at a sharper price.

"The Captiva was one of the biggest sellers in the segment last year and we don't want to give that up easily," said Holden boss Mike Devereux. "We think we have found the sweet spot in terms of what the customer wants and how much they're prepared to pay. We know this is a tough segment, so we really wanted to drive value."

The Captiva Series II pricing will also put pressure on Ford -- it was hoping to launch the Territory at a premium given the extensive and expensive changes, and new technology.

Holden sold more than 15,000 Captivas last year, by far its best result on record. Meanwhile the Ford Territory -- once the segment leader -- languished with fewer than 12,000 sales. At its peak the Ford Territory notched up more than 23,000 deliveries in 2005, its first full year on sale, but it has been on a sales slide since.

The Captiva Series II is available with a choice of three new engines: a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol, a 2.2-litre turbodiesel and 3.0-litre V6 petrol.

The V6 is the same direct injection unit used in the Holden Commodore Omega but the four cylinder petrol and diesel engines are making their world debuts in the Captiva Series II.

The result is a slight improvement in fuel economy (trimmed by between three and six per cent, compared with the engines they replace) and a big boost in performance.

Thanks to: Car Point

First Sketch: Bertone B99 Concept

It’s a double whammy for Jaguar, with the debut of a stunning new compact saloon concept hinting at a future design direction and a replacement for the X-Type.

The deep red machine has been created by famed Italian styling house Bertone – but only after being briefed by Jaguar’s creative chief Ian Callum and advanced design boss Julian Thomson.

The result is called the B99, a name which draws together Bertone and the years since the company was first launched.

The 4.5-metre long D-segment car features barn-style doors leading to a minimalist interior of soft premium leather and brushed aluminum. Apart from the driver’s four analogue dials and the centrally mounted pop-up gear selector, everything is hidden behind high-gloss African wood panelling.

The only element of the car taken from today’s Jaguar range is the grille of the XF, but even that has been angled forward to give a more aggressive stance. The lightweight aluminium body shell features sleek, unfussy styling above large seven-spoke alloys.

Drive will come from a hybrid powertrain developed by Bertone Energy, the company’s newest division, but there’s no word on performance figures yet.

The B99 will undoubtedly be one of the star attractions at next week’s Geneva Motor Show. What’s more, alongside it will be a full-spec GT2 race version!

Bertone has not been chosen for this project by chance. It has history with Jaguar, and has previous created the 1957 XK150, the 1966 FT concept car, the 1967 Pirana, and 1977 Ascot. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Hyundai i40 Estate

Hyundai previously released design sketches of its 2011 i40, a Sonata-based wagon designed for the European market. Now, a few weeks ahead of the car’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show, the automaker has unveiled actual photographs of the finished product.

If you were expecting the finished product to simply look like a Sonata with a pair of D-pillars and a rear hatch, the new i40 may surprise you. Although it still rides upon the same platform as the North American Sonata, the midsize wagon receives all-new sheet metal from head to toe. Firmly rooted in the company’s fluidic design language, the i40 wears a front fascia evocative of the smaller Elantra, complete with a split grille and long tapered headlamps. In back, the i40 has a Toyota-ish look, thanks to concave D-pillar forms and large, rhombus-like taillamps.

Hyundai has only released one photo of the interior, and it, like the exterior of the car is a complete redesign of the Sonata’s layout. The centrally-mounted navigation screen remains, but the controls for both the navigation and HVAC have been redesigned. Hyundai also promises substantial amenities such as available leatherette door panel inserts and leather seating, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and rain-sensing wipers. Buyers may appreciate these touches, but most will likely flock to the i40 for the additional interior space. The wagon form provides 19.5 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up (3.1 cubic feet more than a Sonata’s trunk), and nearly 61 cubic feet once the second row is folded.

As the wagon was developed expressly for the European market, it isn’t surprising that the i40 is offered with a number of diesel offerings. At launch, the i40 will be offered with a 1.7-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder in both 113- and 134-horsepower forms. Those desiring a gasoline option will reportedly be able to spring for a 2.0-liter I-4 in the near future. Transmission choices haven’t been announced, but will likely be the same six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes used in the U.S.-spec Sonata.

At this point, it’s unclear if the i40 has a future in North America. Hyundai has indicated the next i30 will be ported here as the Elantra Touring, but refuses to comment on the possibility of the i40 ever rolling into U.S. showrooms.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Honda Civic

Concept cars and spy photos couldn’t prepare us for the stunning inoffensiveness of the ninth-generation Honda Civic, coming to dealers this spring as a 2012 model. Despite the sedate looks of the new models, they’re guaranteed shopper favorites—the company sold over 260,000 Civics in 2010, and the nameplate is likely to continue racking up big numbers going forward. That’s because the new car is shaping up to do what Civics have always done best: deliver good fuel economy and a fun steer at a sensible price.

“Evolutionary” perfectly describes the new Civic’s styling. The wedgy profile carries over, but both the 2012 sedan and coupe get more organic, taut sheetmetal in place of the outgoing cars’ slabby sides. The front and rear ends have more dimension than in the past, too. Perhaps the most significant styling change for the four-door is in its swap of the previous sedan’s scalloped taillights and concave rear for a bulbous style that’s reminiscent of the Mercedes C-class. The coupe looks more aggressive from the side and rear, especially in Si trim, and we dare suggest that it even looks racy. (We’re going to assume the heinous wheel gap in the photos is the result of poor Photoshop work and not some sort of off-road package.)

Overall, it’s a car that’s meant to appeal to the masses, and the ninth-gen Civic accomplishes the mission of looking better without making enough of a change to scare away any shoppers. In other words, think the difference between original Triscuits and new Garden Herb Triscuits.

This new Civic also gets a revamped interior, although official photography from Honda is thus far limited to a single shot. The driver-oriented layout from the last-gen car remains, as does the two-tiered dash, featuring a digital speedo seated in the mezzanine. The Civic has picked up a new steering wheel, as well as new shapes for the vents. In other news, the IRS has revamped several earned-income tax-exemption forms for the 2011 tax year.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Kamis, 17 Februari 2011

Hot News: Bentley Plans 3 New Cars

The Bentley empire is spreading! Bosses are hard at work plotting models with bodystyles new to the marque – but it won’t be the usual VW technology underneath.

The cars will be underpinned by Porsche architecture – a fact confirmed to us by the new CEO of Bentley, Wolfgang Dürheimer, who is also outgoing head of R&D at Porsche.

First on the agenda, as we reported in Issue 1,136, will be a £150,000 five-door coupé version of the Continental GT. It was originally thought that Bentley would base this car on a version of the VW Group’s modular longitudinal platform that underpins the Audi A7 and the upcoming A9. But in light of the new boss’s revelation, it’s almost certain the next-generation Panamera will be the donor.

Petrol engine choices are expected to include a reworked version of the current W12 – with upwards of 600bhp – as well as the new turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, set to debut early next year in the Continental GT. An oil-burner shouldn’t be ruled out, either, after VW Group chairman, Dr Ferdinand Piech, told us recently: “You will see diesel at Bentley.”

A crossover is also under consideration, based on the Cayenne, although this Bentley 4x4 will have an even more luxurious interior and use the same engine range as the five-door coupé. The Cross Continental badge has been touted, along with a price of around £120,000.

Last, but certainly not least, is a £90,000 coupé to slot into the range below the Continental GT. This would be aimed squarely at the likes of the Maserati GranTurismo and Mercedes SL63 AMG. It should be a volume seller for Bentley, and could push annual registrations way beyond the 10,000 peak recorded in 2007.

Don’t expect to see this new family of models until the next Panamera arrives in 2015. In the meantime, the second-generation Continental GT will spawn new versions of the GTC drop-top and Flying Spur saloon, with similar styling and mechanical tweaks. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Range Rover Sport Hybrid

Range Rover has cleaned up its act with a hybrid prototype version of its latest Range Rover Sport. The new car is one of a number of eco-friendly solutions that the firm is evaluating as it bids to shake-off its gas guzzler image.

Under the bonnet, the Range_e features Jaguar-Land Rover’s latest TDV6 diesel, connected to the eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox as fitted to the Range Rover TDV8.

The plug-in parallel diesel hybrid system means that the Range_e’s carbon dioxide emissions fall to 89g/km. The Range Rover Sport on sale now with the TDV6 engine emits 243g/km.

The Sport’s EV range is 20 miles, and the batteries can be recharged from a household plug, while top speed is 120mph. The firm claims that the car has a total range of 690 miles.

Range Rover will also show off three- and five-door versions of its new Evoque, and will confirm European pricing for the model; the Ultimate £130,000 Range Rover and the Black and White Landmark editions of the Discovery 4. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: DeTomaso SLC Concept

We have already seen teaser images of DeTomaso’s first new offering in roughly a decade, and now the car is starting to come out into the light thanks to an early leak. These photos of the all-new DeTomaso were reportedly snapped while the car was being shown to Italian politicians prior to its world debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.

Supercars — particularly those like the old Mangusta and Pantera — aren’t exactly profitable ventures, so we’re not too surprised to see the new DeTomaso craft a crossover-style vehicle along the lines of the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo. Designed by Pininfarina, the five-door’s shape isn’t exactly knocking our socks off, but it seems to be a solid design overall.

The SLC’s interior appointments look to be luxurious enough, with most surfaces trimmed in stitched leather. In a historic twist, DeTomaso has apparently raided the General Motors parts bins for some components. A number of elements within the cabin — including the gauge cluster, dashboard, and front door panels — appear to have been culled from the current Cadillac SRX. Whether this is indicative of a complete SRX re-skin or simply parts sharing remains to be seen.

Although currently billed as a concept, the SLC is destined for production. DeTomaso says engine offerings will include an as-yet-unspecified engine lineup including a 296-horsepower V-6, along with a 247-horsepower turbodiesel six-cylinder and a 524-horsepower V-8. Production is scheduled to begin next year, and the company hopes to build some 3000 examples a year at roughly $115,000 a pop.

Despite seeing the SLC in its entirety for the first time, there’s still quite a bit of mystery surrounding the car. Various reports — many of which are crudely translated from Italian — are offering conflicting bits of information, and DeTomaso itself isn’t revealing any further details until the SLC’s Geneva debut. We’re eager to find out exactly what lies beneath the sheetmetal, but we’re more interested to hear details of another project, which could birth a two-door sports coupe. Is a true Pantera/Mangusta successor in the cards?

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2012 Chrysler 300C SRT8

Chrysler’s second-generation 300 sedan is mostly a reskin of the original, rather than a completely new car. While an entirely new car is often the better solution, the latest 300 was changed where change was needed—the interior, specifically—while the competent chassis was largely left alone. But there’s another way to effect notable change: adding power. Enter the SRT8 version, caught here out for a drive wearing its winter coat.

We got a good preview of the mechanical bits destined for this car with the unveiling of the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8. The two cars have historically been nearly identical underneath, and that won’t change. That means the 2012 300C SRT8 will pack Chrysler’s new 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, making around 465 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque, the figures from the Charger. The last 300C SRT8 we tested, which had 425 horses from its 6.1-liter Hemi, hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, so figure a tenth or two off of that time for the 2012 model.

The five-speed automatic returns, and, like the Charger SRT8, should come with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles; later, an eight-speed auto will replace it throughout the 300 lineup. Where the SRT8 Charger and 300C have differed in the past is in their suspension tuning; the Charger was a bit stiffer and should continue to be. And since the new Charger SRT8 will offer a two-mode adaptive suspension, we predict a similar setup for the 300C.

As is the case with the current car, this SRT8 will not look markedly different from the regular-strength 300C. Although hidden behind the white mesh here, a different grille treatment is a given, as is a more aggressive lower front fascia. We’d be okay if the designers toned down some of the 300C’s chrome—the fact that this car wears body-colored door handles as opposed to the C’s shiny pieces has us hopeful. Updated 20-inch wheels are expected, and a diffuser-like insert in the rear provides plenty of space for some big chrome exhaust tips. Other than those small details, though, it should be 300C business as usual.

Did we know this car was coming? Sure we did. Does that make it any less cool? Not a bit. The 300C SRT8 should bow at a major American auto show later this year, i.e. in New York this spring or Los Angeles in the fall. It will hit dealers toward the end of the year, along with the Charger SRT8, as a 2012 model.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 16 Februari 2011

New Car: 2012 Honda Civic Ti

You don’t often get something for nothing, but that’s exactly what Honda is offering with its latest limited edition. The new Civic Ti has a sporty makeover inspired by the brand’s British Touring Car Championship racer.

In a nod to one of its main sponsors, the five-door gets 17-inch ‘Pro Race’ wheels from Team Dynamics, finished in matt black. These contrast with the Premium White Pearl paint, but match the Crystal Black ‘GP’ bodykit – which comprises a front spoiler, side skirt inserts and rear trim.

Inside is a high-end sat-nav from Pioneer – another headline sponsor of the BTCC team. This touchscreen system features 3D graphics and a USB connection.

The Ti is based on the 1.4 or 1.8 i-VTEC SE models, and has a total of £3,700 worth of extra kit, but doesn’t add any premium to either’s price. In fact, the 138bhp 1.8 model – which can cover 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds – is £355 less!

Prices start at £15,995 for the 1.4 and £16,995 for the 1.8. You’ll have to be fast to get one, though. Only 500 have been earmarked for the UK when sales start in June. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: Alfa Romeo 4C Concept

Is this the Alfa 4C concept? Rumours of a new sub-8C sports car, set to be unveiled in Geneva, have reached fever pitch of late - and now a black and white video on Dutch blog site appears to reveal it in the flesh.

Take a close look at our grainy, monochrome screen grabs and the compact coupe in the foreground is unmistakably an Alfa. The flowing shoulder line and sharp front end are both inspired by the rare 8C Competizione supercar, but the design had been distilled into a more compact coupe bodyshape.

A vent can clearly be seen infront of the rear wheel, hinting at high performance, while the telephone-dial alloys are an Alfa Romeo trademark.

Thought to be called the 4C GTA, it’s likely the newcomer will be powered by a four-cylinder 1750 TBi petrol engine – unlike the 8-cylinder unit in the 8C Competizione – with a total power output of around 260bhp. Acceleration from 0-62mph should take around six seconds.

The real surprise though is the second car lurking in the background. It's clearly a roadster, with no roof in place, plus the front end has a distinct Alfa Romeo look to it with its smooth edges, wide grille and narrow headlights. Could this be a successor to the legendary Alfa Spider?

We'll be able to find out whether this video is real or a hoax, as well as whether a roadster will appear alongside the coupe, on March 1 - when we'll be reporting live from the Geneva Motor Show floor. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid

Volkswagen's corporate parts bin is a great resource, and every brand gets to borrow from it. This includes Porsche, which took the easy route of adding a gas-electric version to the Panamera lineup by performing a little hybrid-transplant surgery. The result, the 2012 Panamera S hybrid, makes its debut at the 2011 Geneva show.

The combination of a supercharged, direct-injected 3.0-liter V-6 and an electric motor is not only used in the Cayenne, but also in the Volkswagen Touareg hybrid; the 333-hp gasoline engine is an Audi unit that, in different states of tune, can also be found sans hybrid tech in the S4, S5 convertible, A6, and Q7. With the assistance of a 47-hp electric motor, total power reaches 380 hp, channeled here to the rear wheels only through an eight-speed automatic transmission. All other Panameras sold in the U.S. come with a ZF-supplied seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission, while Europeans also can choose a six-speed manual.

Porsche believes the Panamera hybrid's performance is good enough to justify adding the "S" badge. In reality, however, its performance may be closer to that of the standard, V-6–powered Panamera. With the hybrid, Porsche claims a 0-to-62-mph time of 6.0 seconds; top speed is an ungoverned 168 mph. The last 300-hp base Panamera we tested, equipped with the PDK and aided by all-wheel drive, hit 60 mph in 5.0 seconds and went on to a top speed of 160 mph. The corresponding data for the 400-hp, V-8–powered Panamera S: 4.7 seconds and 174 mph. That said, Porsche tends to conservatively estimate performance, but the lack of the fast-acting PDK transmission and all-wheel drive likely will hamper the hybrid’s launch.

Despite all of the power, the hybrid should shine in terms of fuel consumption: It is rated at a miserly 35 mpg in the European cycle (Panamera V-6: 25 mpg; Panamera S: 22 mpg). That's with specially developed tires, but even with regular rubber, the Panamera S hybrid is rated at 33 mpg in Europe.

What's a hybrid without the option to drive in full-electric mode? Not much, as buyers of the Mercedes-Benz S400 hybrid are experiencing (or, rather, not experiencing). But the Panamera won't disappoint: You can "sail", i.e. coast with the gasoline engine completely switched off, at up to 103 mph (tell the cop you were sailing). That will certainly save fuel, but the range on the electric motor alone is a mere 1.25 miles.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Selasa, 15 Februari 2011

New Car: 2013 Toyota iQ EV

Toyota’s tiny city car has just got even cleverer! The Japanese firm has confirmed that the electric iQ will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month, ahead of being launched into the European market in 2012.

The electric iQ’s powertrain is based on Toyota’s experience in building its Hybrid Synergy Drive system as fitted to the Prius.

The car is based on the iQ, and retains its 3+1-seater layout and boot space thanks to a new flat lithium-ion battery pack which sits beneath the car’s floor. The battery gives a potential range of 65 miles.

Toyota has already announced its plans to bring the car to market in the USA and will be testing a fleet of the EVs in Europe for the rest of this year with a view to offering the car here from 2012.

The iQ EV prototype will be featured on the Toyota stand alongside the Yaris HSD hybrid, Prius+ MPV and the latest version of the firm’s FT-86 Concept II. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Infiniti Etherea

It's a brave new dawn for Infiniti! Nissan's luxury arm has revealed official pictures of a bold new concept car, ahead of its debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

Called the ETHEREA, it's the Japanese firm's take on a luxury hatchback and previews how a future entry-level model could look. And if the concept's wild styling is anything to go by the production car will be the among the most distinctive in its class, which already includes the BMW 1-Series, Audi A3 and Lexus CT200h hybrid.

Using an evolution of the established design language, the ETHEREA's front end ties in neatly with the rest of the existing range, but the full-length panoramic roof and curved C-pillar, first seen on the Essence concept, give it a unique identity. Infiniti claims it blends elements of coupé, sedan, hatchback and even crossover into its design.

“ETHEREA is about a new type of luxury for younger buyers,” said Toru Saito, Corporate Vice President and Leader of the Global Infiniti Business Unit. “It is not just a smaller version of a typically conservative and traditional luxury car.”

More details about Infiniti's new baby will follow when it debuts in Geneva - we'll be there reporting live from the show floor. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Lancia Ypsilon

Say ciao baby to the latest fashion – the Italian-American supermini!

These are the first pictures of the new Lancia Ypsilon, which will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. It’s based on a stretched version of the Fiat 500 platform, and will be rebadged as a Chrysler in the US firm’s new UK line-up. The five-door will be one of two Italian-born Lancias – alongside the Delta – and will join the new US-built 300 saloon in dealers next year.

This is the third incarnation of the Ypsilon – which has never been sold here before. However, when it arrives in September, it promises low emissions and great luxury for its class. Two engines deliver sub-100g/km CO2 emissions – the 95bhp 1.3-litre diesel and 85bhp two-cylinder TwinAir petrol first seen on the 500. The entry unit is a 1.2 petrol making 65bhp.

The five-door is shorter than the Audi A1, but claims class-leading boot space, as well as a high-quality interior. With prices likely to start at around £13,000 – to compete with the A1 and the MINI – the Ypsilon is aiming to fulfil Chrysler’s promise to provide ‘affordable luxury’.

Lancia will take the wraps off its version of the 300 on the stands at Geneva. It will be badged Thema for Europe. And a new Flavia and Flavia convertible, based on the Chrysler 200, debut as well. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express
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