Kamis, 29 September 2011

New Car: 2012 Fiat 500 Pink Ribbon

Yet another limited edition, but this one’s for a good cause. The US market Fiat 500 “Pink Ribbon” limited edition was created in partnership with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), which mission is to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime by funding clinical and translational research worldwide.

Only 250 Fiat 500 Pink Ribbon units will be available at Fiat Studios in October. For each sale of the $22,500 car, Fiat will donate $1,000 to BCRF, with a minimum of $50,000 contribution from the carmaker.

Based on the 2012 Fiat 500 Lounge model, the Pink Ribbon is available in Argento (silver) and Bianco (white) exterior paint colours and features a signature dark pink body stripe with “500″ logo and an accenting “ribbon” in light pink.

Inside, highlighting this limited edition model are Nero leather front and rear seats with pink accent stitching on the perimeter and signature “500″ logo embroidered on the front seatbacks and a pink ribbon embroidered on the floor mats. Pink accents are also hand-stitched through the leather steering wheel.

And to match this specially appointed Cinquecento, a pair of uniquely designed Fiat 500 Pink Ribbon key fobs will act as a constant reminder that you’re driving a good cause.

Thanks to: Paultan

Spied: 2013 Toyota Avanza

Here are some shots of a Toyota MPV circulating in Indonesian forums and websites. Taken from a factory line, these images are likely to be of the new Toyota Avanza. The rear shot shows it lining up behind a Toyota Rush SUV, which of course shares the same platform as the Avanza.

The compact seven seater Avanza may be over eight years old now, but it still rules the sales charts in Indonesia. It’s also a success in Malaysia, but the late 2009 introduction of the Perodua Alza has seen Avanza sales whittle down to a couple of hundred units per month. Toyota recently gave its IMV trio of Innova, Fortuner and Hilux a revamp, and it looks like the Avanza is the next!

The front end is quite similar to that of the Etios and Etios Liva in India, and that wide grille is also seen in the Corolla Altis 2.0, so it looks like Toyota wants the Avanza to have more of a “car look”. None of the three recently facelifted IMV models carry this look. While the changed face brings a more rounded and sculpted look, it remains to be seen in the metal if it gels with the Avanza’s boxy shape.

At the back, the more rounded theme continues, and the tail lamps now wrap into the sides. We can also see a new line on the profile between the wheels that sweep up gently, in addition to the current curves that highlight the wheel arches.

Besides the latter, more evidence that this is more than just a simple front and rear nip/tuck is in the different shape of the rear quarter glass/D-pillars, as well as the rear screen, which appears to have more rake on the new car.

If this is indeed the new Avanza, it won’t be coming so soon, if at all. UMW Toyota will be busy rolling out the refreshed IMV trio first (Hilux is already out, click here to read our report) and Malaysia already has the more stylish and modern Perodua Alza for this segment, so perhaps the Avanza isn’t top priority.
Thanks to: Paultan

Hot News: Skoda to Expand its Line-Up

The new Skoda Citigo city car is the first model in a rapid expansion of Skoda's product line-up, which will include a new hatchback, MPV and a large SUV in the near future.

Future Skoda models in the new line-up, which will be increased at a rate of one new car every six months, will be “very attractive products at low prices with low costs”, according to technical chief Eckhard Scholz, adding that the firm was only interested in launching cars in “big volume segments, not anything niche”.

The Czech firm wants to be selling 1.5 million cars per year by 2018, up from the 762,600 it sold in 2010.

The three-door Citigo will be the sole member of Skoda’s New Small Family at launch, a line-up that will include a four-door version and possibly a small MPV.

Skoda has been buoyed by the success of the Yeti and sees room in its product range for a larger SUV, particularly to further fuel its growth in China.

Don’t expect to see a straight badge-engineered Skoda version of the VW Touran or Sharan for its new MPV, though, as Scholz pointed out Skoda “always goes its own way” in the VW Group when it comes to new models, except on cars such as the Citigo and Fabia that require partners in order to be profitable.

“We will launch a SUV bigger than the Yeti,” confirmed Scholz, “as such a car is important for China, as well as Europe. We’re also looking at a more conventional MPV, something bigger than the Roomster.”

The Octavia-sized MissionL saloon-come-hatchback concept was revealed at Frankfurt and will make production in 2012 with minimal changes. Scholz also referred to the production car as “Rapide” when speaking with Autocar, but Skoda is understood to still be deciding on a final name of the car. It will be priced between the current Fabia and Octavia, from around £12,000.

The VisionD hatchback from Geneva also looks to have a production future as a hatchback version of the MissionL. “We are already thinking of a different direction for MissionL,” said Scholz.

“We always have saloons and combis [estates] so maybe we should do something different with MissionL,” he said. “We already have too many combis.”

The MissionL is close in size in the current Octavia. The new Octavia, which will be Skoda’s biggest-selling model in the new range when it’s launched in late 2012/early 2013, will grow in size to fit between MissionL and the Superb.

The Superb is also due a facelift in the next 12 months, and early test cars have been spied recently.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: 2013 Ford Mondeo

Ford is gearing up to unveil the most desirable Mondeo ever. With a look inspired by the stylish four-door Evos concept car, plus a host of 
hi-tech kit, the saloon will hope to shift its everyday image.

Set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012, the car will hit the road next summer.

Our exclusive illustrations – based on insider information 
and recent spy shots – show the Mondeo gets the latest Kinetic 2 design language.

This includes the large, inverted trapezoidal grille from the Fiesta, Focus and C-MAX, yet more pronounced and mounted higher up. Another key feature is the narrow headlights.

But the look is about much more than simply the blue oval’s family face. Two boldly defined feature lines adorn the sides, while bulging rear wheelarches and a steeply raked roofline reveal the car’s sporty intentions.

It’s not only the looks that 
will be inspired by the Evos; 
the Mondeo will also lift its 
powertrain from the concept. The range-extending 2.0-litre petrol engine and electric motors won’t be offered from launch, but will follow. This will allow for an electric-only range of around 50 miles and about 500 miles between fill-ups.

More conventional engines will make up the rest of the range, including Ford’s 1.6 
and 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol turbos. In the current car, 
the latter produces 200bhp and returns 36mpg economy, while the 1.6 – as found in the C-MAX 
– will offer 150bhp and 180bhp outputs. Also available will be a range of diesel models, including a 112bhp 1.6-litre TDCi and a 2.0 TDCi with 137bhp or 163bhp.

Even the traditional engines will be among the most efficient on the road thanks to eco 
tweaks currently used in 
the latest models, such as the 
Focus. These include stop-start, brake energy regeneration and active aerodynamics that close the grille at high speeds to improve fuel efficiency.

Under the skin will be a 
modified version of the current Mondeo’s front-wheel-drive 
chassis, which will include 
torque vectoring for the first time. 
This helps to shuffle power between the front wheels in 
corners to prevent understeer.

Inside, the impressive fit 
and finish and high-quality 
materials used in recent Fords will help the Mondeo bridge 
the gap to more expensive 
rivals from Audi and BMW. A range of hi-tech gadgets will make the newcomer one 
of the most advanced models 
on the road.

This includes the SYNC entertainment system, which can play audio, read text messages and deal with voice commands through wirelessly connected smartphones. In addition, the Mondeo will get features such as lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and parking assistance.For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2014 BMW M3 Sedan

Fans of the BMW M3 sedan rejoice. Rumors have surfaced in the recent past that the next-generation M3 would come only as a coupe or convertible, but our spy photographer caught pictures of what appear to be an M3 sedan testing at the infamous Nurburgring track in Germany.

Wider fenders front and rear, as well large intakes in the front bumper can be made out through the black and white swirl camouflage. Large brakes and quad exhaust tips – traditional M features – are also present.

There has been much speculation about the next M3’s powerplant. Most rumors indicate that the iconic BMW will return to six-cylinder motivation. There are three (probable) possibilities for the new engine: twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six with enough changes to be considered a different engine than those found in the 335i and 335is; a tri-turbocharged 3.2-liter inline-six, featuring two exhaust-driven turbos and one electric, possibly shared with a future X3 M; and lastly a new twin-turbocharged V-6 engine – a first for BMW.

Regardless of the upcoming M3’s (and possible M4’s) motivation, most believe the new turbocharged mill will make horsepower in the neighborhood of 450 – approximately 36 more than the current V-8 and around 100 lb-ft more torque than the naturally-aspirated V-8’s 295 lb-ft.

The M3 sedan is expected to appear summer 2013 – ahead of coupe and convertible body styles. Coupe and convertible versions of the next-generation 3-series are rumored to get the 4-series nomenclature and if they do the M versions may be called M4. Still, things could change between now and then.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2013 Ram Tradesman HD

Finally, Ram is catering to buyers who need to tow or haul with the new Ram 1500 Tradesman Heavy Duty — an uprated version of the existing Ram 1500 Tradesman. It is rated for a payload of up to 3100 pounds, a tow rating of 11,500 pounds, and a gross vehicle weight rating of 17,500 pounds — all figures which top other half-ton pickups.

The Tradesman comes only with rear-wheel drive and an eight-foot bed. Power comes from a Heavy Duty version of the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 with 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Upgrades to help the truck cope with the higher weight ratings include a strengthened frame, tougher wheel hubs, larger brakes, and a standard Class IV hitch with trailer wiring connectors. The Tradesmen HD goes on sale in spring 2012.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Mini London 2012 Edition

To celebrate the upcoming 2012 Olympic games, which are to be held in London, Mini has unveiled a special batch of cars for the U.K. market. Just 2012 copies of the special London 2012 Edition cars will be built.

In a big show of patriotism, the cars are available only in colors matching the Union Jack flag: Chilli Red, White Silver, or Lightning Blue. The mirror housings and roof are slathered with the logo for the 2012 Olympics, and a tiny Union Jack stripe runs the length of the car. The cars wear bespoke 17-inch gray alloy wheels.

Inside, the dashboard wears a graphic showing the London skyline and the words “London 1 of 2012.” The leather seats, handbrake, shifter boot, and floor mats all receive red and blue stitching with white piping.

Standard toys on the London 2012 cars will include leather sport seats, digital radio, air conditioning, cruise control, chrome interior trim, and engine stop-start. The cars are available in Mini Cooper, Cooper D, Cooper S, and Cooper SD trims, with prices ranging from £17,800 to £20,860 (about $27,900 to $32,700). The cars go on sale in March 2012, but can be pre-ordered now.

If the special trimmings and graphics don’t convince you of Mini’s commitment to British success in the upcoming Olympics, perhaps this video will. It shows England long-jump champion J.J. Jegede vaulting over the roofs of three Mini London 2012 Edition cars.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2013 BMW X6

BMW’s new corporate headlight and taillight scheme is now making its way across its lineup, and it’s looking like the X6 will be the next Bimmer to sport LEDs. Our European spy photographer spotted this X6 with some very light camouflage on its headlights and taillights.

Look closely at the X6’s headlights, and we can make out BMW’s new squared-off LED ‘eyes’ sitting pretty behind the lens. As for the tape, that likely covers two strips of LED running lamps. If you’re having a hard time visualizing it, picture the current X6’s circular ‘halo’ headlamps replaced with LED’s similar to those found on the new 6 Series. As for the rear of the X6, we’re not expecting the taillights to change much. The taillights are shaped exactly the same as the current ones, and they’re unlikely to change shape in the update. Instead, like the front, BMW will freshen them up a bit with some new LEDs, and call it a day.

We should mention that our spy photographer has heard rumors that the X6 will also get new front and rear bumpers when it receives its mid-cycle refresh in 2013.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Toyota Tacoma T|X Baja Series

Toyota’s newest special edition pickup doesn’t celebrate motorcycles or the wild west–Toyota’s special edition 2012 Tacoma is called the Baja Series, and it turns up the small truck’s off-road ability.

As the name suggests the T|X Baja is inspired by the Baja 500 and 1000 desert races, in which Toyota’s Toyota Racing Development (TRD) wing been quite successful. Fittingly, TRD has tweaked the 2012 Tacoma to make it more of an off-road warrior, and tossed in a few visual upgrades to make it look the part.

Baja Series trucks are based on standard Tacoma four-wheel-drive models equipped with the existing TRD Off-Road package. Available in both Access (i.e. extended) and Double (i.e. crew) Cab forms, Baja trucks are available only with a 4.0-liter V-6 engine, along with either a six-speed manual (a new addition for the 2012 Tacoma lineup) or a five-speed automatic. The TRD package also adds an electronically locking rear differential, hill-start assist, and a brake-based downhill speed control.

The T|X Baja adds a few new components designed to increase suspension travel. Up front, the truck receives 60mm Bilstein race shocks and TRD-tuned coil springs up front. In back, the Baja truck uses 50 mm Bilstein dampers with a remote oil reservoir. Toyota says the front suspension travel is an inch greater than stock, while the rear suspension can articulate by an extra inch and a half. Cosmetic upgrades include special 16-inch gunmetal wheels with BF Goodrich tires, a TRD-crafted cat-back exhaust system, and special Baja Series graphics along the length of the pickup bed.

Why unveil the T|X Baja in Texas? Toyota says the launch commemorates the fact that the truck – like all 2012 Tacomas – will be built within Toyota’s assembly plant in San Antonio. Expect the special-edition truck to arrive in showrooms in spring 2012. Pricing has yet to be announced for the package.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2013 Lincoln MKS

In our September 2011 issue, we presented an in-depth feature about how Ford intends to turn the Lincoln brand around, noting that the plan will begin in November with the debut of the updated MKS and MKT. We now have spy photos of the former, which gives us a first look at a number of the updates.

There’s been a lot of chatter about Lincoln sending its current waterfall grille design to the scrap yard, but new head designer Max Wolff apparently will start by refining—not erasing—Peter Horbury’s work. As you can see through the black cladding on this car, the 2013 MKS grille still features two sections filled with vertical bars. Now, though, they are crowded with more, thinner chrome vanes. Also visible are foglight housings that are smaller and lower on the bumper.

Out back, the taillights, which are currently very linear and vertical, will get new C-shaped LED strips, while the trunk panel between also will be redesigned. What’s the giveaway? Notice that the license plate, which was once centered in the trunklid, is now mounted low on the bumper.

The news inside the cabin is good or bad depending on how you feel about the controversial MyLincoln Touch technology (known also as MyFord Touch) and the touch-sensitive volume- and fan-control strips introduced on the 2011 MKX. Based on our own experiences—we hate the system—this won’t be a positive change.

We don’t know what will change under the hood, but we do at least have starting points to make some guesses. The 2013 Ford Taurus shown earlier this year at the New York show hints at some of the smaller tweaks, like a larger brake master cylinder, as well as bigger brake rotors on the EcoBoost V-6 model. The MKS also will adopt the MKX’s 305-hp version of the 3.7-liter V-6. At this point, we’re guessing that Lincoln will skip the Taurus’s new four-cylinder EcoBoost engine, but we aren’t ruling it out completely. We’ll know for sure in a few months.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2012 Mahindra XUV500

Mahindra has just taken the wraps off the new XUV500, its most important SUV since the Scorpio. Designed to appeal to Indian as well as global SUV buyers, this thoroughly modern SUV is the first Indian off-roader to be built around a car-like monocoque chassis.

The design is very forward looking and, undoubtedly, the styling is clearly the talking point here. The stance of the car is spot-on. Almost Mitsubishi Outlander like in the way it carries its weight, the long wheelbase, tapering roof and rising beltline makes this car look quite dynamic and modern. The best part however is that the stand-up awkwardness of the Scorpio is gone, and that’s fantastic. The detailing and aggressive cuts and slashes all over the body make this car look even more modern and futuristic.

The XUV500 also has a tough build, plenty of space on the inside and is well equipped too. It has LED reading lights, ESP, tyre pressure monitoring and even six airbags. Under the hood is the familiar 2.2-litre mHawk engine similar to the one in the Scorpio. However, it now makes more power and torque – 140bhp and 33.33kgm - and the engine is placed transversely. The XUV will be launched in front-wheel-drive as well as all-wheel-drive versions and there is a new cable-operated six-speed manual gearbox, developed with the help of Riccardo, capable of handling more torque than the Scorpio’s gearbox.

Assuming Mahindra doesn’t get carried away with the price and the car drives, rides and handles well, it looks like Mahindra are on a good wicket. Stay tuned for our first drive tomorrow.

Thanks to: Autocar India

Rabu, 28 September 2011

New Car: 2013 Skoda CitiGo

Skoda will launch its new £7000 city car, the Skoda Citigo, in the UK in mid-2012. It will be the first model in an aggressive product roll-out that will result in a new car launched every six months.

The new three-door Volkswagen Up-based city car, set to be part of a range of new city cars Skoda collectively calls ‘New Small Family’, will be a major part of Skoda’s ambitious growth plans. The Czech firm wants to be selling 1.5 million cars per year by 2018, up from the 762,600 it sold in 2010.

The Citigo’s styling mixes its current cues from the Fabia with the look of its recent VisionD and MissionL concepts cars. It features a finned grille set in chrome-plated frame, similar to that seen on the MissionL seen at Frankfurt motor show earlier this month.

It is 3560mm long, 1650mm wide and 1480mm high, although Skoda claims a 2420mm wheelbase offers enough interior space for four passengers on long trips. Boot volume is 251 litres, or 951 litres with the rear seats folded down.

The Citigo is will be offered initially in the UK with the Up’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine with two power outputs: 59bhp and 74bhp.

The standard engines will offer 62.8mpg and 105g/km of CO2 for the 59bhp version and 60.1mpg and 108g/km for the 74bhp unit.

Highly economical variants under the Green Tec banner will also be available. The 59bhp Green Tec will return 67.3mpg and 97g/km, while the 74bhp powerplant will boast 65.7mpg and 99g/km. Alongside the manual gearbox, Citigo will also be available with an automatic transmission.

Interior kit includes satnav – which comes in the shape of a detachable, portable five-inch touchscreen – Bluetooth and numerous storage compartments. The car will also feature Skoda’s new brake assistance system for collision avoidance.

The three-door Citigo will be the sole member of the New Small Family at launch, but Skoda technical chief Eckhard Scholz said the four-door version, previewed by the VW Cross Up at the recent Frankfurt motor show, would be "the most important" of the new cars.

"The three-door looks good, but the four-door is even better in my opinion," he told Autocar. Scholz also confirmed an "aggressive price" for the Citigo, with some sources suggesting a price of around £7000.

An electric version of the Citigo is also under consideration, but not yet confirmed. "We need to learn about the technology first," said Scholz.

Production of the Citigo will begin at Skoda’s Bratislava plant in October. The car will go on sale in the Czech Republic before the end of this year, ahead of the UK and European roll-out next summer.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2012 Toyota Pixis Space

Toyota has launched its first-ever minicar for the Japanese market, called the Pixis Space. The petite vehicle is designed to meet Japan’s kei car rules, which permit drastically lower taxes for tiny vehicles with small engines.

According to The Detroit News, kei cars must measure no more than 133.8 inches long, 58.3 inches wide, 78.7 inches tall, and can have engines displacing no more than 660 cc (0.66 liters). Minicars of this ilk now account for about a third of all cars on Japanese roads; Toyota hopes to sell about 60,000 copies of the Pixis Space annually.

For comparison, a 2012 Fiat 500 measures 139.6 inches long and 64.1 inches wide. Fittingly, the Toyota’s name was inspired by the English word “pixy”, denoting a tiny elflike creature.

The Pixis Space is not a unique Toyota design, but a car supplied by subsidiary Daihatsu as part of an agreement between the two companies reached in September 2010. The Pixis Space, which is essentially a badge-engineered Daihatsu Move Conte, will be offered in the basic L and X trims, along with the fancier Custom X, Custom G, and Custom RS models. The basic models get a naturally aspirated 660-cc engine with dual variable valve timing, while the Custom RS receives a turbocharged version of the same mill. All models have a continuously variable transmission and front- or four-wheel drive.

Toyota says front-wheel-drive Pixis models return the equivalent of 60 mpg in Japanese testing, qualifying them for 75 percent less vehicle registration tax in Japan. The Pixis Space can seat four adults and has “sufficient” cargo space. The bench front seat is said to be “reminiscent of a sofa.” The Custom X, G, and RS models are differentiated mostly by HID headlights, more sporty-looking fascias, and interior accent lighting.

Pricing for the front-drive Toyota Pixis Space L starts at 1.12 million yen, about $14,607; the Custom RS commands the equivalent of $21,015. It’s safe to say that the car will not be making an appearance in the American marketplace.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Senin, 26 September 2011

Hot News: Caterham Confirmed New Model

Caterham - the manufactuer of the legendary Caterham Seven - has announced it is to produce a brand new line-up of lightweight sportscars, filling a gap left by Lotus' recent move upmarket.

In its first public move since it was bought by Team Lotus F1 in April, Caterham has registered a new standalone engineering business. Caterham Technology and Innovation Limited (CTI) will be responsible for "a completely new line of accessible and affordable sportscars inspired by the lightweight, minimalist philosophy of the Seven."

These cars will be able to draw on the experience, production processes and hi-tech materials used by the Team Lotus F1 squad, giving CTI an immediate advantage over the competition. Although details on exactly what form these new models will take are scarce, the initial focus for CTI will be to create unique platforms and high-performance engines.

Proof, if it was needed, that Caterham is targeting the bottom end of Lotus' range is in CTI's first high-profile recruit. Tony Chute, the new head of road cars, was project manager on the MkI Lotus Elise.

Caterham Cars’ Chief Executive, Ansar Ali, said: “Creating a new product range that has the same reputation and appeal as the Seven, which delivers on the promise of accessibility and affordability, is the Holy Grail in this business. To meet the challenge, we knew we needed to invest in a new operation that would have the scope, experience and vision to deliver.”

He added: “I feel very confident that our customers will be very pleased with the products I have challenged CTI to deliver, in addition to supporting the Seven and I look forward to revealing our plans in more detail soon.” For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Nissan Plans to Release 'Hot' Juke

There’s no question that the styling of the Nissan Juke has been a controversial topic around this office, but one thing about the small crossover that virtually all of us can agree on is its fun factor. A relatively short wheelbase paired with a 188-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 makes the Juke surprisingly entertaining, and now, after a few months with a 2011 Juke SL AWD in our long-term fleet, you won’t find anyone groaning when that car’s keys are the last left in the box. But with this latest report from Auto Express, Nissan has apparently decided that the Juke needs to be taken to the next level in performance – all the way to Godzilla level.

A Nissan Europe spokesperson has confirmed for us the existence of a one-off special Juke model, known internally as the “Super Juke.” The crossover reportedly packs the same 530-hp twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive system as Nissan’s halo car, the GT-R, although we’ll believe it when we see it. The Super Juke will rocket to 62 mph from a standstill in 4.0 seconds flat, and could have a top speed close to 170 mph, according to Auto Express. If true, that’s not a bad bump in acceleration from the 6.8-second zero-to-60 time we got when we tested the front-drive Juke SV.

Visually, this Juke on steroids gets the full super car treatment, receiving a lowered ride height, GT-R-like wheels, a split rear spoiler, and jet fighter-esque NACA ducts on the hood. Auto Express says the interior is gutted for weight reduction, but remains simple and functional. The Nissan spokesperson said no further details on the Super Juke are available at this time, but to expect more info sometime next week. With the few details we have now, we can’t clearly see the logic in actually producing a car like this – but we’ll be the last to complain if Nissan actually does it.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied Up Date: 2013 Dodge Small Car

When Fiat and Chrysler tied the knot, we knew that the brands would extensively share products, parts, and platforms. Cases in point include almost the entirety of the Lancia brand, the Maserati Kubang SUV, and the Ram version of the Fiat Doblo van. Most critical as far as Chrysler is concerned is this replacement for the outclassed Dodge Caliber compact car, which will use a stretched and widened version of Fiat’s C-Evo platform. Three months ago, we caught a Dodge mule wearing Alfa body panels; these new spy photos show it moving closer to production, with its own stampings and a look at an undisguised front end. (Excepting the missing headlamps, of course.)

The fully exposed front of the prototype provides us our first look at how the Italian bones will be Dodged up. Dodge’s trademark crosshair grille sits high with a mesh-filled intake below, and a thick, contrasting black bar separates the two. LED running lights aren’t apparent here, but given that seemingly every new vehicle sports the bright bulbs, it’s a fair guess that they’re incorporated into the MIA headlamp clusters. While not looking exactly like either, the overall effect reminds us of the latest Hyundai Elantra and the pre-face-lift Volkswagen CC.

The profile of the Dodge has a sharply raked, distinctly Alfa-esque character line unseen on any of the brand’s current products; it also reminds of recent small Fords. It’s worth noting that the photos show a sedan, a body style that wasn’t offered to Caliber buyers, which was all five-door, all the time. It’s unknown if the new car also will be offered as a hatchback.

Unfortunately, there’s little else to glean from the shots of the prototype. The likeliest candidate for the engine under the open hood is a turbocharged version of Fiat’s 1.4-liter four-cylinder making either 135 or 170 hp. We do know that it will hook to a ZF-designed nine-speed automatic transmission. Fiat’s 235-hp, 1.8-liter turbo four is another possibility, perhaps motivating a next-gen SRT4 were one to come to fruition. Finally, a version of Chrysler’s current 2.0-liter four fitted with Fiat’s Multiair valve-lift system also is a possibility, we’re told.

A further mystery is the car’s name. Early speculation pegged it as reviving the “Hornet” moniker applied to a five-year-old Dodge concept, although we’re fairly sure that won’t happen. Whatever the Dodge is called, it will face stiff competition when it arrives next year as a 2013 model, including the excellent new Ford Focus and the sales champ Chevrolet Cruze.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Sabtu, 24 September 2011

New Car: 2012 Daihatsu Mira e:S

Daihatsu has thrown its latest Kei car contender into the fray, with the introduction of the Mira e:S in Japan. The minicar, which reinterpretates the three-door e:S Concept of two years ago into a five-door form, is available in both two- and four-wheel drive guise domestically, with four level variants (G, X, L and D) for the former and two (Gf and Xf) for the latter.

All versions wear the same KF transverse three-cylinder twin-cam 658 cc mill, offering 52 PS at 6,800 rpm and 60 Nm at 5,200 rpm, mated to a CVT transmission. The company is touting the car’s fuel economy as its biggest selling point – claimed figures for the 2WD version on the new JC08 mode test cycle is a healthy 30km per litre (and on the older 10-15 mode, 32 km per litre), close to hybrid territory.

Features on the 730 kg vehicle (790 kg for the 4WD versions), which is 60 kg lighter than the old Mira, include a pre-stop idle reduction system, and all the models wear 14-inch wheels and 155/65 profile rubbers; there are optional Sporty and Premium interior/exterior dress-up packs available for the car, as well as what is tagged an “earth colour interior.”

Domestically, Daihatsu is ambitiously aiming at moving 10,000 units of the Mira e:S per month in the first year, according to reports, and says that it will apply the technology used for the e:S to other models and vehicles produced overseas, including that in Indonesia, which was where the Daihatsu A-Concept was introduced in July, at the IIMS.
Thanks to: Paultan

Spied: 2013 Hyundai i20

Hyundai’s i20 light car is in line for an update and these Carparazzi spy pix show the Korean company is on track to bring a freshened-up version to market in 2012.

The heavily-clad prototype caught here on test in southern Europe shows the little Hyundai will get an entirely new face that almost seems to turn back the clock with a new restraint evident in the design of the headlights, which are arranged more horizontally than the upswept teardrops of the current model.

It appears these will blend into the upper grille, which itself will be underwritten by an ovalised lower air intake incorporating horizontal slats, similar to the recently introduced Accent model that slots between the i20 and i30...

Likewise, the tail lights also appear to adopt a more restrained form contrasting with the curvy, wraparound lenses used in today’s model. The i20’s profile appears pretty unchanged, right down to the external rearview mirrors and the well defined upper and lower body creases.

As for the interior, the Carparazzi photographers weren’t able to sidle in for a closer, through-the-window look, but we would have to assume any changes there would be minimal and focussed only on small details.

The i20 was introduced locally earlier this year and in the month of August was sitting on second sales spot for Hyundai, behind the i30. The updated Hyundai i20 is expected to go on sale during 2012.

Thanks to: Car Point

Hot News: BMW to Produce X4

BMW will build a sporting version of the X3 to be known as the X4, company CEO Norbert Reithofer has confirmed.

Plans for the car were predicted by Autocar last year, but Reithofer gave the first official indication that the four-seater SUV will be built when he said, "Yes, we will position a BMW X4 above the X3".

The car, depicted here in Autocar’s exclusive computer-generated rendering, will extend BMW’s already strong presence within the toughly fought premium SUV market.

Smaller and more agile than the X3, the new four-seater is expected to be badged X4 when it goes on sale in 2014. And in keeping with the new four-wheel-drive’s sporting brief, BMW’s plans also call for a range-topping X4 M version, previewed in our rendering.

Thanks to: Autocar

Unofficial Picture: 2013 Honda CR-V

The design of the new Honda CR-V will remain faithful to the concept version shown off earlier this year, as these leaked patent images show.

The manufacturer released the first official picture of the Honda CR-V SUV in the summer, and these new drawings show that many of the styling changes – designed to give the car a more aggressive stance – have been retained from the concept.

The CR-V is based on an all-new platform. The most prominent changes are at the front, where the CR-V features a wraparound lower front bumper that is better integrated into the rest of the front fascia than on the current car.

The three-bar horizontal front grille is also much more dominant than the current CR-V’s, with slimmed-down headlights flanking it on either side. Honda claims the front-end styling changes result in much improved aerodynamics over the current car.

Sculpted bodywork features on the sides, which also get more pronounced side sills. The large alloy wheels featured on the concept have been exchanged for more practical-looking variants.

At the rear, the CR-V will retain the vertical light design of the current car. The Japanese firm is also claiming an all-new, more spacious interior with a lower floor for improved load-carrying ability.

The Honda CR-V is one of the stars at the Orange County International Auto Show in California, which is taking place this week. The CR-V is set to reach UK showrooms in autumn 2012.

Engine details are still scarce, although improved efficiency and fuel economy is promised. The outgoing CR-V is available with a 2.0-litre petrol or 2.2-litre diesel engine, both of which produce 148bhp.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2012 Perodua Myvi Wofrace Design Concept

Malaysian manufacturer Perodua has collaborated with wheel brand Wolfrace to produce this Perodua Myvi Wolfrace Design Concept.

Additional kit featured on the Perodua Myvi Wolfrace Design Concept includes a leather and Alcantara interior, a Wolfrace graphics pack, contrasting red tailgate spoiler and mirrors, privacy glass in the rear windows, twin chrome exhausts and an upgraded, bass-heavy audio system.

It rides on black polished 16-inch Wolfrace Shark Alutec five-spoke alloys, low-profile Falken tyres and has lowered suspension featuring Eibach springs.

Standard kit featured on the five-door supermini includes aircon, power steering, four electric windows, electric door mirrors and an integrated radio/CD player.

There are no performance tweaks – the model features the same 1.3-litre, 86bhp petrol engine as other Myvi variants.

The Myvi Wolfrace Design Concept will be shown off at various exhibitions before going into a limited production run next month. The price has not been revealed, although the top model in the current range is the Myvi Sport+, which carries an on-the-road price of £8899.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2013 Porsche Panamera

The Panamera is getting a facelift to bring it more in line with the recently unveiled Porsche 991.

Camouflage hides small changes to the front bumper and headlights but, before it makes production, changes to the rear lights are also expected to give them more of a resemblance to the slimline units found on the 991.

Interestingly this mule also looks to be sporting cameras fitted to the bumper suggesting future Panamera’s will be fitted with Porsche’s ACC InnoDrive system. This works with the sat-nav to read curves and elevation in the road and allows the driver to take their feet completely off the pedals. It reportedly brings fuel consumption improvements of around 10 per cent too.

The engine line-up will be carried over as it is so expect to see basic models powered by a 296bhp 3.6-litre V6 and S models powered by a 394bhp 4.8-litre V8. Diesel, hybrid and turbocharged models will also be offered.

Expect to see the new Panamera arriving late in 2012 with a starting price-tag of around £60,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Renault Clio

Here’s a first chance to see the face of things to come from Renault. Although this prototype Clio looks like the third generation car from the rear, if you look closely at the front you’ll spot there are some dramatic differences.

That’s because this car has the fixtures and fittings of the new, fourth-generation Clio and is fitted with the same front bumper and bonnet arrangement that will appear on the production car when it goes on sale in 2012.

You can clearly see the large, V-shaped indentation into which designers are planning to insert a super sized Renault badge, as well as the outline of the boomerang shaped radiator grille.

The newcomer, which will make its world debut at the 2012 Paris Motor Show is promising to be better to drive, more daring to look at and cheaper to run.

And while rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa continue to forge their way to become more sporty, and more upmarket, a Renault insider who spoke to Auto Express has promised the newcomer will not forget its supermini roots – focusing first on offering value for money.

We revealed last week that the new Clio will only be available in five-door trim, and our original scoop illustrations from August 2011 show what drivers can expect to see from the car.

Under the bonnet, the newcomer will offer a range of petrol and diesel engines carried over from the current mode, as well as a new 900cc three cylinder turbo engine from the original R-Space concept car.

With 109bhp and 160nm of torque it promises CO2 emissions of around 95g/km and fuel economy of 76mpg.

There’s still no official news on plans to replace the hugely popular RenaultSport Clio – though the French firm has not ruled out building a five door version of the car, powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Honda CR-V

Honda’s CR-V isn’t quite ready for public consumption, but the CR-V concept — which previews the production model’s look — is: the automaker showed off the concept at the Orange County Auto Show in Anaheim, California, ahead of a Los Angeles auto show production car release.

The CR-V concept is an evolution of the previous model, which is nearing the end of its five year model cycle. The look has been updated with a three-bar grille, vertically wrapped tail lamps, and pointed rear windows next to an angular D-pillar.

A supplier PDF by Automotive News says that the CR-V will now offer two engines: either the old 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 175 hp and 170 lb-ft, or a new 2.5-liter L-4 with 201 hp and 177 lb-ft. Both engines will be mated to a five-speed automatic transmission that carries over from the last CR-V, as well as the same all-wheel drive system.

The CR-V will make its production car debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, at which point it will have already begun production: Honda claims production on the 4th-generation CR-V starts this month in East Liberty, Ohio, and Honda will formally put the car on sale in December of this year. It expects to sell around 286,000 copies of the CR-V in 2012.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Kamis, 22 September 2011

Hot News: 2015 Mitsubishi eK Wagon

The Mitsubishi eK is a Japanese kei car.Frist generation arrive in 2001 and second generation arrive in 2006.The 2nd generation is not the fully redesign but it’s carry most of component from the first car. Diffrent in at front and rear mask and new slide door While roof line include a and rear pillar is carry on from last generation.The platform and suspension is not new either.

So,The 3rd generation must be all new developed.Styling will be a lot different from current car.A more sharp and modern line is expect.Size will remain at 3395 mm long x 1475 wide and 1550 high. Engine will be 3 cylinder 660 CC.

It’s is the first time got the MiEV version which will share component from i-MiEV car .Self-developed by Mitsubishi featuring petrol engine combine with Plug-in Hybrid System addition to saving energy, high power output, high stability, low pollution.Front engine front wheel drive is expect.

Thanks to: Autoten

New Concept Car: Gordon Murray Teewave AR.1

Gordon Murray Design has taken the wraps of a new prototype rear-drive electric sports car.

GMD, headed by legendary McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray, was commissioned by carbonfibre specialist Toray Industries Inc to build the new two-seat sports car, called Teewave AR.1.

The Teewave AR.1, codenamed T.32, uses a Toray-supplied carbonfibre monocoque chassis and the all-electric powertrain from the Mitsubishi iMiEV.

Its 63bhp, 133lb ft electric motor and 16kWh lithium-ion battery pack helps propel the lightweight 850kg machine from 0-62mph in 11.4sec and onto a top speed of 91mph. A “lively” 0-31mph time of 4.4sec is also quoted by GMD.

A full recharge of the battery pack takes six hours and the AR.1’s claimed range is 116 miles.

The concept features carbonfibre crash structures that performed well in simulators. And although the powertrain is borrowed from the iMiEV, GMD says the “unique electrical architecture and control units” are its own design.

The 3975mm long, 1765mm wide and 1154mm high AR.1 features a full-length undertray with ground-effect diffuser; and its double wishbone suspension front and rear, along with its low weight and low centre of gravity, is said to result in “an excellent ride and handling balance”.

GMD says the project took just nine months from “concept discussions to running vehicle”. GMD and Toray insist the car is a one-off running prototype designed to showcase both firms’ technologies, but almost all the various tech showcased in the car can be applied to more mainstream products, including the carbonfibre monocoque.

Murray said his latest creation’s ultra low kerb weight “proves that performance through light weight is the most efficient and environmentally friendly way to achieve power-to-weight targets”.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2013 Opel/Vauxhall Astra OPC/VXR

The Focus ST had its moment at the Frankfurt Motor Show but now Vauxhall is muscling in for its share of the hot-hatch limelight with a new 300bhp Astra VXR – and these pictures give our first look at the new model.

Based on the three-door GTC model – which gets dramatic C pillars and muscular arches – the VXR builds on the sporty look with a new bodykit, large alloy wheels and a rear spoiler.

Power is expected to come from a turbocharged four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol engine with over 300bhp – a huge increase over the outgoing 237bhp Astra VXR. All the power will be delivered to the front wheels and a limited slip-diff is expected to be fitted as standard.

Acceleration from 0-62mph will take around six seconds and a the VXR will continue on to a top speed of 150mph.

The GTC model already rides on suspension lowered by 15mm over the five-door Astra and the VXR model will be lower still. The Insignia VXR’s HiPerStrut suspension will also feature to help cornering and also reduce torque steer.

The spy shots reveal a set of huge Brembo brakes complete with cross-drilled discs to provide the stopping power.

Expect prices to start at around £25,000 when the Astra VXR goes on sale towards the beginning of next year. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

First Sketch: 2015 Jensen Interceptor

A racy ‘R’ version of the Volkswagen Polo has been confirmed as many times as it has been denied over the past couple of years but our spies think they’ve finally caught their first glimpse of the hot Polo.

Concealed under this standard Polo GTI body is Polo R running gear, including an all-new 1.6-litre TSI engine and the possibility of four-wheel drive. The 1.6-litre TSI unit will produce around 210bhp and is likely to replace the 1.8-litre TSI engine in the VW line-up which is currently one of the oldest and most inefficient engines.

The new engine has been revealed in the Volkswagen Polo R WRC rally entry for 2013 where it produces 300bhp.

In production form, the Polo R should be capable of 0-62mph in around six seconds and a top speed of more than 150mph.

Expect to see the newcomer on sale late in 2012 with a price-tag of around £24,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Recall Up Date: 2011 BMW 3-Series xDrive

BMW is recalling 2011 BMW 328i and 335i xDrive models to fix a driveshaft issue.

The Problem: The front driveshaft attachment bolts that connect the driveshaft to the all-wheel drive transfer case may not have been properly tightened, and could loosen over time. The loose connection could cause noise and vibration from the front driveshaft and potentially lead to a loss of power to the front wheels, a vehicle breakdown, and increase the risk of a crash.

The Fix: BMW will notify owners and dealers starting next month (October 2011) and will replace the bolts free of charge.

Number of Vehicles Affected: BMW estimates 190 vehicles, all with xDrive all-wheel drive and built between February 8 and July 29, 2011, are potentially affected. But BMW expects less than 100 of the vehicles to have the defect.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2013 Acura RDX

Acura’s compact RDX crossover drives swell enough, but since its 2006 introduction, its look and interior have gotten a little long in the tooth (or beak, as the case may be). For the 2013 model year, Acura is prepping a replacement, a prototype of which is seen here accompanied by high-fashion models—or perhaps they’re engineers, it’s so hard to say—in nearly every picture.

If you were hoping that Acura might use the 2013 RDX as an opportunity to explore alternatives to the maligned “power plenum” grille, brace yourself for disappointment. A familiar shape is visible through the camo on the nose of this prototype, although we’re holding out hope that it is, like the grille of the recently refreshed TL, subdued a bit. The rest of the front-end styling appears cleaned up, with one of the two lower intakes disappearing and sleeker headlights looking like they came directly off the new TL. Out back, we can see that the opening for the rear hatch seems wider, an important improvement for those who actually haul things with their crossover.

We’re hoping there’s more significant change inside. If Acura wants the RDX to be competitive with the rest of the compact-lux-u-vee class, it needs to match the warm, inviting interiors of its competition. Expect the RDX to continue to offer a class-leading suite of standard and optional features.

Don’t expect much change under the hood, either. The turbocharged, 240-hp, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine in today’s RDX does a fair job hustling it to and fro, and while its 19-mpg city/24 highway EPA ratings aren’t particularly impressive, they better the economy of many of its competitors. The only powertrain upgrade is likely to be a six-speed automatic in place of the current five-cogger.

Look for a loosely disguised RDX “concept” to appear at an auto show this winter, either L.A. in November or Detroit in January, in advance of the production model hitting dealerships in late 2012. If you want a good idea of what it will look like before then, just keep your eyes peeled for a current model—preferably without a bunch of engineers crowded around it.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 21 September 2011

Frankfurt Show 2011 Highlights: Audi R8 e-Tron Prototype Concept

Electric cars will never be the same. Audi is almost ready to launch its assault on the electric performance car market, and this is the model it's going to use. We drove a previous Audi R8 e-tron prototype in 2010 (and you can read that review here) but that car has been thoroughly overhauled, and the version you see here is almost ready for production.

We spoke to one of the engineers working on the project, who told us: "The car will enter small series production at the end of 2012, the car here is virtually finished technically, but the designers have big plans for its looks. You will still be able to tell it's based on the R8, but it will be completely unique."

He continued, "The interior will be completely new and an all-new body structure had to be developed to accomodate the electric motors and batteries. The bodywork will be made from carbon-fibre and CFRP to keep weight down to a minimum."

A kerbweight of around 1,600kg is likely, with 600kg of that thanks to the lithium-ion battery pack behind the driver. By comparison, Audi's 5.2-litre V10 engine weighs 400kg. Performance will be impressive, our sources revealed that a 0-62mph sprint in 4.8 seconds is the target thanks to a 312bhp electric motor producing, in theory, 5,400Nm or torque - although that has to be limited to preserve the transmission.

This prototype, which is one of many currently being tested, is rear-wheel drive, although the engineer we spoke to admitted that whether that or four-wheel drive will be used on the production car is still up in the air.

A smartphone app has already been developed which shows your theoretical range from your current location. It also allows you to start charging your car remotely if it's already plugged in and delivers other useful information, such as local charging points. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Frankfurt Show 2011 Highlights: 2012 Kia Rio 3-Door

Kia hopes the three-door version of its new Kia Rio, unveiled at Frankfurt motor show this week, will steal sales from B-segment rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.

The car has been designed primarily for the European market, and is part of Kia’s plan to chase ‘conquest sales’ from its B-segment rivals.

Kia has chosen to produce a Rio three-door in response to the downsizing trend that has produced two distinct markets that have emerged for B-segment cars.

The Rio five-door is intended to appeal to buyers who are downsizing their car but want space and practicality with lower running costs. The Rio three-door is angled towards drivers who want a stylish small car.

The Rio three-door has the same key dimensions as the five-door that is already on sale: both cars are 4045mm long, 1720mm wide, 1455mm high and have a wheelbase of 2570mm.

In most European markets the Rio three-door will be available with the same range of powertrains, equipment and options as the five-door variant, which means it will come with a choice of two diesel and two petrol engines.

The three-door Rio will go on sale during the first quarter of 2012. Kia expects it to eventually account for almost one-quarter of total Rio sales.

Thanks to: Autocar

Frankfurt Show 2011 Highlights: Yo - Auto e-Crossover Concept

Yo-Auto's hybrid crossover concept, unveiled at Frankfurt motor show, will go on sale in 2013.

The Yo-crossover is an all-wheel-drive hybrid that partially uses battery power. The batteries charge also themselves at low speeds and when the vehicle is stationary.

The Russian-built car will also have a dual-fuel engine, which will allow a choice of natural gas or petrol as a fuel source.

Yo-Auto claims that when both fuel tanks are full, the Yo-crossover has a range of 435 miles. It has a top speed of 80mph.

At Frankfurt Yo-Auto also showed off the sleek Yo-Concept, a range-extender hybrid.

The factory where the Yo-crossover will be produced, just outside St Petersberg, is still in the process of being constructed.
Thanks to: Autocar

Frankfurt Show 2011 Highlights: 2012 Opel/Vauxhall Zafira

Vauxhall’s all-new Zafira Tourer, unveiled at Frankfurt motor show this week, is to be priced from £21,000 for the entry-level ES 1.8.

Vauxhall has aggressively priced the seven-seat MPV against the class-leading Ford S-Max, which it undercuts by £1200 on list price.

Retaining the seven-seat interior configuration of the Zafira MPV, the Tourer is 190mm longer, with 57mm more wheelbase, while track is up by 96mm at the front and 78mm at the rear.

The larger footprint is underpinned by a new chassis set-up, the interior benefits from added seating flexibility and quality, new electronic driver aids are introduced, and two more engines are added to the range.

Boot space is up 65 litres to 710 litres in five-seat configuration, with maximum load capacity reaching 1860 litres when the rear seats are stowed – bettering the Zafira by 40 litres.

Flexibility is increased by the second row that now comprises three separate seats rather than a bench, with the central chair back folding and rotating away to provide additional space for the outer-seat occupants on some models. Up front there’s a new storage unit between the seats and flexible armrests.

The Zafira Tourer’s front suspension shares its isolated subframe and MacPherson strut arrangement with the Insignia, while the Zafira’s solid rear axle is supplemented by a Watt’s linkage to improve stability. Vauxhall’s FlexRide reactive adaptive damping is an option, and can also be toggled manually between Standard, Tour and Sport modes.

Engine options will include the Zafira’s 1.8-litre, 138bhp petrol unit, joined by a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine producing the same power and three variants of the 2.0-litre CDTi from the Insignia. The diesel workhorses will produce 109bhp, 128bhp and 163bhp.

Sitting above the basic ES trim will be Exclusiv, Sri, SE and Elite versions. The petrol 1.8 gets a five-speed manual ’box only, while the others are governed by six-speed manuals or an optional six-speed automatic gearbox on certain models. Start-stop will also be available on some cars.

A new range of available driver aids includes adaptive cruise control, blind spot alert, lane departure warning, and a parking aid that identifies suitable spaces then guides the driver in.

The Zafira Tourer will initially sit alongside the existing Zafira in Vauxhall's model range, but with two very different Zafira models in the Vauxhall line-up, the company could be accused of confusing buyers.

However, the older Zafira is likely to fade away in the next few years, leaving space in the range for a couple of new models. One will be a Corsa-derived SUV, the other possibly a Peugeot 3008-style soft-roader to replace the slow-selling Antara. ‘We wouldn’t just name the Zafira Tourer in isolation, not knowing what else is coming along,’ says design chief Mark Adams.

Sales of the Zafira Tourer will begin on the Continent in late 2011, with UK sales starting early next year.

Thanks to: Autocar

Frankfurt Show 2011 Highlights: Rimac Concept One

Croatian manufacturer Rimac Automobili has produced an 190mph electric super car called the Rimac Concept One, which was on display for the first time at Frankfurt motor show.

The battery-powered Rimac Concept One weighs 1650kgs and produces 1073bhp. It can accelerate from 0-62mph in 2.8sec. The potential top speed is about 190mph. Rimac reckons that on a fully charge Concept One has a range of 375 miles.

The electric super car's powertrain is divided into four sub-systems, each consisting of one motor, inverter and reduction gearbox. Each system powers a wheel, making the Concept One all-wheel drive.

Rimac claims the powertrain enables a new approach to vehicle dynamics that it calls 'All Wheel Torque Vectoring'. Each wheel can independently accelerate or decelerate hundreds of times per second, helping to achieve the desired handling as selected by the driver from the cockpit.

The carbonfibre body of the Rimac Concept One was designed by Adriano Mudri and the interior is styled by a team of former Pininfarina employees.

The Concept One will be produced just outside Zagreb in Croatia and 88 examples of the car will go on sale in 2013.

The price is not known at this stage, but company boss, 23-year-old entrepreneur Mate Rimac, is targeting Pagani, Koenigsegg and Bugatti with his new super car – so expect a six-figure price tag.

Thanks to: Autocar

Frankfurt Show 2011 Highlights: 2013 Artega SE

German manufacturer Artega displayed a 126mph electric version of its mid-engined sports car, the Artega SE, at the Frankfurt motor show this week.

The Artega SE – which stands for ‘sports electric’ – is powered by two electric motors, which will produce 280kw (375bhp).

The two engines operate independently, with each driving one of the rear wheels. The car, which was first unveiled at Geneva motor show earlier this year, accelerates from 0-62mph in 3.9secs and has a top speed of 126.5mph.

The Artega SE features 16 battery modules – 12 in the rear of the vehicle and four in the front – with lithium ion polymer cells. Each of these modules contains 12 battery cells. The depleted batteries can be fully recharged in 90 minutes.

The batteries give a claimed range of 125 miles and make the car just ten per cent heavier than the conventional 3.6-litre V6-powered Artega GT. That means the electric version weighs 1400kg, but the weight distribution is identical to the standard car – 57 per cent to the rear and 43 per cent to the front.

The Artega SE will be produced in Delbrück, Germany, and is expected to cost about 150,000 euros (£132,000) when it goes into production next year.

Thanks to: Autocar

Frankfurt Show 2011 Highlights: 2012 Opel/Vauxhall Astra GTC

THE fight for three-door ‘coupé’ honours just got even fiercer. Vauxhall’s striking new Astra 
GTC is here – and the sporty
hatch sits between two of its biggest rivals on price.

The range starts at £18,495 for the 118bhp 1.4-litre Sport Turbo – that’s £265 more than a 128bhp 1.4-litre TCE Renault Mégane coupé, but £1,080 cheaper than the 120bhp VW Scirocco 1.4-litre TSI. And the Astra will be good looking, too. It’s near identical to the GTC concept car, revealed at last year’s Paris Motor Show, and doesn’t share any body panels with the regular five-door.

The combination of dramatic C-pillars, muscular rear arches and a rear diffuser has resulted 
in a sporty shape. A choice of two trim options will be offered – Sport and SRi – with a top-of-the-
range VXR version due to arrive 
in showrooms later this year.

Sport models feature 18-inch alloys and a DAB digital radio, while the SRi adds an on-board computer, plus a leather steering wheel and tinted glass. Bi-xenon headlights will be an option. 
Under the skin, the GTC gets the clever HiPerStrut system from the 321bhp Insignia VXR, to improve traction and steering precision.

In addition, the ride height is 15mm lower than the five-door Astra’s, while the tracks are wider and the wheelbase longer. As a result, it should be more stable and have more grip. Adaptive FlexRide dampers, with Standard, Tour and Sport modes, are also available. Engines include the 1.4-litre turbo petrol, in 118bhp and 138bhp guise, and a 163bhp 2.0-litre CDTi turbodiesel. The 
hottest version for now will be 
a 178bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol.

The VXR is expected to boast 
a 300bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol unit. It will also feature 20-inch alloys, stiffened and lowered 
suspension and bigger brakes.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Frankfurt Show 2011 Highlights: 2013 Audi S7

Also making an appearance in Frankfurt was the S6 saloon, S6 Avant and S7, each running a less highly tuned version of Audi’s twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8, which produces 414bhp and 406lb ft from 1400rpm to 5300rpm.

This represents a 14bhp reduction on the old S6 saloon’s and S6 Avant’s naturally-aspirated 5.2-litre V10, although torque has increased by 7lb ft and is now developed 1600rpm lower in the rev range.

These new S models also adopt Audi’s seven-speed double-clutch S-tronic gearbox in place of the older six-speed automatic. Other new developments include a reworked Torsen four-wheel drive system, which, like that of the S8, features a self-locking centre differential and torque vectoring.

The S6 saloon, S6 Avant and S7 also receive Audi’s new cylinder-on-demand tech and active noise cancellation as standard.

Thanks to: Autocar

Frankfurt Show 2011 Highlights: 2013 Audi S8

Audi has revealed four new four-wheel-drive S models that will go on sale in early spring 2012. The cars received their first public airing at Frankfurt today.

The rapid new models are the S8, S6 saloon, S6 Avant and the eagerly anticipated S7. All will use the company’s latest twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine, developed in partnership with Bentley.

Leading the charge on both pure performance and price is the plush S8. Due on sale in the UK next spring at a price of around £90,000, it eschews the naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 of its predecessor for the most powerful version of Audi’s twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8. Power is up by 69bhp to 513bhp, with torque rising by 80lb ft to 479lb ft on a band of revs stretching from 1700rpm to 5500rpm.

The increased reserves are channelled to all four wheels through a specially adapted eight-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox, which supports auto stop-start and brake energy recuperation, and a Torsen torque-sensing all-wheel drive system.

The 1975kg luxury saloon has a claimed 0-62mph time of just 4.2sec — down significantly from the 5.1sec of its predecessor. Top speed, like that of all of Audi’s new S models, is limited to 155mph. In spite of the increase in performance, Audi claims its new flagship saloon provides a 6.3mpg improvement in combined cycle consumption, at 27.7mpg. That’s due in part to a new cylinder-on-demand function that deactivates four of the engine’s eight cylinders on part-throttle loads.

Further technological highlights on the S8 include a new active noise cancellation (ANC) system that is used to suppress engine and wind noise. ANC consists of four microphones integrated into the headlining that constantly record the noise within the cabin. It is then analysed for what Audi describes as “intrusive elements” and, when required, an anti-phase sound is played through the speakers to cancel it out.

Thanks to: Autocar

Frankfurt Show 2011 Highlights: 2012 Mercedes SLK55 AMG

Mercedes-Benz has revealed its most powerful SLK ever, the Mercedes SLK55 AMG.

The 155mph machine has a naturally aspirated AMG 5.5-litre V8 engine that boasts 415bhp (almost 60bhp more than its predecessor), 398lb ft of torque and a 0-60mph time of 4.5sec.

The roadster has an AMG Speedshift Plus 7G-Tronic automatic transmission that features three modes – sport, manual and 'controlled efficiency'. It features AMG performance components including sports suspension with a Direct-Steer system that enhances handling and agility, Torque Vectoring Brakes that provide selective brake actuation at the rear wheel during cornering and a high-performance braking system.

An optional AMG Handling Package comprises sportier suspension with stiffer tuning, an AMG rear axle differential lock, two-piece brake discs at the front and a three-spoke AMG Performance steering wheel finished in premium leather with Alcantara grip inserts.

The front apron of the roadster features large air inlets and AMG-specific LED daytime running lights, while the wide radiator grille is a nod to the SLS AMG sports car. The SLK55 AMG also boasts styling tweaks including light-alloy wheels, body styling with spoiler lip and two chrome-plated twin tailpipes at the rear.

Darkened clear-lens headlamps and darkened bicolor tail lamps come as standard exclusively on the top-of-the-range V8 model. Bi-Xenon headlights with Active Curve Illumination are also available as an optional extra.

The interior design of the SLK55 AMG is reminiscent of the SLS, with four jet-engine style air vents and the centre console finished in brushed aluminium. The car features an AMG Performance steering wheel plus sports seats with the Airscarf neck-level heating system.

The standard retractable hardtop opens and closes in less than 20 seconds. Two other roof variants are available, including one with the Magic Sky Control system, which has glass that can switch from light to dark at the press of a button.

Instead of a standard wind-stop, the car has a new Airguide system. It consists of pivoting transparent plastic wings which are attached to the back of the roll-over bars, meaning no installation or removal is required.

Thanks to: Autocar

Frankfurt Show 2011 Highlights: 2013 Ferrari 458 Spider

The new Ferrari 458 Spider, which features a retractable hard-top roof, has been unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show.

Although Ferrari has already produced a hard-top convertible in the current California, the 458 Spider will be the first time that it has fitted a folding hard roof to a mid-engined two-seater.

The F430 Spider, released in 2005, was given a soft-top to keep weight down, but Ferrari has made the new machine’s roof using lightweight aluminium, which means the whole roof and its mechanism is 25kg lighter than a soft-top’s would be. Ferrari’s figures give a dry weight of 1430kg for the 458 Spider, making it about 50kg heavier than the Italia.

Packaging considerations also dictated Ferrari’s choice of the hard-top, which can be deployed in 14sec. It was engineered to fit ahead of the engine bay without compromising aerodynamics or performance. The smaller space needed to house the roof means that there is space for a luggage bench behind the seats.

The operation of the retractable roof uses a central pivot, as opposed to the hinge system which is more common on cabriolets. A similar system was used on the Ferrari 575 Superamerica.

On the 458 Spider, the buttresses behind each seat are designed to optimise the flow of air to the engine intakes and the clutch and gearbox oil radiators.

The Spider uses the same 4.5-litre, 562bhp, 398lb ft V8 powerplant as the 458 Italia unveiled in Frankfurt two years ago. The throttle pedal mapping and multi-link suspension’s damping have been calibrated specifically for this version, and the engine note has been tuned for top-down driving. An electric wind stop is fitted to reduce noise when the roof is retracted, and normal conversation can be sustained at more than 120mph.

Despite the extra weight, the convertible retains the 0-62mph time of under 3.4sec that the 458 Italia has. Top speed will be around 198mph, compared with the 458 Italia’s 202mph.

Thanks to: Autocar

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