Kamis, 27 Oktober 2011

Hot News: Renault Pulse to be Revealed on 29th October

Renault is all-set to unveil the Pulse compact car for India, on 29th October 2011.

The Pulse (codename: B58) will be the French car maker’s third offering in six months; the Fluence saloon and Koleos SUV being the earlier two.

The Pulse is based on Renault-Nissan alliance’s V-platform that also underpins Nissan’s Micra hatchback and Sunny saloon and will be built at Renault-Nissan’s Chennai plant alongside the Micra.

The Pulse’s dimensions will be near-identical to the Micra and likewise should weigh less than a tonne which will reap huge dividends in the terms of fuel. While the two cars will share many components including engines namely the 1.2 litre petrol and the 1.5 litre diesel, the Pulse will be easily identifiable as a Renault and willlook different from the Micra. The nose, headlights and grill will be very different and so will the shape of the rear hatch and tail lights included However, the two cars could share the dashboard design as tooling for a new dashboard entails considerable expense.

Apart from the Micra itself, the Pulse will compete with the likes of the Maruti Wagon R, Hyundai i10, Honda Brio and Maruti Swift and will be priced around Rs 4-5 lakh.

Thanks to: Autocar India

Unofficial Picture: 2013 Toyota FT-86

These images show the best indication yet of the new Toyota FT-86’s final production styling. The images – which were leaked on a Toyota FT-86 fan site – show brochure pictures of the new rear-drive sports coupe after a makeover from Toyota’s in-house tuning arm Modellista.

Toyota refused to officially confirm the validity of the images, but Autocar sources have indicated them to be real. Externally, the production car will differ only slightly from the modified car you see here, with the main changes centring around subtly toned down designs for the alloy wheels and bumpers. The car’s exterior design also stays true to the most recent

The images also offer the first glimpse at the FT-86’s cabin, which fits in with the Toyota’s billing of the coupe as offering a real ‘back-to-basics’ approach.

The black and red cabin features sculpted sports seats trimmed in cloth and a short-throw gear lever for the six-speed manual. There’s also an ‘ESP’ off button, and what appears to be a push-to-start button.

The car’s instrument cluster places great importance on the white-coloured rev counter, which reveals a red-line of around 7500rpm. Speed is recorded in the left-hand speedometer as well as a centrally-mounted digital display. No technical details were, however, included in the brochure.

The final production version of the Toyota FT-86 will be officially revealed at the Tokyo motor show next month ahead of its UK launch in summer 2012.

Aimed at the enthusiast driver and inspired by the rear-drive 1980s Corolla AE86, the FT-86 will feature a low-set Subaru flat-four boxer engine producing around 200bhp, a six-speed manual gearbox and a limited slip-differential.

Toyota is promising a low target weight of around 1100kg, some 200kg lighter than a Volkswagen Scirocco. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but £20,000 should be close to the mark.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2012 Audi A4

We’d say that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, but, between the Audi A4 and A5, we’re not sure which is the female and which is the male. We don’t know what it says about us, but we like them both. The A4 and A5, we mean. Following the lead of the recently face-lifted Audi A5 and S5, Audi’s A4 and S4 sedans get similar cosmetic updates and technological additions for the 2013 model year.

It’s a little obvious to say that the most evident change to the A4 and S4 is the front fascia, but it’s unavoidable. The new headlights and rounded nose very much mimic those of the new A6, giving the car a more streamlined look. Even if you’re not a geek for automotive design, compare this car with the A4 of the late 1990s and it’s easy to appreciate the influence of angles and creases on cars that previously looked like suppositories. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that—we hear suppositories have low wind resistance and great fuel economy.)

While the powertrains carry over—a 211-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four for the A4 and a 333-hp, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 for the S4—Audi has taken care to add more gadgetry to keep its mainstay sedan competitive. This includes updates to the optional MMI infotainment system; our favorite is the addition of a touch-sensitive pad that allows the driver to input commands to the nav system by “writing” letters with a finger. Audi has already implemented this system in the A6, A7, and A8, and we’ve found that it works extremely well at deciphering even the most chicken-scratch handwriting.

The European press release for the A4 also includes info on the wagon and Allroad versions. We know that the A4 Allroad is headed here, so we suspect the regular A4 Avant is going to bite the bullet in the States. An Audi rep’s comment that a final decision hasn’t yet been made solidifies this hypothesis.

Between the attractive front end and some new toys, the dynamically strong A4 should be able to minimize defections to the all-new BMW 3-series. When the next A4 arrives in a few years, that model will pack a diesel engine and, we suspect, many other big-picture updates that were just too costly to implement with this face lift. The goose and gander don’t mind waiting a few years, right?
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 26 Oktober 2011

Hot News Up Date: Baby Audi R8 is on the Way

The R8 is getting a little brother. Audi insiders have given the strongest hints yet that the much rumoured R4 is heading for showrooms. The two-seater sports car will sit between the TT and R8, and rival the new Jaguar C-X16.

“If the go-ahead was given today, it would take around three years to put into production,” an Audi insider told Auto Express.

Taking inspiration from the e-tron Spyder, the R4 will be designed as a convertible. Our source added: “If you start with a roadster, it’s easy to make a coupe version, too [it’s simply a matter of putting a roof on].” Our illustrations give a good idea of how both cars will look.

Initially, the R4 will come with a conventional engine, such as Audi’s 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo, producing around 400bhp, but a hybrid will also feature. “Even in our sports car ranges, customer demand for efficiency is increasing,” said the insider.

While all R4s will have quattro four-wheel drive, the hybrid will take this further. As there’s no mechanical link between the mid-mounted engine driving the rear wheels and the electric motor powering the fronts, the car will get a clever torque vectoring system as seen on the e-tron Spyder.

This drivetrain promises strong efficiency – the e-tron Spyder can run in front-drive electric-only mode at up to 37mph for around 30 miles.

The biggest question is whether the car will sit on a new mid-engined platform or a cut-down version of the R8’s aluminium spaceframe. The new mid-engined chassis was debuted by the VW BlueSport at the 2009 Detroit Motor Show, and could also underpin a new entry-level Porsche.

Our insider explained: “We’ve made platform sharing work in the past with cars such as the Q7 [it shares with the Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg], but have to decide if it’s right for this car.”

Whatever the platform, the R4 would be a popular junior R8. With prices from around £50,000, the R4 could outsell Porsche’s 911, shifting as many as 10,000 a year. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Range Rover Sport

With a new Range Rover on the way, Land Rover is also prepping the smaller variant of the iconic off-roader, the Range Rover Sport, for launch. Rumored to be based on a modified Jaguar XJ platform, the Range Rover Sport is said to share underpinnings with the larger Range Rover model, as well as the next-gen LR4 (known as the Discovery in the UK and other markets). Our trusty spy photographer was working hard when he captured these shots, lurking in the bushes to give us a glimpse of this mostly uncovered future sport ute.

The front end is the only part of the vehicle wearing any form of camouflage, using armor-like body cladding to cover up the fenders, front bumper, and headlights. The outline of the grille is more exposed here than on the regular Range Rover we caught in August, helping us to better visualize what the final product might look like. The shape of the grille resembles an inverted trapezoid, and looks taller and wider than the one employed on the current model. We saw a similar grille design on a Range Rover variant we caught winter testing earlier this year.

The body work aft of the A-pillar doesn’t look much different from the model currently sold, although test mules aren’t always an accurate indicator of the production model’s final styling. A feature present on this mule that likely won’t make it to production are the comically oversized, and conspicuously exposed, dual mufflers hanging off the rear bumper. Likely installed for testing purposes, the dual pipes could hint at a V-8 powerplant, or another engine large enough to warrant a dual exhaust setup. The Jaguar-sourced 5.0-liter V-8 – both in naturally-aspirated 375-hp spec and 510-hp supercharged guise – is expected to carry over for the year or two, but hybrid and fully electric drivetrains are currently in development.

The next-gen Range Rover Sport will likely be unveiled alongside its sister vehicle, the full-sized Range Rover, which could arrive as early as fall of next year.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Concept Car: Nissan Juke-R

Journalists at a Nissan press event in Spain this week got a nice surprise: a first glimpse at the now-complete Nissan Juke-R sport crossover.

This is the first of two Juke-R models built by Nissan’s European Technology Center and the RML racing team. The project entailed stripping the funky Juke crossover of its turbocharged I-4 and massaging the bodywork and platform to accommodate Godzilla’s powertrain. As a result, the car now sports the GT-R’s 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6, and boasts all-wheel-drive, 480 hp, and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. Impressive, but most incredible is the fact the finished cars will be street legal.

On the inside, Nissan managed to squeeze in the GT-R’s gauge cluster, as well as its seven-inch LCD display with graphics by video game house Polyphony. The car also gets a complex roll cage, designed to brace the Juke body to cope with the extra power.

The hopped-up crossover was given a surprise unveiling at a press event in Malaga, Spain, which was primarily focused on Nissan’s less-insane crossover models. Nissan says the Juke-R will begin testing next month, but after that, the plan is a little less certain. Interestingly, Nissan says it’s toyed with putting a form of a super Juke into limited production, and that the Juke-R will gauge public reaction to such a vehicle.

Seeing as the Juke-R has roughly 25,000 fans on Facebook, many of whom have left comments like “Love that JUKE!” and “This is exactly what all car companies should be about,” we predict the reaction will be favorable.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Concept Car: Mazda Takeri

Mazda today has the first photos of the Takeri, an alluring concept sedan that is scheduled to debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in late November. The Takeri bears Mazda’s new Kodo corporate design language, and showcases the company’s fuel-saving Skyactiv innovations.

Like the CX-5 crossover, which also was styled based on the new Kodo language, the Mazda Takeri wears a rounded pentagon front grille and flowing character lines. The car ends in a pinched, taut trunklid with narrow lights. Its sweeping greenhouse and sloped rear glass create a sporty feeling, while the Takeri’s profile somewhat resembles cars like the Audi A7 and Kia Optima.

Inside the sedan are four bucket seats and a futuristic dashboard replete with a largecolor display. The three-spoke steering wheel is typical Mazda design, while the flashy gauges and joystick-like shifter are more unusual. The car’s center console also has a collection of buttons and a small joystick, which could be for controlling the aforementioned dashboard display — sort of like BMW’s iDrive or Audi’s MMI.

Mazda says that its Skyactiv-D diesel engine with i-stop (engine stop/start) powers the Takeri. The car is said to have “lightweight, aerodynamic” components, which presumably hints to further Skyactiv innovations like those seen on the CX-5. Finally, Mazda claims the engine uses capacitors to store electrical energy on deceleration, reducing the load on the alternator at other times and thus improving fuel economy.

The Takeri is slated to mix “excellent fuel economy with vigorous performance and a comfortable ride.” Based on its design, we think there’s a strong chance this concept previews the next iteration of the Mazda6. The company has said that production of the next-generation 6 in Japan could begin as early as 2013. We’ll bring you more once the car is fully unwrapped in Tokyo.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2014 Jeep Compass

If you think the legion of Alfa Romeo Giulietta–based mules we’ve seen running around is getting a bit tiresome, well, we sort of feel the same way, too. Almost daily, our inboxes get fat with photo sets of one matte-black prototype or another, cut, chopped, and resized in a dozen different ways. But there’s a good reason the hatchback keeps popping up: Its next-gen bones will serve as the basis for Chrysler’s crucial small-car overhaul. The compact cavalry includes a Caliber-replacing sedan for Dodge and the Jeep seen here, which will put the unloved Patriot and Compass out to pasture.

With its jacked-up ride height signaling Jeep-y intentions, the mule’s Giulietta body is merely an exterior shell covering a newly embiggened Fiat platform known as “Compact Wide.” (It’s based on the Giulietta’s current C-Evo architecture; our sources indicate that C-Wide adds roughly two inches of width.) This particular mule is likely the front-drive version of the compact Jeep, as the photos show no evidence of drive components for the rear wheels. All-wheel drive is certainly in the plans for the Compass/Patriot replacement, however: Jeep chief Mike Manley has stressed that the brand’s future vehicles will be offered in both efficient on-road—in this case, FWD—and focused off-road versions.

Due out sometime in 2013—probably as a 2014 model—this Jeep is currently tapped for production alongside an Alfa version in the Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy, although fluctuating exchange rates and assembly costs could easily change those plans. It’s too early to know exactly what will power the CUV, but you can expect a small four-cylinder featuring Fiat’s MultiAir tech and possibly a turbocharger—the Fiat 500’s 1.4-liter can whip up as much as 170 hp in turbo guise. Alfa’s new 1.8-liter turbo four is another possibility, while the automatic transmission is likely to be a ZF-designed nine-speed unit. Whatever the details, we think can say one thing for certain: The final result can’t possibly be worse than the Compass or Patriot.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Sabtu, 22 Oktober 2011

Spied Up Date: 2013 Volvo V30

This is how the new Volvo V30 will shape up – a stylish five-door hatchback that finally gives the C30 a bigger and more practical brother.

It will spark a huge rise in Volvo sales by allowing the firm to compete with the five-door Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. Plus, it will take on premium cars such as the new BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class, and the upcoming Audi A3 Sportback.

Our spies caught a prototype version testing in Sweden ahead of the launch in the middle of next year.

We have produced these illustrations to give you the best idea yet of how the new model will look. It’s expected to get a front end inspired by the S60, with a curved C-pillar at the rear and Volvo’s trademark roof-height LED lights. The roofline should also allow a decent amount of rear headroom.

Under the skin is a modified S60 front-wheel-drive platform, which will make the V30 larger than the C30, with a longer wheelbase for extra rear space. The V30 will get a new range of Volvo-developed petrol and diesel engines, with a sub-100g/km DRIVe version a certainty.

The new five-door will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March next year, and when sales start it should cost from around £18,000. There will be lots of equipment on board, with safety kit including low-speed crash mitigation, road sign recognition and blind spot warning systems.

Although the car is known internally as the V30, bosses have not yet signed off on a final name. By the time it hits dealers, it could end up being called something else entirely.

The three-door C30 will continue on sale alongside the new five-door model.

No hybrids are planned, as the first petrol-electric Volvo will be the V60 Plug-In Hybrid, which is also due in 2012. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 BMW M3 Sedan

BMW isn’t wasting any of the momentum from its reveal of the 2012 3 Series sedan just last week, as the automaker is seen here testing the next-gen M3 sedan on the famed Nürburgring. Speculation abounds when it comes to the much-anticipated sixth-generation M3, but these spy shots at least gives us a glimpse at what the next ultimate, ultimate driving machine will look like.

We can see that the car will wear the updated front fascia of the new 3 Series, with the sleeker, lower-profile headlamps that stretch all the way to the kidney grilles. The hood appears to be the same on this test mule as it is on the standard 3 Series, but the front valance is unique – with a central intake opening similar to the one found on the 3 Series with M Sport Package. From the side, it’s clear this car rides a bit lower than the standard 3 Series, dropped on large, 10-spoke wheels. At the rear, a quad-tip exhaust system can be seen, hinting at the presumably potent engine this car is packing.

That engine has been a source of frustration for us automotive journalist types, as we still can’t say with 100 percent certainty what it will be. We do know that it won’t be the 414-hp naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter V-8 of the current M3, and reports suggest that a twin-turbo six-cylinder engine could be in store. Whether that will be a version of BMW’s classic straight-six, or a rumored (and highly controversial) new V-6 engine, remains to be seen. All we can say is this car has a lot of hype to live up to, and also has quite the reputation to uphold. Here’s hoping it can deliver.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2013 Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series

The Black Series idea seems to be catching on at Mercedes-Benz. Between 2006 and 2011, the company rolled out just three rabid Black Series cars, but now, mere months after M-B announced the 2012 C63 Black Series, we have proof that that work on AMG’s next super-ultra-high-performance product is well underway. Spotted on the Nürburgring wearing matte-black paint, purposeful fender extensions, and a wider front fascia, this SLS is AMG's response to the likes of the Audi R8 GT and the Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale.

The wide fenders cover tires that are even fatter than what you’ll find under a regular SLS. While the production SLS Black Series will sport similar flares, they will most certainly be integrated a bit more gracefully than those seen here. When the Black Series comes to market, expect it to bear a strong resemblance to the SLS AMG GT3 race car. In addition to the stretched fenders, that means bigger air intakes and more of them. The Black Series will weigh less than the regular SLS, but the difference won’t be nearly as significant as the 500 or so pounds AMG managed to cull from the SL65 in creating its Black edition. Figure on a reduction of about 100 pounds for the SLS. In keeping with its purist approach, the SLS Black Series likely will be available with a closed roof and gullwing doors only.

With bedplate construction and dry-sump lubrication, the SLS’s M159 naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 is a technological marvel. It’s rated at 563 hp and 479 lb-ft in standard trim, but will make well over 600 hp—perhaps as much as 650—in the Black Series. Mercedes will achieve this not with forced induction, but with internal tweaks. Power will be channeled to the rear wheels through a strengthened version of the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission serving in the regular car.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Selasa, 18 Oktober 2011

Spied: 2013 Audi A4 Allroad

Audi’s off-road-focused Allroad Quattro model has historically been based on the A6 Avant. Now, it appears the Allroad package will make the jump to the next-smaller wagon in Audi’s lineup, the A4 Avant. Taken in Southern Europe, these spy shots show the next-gen Allroad undergoing final tests before its anticipated European launch, which could be sometime early 2012.

Identifying this A4 wagon as an Allroad are the increased ride height and pronounced fender guards, all trademarks of past Allroad Quattro models. We can also see this car wears unique rocker panel moldings as well as a slightly different front valance, complete with extra fog lamp holes. An Allroad-specific grille is also present, which replaces the characteristic horizontal slats with metallic-looking vertical ones. This motif first began on the A6 Allroad Quattro, which is currently on sale in Europe. A black rectangular piece covers part of the grille, likely blocking out the Audi emblem, assuming this is the final grille design.

All we can presume to know about the drivetrain is that it features Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. Powering this Allroad model could be the standard A4’s turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, which makes 211 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Audi might also pull from the A4’s range of other turbocharged four-cylinder engines, which include both gasoline and TDI turbodiesel options. A dark horse powertrain option would be the 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6, an engine already available in the larger A6 Allroad in Europe. It’s hard to say at this point whether or not this model will make it across the pond, but if it does, we say there’s always room for more wagons in the U.S.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Unofficial Picture: 2013 Toyota Prius C

A Toyota Prius c brochure has recently been leaked online that has revealed more details about the the newest subcompact addition to the Prius hybrid family.

First announced as a concept at the 2011 Detroit auto show, and subsequently teased in a Toyota Prius commercial, the Prius c is a hatchback that appears to merge cues from the regular Prius and the Yaris hatchback.

A brochure published by Carscoop shows that the Japanese-specification Prius c wears the same Hybrid Synergy Drive badges seen on other Toyota hybrids. The overall design looks like Prius fascias were grafted onto a Toyota Yaris. Tall, clear taillight lenses; a large roof spoiler; and a curved roofline make for a unique, if not visually exciting, car. The dashboard and interior design is essentially a scaled-down version of what’s inside of the Prius v, albeit with unusual touches like a diagonal line running from the climate controls to the glovebox.

According to the leaked specifications chart, the hybrid will use a 1.3-liter inline-four gasoline engine rated for 87 hp and 89 lb-ft of torque, coupled to an electric motor with 14 hp and 57 lb-ft. A continuously variable transmission and front-wheel-drive will be standard. The hybrid weighs 2486 pounds and is approximately the same size as a Toyota Yaris hatchback, at 153.3 inches long. U.S. specifications may be slightly different.

The leaked brochure also has pages showing a variety of different accessories and trim levels for the Prius c, including a styling package that adds an aggressive front fascia and bigger rear spoiler.

At a media event in September, Toyota group vice president Bob Carter confirmed that the Prius c would debut in production form at the January 2012 Detroit auto show. “The Prius c will offer expressive styling in a city-friendly vehicle that we believe will be the most fuel efficient hybrid without a plug in the U.S.,” Carter told the media.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sabtu, 15 Oktober 2011

New Car: 2012 BMW 3-Series

BMW’s sixth-generation 3-series, code-named F30, has been unveiled. The new 3 sedan is bigger, a little lighter, will have a hybrid variant, and can park itself. How things change.

Compared to the E90 3er, the 2012 3-series sedan is about 3.7 inches longer, rides on a 2.0-inch-longer wheelbase, and has wider tracks front (1.5 inches) and rear (1.9). The growth pays dividends to back-seat passengers; legroom increases by 0.7 inch, there’s 0.6-inch more knee room, and a smidge more headroom. Despite the newfound bigness, BMW claims that the sedans will weigh 88 pounds less than similarly equipped last-gen cars. Imagine what they could have done if it stayed the same overall size.

The larger car still looks svelte, however, and wears an evolved version of current 5-series styling. Its face is pulled tighter than before, with the headlights stretching to meet the trademark kidney grilles. The single lower intake has been split into two. Cars with the optional xenon headlights are equipped with LED eyebrows. BMW describes the overall profile as wedge-shaped, which, okay, it might be, but it’s no Lamborghini Gallardo.

And in case you were wondering about the optimal angle of a driver-focused interior, it’s seven degrees. (It must be optimal, or BMW wouldn’t have mentioned it.)

Naturally, we’re most interested in the mechanical changes. Two turbocharged engines will be offered, a new turbo four in the 328i and BMW’s familiar single-turbo six in the 335i. The N20 2.0-liter four-cylinder was first seen in the Z4 sDrive28i (it also powers the 2012 528i), and makes 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque as it does in the roadster. The 328i is claimed to hit 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, 0.2 quicker than we recorded with a manual-equipped E90 sedan with the outgoing naturally aspirated 3.0-liter six. BMW’s N55 turbocharged six-cylinder carries over, and it produces familiar output figures of 300 hp and 300 lb-ft it. The company says it will post a 5.4-second 0-to-60-mph time, which is more than half a second slower than a manual-equipped 335i we tested last year. Chances are the estimates for both cars are conservative.

A six-speed manual once again will be standard with either engine, and an eight-speed automatic replaces the previous six-speed unit. The first run of 2012 sedans will all be rear-wheel drive, and will include an electronically actuated limited-slip differential (activated by turning stability control off); xDrive all-wheel drive will be made available beginning, oddly, in summer of 2012.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 12 Oktober 2011

Sneak Peek: 2013 BMW 3-Series

BMW will unveil its all-new 3-series in Munich on Friday, October 14, 2011. The sixth-generation BMW 3-series, codenamed F30, will be unveiled live via BMW Group’s Facebook page.

BMW has revealed a teaser drawing of the saloon, which will be the model shown off at the launch. The Bavarian marque has plans for five further 3-series body styles: Touring, GT, coupé, convertible and GranCoupé. The last three will dispense with 3-series nomenclature for an all-new 4-series nameplate.

Visually, the new 3-series leans heavily on the latest 5-series in a bid to provide BMW’s two best-selling models with a more unified appearance. From the front, the two share a similar look that is continued along heavily structured sides to a high-set rear, which gives the new car a more wedge-shaped profile.

Engines are likely to be carried forward from the current model, albeit with improved efficiency and more power. BMW also plans to set up an engine plant in India, which should allow the carmaker to price the new 3-series more aggressively.

The car will be shown off at the Detroit motor show early next year and Indian sales are likely to commence soon after right-hand-drive versions are made available towards the middle of 2012.
Thanks to: Autocar India

New Car: 2012 Holden Commodore Equipe

In a bid to boost sales of its top selling car, Holden has released a new Series II special edition, the Commodore Equipe. Priced at $36,990 drive-away for the sedan and $38,990 drive-away for the Sportwagon, Holden claims the new model represents almost $10,000 worth of extras.

The new special edition Holden Commodore Equipe adds several exterior options to the package, such as 18-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, Equipe badges and chrome grille accents. The sedans also get decklid chrome eyebrow moulding while Sportwagons get a rear cargo blind instead.

Inside the Commodore, additional features comprise leather seats and steering wheel, rear parking sensors, a rear view camera and chrome accents around the instrument cluster add to regular issue items like iQ touch-screen system and Bluetooth connectivity.

John Elsworth, Executive Director of Sales, Marketing and Aftersales for Holden, says "...the Special Edition Equipe models introduce a raft of fantastic extra equipment including a rear view camera."

Powered by Holden's 3.0-litre direct injection V6 engine, outputting 190kW/290Nm, the 2012 Holden Commodore Equip also comes as standard with a six-speed automatic transmission, anti lock brakes, stability control and six airbags.

Elsworth wasn't coy when outlining the Equipe's objective: "At such a competitive price we expect it to be a winner in our showrooms."

Currently the Holden Commodore looks to retain its mantle as Australia's most popular car for 16th year in a row, despite the Mazda3 giving it a real scare for several months of this year.

The Commodore Equipe model will "definitely not be a full time model" according to a Holden spokesperson, but the company has not put limits on its production. If there's demand, it will create more supply.

Thanks to: Car Point

New Car: 2012 Lotus Evora S

Lotus has launched a special edition Lotus Evora S, a car which will be limited to just three units.

Inspired by the firm’s Formula 1 grand prix car and based on the standard Evora S, the limited edition cars is finished in black paint and feature gold-coloured decals.

Red is also used on both wing-mirror housings and to frame the front and rear splitters.

Gold-coloured alloys - 19 inches at the front and 20 inches at the rear – finish off the car’s F1-inspired exterior.

Inside, features include Lotus’s Premium Pack with SuedeTex and red stiching, Suedetex base pack, Tech Pack and a reversing camera.

Prices for the F1-inspired Lotus Evora S start from £69,950, a premium of £7500 compared with the standard car.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2013 Mercedes CLS Estate

Mercedes’ stunning new CLS Shooting Brake is ready for the road, and Auto Express has the first exclusive pictures to prove it.

Our spies scooped this production ready example testing in public.

Sources close to the project have told Auto Express that the car will be revealed next summer, with a UK launch scheduled to coincide with the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June.

The car will hit showrooms in September. Prices are expected to start from £48,000 - £1,500 more than the CLS Saloon.

The engine range will be identical to that offered by the standard CLS. It will include 2.2 and 3.0-litre diesel engines, and 3.5 and 5.5-litre petrol engines. A powerful AMG version will also be offered, fitted with a new turbocharged 5.5-litre V8.

Cars will be rear-wheel drive, and feature a seven-speed automatic gearbox. There are currently no plans for a four-wheel drive version, or a hybrid.

Auto Express understands Mercedes plans for hybrid power in 2012 focuses entirely introduction of the E-Class BlueHybrid, which will be launched in the first half of 2012.

These first shots of the luxury five-door don’t just prove that Mercedes has made good on the promises it made to bring its original concept to production, they also show off that almost all of the show car's detailing has been kept too.

Key details include the steeply raked windscreen, arcing roofline, and sloping hatch at the rear, all of which are virtually identical to those shown off by the concept.

Under the disguise, the window area is expected to finish in a sharp point, while slender tail lamps will wrap around the rear wings.

Inside, the four-seater cabin will be almost identical to that offered by the CLS – save for one important detail… The boot. Expected to be similar in size to that offered by the C-Class estate, it will include underfloor storage options.

One key change that has been made, however, is in the spelling of the name.

Mercedes attracted some criticism from traditionalists when it named the original concept Break – experts agreed that the correct spelling, as used by cars in the past was Brake.

As a result, Mercedes has decided to change the official name of the road going car to Shooting Brake. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Audi RS5 Cabriolet

We’re more than excited about Audi’s decision to bring back the RS line in the United States. The RS renaissance began with the just-released TT-RS; next up is the RS5. We had an opportunity to check out the RS5 coupe at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, but our spy photographer just snapped a cabrio variant getting ready to burn some brakes and rubber at the Nurburgring race track in Germany.

There’s nothing groundbreaking to report here since — like the A5 and S5 — the difference between the coupe and the cabrio are mostly from the beltline up. From the rear, this particular tester is sporting S5 duds from the rear bumper down to the S5 badge. The RS5 will have a more aggressive looking rear diffuser and wider fenders to accommodate large, 20-inch wheels (19s in the S5). Up front the tester is showing of a mix of S5 (badge and grille) and RS5 (lower front fascia and large brakes).

But what counts is under the hood, and as we previously reported from Frankfurt, the RS5 will be powered by a 4.2-liter V-8-engine rated at 450 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. The mill will send power to all four wheels via Audi’s quattro system and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Pricing and release date haven’t been released for either the coupe and cabrio.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2013 Volvo C30 Wagon/V30

And no, it wasn’t smoking cannabis or picking up strange women. It was actually caught at a Mickey D’s wearing a combination of swirly tape and body cladding camouflage. This variant will essentially be a four-door version of the pint-sized C30 coupe, which is due for a redesign. It’s likely that both the “V30″ (or whatever it’s called) and the C30 will debut at around the same time sporting new sheet metal, interior, and powertrains.

Aside from its sleek headlights and taillights, it’s hard to decipher much from these shots, as the chunky cladding definitely adds some visual bulk that may not be present on the finished product. It appears taller than a V40 wagon with a profile similar to that of an Audi A3, which should be one of its main competitors. We expect it to borrow styling cues from the S60 sedan, which has been well received for its sleek and modern styling inside and out. The V30 should debut in 2012 or 2013 and a XC30 crossover variant should follow soon after.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: GM is Working on Next-Gen of EN-V Concept

General Motors is working on its next-generation EN-V (Electric Networked-Vehicle) concept – a two seat, electric vehicle – which the company says represents its “vision to meet the growing demand for safe, connected, zero-emissions personal transportation.” The automaker also announced that it (and future EN-V concepts) will be part of the Chevrolet brand.

“For 100 years, the Chevrolet brand has been focused on making advanced technology that improves customers’ lives accessible and affordable, and the Chevrolet EN-V will continue that tradition,” said Chris Perry, vice president, global Chevrolet marketing and strategy, in a press release.

“By 2030, more than 60 percent of the world’s 8 billion people will live in urban areas,” Perry continued. “The Chevrolet EN-V represents a possible solution for global customers living in markets where alternative transportation solutions are needed.”

According to GM the EN-V, which reminds us of a two passenger, enclosed Segway, is designed “to address environmental issues and help alleviate traffic congestion, parking, safety concerns and energy consumption.” The automaker says its next EN-V concept will address customer wants, such as climate control, interior storage, and inclement weather capabilities.

“The Chevrolet EN-V has the potential to reinvent transportation in key markets by creating a new vehicle DNA through the convergence of electrification and connectivity,” said Chris Borroni-Bird, GM’s director of Advanced Technology Vehicle Concepts, in a press release. “It provides an ideal solution for petroleum- and emission-free urban transportation that is free from congestion and crashes, and more fun and fashionable than ever before,”

GM isn’t wasting any time to get its vision of the future started. Earlier this year the automaker signed a memorandum of understanding with the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Investment and Development Co. Ltd. (SSTEC), to integrate the next EN-V into the Tianjin Eco-City’s power, communications, and physical infrastructures. The automaker will explore locations around the globe for other pilot programs as well as the United States, according to Borroni-Bird.

The EN-V would be a true urban commuter with 24 mile range per charge from its lithium-ion battery. It will be rechargeable from a conventional wall outlet. It will also use GPS and vehicle-to-vehicle communications and distance sensors to avoid collisions and offer autonomous driving capabilities, allowing passengers to conduct business or socialize while the EN-V does all the driving. It will also retain manual driving capabilities.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: 2013 Chevrolet TrailBlazer

Chevrolet has announced the return of the TrailBlazer, and confirmed that the SUV will share a body-on-frame platform with the new Chevrolet Colorado pickup. You may recall that we published spy photos of the mid-size ute this past summer.

Like the Colorado, the TrailBlazer will be a global vehicle. We know at least two of its markets: It will go on sale in early 2012 in Thailand after debuting at next month’s Dubai auto show. Even though GM hasn’t yet said it will sell the new TrailBlazer here, we expect that to change: An American-spec Colorado was confirmed earlier this week.

It’s worth noting that Chevy already offers Americans the unibody Equinox in this general size range, which possibly could preclude offering the TrailBlazer here. But towing and hauling aren’t really Equinox strengths—its respective maximums are 3500 and 1190 pounds—and GM says that the TrailBlazer will “combine the hauling and towing capability of an SUV with the ride comfort and efficiency of a crossover.” This could keep shoppers in Chevy showrooms who need more utility but for whom the king-size Tahoe and Suburban are too big. Plus, U.S. sales open up the possibility of a reborn GMC Envoy, which in turn opens up the possibility of a new Envoy XUV. Ficus-transporting aficionados rejoice! (Seriously, though, can we put in a request for another TrailBlazer SS? That thing was awesome.)

Chevy released no further specifics on this SUV, but we do know that the Colorado will be offered—at least overseas—with a choice of two turbo-diesel fours. One is a 2.5-liter making 150 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the other is a 2.8 that churns up 180 horses and as much as 346 lb-ft. Both the pickup and this SUV should also have a couple of gas-fired options, possibly turbocharged. We’ll have more details on the TrailBlazer in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Senin, 10 Oktober 2011

New Car: 2012 Nissan Almera

Nissan has launched its second eco-car in Thailand after the March, which is also the first sedan bodied eco-car in the market. Named Almera, it revives a name used by Nissan in Europe for its family cars. If it looks familiar, the Thai Almera is what we know as the new Sunny, the big B-segment sedan that made its world debut in Guangzhou last year.

Built on the V-platform also used by the March hatchback, the Almera is big bodied for a car aimed at the Vios/City segment, a similar approach chosen for the Latio sedan, although the Almera/Sunny is sleeker in shape (0.29 Cd). It is 4,425 mm long, 1,695 mm wide and 1,500 mm tall, while wheelbase is a class leading 2,600 mm. Nissan says that rear knee room is at D-segment levels, and having sat in it before, I agree. Boot space is a large 490 litres.

The Almera comes with a rear spoiler (with LED brake light), fog lamps and chrome on the grille and door handles. Available kit includes Fine Vision instruments, MID, steering buttons, climate control and Intelligent Key with push start button.

The Almera, like the March, is powered by the HR12DE 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine. This 12-valve CVTC equipped unit makes 79 PS and 106 Nm at 4,400 rpm, and is mated to Nissan’s Xtronic CVT gearbox or a five-speed manual in basic grades. This efficient and lightweight (Almera weighs between 962 and 1,027 kg) package is boosted by Start-Stop tech to deliver claimed fuel consumption of 20 km/l and low CO2 emissions of 120 g/km.

Note that this drivetrain is different from the China spec Sunny, which comes with a larger HR15DE engine. A more efficient package is needed to comply with Thai eco-car rules. The Almera also sports a black cabin, instead of beige.

The Almera/Sunny is part of Tan Chong’s future plans, although no one knows what it will be called here.
Thanks to: Paultan

Hot News: Jaguar - Land Rover to Make Cars with Chery?

JLR themselves mentioned a while ago that they were looking to produce cars locally in the Chinese market to combat their Germanic luxury rivals, of course this fired up the rumor mill with many people pointing to local manufacturers such as Chery and Great Wall as potential bed mates for the British owned car company. When we pressed Great Wall officials several months regarding the talks with JLR a toothy grin appeared and told us ‘just so-so’ which gave us a strong impression that GWM maybe the winners here, but China Business Review is reporting via Reuters that JLR are planning to tie up with Chery Auto.

Chery previously tried to ink a deal with Subaru to set up a joint venture in the port city of Dalian which is strategically close to Japan, but the Chinese regulatory authorities killed the deal without much haste on account that Toyota owns 16% of Subaru’s parent company Fuji Heavy Industries which goes against the rules which state that foreign manufacturers can have a maximum of two partners in the Chinese market, with Toyota of course having two partners at Guangzhou Auto and First Automobile Works. At the time it was seen that government were clearly worried about over capacity and were eager to deny any other foreign manufacturer from setting up local production, the Chang’an-PSA joint venture took the best part of two years to gain approval from the NDRC and was only approved when PSA offered to give a certain amount of technology to its new partners.

So could JLR gain access to the Chinese market? They would no doubt have to sign over a certain amount of technology or even have to set up a local sub brand with Chery, but remember that Chery has also signed a deal with Quantum LLC to develop a new range of cars for Europe and North America, the new brand will be called Qoros and should see its model line up shown in November this year. If the government are keen to crack down on overcapacity, JLR could potentially get the cold shoulder from the NDRC unless of course they are willing to make some sacrifices, also inter-governmental relations always play a strong part in joint venture negotiations, whilst Anglo-Chinese relations have been strong over the past 12 months will they be strong enough to seal a deal?

Thanks to: China Car Times

New Car: 2012 Mahindra Verita Executive

With the intention of boosting sales, Mahindra has launched a limited edition of its Verito saloon, the Verito Executive.

The limited edition Verito comes equipped with alloy wheels, body decals, leather seat covers and leather-wrapped steering wheel, matching door inserts, integrated Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

In addition, the Executive edition retains all the features of the Verito D6 including driver airbag, ABS with EBD, variometric AC, body side cladding, ski racks, rear spoiler and chrome applique. The Verito Executive is available in two colours; Pearl White and Walnut Brown.

Vivek Nayer, Sr. Vice President – Marketing, Automotive Sector, M&M, mentioned, “The launch of the Verito Executive Edition will add a more premium status quotient to the saloon. Together with the propositions of space and mileage, which Verito is already known for, this new edition will provide premium interior and exterior features to our customers.”

The Verito Executive 1.5-litre 65bhp diesel variant has been priced at Rs 6.94 lakh for the BS III variant and Rs 7.09 lakh for BS IV. The petrol variant with 85bhp 1.6-litre engine retails at Rs 5.95 lakh for BS III and Rs 5.99 lakh for BS IV.
Thanks to: Autocar India

New Car: 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara Sport

Suzuki has announced the addition of a new variant to its Grand Vitara range from this week.

On sale now, the Grand Vitara Sport adds 18-inch alloy wheels, new cloth seats, a new grille and silver-coloured roof rails to the popular mid-size SUV package. It also comes standard with hill hold and hill descent control, all from $31,990 drive-away.

Suzuki says the Grand Vitara Sport heralds the return to full production of the Grand Vitara range, which has suffered from stock constraints since the earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan this March.

“We remain on track for another record year and the Grand Vitara range – now boosted with the arrival of the outstanding Sport – is a vital part of our line-up,” said Suzuki Australia GM, Tony Devers. “With this new pricing, there has never been a better time to see why the 4x4 experts rate the Grand Vitara – the original compact SUV – as best in class.”
Thanks to: Car Point

Hot News: Bentley SUV to Go with V12

Bentley’s new SUV will reinforce its ambition to be the world’s most luxurious 4x4 with a flagship model that’s powered by a 12-cylinder engine.

“We will be first to use a 12-cylinder petrol engine in a luxury SUV. I like this idea; it makes clear whose car is the boss,” said Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer.

The engine is likely to be a next-generation version of today’s W12 unit used in the Continental family.

Dürheimer said he likes the packaging advantage of the W12 compared with a V12, although the SUV’s engine bay is likely to be designed to accept a vee engine as well.

That’s because Bentley plans a V12 TDI version of the SUV a few years after launch. This V12 is likely to be a next-gen version of Audi’s 493bhp 6.0-litre V12 TDI, which has been used so far in only the £100k Audi Q7.

To get the SUV into production, Bentley has recruited a new chief engineer from Porsche, Rolf Frech, to replace Ulrich Eichhorn. He brings extensive SUV engineering experience to Bentley, having worked on Porsche’s Cayenne.

Bentley has pencilled in a 2015 launch date for the SUV (which is shown here as an artist's rendering), a year that fits Dürheimer’s strategic plan for the SUV to bolster Bentley’s product range at a time when sales of other models are expected to dip.

“The production date will be dictated by the cyclicity of models,” he said. “The Mulsanne came in 2010, then the Continental no more than a year later. The lifespan of a model is usually six to eight years, so the new model will be valuable when we are expecting a lull. The downswing is the time to introduce this SUV.”

Dürheimer is now convinced of the case for Bentley’s SUV. “Ninety-nine per cent of Bentley owners also own an SUV,” he said. “I am absolutely sure the demand is there.

“Absolutely thousands of premium SUVs have been sold — Cayennes, Range Rovers, Q7s and so on — but nobody has given those owners the chance to upgrade. We will.”

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Convertible

Just last month, Chevy released some specs for its beastly Camaro ZL1 coupe, including jaw-dropping output figures of 580 hp and 556 lb-ft of torque from its supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V-8. Now Chevy has announced that ZL1 thump will be available in ragtop form, too—and that it won’t be diluted. As such, the Camaro ZL1 will become the most powerful convertible ever to wear a bow tie. Shock? No. Awe? Yes.

Nearly all of the enhancements of the ZL1 coupe (which involved swapping or altering roughly a third of the regular Camaro’s parts) apply to the convertible as well, including the new front clip with stacked ancillary lights; the bulging, louvered hood; the beefed-up transmissions; the stronger rear-end components; and the quad exhaust pipes. (You can read about all the changes here.) However, considering the lesser rigidity and extra weight of convertibles, the ZL1 convertible probably won’t be able to turn in the claimed 7:41.27 Nürburgring lap Chevy claims for the coupe. The Camaro SS ragtop weighs nearly 270 pounds more than the SS coupe, and we expect a similar discrepancy between the ZL1 duo courtesy of this version’s additional structural bracing. Even so, we predict that the convertible to run from 0 to 60 mph in just over four seconds and turn in a quarter-mile time of less than 13. Not, uh, too shabby.

The ZL1 convertible will debut at the upcoming L.A. auto show before arriving at Chevrolet dealerships in late 2012; the coupe goes on sale early in the year. With Ford already prepping a 600-plus-horse GT500 coupe—a development we first reported last March—expect the Blue Oval to announce a similar GT500 convertible to face off with the ZL1. Hey, what ever happened to the end of the horsepower wars?

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Sabtu, 08 Oktober 2011

New Car: 2012 Mitsubishi Delica D:3

Mitsubishi is set to launch its Delica D:3 passenger minivan, as well as the commercial version called the Delica Van, at the end of October in Japan. As is already known, the new Delica (which gets its name from Delivery Car, with the number 3 chosen by the company to denote a vehicle of minivan size) is a rebadged Nissan NV 200, one of the models supplied to MMC by Nissan on an OEM basis.

In the case of the passenger version, two trim levels are available, these being a G version, which seats seven in three rows, and a M variant, which is a two-row, five-seater.

The Delica D:3 is powered by a 1.6 litre engine, mated to an electronically-controlled four-speed automatic transmission; a manual transmission is available, but only with the commercial version, which also comes in two trim levels, DX and GX, the latter with a more passenger-focused trim.
Thanks to: Paultan

Hot News: Ford to Unveil a New Car in New Delhi Show 2012?

Rival media outlets have reported this week that Ford will unveil its new Figo light hatch at January’s New Delhi auto show. But Ford Australia is remaining tight lipped.

Speaking to motoring.com.au overnight, Ford Australia’s public affairs director, Sinead Phipps said that while there is indeed a car in the pipeline, its description is top secret.

“We are inviting press to India for the New Dehli auto show to reveal a new vehicle that will be coming to Australia. But I can’t supply any further specifics at this point,” stated Phipps.

Most believe the mystery model to be a newer version of the Figo, which is a sub-Fiesta offering already on sale in India.

A light, five-door hatch, Figo is produced at FoMoCo’s Chennai (India) plant, the model received a wealth of Australian R&D during its gestation, including significant input from the same man tasked with developing the FG series Falcon, Scott Strong.

If indeed this is the car in question, it will replace the current fifth-generation Fiesta-based Figo (pictured), which has been on sale in India since March 2010.

Currently, Figo is offered with a choice of 1.2-litre (52kW/102Nm) petrol or 1.4-litre (51kW/160Nm) turbodiesel four-cylinder engines. It is unclear if these engines will carry over into the new model...That is, if one exists!

The New Delhi auto show begins on January 5, 2012.

Thanks to: Car Point

Hot News: Land Rover Plans Hot Evoque

A hot version - up-to 300bhp – of the new Range Rover Evoque is being assessed for production.

The engine is a high-pressure turbo version of the Evoque's Ford-derived 2.0-litre turbo petrol unit.

Evoque program director David Mitchell has been driving the engine in an Evoque prototype, although production has yet to get the green light.

“The chassis can take it,” says Mitchell.

One dilemma for Land Rover, however, is how to badge a higher performance version of the Range Rover Evoque.

Jaguar Land Rover has no performance sub-brand for its Range Rover models and current cars with enhanced performance are badged 'supercharged'.

“We'll have to look at badges or a sub-brand,” say Mitchell.

The most powerful production Evoque currently on sale is the 2.0-litre Si4 Dynamic, which produces 237bhp. The planned hot version will increase that figure by up to 63bhp.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2013 Mercedes S-Class

Mercedes is developing new technology that can spot a hazard quicker than the human eye.

The 6D-Vision system will debut on the S-Class in 2013, and our spies caught a prototype testing it while towing. It can calculate the precise location of a hazard in three dimensions, and the direction and speed of travel in a further three.

It’s designed to spot pedestrians and cyclists appearing from behind parked cars. The average human will take 500 milliseconds to process that information and instigate emergency braking. But 6D-Vision can do it in 200ms.

It works via two cameras located at the top of the windscreen behind the mirror, which scan the road ahead for up to 50 metres. “On test, we avoided 15 per cent of all accidents in the urban area,” said researcher Dr Uwe Franke.

After debuting on the S-Class, the innovation will be available for other makers. Mercedes did the same with ESP and the airbag, which it also invented. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied Up Date: 2013 BMW M6 Convertible

The official reveal of the next BMW M6 could be just around the corner, as these spy shots show a barely camouflaged convertible model out testing. A big clue that the M6 might be nearing production readiness is the different paint color. The last few M6 mules we’ve seen have all been black. This one, however, sports a gray paint scheme.

Not much has changed since we last saw the M6 convertible. Some of the front bumper’s camo has been shed, revealing a bit more of the car’s front valance. The hood still looks like it does on a lesser 650i, with no power bump to hint at its powerplant – more than likely a version of the new M5’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8. This particular car is right-hand-drive, which could mean it’s a mule for the Japanese- or UK-market version of the M6.

Although these shots don’t really tell us anything new about the M6, the fact that BMW’s making more than just black test mules is probably a good sign. Hopefully, sometime during the coming auto show season, we can see it without all that camo, preferably in Alpine White.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Volkswagen California Beach Van

Are you a Brit that dreams of sleeping on the beaches of California in a styled camper van? You’re in luck: Volkswagen has unveiled its newest camper van people carrier, the California Beach.

The van is essentially a cross between the current VW California and Caravelle vans: the California is VW’s camper van, which comes with an extendable roof and a kitchenette, while the Caravelle is VW’s six-seat people carrier – previously sold here in past generations under the Eurovan banner. The California Beach preserves the seating from the Caravelle while also getting the extendable roof from the California, although it loses the sink and stove.

The California Beach gets three rows of seating for up to seven people. The middle row of seats can recline 180 degrees, creating a bed that spans the width of the car. Pop the roof and there’s an another double bed for sleeping, and the front two buckets can swivel around when the car is parked and act as lounge chairs. Especially trick is the California Beach’s portable furniture set: the sliding door holds a portable table while the liftgate holds two folding chairs.

The California Beach has two powertrain options, both of them 2.0-liter turbodiesels: the base engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission and offers 114 horsepower and a combined 33.6 mpg, while the upgraded motor produces 140 hp and returns 30.6 mpg with a six-speed manual transmission.

Good fuel economy and fold-flat seats are nice, but VW makes the van truly worthy of a name like California Beach with a number of visual upgrades, including available Sunny Yellow paint and Takato color-striped upholstery, as well as available Miyato alloy wheels.

The California Beach starts at £34,970 ($53,980) and is available for order now at VW Van dealers in the United Kingdom, but it raises the question: should VW bring a California van to the states? Is there a market for driving California Beach vans to California beaches? We’ll leave that answer up to you–let us know in the comments below.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Mazda RX-8 Spirit R

Mazda will build a special edition of its rotary-powered four-door sports car called the RX-8 Spirit R, but it will only be available in Japan. It will be the last special edition RX-8 before Mazda ends production of the world’s only rotary-powered car in June 2012. The Hiroshima-based automaker expects to sell only 1000 Spirit Rs when it goes on sale November 24.

Spirit R models will be available in Aluminum Metallic, Sparkling Black Mica, or Crystal White Pearl Mica paint choices. Exclusive upgrades include special SPIRIT R badge, black bezels for exterior lighting (headlights, fog lights, taillights), piano black trim on the transmission tunnel, and side front and curtain airbags standard. Manual transmission models gain specially-made Spirit R bucket seats from Recaro and bronze 19-inch alloy wheels with 225/40R19 tires.

Cars equipped with automatic transmissions get black leather seats, steering wheel, and parking brake lever featuring red stitching. Front and rear center console lids and armrests get matching synthetic leather with red stitching. Slush box cars also get a sports suspension and larger brakes. Gun-metal finish 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/45R18 tires round out the upgrades.

The Spirit R name was also given to the final edition Mazda RX-7 when its Japanese production was discontinued in 2002 (the Mazda RX-7 left the North American market in 1995).

“Although RX-8 production is ending, the rotary engine will always represent the spirit of Mazda and Mazda remains committed to its ongoing development,” said Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda’s Representative Director, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, in a press release giving hope to rotary fans worldwide that the development plans for the vaunted RX-7’s successor is alive and well deep inside the automaker’s Hiroshima headquarters.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Kamis, 06 Oktober 2011

Spied: 2012 Mercedes G55 AMG

Before these spy shots surfaced, we were pretty sure the fastest box on wheels – the Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG – went buh-bye; Mercedes made no mention of it to anyone in our office, nor was it included in the “Mercedes-Benz What’s New for Model Year 2012” press release. That’s why the following photos have us scratching our heads.

The photos include a silver and a black tester with both sporting revised and lightly camouflaged front fascias, revised side view mirror housings, and side-mounted exhaust pipes, a G55 AMG signature feature. We can’t say what is under the hood of these testers, though the silver G55 is wearing “Kompressor” badges, which is Mercedes speak for supercharged. The 2011 Mercedes-Benz G55 was powered by a supercharged, 5.4-liter, V-8-engine that was rated at 500 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque.

It’s possible that a revised G55 will get the new M157, 5.5-liter, twin-turbo, V-8-engine with a power output of 518 hp or more. Will the new uber-box be a Europe-only treat, or will we get it stateside? We’re waiting for comments and confirmation from Mercedes, so stay tuned for updates.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Chevrolet Colorado

Chevrolet is launching its new midsize Colorado pickup in Thailand, which means we finally get more information on the new truck. Designed by a team of Chevrolet engineers from Brazil, the Colorado will be sold in 60 countries around the world, including Thailand and other parts of southeast Asia.

The body-on-frame Colorado will initially be offered with two Duramax turbodiesel engines and a choice of a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. The 2.5-liter I-4 produces 150 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the 2.8-liter four-cylinder offers 180 hp and 346 lb-ft of torque. The truck can be specified with rear- or four-wheel drive.

The engines went into production in Thailand in September. They are designed to offer a broad torque curve while remaining fuel-efficient. Chevrolet says the engines are exceptionally durable, and that most major components are designed to last at least 148,000 miles. The diesels meet emissions rules in Brazil without the use of a diesel particulate filter, which helps keep the engines’ cost low.

Styling-wise, the Chevrolet Colorado looks pretty similar to the prior Colorado concept trucks that Chevrolet has trotted out over the past few months. The rounded front is dominated by Chevrolet’s trademark black-mesh grille, bisected by a body-color bar and the bowtie logo. Top-end models can be optioned with LED taillights, a first for any Chevrolet pickup, as well as chrome accents for the mirrors and door handles. The power-dome hood and high cowl are intended to make the Colorado “strong” and “purposeful.”

The interior design also looks familiar to other Chevrolet vehicles, with a familiar, chunky three-spoke steering wheel and Ice Blue LED backlighting for the switches and instrument cluster. USB and auxiliary audio inputs are standard. Regular cab trucks have 16 storage compartments in the cabin, extended cab models have 19, and crew cab trucks have 30 cubbies.

Chevrolet will offer the truck in three trim levels, designated LS, LT, and LTZ, with 26 different configurations available in Thailand. Those variants include different cab styles, ride heights, wide- and narrow-body styles, and rear- or four-wheel drive.

Although we still haven’t heard any official confirmation from General Motors, it seems likely that a version of the new Chevrolet Colorado will make its way to the American market. Under its latest labor contract with the United Auto Workers, however, GM has agreed to build a “midsize truck” at a plant in Missouri, which we think is a strong sign the new Colorado will be coming to America. It would replace the aging Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, which haven’t been significantly updated since 2004.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied Up Date: 2013 Porsche Boxster

The latest 911 has been revealed, and the third-gen Boxster will be Porsche’s next big debut. The mid-engined roadster is, after all, a close sibling to the iconic 911, although Porsche has certainly learned to hide the connection a bit better than with the pre-2002 996 911 and the first-gen Boxster; those cars had interchangeable front fascias. And as you can see from these completely undisguised photos, the 981, as the new Boxster is called internally, will differ significantly from the current 987 model—enough to call it all-new.

The front end looks similar to the outgoing car’s, although the running lights above the outboard inlets are slimmer and the lower intake’s frown has been turned upside down. The drama comes in the new car’s body sides, which now feature hard lines where the previous car had only curved sheetmetal. A crease sweeps back from the front wheel, along the rocker, and around the side intake (at least on this S model) before heading forward and terminating just before the leading edge of the door. It serves to better define and integrate the side port, which provides air for the mid-mounted powerplant and is rendered in black rather than the previous silver. The back end is nearly as simple as before, and the mid-mounted exhaust tips return, but the rear view has been sassed up by a more defined spoiler that bisects the taillights and appears to integrate LED turn signals into its tips. It appears as if the spoiler will again be of the active variety, too.

The mid-engine two-seater likely will be launched at the Geneva auto show next March, with its fixed-roof Cayman sibling (see spy photos here) following at least one year later. As it did with the new 991-gen 911, Porsche aims to significantly reduce weight with a number of aluminum components. Think 50 to 100 fewer pounds, which is great news, considering the Boxster already is one of the lightest sports cars on the market.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

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