Sabtu, 28 Januari 2012

Spied: 2013 Peugeot 208 GTi

The new car that will take Peugeot back into the hot hatch arena, the Peugeot 208 GTI, has been spied testing for the first time.

Spotted during cold weather development work in the middle of Scandinavia, this three-door Peugeot 208 doesn’t sport the aggressive rear wing or bespoke front grille that’s expected to feature on the final GTI version.

However, telltale signs that this is the ‘hot’ version of Peugeot’s new 208 include the twin exhausts and the low-profile suspension. The final GTI will have its own unique wheel designs and tyre sizes, plus sports seats and unique interior decor will complete the package.

Two versions will be offered, both using the 1.6-litre twin-cam turbo engine that currently powers the Citroën DS3 and Mini Cooper.

A 154bhp version is likely to be used in the GTI, with a hotter 204bhp unit going into a more focused model, possibly called GTI Racing. The quickest Peugeot 208 is on course to offer sub-7.0sec 0-60mph acceleration and a top speed of well over 140mph.

The mainstream 208 arrives in June, with the GTI expected to follow before the end of the year.

Thanks to: Autocar

Kamis, 26 Januari 2012

Hot News: Renault Plans Alpine Tribute at Paris Motor Show 2012

Renault looks set to reveal a follow-up to the iconic Renault Alpine A110 at the Paris motor show this autumn. The firm is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the A110 Berlinetta this year and Renault design chief Laurens van den Acker told Autocar “it would be remiss not to do something” to celebrate the original Alpine.

A question remains as to whether a new Alpine coupé could become a production reality — assuming there’s a positive reaction to the show concept.

“These things live by the grace of the day,” said van den Acker. “In my view, the best thing for a designer is always to have something cooking in the corner. Then when the planets line up, you have something ready.”

Steve Norman, Renault’s marketing chief, said the firm “knew what to do” about a production Alpine, but it “was a question what size of market it could take”.

He added: “We have to ask: ‘Is there room in today’s car market to build something that could be compared to a Porsche?’ In any case, for an Alpine to make sense financially, it would have to sell in North America and China.”

Van den Acker also talked up the prospects for the striking DeZir concept eventually making production. “It’s not realistic to expect us to produce a rival for Ferrari or Lamborghini; our badge would not support that yet. But with the new [electric] technologies coming through, anything is possible.”

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2013 BMW 7-Series

An update of the fifth-generation BMW 7 Series has been spotted, revealing subtle exterior changes.

Changes include revised headlamps, which along with relocated indicators (now in the mirrors) will be LEDs, while there’s a new tail-light design. There will be no sheetmetal changes for the largest BMW, which is now more than three years old.

Also photographed is the optional M package, with a deeper front bumper and enlarged brake ducts.

Regular models will see the six-speed automatic phased out as the ZF eight-speed will become standard on all 7 Series variants – as is already the case for the 1 Series hatch.

A new instrument cluster design will freshen up the cabin, and we can expect a raft of new technologies to be announced closer to the car’s arrival in showrooms following its debut at the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of March. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2013 BMW X6

Love it or hate it, the BMW X6 is the type of vehicle that commands your attention. In an effort to keep its “sports activity coupe” fresh, Munich has made several cosmetic updates to its 2013 BMW X6 lineup and is now also offering an M Performance package that provides some additional oomph.

For starters, the X6 receives minor touch-ups to its front fascia that brings its version of BMW’s signature kidney grille more in line with the mugs on the new 3 and 5 Series models. Available adaptive LED headlights now can be had over the standard Xenon units. BMW’s familiar twin headlight treatment within the housing also appears on the new X6 and its foglights are now set in matte finish surrounds. Out back, the X6’s taillights also receive the LED treatment and are housed in larger enclosures that stretch out to the edges of the vehicle.

An array of exterior paint color choices are available, with two non-metallic and nine metallic colors such as Marrakesh Brown metallic to choose from. A new 19-inch alloy wheel has been added to the mix and comes as standard equipment on the xDrive 50i. While nothing much has changed in the cabin, new leather upholstery options are available if desired and a three-seat bench is available as an option.

As before, the 2013 X6 is available with BMW’s tried and true 300-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline six and 400-hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8. Check off the M Performance package option and the 3.0-liter gets bumped up to 315 hp and 330 lb-ft while the 4.4-liter is boosted to 440-hp and 480 lb-ft.

Cosmetic upgrades for the M Performance Package include black chrome exhaust tips, stainless steel pedals, 20-inch wheels, and a Carbon Black metallic paint option. All engines are mated to eight-speed automatic gearboxes. The X6 M carries on largely unchanged for 2013, with its 555-horsepower V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission.

BMW says it has sold more than 150,000 X6s worldwide since its launch three years ago, with 20,000 of those in the States — not bad for such a polarizing vehicle. Expect to see the 2013 X6 in showrooms this spring.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Unofficial Picture: 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

The first images of the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe have officially leaked out, thanks to the fan boys over at Hyundai Blog. First spotted wrapped in camouflage in October, these shots are the first unwrapped images we’ve seen of the 2013 Santa Fe as Hyundai readies it for its debut at April’s New York International Auto Show.

Back in October we brought you these exclusive spy shots of a camouflaged 2013 Santa Fe rolling around the streets of New York. From what we could tell, the new Santa Fe would be bigger than the outgoing model, and wears Hyundai’s trademark fluidic design language. The camouflaged mule also gave us a slight glimpse of the 2013 Santa Fe’s new grille which looks to be very similar to Ford’s old tri-bar grille.

These spy shots from the Hyundai Blog clearly show what that Santa Fe we spotted in New York was hiding under all that camo. Up front, the 2013 Santa Fe gets a chrome three-bar grille in a trapezoidal opening reminiscent of the Veloster’s. The new Santa Fe also gets new headlights that follow the same design language of the recently-debuted 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Around back, the 2013 Santa Fe gets a rear that at first glance looks like it could belong on the Audi Q7.

The 2013 Santa Fe’s power plants aren’t currently known, and details likely won’t leak out until the official debut in New York. We’re expecting the next-gen Santa Fe to make full use of Hyundai’s gasoline-direct injection four-bangers, and possibly the 293-hp 3.3-liter GDI V-6 from the recently-introduced Azera. Rumors are also floating around that the 2013 Santa Fe may get a version of the 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 that’s currently found in the Veloster Turbo and Sonata to help it go head-to-head with the EcoBoost-equipped Ford Explorer.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Ram Laramie Limited

If you’re in favor of a luxurious version of the Ram pickup but don’t really like the cowboy-boot-on-wheels styling of the Laramie Longhorn edition truck, Ram has another option: the new 2012 Laramie Limited promises similar interior appointments but with a bit of cosmetic restraint.

The Laramie Limited package will be offered on 1500, 2500, and 3500 Ram models fitted with either crew or mega cabs. Regardless of the truck series, the Laramie Limited package goes for a clean, elegant exterior appearance. The traditional bodyside emblems are deleted, while new chrome accent strips run along the doors. Chrome is also used to dress up the mirror caps, step bars, door handles, and grille – which, we’re told, borrows its inserts from the Ram Sport model. 1500 models wear 20-inch aluminum wheels borrowed from the Laramie Longhorn, while HD models make do with 17-inch polished aluminum rolling stock.

Like the Laramie Longhorn, the Larmie Limited aims to dress up the interior with premium materials, but designers aimed for a clean, contemporary look in lieu of the Longhorn’s wild, wild west theme. Seats are upholstered in slate leather with graystone piping and contrast stitching. Leather stitched in a similar fashion also adorns the instrument binnacle, center console lid, and door panels, while trim panels are given a piano black finish. Berber carpets, bright chrome vent trim, and unique gauges – which bear the tagline “Designed in Detroit” – are also part of the package.

Unsurprisingly, there’s quite a bit of standard equipment found to go along with the snazzy decor. Front seating surfaces are heated and cooled, while rear outboard positions are heated. Chrysler’s uConnect touchscreen navigation/infotainment system is standard equipment.

Ram plans on rolling out the truck at this year’s Chicago Auto Show in February, and will be available at dealers come late spring. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but seeing as content largely mirrors that of the Laramie Longhorn, we wouldn’t be surprised if the MSRP also falls close to the $45,000 mark.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra

Introduced as 2007 models, the current Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup twins are due for a revamp. Our spy photographers (dressed like snow leopards, we hope) have nabbed several shots of both extended- and crew-cab versions during cold-weather testing. While it’s difficult to make out much in the way of design aside from the familiar cab-in-front, bed-in-back layout, here’s a rundown of what changes to anticipate.

GM already has confirmed its investment and a few details on the fifth-generation small-block V-8, and you can count on the new engine(s) powering these trucks. As we’ve mentioned in our recent sightings of the C7 Corvette, the new small-block also will make its way into Chevy’s iconic sports car; historically, truck production volumes have supported the small-block program, making the Vette’s V-8 possible. We know all Gen V small-blocks will feature aluminum blocks, direct injection—which in turn allows for a higher compression ratio—and a “new combustion system design” that has us intrigued. In addition to the new fuel-saving tech, we’re also expecting to see the continued use of cylinder deactivation

Additionally, with the Ford F-150 bushwhacking a V-6–powered trail, we’re thinking we’ll see wider use of a six-pot in the new Chevys and GMCs. At the very least, expect the prehistoric 4.3-liter V-6 that comes standard on base 1500 trucks to die, perhaps being replaced by GM’s ubiquitous 3.6-liter direct-injected V-6. That engine currently produces up to an additional 100 hp and an extra 15 lb-ft of torque compared to the older, larger-displacement six. Remaining four-speed automatic transmissions should be swapped for six-speed units.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 25 Januari 2012

New Car: 2012 Nissan Note

The range of the British-built Nissan Note supermini-MPV is being upgraded for 2012, with a new luxury N-TEC+ grade one of the key changes.

The mid-range Nissan Note Acenta gets new two-tone 16in alloys in place of the previous 15in versions, as well as chrome-effect door mirror covers and front fog light surrounds. On the inside there’s a new seat fabric, while climate control, automatic headlights and rain-sensitive wipers all now come as standard.

The Nissan Note N-TEC+ has the same specification as the Acenta trim but adds rear parking sensors as well as the darkened rear privacy glass and the ‘Connect’ touch screen satnav/audio system found on the existing N-TEC trim.

The engine line-up continues with the 1.4, 1.6 petrol and 1.5dCi power units. The Pure Drive badged 1.5dCi is the most frugal and emits 110g/km of CO2 and a claimed combined economy of 67.3mpg.

Prices start at £11,200 for the Nissan Note Visia, with the Acenta level at £13,000 and N-TEC+ at £13,500. The first of the new Notes will reach dealers in early February.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2013 Fiat Panda 4WD

The new Fiat Panda 4x4 has been spied during cold weather testing. This all-wheel-drive version of the Italian company’s popular small car was spotted in largely uncamouflaged guise.

Fiat is backing up it’s the 2WD model range of the Panda with this 4x4 variant, which has extra-strength suspension mountings and unique spring/damper/anti-roll bar rates delivering increased wheel travel.

Drive to the rear wheels is through a hydraulically actuated multi-plate clutch ahead of the rear differential. The Panda 4x4 is expected to come with a six-speed manual gearbox. The 4x4 Panda also gets a new design of front and rear bumper compared to the standard model.

The two-wheel-drive version of the Panda was on display at the Frankfurt motor show late last year and goes on sale here in April, with the 4x4 slated to follow towards the end of 2012.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom

The Rolls-Royce Phantom was introduced in 2003 and, despite being mostly unchanged, is still regarded as one of the most luxurious cars on sale. But these spy pictures reveal there will be a few mild updates in 2012.

As you can see from the pictures, the exterior changes will be minimal with just a few changes to the headlights and front bumper. The foglights that sit proudly below the headlamps on the current model are actually just decals on this prototype and could be ditched completely for the production model.

Mechanical changes will concentrate on further refining the Phantom’s ride comfort, reducing CO2 emissions and improving performance. As it stands, the Phantom emits 377g/km of CO2 and claims 18mpg.

Interior changes will most likely stretch to updating some of the software and systems like the sat-nav, to incorporate BMW’s latest technology.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2014 Porsche Panamera

Despite a mixed reception to the first model’s looks, the Porsche Panamera is now firm's second-best selling car. The updated Panamera looks to resemble its sporty stablemates, and these spy shots reveal a revised front-end with rounder headlights, just like the new 991-generation 911.

The biggest changes will be in the bumpers, with these images showing substantial modifications, including a more pronounced rear end with bold openings below the Panamera’s tail-lamps. There are sharper edges both front and rear to keep the Panamera looking contemporary, but it's clear that the new Panamera sticks to Porsche’s design preference for evolutionary rather than radical design changes.

Cabin tweaks should be minor, with mechanical improvements likely to be limited to improved efficiency. The new Panamera is set to arrive in 2013, and a minor price increase can be expected.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Buick Enclave/GMC Acadia

By most accounts, both the 2012 Buick Enclave and 2012 GMC Acadia are still handsome people haulers despite their age. The Enclave has been with us since the 2008 model year, while the Acadia first bowed in 2007. But while the sheet metal has aged somewhat gracefully, everything else is showing its age, namely the interior and powertrain. General Motors hopes to address those shortcomings with a significant refresh for the 2013 model year and these testers caught by our spy photographer are proof of better things to come.

From what we can see in the photos, the overall shape remains the same. The Enclave, however, seems to be sporting a much larger front grille, while the Acadia, which appears to be a Denali model, appears unchanged. Also heavily concealed was the interior, which no doubt will get a more dramatic refresh than the exterior. In our most recent tests of the Enclave and Acadia, we found the interiors to be dated, full of hard plastics, and absent of many amenities found in competitors such as power-folding third-row seats, voice-activated nav, and smart keyless entry.

We should also expect to see an update to the powertrain, which currently consists of one engine choice — a 3.6-liter, direct-injection V-6 that puts out 288 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed auto that sends power to the front or all four wheels. Power is decent, but fuel economy, though better than some competitors, could be improved. There are rumors that a smaller-displacement turbocharged engine will either replace or be available as an option to the 3.6-liter V-6.

As we reported last year, the Lambda platform that the Enclave and Acadia (and the Chevy Traverse) share isn’t due for an overhaul until the 2014 or 2015 model year. Will the upcoming refresh be enough to keep GM’s crossovers competitive in this crowded segment?

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport SE

It’s fair to say that the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport already stands out from the crowd, but a new version of the car shown at the Qatar Motor Show is even more noticeable. The Grand Sport seen here is “an exclusive and uniquely colored model” with yellow paint bringing the car’s price to a cool €1.58 million (about $2.05 million).

The lower half of the Veyron wears exposed black carbon fiber, while the upper half is painted in bright yellow that was, apparently, one of company founder Ettore Bugatti’s favorite colors. The black-and-yellow theme continues throughout the car: yellow brake calipers peek out from behind black wheels, yellow leather upholstery has black stitching, and the black carbon-fiber dashboard is accented by yellow stitching on the shifter.

Bugatti took the opportunity to remind us that Veyron buyers can customize their cars in almost limitless ways, whether the bumblebee design seen in Qatar or the orange-and-blue Veyrons that bowed at last fall’s Dubai Motor Show. A standard Veyron Grand Sport starts at just €1.4 million, meaning the one pictured here has a significant amount of options baked into its price tag.

Of the 150 examples of the Veyron Grand Sport scheduled for production, Bugatti has already sold 45. That means there are 105 more opportunities for you to buy the world’s fastest, most powerful production convertible. If, of course, you have a few million dollars lying around.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trim Level

What’s in a name? That’s up to you. Jeep’s currently showing a preview of a potential dress-up package for the 2012 Grand Cherokee, but it’s leaving the task of naming the stealthy ensemble to the general public.

Jeep’s currently showing two specially-prepared Grand Cherokees – one painted black, the other a dark red – at the Houston and Washington D.C. shows, respectively. Both vehicles are billed as concepts, but Jeep notes the package is “production intent,” and “could be in showrooms this spring.”

Seeing as both packages aren’t that extravagant – and the Jeep brand’s recent fascination with special-edition designer packages — we’d hazard that’s a safe bet. Based on the existing Laredo X model, these vehicles were designed to provide a “factory-customized stealth appearance.” To that end, they boast a black grille surround with a mesh grille insert, black headlamp bezels, and a black liftgate trim panel. 20-inch wheels – which bear a slight resemblance to those used on the Grand Cherokee SRT8 – are finished in a matching hue, restricting exterior brightwork to the window moldings and a handful of emblems.

Interior revisions are limited to standard leather seating surfaces and heated front bucket seats. The remainder of the standard equipment – i.e. rear back-up camera and park assist, a 506-watt audio system with subwoofer, USB audio input, Bluetooth phone connectivity, etc. – essentially mirrors the existing Laredo X model. If so, expect Chrysler’s 3.6-liter V-6 to be standard equipment, its 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 to be optional, and both two- and four-wheel-drive variants in the pipeline.

Really, the only unknown at this stage is the name, seeing as there is none. Visitors to can submit suggestions; from there Jeep will whittle the entries down to three finalists. The winning name will be selected in May, and the winner may have a chance at winning a new 2012 Grand Cherokee – possibly one equipped with this very package.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Kamis, 19 Januari 2012

Spied: 2014 BMW X5

The all-new BMW X5 has been spied in testing for the first time. The all-new SUV is tentatively scheduled to be launched later in 2013 and will be the third of four SUVs BMW will be launching, refreshing or replacing before 2014.

Under the skin, the new BMW X5 will share its underpinnings with the new BMW X3, which has been a huge sales success in the UK since its launch in 2011. It will get a longer wheelbase and wider tracks, but will retain just two rows of seats, albeit with increased rear cabin space.

The double wishbone front, multi-link rear suspension system of the X3 will be retained for the new X5.

The biggest news under the bonnet will be a new four-cylinder diesel engine option that will give BMW a rival for the soon-to-be-launched, and sure to be popular, Mercedes ML250 CDI.

The model, potentially badged BMW X5xDrive25d, is likely to be powered by an improved version of BMW’s existing 204bhp twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel engine, with increased torque output to compensate for the X5’s extra size and weight.

Elsewhere, the engine line-up will consist updated versions of today’s six-cylinder petrol and diesel units, with revised V8 petrol engines mainly aimed at North American, Chinese and Middle Eastern markets.

The new X5’s 2013 launch will be preceded in 2012 by a facelift for the controversial X6 coupe-SUV and followed in 2014 by the firm’s new X6-inspired, and X3-based, X4 SUV. All models will be built at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina plant to provide even greater economies of scale than before.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2013 BMW 1-Series M

These spy pictures show the most potent version of the new BMW 1-series, which is set to launch alongside the new three-door model later this year.

A BMW M insider at confirmed to Autocar that the new model was likely to wear the M135i badge and would be part of the firm’s upcoming M Performance Automobiles line-up.

According to the insider the M135i model, pictured here in testing for the first time, was likely to be powered by the same 316bhp turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine found in the BMW 640i.

Like all M Performance models, the M135i will also sport a whole host of chassis and styling tweaks as part of its makeover. Insiders say the model should be viewed as a three-door hatchback version of the current 135i coupe with a more focused M-honed chassis and more muscular styling.

The spy pictures also reveal the look of the three-door 1-series for the first time. It gets a gently sloping roofline and a more angular rear glasshouse for a sleeker profile than the five-door model.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet

This is the first spy shot of the brand-new VW Beetle Cabriolet - and our spy photographer has captured it completely undisguised. Previewed by the E-Bugster concept, shown at the Detroit Motor Show last week, the new Cabriolet is designed to have a more masculine appearance than the car it replaces.

Pointers towards the more muscular look are everywhere on this prototype. The roofline is much lower and the glasshouse is narrower than the old car's, with more steeply raked front and rear windows - a theme hinted at on the E-Bugster.

While closely linked to the old car, with its bulging wheelarches that flow into the front and rear bumpers, the bodywork features sharp creases instead of rounded edges. The result is a more modern look that should have a wider appeal, without losing the Beetle's distinctive silhouette.

Engine choices are expected to reflect the hard-top, which arrives in the UK in April. That means it will initially be offered with 104bhp 1.2 TSI and 158bhp 1.6 TSI petrol engines, with a 197bhp 2.0 TSI following at a later date. A 138bhp 2.0 TDI diesel version of the Beetle hatchback is scheduled to debut at the Chicago Motor Show next month, and that engine - a crucial addition for the UK market - is certain to be offered in the Cabriolet, too.

This four-seater Cabriolet isn't the only drop-top Beetle VW has in the pipline. We learned at the Detroit show that VW is planning a two-seater speedster version of the Beetle, also previewed by the E-Bugster concept, in Detroit. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Fiat 500 MPV

The new 2012 Fiat 500 MPV has been caught in the open for the first time. Codenamed L-Zero by the Italian company, it's a larger and more practical people carrier version of the popular supermini. It will replace the current Multipla.

Auto Express first scooped the new model late last year, but these are the first spy photographs showing the MINI Countryman rival on the road.

Despite the heavy disguise, it's easy to see the new model takes cues from the 500 at the front – with a pair of large round headlights and a similar nose. The rest of the shape is similar to the Panda, with proportions aimed at maximising headroom and luggage space.

The new MPV is based on a modified Panda platform, and it will be available with five or seven seats. Front-wheel drive will be standard, but a 4x4 option will also be offered. Several names for the new car are under consideration, including 500+ and Multipla.

Engine choices will include a 900cc TwinAir petrol turbo, a 1.3-litre Multijet diesel and a larger 1.4-litre petrol turbo. Expect manual and automatic gearboxes, too.

Production will begin at a new manufacturing plant in Serbia later this year, and the car will reach UK dealers before the end of 2012. It will also be sold in the US. Expect prices to start at around £13,000. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2014 Porsche 911 GT3

There’s a new Porsche 911 GT3 on the way, and these spy pictures give our first look at the most extreme 991 yet ahead of its early 2013 release.

Porsche has fitted a large rear wing and front spoiler, while twin centrally mounted exhausts further help to differentiate the GT3 from a standard 911.

The big differences will be to performance, and Porsche will be shedding weight and increasing power. A standard 991 Carrera S produces 394bhp, but in the GT3 power will be boosted to over 450bhp from the 3.8-litre engine.

Weight savings over a standard 911 are expected to be around 40kgs, with a stripped out interior as well as lightweight wheels and body panels.

Reports suggest that Porsche will not offer a PDK gearbox with the 991 GT3, so a six-speed manual will be the only option.

Expect the 911 GT3 to cost just under £100,000 when it goes on sale in 2013. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Sneak Peek: Mitsubishi New Vehicle

Mitsubishi’s Outlander needs a bit of an update, but it looks like help is on the way. Mitsubishi is set to launch a new production vehicle – which may likely be the successor to the current Outlander — at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

There’s not much known about the car, other than a short release from Mitsubishi that claims that the car will be a “strategic and innovative premium vehicle,” and that it’ll make its March 2012 debut on stage at the Geneva show.

From the looks of things, however, we wouldn’t be surprised if the car in question is the replacement for the current Outlander. We’d heard before that the PX-MiEV and PX-MiEV II concepts would closely preview the next-gen Outlander; lo and behold, the fascia previewed here looks much like the aforementioned concepts. Gone is the Lancer Evolution-inspired front fascia; a new double bar grille, slender headlamps, and a rounded bumper fascia appear to lend the crossover a cleaner look than before. Mitsubishi says this look previews the future of its corporate design language.

This vehicle might also preview the future of the marque’s powertrain strategy. In keeping with its corporate mantra to increase the number of electric or hybrid offerings available around the world, the next-gen Outlander will ultimately be offered as a plug-in hybrid (like the PX-MiEV itself), although we’re unsure if that system will debut immediately at launch.

Expect more details on the next-generation Outlander – assuming the name remains intact – to emerge closer to its show debut in March. Mitsubishi plans on rolling out the vehicle in markets around the world throughout the course 2012, starting with the European market.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: Pininfarina Cambiano Concept

Pininfarina’s slow tease of its Cambiano concept for the Geneva Motor Show continues this week, with an interesting look at the car’s roof. This marks the third teaser image of the concept, which will compete for attention along with the 2013 Porsche Boxster and electric concept from Infiniti.

The newest image of the Pininfarina Cambiano concept shows an interesting Web-like design for sections of a glass roof. The center stack of controls appears to be canted toward the driver (always a good thing) and the area behind the rear seat seems to be covered in a large expanse of wood trim. The Cambiano’s smooth curves are consistent with the other two teaser images, one of an LED headlight and the other depicting the top of a wheel well. Previously, it wasn’t apparent whether the vehicle was a coupe or sedan, but the latest photo clearly shows the door cut-line of a two-door. Little else is currently known about the powertrain or mechanicals of the concept.

Pininfarina’s Geneva concept takes its name from the town of Cambiano, Italy, where the company has been headquartered since 1982. The year 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the Pininfarina Styling Center’s opening and the 10th anniversary of the Pininfarina Engineering Center.

Pininfarina claims the Cambiano concept will showcase the company’s design and engineering abilities, so don’t be surprised to see all-electric or hybrid powertrain technology featured.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Mini Cooper Baker Street & Bayswater SE

Mini’s march of London-themed special-edition models continued today, with the automaker adding two more to the stable: the Mini Baker Street and Mini Bayswater.

Both models are based on the classic Mini Hardtop, and follow in the vein of the previous London-themed models by slightly changing the paintjob, upholstery, and interior fittings.

The first, the Mini Baker Street, is only available as a Mini Cooper. The package adds a unique Rooftop Gray metallic paint (you can also order it in Pepper White and Midnight Black), a set of black bonnet stripes, and matching black 16-inch wheels and wing mirror caps. Inside, the seats are a matching shade of Rooftop Gray, as is the door trim and cockpit surfaces. The upholstery has a custom Baker Street logo tag, which matches the emblem applied to the interior door sills and turn signal surrounds.

The Mini Bayswater is available as either a Cooper or Cooper S. It’s painted in a custom shade called Kite Blue, then adds bespoke 17-inch black wheels, a black roof, and matching black bonnet stripes. Inside, the car boasts piano black trim, while the dark gray leather upholstery gains blue and gray contrast stitching, as well as a unique Bayswater tag that matches embems found elsewhere on the car.

The Bayswater and Baker Street join the list of other London-themed Minis, including Camden, Mayfair, and Hampton special editions. No word yet on if Mini will crank out Buckingham Palace or Mini Tower of London editions, but expect the 2012 Bayswater and Baker Street models to go on sale shortly.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Minggu, 15 Januari 2012

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Lexus LX570

Lexus’s big LX570 brute-ute receives a mid-cycle update for the 2013 model year. In so doing, it becomes the second Lexus product after the GS sedan to don the brand’s controversial spindle grille.

Also new are its quad headlamps with LED daytime running lights, 20-inch wheels, fog lamps, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, and front and rear bumpers. The interior gets a few new trim bits and an easy-entry driver’s seaLexus’s already competent automatic four-wheel-drive system gets a new feature known as Multi-Terrain Select. It’s similar to Land Rover’s Terrain Response System—albeit without the handy pictograms—and allows drivers to cater powertrain settings to the driving surface.

Other than all that, the LX570 is the same Armageddon-grade, eight-passenger luxo-beast it’s always been.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: Chrysler 700c Concept

This extraordinary concept MPV, badged the Chrysler 700c, appeared on the Chrysler Group stand at the Detroit motor show, though company officials said they knew little about it.

Sources did reveal that mercurial company boss Sergio Marchionne decided that the 700c MPV concept should be pushed onto the stand at the last minute, partly to glean feedback from the public days at the Detroit show.

Although the 700c was badged as a Chrysler, it looks – from the lavish appearance – to have strong Lancia design cues and is rather more Italianate than North American.

Company sources would only say that the 700c was not the shape of the next Chrysler Voyager, although it appeared to based on the same underpinnings.

However, it is possible that Marchionne wants to explore the possibility of a super-luxury seven-seat MPV, which would sit above the Voyager in a future Fiat/Chrysler line-up, even though it is based on the same underpinnings.

Such a vehicle would suit Lancia in the European market and would help stretch the Chrysler brand more upmarket in the US.

Exposure to the US public over the next week or so, would also give valuable feedback to Fiat on how a ‘European’ future Chrysler could be without being too avant-garde for home-market tastes.

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: Honda Accord Coupe Concept

This is the Honda Accord Coupe Concept, which showcases upcoming styling and technology changes to the current model, which is sold in the US but which won’t be coming to Europe.

The Coupe is actually longer and heavier than the saloon, which will also be updated in the US this year. It will be sold with two new engines: a 2.4-litre four cylinder with a six-sped manual or CVT transmission, a 3.5-litre V6, linked to a six-speed automatic transmission.

During the unveil at the Detroit motor show Honda also confirmed that it will sell a plug-in hybrid version of the production car, which goes on sale later this year. It will havea 15-mile electric only range or run as a hybrid linked to a 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle engine. Recharging from a 240 volt socket takes 1.5 hours.

Safety kit enhancements will include a lane departure warning system, a blind spot warning system and the option of a reversing camera.

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: Toyota NS4 Concept

Toyota is presenting its vision for an advanced future plug-in hybrid saloon at the Detroit motor show today. The Toyota NS4 also acts as a preview for Toyota's future design language, which "aims to make an emotional connection with customers".

Toyota has not yet confirmed the exact details of the NS4's powertrain. The Japanese firm has however said the system is both smaller and lighter than current plug-in hybrid set-ups, including the one featured in its own Toyota Prius plug-in. Toyota claims this new system also improves fuel economy, acceleration and all-electric range, while preserving a “short” recharge time.

Toyota is acutely aware of its need to make its designs much more distinctive, the NS4 being a preview of what we can expect from future Toyotas. The front grille is much bolder, and the a sculpted front bumper, lower spoiler and LED daytime running lights also help contribute to a more recognisable 'face'.

At the rear, there are wraparound lights that are meant to resemble a rear spoiler. The NS4 has also been designed with interior space and access in mind; a trick roofline and powered 'swan-wing' doors are the evidence of this.

Other features of NS4 include its advanced infotainment system and a preview of Toyota's next-generation of safety equipment. The NS4 gets a touchscreen in the centre console, which is designed to resemble a smartphone. It controls everything from heater controls to an iPod, and is claimed to present information in a clear, simple way to minimise driver distraction.

New safety tech includes a next-gen pre-collision detection system, a new blind-spot monitor and adaptive headlights. A clever pop-up bonnet also features, which raises the rear of the bonnet in the event of a pedestrian collision to help prevent head injuries.

Toyota has also equipped the NS4 with new glass technology that is lighter and more aerodynamic to improve economy, and is more resistant to rain and fogging for better visibility. Conventional mirrors have been replaced with cameras, which are claimed to offer a wider field of vision.

"By 2015 we hope to have hybrids in other models as cars like the Prius and hybrid tech will be fully accepted,' said Jim Lentz, Toyota US president. "The plug-in hybrid technology will be a natural progression for hybrids and by 2015 it will be smaller, lighter, have better economy and range and a faster charger time. Cars will also be connected to all parts of our lives so it's important to evolve human interface technologies in the interior. It will be exciting to see what concepts are at Detroit in 2015."

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Buick Encore

The wraps have come off the Buick Encore at the Detroit motor show today. The soft-roader will be badged as the Vauxhall Mokka when it hits UK showrooms in November, and is the marque's answer to the Nissan Juke and Ford's new Fiesta-based EcoSport.

The high-riding five-seater is 4280mm long and around 1645mm high. It has 1540mm front and rear tracks and a 2555mm wheelbase.

The Mokka has family ties with the Buick Encore. Both are based on GM’s Gamma II platform, which will also underpin the next-generation Corsa. Vauxhall's version will debut at the Geneva motor show in March.

In the UK, the Mokka will offer a choice of 117bhp naturally aspirated 1.6-litre and 142bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engines, as well as a 1.7 CDTi turbodiesel that has 132bhp and 221lb ft of torque.

All three powerplants will be equipped with stop-start, and the turbo versions can be combined with either six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. An all-wheel-drive version will be available in addition to the standard front-drive model.

The Mokka has a maximum of 1372 litres of load space with the rear seats folded or 533 litres with the seats up, as well as 19 storage holes and Vauxhall’s integrated Flex-Fix bicycle carrier.

The car’s minimum ground clearance is 158mm and uses suspension designed specifically for a company crossover. Most Mokka variants will ride on 18in alloy wheels as standard. Other standard technology includes electronic stability control, traction control, hill start assist and hill descent control systems and adaptive forward lighting. Vauxhall’s front camera system will be available as an option.

Ed Welburn, GM design boss said: "This car puts us on the edge of a new automotive theme. It helps give us the finest Buick product portfolio in decades. A lot of people don't want or need anything bigger than this."

Mary Barra, senior VP product planning said: "The Encore is a very important car for Buick's continued growth in China and North America. Sales were up 17 per cent in China in 2011 for another record year. In the US, we're outselling Audi and sales were up 14 per cent. This car is the first of its size and type to be launched in North America."

Thanks to: Autocar

Jumat, 13 Januari 2012

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: Lexus LF-LC Concept

The Lexus LF-LC Hybrid Sports Coupé Concept has been unveiled at the Detroit motor show, and Lexus's US chief Mark Templin has described the bold car as, ‘a sneak peak of what we're up to in the future’.

Created by the Calty design studio in California, the LF-LC is intended as a driver-focused vehicle that displays a possible future design direction for the premium manufacturer.

The futuristic styling of the car evolves the L-Finesse design language for Lexus’s production cars, seen in its latest more aggressive guise on the new Lexus GS and to make it onto next year’s new Lexus IS.

After unveiling the LF-LC, Templin said: ‘This is the styling direction we’re taking. We want to excite the customer with something new. From GS onwards, all Lexuses will look better, drive better, have better electronics and be even safer.'

One of the LF-LC’s key features is a one-piece glass roof that also serves as the windscreen and rear screen. The concept car’s glass roof has a lightweight, cantilevered pillar that’s inspired by modern architecture and improves visibility as well as enhancing the LF-LC’s sleek lines.

Other features include a plunging ‘waterfall’ front grille, which takes Lexus’s current spindle grille design to new extremes, and rear lights inspired by the afterburner of a jet fighter.

The front-engined, rear-wheel drive LF-LC features the manufacturer’s Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive.

Inside, the cabin is finished in a combination of smooth leather and suede, with brushed metal trim and wood. The LF-LC features lightweight, race-inspired front seats and a racing-style steering wheel containing integrated controls and a start button.

LF-LC features a remote touch-screen system that allows the driver to operate controls without shifting position or altering line-of-sight. Twin 12.3in LCD screens provide information and navigation displays.

A touch-screen in the centre console is used to control the audio system, climate controls and navigation, with a pop-up touch-screen keyboard for more complex commands. Similar touch-screen surfaces on each door are used to operate the windows, mirrors, seat positions and personal entertainment settings.

Some elements of the LF-LC preview a luxurious new 2+2 coupe that Lexus is known to be considering for production.

If a production version of the Lexus LF-LC is given the green light, it will use a shortened version of the next-generation LS’s platform, which is due to go into production in 2014. It is likely to take the LC600h badge for production and feature a hi-tech hybrid drivetrain.

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: Lincoln MKZ Concept

The Lincoln MKZ concept has been unveiled at the Detroit motor show – and its significance goes well beyond the launch of a new product, as it also marks the first step in Ford’s quest to reinvigorate its struggling luxury brand.

"We are not introducing a new car, we are essentially introducing a new brand," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development. "The MKZ concept is the next step in the reinvention of Lincoln, something we have been quietly but aggressively pursuing."

Ford has long pondered what to do with Lincoln, but is now committed to growing it; company bosses have set up a dedicated team of engineers and designers to work on Lincoln products only, and have also pledged to launch seven new or significantly revised Lincolns by 2014, two others of which are the flagship and MKT crossover, which are both also at the show.

Mark Fields, president of Ford America, said: “Lincoln is an important part of our business. The luxury industry is significant. In any given year in the US, the luxury segment is 11-13 per cent of overall sales, and it’s important for us to win customers with strong new vehicles.”

However, Lincoln won’t be expanding its attentions outside of North America yet. Jim Farley, Ford’s vice president of marketing, told Autocar: “It will take every ounce of energy and every cent of investment to make Lincoln work right in North America. Once we have got that right we may look elsewhere, but that’s a long way off.”

The MKZ, which sits on Ford’s mid-size platform and can be configured to run as a front or all-wheel-drive car, will make production in the US later this year, bearing a strong resemblance to the concept on show in Detroit. Design director Max Wolff also wants to apply the design theme, which he characterises as "elegant simplicity" to all Lincoln cars.

Wolff, who is in the process of setting up the dedicated Lincoln design studio, the brand’s first dedicated premises since 1970, says he has tried not to shy away from keeping classic Lincoln styling cues - the split-wing grille, for instance, was first introduced on the 1938 Lincoln Zephyr – while also blending in modern design, such as the panoramic glass roof and LED technology.

Inside, the emphasis is on comfort and luxury; it’s a strict four-seater, its cabin is swathed in leather and wood fittings and there a 10.1 inch TFT screen ahead if the driver, plus an eight-inch LCD touchscreen on the centre console.

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: Acura/Honda NSX Concept

Honda President Takanobu Ito expects the company’s new Honda NSX to be on sale within the next three years, and hinted that the Japanese supercar could go racing, too.

Honda is finally getting back into the supercar business with a new NSX concept, seven years after pulling the original mid-engined two-seater from production.

Speaking at the launch of the much-anticipated NSX concept at the Detroit motor show today, President Ito said: “The NSX will be the ultimate expression of synergy between man and machine. The car development will be led by the US, and it will be sold globally within the next three years. It is a car that is up to the performance of racing and, while this car is for customers, you might see it racing as well.

“This is a car that demonstrates our passion for performance. The NSX became an icon through its power-to-weight ratio and the driving experience that it gave anyone behind the wheel.

“Since 2005 we have strived to make a successor but global change has had a colossal effect on the industry in that time. Even a supercar must respond to environmental responsibility. This car is about high performance through efficiency."

What Honda engineers have wrought takes the NSX replacement off in a completely different direction from the V10 monster Honda acknowledged was under development as recently as 2007.

The new model will maintain the original NSX’s mid-engined layout and feature extensive use of aluminium and other lightweight materials, most likely carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP).

But the powertrain will be decidedly different from the V10 Honda originally planned in 2007. It will be based on the new, electric version of Honda’s ‘Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive’, or E-SH-AWD system, which will appear on the upcoming Acura MDX sold in the US. It’s what engineers call a “through-the-road all-wheel drive” system, as there’s no mechanical link between front and rear axles.

For the MDX, the driveline features a front-mounted 306bhp 3.5-litre V6 paired with a 39bhp electric motor. Together, they drive the front axle through a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission — Honda’s first. The rear axle, meanwhile, will feature twin 27bhp electric motors, one driving each wheel.

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Ford Fusion/Mondeo

The all-new Ford Mondeo has been launched at the Detroit motor show. The car isn’t due to go on sale until March next year, but Ford has announced it early because the Mondeo’s sister vehicle, the US-market Fusion, has just been revealed at the Detroit show.

As part of the company’s ‘One Ford’ policy, the European and Asian-market Mondeo and the US Fusion have merged to become essentially the same car.

Sources say the new car, which has been engineered primarily in America, is based on an all-new, “10 per cent stronger” platform that replaces the one under today’s Mondeo and the Mazda 6-sourced platform used by the current Fusion. It retains MacPherson struts at the front and gets all-new multi-link rear suspension. Ford claims the Mondeo has again been conceived as a driver’s car.

For now, most of the technical information relates to the Fusion, but Mondeo buyers can expect 168bhp/172lb ft 1.6-litre and 234bhp/250lb ft 2.0-litre turbocharged Ecoboost petrol engines, as well as Ford’s 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels.

The US market also gets the Fusion Hybrid, which uses a 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine, electric motor and CVT transmission to deliver 56mpg-plus economy. A plug-in hybrid version has also been announced which promises fuel economy equivalent to around 100mpg with a range comparable to the Chevrolet Volt.

Sources at Ford say although no decision has been made on whether hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants of the Mondeo will be sold in Europe, an electrified C/D segment car is scheduled for a 2013 launch.

The new Mondeo platform has also been engineered to accommodate all-wheel drive, which will be an option on the US-market car powered by the 2.0-litre petrol engine. Stop-start will also be an option on the new model, activated by brake pedal pressure. Lane Keeping Assist, adaptive cruise control, Active Park Assist and a Blind Spot Information System will be available as options, as will a new Active Noise Control set-up, which use the audio system to help cancel out road noise. SYNC, Ford’s in-car internet service, will also be offered on the new Mondeo, after appearing later this year in the UK in the Focus.

Thanks to: Autocar

Kamis, 12 Januari 2012

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Falcon F7

Falcon Motorsports has revealed its new Falcon F7 supercar at the Detroit motor show. The F7 is the work of Michigan-based tuning firm Falcon and is seen in production form exactly one year on from the Falcon Mach 7 conce pt at last year’s show.

Power for the concept comes from Chevrolet’s 7.0-litre V8 LS7 engine, tuned to produce a mighty 612bhp and 600lb ft. Upgrades over the standard engine include a carbonfibre intake manifold and a revamped ECU. The F7 weighs in at 1263kg.

The bodywork is all made from carbonfibre. The chassis is a hydroformed tube chassis, with the suspension based on the current generation Corvette. Falcon claims the bodywork is well suited to low volume production; the firm plans to build just 20 F7s per year.

Inside, the retro-themed interior gets features including special leather sports seats and aluminium trim for the instruments and switchgear.

The F7 is set to cost $225,000 when it goes into production later this year.

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

The new US-spec Hyundai Veloster Turbo has been given its official debut at the Detroit motor show. A European version of the car will also follow, possibly after a launch at the Geneva motor show in March.

Powering the US Veloster Turbo is a new turbocharged 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol engine with 198bhp. Hyundai claims its new go-faster 1+2 doored coupe has a best in class power to weight ratio.

Transmission options include a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic. When equipped with the former, the Veloster Turbo returns a claimed 45.6mpg combined. Other powertrain features include a sports-tuned exhaust note.

Completing the mechanical upgrades is a sports-tuned steering system.

The styling has also undergone an overhaul. The Turbo features a unique front-end design, with a new grille, bumper and fog lights. There's also a matte grey paint finish, 18in alloys, and new LED headlights.

Inside, there are leather sports seats, and a Turbo-exclusive Graphite Black colour scheme, which also gets special Turbo badging.

The US will get their version of the Veloster Turbo by the summer. UK buyers are tipped to get the car in the second half of 2012.

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: Audi Q3 Vail Concept

Audi has taken the wraps off its Audi Q3 SUV Vail concept at the Detroit motor show. Designed with a winter sports theme, the Q3 Vail is 40mm wider and 30mm higer than the production Q3 model and features flared arches, roof bars with integrated wide-angled LED lights, and 20-inch alloys clad in off-road tyres.

Powering the AWD Audi Q3 Vail concept is the firm’s familiar 2.5-litre, five-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, which is driven via a seven-speed S tronic transmission. The Vail produces 310bhp and 295lb ft of torque, which Audi claims will propel the SUV from 0-62mph in 5.5sec, with top speed achieved at 163mph.

Further details of the Audi Q3 Vail concept (the name of which is inspired by a Colorado mountain resort) include a diffuser-integrated exhaust system, ‘Energy Red’ paintwork and a single-frame aluminium grille.

Inside, induction chargeable lights, induction warmed drinks flasks and heated cushions come as standard. Also included are black, ribbed floor mats, special leather upholstery - thin strips of leather are interwoven with yarn – and a Nappa leather instrument panel, with aluminium inlays.

Finishing the Q3s winter sports theme is a charging station in the boot as well as a heated load floor mat, ‘which provides a warm area to sit on when putting on or taking off your ski boots,’ according to Audi.

The Vail concept has been launched to whet the appetite of American buyers ahead of the launch of the Q3 later this year. The compact SUV's US launch is critical for Audi, which needs to increase sales from 2011's 117,500 to 150,000 in the next three years. Audi CEO, Rupert Stadler told Bloomberg News recently "The next pillar of the market that we have to conquer is the United States. We see opportunities in the SUV and sedan segments."

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

The Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid made its world debut at the Detroit motor show – but there are currently no plans to bring the petrol-electric car to the UK.

The car is powered by a 148bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged TSI petrol engine and a 20kW electric motor. According to the manufacturer’s claims, the Jetta Hybrid’s fuel consumption is about 20 per cent better than an equivalent petrol-powered vehicle, meaning it can achieve about 54mpg. The car can also cover 0-60mph in less than nine seconds.

Like Volkswagen’s Touareg Hybrid, the Jetta uses a decoupling clutch that can disengage the petrol motor for pure electric drive (or when coasting or braking), disengage the electric motor (for higher speeds or when the battery charge is low), or combine the two units for maximum power. The two power sources combine to give peak power of 168bhp. Power is directed to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch DSG gearbox.

Using electric power alone, the Jetta Hybrid can be driven at speeds of up to 44mph and over a distance of 1.3 miles, depending on conditions.

The lithium-ion battery pack that powers to electric motor is housed behind the rear seat bench. The Jetta Hybrid weighs 100kg more than the non-hybrid Jetta, at less than 1500kg in total.

Under braking, the Jetta Hybrid switches to a battery regeneration mode, which decouples the TSI engine and uses the electric motor as a generator. The generating power of the motor rises with increased brake pedal travel.

The interior is unchanged from existing Jettas, apart from a dash display that shows current drive mode, energy flow and battery charge.

Externally, the Jetta Hybrid can be identified by low-drag aerodynamic tweaks including a new front spoiler, a rear diffuser and a rear spoiler. There are also new headlights with LED running lights, LED rear lights and unique 15-inch alloy wheels with low rolling resistance tyres. It also gets a Volkswagen logo on a blue background and ‘Hybrid’ badges on the front wings and bootlid.

A newly designed exhaust system, an acoustic windscreen and thicker front side windows help to make this the quietest vehicle Volkswagen has ever offered in this class. The Jetta Hybrid launches in North America in November.

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept

This is the Volkswagen E-Bugster concept, which has been launched at the Detroit show. It is, in fact, two concepts in one, being both a slightly exaggerated concept version of the upcoming second generation Beetle cabriolet and the debut of the electric drivetrain destined to be used by the wider Golf family from 2013.

The E-Bugster is 90mm lower and 30mm wider than the production Beetle hatchback but retains the same length. The concept has been laid out as a strict two-seater, with the battery pack positioned behind the front seats.

The exterior styling, with a cut-down windscreen, low hard-top and shallow side windows, are all direct references to the classic southern California hot rod look.

This concept also gets bespoke bumper designs, incorporating the large C-shaped LED running lights first seen on the electric version of the Up city car. Extended wings accommodate 20-inch wheels and 235/35 tyres.

Inside, pressing the start button begins a light show that immerses the interior first in blue light, then white light, followed by pulsing lights from the instrument cluster. This then turns into a light strip just 1mm high that runs around the vents and along the door trims.

Under the skin, VW says its new electric drivetrain, which uses an 85kW motor and a 28.3kWh battery pack, can sprint to 60mph in 10.9sec and has a range of “at least 110 miles in urban conditions”. The system also gets a new electronic control module which VW says is unusually light at just 80kg.

It also uses a new ‘Combined Charging System’, which has been developed by the German car industry in conjunction with Ford and allows the battery pack to be charged by various types of electricity supply, although VW says the car industry also needs to come up with a common plug connector. In any case, an ultra-fast DC charge of the battery should take just 35 minutes.

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Mercedes E-Class Hybrid

Mercedes is set to join the ranks of manufacturers selling hybrid-powered executive cars with this diesel-electric Mercedes E-class, which has been officially unveiled at the Detroit motor show. The E300 BlueTec, due on sale next September in both saloon and estate bodystyles, is engineered around the most powerful version of Mercedes’ 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine.

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

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

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

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

Hybrid versions of Mercedes saloon car range are likely to be restricted to the C, E and S-class for cost reasons, according to its head of research and development Thomas Weber. "An efficient four-cylinder engine is a more cost-effective way of achieving low emissions in small cars," he said. Weber also confirmed the next S-class, due later this year, will be offered as Mercedes' first plug-in hybrid model.

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Audi A4

The wraps have come off the facelifted version of the Audi A4 at today's Detroit motor show, which will be a key rival to the recently revealed, sixth-generation BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class.

The Audi A4 – one of the Ingolstadt marque's strongest sellers – is due to arrive in UK showrooms in March in saloon, Avant, Allroad quattro and S4 forms. The headlining S4 now offers up 0-62mph in just 5.0sec, a limited 155mph top speed along with combined average fuel consumption of 39.3mpg.

The reworked A4 gains a host of detailed styling changes, a revised range of petrol and diesel engines and changes to its interior – all of which are aimed at setting it apart from today’s A4, which has been on sale here since 2008.

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

The new Porsche 911 cabriolet has been unveiled at the Detroit motor show. The car features an innovative fabric and composite plastic folding hood to provide the soft-top with a cleaner appearance, improved aerodynamic efficiency and more refinement.

The new open-top 911 will go on sale in the UK in March priced at £79,947 for the Carrera cabriolet and £89,740 for the Carrera S cabriolet.

The cabrio is about 60kg lighter than its predecessor, features the longer wheelbase of the latest hardtop 911 and is about 18 per cent stiffer than the car it replaces.

Eschewing the traditional multi-layered fabric structure of the 997 series 911 cabriolet, the new model adopts a specially developed lightweight hood that uses a fabric-skinned composite panel for the upper and rear part of the structure, providing it with a more uniform shape together with a tauter fit, that is claimed to make it more resistant to buffeting at high speeds.

The new hood, which is supported on a magnesium frame, also receives a glass rear window glued directly to the outer fabric skin. The cabrio’s development boss, Michael Schaetzle, says this process involves a newly patented process, developed by Porsche, and will also feature on the upcoming third-generation Boxster, due in 2012.

While the upper and rear parts of the hood receive composite panelling, the sides retain a similar multi-layered fabric design as used previously, which allows it to fold and stow behind the cabin underneath a larger tonneau cover than employed on the outgoing 997 cabrio. All up, the new structure takes just 11sec to raise or stow, and can be operated at speeds up to 37mph. Along with the new roof, Porsche has also provided the new cabrio with an automatic wind deflector. It rises in just two seconds, and takes up no extra space.

The soft-top will initially come with the same horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine choices as the 911 coupé. Buyers will be able to choose between a standard seven-speed manual or an optional seven-speed double-clutch gearbox.

Off the back of its most successful sales performance in history, with global sales up 11 per cent to 118,000 units, Porsche is targeting 25,000 sales of its latest 911 this year.

Thanks to: Autocar

Rabu, 11 Januari 2012

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: Acura ILX Concept

The Acura ILX is a precursor to a production version of the luxury compact saloon, which will also launch in the spring. It has been conceived as conquest vehicle to attract new buyers to the brand.

Engine choices will comprise of 2.0 and 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engines, and a 1.5-litre hybrid, which is the first from the company.

Acura’s head of design, Jon Ikeda, used the ILX and RDX concepts at Detroit to show the firm’s new, more mature styling direction. “We wanted beautiful, not boy racer, styling,” he said. "We want to re-establish Acura's credentials as a maker of beautiful cars".

Takanobu Ito, Honda's President and CEO confirmed Acura will expand into some growth markets, such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Ukraine from the end of 2013. Ito said there are no plans to expand the brand into Europe.

Thanks to: Autocar

Detroit Show 2012 Highlights: Acura RDX Concept

The Acura RDX Prototype, is a virtually production-ready look at the new 2013 RDX crossover, due for launch in the spring.

It will be powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine producing 273bhp, 33bhp more than the outgoing model, and will receive a new, lighter all-wheel drive system. The result is a target of 33.6mpg on the highway – the best economy of any petrol-powered luxury SUV in its class.

The RDX Prototype has more elegant styling than the current model, and Acura says the car is more aerodynamically efficient. The wheelbase is longer and the track wider and a revised electric power steering system designed to offer a smoother and more entertaining drive.

Thanks to: Autocar

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