Jumat, 30 November 2012

LA Show 2012 Highlights: BMW K2 Powder Ride Concept

This is the BMW Concept K2 Powder Ride, a concept off-roader that has been unveiled at the LA motor show.

Created in conjunction with ski equipment manufacturer K2, the Powder Ride concept is essentially a cosmetically tweaked X1 crossover.

The most obvious addition is the Valencia Orange paint scheme, complete with a fox graphic that runs the length of the cabin – a design that has been lifted straight from one of K2’s limited-edition skis.

Further exterior alterations include a silver finish to the side skirts and to the bottom edges of the front and rear bumpers, dark tinted windows with matt black surrounds and new grey 19-inch alloy wheels. The Power Ride concept also gets an extra 8mm of suspension travel to aid off-road driving.

Attached to the roof-rack is a 320 watt Harman-Kardon stereo system, complete with a 1100 watt amplifier and AKG microphone. Perhaps not the most sensible kit to be using in avalanche-prone mountain ranges.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2014 Kia Forte

The new Kia Forte has been unveiled at the LA motor show, although there are no plans to bring the model to Europe or the UK.

The car was first seen at October’s Santiago motor show, where it turned up unannounced on Kia’s stand. The car shown in LA is the saloon, and a two-door coupé model will follow.

In Korea and some other Asian markets, where it is known as the K3 and is already available to order, the car comes with a 1.6-litre petrol engine developing 133bhp and 120lb ft. It's available with stop-start as an option.

It’s longer, wider and lower than the current Forte – overall length is 4560mm, width is up to 1780mm and height is cut to 1435mm. The wheelbase has been increased to 2700mm, which should improve interior space.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST

The Ford Fiesta ST has made its US debut at the Los Angeles motor show.

The Fiesta is the second ST model to be launched in the US this year, following the Focus ST, which like its smaller stable-mate is now being sold as a ‘global car’ with the same major specification across all markets.
Unlike in Europe however, the Fiesta ST will be offered in the States in five-door guise only.

It’s powered by Ford’s 1.6-litre Ecoboost engine, with a six-speed manual the only transmission option. Developing 178bhp and 177lb ft, it will cover the 0-62mph sprint in under seven seconds before reaching a top speed of 136mph.

Chassis modifications over the standard Fiesta include increased roll stiffness and a 15mm drop in ride-height. The electro-mechanical steering has also been quickened to improve responsiveness.

Torque Vectoring Control (to help reduce understeer) and a three-mode electronic stability control program will allow drivers to tailor electronic assistance to their requirements.

On the outside, the ST benefits from a subtle body kit, a new chin and roof spoiler and side skirts. Chrome tipped dual-exhaust pipes and 17-inch alloys complete the makeover.

Inside, Recaro sports seats are fitted as standard, and Ford’s ‘MyKey’ technology can be fitted, allowing performance to be limited for different drivers.

Ford is hoping that the Fiesta will appeal to US buyers looking to downsize. Not only will it return 34mpg on the combined cycle, but its power output compares favourably to its main market competitors, the Mini Cooper S and Chevrolet Sonic RS.

The Ford Fiesta ST is due to go on sale in the UK in the first half of 2013.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2014 Fiat 500L Trekking

Fiat continues its US range expansion with the launch of the 500L and the 500L Trekking at the LA motor show.

The Trekking is a lightly restyled 500L, designed to give the car a soft-roader look; so it gets new front and rear bumpers and black body strips and wheel arch covers. It rides on 17-inch wheels which slightly increase the car's ground clearance.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2014 Fiat 500L

Fiat continues its US range expansion with the launch of the 500L and the 500L Trekking at the LA motor show.

The 500L, the larger and longer (by 660mm) five-door 500, will be available with Fiat's 1.4-litre MultiAir engine and either a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual clutch gearbox. With 158bhp and 184lb ft, Fiat is claiming best-in class power and torque in the US.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2014 Fiat 500e

Fiat has unveiled the 500e – an EV adaptation of its popular 500 supermini – today at the LA motor show.
Powered by a 75kW (100bhp) electric motor mated to a lithium ion battery pack, the 500e will go on sale in California in 2013.

Fiat claims that the battery pack takes just four hours to charge using its 240volt on-board charging module. Estimated range on a full charge is 80 miles, though Fiat says over 100 miles is possible with considerate city driving.

The chassis and suspension has been revised from the standard 500, to maintain the car's handling balance with the additional weight of the EV drivetrain.

The exterior look has changed little compared with that of the regular Fiat 500 but revisions, includng the addition of an aerodynamic chin spoiler and a new front valance, have cut drag, purportedly adding four miles to the car's range. The unique alloy wheels are also shod in low-resistance tyres to further minimise energy losses.

Inside, the 500e comes with a choice of black or white colour schemes, both contrasted with orange trim detailing. A TFT instrument cluster replaces the dials of the standard car and the conventional gearlever has been swapped for push button selectors.

There are indications that Fiat could potentially lose up to $10,000 on each 500e, and is only marketing the car to meet California’s zero-emissions vehicle mandate – which requires car manufacturers to total 1.5 million EV sales by 2025 – and to advance its development of electric vehicles.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon

Ford has launched the new Tourneo Connect at the LA Motor Show for the North American market, where it replaces the 10-year old Transit Connect.

To be badged as a Transit, the Connect will be available as a five and a seven seater, and will come with a choice of two petrol engines – a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo and a 2.5-litre four pot - both of which are mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. No diesels are planned yet.

The Connect is aimed squarely at private buyers who want space and seats, and it’s being pitched as an alternative to an MPV or an estate car. The last generation Connect was marketed as much more of a commercial vehicle in the US.

Thanks to: Autocar

Kamis, 29 November 2012

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2014 Porsche Cayman

The renewal of Porsche’s sportscar line up continues apace with the unveiling of a larger and lighter second-generation Cayman at the Los Angeles motor show.

The new mid-engined coupé adopts a redesigned platform offering improved weight distribution as well as a series of weight saving measures that are claimed to result in a lighter car than its predecessor.

Sister car to the Boxster, which it will be built with at Porsche’s Zuffenhausen factory (and eventually the old Karmann factory in Osnabruck), the new Cayman receives slightly different proportions in a move that serves to stretch its silhouette and provide the basis for a larger cabin. Length is up by 35mm, width extends by a scant 1mm while height drops by 10mm over its predecessor at 4380mm, 1801mm and 1295mm respectively.

The Cayman once again shares its styling with the Boxster. Distinguishing features include daytime running lights and indicators housed within a round unit, more pronounced rear haunches and a heavily angled liftback style tailgate at the rear.

As with its roadster sibling, the new coupé adopts an edgier appearance than its predecessor, with tauter surfacing and crisper lines, including a distinctive swage running through the doors and into larger cooling ducts ahead of the rear wheel arches. As part of Porsche's focus on weight saving, the body is predominantly aluminium. As on all recent Porsche models, the exterior mirrors are mounted on the doors rather than within the glasshouse. The wheelhouses have also increased in size, allowing Porsche to fit the range topping Cayman S with 19 inch wheels as standard and offer 20 inch rims as an option.

Inside, there is a higher quality interior with added levels of accommodation. The two seat layout remains, but a longer cabin provides greater levels of seat adjustment and improved storage. Porsche claims 150 litres of luggage space in the nose and a further 162 litres at the rear in the space above the engine.

As with the Boxster, the new Cayman will be sold with the choice of two flat six engines: a new 2.7-litre and a reworked version of the existing 3.4-litre. Buyers will also be able to choose between two gearboxes: a standard six speed manual or a seven speed dual clutch unit, which can idle the engine and disengage the clutch on a trailing throttle for to save fuel.

The 2.7-litre unit replaces the older 2.9-litre engine, producing an added 10bhp but 7lb ft less torque, with 275bhp and 214lb ft. It is sufficient to propel the  1310kg Cayman to 62mph in 5.7sec and up to a top speed of 165mph, while delivering a combined fuel consumption of 34.5mpg and  CO2 emissions of 192g/km, with the standard six-speed gearbox.  The dual clutch gearbox extends performance and reduces consumption and emissions, with official claims of 5.4sec, 164mph, 36.7mpg and 180g/km.

It will be joined from the outset by the reworked 3.4-litre engine. It delivers 5bhp more but the same level of torque as the old unit, with 325bhp at 7400rpm and 273lb ft at 4500rpm.  This is enough to endow the 1320kg Cayman S with an official 0-62mph time of 5.0sec in six-speed manual form and 4.7sec with the dual clutch gearbox, together with corresponding top speeds of 176mph and  175mph. Fuel consumption is put at 32.1mpg and 35.3mpg respectively for the two gearboxes, with corresponding CO2 emissions of 206g/km and 188g/km.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2014 Acura RLX

Acura, Honda’s predominantly US market premium brand, has lifted the covers on its latest executive saloon, the RLX, at the Los Angeles motor show.

Previously shown at this year’s New York motor show in concept form, the production version is due to go on sale in the States early in 2013.

The RLX features a 306bhp 3.5-litre direct-injection V6 engine, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and Honda’s Precision All-wheel Steering system, which can adjust toe angles on individual wheels to tighten cornering lines and improve maneuverability. Both the engine and steering system are likely to make it onto Honda's forthcoming NSX supercar.

The new headlight arrangment, in which the LED units flank the grille, will be developed into a new Acura design theme.

Acura is aiming to steal sales from BMW and Mercedes with its new flagship saloon. The company claims that the RLX will have class leading interior space and safety performance, and has used acoustic glass and 'Amplitude' reactive dampers to improve refinement and ride comfort.

"It's the job of a flagship to establish the traits of the rest of the brand, so the RLX will exhibit first class comfort and quality, as well as an incredible driving experience," said an Acura spokesman.

A hybrid version of the RLX, featuring Honda's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, will join the range next year.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

These are the first pictures of the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, which has made its public debut at the LA motor show.

The Beetle Cabriolet features a soft-top which lowers in 9.5 seconds and can be operated at speeds up to 31mph. Unlike the car it replaces, the roof lies flat, improving rear visibility and providing a clean silhouette.

Seven engine options will be available, closely mirroring the hatchback model. A 103bhp 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine will be available from launch, with a Bluemotion Technology version soon after. A 158bhp 1.4 TSI and 197bhp 2.0 TSI will complete the petrol range. Diesel choices will include a 103bhp 1.6-litre TDI offered with or without Bluemotion Technology, and a 138bhp 2.0-litre TDI. Today's unveiling also showcased a 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine, which will be for the US market only.

A Volkswagen spokesman confirmed the Beetle Cabriolet features the hatchback’s multi-link front and torsion beam rear suspension. Only the range-topping 2.0 TSI model will carry a more sophisticated four-link rear arrangement.

Like the Beetle hatchback, the Cabriolet will be built in Volkswagen’s plant in Puebla, Mexico, sharing the same platform as the Jetta, itself a modified version of the Golf Mk6 platform.

The Cabriolet is fitted with an active rollover protection system, featuring two extendable modules behind the rear seat backs. These are activated in the event of a rollover, via the airbag control unit. Volkswagen says the system will deploy in milliseconds, providing front and rear protection for all four occupants.

The new Beetle Cabriolet will start at $24,995 in the States. UK pricing has yet to be confirmed, though it is expected Cabriolet models will attract a premium of between £2500 to £3000 over the hatchback, with the first deliveries arriving next summer.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

The full production version of the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid has been revealed at the Los Angeles motor show – and although there are no plans to bring the car to the UK, its drivetrain will be used in the Golf Hybrid due in Europe next year.

First seen in near-final concept form at the Detroit motor show, the Jetta Hybrid is powered by a 148bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged TSI petrol engine and a 20kW electric motor, mated to a seven-speed DSG gearbox that drives the front wheels.

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 bigger 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.

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 the 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.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2014 Mercedes SLS AMG black Series

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series is "the ultimate expression of what our engineers can do when they're allowed to go crazy", according to Ola Källenius, the boss of the AMG performance division.

Mercedes-Benz has revealed the new 622bhp 6.2-litre V8-powered SLS AMG Black Series at the Los Angeles motor show. Sporting a series of aerodynamic and mechanical developments brought over from the SLS AMG GT3 race car, the headlining AMG model is the fifth in a series of limited production Black Series models.

As tradition dictates, the SLS AMG Black Series is outwardly distinguished by series of exterior styling changes that serve to provide it with a distinctly brawnier appearance than the standard SLS AMG – all in keeping with its circuit bred lineage. Carbonfibre is used extensively for the more aggressive bodywork, including the deep front spoiler, bonnet and rear diffuser. An aerodynamic package is optional, which includes a fixed rear wing.

The rear bulkhead and centre tunnel are also fashioned from carbonfibre, changes which help cut the Black Series' kerb weight by 70kg over the standard SLS AMG to 1550kg.

At the new car's heart is a heavily tuned version 6.2 V8 developing 59bhp than the standard SLS AMG and 41bhp more than the recently introduced SLS AMG GT, with 622bhp delivered at 7400rpm. Torque, on the other hand, has dropped by 11lb ft over both existing gullwing models, with 468lb ft arriving at 5500rpm.
Carryovers from the GT3 racer to the Black Series road car include a larger inlet manifold, high lift camshaft, revised valve tappets, revised oil system, lighter bearings and stiffer conrods. The rev limit is raised from 7200rpm to 8000rpm.

Further engine changes centre around the exhaust system which switches from steel to titanium construction – a move AMG claims not only provides a 13kg reduction in weight and reduced back pressure but an even more striking exhaust note.

Channeling drive to the rear wheels is a modified six-speed double clutch transaxle, set 10mm lower than in the standard SLS to reduce its centre of gravity. Shifts are now faster and more aggressive and torque loading is increased.

Additional driveline developments include the adoption of an electronically controlled differential lock in place of the existing mechanical arrangement. The ESP and race start systems are also revised.

The Black Series can crack 0-62mph in 3.6sec and reach a 196mph top speed, 0.1sec quicker than an SLS AMG GT to 62mph but 3mph slower at the top end due to its increased downforce.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: Hyundai Veloster C3 Roll Top Concept

Hyundai has unveiled this convertible three-door Veloster, the C3, at the LA motor show.

Described by Hyundai as a “roll top,” the C3 features a full-length fabric roof and a tailgate, which is claimed to add practicality to the car, along with the folding seats, so surfboards or canoes can be slotted into the back.  It also means Hyundai has been able to retain the Veloster’s asymmetric third door.

Hyundai has used some unusual materials to trim the car. The roof is made from the tarpaulin from a curtain side HGV trailer, while the boot floor and seatbacks are covered in sections of recycled skateboards.

Much of the car’s exterior trim has been inspired by the customising culture that is centred around fixed-gear pushbikes. The deliberately mismatched mirror and rear wheel covers can be changed by the driver to alter the car’s look, while the colour scheme was influenced by those found on fixed-wheel bikes.

The car is powered by Hyundai’s 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, with 184bhp and 195lb ft.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Toyota RAV4

Toyota has made its all-new RAV4, unveiled today in final production form at the Los Angeles motor show, longer, wider and more spacious as it attempts to reinvent one of the models that invented the smaller SUV segment.

The fourth-generation model has also been given a bold new look inspired by the new Auris and driving dynamics that are said to be more involving than before as part of Toyota chief Akio Toyoda's brief to inject some excitement into the Japanese firm's cars.

At 4570mm long and 1845mm wide, the RAV4 is 205mm longer and 30mm wider than the current car, and a full 830mm longer than the original 1994 two-door model. The wheelbase of the Mk4 is up by 100mm over the Mk3, to 2660mm. It also sits 25mm lower at 1660mm, with ground clearance down by 10mm. All of this means a weight increase of around 10-15kg, depending on the engine.

The size of the new five-seat RAV4 is partly due to the deletion of the long-wheelbase seven-seat version of the current generation RAV4 sold in the US. But Toyota says the increase in size is also in response to changing market tastes; for example, buyers of estate cars are switching to models of the new RAV4's size, Toyota's research suggests.

The new model is a global car, and will be built in Japan, China and Canada for sale in all of Toyota's key markets. Each region, including Europe, has tuned the dynamics and interior look and feel to suit local tastes. Annual sales are expected to average around 100,000 units.

The look of the new RAV4 has been derived from the 'Keen Look' design language recently introduced on the new Auris. There's a more distinctive grille flanked by slim, technical headlights on each side. The side profile is also sleeker, with a lower roofline and a slim glasshouse with blacked out pillars. The more slippery shape results in a four per cent improvement in aerodynamic efficiency over the current RAV4.

The inside also gets a new look, with higher quality materials used for a more premium feel; even the most basic RAV4 will get a touchscreen infotainment system mounted in the centre console. The seats are bigger, to boost comfort, and the driving position is lower.

The longer wheelbase results in an more spacious cabin, with increased legroom for rear passengers - enough for Toyota to axe the current car's sliding rear seats. Boot capacity is up from 137 litres to 547 litres, with a further 100 litres hidden under the boot floor.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: Smart ForJeremy Concept

Mercedes has unveiled the Smart Forjeremy show car at a special ceremony on the eve of the Los Angeles motor show.

Based on a Smart Fortwo electric drive, the Forjeremy is a design collaboration with American fashion designer Jeremy Scott, who has altered the body to include his trademark wings.

Made of clear fibreglass, the wings light up to act as the rear brake lights.

Further exterior alterations include alloy wheels designed to look like airplane propellers, and ‘eyebrow’ design details above the headlamp clusters. Completing the unique look are a chromed grille and door mirrors.

Inside, Scott chose white Nappa leather, with diamond stitched seats, contrasted with chrome trim fittings.
The Fortwo’s electric drivetrain remains unaltered, meaning there's a 55kW electric motor capable of accelerating the car up to a top speed of 78mph. Its lithium-ion battery pack gives a 90-mile range.

While currently only a one-off, Mercedes is hoping to put the Smart Forjeremy into limited-run production early next year.

Thanks to: Autocar

Rabu, 28 November 2012

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition

Jeep has wheeled out a limited edition of its Wrangler at the LA Motor show, aimed squarely at off-road enthusiasts.

The Wrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition comes with specialist off-road kit such as a winch, a low-ratio transfer box and low-ratio diffs, bumpers with removable end caps, rock bars and an increased ride height.

It’s available as a two or four-door model, with a soft-top or a hard top, and inside comes with red leather upholstery and extra gauges for oil temperature and pressure.

Jeep is calling the model “the most capable Wrangler ever produced”. Don’t expect to see it in the UK though – it’s a US market model only.

SHOP: Jeep Wrangler Bumpers from ExtremeTerrain

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: BMW i3 Coupe Concept

BMW is testing the market for a sportier-looking, three-door coupé version of its battery-powered i3 electric hatch with this i3 Concept Coupé, which has broken cover ahead of the Los Angeles motor show.

The BMW i3 Concept Coupé is lower and wider than the five-door i3 hatch due on sale in the UK next year and is distinguished by a more steeply sloped roofline, deeper rear side windows and slightly more angled tailgate.

Otherwise it shares the basic styling treatment, 2750mm wheelbase and carbon fibre reinforced plastic body construction — the so-called Life Module structure — with the i3 five-door.

Although the three-door has yet to be signed off for production, senior BMW officials say that cost and production feasibility studies have been carried out. And it has emerged that a soft-top version of the three-door i3 is also awaiting sign-off, suggesting the i-car line-up could eventually support up to five models — three i3 hatch-derived models and two i8 sportscars.

At 3964mm long, 1768mm wide and 1555mm high, the car is 119mm longer, 243mm narrower and 18mm lower than the five door. To put these dimensions into perspective, the existing Mini hatchback measures 3725mm long, 1685mm wide and 1405mm high.

Inside, the concept previews the i3’s production interior. Less flamboyant than the cabin revealed at Frankfurt last year, it sports a simple dashboard housing an integrated digital instrument binnacle, a minimum of switchgear and a free-standing, central sat-nav monitor.

The majority of the controls are accessed via an iDrive rotary controller mounted between the front seats. The steering wheel is a basic two-spoke affair with multi-function controls and the pedals elegant forged aluminium.

Power comes from a 170bhp, 184lb ft electric motor mounted within the rear axle and driving the rear wheels through a fixed ratio gearbox. Lithium ion batteries are packed inside the floor structure. This complete powerpack is shared with the five-door.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Mini Countryman

Mini is to unveil a revised version of its Countryman crossover at this month’s Los Angeles motor show.

The revisions come two years after the model’s initial debut and focus on bringing interior quality up to a higher standard, in the face of competition from the Audi Q3 and BMW X1.

The biggest changes are to the centre console, which gains a new storage cubby hole — thanks to the relocation of the window switches to the door panels. The driver’s side door will come equipped with all-around window controls as well as switches for the electric door mirrors.

New door inserts have been fitted and the armrests re-profiled for greater comfort, while the centrally mounted speedometer and four air vents are now ringed in carbon-black, with the option of gloss black or chrome detailing.

The Countryman will now come as standard with a three-seat rear bench, with two individual seats available as a no-cost option.

Exterior revisions are limited to new colour options: Brilliant Copper metallic and Blazing Red metallic.

The engine line-up is unchanged, meaning three diesel and four petrol units with power ranging from 90-218bhp. All except the entry-level diesel model are available with an optional six-speed automatic gearbox in place of the standard six-speed manual item.

Thanks to: Autocar

LA Show 2012 Highlights: Mercedes Ener-G-Force Concept

This new Mercedes-Benz G-class-based concept is the first statement of intent of the firm’s plans to launch a direct rival to the Range Rover.

The Ener-G-Force concept car is an imposing seven-seater that, in kitted-up Highway Patrol Vehicle guise, is also Mercedes' entry into the annual Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge at this week’s LA motor show.

Mercedes officials won’t be drawn on specifics just yet, but highly placed sources claim the Ener-G-Force is the forerunner to a new three strong line-up of Land Rover-rivalling off-roaders set to join its line-up in coming years, based around existing platforms and driveline combinations, including a long-awaited replacement for the iconic G-class in production since 1979 and a Range Rover rival.

“The Ener-G-Force invokes the genes of the G-class,” said Mercedes' design chief Gorden Wagener. “It could also be a clue about a new beginning for the off-road design idiom of Mercedes,” he added, in tacit reference to the company’s new range of SUVs.

Styled at Mercedes-Benz’s advanced design studio in California, the Ener-G-Force updates the functional go-anywhere appearance of the 33-year-old G-class with a bold new look that provides clues to how the company’s new SUV line-up, which Autocar understands has been conceived to include compact, mid-size and luxury, may appear if current proposals are approved.

The taut surfacing and lack of fanciful crease lines throughout the body helps to provide the concept with a particularly tough appearance that Autocar has been told forms the basis for the design of the new Land Rover-rivaling range of off-roaders.

As Mercedes-Benz’s entry for this year’s LA Design Challenge, which centres around a Highway Patrol Vehicle for the year 2025, the Ener-G-Force's proposed driveline consists of four wheel-mounted hydrogen-powered electric motors. Water held in containers on the roof and a so-called Hydro-Tech Converter provide electricity that is stored in batteries within the concept car’s broad sills, which also act as tread plates. Mercedes-Benz predicts the car would have a range of up to 497 miles (800km).

Thanks to: Autocar

Rabu, 21 November 2012

New Car: 2013 Renaultsport Megane Estate GT 220

Here’s a solution for those who want a Megane RS, but have a family and/or dog – the Renault Sport Megane Estate GT 220. Based on the wagon-bodied Megane, the GT 220 is not quite a Megane RS, but shares many of the hot hatch’s tricks.

Under its hood is a detuned version of the 2.0 turbo engine in the Megane RS. Not full fat, but 220 hp and 340 Nm of torque is still plenty of firepower. With the addition of Stop & Start, the GT 220 returns fuel consumption of 7.3 litres per 100 km, which is not bad at all. Ah, and there’s a six-speed manual gearbox, of course.

The GT 220 sits on a “Sport” chassis, which is also available in the Megane RS as a less hardcore option next to the “Cup” chassis – the latter is what TC Euro Cars specifies for Malaysia. Besides that, the wagon gets the same high-performance tyres as the hot hatch, specifically-calibrated EPS steering and “braking performance to match its sporty calling.”

Other unique details include GT 220 badging, a numbered plaque, 18-inch gloss black “Serdard” wheels and gloss black on the door mirrors, diffuser, air scoops and roof bars. There’s also a specific steel gear knob.
Sales of the Spanish-made Megane Estate GT 220 starts this month in France, ahead of its launch in 11 other markets including Japan.

Thanks to: Paultan

Hot News: BMW i8 Roadster to be Introdiced at LA Show

The BMW i8 concept roadster – the third model in the company’s electric ‘i’ line-up – will be shown at this month’s Los Angeles motor show.

Previously seen earlier this year at the Beijing motor show, the roadster concept uses the same carbonfibre construction as the i8 coupé, which is due to launch in 2013.

Unlike the coupe’s 2+2 layout, the roadster is a strict two-seater and has a shallow rear deck in place of the coupé’s sloping roof-line.

BMW has not confirmed how the roof mechanism will work, although a lift-out panel – also made from carbonfibre – is the most likely option.

The i8 roadster will use the same drivetrain configuration as the coupé, meaning a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine developing 220bhp and driving the rear wheels, while an electric motor, with the equivalent of around 134bhp driving the fronts.

The configuration allows the i8 to operate in front, rear and all-wheel drive, as well as in combustion, electric and combined modes. The positioning of the motors over each axle, and the battery pack in a central tunnel, also allows BMW to stick to its famous 50/50 weight distribution.

With a total of 354bhp, the i8 roadster will have a 0-60mph time of 4.6 seconds. As with all BMWs, the top speed is limited to 155mph.

Despite the performance on offer, thanks to its efficient petrol engine and battery power, the i8 Roadster will average around 104mpg. The lithium-ion battery pack will also allow for electric-only driving for up to 20 miles, and can be fully charged in just 1hr 45mins using a high-voltage outlet.

A production version of the i8 roadster is due for launch in late 2014, with a projected price tag of around £80,000.

Thanks to: Autocar

Sneak Peek: 2014 Jaguar XFR-S

Jaguar has released this first teaser picture of the Jaguar XFR-S, set to be the most powerful and focused version of the firm's BMW 5 Series rival.

Full details and images will be released at the Los Angeles Motor Show, but it's more than likely that the XFR-S will be powered by the same supercharged 5.0-litre engine found in the XKR-S. That would mean 542bhp and a 0-62mph time of around 4.5 seconds.

Expect to see a firmer suspension set-up for improved handling and an upgraded interior, featuring bespoke sports seats, too.

This early picture clearly shows its aggressive carbon-fibre bumper, complete with gaping air intakes but recent spy shots reveal the XFR-S gets a large fixed rear spoiler, too, just like the XKR-S.

Expect the super-saloon to hit UK showrooms in early 2013, priced at around £75,000. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2014 Mercedes E-Class Convertible

While the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan and E63 AMG sedan have been spotted with varying degrees of camouflage – today we can share new spy shots of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class convertible as well as a Mercedes teaser video of what appears to be the headlights of the new E-Class. 

Like the 2014 E-Class sedan, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class convertible is expected to get revised front and rear bumpers as well as one-piece headlights. Once the convertible rolls into dealerships, it may have a more upright grille and a more chiseled hood, like the car shown here. Refreshed LED taillights are also in the four-seat drop-top’s future. 

In contrast to the upcoming E-Class sedan, on the two-door 2014 E-Class models the bulging rear fenders will carry on until at least until the next-generation arrives. Check out this new teaser video from Mercedes showing its new headlight direction with new LEDs that look remarkably similar to those on the new E-Class mules we’ve seen. 

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2012-2013 Volkswagen Beetle

The Problem: If the front passenger seat gets wet in Volkswagen Beetles equipped with leather sport seats, the occupant sensor may not detect a child restraint installed in the seat. This means the airbag may still deploy in the event of a crash.

The Fix: Volkswagen will notify affected owners and replace the control modules for free. Owners may also contact VW at 1-800-822-8987. The campaign recall number is 69i9/W6.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 2471 2012-2013 Volkswagen Beetles manufactured between February 2012 and August 2012 equipped with leather sport seats.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Minggu, 18 November 2012

New Car: 2014 Fiat 500e

It’s no secret that Fiat is planning to reveal at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show an electric version of the 500 hatchback, but now we’ve got the first official photos. The Fiat 500e EV will premiere at the American Music Awards on November 18, and later this month at the L.A. auto show.

The Fiat 500e EV will go on sale in California in 2013. Full information has yet to be revealed, but we’re guessing the car will remain yet another ultra-low-volume subcompact electric vehicle, joining the Scion iQ EV, Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, Honda Fit EV, Chevrolet Spark EV, and Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

 Fiat’s electrified 500 can be distinguished from regular 500s by the more aerodynamic wheel covers, badging just in front of the rear wheels and, of course, the white-colored lower front fascia.

We expect the Fiat 500e EV will debut at the L.A. show along with the Fiat 500 Abarth convertible. Along with the Fiat 500e EV photos, we’ve included images of non-EV 500s in the gallery below.

Thanks to: Motor Trend
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