Kamis, 31 Januari 2013

First Sketch: Toyota FT-86 Open Concept

Toyota has previewed an open-topped version of the lauded Toyota GT86 sportscar, a model that is certain to be one of the stars of next month’s Geneva motor show.

The Toyota FT-86 Open concept, so far only seen in sketch form, previews a possible future development of the award-winning GT86 sports coupe.

Toyota says it will use the Geneva concept to gauge public reaction to the idea, although the Japanese company adds that it will press ahead with engineering tests on a prototype at the same time.

As reported by Autocar last May, key Toyota engineering staff involved with the development of the rear-wheel-drive coupé are keen to capitalise on the positive reaction to the car by producing several variants.

Toyota GT86 project engineer Tetsuya Tada has previously confirmed to Autocar that a convertible version of the car is “technically feasible”.

Given the engineering work already undertaken and the likely popularity of an open-top version, particularly in California, a production convertible is almost inevitable, and could possibly be on sale as early as 2014.

Thanks to: Autocar

First Sketch: 2014 SsangYong Rodius

These are the first teaser pictures of the all-new SsangYong Rodius MPV, which will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

And although these images just show the car in sketch form, the new Rodius does appear to be slightly better looking than the rather challenging design of the current MPV.

That said, while the new design appears to be a slight improvement on the looks of the outgoing model, the new Rodius does carry over slightly tweaked versions of the old car’s styling themes, like the odd sloping D-pillar, creases around the wheelarches and oversized front grille.

SsangYong has confirmed that, as with the current car, the new Rodius will be powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine. It added that the Rodius has been “styled to be fit for outdoor, off-road driving as well as on-road driving…” which implies that the current four-wheel-drive Rodius will feature more all-terrain ability this time.

The seven-seater Rodius’ main selling point is that it is large, well equipped and cheap. The current model starts at £15,995, and comes fitted with air conditioning, an MP3-compatible stereo, Bluetooth and 12V DC power outlets.

The boot capacity is an impressive 875 litres, which can swell to a van-like 3,034 litres with the seats down. The new car is expected to follow this strategy, but with a focus on improved quality inside and out, as seen with the latest Korando SUV. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2013 Audi A3 Cabriolet Final Editions

With work underway on the all-new Audi A3 Cabriolet, Audi has announced the A3 Cabriolet Sport and S line Final Edition models, which replace the current Sport and S line versions.

The A3 Cabriolet Sport Final Edition is based on the outgoing mid-range Sport trim level, which already includes 17-inch alloys, sports suspension, climate control, and an iPod-compatible stereo as standard.

The Sport Final Edition model adds leather upholstery, instead of the current Sport model’s cloth trim, and heated front seats, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights and wipers, cruise control and Bluetooth.

The top-spec A3 Cabriolet S line Final Edition model features a different 18-inch alloy wheel design, full leather upholstery in place of the part-leather trim of the outgoing model, xenon headlights, DVD-based sat-nav and a BOSE sound system.

The entry-level Audi A3 Cabriolet is still available, priced from £21, 435. The A3 Cabriolet Sport Final Edition costs £2,340 more, starting at £23,775, but Audi claims that the Sport Final Edition would cost a further £1,605 if you added the extra equipment individually.

The S line Final Edition starts from £26,210, which is an additional £2,435 over the new Sport Final Edition model. However, Audi claims that the extra kit on the Final Edition car saves £3,640 compared with choosing the additional equipment separately.

Engine options for the standard A3 Cabriolet Final Edition models include 104bhp 1.2-litre, 158bhp 1.8-litre and 197bhp 2.0-litre petrol engines, and 104bhp 1.6-litre and 138bhp 2.0-litre diesels. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Recall Up Date: 2003-2004 Pontiac Vibe

GM also announced that the Pontiac Vibe is included in a Toyota recall of the Matrix hatchback. The recall concerns faulty airbags. The Vibe was built by Toyota, but GM will perform the recall repairs once it can secure the necessary parts from Toyota.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2012 Buick Verano, Chevrolet Camaro, Cruze, & Sonic

The Problem: The dual-stage driver’s airbags in these cars have a “shorting bar” that, if installed correctly, will occasionally touch the terminals for the airbag’s primary stage. In this case, the airbag wouldn’t fire during a crash, potentially increasing the risk of injury.GM says it has no reports of crashes or injuries resulting from this issue.

The Fix: Dealers will replace the airbag coils in the steering wheels of affected cars, free of charge.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 717 2012 Buick Verano sedans, 3925 2012 Chevrolet Cruze sedans, 1774 2012 Chevrolet Sonics, and 429 2012 Chevrolet Camaros.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu

The Problem: Some nuts in the rear suspension of the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu may not have been torqued correctly. Initially this could cause suspension noise and some wayward handling; as the bolts become looser over time, they could eventually give way and cause what General Motors terms “sudden changes in vehicle handling” that could lead to a crash. GM says it has no reports of crashes or injuries resulting from this issue.

The Fix: Dealers will inspect the rear suspension bolts and rear alignment bolts, and torque them to the correct specification. Some cars with excessive problems may need a full re-alignment.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 8519 2013 Chevrolet Malibu sedans built between December 2011 and January 15, 2013.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2013 Mopar Dart

For the fourth time in the same number of years, the gang over at Mopar—Chrysler’s service, parts, and customer-care brand—have pulled a car from the Chrysler Group lineup and massaged it into a limited-edition vehicle to showcase some of their latest developments in technology and performance. Having already performed its magic on a trifecta of V-8–powered rear-wheel-drive models—Dodges Challenger and Charger, and the Chrysler 300—it seems fitting that for 2013, Mopar would turn its attention to one of the Group’s newest members, the Dodge Dart.

The 2013 Dodge Dart Mopar ’13 will be limited to a run of 500 units, as were its big brothers the Dodge Challenger Mopar ’10 and the Chrysler 300 Mopar ’12; the Charger Mopar ’11 saw a larger production run of 1000. Exterior styling doesn’t deviate too far from the recent Mopar formula. The Dart’s deep-gloss-black body is accented by a pair of unequal-width Mopar-blue racing stripes that run from stem to stern, and the car sits atop 18-inch wheels finished in the same coat of black. Blue is then splashed onto the calipers, part of the Mopar premium brake kit that also includes slotted rotors.  

The Mopar ground effects are about as subtle as they get, consisting of a chin spoiler, a decklid spoiler, and a rear diffuser. And exterior nomenclature is limited to a discrete Mopar badge in the crosshair grille and Mopar logos on the center caps of the wheels. 

Those looking for a little more flash need only to check out the interior. Night or day, it’s nearly impossible to miss the electrifying Mopar-blue leather driver’s seat we previewed last week, which Mopar says is intended “to keep the emphasis on the driver.” (As opposed to what, moving the steering wheel and pedals to the right side?) The rest of the seating is done in black with contrasting blue stitching. The extroverted interior color scheme includes a blue-stitched leather-wrapped steering wheel with matching shift knob, and blue ambient lighting. A sport pedal kit, Mopar carpet floor mats, doorsill guards, and an 8.4-inch touch screen finish off the interior. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 30 Januari 2013

Spied: 2015 Opel/Vauxhall Corsa

The next-generation Vauxhall Corsa will get a design inspired by the Adam city car, as revealed by this early prototype which is wearing the all-new front-end styling.

Under the disguise is a new low-set grille, complete with a single bar running across the middle and a large centrally mounted Vauxhall badge.

The new Corsa is due in 2014 and will be built on GM’s Gamma II platform, which also underpins the Mokka SUV. The alliance between GM and PSA will mean the Corsa gets engines from Peugeot and Citroen models, including a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol. We also expect to see a turbocharged version of this engine, which will debut in the Peugeot 2008 crossover.

Along with the new Corsa, Vauxhall is planning a new budget small car that will be a more direct rival to the VW up!. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2014 Peugeot 308

These are the latest spy pictures of the all-new Peugeot 308, which has been spotted undergoing cold-weather testing in Scandinavia. The new 308 is due to make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year, before going on sale in the UK in early 2014.

The new 308 will feature Peugeot’s latest styling direction, established by cars like the 208 supermini and 2008 crossover. And while you can’t see the next 308’s swoopy look, we do know what lies beneath.

The 308 will be the first Peugeot to use the new PSA EMP2 platform. It will be debut with the Citroen C4 Picasso, due later this year, and Peugeot claims that it will help shed 70kg from the car’s weight, despite the fact that the new 308 will be bigger than before.

That means an entry-level 308 should weigh in at around 1,280kg, which is competitive with the latest Volkswagen Golf.

Peugeot also claims that the car will emit 22 per cent less CO2, thanks to a suite of measures aimed at improving economy. Specifically, Peugeot claims that work to reduce friction in the drivetrain will save around 4g/km, a stop-start-equipped engine line-up will also account for a 4g/km saving, while a new electric power steering system saves 2.5g.km.

Diesel models will also get a new Selective Catalytic Reduction exhaust, which uses AdBlue to reduce NOx emissions as well as saving around 3g/km of CO2.

We also know that the all-new Peugeot 308 will feature a new touchscreen infotainment system, like the new SEAT Leon, Skoda Octavia and VW Golf. The new car will also keep the 308 name, with car names ending in ‘8’ intended for developed markets, while car names ending in ‘1’ will be reserved for emerging markets. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2014 Kia Pro_Cee'd GT

Kia is preparing to take on the VW Golf GTI with its first-ever hot hatch. The stunning three-door Pro_cee’d GT will debut at March’s Geneva Motor Show, and Kia has released these striking images ahead of the event.

As we predicted at the end of last year, power comes from a 201bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo, which puts the Cee’d GT firmly into ‘warm hatch’ territory – although it lags some way behind rivals like the 247bhp Ford Focus ST and Vauxhall’s 276bhp Astra VXR.

And it’s not just the engine that’s been pumped up, either: the Pro_cee’d GT stands out with its eight distinctive LED daytime running lights integrated into the aggressive new front bumper.

Honeycomb mesh grille inserts, a thin red pinstripe and a GT badge are also added at the front, while the sculpted body rides on 18-inch alloys with red brake calipers. Although it’s not visible in these images, Kia says there’s a twin-exit exhaust at the back.

Inside are Recaro sports seats with red stitching, which is repeated on the steering wheel and door. The leather wheel is also embroidered with the GT logo.

Unlike most of its rivals, the Pro_cee’d GT will be available only with a six-speed manual box, while it’ll cover 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds. That’s five tenths up on its Hyundai Veloster Turbo sister car, which uses a 184bhp version of the same engine, but 1.3 seconds slower than the new 217bhp Mk7 Golf GTI.

No precise details are available yet, but the car will feature firmer suspension and sharper steering, tuned for European tastes.

Kia is likely to offer multiple trim levels for the GT, with the same mechanical package but more kit. The highest spec will be based on the current flagship Cee’d 4 Tech, and will include leather upholstery and a seven-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, as well as a reversing camera and Parallel Park Assist System.

The Pro_cee’d GT will go on sale in the middle of this year, for less than £22,000, with a five-door Cee’d GT due by the end of 2013. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2013 Kia Soul Shaker

The Kia Soul Shaker has been reintroduced to the Soul Originals line-up that also includes the Soul Quantum and Soul Inferno.

The Soul Shaker slots into the Soul range above the Soul 1 and Soul 2 models and features plenty of standard equipment, including iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, air conditioning, a multi-function steering whee. Diesel-engined cars also gets cruise control.

The interior of the Shaker also features new ‘Houndstooth’ cloth upholstery and contrasting beige-coloured trim. An auto-dimming rear-view mirror, which incorporates a screen for the reversing camera is also standard kit.

The Soul Shaker features an off-white exterior paint colour called Vanilla Shake, or you can opt for metallic black at no extra cost. All Soul Shaker models come with 18-inch alloys.

There are two engine choices, a 126bhp 1.6-litre diesel unit and 138bhp 1.6-litre petrol. The petrol car starts at £15,295, while the diesel can be had with a manual gearbox, priced at £16,690 or as an automatic for £17,795. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2014 Skoda Octavia Estate vRS

The all-new 220bhp Skoda Octavia vRS has been spied on test in Scandinavia. What’s more, the vRS model we’ve snapped is an estate model, giving us a good look at the forthcoming Octavia Estate for the first time.

In keeping with their high performance pretensions, both the hatchback and Estate vRS models will feature more aggressive styling, including chunkier bumpers, subtle rear wings, larger wheels and trapezoidal exhausts.

The Octavia vRS will be powered by a 220bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, with either a six-speed manual or DSG transmission.

Like previous versions, a 2.0-litre turbodiesel vRS will likely join the petrol model when it goes on sale in June. Pricing is expected to start at £21,500.

The all-new Octavia hatchback is larger than its predecessor, and that bodes well for the Estate model, which should offer a larger load space than the current car's  605 litres.

The Estate’s tailgate will have an impressively low lip to make loading luggage easier, while roof rails will be standard across the range.

It will be offered with the same four engines as the hatchback. Both 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engines will be sold alongside 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels when it arrives in showrooms.

The Estate will cost roughly £1,000 more than the Octavia hatchback, which means a starting price of around £15,100. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Chevrolet Corvette Convertible to Debut at Geneva

Detractors of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe may have to reevaluate their feelings about the C7 in a couple months, as GM has confirmed to us that the next Corvette convertible will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

A GM spokesman told us the Corvette convertible will make its world debut at the 2013 Geneva show. There are currently no official details on the upcoming drop-top, but the car could look something like the renderings that circulated around the web following the Detroit auto show. We’ve also spied a camouflaged Corvette convertible test mule out in the wild, which wore a soft-top roof and was spotted testing alongside a Porsche 911.
The decision to unveil a Corvette overseas is a curious one, especially considering GM could have waited until the New York show to reveal the convertible in its home market. Press days for the Geneva Motor Show are March 5-6 while the New York auto show press days begin March 27. If GM hopes to make the Corvette a global sports car competitor, Geneva is among the best places to show it off.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2014 Toyota Tundra

With interest and activity in the full-size truck segment at a fever pitch right now, the 2014 Toyota Tundra is preparing its official debut at the Chicago auto show – and we’ve got early spy shots of a prototype. Toyota wants to show the world that it’s still a contender in the full-size truck segment, and in Chicago on February 7, we’ll see what’s hiding underneath the camouflage on this 2014 Toyota Tundra mule.

With its official reveal just about a week away, these spy shots of the 2014 Toyota Tundra show the basic shape and configuration of Toyota’s biggest will remain familiar. A close look at the front end reveals what looks to be a larger, lower-cut front grille with a more angular shape, and more prominent, protruding headlights, though we’ll have to wait for the debut to be sure about design. When the Tacoma received a face-lift for the 2012 model year, it adopted a modified hexagonal grille opening, and it appears the new Tundra will follow suit. The Toyota Tundra was the 2008 Motor Trend Truck of the Year, so we’re eager to see how extensive the updates will be on the new truck.
 With tougher CAFE standards on the horizon, as well as intense competition from the Ford F-150 as well as new offerings such as the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and 2013 Ram 1500, we expect 2014 Tundra powertrain updates to focus on improving fuel economy, with direct-injection and/or eight-speed transmissions being offered on one or all of the 2014 Tundra’s powertrain configurations.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: Kia Cross GT Concept

This photo previews the Cross GT, a new crossover concept that Kia will introduce at next week’s Chicago auto show. Kia says the model hints at design for a new crossover that would be larger and more premium than the company’s current 2014 Sorento.

The lone teaser photo is too shadowy to see much of the concept car, although brightening it in Photoshop (as shown below) allows us to see the Cross GT’s basic outline. It will use the familiar Kia “tiger-nose” black-mesh front grille, with skinny headlight assemblies at either side. The airy greenhouse has a steeply sloped roofline; the D-pillar incorporates the same abrupt kink as on the Kia Sportage crossover. Though the giant wheels, with fat spokes, are probably only concept-car flair, they do match the bold wheel styling we’ve seen on other production Kia products. The odd silver accent at the front of the passenger door, meanwhile, recalls a similar treatment on Land Rover products.

Given Kia’s promise that the Cross GT previews a larger, more premium model than the Sorento, we can infer a few things about an eventual production model. It would almost certainly have seating for seven, given that the Sorento already offers five or seven seats depending on option packages. A production Kia Cross GT also may exceed the 184.4-inch length of the 2014 Sorento, and it would probably have stronger engine choices than that model’s 191-hp, 2.4-liter inline-four and 290-hp, 3.3-liter V-6.

Kia may position a version of the Cross GT as its minivan replacement, given that the Sedona van has been axed. In Europe, however, the Sedona will be replaced by the Kia Carens, which was known as the Rondo here, is slightly smaller than some American minivans, and isn’t currently confirmed for U.S. consumption.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2006-2012 Lexus IS

The Problem: The IS’ front wiper arm nuts may not be sufficiently tight. If the nut is loose and the wipers are buried under a heavy load of snow, the wipers could not work.

The Fix: Toyota will replace the nuts and tighten them, in a repair that will take about 30 minutes to complete. The repair is free of charge, and Lexus will notify affected car owners with a letter. Customers can also call Lexus at 1-800-255-3987 or visit www.lexus.com/recall for more information.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 270,000 Lexus IS vehicles made between 2006 and 2012.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Recall Up Date: 2003 & 2004 Toyota Corolla & Matrix

The Problem: The Corolla and Matrix’s airbag control module is prone to interference from other car parts and short-circuiting. If a short circuit occurs in one of the module’s circuit boards and generates enough heat, it could warp or otherwise damage the airbag control module. If that happens, it could trigger the front airbags, the seat belt pretensioners, or both. If this happens outside of an actual crash, it could cause injury or make it difficult to drive the car.

The Fix: Toyota will add something called an electrical signal filter to the module, which should prevent interference and short circuits. Toyota will notify owners of the affected cars with a letter “in the near future,” and the repairs are expected to take about an hour to complete. The service will be free of charge. Customers can call Toyota at 1-800-331-4331 or go to www.toyota.com/recall for more information.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: 752,000 2003 and 2004 Corolla and Matrix vehicles.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2015 Audi S3 Cabriolet

What It Is: The next-generation Audi S3 cabriolet, caught by our spy photographers in light disguise. Based on the third generation of the Audi A3, the next A3 convertible will be aimed squarely at the U.S. market for the first time. Audi’s American dream is why the new ragtop will be based on the upcoming A3 sedan, with its longer wheelbase and classic proportions, rather than on the A3 hatchback, as is the current A3 cabriolet. 

Our spy shots depict a stylish, slim, two-door convertible, complete with a purist-preferred softtop rather than the ever-more-popular folding hardtop. This being the high-performance S3 version, it comes with quad exhaust outlets, and visible below the camouflage are S3-specific front air intakes. The wheels on this prototype are taken from the standard A3; it is fitted with xenon headlights, but full LED headlights will be available. LED taillights appear to feature lighting elements that mimic the style of the headlights. 

Why It Matters:The A3 cabriolet will give Audi a market advantage over its premium competition. There's nothing on the market quite like it: Mercedes-Benz has not formally decided yet on a CLA-based convertible, and the BMW 1-series and upcoming 2-series cabriolet are compact and on the verge of impracticality. There is no immediate competition from Cadillac, Infiniti, or Lexus, either. Considering its unique market position, this convertible will help Audi reach its ambitious sales targets in the U.S. Differentiation from the A5 cabriolet will be somewhat trickier; the pair’s styling appears to be largely differentiated by the voluptuous rear flanks of the larger A5. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Kamis, 24 Januari 2013

Spied: 2014 Volvo S60

The Volvo S60 is due for a refresh and we have our first sneak peek at the revised four-door thanks to spy photographers who caught the svelte Swede playing in the snow. Wearing camouflage only on its face, the prototype may preview changes coming to the 2014 Volvo S60.

Although we won’t be seeing the V40 on our shores, don’t be surprised to see some of its design cues trickle onto to the revised S60. A refreshed S60 could have touched-up headlights and may move the independently housed LED accent lights from between the headlights and the front grille to the edges of a restyled lower front fascia. At least on the S60 we spied, nothing appears to change around back or inside: the same clunky infotainment system sits atop the floating center stack.
 A completely new S60 will likely come after the new XC90, which will be the first in the Volvo lineup to adopt a new Scalable Platform Architecture when it debuts sometime in 2014 for the 2015 model year. The new architecture will underpin the majority of the brand’s future models and shave off 200 to 330 pounds from current models by taking full advantage of aluminum use in the front structure, doors, chassis, and powertrain. The SPA will exclusively use four-cylinder power, and before long Volvo will add a plug-in hybrid for the U.S. market.

In a recent eight-car compact luxury sports sedan comparison, a Volvo S60 placed second, and we recently added an S60 T5 to our long-term fleet.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: 2014 Jeep Cherokee/Liberty

What It Is: An artist’s rendering of what the Jeep Liberty replacement could look like. We say “Liberty replacement” because there’s a chance Jeep could bring back the Cherokee moniker for its smaller SUV. The Cherokee name was used on the outgoing Liberty in Europe and other markets, and many U.S. buyers fondly remember the ravishingly rectilinear 1984–2001 XJ Cherokee, so the change isn’t as radical as it sounds. 

Why It Matters: Jeep is in the midst of a lineup-wide overhaul that began with the latest Wrangler and spread to the Grand Cherokee (and, to a lesser degree, the updated 2014 Compass and Patriot). The current Liberty is out of step with its segment competitors like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Kia Sportage in that it is heavy, thirsty, and unrefined. The new Grand Cherokee has been a big success, so if Jeep can bottle that vehicle’s lightning and transfer its good looks and capability into a smaller, more-affordable package, the company could have another hit on its hands. 

Platform: Critically, the new Liberty is switching from a rear-drive-based, reinforced-unibody platform to a new, Alfa Romeo–derived front-drive-based unibody that adheres more with small crossover dogma. (Hence why the myriad spy photos of the next Liberty all show cobbled-together test mules wearing hacked-up Alfa Romeo Giulietta bodywork.) The architecture is the same Compact U.S. Wide fare that underpins the new Dodge Dart, but the Jeep will offer all-wheel drive and even a harder-core Trail Rated version. As depicted by our rendering, the next Liberty is expected to ditch its squared-off styling for a smoother, more aerodynamic body. (So forget a boxy Cherokee redux.) Jeep-specific cues like a seven-slat grille and butch lower-body detailing should help set the new Liberty apart stylistically. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2013 Mini Clubman Bond Street

This is the Mini Clubman Bond Street, the latest Mini special edition, which is due to be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March.

Based on the Clubman estate, the Bond Street edition is available with four engine options: 120bhp Cooper and 181bhp Cooper S petrols, and 110bhp Cooper D and 141bhp Cooper SD diesels.

The Bond Street edition is finished in Midnight Black metallic paint with champagne-coloured detailing on the C-pillars, wing mirrors and roof. It sits on black 17-inch alloys with champagne rims and is adorned with 'Bond Street' logos on the door sills and by the indicator repeaters.

The interior is upholstered in Carbon Black leather and features champagne inserts on the dashboard.

Standard equipment includes climate control, an on-board computer with Bluetooth connectivity, automatic wipers and headlights and the Chrome Line interior package.

Production of the Mini Clubman Bond Street commences in March and the model will be available for a limited period only. Prices start at £20,275 for the Cooper Clubman Bond Street, rising to £24,045 for the Cooper SD.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2015 Renault Mid-Size Crossover

Renault is planning to expand its SUV family beyond the Captur with the addition of new medium and large crossovers, and these spy shots are the proof. Although the body from a current Scenic has been placed on top, underneath is the chassis and running gear for a new Qashqai-sized crossover.

There are a number of giveaways that this is a crossover and not a Scenic derivative. The first is the raised ride height, bigger wheels and extended wheel arches allowing for a wider track and more ground clearance. Renault engineers have also added additional weight above the roofline and to the A-pillars – a trick used to simulate the higher centre of gravity in an SUV.

As we learned from Renault’s global marketing boss Stephen Norman at the Geneva Motor Show last year, the plan is to introduce a mid-size crossover to sit above the Captur in 2014. Making use of the Renault-Nissan alliance, it will be based on the same chassis as the next-generation Nissan Qashqai, which is also due in 2014, and borrow styling cues from the Captur.

Interestingly, Renault already sells a Qashqai-sized C-segment crossover outside of Europe, and it's been a big success in emerging markets. A Renault-badged version of the Dacia Duster actually outsells its Dacia counterpart by two to one.

But the SUV explosion won’t stop there. Renault is already working on a replacement for the Espace, due to go on sale in 2015, but slow sales in the full-size MPV segment has forced it to rethink its strategy. That’s why an even larger seven-seat SUV will take its place in the line-up in two years' time. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car; 2013 SEAT Ibiza & Mii Toca

The SEAT Mii and Ibiza Toca editions have been announced. The new Mii and Ibiza models are based on the popular SE trim and feature extra equipment, including the touchscreen SEAT Portable System, as standard.

The Portable System is a cassette box-sized unit which attaches to the top of the dashboard. It's controlled via a five-inch touchscreen and includes sat-nav, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming functions, a Micro SD card slot for music storage, and the trip computer functions.

Other spec highlights include air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, electric door mirrors, electric front windows and electronic stability control.

The Mii Toca also benefits from rear parking sensors, while the Ibiza model gets front fog lights and an upgrade from 15-inch to 16-inch alloy wheels.

The Mii Toca is based on the Mii 59bhp 1.0-litre SE model and is available in both three and five-door bodystyles. The Mii Toca three-door starts at £9,845, while the five door car starts at £10,195. This is an extra £475 over the SE model on which it’s based, but SEAT says that the extra equipment is worth £805.
The Ibiza Toca is available in the full range of bodystyles, incorporating three-door SC hatchback, five-door hatchback and ST estate models. Prices start at £12,700, £13,200 and £13,920 respectively, making the Ibiza Toca £425 more expensive than the SE car on which it's based.

The Toca editions are available to order now, with first cars expected to arrive here in early February. However, if you purchase a Mii Toca between now and the end of March, the price is reduced by a further £850, putting the three-door model's starting price at £8,995.

The same applies to the Ibiza Toca. Buy this before the end of March and the price is cut by £2,705, making the starting price of the three-door SC model £9,995. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Sneak Peek: Kia Urban Concept

Kia has released teaser photos showing its next concept car, which makes its public debut in March at the Geneva Motor Show. Kia hasn’t revealed much information about the concept, thought the teaser pictures show it to be an aggressive hatchback.

Out front, a wide grille opening encompasses the headlights and is, according to Kia “mischievous, yet friendly.” It’s a larger, more aggressive variation on the so-called tiger-nose grille that appears on the face of every new Kia product. The lower front fascia appears to have enormous scalloped air intakes as well as a racing-style tow hook, while the hood has a prominent dome in the center.

Other views show that the Kia concept is a stubby hatchback that doesn’t appear to have a B-pillar behind the doors. Instead, the roofline terminates in a fat, steeply angled pillar that creates a bulging rear end. Wraparound taillights, a sloped rear windshield, and a creased liftgate define the concept car’s tail.
 The “racy new urban concept” may preview Kia’s take on the Nissan Juke. Kia executives have previously hinted that they would like to build a small vehicle that, like the Juke, bridges the gap between a hatchback and a compact crossover. One clue to that goal: the aggressively sloped liftgate on this Kia concept echoes similar design cues on the Nissan Juke.

Kia will reveal more about this concept car on March 5 at the Geneva Motor Show.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S

The usual criticism levied against Aston Martin is that its cars—save for the Cygnet—look nearly identical. This is not news. But with the introduction of the top-shelf Vanquish last summer, Aston began the process of visually differentiating its lineup, if ever so slightly. The philosophy was reinforced with the refreshed DB9, and it continues with the 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S. But some things never change: While each of its cars are beginning to take on their own subtle visual identities, underneath, they continue to be largely the same. 

And so beneath the gorgeous skin of the four-door Rapide S—which replaces the Rapide rather than being a high-performance addition to the range—lies Aston’s ubiquitous Gen-4 VH architecture. Nestled under the long hood is Aston’s equally well-known AM11 5.9-liter V-12, which is mounted 0.7 inch lower than before and sees an increase in output. Horsepower jumps from 470 to 550, while maximum twist nudges upward from 443 lb-ft to 457. (Aston also notes that the relatively rev-happy engine now has more torque available at lower engine speeds.) The company also says that the S will cut 0.4 second from the previous car’s 0–60 time, which we recorded at 4.8 seconds. Top speed is now 190 mph, which is up two ticks from before. 

Not only does the Rapide S get the latest Aston Martin architecture and powerplant technology, it also receives the same Adaptive Damping System found in the newest Vanquish and DB9. It offers selectable Normal, Sport, and Track settings—the latter a vital inclusion for this class of car—but also automatically sets the firmness depending on driver inputs and road quality. 

While the Rapide S might still look similar to the old car or even the DB9, it does feature a new grille that’s completely unique among the brand’s cadre of supercars. The look does away with the previous arrangement of upper and lower frames in favor of a single gaping maw. The new grille, together with a new hood, a new bumper construction, and the lowering of the engine allows the car, Aston says, to fully meet European pedestrian protection regulations without compromising aesthetics. (Read our story on how ped-pro regulations can affect a car’s design.) Aston says that aerodynamic tweaks, including a DB9-esque spoiler, counteract lift at higher speeds. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Rabu, 23 Januari 2013

New Concept Car: Honda Gear

Honda unveiled this surprise concept car at the Montreal motor show, which the firm says is designed to make city cars appeal to younger buyers.

The Gear Concept Study Model is meant to make “sub-compact cars practical but fun, customisable, connected and affordable.” Honda describes it as “simple and utilitarian,” and says the car was inspired by fixed-gear bicycles.

The Gear uses styling cues reminiscent of the VW Polo and the Citroen DS3, but with a cab forward shape and very short overhangs. It doesn’t have an interior.

The Gear is purely a concept and it’s unlikely to preview any one future production car. Instead it shows Honda is considering how to make its small cars more youthful than its current offerings.

Thanks to: Autocar India

New Car: 2013 Skoda Yeti Laurin & Klement

This is the new top-of-the-range Skoda Yeti Laurin & Klement edition. It slots into the range above the current Yeti Elegance model, and Skoda claims that the new car adds more than £4,000 worth of extra equipment for an extra £2,000 over the existing Yeti Elegance trim level.

The Skoda Yeti Laurin & Klement model is only available with four-wheel drive and comes with a choice of three engines: the 1.8-litre TSI 158bhp petrol, and 138bhp 2.0-litre TDI with the DSG dual-clutch gearbox, or 168bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesels.

Prices for the Yeti Laurin & Klement edition start at £24,835 for the 1.8-litre TSI petrol, £26,400 for the 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel and £25,980 for the 168bhp 2.0-litre TDI.

In addition to the Skoda Yeti Elegance, the Laurin & Klement model’s exterior benefits from 17-inch alloys, silver roof rails, black side protective mouldings and special badges. On the inside, there's a sat-nav with DAB radio, heated windscreen, panoramic sunroof, parking sensors, black leather seats with L&K badges and additional piano black trim.

Yeti Laurin & Klement edition buyers can opt for any of the current Yeti exterior paint colours, except Corrida Red and Pacific Blue, but the option of a coloured roof is not available. However, the full range of Yeti optional extras is on offer.

The Laurin & Klement badge is typically given to Skoda’s top-spec models, and takes its name from the founders of Skoda - Vaclav Laurin and Václav Klement - who established the firm in 1895. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2014 Audi A3 Sedan

Our spies have caught the new Audi A3 Saloon undergoing cold weather testing in Scandinavia. The car was unveiled in concept form at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and will go on sale in the UK towards the end of this year.

Like the new Audi A3 hatchback, the A3 Saloon will be built on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, which also underpins the Mk7 VW Golf, SEAT Leon and Skoda Octavia.

Although not expected to be a big seller in Europe compared to the A3 hatch, the A3 Saloon is designed to appeal to buyers in the US and China, where it will go head to head with the Mercedes CLA.

The concept car featured an upgraded RS3 powertrain, with the 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine’s output boosted to 402bhp. That power reaches all four wheels via a seven-speed S Tronic gearbox.

However, the production A3 Saloon is expected to feature the same range of petrol and diesel engines as the A3 hatch, with front and four-wheel-drive quattro drivetrain options.

Like the Mercedes CLA, which is expected to cost around £3,000 more than the Mercedes A-Class on which it’s based, the A3 Saloon will be priced at a premium to the hatchback range that starts at £19,825 for a five-door A3 Sportback. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express 

Recall Up Date: 2011-2013 Honda Odyssey & 2009-2013 Pilot

The Problem: The driver-side airbag in 2011-2013 Odysseys and 2009-2013 Pilots may have been assembled without some of the rivets that hold the airbag’s plastic cover in place. With the rivets missing, the airbag could improperly deploy in an accident, increasing the risk of injury to the driver.

The Fix: After receiving a notice in the mail from Honda, owners of affected vehicles should take their Odyssey or Pilot to a local dealer, where the service department will inspect the plastic cover for missing rivets, and perform any necessary repairs.

Number of Vehicles Potentially Affected: Approximately 748,000 2009-2013 Pilots and 2011-2013 Odysseys are affected by this recall. Honda will begin notifying customers by mail in mid-February. Owners can also go to www.recalls.honda.com or call 1-800-999-1009 and select option 4 for more information. No crashes or injuries have been reported related to this issue.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Alfa Romeo & Mazda Sign Agreement to Build New Roadsters

Back in May of 2012, Fiat and Mazda announced plans to cooperate on the next-generation Alfa Romeo roadster. On Friday, the two automakers officially signed an agreement outlining the terms of the joint venture. The terms of the agreement and descriptions of the cars remain fundamentally unchanged from the May announcement. Mazda will be responsible for the production of both vehicles at its plant in Hiroshima, Japan, and both cars will have unique powerplants.

Due to the global economic slowdown earlier this year, and currency fluctuations affecting profit margins, Mazda put out an open call to the auto world that it would welcome joint-ventures, technology sharing or other ways for it to leverage its surplus production capacity, as well as its new powertrain technologies, such as its line of high-compression Skyactiv and low-compression, low-emissions Skyactiv-D diesel powerplants. Since that time, Mazda has announced agreements with Toyota to build a next-generation subcompact model in Mexico for the North American market, and now, an official collaboration with Fiat for the new Alfa Romeo Roadster.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne stated at May’s preliminary announcement that Mazda was the “recognized leader in compact, rear-drive architectures,” a distinction Mazda has earned over the last 25 years, with the MX-5 Miata becoming the world’s best-selling two-seat convertible.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith

Rolls-Royce released a shadowy teaser this morning of its new Wraith coupe, due to debut in March at the Geneva Motor Show. However, we’re one step ahead of the British automaker – we have new spy shots of the Wraith out testing near the Arctic Circle this week, as well.

Given that the Wraith is expected to essentially be a coupe version of the Ghost, chances are likely that the Wraith will use the same powertrain as the Ghost sedan. Rolls already promised that the Wraith will be the most-powerful and most dynamic model to wear its Spirit of Ecstasy hood mascot. That means buyers should expect upwards of the 563 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque that the Ghost’s twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V-12 puts down.
 Our spy shots show a number of the Wraith’s design cues that have been lifted straight from the Ghost sedan. The Wraith caught testing looks to have an-almost identical front clip to the Ghost, with its slightly raked radiator grille, LED turn signals, and contoured hood. Around back, the Wraith wears the same LED taillights as the Ghost. The big difference, of course, is in profile – while the Ghost is a four-door, the Wraith will have only two doors and a sloping roofline. However, like the range-topping Phantom Coupe, the new two-door Rolls will also have rear-hinged doors. The Wraith also has longer rear quarter windows than the Phantom Coupe or the Ghost, as evidenced by the teaser released this morning.

Expect more details to follow as the official reveal for the 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith draws closer.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2014 Chevrolet Malibu

What it is: The refreshed version of the Chevy Malibu, which is coming a year-and-a-half ahead of its originally scheduled arrival, and just 18 months after the car first launched. Under the mask hides a new fascia, which we believe will be brought in line with the wide-mouth look recently introduced on the Traverse. It’s possible we’ll also see a light upgrade for the interior, which would add higher-quality materials. 

Why it matters: Because to shoppers, the Malibu doesn’t matter. Chevrolet botched the launch of the car, introducing the unimpressive hybrid version, the Eco, before models with conventional gasoline engines. All Malibu variants have bland, mediocre-quality interiors—according to Automotive News, the rear-seat setup will receive particular attention. Exterior styling is as thrilling as vanilla pudding, leaving the Malibu an anonymous entry in a mid-size segment where the Hyundai Sonata and the Ford Fusion, among others, offer real couture. Chevy needs the Malibu to be a success, not a wallflower. 

Platform: There won’t be any major changes to the current Malibu’s front-wheel-drive Epsilon-family architecture. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Spied: 2015 BMW M5

What It Is: The next-generation BMW M3, caught by our spy photographers in Scandinavia ahead of its press launch later this year. Based on the F30 3-series, the next M3 gets its own development code for the first time. Internally, the car is referred to as F80, while the upcoming M4 coupe is known as F82. The M3 will revert to a straight-six engine, which will feature twin turbos and slightly more power than the outgoing naturally aspirated 4.0-liter V-8. The M3 moniker will be reserved for the four-door version, while the coupe and convertible versions will be known as M4s. Stylistic changes to the body will be notable, but not drastic. Emphasis is being placed on lightweight technology to improve cornering performance, rather than focusing on outgunning the competition a quarter-mile at a time. 

Why It Matters: The M3 simply is an icon for the brand. While the 3-series is close to being the ideal compact sports sedan—and certainly the benchmark for the segment—the M3 takes the 3er package to the uppermost reaches of high performance and exclusivity. The segment has grown and become more competitive, and BMW must reassert its authority. 

Platform: The F80 M3 will share its platform with the F30 3-series, but the architecture will be significantly modified to keep weight at acceptable levels. "We will likely reverse the trend towards heavier cars with the next M3," a BMW executive tells us. To achieve this, BMW will use a clever mix of materials, including carbon-fiber components. The company’s heavy investment in this technology must be returned, especially important if the vaunted i3 and i8—which make liberal use of the costly composite—fail to sell in great numbers. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Senin, 21 Januari 2013

NAIAS 2013 Highlights: 2014 Shelby Ford Focus ST

Shelby American is taking the Ford Focus ST and specializing 500 of them for 2013. These “pocket rockets,” as Mr. Shelby himself liked to call them, won’t receive any engine modifications—yet—but they will look and sound considerably meaner than the stock iterations.

A Borla exhaust is added to give the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four a bit of growl. Where that mill resides is a bit of eye candy in its own right, thanks to an engine-dress-up kit that has the look of carbon fiber, but is called Hydrocarbon. Not the organic compound, that’s hydrocarbon, but a process in which carbon-fiber-looking graphics essentially are shrink-wrapped around stock components. It doesn’t save any weight, of course—in fact, it does the opposite—but it saves cost compared to using real carbon fiber. Three months down the road, Shelby plans to introduce a package that will up horsepower by 30 to 50 ponies. In addition to the look-light parts, Shelby has added a Ford Racing suspension package, brake upgrades at all four corners, and a short-throw shifter.

Three appearance packages are available for the Shelby ST, including the classic racing stripes, a competition-look complete with race numbers, or what’s called the Checkered Flag Splash. The grille inserts and the rear spoiler also have been given the faux-carbon-fiber look, but the hood’s heat extractors are functional. The performance brand also has a carbon-fiber hood in the works.

The ST’s original interior is left largely alone, save for the seats. The standard seat coverings have been removed and reupholstered with exterior-color-matching leather and Shelby stitching in the headrests. The only addition to the dash is the numbered plaque to inform passengers precisely which of the Shelby STs they’re riding shotgun in.

The process of attaining a Shelby-fied ST starts at the local Ford dealer. After plunking down the requisite $24,495, your brand-new Focus ST will be shipped to Shelby American HQ in Las Vegas, where a check for $14,995 will cover the rest of the Carroll treatment. Included in that nearly 15 grand is an optional tour of the Shelby museum if you so choose to pick up your new Focus in Vegas, or it can be shipped back to your local dealer.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

NAIAS 2013 Highlights: 2014 GMC Sierra

This past year has seen Ford and Ram redesign or extensively update their full-size F-150 and 1500 pickup trucks, and now comes along an all-new iteration of the GMC Sierra for 2014 to take on the new domestic competition. The Sierra is one of two pickups in GM’s arsenal—the other is the Chevrolet Silverado, a truck with which GMC’s latest Sierra 1500 again shares nearly all of its DNA. Fittingly, the two GM rigs made their debuts alongside one another, but the Sierra now boasts the longest list of standard features ever for a full-size GMC truck, as well as the Chevy’s updated chassis, all-new engines, and freshened styling. 

Speaking of looks, even though the 2014 model might not mark a huge stylistic break from the outgoing truck, it’s darn attractive and further differentiated from the Silverado than Sierras past. Okay, so the Sierra’s flanks and tail still are nearly identical to the Silverado’s, but the front-end look is markedly different. The GMC’s headlights and grille are more cleanly designed than the Chevy’s, and the overall styling appears to have been pulled straight off of the butch Sierra All-Terrain HD concept from a few years ago. Every Sierra comes standard with a chrome grille surround and projector-beam headlights.  

Like the Silverado, the new Sierra gets an aluminum hood (saving 17 pounds versus its predecessor), doors that are inset into the body sides instead of wrapping onto the roof, and aerodynamics-aiding underbody cladding and rear-wheel spats. The chassis is again fully boxed with a hydroformed front section, but it supports a front suspensionT that incorporates aluminum for some of its components. GMC swapped the old Sierra’s hydraulically assisted steering rack for a new electrically boosted setup, a move the company says saves fuel and improves drivability. 

The Sierra’s interior is massively improved, with butch new aesthetics (shared with the Silverado, go figure) and more soft-touch materials than before. Buyers can specify an aluminum-trimmed cabin, the latest version of GMC’s IntelliLink infotainment system, optional heated cloth or leather seats, an eight-inch central touch screen, and a 4.2-inch driver information display in the gauge cluster. On the safety front, the Sierra is now available with camera-based forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning systems; the driver aids are paired with a vibrating Driver Alert Seat cribbed from Cadillac. The seat can alert the driver of impending collisions via vibrations, but it can be turned off, leaving traditional audible alerts to signal danger. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

NAIAS 2013 Highlights: Acura MDX Concept

Meet the 2014 Acura MDX; well, sort of. In a fashion typical of Honda and Acura these days, the newest MDX crossover is being previewed in nearly production-ready “concept” form at the 2013 Detroit auto show. The MDX is one of Acura’s most popular offerings, so it is perhaps with little surprise that the redesigned 2014 model won’t differ much from the current version, at least in terms of styling. Despite the carry-over looks, Acura is working to make the new MDX roomier and more fuel efficient. 

Save for a few minor tweaks—smaller wheels, a more realistic lower front fascia design—the rig you see here is pretty much what the 2014 MDX will look like. The outgoing MDX is hardly boring to look at, and arguably wears the best rendition of Acura’s hard-edged, techno-forward design language. That said, casual observers would have a hard time differentiating between the new MDX and the old. The current model’s somewhat-fussy front bumper gives way to a cleaner unit with two wide-set air intakes, and its pointy body lines now are broken up by some softer edges. The concept features Acura’s “Jewel Eye” LED headlight clusters, though unlike on the (production) Acura RLX, the MDX’s are tinged a cool blue hue. 

Lately Acura has taken a shine to awkwardly integrated rear fender bulges, slapping them on the compact, front-drive ILX and the front-drive-based RLX flagship—they’re present and accounted for on the new MDX. Here, it appears Acura exercised some restraint in the bulges’ implementation, and to good effect. The lightly arcing body crease rather gracefully hides the visible increase in the MDX’s wheelbase. Always one of the more tidy and athletic-looking three-row luxury crossovers, proportionally, the longer 2014 model now falls closer to competitors such as the Infiniti JX and the Audi Q7. Acura says added length between the wheels increases rear legroom for second-row passengers and improves access to the crossover’s third row of seating. 

Just as the 2014 MDX’s styling might not be much of a surprise—spy photos of a test mule already revealed the minor cosmetic upgrades—the crossover’s powertrain isn’t, either. The outgoing model’s 300-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 engine is being ditched for a new, direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 with variable cylinder management. Acura has not yet released power figures for the new MDX’s V-6, but the company says the engine will make more torque than the old 3.7-liter while delivering better fuel economy. The MDX’s new powerplant probably is the same as the one powering the 2014 RLX sedan; in that application, the 3.5-liter makes 310 horsepower and 272 lb-ft of torque and bolts up to a six-speed automatic. Expect similar specs for the 2014 MDX. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

NAIAS 2013 Highlights: Acura NSX Concept

A revised Honda NSX concept was shown at the Detroit motor show today, revealing a lightly modified exterior design and a view of the car’s interior for the first time.

With the car, which is being developed mainly in the US, still two years from production, Honda officials say they have taken the opportunity to respond to feedback and engineering requirements to create the latest concept.

Jon Ikeda, head of Acura design, said: "This project is evolving all the time, and we wanted to reflect that with the concept. What is most amazing is how little the exterior has changed, What you see on the exterior is a more focused look at our goal of creating the modern performance car. It must be futuristic, be simple but technical, and express the performance and technology leadership we want to take."

Although the cabin looks near production ready, Ikeda stressed that it was only a first concept, and that it too could evolve in the years until the NSX’s official launch. The styling highlight of the interior is the big carbonfibre struts which run from the dash into the centre console.

“The key is that the interior design compliments the vehicle, creating that link between man and machine,” said Ikeda. “A performance car needs great visibility, intuitive controls and an interior quality that lets the driver focus on driving. Nothing must distract from that goal.”

"The revised exterior is a more focused look at our goal of creating the modern performance car. It must look forward, be simple but technical, and express the performance and technology leadership we want to take."

The NSX will not go into production for at least two years, and will be built in the US, where most of the car’s development will also be carried out. The car will use a mid-mounted V6 coupled to an electric motor to drive the rear wheels, and electric motors driving the front wheels to give four-wheel drive. Honda's Super Active All-Wheel Drive system will also be fitted.

The NSX concept was previously shown at last year's Detroit show.

Thanks to: Autocar

Sabtu, 19 Januari 2013

NAIAS 2013 Highlights: 2014 Maserati Quattroporte

This is the new Maserati Quattroporte, the first and the flagship of a trio of new models that will kick-start the firm’s plans to boost its annual sales to around 50,000 units by 2015, a more than eight-fold increase on its 2011 performance of 6200 units.

The new sixth-generation Quattroporte has been revealed at the Detroit motor show this afternoon and will be followed by a smaller BMW 5-series-rivalling saloon called Ghibli later in the year. A new SUV called Levante will crown the new expanded Maserati line-up, which will include diesel engines for the first time, in early 2014, the year of Maserati’s centenary.

The latest model is longer but lighter than the current four-door saloon.

The next-gen Quattroporte is based on a new steel monocoque chassis. The new underpinnings have meant an increase in length to 5200mm, up from 5052mm compared to the outgoing model. Much of the increase is to the wheelbase, to increase legroom for rear passengers, something that’s crucial if Maserati is to make the impression it seeks on the Chinese market.

Much of the bodywork for the new Quattroporte is crafted from aluminium, meaning the kerb weight of 1990kg of the current car has been reduced by 50kg to 1940kg in spite of the increase in size.

The launch engine is a Ferrari-built V8, specifically a new version of the 453bhp 4.7-litre V8 used in the Granturismo sports car. The new unit is more powerful at 523bhp, but also more economical and with lower CO2 emissions. It will be mated to a ZF-supplied XF automatic gearbox.

An expanded range of efficient turbocharged and supercharged engines are also under consideration, including a smaller capacity V8 and V6 petrol and diesel engines, although the V6 units could ultimately be reserved for the smaller Ghibli saloon and the Levante SUV.

One first for the Quattroporte will be a four-wheel drive option around a year after launch of the standard rear-drive car.

The new model has been designed at a special Maserati-only department within the Fiat Group Centro Stile design centre, under the guidance of legendary Pininfarina designer Lorenzo Ramaciotti.

The look is evolved from the current car – the front grille, three side vents and distinctive triangular C-pillars all remain – but new features are added to give the car a more muscular stance, including a rising beltline running the length of the car.

The interior has undergone an overhaul from the current model, the result being a much more luxurious look and feel. High-quality woods and leathers are used throughout, and much of the major controls are operated by a large central touchscreen mounted on the centre console.

The new Quattroporte will be built at the old Bertone plant at Bertone, on the outskirts of Turin. The plant has been gutted and refurbished over several years; all but the walls are new. The new Ghibli will also be built at the plant and both models will be exported around the world, including North America.

Prices will start at around £80,000 for the base Quattroporte, rising to beyond £120,000 at the top-end for super-luxury versions.

Thanks to: Autocar
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