Minggu, 31 Maret 2013

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Scion tC

With Scion’s 10Best-winning FR-S rear-drive sports car stealing the limelight, the brand’s best-selling car, the tC, hasn’t exactly been top of mind. For 2014, though, Scion is aiming to inject a little more attitude into its front-drive coupe. Among the revised visual cues are new headlamps and a longer, sloping hood that tapers down to a more muscular-looking grille dappled with LED accents. Out back, an FR-S–like rear valance and new LED taillamps are adopted. 

While max power from Toyota’s ubiquitous 2.5-liter four cylinder holds at 179 horsepower, the optional six-speed auto adds software that now blips the throttle on downshifts. Toyota also claims the new ’box also executes all shifts (upshifts included) twice as quickly as before. 

Chassis rigidity is said to improve as well for 2014, due to upping the spot-weld count in key areas. Toyota also has fiddled with shock and anti-roll-bar tuning, and it has recalibrated the car’s electric steering—we’ve previously found it to be pretty numb—with a goal of improving response. 

Inside, all tCs get a new 6.1-inch touch-screen audio system with redundant steering-wheel controls. Optional is an Aha-integrated audio setup that uses your phone to connect to internet radio—Scion has its own station—and access location-based apps like Yelp. Standard auto-up/down power windows and auto-off headlamps round out the new interior stuff. 

There will also be a special 10,000-unit run of models that celebrate Scion’s 10th anniversary, all in “Ignition Silver” paint and with the requisite interior commemorative plaque. (The run includes all models in the lineup, so the iQ, xB, xD, and FR-S.) The cars also get silver-colored seatbelts, a solar-powered illuminated shift knob (sweet!), and an LED badge that lights up when the car is unlocked. 

The 2014 Scion tC hits U.S. showrooms this June.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Dodge Durango

Ford’s Explorer is for soccer moms. Nissan’s latest Pathfinder? Forget finding paths, how about finding a closer parking space at Costco? See, if you want a three-row crossover that announces, “This guy (or gal) has got some onions,” look no further than Dodge’s Durango. With its square-jawed face, muscular fender bulges, and available Hemi V-8 power, the Durango oozes brawn. And for 2014 it gets a make over—uh, we mean, it got into a fistfight that resulted in reconstructive surgery, a few extra gears in its transmission, a new trim level, and more whiz-bang technology. (And, yeah, fights usually end in revised gearboxes, additional trim levels, and more whiz-bang technology.) 

The 2014 Durango’s headlights are narrower, and the grille looks like it took a vicious, tenth-round upper cut from a prizefighter, but we mean that in the nicest way possible. It’s also more streamlined than before, and sits above a rearranged lower fascia that wears an exaggerated scowl. The headlights and fog lamps are now projector-beam units, and uplevel models get LED running-light strips. Chalk up the Durango as the winner of that metaphorical boxing match, because it still has the best-looking mug of any three-row rig out there. 

The biggest change is to the Durango’s rear end, though, which now lights up brighter and more identifiably than before thanks to Dodge’s signature full-width LED taillight design. Dodge says a total of 192 LEDs do the dazzling, and the new look brings the Durango in line with the Dart and Charger sedans. There are seven new 18- and 20-inch wheel designs to match the updated sheetmetal, as well as three distinct grilles that vary depending on the trim level. 

You can’t take a few hits to the abdomen—or go through a mid-cycle refresh—without getting a rearranged interior, and the 2014 Durango’s got one. Even though the dashboard is essentially the same, Dodge swapped out the center stack for a new one that accommodates either a standard five-inch Uconnect touch screen or an optional 8.4-inch unit—both with the latest versions of Uconnect—as well as a fresh array of hard buttons just beneath the display. The three-spoke steering wheel is new, and incorporates standard paddle shifters for a bit of zest. Behind the wheel is an equally new seven-inch, reconfigurable TFT digital gauge cluster like the one available in the Dart, although here it’s standard. The optional rear-seat entertainment package now features a Blu-ray player and a pair of seatback-mounted, high-resolution nine-inch screens, as opposed to the 2013 model’s single, roof-mounted display that couldn’t play Blu-ray discs. 

Mechanically, the Durango soldiers on into 2014 largely unchanged save for the aforementioned transmission swap. Like its platform-mate, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Durango gets Chrysler’s new eight-speed automatic, which backs up to either the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 or the available 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. The new trans is operated via a new rotary shift knob—just like the one in the eight-speed-equipped version of the 2013 Ram 1500—located where the more traditional shift lever resided on the 2013 model. The V-6 still makes 290 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, while the V-8 continues to churn out 360 ponies and 390 lb-ft of twist. Towing capacities for the 2014 model are the same as last year: 6200 pounds for V-6 Durangos and 7400 pounds for rear-drive V-8s, while all-wheel-drive V-8 Durangos can pull 7200 pounds.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Audi A3 Sedan

Consider the current A3—that little hatchback at the back of Audi showrooms—just a toe in the water. A project. An experiment. Audi never expected big sales numbers from its little five-door in the U.S., instead only seeking to attract some young people to the brand while testing the temperature here for premium-badged small cars. 

When the next A3 arrives early next year (in the first quarter of 2014 as a 2015 model), Audi will no longer be playing around. Specifically to please American and Chinese car shoppers, the third-generation model adds a sedan body style to our previously hatchback-only A3 lineup. We still will get a hatchback in the form of the five-door Sportback, although only the e-tron plug-in hybrid version has been confirmed for America.

The sedans, though, are where Audi is focusing its efforts. A base model will use a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and more than 180 lb-ft of torque, a new unit unrelated to the old 1.8T wedged into Audis of the last decade. (It’s part of the EA888 engine family, further details on which can be found here.) A slightly larger 2.0-liter version of the engine, omnipresent in Volkswagen and Audi products, and will serve up about 200 horses in the all-wheel-drive A3 Quattro. Diesel makes a return appearance in the American A3, too, and would you believe that more than half of the A3s sold in the U.S. in the past few years were TDIs? The new 2015 A3 will carry the latest Volkswagen-family 2.0-liter diesel four—TDI geeks, here’s its backstory—delivering about 150 horsepower. Torque from the diesel will probably come in at around 250 lb-ft. 

From what Audi has said so far, it appears as if only the 2.0-liter four will be paired with all-wheel drive. That the base 1.8-liter engine and the 2.0-liter diesel will be front-wheel-drive-only isn’t a big deal, really—Benz will be selling a front-drive version of the CLA250—although the diesel’s torque might make hard launches a bit of a handful. Dynamically, we came away mostly impressed from our drive of a Euro-spec three-door hatchback, which bodes well for the sedan. The suspension consists of struts up front and a multilink rear, while steering is of the efficiency-boosting electric type. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid

Subaru has launched its first hybrid car, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, at the New York motor show. It claims to offer all the utility of the standard XV with better fuel consumption and none of the drawbacks associated with petrol-electric cars.

The Crosstrek Hybrid is powered by Subaru's 2.0-litre boxer petrol engine, tweaked for reduced internal friction, which produces 148bhp and 145lb ft. The electric motor makes 13.4bhp and 48lb ft of torque and is supplied by a 100v, 13.5kw nickel-metal hydride battery. A Lineartronic CVT transmission is standard, and the XV Hybrid retains Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system found in the standard car.

According to Subaru, the hybrid technology weighs 209lbs (94kg) and contributes to an overall weight gain of 300lbs (136kg) over the standard XV. The chassis has been re-engineered to cope with the additional weight whilst modifications to the suspension and steering aim to improve the Hybrid's handling.

Despite the battery being located in the boot, claimed luggage capacity is only reduced fractionally; with the rear seats folded, capacity is 1421 litres, compared to 1469 litres for the standard car.

The XV Crosstrek Hybrid features regenerative braking and a stop-start system using its own generator to boost efficiency. It can also run solely on electricity, although Subaru has not given an EV-mode range.
Overall combined fuel economy is rated at 31mpg using imperial gallons, equivalent to 37mpg in Britain.

The Hybrid can be identified from standard XVs through its unique alloy wheels, hybrid badges and a new interior with revised instrument displays. Subaru has also introduced a Plasma Green Pearl colour specifically for the XV Hybrid.

Following its New York debut, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid will go on sale in America later this year. There are currently no plans for Subaru to launch it in Britain.

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: Subaru WRX Concept

Subaru has unveiled a new WRX Concept at the New York motor show. It previews the appearance of the next WRX, Subaru's most iconic model.

The design is claimed to emphasise the familiar Subaru characteristics of turbocharged power and all-wheel-drive grip in a more agile and athletic form. It appears to be a direct riposte from Subaru to the criticism of the current WRX's dowdy appearance.

The WRX Concept is a four-door saloon like early Subaru Imprezas, rejecting the hatchback shape of the recent WRX and STi models. Its wide stance, flared wheelarches and muscular bodywork undoubtedly give it a presence missing from the five-door WRX models. According to Subaru, the WRX's 'compact cabin greenhouse draws attention to the power and solidity of the body', and contributes to a much sleeker profile than any previous WRX variants.

The dimensions for the WRX Concept support this impression. At 4521mm long, it's comparable in length to the current WRX STI saloon but is nearly 100mm wider at 1889mm and much lower (1389mm vs 1470mm).

Despite the change in appearance, traditional Subaru elements have not been discarded. The familiar bonnet scoop and large cooling vents remain, for example. The fluorescent yellow accents will be recognisable from old Subarus, as will the blue paint; for the WRX Concept, it has been updated to 'WR Blue Mica III'.

Other notable features of the WRX Concept include a carbonfibre roof to lower both mass and the centre of gravity. The wheels are 20in forged BBS RI-D items shod in 245/40 Dunlop tyres with a bespoke tread pattern. The aero package includes an aggressive front splitter and a prominent rear diffuser. Subaru also claims the moulded bootlid acts as a rear spoiler.

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid

Nissan has introduced an American-market hybrid variant of its Pathfinder at the New York motor show.
It promises significantly improved fuel efficiency over the standard US Pathfinder, which is powered by a 3.5-litre V6, and commands a modest premium of $3,000.

The Pathfinder Hybrid shares its powertrain with the Infiniti QX60. This means a 15kW electric motor will assist a supercharged 2.5-litre petrol engine, providing increased torque as well as improving fuel economy.

Nissan Executive Vice President Andy Palmer said "Our mindset at Nissan is to lead the way with innovative solutions to the challenges of modern, sustainable mobility with the goal of reaching 100 percent zero emissions, like the LEAF.

"That means creating cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles like the Pathfinder Hybrid that serve people on the move."

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid

The Infiniti QX60 Hybrid has become the third petrol-electric model in Infiniti’s line-up. The model, formerly called the Infiniti JX35, has premiered at the New York motor show today.

Infiniti claims the QX60 Hybrid, the second variant of the firm’s most popular crossover, is capable of achieving the equivalent of 31.2mpg on the US combined cycle (37.5mpg UK). That represents a 24 per cent improvement over the 3.5-litre V6 non-hybrid model.

The Infiniti QX60 Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-litre supercharged four-cylinder petrol engine and a 15kW motor, which draws its power from a lithium ion battery. Combined power is rated at 250bhp and 243lb ft, slightly less than that offered by the non-hybrid V6.

Infiniti says the hybrid powertrain is positioned to retain the car’s flat rear floor, resulting in no reduction in interior space.

The engine and motor is mated to a CVT gearbox. The Hybrid is offered with front-wheel drive or intelligent all-wheel drive.

In reference to the car’s appeal in the North American snow belt, the QX60 Hybrid has a drive mode selector which features standard, sport and eco modes, as well as a snow-specific function.

Infiniti's President, Johan de Nysschen, said "We have clarified our brand and product vision as an aspirational, global provider of premium design and craftsmanship, relevant performance, innovative technology and Japanese hospitality."

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive

Closely following the launch of the Mercedes-Benz SLS ED is the reveal of an all-electric B-class.

The Mercedes' motor, which was co-developed with Tesla, outputs 134bhp and 230lb ft of torque.
Power comes from a battery pack mounted under the floor, which is claimed to be rechargeable from flat in four hours.

Despite the motor's relatively high output the B-class is claimed to have a maximum range of 115 miles. Nissan's recently updated Leaf, however, offers a maximum range of 124 miles.

Mercedes states that a two-hour charge will grant the B-class a range of around 60 miles, useful for those who intend to use it regularly.

Inside, the B-class remains much unchanged - but drivers do benefit from additional readouts for the vehicle's power system. The Mercedes also gets a smartphone integration system that allows owners to control functions like preheating.

Mercedes sales boss, Joachim Schmidt, said that he was "Convinced more and more people see zero emissions cars as making sense"

He also commented that "electric vehicles will be a major part of sustainable motoring".

The new Mercedes-Benz B-class Electric Drive, which will be offered in the US initially, will be available to order in the autumn. Sales are expected to start in early 2014.

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Jeep Cherokee

The all-new Jeep Cherokee off-roader has been revealed in full prior to its unveiling at the New York motor show.

It's the first Jeep to utilise Chrysler's new 'Compact U.S. Wide' platform, which benefits from independent front and rear suspension.

Jeep claims that its new Cherokee will deliver world-class on-road dynamics, improved fuel economy and a wide range of equipment

Offered initially with a nine-speed automatic gearbox, a choice of two engines, three types of 4x4 system and a host of safety and technology options, Jeep hopes that the Cherokee will compete strongly in the mid-size SUV segment.

The bold styling, which features aerodynamic design cues that are claimed to combine the company’s heritage with advanced technology, resembles that of the recently revised Grand Cherokee.

Inside, the driver-orientated cabin is said to feature premium materials throughout and a high standard of build quality. Cloth or leather seats are available, as well as upgraded seats with electric adjustment, a memory function and heating and cooling. Buyers can also specify a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a wireless charging pad, useful for those with numerous mobile devices.

A 3.5-inch greyscale screen, or an optional 7-inch colour unit, in the instrument cluster can be configured by the driver to display information about economy, navigation, cruise control settings or the Jeep's four-wheel-drive system.

The standard multimedia system is a 5-inch touchscreen unit, and a larger 8.4-inch system is offered which also includes BlueTooth and sat-nav. A park assistance package is available, as well as myriad practicality and off-road orientated upgrades. Standard safety kit includes ten airbags and stability control.

Engine options will initially consist of a 2.4-litre four-cylinder 'Tigershark' petrol engine, or a new 3.2-litre V6 'Pentastar' petrol engine. The Tigershark engine uses Fiat's MultiAir technology and produces 184bhp and 171lb ft.

The 3.2-litre V6 petrol delivers a significantly higher 271bhp and 239lb ft of torque. No specific economy figures are quoted for the V6, but the 2.4-litre four cylinder is claimed to average an acceptable 37mpg.
The nine-speed transmission is Chrysler’s own and is reputedly capable of delivering aggressive launches, smooth power delivery and improved fuel efficiency.

Power is transferred to all four wheels by one of three four-wheel drive systems. The entry-level 'Active Drive I' is automatic and can switch in and out of 4WD at any speed. The 'Active Drive II' option adds a low-range mode, with a locking centre diff, and a 1" increase in ride hight.

Those determined to head deep off-road can opt for the 'Active Drive Lock' system, which adds a locking rear differential for improved traction in poor conditions. All come with Jeep's Selec-Terrain traction control which offers multiple modes for different surfaces.

Jeep's new Cherokee also marks the debut of Chrysler's Adaptive Cruise Control Plus, which can bring the vehicle to a complete stop in certain conditions. It uses radar and video sensors to observe vehicles in front, braking the vehicle to maintain a driver-defined gap. If the gap is reduced dramatically, the stability control system can bring the Jeep to a complete halt, even if the driver doesn't touch the brakes.

"The all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee will be the benchmark for mid-size SUVs, with a new level of on-road driving dynamics and fuel economy, while at the same time improving the 4x4 capability that customers expect from Jeep", said Mike Manley, boss of the Jeep brand.

When launched in the US, four different models will be available: Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk.

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Chevrolet has revealed what it claims to be the most “track-capable” Camaro yet at the New York motor show. The Camaro Z/28 is lighter, features a range of aerodynamic aids to increase downforce and receives modified engine internals.

The Camaro’s chief engineer, Al Oppenheiser said his team “set out to make the fastest road-racing Camaro possible that was still street-legal.” The Camaro Z/28 weighs 136kg less than the supercharged ZL1 through reduced equipment and sound insulation, a lighter battery and thinner glass.

Along with the rest of the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro range, the Z/28 features a more aggressive nose and rectangular rear light clusters replacing the rounded unit in the current car.

The Camaro Z/28 receives a full aero kit, comprising a front splitter connected to an underbody panel which reduces lift. Wheelarch extensions, a rear wing and functional diffuser complete the external package. Heavily bolstered sports seats are among the interior changes.

Power comes from the 7.0-litre, naturally aspirated V8 introduced in the Corvette ZO6. The engine was chosen due to a wide torque band, which requires fewer gearshifts per lap. The dry-sumped engine has been co-developed by Corvette Racing, and uses titanium intake valves and rods, ported aluminium cylinder heads and a high-lift camshaft.

Chevrolet says the engine develops “at least” 500bhp and 470lb ft of torque, which is directed to the rear wheels via a Tremec TR6060 six-speed, close-ratio manual gearbox.

The Z/28 is claimed to deliver 1.05g of cornering grip, and uses race-bred dampers which are adjustable for both bump and rebound. Unsprung weight is reduced by 19kg through use of lightweight 19in alloy wheels, which also lower the centre of gravity by 33mm. It is also the first production application of Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tyres.

Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, gripped by six piston callipers are capable of achieving 1.5g in deacceleration.

Thanks to: Autocar

Jumat, 29 Maret 2013

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Chevrolet Camaro

Just last year, Chevy upgraded the interiors of the entire Camaro lineup, upgraded dampers and anti-roll bars on V-8–powered models to reduce understeer, and introduced the SS 1LE package and the ZL1 convertible. Besides, the Camaro team probably had its hands full engineering the all-new 500-hp, LS7-powered Z/28 that also dropped in the Big Apple. 

Debuting at the 2013 New York auto show, Chevrolet’s 2014 Camaro refresh consists of three or four relatively minor changes. But that simple statement isn’t quite fair to the people behind the bow-tie pony car. 

For their part, GM’s sales and marketing people probably felt there wasn’t much upgrading that needed to be done, anyway: The Camaro has outsold its bitter rival, the Ford Mustang, each of the past three years. And so the most prominent changes to the Camaro for 2014 are its updated front and rear fascias. In front, the upper portion of the grille has been vertically compressed, creating a slightly wider appearance, while the lower section has been widened to improve cooling. Out back, the taillights have been binned in favor of solid rectangular units, and the decklid and the diffuser have been updated in the name of improved aerodynamics. The hood can be spec’d with a functional hood vent that aids in cooling and is claimed to reduce lift at high speeds. The interior goes unchanged into 2014, save for two new options: Recaro sport seats and a full-color head-up display. 

As far as what stays the same, well, that’d be pretty much everything else. The Camaro’s familiar 3.6-liter V-6 producing 323 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque carries over, as does its 426-hp, 420-lb-ft, 6.2-liter V-8 (400 hp and 410 hp with the automatic). Fans of more-powerful Camaros still will be able to opt for the 580-hp, supercharged 6.2-liter Camaro ZL1. (Note, however, that the ZL1 will not receive the new 2014 front fascia, as adopting that piece for the blown Camaro’s ultra-high-speed mission would have required “serious engineering work,” we’re told.) Track aficionados will again have the chance to purchase the 1LE handling pack. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Mercedes CLA45 AMG

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the second in a trio of new price-leading AMG performance models that will go on sale this year: the CLA45 AMG 4Matic.

Sister car to the recently unveiled A45 AMG 4Matic and upcoming GLA45 AMG 4Matic, the rapid 355bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-door saloon is inspired by the larger CLS63 AMG. The new CLA45 AMG is scheduled to go on sale in the UK in October at an estimated price of £40,000.

The transversely mounted engine is identical to the turbocharged four-cylinder unit used in the A45. Its 355bhp is produced at 6000rpm, and 332lb ft of torque is available between 2250rpm and 5000rpm.

Drive is channelled through a standard seven-speed dual-clutch AMG Speedshift gearbox and Haldex multi-plate-style clutch to all four wheels. The AMG Speedshift offers three driving modes - C (comfort), S (sport) and M (manual), as well as launch and double-declutching functions.

Official performance figures suggest that it will storm from a standstill to 62mph in 4.6sec — just 0.4sec slower than the 451bhp 6.2-litre V8-powered C63 AMG saloon. The top speed is electronically limited to 155mph. Combined fuel economy of 40.9mpg and average CO2 emissions of 161g/km are claimed.

The CLA45 is distinguished from less powerful CLA models by a series of exterior design changes, including new bumpers, alloy wheels, wider sills and larger air intakes. Mercedes-Benz admits that the changes were aimed at providing it with a clear resemblance to the significantly more powerful CLS63 AMG.

Inside, there’s an upgraded interior, with standard AMG instruments, part-leather sport seats up front, red seatbelts, AMG multi-function steering wheel with shift paddles, AMG sill panels and aluminium dashboard trim, among other unique styling touches.

Underpinning the CLA45 is a heavily reworked version of the CLA250 Sport’s MacPherson strut and multi-link suspension. It receives unique springs and dampers, additional camber and a reduction in ride height.

As with the A45, buyers will be able to choose between two states of tune: standard and Sport. The ESP (electronic stability program) has been recalibrated to take into account the CLA45’s added performance potential. The system provides three modes: On, Sport and Off.

Also included is an additional Curve Dynamic Assist function, which is aimed at providing added agility without any premature stability control intervention. Further chassis changes — including the adoption of stiffer steering knuckles and unique software mapping for the electro-mechanical steering — are aimed at sharpening responses.

The brakes feature 350mm front and 330mm rear steel ventilated and cross-drilled discs.
In the US the CLA45 AMG will become the entry-level AMG model, with prices starting at $47,450.
Sales boss Joachim Schmidt said that the CLA45 AMG is designed to "Appeal to the young and young at heart"

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Kia Optima

Kia has revealed a refreshed Optima at the New York motor show.

Due to arrive in the UK in the first half of 2014, it benefits from myriad styling and technical updates.
Externally, the facelifted Optima gets updated front and rear end styling, a revised grille, new rear diffusers and a redesigned bootlid. This gives it a sleeker silhouette.

LED daytime running lights, rear LED lamps and new wheel designs complete the modern-looking exterior upgrades.

Inside, there are tweaks that include a new 4.3-inch TFT instrument cluster and an optional high-resolution 8-inch sat-nav and media system. Kia claims that the cabin delivers a more premium feel with new seats, trims and soft-touch materials.

A new drive mode selector offers Sport, Eco and Normal modes. It adjusts the throttle response, gear shifts and steering weight.

Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing & communications, Kia Motors America, said “The Optima is the cornerstone of Kia’s design evolution and epitomises the brand’s goal of building highly captivating, value-positioned vehicles.”

The Optima has been Kia's best-seller for 15 months running in the US and was the best-selling Kia in a single year ever in 2012.

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Toyota Highlander

This is the new 2014 Toyota Highlander, unveiled today at the New York motor show. The Camry-based model has been launched in response to the Volkswagen CrossBlue, which premiered at the Detroit motor show in January.

The third-generation Highlander features LED lights, new bumpers, Toyota’s latest front grille, a higher belt line and a sleeker glasshouse. New A-pillars are said to improve visibility. Much of the new car is intended to improve interior and luggage space. The double wishbone suspension arrangement has been conceived not to impact on luggage room.

An eight-seat configuration is standard, in a 2/3/3 arrangement but the middle row can be specified with two captain’s chairs, reducing capacity to seven occupants.

Toyota says the car’s ride and NVH levels have been improved and body roll reduced.

The Highlander, one of four mid-sized SUVs Toyota offers in the North American market, is offered in front- or four-wheel drive configurations and with a choice of a 2.7-litre 4-cylinder or a 3.5-litre V6 engine. A hybrid version is planned.

The Indiana-built Highlander goes on sale early next year, coming at the end of a product offensive, which will see seven Toyota and Scion models launched.

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Kia Forte Koup

Kia has taken the wraps off its all-new Forte Koup, which is also known as the Cerato in some markets.
It joins Kia's American range alongside the Forte saloon and the Forte five-door hatchback. Kia claims that it boasts European-inspired design and performance; it won't, however, be coming to the UK.

Engine options include a turbocharged 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol unit that outputs 198bhp and 195lb ft of torque. Models with this engine are, consequently, the most powerful Forte Koups ever.

“The Forte Koup is arguably the sportiest vehicle in our award-winning line-up, and it has helped raise Kia’s brand awareness significantly among automotive enthusiasts,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing and communications of Kia Motors America.

Kia's new coupé will be offered in two trim levels, SX and EX, and buyers will be able to pick from two engines and transmissions. EX versions get a conventional 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and the SX gets the potent 1.6-litre turbocharged engine.

Both engines should prove reliable as Kia's durability testing means that test engines are run for 300 continuous hours at redline under full load, then for an additional 20 hours at 10 per cent above redline under full load.

EX models feature a six-speed manual gearbox, while the SX is available with either the six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox with wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

In line with the rest of the Forte range, the Koup comes with a substantial standard equipment list that includes alloy wheels, a rear view camera, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and LED running lights. Higher-specification SX models get larger alloy wheels, a body kit and different trim.

Optional equipment on offer includes upgrades like a sat-nav system, a heated steering wheel, leather trim and dual-zone climate control.

Sprague added "Its rakish design, premium specification and powerful turbocharged engine set it apart from the competition. With the debut of the Forte sedan and five-door earlier this year, and now the Koup in New York, the Forte line-up has been completely revamped from top to bottom.”

The Kia Forte Koup is due to go on sale in the US in autumn.

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Kia Soul

The all-new Kia Soul, unveiled today at the New York motor show, is claimed to offer a more engaging driving experience and more interior space than the car it replaces.

Kia says the new Soul is based on a chassis that’s longer, wider and 28 per cent stiffer than the current car, which has allowed engineers to reduce NVH and maximise space in the passenger and cargo compartments. The suspension has also been revised, with improved geometry.

The styling has been influenced by the Kia Track’ster. Kia’s Californian-based design team have retained a number of design cues from the current Soul, but elements such as the trapezoidal lower grille and positioning of the front fog lights are a direct carry-over from the Track’ster. Kia’s grille has been reworked to closely mirror that of the concept.

Tom Kearns, the boss of Kia's Californian design centre, said "The Soul was the first car to show Kia's design potential. We wanted it to look good and be an affordable halo product.

"We want to maintain all that with the new one but make it a bit more special and fun to drive. There's lots of inspiration from the Track’ster concept in this. The long wheelbase and pushed out wheels for instance. We kept all the iconic design touches from first car like the wraparound screen and vertical taillights"

A “floating” body colour panel in the tailgate is another signature from the Track’ster. Kia says the tailgate is six centremetres wider to aid access.

The new Kia Soul records increases in front and rear legroom and front head and shoulder room, and is claimed to be easier to climb in and out of. A range of noise-reducing materials sees noise levels reduced by 3db.

The new Soul improves on the hard plastics fitted to the current car. Soft-touch materials are fitted to the instrument panel, centre console and door panels. Leather trim will be offered as an option.

Interior features include an eight-inch touchscreen, which operates Kia’s latest telematics and infotainment system and combines with an Android operating system and Pandora internet radio. Options include LED front and rear lights and a panoramic roof.

Although UK specification is yet to be revealed, US-market models will be offered in three trim levels: Base Soul, Soul Plus and Soul Exclaim.

Kia says it has focused attention on the Soul’s chassis. The front subframe uses four bushings – the current car has none – and the shock absorbers on the rear torsion bar are now mounted vertically allowing for more suspension travel.

Two petrol engines are offered in the North American market. The 1.6-litre engine develops 130bhp and 118lb ft, while a 2.0-litre unit produces 164bhp and 151lb ft.

The new Soul will go on sale in the UK in early 2014. It will initially be offered with a 1.6-litre petrol or a 1.6-litre diesel engine.

Kearns added "'There's lots of limited edition models planned that are designed for the young and young at heart."

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Honda Odyssey

Honda has revealed its facelifted Odyssey MPV at the New York motor show. Increased levels of safety equipment, an updated interior and refreshed styling all feature on the 2014 model year car.

The external changes to the Odyssey include a bolder front grille and additional chrome around the front foglights. At the rear, the lights are now LED and Honda has introduced new badges also.

Inside, the Odyssey gets a revised centre console with more infotainment options. The introduction of HondaLink allows Odyssey drivers to sync a smartphone to their car and access cloud-based content. Additional safety equipment includes Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and a lane departure warning system. Structural changes have also been incorporated by Honda to improve the Odyssey's performance in US crash tests.

Perhaps the most notable piece of interior equipment is the HondaVAC, standard on Odyssey Elite models; created with Shop-VAC, it's the world's first in-car vacuum system. Stored in the Odyssey's boot, the HondaVAC never needs recharging and features an extendable hose with various attachments to reach every part of the cabin.

The 2014 model year Honda Odyssey is being exhibited at New York alongside a Fit (Jazz) EV and the Accord Plug-In. American sales of the Odyssey will this summer.

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Range Rover Sport

The all-new Range Rover Sport, revealed at the New York motor show, is a model described by Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern as being “the Porsche 911 of SUVs”.

It’s his way of emphasising the essential difference between the all-new Sport — due in showrooms in September — and the recently launched, considerably larger Range Rover flagship  which shares many of the Sport’s underpinnings but not its essential character. “We’ve taken ride, handling and agility to another level in the Sport,” adds brand boss John Edwards. “This is the fastest, most agile and most responsive Land Rover ever.”

The first-generation Sport rapidly achieved halo status as JLR’s most profitable car, scoring impressive success in the US and especially in Manhattan — hence the decision to unveil the second-generation car at the New York motor show this week. Sales have always been strong; even last year it notched up 56,000 sales, its second-best result to date.

The styling — more sophisticated and sporty than before — makes obvious reference via the floating roof and basic proportions to the ‘senior’ Range Rover, but it is both low and compact in comparison, with greater windscreen rake, a forward control aspect and pronounced wheel arches and haunches that advertise its dynamic priorities. “It’s dramatic and powerful, with immense road presence,” claims McGovern.    

The new Sport has much more in common with the Range Rover than the old model, sharing most of its primary suspension and transmission parts and key components of its aluminium monocoque chassis (adopted instead of the original model’s heavy, old-tech, twin-rail steel chassis). The new car is 62mm longer than the outgoing Sport, but still 149mm shorter than the flagship Range Rover, while its wheelbase is 178mm longer than that of its predecessor. Thus its rear overhang is markedly shorter than before and the redesigned cabin offers both more rear-seat knee room and space for an optional pair of electrically powered, fold-down, child-friendly seats forming a third row, making this a ‘5+2’ SUV for the first time.

Weight saving is a highlight of the new Sport. Engineers claim a ‘real-world’ saving of around half a tonne over the previous model, though that is calculated by comparing the latest high-output V6 with the previous diesel V8, which offers similar performance. If you compare old and new V6s directly, the difference is a still-impressive 420kg.

Engineers have also chased efficiency through aerodynamics. The Sport has movable vanes in its cooling system to cut drag on the move, plus near-flush glazing and a smooth underfloor panel to reduce the drag coefficient to 0.34.

At launch, the Sport will be offered with a choice of two engines: a 288bhp 3.0 SDV6 diesel and a 503bhp supercharged 5.0-litre petrol V8. These will be joined next year by a 254bhp TDV6 diesel and a 334bhp 4.4-litre SDV8 ‘super-diesel’ with a 6.5sec 0-60mph time. Later in 2014 we’ll see a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine option — broadly similar in performance to the outgoing V8 diesel.

These engines (all of which incorporate stop-start) send their power through an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox to a permanent 4x4 system. But in a big break with the past, the Sport will be offered either with a two-speed transfer case that offers the traditional high range and low range and a 50/50 front/rear torque split, or a single-speed transfer case with a default 42/58 per cent torque split to give a rear-drive bias for sharper on-road handling.

Towards the end of 2014, Land Rover promises to deliver a “highly innovative” diesel-electric hybrid version of the Sport that will emit only 169g/km of CO2.

Thanks to: Autocar

Kamis, 28 Maret 2013

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2013 Chrysler 200 S Special Edition

A run-out special of the Chrysler 200 saloon has been unveiled at the New York motor show. The latest model is the result of a collaboration with fashion label Carhartt.

Based on the 200 S, this Carhartt-inspired Special Edition gets aggressive spoilers front and rear, a mesh grille and new exhaust tailpipes. The external modifications are completed by a rear diffuser.

The Carhartt overhaul is most notable inside, where the 200 has seats trimmed in water-resistant fabric and black trim where chrome used to feature.

The 200 Special Edition will be available in Chrysler's US dealerships soon after its New York debut. It will be priced from $28,870 (approximately £19,000).

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Cadillac CTS

General Motors claims it has elevated the Cadillac CTS to “challenge the world’s best” executive saloons such as the BMW 5-series with this all-new model that has made its debut at this week’s New York motor show.

The rear-drive CTS is based on a larger version of the architecture that underpins the 3-series-sized ATS, which was revealed last year. It will go into production in the US this autumn before going on sale in Europe in early 2014.

However, Cadillac says there are still no firm plans to make the model in right-hand drive or offer it with a diesel engine, saying only that it “expects the line-up to be expanded within its lifecycle”.

Cadillac says the new CTS will be the lightest car in its class in North America, weighing around 90kg less than an equivalent US-market BMW 528i at 1640kg. This is in spite of it being some 67mm longer than the 5-series at 4966mm long. The new CTS is also 127mm longer than its predecessor, 30mm of that extra length coming in the wheelbase that extends to 2911mm.

The look of the CTS is instantly recognisable as a Cadillac, incorporating the latest evolution of its ‘Art & Science’ design theme. The front grille is wider and the angular front-end is flanked on either side by strips of vertical LED lights.

The engine line-up includes a new 414bhp twin-turbo 3.6-litre V6 petrol mated to Cadillac’s first eight-speed automatic gearbox. This is sold in a CTS Vsport model, which gets a quicker steering rack, upgraded brakes, improved cooling magnetic dampers and an electronic limited-slip diff. A 0-60mph time of 4.6sec is estaiated.

Other engines include a 268bhp turbocharged four-cylinder and a 317bhp 3.6-litre V6. A six-speed auto’ is standard, with the eight-speed optional. All-wheel drive is also offered on all engines.

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2013 Jaguar XKR-S GT

Jaguar is commemorating 25 years of its R performance brand with the most focused road-going version of its XK ever.

The XKR-S GT, which joins the new XJR at the New York motor show this week, is a track-ready version of the XKR-S that remains road legal.

Power comes from a 542bhp supercharged 5.0-litre V8 that sends power to the rear wheels through a six-speed auto’ gearbox. The GT is good for a 0-60mph time of 3.9sec, some 0.3sec quicker than the standard XKR. Although Jaguar says the car is theoretically capable of 200mph, it is limited to 186mph.

The GT features a bespoke aerodynamic package that includes a carbonfibre front splitter, dive planes, extended wheel arch spats, a rear diffuser and a large fixed rear wing. Maximum downforce of 145kg is said to be achieved.

Carbon ceramic brake discs are fitted, a first for Jaguar. New front and rear suspension systems also feature, including a wider front track, increased camber, revised bushings and a new steering system with a faster ratio. Bespoke, height-adjustable dampers are another addition that feature a race-derived twin spring system.

Completing the transformation are special lightweight 20in alloys shod in 255/35 Pirelli Corsa rubber at the front and 305/30 tyres at the rear.

"These major modifications take Jaguar in to a new dimension. It will lap the nurburgring in under 7m 40sec yet can be driven in the road if you choose," said Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar's global brand director.
"It is something special, but something that will inform other Jaguar products. By pushing boundaries we will always learn lessons that can be applied elsewhere."

Just 30 examples of the £130,000 model will be made – 25 for the US and five for Canada. However, Jaguar says it will consider right-hand drive models for the UK and other markets if demand is sufficient.

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Jaguar XJR

This new XJR is the fastest, most powerful Jaguar XJ in history. The new super-saloon, revealed at the New York motor show, is equipped with a 542bhp, 502lb ft supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine that helps propel it from 0-60mph in just 4.4sec and onto a top speed limited to 174mph.

The XJR is rear-wheel drive, with drive channeled through a specially calibrated eight-speed automatic transmission with an integrated stop-start system. The gearbox is based on the unit found in the potent XFR-S saloon, and can react with faster, more aggressive shifts if an enthusiastic driving style is detected.

The XJ’s chassis has undergone significant development in creating the XJR. Development work took place at the Nurburgring and Rockingham circuits, and on the roads around north Wales.

Both front and rear suspension set-ups have been modified, the steering responses have been sharpened, larger brakes have been fitted, and the active electronic differential recalibrated to work with the wider 295/30 tyres at the rear that are fitted to new 20in alloy wheels. The tyres at the front are 265/35 in size.
Further changes include modifications to the Adaptive Dynamics system which in the most focused mode, Dynamic, firms up the damping rates to improve body control.

The result, according to Jaguar’s chassis guru Mike Cross, is a car with “greater steering precision, higher levels of control and enhanced high speed stability, with the trade-off in refinement being very small”.
Styling modification are more subtle, and include an aerodynamic body kit with front splitter and rear spoiler, plus bespoke R badging.

The Jaguar XJR is expected to launch in the summer with a price tag of £92,500. The car will be offered in both short- and long-wheelbase.

Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar's global brand director, said "The XJR fully answers the question of combining luxury on the inside and performance. It is everything you would ask of a supercar, delivered with impeccable refinement."

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Buick Regal

As the handsome, Opel-sourced Regal has come to the fore of Buick’s renaissance, we wonder how apt its name is anymore. Is today’s Regal really “resembling, or fit for a monarch, especially in being magnificent”? Well, probably not. But since its re-introduction to the U.S. market for the 2011 model year, the car has generally satisfied in our experiences, even winning a head-to-head comparo in GS guise. Now 2014 is bringing a refresh, in which Buick has re-configured the 2.0-liter turbo four at the heart of the Regals we enjoy most. 

The base powertrain, a direct-injection, 182-hp 2.4-liter four with eAssist mild hybridization, carries over for 2014. The big shakeup comes in the turbo-four department. The current Regal Turbo and Regal GS use the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, but in two different states of tune: 220 horsepower and 260 lb-ft in the Turbo and 270/295 in the GS. No more—the turbocharged four now will come in one strength, no matter which badge is on the booty of your Regal. Rated at 259 horsepower at 5300 rpm and 295 lb-ft at 3000 rpm, the new iteration bolsters Regal Turbos by 39 horses and 35 lb-ft, while the GS is neutered by 11 horsepower. The transmission rundown is as follows: GM's 6T40 six-speed auto is mandatory with the base powertrain, while all Regal Turbos will use the 6T70 six-speed auto (no more manual version). The latter 'box can be fitted to the GS, front-drive examples of which can be ordered with a six-speed manual. 

In calling out front-drive models as distinct entries, we now can segue to what is perhaps the best new item for 2014: the Haldex all-wheel-drive system offered on models with the 2.0T and six-speed auto. The system shunts power to the front wheels by default, but can transfer as much as 90 percent of the torque to the rear wheels if needed. Out back, an electronic limited-slip diff can adjust the torque split from left to right between the rear wheels. Buick touts this as a device for both foul weather and improved performance, and, as such devices generally do, it likely will prove to mitigate understeer at turn-in. The AWD system is now also among the parameters affected by selecting the GS’s Sport and GS driving modes. 

Outside, the 2014 Regal receives a slightly revised grille and standard LED daytime running lights, as well as more-aggressive LED taillights. As does the 2014 LaCrosse also debuting at the New York show, the Regal gets the latest-generation IntelliLink infotainment setup. That means an eight-inch color touch screen and—addressing one big complaint about the current car—fewer and more-logically arrayed buttons on the center stack. In most Regals, a new 4.2-inch screen is housed within the instrument panel, but the GS offers an eight-inch display that can be customized with Sport or Touring graphics. Also shared with the LaCrosse are myriad new electronic safety and alert systems: forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a following-distance indicator. The foregoing are all part of a Driver Confidence package, while collision preparation, which pre-loads the brake system ahead of an imminent collision, and adaptive cruise control are available separately. 

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Buick LaCrosse

There must be a special place in heaven for writers who create press releases for "new" cars that aren't really, well, new. It can't be easy. Take the "new" 2014 Buick LaCrosse, which is being debuted at this year's New York auto show. We see a fair amount of these mid-size Buicks—General Motors sold some 57,000 in 2012—so how does one describe the changes? There has been work up front, a somewhat-larger waterfall grille, plus headlamps that don’t change shape so much as character. LED eyebrows give the LaCrosse's face the slightly more aggressive demeanor it needed. Ditto out back, where the taillights now are LEDs and tied together with a slim chrome strip across the trunklid. If Buick is trying to kick the LaCrosse out of its languid past, this helps. Down low in front are active grille shutters that close at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics. 

We're told the LaCrosse has new seats, but we can't yet vouch for them. We can, however, give a first-look thumbs up to the revised instrument panel and center console. Straight ahead of the driver sits a new trio of gauges, but what impresses most is the new center stack. The outgoing arrangement was a sea of tiny, like-size buttons, while the new layout properly groups them by function. HVAC controls are mounted down low, audio switches are above that with proper knobs, and a configurable eight-inch screen sits up top. The radio-button count alone drops from 17 to seven. The new design makes much more sense and looks significantly better while bringing along, we’re told, a smarter IntelliLink infotainment system, featuring improved voice recognition. The new layout also allows for easy-access cupholders next to the shift lever, which we commend. 

Mechanically, the LaCrosse is unchanged. It continues to offer the eAssist mild-hybrid system, which carries over its 182-hp, 2.4-liter direct-injected Ecotec engine matched to a six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive. Alternatively, there's still a 304-hp, direct-injected 3.6-liter V-6 with a six speed, but this mill provides the option of front- or all-wheel drive. Buick isn't listing fuel-economy numbers yet, but the eAssist system gave the 2013 LaCrosse a mileage claim of 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, while the V-6 managed 17/27, with all-wheel drive knocking off 1 mpg from the highway number. 

Now sit up straight, because we've come to the “alert” alert. Buick lists no fewer than seven alert systems available with the LaCrosse. They are Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Change Alert, Lane-Departure Warning Alert, Forward-Collision Alert, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and the buzz-your-buns Safety Alert Seat. Oh, and there's also Automatic Collision Preparation. We applaud safety measures, of course, but with that many potential alerts going off, you might want to be careful with what sort of beverages you place in those new easy-access cup holders. 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Acura MDX

Honda's luxury US arm Acura has shown an updated version of its MDX seven-seat SUV at the New York motor show, with a lighter, more rigid body and improved economy.

The third-generation MDX is the first to offer two wheel drive and has a 76mm longer wheelbase and is 63mm lower than before. Acura claims improved legroom for second-row passengers in the MDX and easier access to the third row. Increasing the space between the axles also serves to boost ride quality. The SUV features multi-link rear suspension and adaptive dampers.

Acura says the 2014 MDX is 125kgs lighter than before, and is now the lightest in its class. Drag has been reduced by 17 per cent.

The Acura MDX is powered by a 3.5-litre direct-injection V6. Fuel economy is improved by 22 per cent over the engine it replaces.

Four-wheel drive is provided by Honda's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), while front-wheel drive is also an option for the first time. A new dynamic driving model offers Sport, Normal and Comfort settings, tailoring the steering, throttle, torque vectoring and engine note to suit the driver.

Thanks to: Autocar

NY Show 2013 Highlights: 2013 SRT Viper TA

A track-focused version of the latest SRT Viper has been unveiled at the New York motor show. The SRT Viper Time Attack (TA) features a range of modifications to make it more capable on circuits.

Just 33 TAs will be made in Detroit, all finished in 'Crusher Orange' with black 'TA' logos.

Over the standard SRT Viper, the TA has revised suspension comprising uprated springs and dampers as well as changes to its Bilstein Damptronic system with a smaller spread between the two modes. Unique 'Sidewinder II' alloy wheels are lighter than standard and so reduce the unsprung mass. Furthermore, the aluminium cross-brace of the standard Viper has been replaced with a carbonfibre item.

The brakes are a development of the Viper's standard Brembo set-up, with increased thermal capacity to improve performance during sustained track use.

The TA is powered by the same 8.4-litre V10 as the standard SRT Viper, producing 640bhp and 600lb ft of torque.

Externally, the TA can be identified by a new front carbonfibre splitter and rear spoiler, while the interior features Crusher Orange stitching on the centre console and steering wheel.

Production of the 33 SRT Viper TAs will begin this autumn.

Thanks to: Autocar

Geneva Show 2013 Highlights: Mitsubishi GR-HEV Concept

The second of the Mitsubishi electric vehicle concepts at the Geneva motor show is the GR-HEV. A pick-up with a one-tonne payload, it aims to show the new applications hybrid technology can be used for.

The GR-HEV is powered by a 2.5-litre Mitsubishi Clean Diesel and a front-mounted electric motor, delivering power through an automatic gearbox. No power outputs have yet been released, but Mitsubishi is promising CO2 emissions of 'below 149g/km' for the GR-HEV, no doubt aided by its ability to run in electric-only mode for a limited time.

The manufacturer says this puts the concept's emissions approximately 50g/km below the current best-performing pick-up on the market.

The four-wheel drive GR-HEV features Mitsubishi's Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) which controls power distribution to each corner to boost traction.

The 5.42m-long GR-HEV reputedly continues a styling theme first seen on the current L200, where the load bed appears a seamless continuation of the passenger cabin. The concept also features LED tail lights in a 'scattered diamond' design', and lightweight wheels inspired by Mitsubishi's Three Diamond Logo.

Speaking at the unveiling of the GR-HEV concept, Mitsubishi Motors president Osamu Masuko said: "We have learned a lot from the i-MIEV electric car and the Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid, so now is the time to apply those lessons to other market segments. The GR-HEV is designed to appeal to customers in both mature and developing markets, and for purposes of fun or work."

Mitsubishi has also unveiled its CA-MiEV crossover concept at the show.

Thanks to: Autocar

Geneva Show 2013 Highlights: 2013 Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale

A four-seat version of the Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale has been unveiled at the Geneva motor show. It follows the original MC Stradale, shorn of the standard GranTurismo's rear seats, which arrived in 2011.

The range flagship, the MC Stradale carries an array of modifications over the standard GranTurismo. The exterior features a carbonfibre bonnet with central air scoop, forged 20-inch alloy wheels and a new rear bumper arrangement. Maserati claims the interior includes "new materials and style".

As with the two-seat version, the new GranTurismo MC Stradale is powered by a 4.7-litre V8 producing 453bhp, which now also features in the GranTurismo Sport. It is paired with an MC Race Shift six-speed automated manual transmission.

The GranTurismo MC Stradale's claimed top speed is 188mph, with 0-60mph expected to take around five seconds. Improvements in efficiency have also been announced, although no figures have been released. Stopping power is provided by Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes.

There is no word yet on pricing for the four-seat MC Stradale, although expect a figure in the region of the two-seater's £110k. The Geneva motor show also marked the European debut of Maserati's Quattroporte saloon.

Thanks to: Autocar

Geneva Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Koenigsegg Agera S Hundra

Koenigsegg is in its familiar place amongst Geneva’s hypercar makers, and this year is showing off a very special example of its 2014-model-year Agera S: the ‘Hundra’.

This is the Swedish firm’s hundredth chassis built since the company set up shop in 2002. Headed for Hong Kong, it’s been built at a cost of 1.6m US dollars – plus local taxes – and is covered in naked carbonfibre and gold leaf. Four-thousand man hours have gone in to hand-building it; Koenigsegg’s usual measure is just under three-thousand.

The Agera S is the latest of Koenigsegg’s Agera-series models. Adapted to run on 98-ron unleaded rather than E85 bioethanol, its got 1016bhp and 811lb ft of torque, and weighs 1400kg at the kerb with fluids onboard. Though not quite as quick as the firm’s Agera R, it’s capable of 0-62mph in 2.8sec, and 0-186mph-0 in a staggering 22.5sec.

Koenigsegg’s philosophy on designing and fabricating its own components runs throughout. The 5.0-litre V8 engine’s pistons are ceramic-coated, and have uniquely shaped piston domes that encourage effective flame propagation, combat irregular combustion and allow the engine to run 1.4 bar of supercharger boost pressure and a compression ratio of 9.0:1 – factors that make for the exceptionally high specific output.

It also has a new ECU, Koenigsegg’s own, with dual wideband lambda sensing. The brake callipers are new too, and of Koenigsegg’s own design; each one is asymmetrical and can therefore only be fitted to one specific corner of the car.

Speaking exclusively to Autocar, company founder Christian von Koenigsegg was unthreatened by the profusion of brand new hypercars around the Geneva motor show stands. “Our clients are collectors,” he explained. “They’ll probably order the Ferrari, the McLaren and one of our cars while they’re here. It’s true that there will be a lot million-dollar exotics coming onto the market in a short space of time, but it’s the likes of Ferrari and McLaren that will have to manage that; our business won’t be affected.”

“We service the business as it comes to us,” he went on. “When we set up in 2002, the idea was to make the Porsche 911 of hypercars: one that would go through a process of continuous improvement for many decades. I think we’re achieving that. Some years we make twelve cars; others we’ve made as many as seventeen. Right now, our order book is about a year long, and that’s normal for us.”

Thanks to: Autocar

Geneva Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 SEAT Leon SC

Seat has unveiled a rakish three-door version of the new Seat Leon, the second model of three to join the expanded line-up. The Leon SC (Sports Coupé) is shorter, lower and wider than the five-door model on which it is based, but without losing any of the 380 litres of boot capacity or compromising too much on space for rear passengers.

After its Geneva motor show reveal, the Leon SC is expected to find its way into showrooms in July. The Leon range will be completed later this year with the introduction of a new ST estate model, before hot Cupra versions of all three bodystyles are launched next year.

Compared with the standard five-door model, the Leon SC is completely new from the A-pillars back. The wheelbase has been reduced by 35mm to 2600mm and the roofline has been lowered and more sharply raked to give the car its sporty profile, which has been inspired by the Seat IBE concept car from 2010.

In its lightest form, the Leon SC weighs just 1168kg. The suspension set-up is taken from the five-door model, so there are MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam at the rear for models with less than 150bhp or a multi-link set-up for models with more than 150bhp.

The engines for the Leon SC are carried over from the five-door model. This means that the 178bhp 1.8 TSI will be the initial range-topping petrol model and a 181bhp 2.0 TDI with CO2 emissions of 112g/km the most potent diesel.

Three trim levels will be offered in the UK: S, SE and FR. The range-topping FR will have bespoke bumpers, lowered suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Thanks to: Autocar

Geneva Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Renault Scenic XMOD

Renault is replacing the Scenic with this new crossover-style version of the car called Scenic XMOD, revealed at the Geneva motor show.

Based on the outgoing car it replaces, the Renault Scenic XMOD gets raised ride height, new bumpers, sill guards, new alloy wheels and roof bars to give it the pseudo off-roader looks.

The Scenic XMOD is front-wheel drive, but improved adverse weather performance is claimed to be offered thanks to a new Grip Xtend traction control system.

Grip Xtend is manually controlled using a rotary knob on the centre console. ‘Road’ mode is the standard setting, working as a traditional traction control system. Loose Ground mode controls engine torque and optimises braking control in low-grip surfaces. In Expert mode, braking control is undertaken by the system, leaving the driver in control of the engine.

Boot capacity of the Scenic XMOD is also increased over the Scenic, up from 522 litres to 555 litres.

The Scenic XMOD also introduces Renault’s new design language to the Scenic range. The look, first seen on the new Clio that goes on sale in the UK this month, is also set to appear on the revised Grand Scenic, which otherwise continues unchanged in the Scenic line-up.

Both the Scenic XMOD and Grand Scenic are also set to get Renault’s new R-Link infotainment system.
The Scenic XMOD and Grand Scenic facelift received their world debuts at the Geneva motor show. The Scenic XMOD is due on sale in the UK in May, priced around £800 more than the outgoing Scenic.

Thanks to: Autocar

Geneva Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 Peugeot 2008

Peugeot has released full details of its 2008 crossover, which was unveiled at the Geneva motor show. Highlights include a lowest kerbweight of 1045kg, a range of 'Connected App' services and CO2 emissions as low as 98g/km.

Set to rival cars like the Nissan Juke and Mini Countryman, the 2008 is designed for urban dwellers who also like to explore outside the city limits. It is ostensibly based on the 208 supermini, but also draws on the success of the larger 3008, and incorporates that car's Grip Control off-road system.

At 4.16m long and 1.74m wide, the 2008 is around 20cm longer and 5cm wider than the 208 on which it's based. This creates more space for five passengers inside, and a boot capacity of 360 litres (1194 litres with the rear seats folded). For the driver, the small steering wheel of the 208 is carried over, intended to enhance a sense of agility. A taller centre console is fitted and the materials used inside are claimed to be of a higher quality.

A head-up display and seven-inch touchscreen are also standard inside the 2008. The latter gives access to Peugeot Connect Apps, which uses 3G to give live information such as weather conditions, traffic and local attractions at any time. The 2008 will be launched with 11 apps and Peugeot will eventually introduce an app store with additional content such as social media, email and Wikipedia.

Many external styling cues from other models in the Peugeot range feature on the 2008. The 'claws' in the tail lights, first seen in the 508, make an appearance whilst the new Peugeot grille is also prominent. The headlights are said to resemble cats' eyes. Gilles Vidal, Peugeot's Director of Style, said that he wanted the 2008 to be more refined and elegant than an SUV.

At launch, the 2008 will be available with two petrol and three diesel engine choices, all available with a stop-start system. The petrol range comprises a 1.2-litre VTi with 81bhp and a 118bhp 1.6-litre version.

The diesels range in output from 67bhp to 113bhp. The petrol range will be bolstered in the near future with a  turbocharged three-cylinder powerplant. Offering either 109 or 128bhp, Peugeot claims the engine is 12kg lighter than a four-cylinder equivalent.

All 2008s will come with six airbags, electronic brake force distribution, electronic brake assist, anti-skid regulation and traction control. It will be available to order in Peugeot dealers from June, with deliveries expected to begin later in the summer.

Laurent Blanchet, Peugeot's range Director, hopes that the 2008 will play a big part in helping the brand deal with the declining European market.

Thanks to: Autocar

Geneva Show 2013 Highlights: 2014 McLaren P1

McLaren’s mighty P1 hybrid flagship looks like becoming the first hypercar ever to deliver properly on the elusive ‘F1-for-the-road’ promise that manufacturers have been making for their fastest road cars for more than a quarter century.

It has the huge V8-plus-electric power (903bhp) and ultra-high price (£866,000) that you’d expect of the spiritual successor to the illustrious McLaren F1 of 1993, but what really sets the P1 apart is its ground-breaking active aerodynamics package.

While delivering a svelte drag factor of 0.34 in ‘clean’ form, the P1 can automatically deploy a rear-mounted wing and two flaps ahead of the front wheels, in appropriate driving modes, to deliver such unprecedented levels of downforce for a road car that driving “actually gets easier as the car goes faster”.

Even well short of its 218mph top speed, the P1 can generate 600kg of downforce, an amount equal to many Le Mans racers and about five times greater that of the recently launched McLaren MP4-12C. Its advantage over non-McLaren rivals is even greater.

“The P1 is designed to be driven to a racing circuit with great levels of comfort and refinement,” said McLaren Automotive managing director Antony Sheriff, “and then to be used on the racing circuit where it will offer an experience matched only by purpose-built racing cars.”

The P1 uses the all-carbon chassis tub recently created as the basis for all new-era McLarens and launched with the MP4-12C. In another direct reference to F1, the new supercar has a special, race-bred ‘recipe’ for some composite components — claimed to be twice as stiff as steel — that form its core body/chassis.

This structure has relatively few parts and weighs only 90kg, which, McLaren engineers say, is lighter than any other road car’s while delivering F1 levels of rigidity and safety. It also forms the engine airbox, roof snorkel and the roof itself, provides housings for the battery and power electronics, and shapes the aerodynamic side pods that feed air to the engine’s cooling system.

The P1 is 300mm longer than the 20-year-old F1 but only a shade wider and longer than the MP4-12C. Against its most recent compatriot, it grows 83mm (three inches) — the extra length aids the aero package — and it is 29mm (an inch) lower and 37mm (1.5 inches) wider. McLaren claims “substantially smaller” frontal area than the MP4-12C and claims that the P1 is also smaller in area than any other production sports car.

The P1’s kerb weight is admirably low for a modern supercar, at 1400kg, (Porsche’s 918 Spider is more like 1700kg) but even it can’t match the F1, which weighed just 1140kg at the kerb.

The P1 powertrain is a hybrid partnership between a specially configured 727bhp version of McLaren’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo petrol V8, and a 176bhp McLaren-built electric motor integrated with it via a specially cast aluminium block. The two power units send their combined 903bhp (with 664lb ft of torque) through a seven-speed twin-clutch Graziano gearbox.

The V8 carries its own special M838TQ serial number because of its special crankcase and larger turbochargers (plus other unique tweaks), which help it produce 20 per cent more power than a ‘regular’ 12C V8.

Awesome performance is to be expected, but the P1’s margin over both the featherweight F1 and the MP4-12C still comes as a shock. McLaren engineers are still deciding the final figures in fractions of seconds, but we now know that the P1 is about 0.4sec faster than the 12C to 62mph, and at least 2.5sec faster to 124mph (200km/h).

It also shaves seven or eight seconds off the 12C’s 0-186mph (300km/h) on its way to a 218mph top speed, which is a little short of the F1’s official 231mph.

Thanks to: Autocar
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