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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Mercedes SLK

Mercedes SLK
This is the new Mercedes SLK, the third-generation version of Merc’s folding metal roof-equipped roadster. Rather than forcing the new Mercedes SLK to share the limelight with the facelifted C-class at the 2011 Detroit motor show, Merc has revealed the all-new SLK a few days after this year’s NAIAS started.
Tell me all about the new Mercedes SLK please

Let’s start with the looks, and this latest SLK has adopted the latest Mercedes DNA from the CLS and SLS. The SLS has influenced the interior design, and the SLK adopts the four circular air vents and horizontal spar across the dash from the company’s supercar. To reduce the kilo count and improve the weight distribution, the bonnet and front wings are made from aluminium.

The folding metal roof remains a two-piece affair, but those that wish to see the sun in the sky without the wind in their hair can spec the new Magic Sky Control panel. Tick the requisite box and the panel in the roof flicks from opaque to transparent in seconds. And in you do lower the metal hood then there is a new Airguide wind deflector, with plastic discs set behind the roll bars that rotate into place.
What about the engines in the new Mercedes SLK?

There is a choice of three petrol engines from launch, which all feature stop/start systems and direct-injection technology. Both the entry-level SLK 200 and the mid-range SLK 250 are powered by a 1.8-litre four-pot, with the former offered in 181bhp/7.0sec 0-62mph/147mph/46.3mpg guise, and the latter coming with 201bhp/6.6sec 0-62mph/150mph/45.5mpg. Until an AMG variant arrives, the range-topper is Merc’s latest generation 3.5-litre V6, good for 302bhp/5.6sec 0-62mph/155mph/39.7mpg – and that last figure means the new SLK 350 is 25% more economical than before.

Both the V6 and the higher-power four-cylinder engine come with Mercedes’ seven-speed 7G-Tronic auto as standard, while the SLK 200 comes with a six-speed manual as standard but can be optioned with the automatic ‘box.
Anything else I should know?

Keen drivers can pick Merc’s sports suspension option, and the keenest can spec the Dynamic Handling pack which adds adjustable dampers, quicker steering and the new Torque Vectoring Brakes system, which individually brakes the inside rear wheel in a corner to aid agility.

UK sales start in June 2011, and prices and full specifications will be announced in the near future.

Source from carmagazine

Mercedes C-class Coupe

Mercedes C-class CoupeMercedes is expanding the C-class range further with this new C-class Coupe. Due to be shown at the 2011 Geneva motor show, the new two-door C apes the larger CLS in style, yet is tipped to cost from £30,000 when sales start in June 2011.

The C-class Coupe essentially slots in where the CLK left off. It's 41mm lower than the C saloon and, to these eyes, looks rather attractive all round.

In the UK the C-class Coupe comes as standard with the AMG Sports Package as standard, which means toughened-up AMG body kit and 18in AMG alloys.
So who'll buy the new Mercedes C-class Coupe?

It is pitched at 35- to 45-year-olds, says Merc. 'By extending the C-class portfolio, we are consciously targeting new customers,' says Dr Joachim Schmidt, head of sales and marketing. 'The new model is youthful, stylish and dynamic. What we are offering is an exceptionally sporty way to enter the world of the Mercedes-Benz coupe.'

The C-class Coupe is a four-seater, and the rear seats flop down to extend the boot at weekends.
Merc C-class Coupe engines

The C-class packs a range of hardware familiar from the existing C range. Interestingly, the C-class and E-class Coupe share much of their underpinnings.

Five direct-injection petrol and diesel engines will be offered

Any other tricks?

Sure. Hhow about Merc's new Comand Online system, which has full onboard web access (while stationary). So nav offers Google Maps functionality and will record your route if requested.

Not enough tech? Then how about adaptive highbeam, drowsiness detector, speed limit readers, lane-keep assist and blindspot monitors. Driver optional?

Source from carmagazine

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Maserati Grancabrio Sport

Maserati Grancabrio Sport
Another Geneva motor show, another Maserati variant. Maser has released details of the new Grancabrio Sport, a go-faster version of the 2009 Grancabrio drop-top GT.
Must be motor show season, then?

Too right! Maserati generally releases a subtly fettled new edition of existing models prior to major European motor shows, and with the 2011 Geneva motor show just a fortnight away... welcome to the Grancabrio Sport.
Maserati Grancabrio Sport: the lowdown

Maserati claims it's reduced fuel consumption by 6% over the standard 4.7-litre V8 by means of 'Maserati’s Friction Reduction Program', which also improves responsiveness of the engine. No further details of how this is actually achieved will be released ahead of Geneva, but power and torque are similar to the Granturismo MC Stradale (442bhp, 376lb/ft).

The Skyhook adaptive dampers and suspension have received another set of tweaks for sportier handling; the ZF six-speed automatic is upgraded to a variant of the MC Sport Auto software from the Quattroporte Sport GT S (a car not short of motor show refreshing itself).

Outside, there is some mild tweaking of the Grancabrio Sport's grille and headlights (now in black) and the front bumper and side-skirts. And get this. There's a new shade of red too: Rosso Trionfale, said to be inspired by the national racing colours worn by the legendary Maserati 250F Formula 1 car of the 1950s.
Well that's hardly earth-shattering news, is it?

True, but the Grancabrio is still a gorgeous car. And there will be some proper news later in 2011, when Maserati launch the new Quattroporte at the Frankfurt motor show this autumn.

Source from carmagazine

Mazda Minagi

Mazda Minagi
Mazda is preparing the ground to launch a new CX-5 – a junior crossover to slot beneath the CX-7. The Mazda Minagi concept car is being launched at this week’s 2011 Geneva motor show and previews the production car expected this autumn.

But as well as heralding a new junior crossover in the Mazda fold, the Minagi also showcases the company’s new Skyactiv engineering philosophy and Kodo design mantra. They do love a good grand title at Mazda, don’t they…
Mazda Minagi: all about Skyactiv and Kodo

Don’t dismiss these as mere frippery. The Skyactiv system is Mazda’s new lightweight eco strategy – each new model is expected to come in at around 100kg lighter than before, with fuel saving tech and new lightweight bodyshells and architectures. And remember the Mazda Shinari? That’s the style direction the company’s heading in, and the Minagi is the latest expression of that Kodo design language – in pumped-up, SUV form.

‘I wanted to convey something different from the Mazda Shinari,’ said Masashi Nakayama, chief designer. ‘I felt a compact crossover SUV was the perfect vehicle to express agility and focused movement; the flexibility of four limbs moving in unison, and an upright posture.’

It’s a slick looking bit of design, but are we alone in seeing a lot of mid-sized crossovers converging? This is similar to parts of the Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga, especially that kicked-up C-pillar.
When will the CX-5 actually appear?

Not until next year. We’d expect it on sale in spring 2012 after a debut in late 2011. On first acquaintance, we’d say it’s shaping up to be a slick addition to the Mazda fold.

Source from carmagazine

Monday, 28 March 2011

Land Rover Range_e concept hybrid

Land Rover Range_e concept hybrid
Land Rover will show off the new Range_e diesel-electric hybrid prototype for the first time at the 2011 Geneva motor show.
Haven't we seen the hybrid Range_e before?

Yes and no. CAR readers may be familiar with this modified Range Rover Sport, which was reported here in May 2010. However, this is the first time we've seen a working prototype of the Range_e in public; it presages a production hybrid due in 2013.

By mating Land Rover’s existing TDV6 diesel engine and upcoming ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with a plug-in parallel hybrid drive module, the Range_e boasts a most un-Land Rover-like CO2 rating of 89g/km. For comparison, a regular Range Sport TDV6 musters 243g/km of CO2, while the petrol-electric Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid manages 193g/km.

A pure EV mode in the Range_e offers a claimed 20 miles of zero-emissions motoring at speeds up to 70mph, allowing mums a quieter school-run and providing a handy rationalisation to use against eco-zealous guests at dinner parties. Top speed of the Range_e is 120mph, and Land Rover claim a rather rangey 690 miles between refuelling stops for the diesel-electric prototype.
Anything else new on the Land Rover stand at Geneva?

Displayed alongside the Range_e will be the exclusive Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition, also making its public debut at Geneva. As reported the other day, it's a run-out special, bristling with extra kit and even a pair of iPads built into the front seat back rests.

Land Rover will also show off Range Rover Evoque in both three-door 'coupe' and five-door forms, along with further information on the new soft-roader's extensive range of accessory option packages and pricing for Europe (but not the UK).

And finally... the Discovery 4 'Landmark' Limited Editions round off the Land Rover presence at Geneva 2011.

Source from carmagazine

Jaguar B 99

Jaguar B 99
The B 99 projects Jaguar's classic style into the future with refined Bertone elegance, exploring a fascinating new form language with sleek lines and smooth volumes. The result is a compact, four-door sedan (4.5 m long, 1.35 m tall, and 1.95 m wide) that fits perfectly into the D segment. Starting with a classic three-volume architecture, Bertone designers have shaped a taut, muscular body with strong character, entirely constructed with handmade aluminum panels in true Italian “coachbuilder” tradition. The unique personality of the luxury sports sedan is emphasized by the sophisticated minimalism outside and in, with the exclusive use of prestigious materials inside the cockpit such as soft Italian leather, brushed aluminum and high-gloss African wood.

Bertone will present not only the luxury sedan in Geneva but also a full GT2 race version, maintaining the exceptional “double soul” tradition of the Jaguar brand, adding high speed aero appendages and aggressive graphics to the jet set wafting car.

In terms of technological innovation, the B 99 uses a full hybrid long range power system tuned by Bertone Energy (the newest Bertone division dedicated to renewable energy research). Bertone has been studying alternative powertrains for the past twenty years, with many examples including full electric "extreme" concept cars like the 1992 Blitz or 1994 Zer record car, which was the first full electric car to break the 300 km/h speed barrier in the world.

With the 2011 Jaguar B99 concept car, Bertone establishes a new record in its 99 year history as the only Italian designer to have created five different Jaguars. The previous models are the 1957 XK 150, produced in a limited edition of four copies, the 1966 Jaguar FT concept car, the 1967 Jaguar Pirana, and 1977Jaguar Ascot.

Source from carmagazine

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Kia Picanto

Kia Picantohas published some engine details and new photos of its replacement 2011 Picanto, which goes on sale in late spring.

The new Picanto will be unveiled at the 2011 Geneva motor show on 1 March. It's a bigger model than the outgoing city car - the longer wheelbase liberating a quarter more boot space to answer criticisms of a cramped luggage bay.
So what's the new news on the Picanto? I thought they'd already unveiled it!

Yes, such is the drip-feed machine, Kia has chosen to issue teaser sketches, sculptures, first official pictures and - now! - finally some engineering detail on the new Picanto.

A pair of new engines will be offered: the 68bhp/69lb ft 1.0-litre three-cylinder Kappa petrol engine (other markets may take bi-fuel versions) and an 84bhp/89lb ft 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol Kappa unit.

Kia claims each is significantly cleaner than before: CO2 ratings stretch from 95-105g/km. Stop-start will be available in the UK, nudging those carbon figures down as low as 90g/km. Buyers can pick a five-speed manual or a four-speed auto 'box.

Makes you realise that many conventionally fuelled superminis and city cars now dodge under the tax-crucial 100g/km limit. In the UK, that spells free road tax - making us wonder how long it will be before the Government moves the goalposts again.
When can we buy the new Picanto?

Five-door Picantos arrive in spring 2011, while the three-door lands in autumn 2011.

The new interior photo issued today reveals a slicker design for Kia's city car. The silver graphic sweeps across the dash, and there appears to be less shrapnel from a low-rent plastic factory than in today's Picanto. A good thing.

Source from carmagazine

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4
This is the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, the new V12 supercar from Sant’Agata. After months of speculation, leaks and drip-feeding, the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 has finally been unveiled on the eve of the 2011 Geneva motor show at the VW’s Group pre-show party. It features an all-new 6.5-litre engine, a carbonfibre chassis and stunning looks.
Wow! The Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 looks like the Lamborghini Reventon.

It does, adopting the same aircraft-inspired design as the limited-run, Murcielago-based Reventon. The overall silhouette is similar to the outgoing Murcielago, but while that car was quite clean cut, its successor has much more character and form and is more three-dimensional – witness the sculpted doors, jagged nose and slanted tail.

The LP700-4 has a flat underbody too, and a three-stage pop-up rear spoiler; it lies flat, or angles at 4-deg for high-speed stability, or at 11-deg for greater downforce at mid-range speeds. All the air intakes are lined with glossy back frames, and there are Y-shaped LED running lights around the bi-xenon lights in the headlamps, and Y-shaped LED taillights. It’s 4780mm long, 2030mm wide and 1136mm tall, making it longer, narrower and 1mm taller than the Murcielago. It's also just 2mm longer than a Mondeo, so it's not that unwieldy.
What about the name? What does Aventador mean and what does LP700-4 stand for?

Aventador is the name of bull that earned the Trofeo de la Peña La Madroñera for its courage in Spain’s Saragossa Arena in 1993, but you want to know about is the LP700-4 designation: 700 is the engine’s output in PS, and the 4 means four-wheel drive. Mid-mounted in the Aventador is an all-new, direct-injection 6.5-litre V12 that produces 691bhp at 8250rpm and 509lb ft at 5500rpm. And it drives all four wheels via a seven-speed automated manual gearbox.

Result? In Lamborghini’s own words: 'The extremely well-rounded torque curve, the bull-like pulling power in every situation, the spontaneous responsiveness and, last but not least, the finely modulated but always highly emotional acoustics are what make this engine a stunning power plant of the very highest order.' Or in the world of cold, hard statistics: 0-62mph takes a paltry 2.9 seconds, and the top speed is 219mph. Fat 255/35 ZR19 (front) and 335/30 ZR20 (rear) Pirellis do their best to put all the power down, and we’d recommend ticking the options box for the transparent engine cover so you can see the V12 in all its glory.
More details please…

Lambo has stuck with an automated manual transmission because it’s smaller and lighter than a dual-clutch ‘box; shifts times are 40% faster than the E-gear unit in the Gallardo, and the company claims it’s built 'the world’s most emotional gearshift'. And the transmission, along with the throttle response, differential, steering and ESP system can all be tweaked via the Strada (road), Sport and Corsa (track) settings of the Drive Select Mode system.

But while there’s more technology than ever before in the new Aventador, Lamborghini has also been focussed on cutting weight. Rather than a steel chassis, the LP700-4 is the first production Lamborghini to feature a carbonfibre monocoque. New carbonfibre techniques mean construction is quicker and cheaper than ever before, and together with front and rear aluminium frames, and carbon and aluminium body panels, the Aventador LP700-4 weighs just 1575kg. Okay, that’s the dry weight, but it’s still 90kg less than the dry weight of old Murcielago LP640-4, which means faster acceleration, better braking and improved handling responses.

However, although the new V12 is lighter than before, there’s still a rear-biased 43:57 weight distribution. And despite the new LP700-4 weighing less and the V12 featuring direct injection, the official figures for the Aventador are 16.4mpg and 398g/km CO2. Still, it’s way better than the LP640-4’s 13.2mpg and 495g/km.
Anything else I should know about the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4?

Yes. The suspension is by aluminium double wishbones all round, with inboard-mounted pushrod springs and dampers, and Lamborghini claims the set-up allows the springs to be softer for improved comfort but still maintain the precision that a 691bhp supercar needs. The front axle also features a lift system that can raise the nose by 40mm. There are huge carbon-ceramic brakes, too: 400mm up front with six piston calipers and 380mm at the back with four piston calipers.

Inside there’s more room, an improved driving position, while a TFT-LCD screen ahead of the driver is customisable, and there’s a second screen for the sat-nav. The broad transmission tunnel dominates, and features a red cover for the obligatory starter button.

The first Aventadors will be delivered to lucky customers in summer 2011, and UK customers will pay £242,280 for the privilege. Buy your lottery ticket now.

Source from carmagazine

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Kia Rio

Kia RioIt never rains, it pours in Kiaworld, it seems. Not long after showing us the new Kia Picanto city car last week and the KV7 concept car at this week's 2011 Detroit auto show, today Kia publishes these first design sketches of the new Rio.

It's Kia's supermini to compete with the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and VW Polo.

And after a string of highly accomplished, although slightly samey, designs, Kia is claiming that the new 2011 Rio's design represents 'the next big step' in its styling language.
New Kia Rio: the facts

The new Rio visible in these design sketches is longer, lower and wider than the outgoing mini.

Kia says it is 'designed to inject emotional appeal into the B-segment, targeting progressive, energetic consumers who want a stand-out design.'

The Koreans have issued a sketch of the interior, promising 'a feeling of quality typically associated with larger, more expensive models.'
When will we see the new Rio?

At the 2011 Geneva motor show on 1 March 2011. That's when we'll know for sure if Kia's downsizing specialist really matches the promise of these slick early design sketches.

The current Rio has been Kia's third best-selling vehicle in overseas markets; it shifted more than 205,000 Rios in 2010.

Source from carmagazine

Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition

Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition
Land Rover will showcase its luxury skills when it unveils this maxed-up Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition at the 2011 Geneva motor show.

Gaydon calls it the 'most luxurious Range Rover' and it has a pair of Apple iPads installed in to the rear entertainment system as standard so businessmen and kids can smear grubby fingers aplenty as they work and play. A pair of individual back seats is fitted in place of a rear bench, and there's an aluminium laptop table too.

There's an array of finery thrown at the interior: soft-touch leather is used throughout, as well as machined aluminium inserts and Kalahari wood veneers, while the rear load bay is lined with a teak decking.
Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition: the engines

A pair of engines are available: the 4.4 TDV8 or the 5.0 petrol supercharged V8. Both come with ZF's eight-speed auto, and the petrol motor will thrust the top Rangie to 60mph in 5.9sec.

Outside you'll spot the Autobiography Ultimate by a pair of unique colours - red or stone - 20in alloy wheels, body-coloured handles, a smoked radiator grille and side vents.

Just 500 Ultimate Range Rovers will be built. What price such OTT luxury? We won't know until later in 2011 when the car goes on sale. It's a bit of a swansong for the Range Rover - the new one lands next year.
The new 2012 Range Rover

The 2012 Rangie will set a new stylistic marker for Land Rover, in the same way that the 2000 model did. For starters, it'll be aluminium, to carve around 20% off its hefty waistline.

Power comes from V6 and V8 engines while we'll also see the first hybrid model from Jaguar Land Rover: the 4x4s were deemed more important than the Jags, so the Range Rover will debut this important technology, most likely in diesel-electric form.

Source from carmagazine

Friday, 25 March 2011

Infiniti Etherea concept

Infiniti Etherea conceptThis is the Infinit Etherea, unveiled today at the 2011 Geneva motor show, and the company is unusually candid about the purpose of this new, smaller Infiniti show car. The blurb says: 'it is a compact luxury model that previews how a future entry-level Infiniti could look.' Says it all really.
Infiniti Etherea: the lowdown

The compact vehicle is aimed at the younger buyer looking for a little luxury - it's all about downsizing. It has a blend of coupe, sedan, hatchback, and even hints of crossover design in some areas. There's a hint of the Essence concept design visible in the crescent-shaped kinked C-pillar too. This is one design detail that'll percolate through to production cars in the near future. Inside there's a big touchscreen with an iPhone-style scrolling function, and under the bonnet is a hybrid powertrain, with a supercharged 2.5-litre four-pot mated to an electric motor.

'Etherea is about a new type of luxury for younger buyers,' said Toru Saito, corporate vice president and leader of the global Infiniti business unit. 'It is not just a smaller version of a typically conservative and traditional luxury car.'
How big is the new small Infiniti?

At 4.4m long, the Etherea concept car is smaller than previous Infinitis offered in Europe and about on par with the likes of the BMW 1-series and Audi A3. The concept is built on the same Nissan-Renault's global C-platform that sits beneath the Qashqai, and CAR understands that the raised crossover styling of the Etherea is one of three designs under consideration for the new small car at Infiniti HQ. Infinti is also readying a small electric saloon based on the Nissan Leaf (though with more performance and a longer range) so the Etherea definitely won't be a three-box saloon like that EV. It won't be Golf clone either; the company knows it must build something different

Source from carmagazine

Hyundai i40 Tourer

Hyundai i40 TourerHyundai is releasing the new i40 range at Geneva, beginning with the i40 Tourer estate pictured here.
Isn't that the Sonata the rest of the world got in 2010?

Europe didn't get the Sonata, also known as the i45 in some markets. Confused yet? You will be.

Hyundai claims the i40 has been developed specifically for Europe at Hyundai's European R&D centre in Russelsheim, Germany. The i40 will fill the existing Sonata-shaped gap in Hyundai's European product portfolio.
Hyundai's new 2011 i40: the lowdown

The i40 arrives at next week's 2011 Geneva motor show, and will go on sale in the UK in July 2011. There will be an i40 saloon, and that is planned for a UK launch in October.

The headline engine option for the i40 will be a new 1.7-litre turbodiesel engine, offering 113g/km CO2 figures. Expect a higher-tune turbodiesel, and two direct-injection petrol engines to make up the remainder of the i40 line-up. Hyundai's BlueDrive eco-spec will also appear in the line-up.
And inside the new Hyundai i40?

Inside, Hyundai promises a more premium feel for the interior materials, and there are new-to-Hyundai convenience features like a heated steering wheel, heated front seats and heated, reclining rear seats and auto screen demisting. Avensis beware!

Further details are expected once the i40 is officially launched at the 2011 Geneva motor show.

Source from carmagazine

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Jaguar XKR-S

Jaguar XKR-S
Jaguar has turned up the power and sharpened the handling on the flagship XKR coupe for the 2011 Geneva motor show. The result: the XKR-S, claimed to be the fastest production Jaguar sports car ever.
Jaguar XKR-S: when an XKR is not enough

For 2011, Jaguar is returning the XKR-S to the top of the XK range. CAR readers may recall the well regarded 2008 limited edition that last carried the badge.

The XKR-S has an uprated version of the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 found in the standard XKR. Power moves up to 542bhp (from 510bhp), and torque swells to 501lb ft (up from 461lb ft) thanks to lots of ECU tweakage. The 0-62mph time is down to 4.2 seconds (from 4.8), the top speed is still limited, but at 186mph rather than 155mph, but it manages the same 23mpg and 292g/km CO2.
What else is new on the Jag XKR-S?

As you may expect, there are upgrades to the suspension and Adaptive Dynamics traction/stability control, a 10mm ride height drop, new LED lights, new front and rear bumpers, and a part-carbon rear wing. Jaguar says the external tweaks have reduced lift by 26%. There are 20in forged alloys too, which save 4.8kg of unsprung mass, Pirelli P-Zero tyres, 28% stiffer springs, better brakes, and in the cabin there are new 'Performance' seats.

All this is yours for £97k, a hefty £19,300 more than a standard XKR, but still £12k less than a Maserati MC Stradale.

Source from carmagazine

Accord Facelift

Accord FaceliftThere's also a facelifted Accord saloon and Tourer models, pepped up by fuel economy improvements and minor design tweaks. The i-DTEC diesel engine has been tuned to drop CO2 by 9g/km in order to acheive a sub 140 g/km CO2 figure. That's with the six-speed manual (the auto tumbles by 11g/km of CO2). That's important for company car drivers, where the 140g/km threhold will open doors.

Spot the new 2011 Accord by the subtlest of design refreshes. Top-end models get bi-xenon lights with active cornering and dipping, the grille is finished in different chrome (are we clutching at straws here?) and 17-inch alloys are a complimentry upgrade on the ES and ES-GT models.

Source from carmagazine

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Honda Civic Ti

Honda Civic Ti
The Honda Civic Type R might have died, but Honda today released pictures of its stylistic equal: the race-inspired but humdrum-powered Civic Ti. Honda says the new Civic Ti takes design cues from the Honda touring car and adds more than £3700 of extras to the 1.4 and 1.8 i-VTEC SE models.
Honda Civic Ti: what's included in the £3700 extras?

The five-door Civic is fitted with 17-inch 'Pro race' matt black wheels from Honda's BTCC racing partner, Team Dynamics. The broody black bodykit includes front spoiler, rear spoiler side inserts and rear body skirts - all contrasting the white pearl paintjob.

The Civic is nearing the end of its life - the new one lands at the end of 2011 - so it should come as no surprise there are goodies galore: there's a Pioneer navigation multimedia system covering 44 countries, a 3D touchscreen and hands-free telephone system. The entertainment system plays CDs, DVDs, iPods, iPhone and all USB devices.

Only 500 Honda Civic Ti's will go on sale in March 2011, with prices starting at £15,995 for the 1.4 i-VTEC and £16,995 for the 1.8 variant.
So what else will Honda show at the 2011 Geneva motor show?

Cementing Honda's green car credentials is the Honda EV concept first unveiled at the LA motor show in November 2010. It'll sit alongside the Jazz Hybrid, Insight et al.

Source from carmagazine

Ford B-Max concept

Ford B-Max concept
If ever a concept car was just a thinly disguised production car, this is it – this is the Ford B-Max, just unveiled on the eve of the 2011 Geneva motor show.
So the Ford B-Max concept is a Fiesta MPV?

That’s right, and when the B-Max goes on sale in early 2012 it’ll finally be time to bid goodbye to the bland Fusion. On the outside the styling is the latest iteration of Ford’s ‘kinetic design’ DNA, and mixes S-Max, C-Max, Focus and Fiesta elements to create a decent looking little MPV. It even manages to look good despite the metallic brown paint – Ford calls the hue Burnished Glow.

Because it daren’t copy the Vauxhall Meriva’s suicide doors the B-Max concept features a set of twin sliding rear doors, just like the Grand C-Max. But unlike the Grand C-Max, the B-Max does away with the B-pillars to aid ingress and egress. You know the design is destined for production because Ford waxes lyrical about how it’s engineered the new structure to be as safe as its other products – there’s ultra-high-strength Boron steel in key load-bearing areas, and specially reinforced latches to keep the doors in place during an impact, for instance.

'Many concept cars have featured pillarless body designs before, but this time it’s for real,' explained Ford of Europe’s executive design director Martin Smith. 'The Ford B-Max shows how this new format can deliver unmatched practicality, but still achieve outstanding safety as well. Our Iosis Max design study demonstrated the advantages that a pillarless door format can offer the MAV-style vehicle – the B-Max takes this idea to the next level, with a production-ready solution that is neatly integrated into the overall vehicle design.'
What about the interior?

Inside it’s much like a Fiesta, only with more space (particularly in the back), and the concept features higher quality materials. The panoramic glass roof also heightens the sense of space, while the rear seats fold 60:40 and the front passenger seat folds too. The B-Max is much like the Fiesta under the skin too – it’s built on the same underpinnings, Ford’s global B-car platform. The B-Max is 11cm taller than a Fiesta and 11cm longer, but 32cm shorter than a C-Max.

Under the bonnet is Ford’s latest Ecoboost engine, a turbocharged and direct-injected 1.0-litre triple first previewed in the Start concept at the Beijing Motor Show in 2010. CAR has spied it being tested in the C-Max, and it will definitely power the Fiesta and B-Max. In the B-Max concept the three-cylinder engine is mated to Ford’s six-speed, dual-clutch Powershift transmission and a stop/start system.

'Ford has a proven history of bringing innovation and style to the multi-activity vehicle market,' said Ford of Europe chairman and CEO Stephen Odell. 'The new B-Max signals that Ford is ready to bring the same bold thinking to the small car market. With its unique door format and dynamic design, the B-Max sends a strong message that customers looking for a compact, stylish and versatile vehicle will soon have an exciting new choice.'

The Ford B-Max will go on sale in early 2012.

Source from carmagazine

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Ford C-Max Energi and C-Max Hybrid

Ford C-Max Energi and C-Max Hybrid
Ford has unveiled two new hybrid vehicles at the 2011 Detroit motor show, the plug-in hybrid C-Max Energi, and the C-Max Hybrid. Both are based on the five-seat Ford C-Max, and the pair go on sale in North America in 2012, while European sales follow in 2013.
What else can you tell me about this pair of hybrid Ford C-Max vehicles?

Both the Ford C-Max Hybrid and Ford C-Max Energi use an Atkinson-cycle (like the Prius) 2.0-litre petrol engine and lithium-ion batteries. And because Ford is using lithium-ion batteries – and not the larger and heavier NiMH batteries – both C-Max are claimed to keep their flexible interiors.

Ford’s target for the C-Max Hybrid is for it to better the (US) 41mpg achieved by the Ford Fusion Hybrid. And the company claims the C-Max Hybrid will also be able to operate in electric-only mode beyond 47mph, the current ZE limit of the Fusion.

The Blue Oval also has its sights set on a range of at least 500 miles for the C-Max Energi. ‘A plug-in hybrid owner may make fewer trips to the pump to refuel because of its all-electric mode capability,’ said Ford’s vice president of global product development, Derrick Kuzak.

‘Conveniently, they’ll be able to recharge their plug-in hybrid at home overnight. And they’ll never have to think about the vehicle’s electric range, because the plug-in hybrid seamlessly shifts to fuel power when needed.’
Anything else?

Because how you drive is as important as what you drive, the Energi also features a Brake Coach system to help educate drivers to optimise their use of the regenerative brakes, and at the end of every journey the car will display the number of extra miles gained through regenerative braking and score your efforts. There’s a Honda-style plant to grow too, with a vine on the display that produces more leaves the more efficiently you drive, which Ford claims creates ‘a unique visual reward for the driver’s efforts’.

The Energi also features the same connectivity features as the Focus Electric, so owners can set their plug-in hybrid to recharge when the electricity rates are cheapest, and check the battery levels via their mobile phone.

Those hybrid C-Max vehicles destined for North America will built alongside the new Ford Focus and Focus Electric at the company’s ex-truck plant in Wayne, Michigan, while the European version will roll out of Ford’s Valencia plant where the conventional internal combustion variants are built.

Source from carmagazine

Ford B-Max concept



If ever a concept car was just a thinly disguised production car, this is it – this is the Ford B-Max, just unveiled on the eve of the 2011 Geneva motor show.
So the Ford B-Max concept is a Fiesta MPV?

That’s right, and when the B-Max goes on sale in early 2012 it’ll finally be time to bid goodbye to the bland Fusion. On the outside the styling is the latest iteration of Ford’s ‘kinetic design’ DNA, and mixes S-Max, C-Max, Focus and Fiesta elements to create a decent looking little MPV. It even manages to look good despite the metallic brown paint – Ford calls the hue Burnished Glow.

Because it daren’t copy the Vauxhall Meriva’s suicide doors the B-Max concept features a set of twin sliding rear doors, just like the Grand C-Max. But unlike the Grand C-Max, the B-Max does away with the B-pillars to aid ingress and egress. You know the design is destined for production because Ford waxes lyrical about how it’s engineered the new structure to be as safe as its other products – there’s ultra-high-strength Boron steel in key load-bearing areas, and specially reinforced latches to keep the doors in place during an impact, for instance.

'Many concept cars have featured pillarless body designs before, but this time it’s for real,' explained Ford of Europe’s executive design director Martin Smith. 'The Ford B-Max shows how this new format can deliver unmatched practicality, but still achieve outstanding safety as well. Our Iosis Max design study demonstrated the advantages that a pillarless door format can offer the MAV-style vehicle – the B-Max takes this idea to the next level, with a production-ready solution that is neatly integrated into the overall vehicle design.'
What about the interior?

Inside it’s much like a Fiesta, only with more space (particularly in the back), and the concept features higher quality materials. The panoramic glass roof also heightens the sense of space, while the rear seats fold 60:40 and the front passenger seat folds too. The B-Max is much like the Fiesta under the skin too – it’s built on the same underpinnings, Ford’s global B-car platform. The B-Max is 11cm taller than a Fiesta and 11cm longer, but 32cm shorter than a C-Max.

Under the bonnet is Ford’s latest Ecoboost engine, a turbocharged and direct-injected 1.0-litre triple first previewed in the Start concept at the Beijing Motor Show in 2010. CAR has spied it being tested in the C-Max, and it will definitely power the Fiesta and B-Max. In the B-Max concept the three-cylinder engine is mated to Ford’s six-speed, dual-clutch Powershift transmission and a stop/start system.

'Ford has a proven history of bringing innovation and style to the multi-activity vehicle market,' said Ford of Europe chairman and CEO Stephen Odell. 'The new B-Max signals that Ford is ready to bring the same bold thinking to the small car market. With its unique door format and dynamic design, the B-Max sends a strong message that customers looking for a compact, stylish and versatile vehicle will soon have an exciting new choice.'

The Ford B-Max will go on sale in early 2012.

Source from carmagazine

Monday, 21 March 2011

Fiat Freemont

Fiat Freemont
This is the new Fiat Freemont, a new seven-seat crossover that will be unveiled at the 2011 Geneva motor show. Based on the Dodge Journey, it’s the first Fiat vehicle to come out of the company’s partnership with the Chrysler Group.
Right, let’s have an open mind – what do we know about the new Dodge Jo… sorry, Fiat Freemont?

It’s built in Mexico, alongside its Dodge sibling, and in the same factory where US-spec Fiat 500s are built. New front and rear bumpers, plus a new grille and new LED tail lights make up the exterior makeover, and although Fiat hasn’t released any interior pictures yet, the company claims the ‘all-new passenger compartment features an up-to-date design and soft touch materials’. Tweaks include a new wraparound dashboard, a new instrument pack, a touchscreen infotainment system, and a ‘strikingly good-looking central console’.

Fiat has slotted its own engine under the bonnet too. At first there’s only a front-wheel drive version with 138bhp and 168bhp versions of Fiat’s 2.0-litre Multijet diesel, but a four-wheel drive and auto-equipped 168bhp model will follow, as will a Freemont featuring Chrysler’s 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine. Fiat has made other changes too, with a new suspension and steering set-up that’s claimed to aid 'accuracy and directness', while extra soundproofing should boost refinement levels.
Anything else I should about the new Fiat Freemont?

Two different trim levels will be offered, each with seven seats as standard. Triple-zone air con, keyless entry, cruise, a tyre pressure monitoring system, fog lights and a touchscreen radio are all standard, while the top-spec model adds bigger wheels, a bigger touchscreen, a DVD player, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and auto headlights.

As for the Freemont name, according to Fiat it ‘conjures up a sense of freedom, the pleasure of life in the open air, of adventure and the possibility of facing any situation that arises in daily life with equanimity.’ Maybe, but seeing the car and knowing what it’s based on conjures up all sorts of other thoughts from us.

European sales start in the second half of 2011, but there's no word yet on whether the Fiat Freemont will come to the UK.

Source from carmagazine

Ferrari FF

Ferrari FF
This, believe it or not, is the new Ferrari FF – it’s the Prancing Horse’s replacement for the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. FF stands for Ferrari Four, to designate that this new GT features both four seats and Ferrari’s first ever four-wheel drive system.

Why has Ferrari built this car? Like the California it’s designed to be more usable than Ferraris of old, and more appealing to new customers that wouldn’t have otherwise considered a car from the Prancing Horse. Prices have yet to be announced, but you'll need at least £220k if you want a Ferrari FF in your multi-car garage later this year.
Give me a moment to digest those looks. Tell me amount the new Ferrari FF’s four-wheel drive system.

Dubbed 4RM, the Ferrari FF features the Italian sports car company’s first ever four-wheel drive system. Few details have so far been released on the patented set-up – which is said to weigh 50% less than a conventional four-wheel drive system – but Ferrari claims it manages ‘continuous and intelligent predictive torque distribution to all four wheels’. The low weight also helps weight distribution, while the advantages of four driven wheels aids traction and acceleration – the Ferrari FF will hit 62mph in 3.7 seconds.

How come? Thank the four-wheel drive system, plus sophisticated electronics, a transaxle dual-clutch gearbox, and the whopping great big direct-injection 6.3-litre V12. The brand new 6262cc engine produces 651bhp at 8000rpm (that’s just 10bhp down on the 599 GTO) and 504lb ft at 6000rpm. Combine with the 1790kg (dry) weight and you get a power-to-weight ratio of 364bhp/tonne. The top speed is 209mph. It'll leave the 540bhp/434lb ft Scaglietti standing.

Source from carmagazine

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Cadillac XTS Platinum

Cadillac XTS Platinum
This big beast is the Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept, unveiled at the 2010 Detroit motor show. It’s still a show car for now, but it will inspire a luxury Caddy limo that will go on sale in 2012.
XTS? Is that a new name from Cadillac?

Yes. With the STS and DTS selling slowly, GM will replace the pair with a single model in 2012. And that will be a plush exec limo inspired by this XTS Platinum concept car.

'The XTS Platinum concept is the next expression of Cadillac’s Art and Science execution philosophy, reflecting our drive to deliver the latest innovations in the most artful manner,' says Cadillac’s GM Bryan Nesbitt. 'We envisioned this concept as an automotive personal headquarters, using advanced technology to enable new levels of connectivity and luxury.'

That means the sharp creases and vertical lights we’ve come to know on the CTS, while under the bonnet is Caddy’s familiar direct injection 3.6-litre V6, plus a plug-in hybrid system. The powertrain provides 349bhp and 295lb ft, powers all four wheels, and the XTS can run on petrol or battery power alone, or a combination of the two. Inside there’s everything from Organic LED displays to laser-etched leather seats.

Source from carmagazine

Citroen DS4

Citroen DS4
Hot on the heels of the new Citroen C4 comes the new Citroen DS4, the second of the French car company’s 21st century DS models. Designed to take on sleek models like Alfa’s Giulietta and Vauxhall’s forthcoming three-door Astra, it mixes humdrum hatchback underpinnings with a more adventurous styling direction on the outside, and more luxurious materials on the inside.
So is the new Citroen DS4 a posh version of the Citroen C4?

Essentially, yes – think along the lines of how Citroen turned the mundane C3 into the much more exciting DS3. And although the DS4 sticks with five doors (the five-door C3 morphed into the three-door DS3) it does have unique styling. It is still recognisably C4-based, but there’s now a new nose, more curvaceous flanks, and hidden rear door handles. Citroen says the look combines ‘coupé style with 2+2 door practicality’, and because it’s designed to be stylish and attractive there’s a smaller boot too, down from the C4’s 408-litres to 370-litres. Expect lashings of chrome and leather inside.

There are a choice of five engines, two of which are diesel, and available in 108bhp and 158bhp guises. The three petrol engines are all based on the 1.6-litre turbo co-developed with BMW, and beyond the familiar 118bhp and 152bhp variants, there’s the same 197bhp unit that’s found in the Peugeot RCZ.

The new Citroen DS4 will be unveiled at the 2010 Paris motor show, and UK sales will start in 2011.

Source from carmagazine

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon

Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon
This is the Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon, with a 6.2-litre supercharged V8 and an even bigger boot.
Ah, this is the one with a Corvette ZR1 engine, right?

That’s right, only in the V-series range of CTS Caddies it’s detuned from the ZR1’s 638bhp and 604lb ft to 556bhp and 551lb ft. Still, that’s more power than the M5, XFR, E63 or Panamera Turbo can muster. Another big number is 720, the amount of space (in litres) in the boot of the CTS-V Sport Wagon.

It’s the final box ticked for Cadillac’s CTS range; there’s a saloon, coupe and estate, and now there’s a V-series version of each too. Like its saloon sibling, the CTS-V Sport Wagon is available with a choice of six-speed gearboxes (a manual or automatic), while magnetic dampers, Brembo brakes and high performance Michelin tyres wrapped around forged aluminium wheels are standard.

There’s a CTS-V bodykit on the outside and two 3in wide exhausts, and on the inside it’s the same as the saloon with 14-way adjustable Recaro seats.

The Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon will be unveiled at the 2010 New York auto show later this week. The CTS-V Sport Wagon on display in NY will be painted the same Midnight Silver as the Cadillac Sixteen concept car, plus it gets a black chrome mesh grille and the interior is trimmed in black leather, Alcantara and wood. It’s a finish bespoke to the show car, but Cadillac will gauge customer reaction before deciding if the trim options will make production.

Source from carmagazine

BMW Vision ConnectedDrive

BMW Vision ConnectedDrive
This gorgeous two-seat roadster is the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive, set to be unveiled at the 2011 Geneva motor show. Unlike some of BMW’s other Vision-tagged concept cars, this unfortunately isn’t a thinly disguised production car, but a study designed to highlight the company’s driver assistance systems.

However, although BMW has released no details on the engine or layout under the sexy skin, thankfully the Vision ConnectedDrive’s stunning styling (including the shark nose, wrap-around rear lights and layered body) will find its way onto future production BMWs.
So when I’ve finished gawping at the new BMW Vision ConnectedDrive, what should I know about the technology it’s showcasing?

For a start sensors in the headlamps and rear lights monitor the traffic situation and the environment around the car, while instead of wing mirrors there are antennas that receive navigation data and transmit other information.

Inside the driver has a 3D head-up display, and the system can project information about the chosen sat-nav route so it appears at the exact point of a possible turn-off. The 3D system also displays information in the foreground or background of the display depending on its relevance.

The passenger plays a part too, and a dashboard-mounted display allows them to access online information and pass it on to the driver if necessary. It’s all designed to make the processing of the ever-growing volume of data that cars can (and will be able to) receive become more manageable.

Concept car touches includes coloured fibre optics set within the bodywork and cabin, and a development of the Z1 roadster’s sliding doors: on the Vision ConnectedDrive, the outer shells of the doors slide forward into the body, and the inner shells glide backwards, allowing access to the cockpit.
Anything else from BMW at Geneva 2011?

Oh yes. The ActiveE electric concept shown at the 2010 Detroit motor show has been developed into a test vehicle to trial the MegaCity Vehicle’s battery and motor tech. There’s also a new 242bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot petrol engine, a Touring version of the 320d EfficientDynamics that manages 114g/km and 65.7mpg, a five-seat option for the X6, new four-wheel drive 5-series variants, and more aftermarket BMW Performance accessories.

Source from carmagazine

Friday, 18 March 2011

Bertone Jaguar B99 concept


Bertone Jaguar B99 concept
Bertone has released details of its Jaguar B99 compact executive concept, which will debut at the 2011 Geneva motor show.
The Bertone B99? In English, please?

Pen and paper ready? The B is for Bertone, and the 99 indicates 99 years since the founding of the firm.

Bertone has previous form in producing Jaguar concepts. Past Bertone-penned Jaguars are the 1957 XK 150, produced in a limited edition of four copies; the 1966 Jaguar FT concept car; the 1967 Jaguar Pirana; and the 1977 Jaguar Ascot.
B99: a new compact Jaguar

The B99 is a compact four-door saloon, which at 4.5m long and 1.95m wide is about the same size as a current E90 BMW 3-series.

Bertone has eschewed the styling cues championed by Jaguar design chief Ian Callum in the XF and XJ. Hints of the old XJ can be seen around the glasshouse and silhouette of the B99's aluminium body; the brand's 'Leaper' mascot returns to the bonnet. The artfully-darkened teaser pics obscure the nose of the B 99 but the slit-like headlights echo the rear lights and share little with the current Jaguar range.

Interior pictures have yet to be released, but Bertone hints at the sophisticated, minimalist theme continuing inside, with Italian leather, brushed aluminium and high-gloss African wood.

Bertone will also present a full-race GT2 variant of the B99 at the 2011 Geneva show. No pictures have been released but Bertone mentions 'high-speed aero appendages and aggressive graphics'.

A Fast & Furious counterpoint to the rather restrained roadgoing B99 pictured here.
Is this concept just skin-deep?

Bertone's re-imagining of Jaguar continues under the bonnet. Under the hand-formed aluminium panels lies a hybrid powertrain, apparently. Further details are expected when the B99 is unveiled at the 2011 Geneva motor show.

Source from carmagazine

Bentley ISR Supersports

Bentley ISR Supersports
The new Bentley Continental GT is on sale, and it’s a little while yet before we see a new drop-top GTC or Flying Spur limo, so at the VW Group’s 2011 Geneva motor party Bentley revealed a limited-run Supersports Convertible. Just 100 Bentley Supersports ‘Ice Speed Record’ Convertibles will ever be made.
Isn’t there a Bentley Supersports Convertible already on sale?

There is, but this is the Ice Speed Record Supersports Convertible, built to celebrate Bentley's recent, err, ice speed record; just a few weeks ago, on the frozen Baltic Sea just off the coast of Finland, four-time world rally champ Juha Kankkunen drove a Supersports Convertible to 205mph. He bested his own record, set at 199mph in 2007 in a Bentley Continental GT, and both Kankkunen’s new record-setting car and this new production 'ISR' car will be on display at the 2011 Geneva motor show.

It’s a more than a stickers and stripes special, but only a little more: Bentley has squeezed another 10bhp out of the twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre W12 engine, taking the total to 631bhp – thank some fine tuning of the air intake ducts, intercooler and exhaust system for the upping of the engine’s output. The rest of the mechanicals are standard Supersports Convertible stuff, with the ability to run on E85 bio-ethanol, a 40:60 rear-biased four-wheel drive system, huge carbon-ceramic brakes (420mm front, 356mm rear) and fat 275/35 ZR20 Pirelli tyres.
So is the extra 10bhp all that makes the Bentley Supersports ISR Convertible stand out?

Nope, but every potential Supersports Convertible owner will already be clamouring for an ISR car, not wanting to spend £182k on the standard car and find they were 10bhp down for the sake of an extra few grand – prices for this new model have yet to be announced, but it'll definitely cost extra.

However, over and above the power increase the ISR Convertible is available in just three colours – Beluga (black), Quartzite (grey) and Arctica (white) – all with a unique 'metallic look' soft-top and darkened 20-inch wheels. Inside the high-gloss carbonfibre on the dash, centre console and roof panels features a red weave, there’s red piping on the seats and doors, and red stitching on the seats, doors, wheel and paddles, plus a red logo for the Breitling clock.

Source from carmagazine

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Audi RS3

Audi RS3
Audi has today published its first official pictures of the much-scooped RS3 Sportback.

As we predicted, the RS3 adopts the 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine from the TT RS. With 335bhp on tap Audi can, for now at least, stake a claim to the hot hatch top trumps.
So the new Audi RS3 is one fast machine?

Of course. Audi quotes a 0-62mph time of just 4.6 seconds. It's not so many years ago that this would be supercar-flattening accelaration.

Top speed is unsurprisingly limited to 155mph. Should you need to shave off all that speed swiftly the RS3 comes standard with massive 14.5-inch discs on the front and 12.5-inch at the rear.

Being an Audi, Quattro four-wheel drive is standard. Let's hope it's good, as the RS3's ESP can be switched off entirely.

No manual 'box is available and all RS3's come with Audi's seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission, complete with paddle-shift change and launch control.
How will people tell that the RS3 is not a regular A3?

Differentiating the RS3 from a regular A3 are polished titanium-look 19-inch alloys, matt aluminium-look mirrors and a roof spoiler.

Look even closer and you may spot the rear diffuser insert, twin exhausts and various RS3 badges scattered around the bodywork.

The cabin is pepped up by RS3 logos aplenty, leather sport seats with silver stitching and a flat-bottomed leather multi-functional steering wheel.

Interestingly, the RS3 also comes with a lap timer. Should make for an interesting conversation if you get your collar felt by Plod and it's turned on.
When can I get my hands on the RS3?

The order books open in December 2010, with first UK deliveries expected in April 2011. The cost of laying your hands on one will be £39,900.

Source from carmagazine

Audi A6

Audi A6
Essentially an A7 fastback in its work clothes, the new Audi A6 saloon is lighter, greener and more tech-heavy than ever.

The mini-A8 styling is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but underneath the skin are some key key changes, including the addition of a hybrid drivetrain.
Audi A6: the engines choices

Initially the A6 comes with a choice of five engines: a pair of petrols and three TDI units. And because all new A6 engines are linked to efficiency-enhancing systems like start-stop and energy recovery the average consumption across the range has been dropped by 19%. Importantly the A6 has lost weight too by adopting a composite steel-aluminium construction.

The oil-burning range consists of the entry-level 2.0-litre 174bhp diesel and a pair of 3.0 TDIs available with a choice of either 201bhp or 241bhp. According to Audi the latter will deliver 0-62mph in 6.1secs, while still managing to return 47.1mpg on the combined cycle and emit just 158g/km of CO2. The two petrols engines are a 201bhp 2.8 and the familiar supercharged 3.0-litre, which delivers 296bhp.
You mentioned that there’s a new Audi A6 hybrid on the way?

Yes, but it won’t arrive until 2012. When it does get here it will link Audi's 2.0 TFSI petrol engine to an electric motor for a total system output of 241bhp. Audi claim it will hit 62mph in 7.3 seconds and have an average fuel consumption of 45.6mpg.
What else features on the A6?

There is a huge array of technology on offer including a head-up display and the MMI touch operating system that connects to Google earth and integrates with the navigation route. Like the A7 the A6 will also steer, brake and park for you, should you want it too.
When can I buy the new A6 and how much will it cost?

Deliveries start in early 2011, and while UK prices are still TBC, the German price of Germany is 38,500 euros (£32,170), making it a massive £10,000 cheaper than the A7.

Source from carmagazine

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

Aston Martin V8 Vantage S
Good news for fans of Aston Martin's V8 Vantage, and especially those who found it a touch slow: the new, musclier V8 Vantage S.

The Aston Martin Vantage S is a tweaked-up version of the regular Vantage, and a full production model. It's the fastest Vantage yet!
So what do you get on the 2011 Vantage S?

The biggest change is under the bonnet. The 4.7-litre V8 now has a stouter 430bhp, which makes it 20bhp more powerful than the Vantage N24 and 30bhp up on the N400 special editions.

There's 361lb ft of twist too. The Vantage S comes with the all-new Sportshift II seven-speed automated manual transmission, specifically designed for the Vantage S. Its short ratios are claimed to allow for slingshot acceleration through the gears and Gaydon claims a 20% increase in shift speed.

It should handle more sharply, too. There's a quicker steering rack (15:1 compared to 17:1 on the regular Vantage), while the brakes are now six-piston grabbers up front. New springs, dampers and Bridgestone tyres are fitted and ESP system recalibrated. It sounds like a thorough working over.
Does the Vantage S look much different?

The bodywork has seen a few tweaks to mark out you're in the souped-up Vantage: there's a carbonfibre front bumper complete with larger air intake feeding the engine and brakes. New 19-inch V-spoke wheels are fitted as standard, but there is an optional 10-spoke light weight wheel option too.

Much of the style comes from the V12 Vantage. The side sills are claimed to widen the car's stance, while the rear hasn't been left behind with a new bumper assembly.
Did the Aston GT4 racer have any influence over the Vantage S?

The Vantage S bridges the gap between the road and race car, according to Aston, which claims the new road car is heavily influenced by the the 2011 Vantage GT4 racer.

The Vantage V8 S comes as a coupe and roadster and is available to order now.

Source from carmagazine

Audi A3 Concept

Audi A3 ConceptAudi has released first sketches of the Audi A3 concept, ahead of its debut at the 2011 Geneva motor show.
Exemplary marker-pen work. What about the real Audi A3?

Audi is previewing the upcoming A3 with this saloon concept. It's powered by the fan-favourite five-cylinder turbocharged engine in 408bhp specification. Quattro four-wheel-drive and a seven-speed S-tronic double-clutch transmission complete the powertrain.

Sizewise, the new A3 saloon is 4440mm long, 1840mm wide and 1390mm high. That's longer than the current A3 Sportback (4.3m) but shorter than the current VW Jetta saloon (4.64m). The new concept is slightly wider and lower than the current A3.

There isn't a saloon in the current A3 line-up. Audi hints this concept may indicate an expansion to the A3 range, which we expect to see more of later in 2011. A sedan would certainly help Audi in the US.

In the meantime, the A3 Concept morphs from sketch to show car at the 2011 Geneva motor show, kicking off on 1 March 2011.

Source from carmagazine

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Aston Martin Cygnet

Aston Martin Cygnet
This is the new 2011 Aston Martin Cygnet. No concept car this - here's Aston's official production supermini. The Cygnet will be the smallest Aston Martin ever at just 3m long.

Little has changed since the idea was first mooted in 2009 as a concept car. Aston Martin is importing factory-ready Toyota iQs from Japan and applying a wholly cosmetic face pack at the Gaydon HQ.

Just one Aston Martin Cygnet will be sold: the 1.3-litre petrol four-cylinder. Customers will be able to personalise it every which way, although the wilder and more luxurious options will surely send the price spiralling to scary territory north of £40k.
I beg your pardon? How much will Aston Martin's supermini cost?

The base Aston Cygnet will be priced at £30,000. That is roughly three times the cost of the donor Toyota iQ, but Aston will reskin the nose and rump, and layer on a whole new interior feel, as you can see from these first official photographs.

It's worth noting that our earlier news stories on the Cygnet speculated the price would be nearer £20,000. What price luxury? Every Cygnet will be hand-finished in Gaydon with 'an almost unlimited palette of materials, colours and textures.' No two Aston superminis will be identical.

Although Aston Martin isn't announcing full specs until later this autumn, it's safe to assume the figures will be almost identical to the Toyota iQ 1.3 starting point. Aston is making no engineering changes at all. So that means a 1.3-litre four-pot developing 97bhp and 92lb ft. CO2 stands at 113g/km, average fuel economy 59mpg. It will however be the slowest Aston Martin ever, at 106mph flat and 11.8sec in the 0-62mph sprint (explaining why Aston shunned the cleaner, 99g/km 1.0 engine).
Is the Aston Martin Cygnet a CO2 cheat?

Well, there's no denying a humble supermini will help offset all those V8 and V12 supercars. As a lowly independent, Aston Martin has no group efficiencies to fall back upon and selling a stash of £30k superminis could go a long way to lowering its fleet average CO2 emissions.

You'll see from our earlier blogs (see related articles, left), that the Cygnet has already attracted some ire on these pages. But if it makes good business sense, will we allow Aston Martin some leeway?

'It is time to think differently,' says Ulrich Bez, Aston's German CEO. 'Whatever we do, we do right. If we do performance, we do performance; we don't downsize or compromise our sports cars. The Cygnet needs to satisfy the demands of emissions and space. It is a car without compromise, like every other Aston Martin. Our customers need a small car for urban and city use, and they want the right tools for the right job.'

The Aston Martin Cygnet goes on sale in late spring 2011. Existing Aston customers will be offered the car first, with general sales following.

Source from carmagazine

Aston Martin Virage

Aston Martin Virage
This is the new Aston Martin Virage, a V12-engined GT to sit halfway between the DB9 and the DBS. It will be officially unveiled to the public, along with the Aston Martin Vantage S, at the 2011 Geneva motor show next week.
The Aston Martin Virage, eh? How does it differ from the DB9 and DBS?

Numbers are easy to understand, so let’s start with the figures produced by the 6.0-litre V12 shared between the trio: the DB9 has 470bhp and 442lb ft, the DBS 510bhp and 420lb ft, and the Virage sits neatly between the two with 490bhp and 420lb ft. 0-62mph? 4.8 seconds for the DB9, 4.3 for the DBS, and 4.6 for the new Virage.

There’s no word yet on price, but expect the Virage coupe to cost around £150k and the convertible version to be ten grand more – a Touchtronic-equipped DB9 will set you back £128k (the Volante is £137k) and the hard- and soft-top versions of an automatic DBS are £179k and £188k respectively.
Forget the numbers – what’s special about the new Aston Martin Virage?

It’s subtle, but according to Aston the ‘Virage capitalises on the technology from the DBS and unites it with the comfort and refinement found in the DB9 and Rapide’. Expect something suitably more sporting than the recently revised DB9 but not quite as agile as the DBS; the Virage does without that car’s carbon body panels, so the coupe is 90kg heavier than the DBS, and the drop-top Volante version is 80kg more. But Aston is also talking about Rapide-matching levels of continent crossing, thanks a whole host of NVH tweaks.

Aston’s Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission is standard, but a Sport button on the dash sharpens the throttle response, quickens the shifts and makes sure the ‘box doesn’t upshift even when you’re banging off the rev limiter. There’s a new Adaptive Damping System (ADS) too, with Normal and Sport modes, but with five settings within each mode that car constantly switches between to adapt to different conditions. Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard, and the Virage features the same size Pirelli P Zero tyres as the DBS.
What about the visual tweaks?

There’s a new grille, which is apparently One-77 inspired, a new clean-cut front bumper, and a new take on Aston’s side strake with 6 LEDs. Tweaked sills and a new rear bumper round off the external changes.

Inside there’s full leather trim (complete with piping) and a very welcome addition, in the form of a new sat-nav system developed with Garmin, which replaces the antiquated, Volvo-derived unit. Alas, the dash still features a plethora of tiny and impossible to use buttons.

The Virage is avaialbe to order now and customer deliveries commence in May 2010.

Source from carmagazine

Monday, 14 March 2011

Hyundai i10 facelift

Hyundai i10 facelift
Hyundai today showed off the new i10 city car - one of the most popular small cars in the UK during last year's scrappage incentive scheme.

As well as a cosmetic pick-me-up, the new 2011 Hyundai i10 gains a pair of new engines with stop-start tech for emissions nudging just under the magic 100g/km CO2 mark.

The Hyundai i10 Blue emits 99g/km of carbon dioxide, and the Koreans claim it's the cheapest five-seat car on the market to hit sub 100g/km. Five seats? In a city car? Who are they trying to kid!

Still, it means the cleanest i10 will be road tax and Congestion Charge exempt over here in the UK.
New 2011 Hyundai i10: the tech lowdown

The facelifted i10 comes with a brace of new or revised engines: a new 1.0 three-cylinder Kappa engine replaces the 1.1 Epsilon unit, while the 1.2 is upgraded with 13% more power and 9% less CO2.

The 1.0 now averages 67.3mpg on the combined cycle.
When can I buy an i10?

The revised i10 city car range is priced from £8195. UK sales start in time for the new reg plate on 1 March 2011.

All i10s come with air-conditioning, MP3 player plug-in ability, four airbags, a six-speaker stereo, electric windows and central locking.

Source from carmagazine

Citroen DS3 WRC

Citroen DS3 WRCThis is the new Citroën DS3 WRC, just unveiled at the 2010 Paris motor show. And it’s the car that everyone interested in world rallying has been waiting for – it’s Sébastien Loeb’s wheels for the 2011 World Rally Championship. Okay, we know it’s not as highly anticipated as the Mini Countryman WRC, but the reason we’re excited is that this could be the car to end Loeb’s reign – the Frenchman has won the last six WRC titles, will almost certainly take his seventh this year, but having an all-new car will hopefully reset the field and give Ford’s Fiesta RS WRC a chance. Of course, that might not happen, so you could be looking at the dominant force of World Rallying for the next five years, but here’s hoping the new rules shake things up…
So out with the Citroën C4 WRC and in with the Citroën DS3 WRC then?

That’s right. New WRC rules in 2011 will wave goodbye to ultra-expensive rally machines with turbocharged 2.0-litre engines, and usher in cheaper cars with turbo’d 1.6-litre lumps. The aim is to encourage more manufacturers (and privateers) to take part, and the downsized and forced-induction engines are also in line with the current trend in roads cars.

Thus under the bonnet of the Citroën DS3 WRC is a direct-injection and 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, originally developed for roads cars with BMW (and which will also power the Mini Countryman WRC) but tweaked and tuned by Citroën Racing to produce 300bhp. There’s a four-wheel drive system as well – complete with front and rear diffs – plus a six-speed sequential gearbox, a stripped and caged interior, and the usual bulging body kit.

The DS3 WRC will debut at the opening round of the next year’s World Rally Championship, Rally Sweden in February 2011. Soon-to-be-champ Sébastien Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena have already been confirmed, and another hot Sébastien (Ogier, plus co-driver Julien Ingrassia) will also drive the new Citroën DS3 WRC in 2011.

Source from carmagazine

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Morgan Threewheeler

Morgan ThreewheelerMorgan surprised us all today by going back in time and unveiling the new-for-2011 roadster Threewheeler.

Morgan started out making three-wheelers and from next year it will do so again; between 1909 and 1953 Morgan manufactured around 30,000 three-wheelers. One even won the French Grand Prix in 1913 and Stirling Moss owned one.
And what of the new 2011 Morgan Threewheeler?

The new Morgan will be fitted with the latest 'Screaming Eagle' 1800cc twin engine from a Harley Davidson married to a five-speed manual transmission from Mazda.

It's based on a tubular frame wrapped in aluminium superformed bodywork. Think old Morgan three-wheeler style, brought up to date with new tech.

The leather-padded cockpit will be protected by two rollover bars, but there is no hood available. Morgan claims a kerbweight of 500kg.

That light weight will ensure rapid performance: 0-62mph takes just 4.5sec and top speed is estimated at 115mph (if you're feeling brave enough).
When can I buy the new Morgan Threewheeler?

The car will be launched at the 2011 Geneva motor show, with UK sales expected in summer 2011. Prices will be announced at launch, but CAR understands around £30,000 is likely.

Morgan will build around 800 cars this year; a spokeswoman said that they have no idea what demand will be like for the Threewheeler, but they plan to monitor reaction in the run-up to its Swiss launch.

Certainly one of the more interesting launches this autumn...

Source from carmagazine

Hyundai Veloster

Hyundai Veloster
Hyundai today finally unveiled its eagerly awaited Veloster coupe at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, aka the Detroit show. It's a coupe-cum-hatchback, along the lines of the VW Scirocco.

We first saw the Veloster as a concept car at the 2007 Seoul motor show. Although the production car unveiled today has changed somewhat, we reckon much of the spirit of the Veloster is maintained.
Hyundai Veloster: the background

The Hyundai Coupe slid quietly off sale in 2009, and the Veloster - promised in concept form a couple of years ago - fires the Koreans back into the semi-sporting market. We'll get the new Veloster in Europe, too. UK sales are tipped in October 2011, priced from around £16,000.
What's underneath the Veloster?

The architecture underpinning the new Veloster is all Hyundai i30. So it's front-wheel drive, and will feature engines such as Hyundai's new downsized 1.6 direct-injection petrol turbo. A twin-clutch transmission - Hyundai's first - is also available.

Interestingly, unlike Mini's oddball Clubman, Hyundai has engineered the solitary rear door for left- and right-hand drive. Seen in the final photograph doors akimbo, you'll spot that the Hyundai Veloster won't dump its passengers on the wrong side of the road outside your children's school.

The door handle on the single rear door is cleverly hidden, maintaining the coupe silhouette. If this reminds you of the Mini Clubman's door etiquette, take note of the blackened A-pillars. That floating wraparound windscreen is very Mini-esque.

Looks promising - if a cramped, quasi sporting hatch-coupe mash-up is your thing. And judging by the number of Sciroccos we see on the roads, it might be a sleeper hit for Hyundai and spruce up its sensible-but-worthy image in the UK.
When will we see the Hyundai Veloster in Europe?

At the Geneva motor show in March 2011. Until today, all we'd seen of the Veloster was the teaser shot, the final image in our gallery above.

'The new Veloster goes a long way to solving the inherent compromise of traditional coupe design, which sacrifices comfort and convenience for style,' said Allan Rushforth, senior vice president and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe. 'This exciting car offers progressive buyers a sleek and distinctive design in an innovative three-door coupe form that provides practicality as well as driving pleasure. The Veloster embodies the evolution of the Hyundai brand in Europe: it’s our latest model to offer great looks in a thoughtfully-conceived package, and still has the well-established Hyundai characteristics of quality, safety and efficiency. We expect it to attract new customers to the brand when it reaches the European market later this year.'

Source from carmagazine