Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hot News: Jaguar XF Estate

A fastback, sporting estate version of the XF is in Jaguar’s future product plan, with a production date slated for around 2012.

That will coincide with the facelift of the XF, when changes are expected to include a bolder grille inspired by the new XJ.

Estate versions of the XF’s main rivals, the Audi A6, BMW 5-series and Mercedes E-class, all sell well and in the UK make the difference between the XF being the third best-seller in its class rather than market leader.

For several years after the launch of the load-lugging X-type, the words ‘estate’ and ‘Jaguar’ appeared to be banned from appearing in the same sentence, but now that the X-type has been killed off, the idea of a Jaguar estate is acceptable again inside the company.

But this won’t be some sort of Volvo-style load lugger. Expect elegant styling incorporating a shade more practicality to be the defining features.

The new four-cylinder diesel engine currently under development will be key. Small-capacity four-cylinder diesels account for 50 per cent of sales among rival executive models in the UK, and the proportion is even higher for the more practical estate body shape.

Details of the engine are scarce, but it is thought to be a variant of the 2.2-litre Ford/PSA unit used by Land Rover, but thoroughly re-engineered to reach the refinement levels that owners expect. Peak power is likely to be close to 200bhp in its most powerful version, possibly with twin turbochargers.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Concept Car: Mitsubishi i-MiEV Cargo

Mitsubishi also present at the Tokyo show will be a new cargo van-version of Mitsubishi's tiny i-MiEV electric city car. Eschewing the rear doors and seats for a 62 cubic-foot flat-floored cargo area, the i-MiEV Cargo is designed with small businesses in mind. It offers 100-mile range, though it will no doubt be affected by the cargo load, as will the performance of the 63-hp 133 lb-ft electric motor.

While the i-MiEV Cargo is slated for production in Japan, the future of the PX-MiEV isn't known yet. Even if the concept doesn't make it into production, look for the design and technology to make their way into other Mitsubishi products in the future.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Concept Car: Mitsubishi PX-MiEV

With the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show less than a month away, the few remaining participating automakers are throwing down their cars. Following Subaru and Honda to the table is Mitsubishi with a new plug-in hybrid crossover called the PX-MiEV and a cargo van version of the i-MiEV electric car.

Looking something like an updated Endeavour with a touch of Land Rover styling, the PX-MiEV is Mitsubishi's centerpiece. Though it may look something like the Endeavour, the PX-MiEV -- which stands for Plug-in hybrid Crossover - Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle -- is actually closer in size to the Outlander but slightly larger. While the hard, boxy yet simple styling is a big step forward for Mitsubishi crossovers, the real story is what lies beneath.

The PX-MiEV is powered by Mitsubishi's first hybrid drivetrain and rather than follow the Toyota and Honda route, Mitsubishi has skipped ahead to a plug-in series hybrid right out of the gate. Under the hood is a 114-hp 1.6L DOHC MIVEC four-cylinder engine with 92 lb-ft of torque that can either power the wheels directly or act as a generator to power the electric motors. The two 60-hp electric motors generating 148 lb-ft of torque each are mounted on the axles and can propel the car by themselves or work in concert with the gasoline engine. Mitsubishi says the combination is good for an impressive 118 mpg.

At low to medium speeds, the front electric motor does most of the work by powering the front wheels. At higher speeds or when more power is needed, the gasoline engine kicks on to either make more electricity to power the electric motors or to help power the wheels directly, depending on which the onboard computer thinks will be more efficient. The rear electric motor only comes on when the front wheels are slipping, under hard acceleration or under sudden maneuvers to help stabilize the vehicle. The electric motors also act as generators during braking to recharge the battery.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2011 Volkswagen Golf

One of our daring spy photographers just sent us over these photos of two Volkswagen development mules undergoing testing. The lack of camouflage shouldn't be a surprise, as all the important changes are beneath the metal.

The white mule with the wide, black fenders wears a serial number with the letters MQB. This is the acronym for the next Golf platform, meaning modular querbaukasten (that's modular transverse component system in English). The first iteration of the new platform will underpin the next Audi A3. With the current PQ35-platform Golf VI reportedly ending production in December 2011, it would make sense for the next-gen Golf to appear around the same time. Say, the Frankfurt show in September 2011?

The black mule, conversely, wears PQ35 platform designation. Yet this mule is wider, the fuel cap is in a different place, and our spy reckons it's a bit shorter than the current Golf. Curious, indeed.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News Up Date: Jaguar XE

Jaguar’s next generation of sports cars is on the verge of ditching its E-type-inspired oval grille because the design isn’t sufficiently adaptable.

The company’s designers are struggling to stretch the shape to fit the nose of the two new models: the XK and new XE.

“The problem is that the proportions are all wrong when the shape is stretched. They’re not sure if it has got much more life left,” said an insider.

The solution also hasn’t been decided yet, although it could be argued that a shape like that of the new XJ/XF grille makes sense for a small car company like Jaguar, which could boost its brand clarity by focusing on a single, memorable grille design.

Getting the BMW Z4-sized front-engined, rear-drive XE to market is taking longer than some insiders had hoped. Although the two-seater is being planned in aluminium as a platform derivative of the next-generation XK coupé and convertible, the exact direction of each model is the subject of a fierce debate internally.

One faction reckons the next XK needs to get bigger and more luxurious to make room for the smaller car. That envisages the XK growing up to a size close to Maserati’s GranTurismo and featuring a pair of proper rear seats.

But another wants the XK to keep to its current theme and dimensions, which historically has been the foundation of its sales. The challenge is engineering the two cars on the same platform so they share costly elements like the front bulkhead and engine bay, but are also positioned sufficiently apart from each other to appeal to different customers at different price points.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Jaguar Hatchback to Launch in 2014

Jaguar is working on a dramatically styled five-door sports hatch featuring lightweight alloy bodywork and new, direct-injection V6 petrol engines.

Priced from £40k, the compact five-door is pencilled in for production around 2014, when it will line up alongside a new front-engined sports car and an estate version of the XF as extensions to Jaguar’s model line-up.

Intended as a luxurious but practical five-seater combining excellent fuel economy with good performance and handling, the sports hatch still awaits the production go-ahead, but is being championed at the highest levels of the company.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Concept Car: Honda Skydeck

Honda is testing reaction to a future rival for the Ford S-Max with this, the Skydeck hybrid concept.

This sleek MPV is likely to replace the FR-V for Europe, although it has a more conventional three rows of seats instead of the previous car’s two benches.

The car’s proportions are only slightly smaller than those of the Ford, and it is substantially larger than the FR-V in all but width.

Honda is keen to expand its hybrid range into a number of different segments, and that is likely to include people carriers.

“Honda wants to introduce a range of hybrid vehicles that appeal to different markets,” a source told Autocar. “There are currently no plans to put the Skydeck into production, but you can see the way we are going with this.”

One significant feature of the Skydeck is that it relocates the Insight’s hybrid system battery, which normally lies beneath the rear floor to save on passenger space.

The battery is now mounted within the centre console that runs along the cabin floor. It may be a key feature of a next-generation Honda IMA hybrid system designed to power bigger vehicles.

There’s no word on engines; this concept is designed to gauge reaction to the styling and three-row seating layout.

For this show MPV, Honda has installed slim, lightweight sports seats with mesh backrests. The second row slides forward and under the front seats to maximise space.

The front doors hinge up and forward, while the rears slide backwards to allow access to the airy cabin.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Concept Car: Honda CR-Z

Combining a potent cocktail of styling hints from the Insight, Odyssey and Civic Type R, the production-ready Honda CR-Z 2009 concept's stunning lines will take center stage at Honda's stand when the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show opens on October 21.

Slated for a February 2010 launch in Japan and later that year in the U.S., the world's first dedicated sports hybrid coupe employs a 1.5-liter gasoline engine paired to an updated version of Honda's now well-known IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) system. Upgraded from the Insight's 41 mpg 1.3 liter unit, one source close to Honda tells that we can expect somewhere around 32-35 U.S. mpg from the new coupe. Helping the front-wheel-drive CR-Z to achieve that kind of mileage will be the hybrid world's first six-speed manual gearbox, which Honda engineers have fitted to generate the best mileage possible while at the same time injecting more fun into the driving experience of hybrids. And anything that spruces up the thrill factor of piloting a hybrid is welcome news to us.

In fact, with its combination of meaty bottom end torque from the larger 1.5-liter engine and its revised IMA system, all channeled through that six-speed floor-shifter, you can expect some relatively quick getaways from the CR-Z.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied Up Date: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg

One of our spy photographers just caught the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg undergoing testing as it nears its spring debut. As we reported in July, the next iteration of the popular SUV will be lighter and more fuel efficient, and will offer a third-row seat. The camouflage it's wearing here doesn't reveal any surprises, but you can safely expect Walter da Silva's look of a wide grille and horizontal lines.

To rid the Touareg of 550 to 650 lbs., VW is moving the formerly standard off-road equipment to the options list. The V-8 is an engine of the past; its replacement is a supercharged V-6. A 3.0L diesel is expected, too.

Expect a debut sometime around the Detroit auto show in January.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Hot News: Toyota Recalls 3.8 Million Vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today advised owners of specific Toyota and Lexus models to remove their driver's side floor mats. According to the NHTSA, some floor mats can cause the gas pedal to stick, creating a potentially fatal situation.

The affected models follow:
• 2007-2010 Camry
• 2005-2010 Avalon
• 2004-2009 Prius
• 2005-2010 Tacoma
• 2007-2010 Tundra
• 2007-2010 ES 350
• 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350

Earlier this month, it is believed that a stuck floor mat in a Lexus ES350 caused a crash that killed a California Highway Patrol officer and his family of three. According to the NHTSA, Toyota and Lexus will launch a safety recall soon. Some 3.8 million vehicles are expected to be affected by the recall.

Whether the problem is improperly secured mats, bulky and poor fitting aftermarket mats, or an issue of gas pedal clearance, the NHTSA is taking no precautions. "The agency strongly recommends taking out removable floor mats on the driver's side in certain models and not to replace them with any other mat, either from Toyota or any other brand," it said in a statement.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2009 Hyundai Equus Limousine

Korea's substantial executive market will have one more model to choose from when deciding which luxury limousine to buy. Hyundai recently unveiled its latest Equus Limousine, which promises to offer more comfort and luxury than its closest competitors, the Lexus LS460L and Mercedes-Benz S500L.

An additional 12 inches has been tacked onto the stock Equus chassis making for an overall length of around 215 inches. Aside from the extra length, designers installed a horizontal crossbar grille to further distinguish the edition's exterior. Find your way inside and you'll be treated to powered footrests, plush leather, fine woods, a rear seat leg support, and seats with what the automaker calls a Relax Posture Control and Massage System function.

The brand's widely used Lambda 3.8L V-6 and Tau 5.0L V-8 motors can be specified to power the Equus Limo, and there's even a bulletproof edition for those looking for the ultimate in protection.

Hyundai estimates the limo will retail for around $113,000 to $122,180 when it hits Korean dealers in the coming months. Currently there are no plans to export the car to world markets, although the regular Equus sedan is officially U.S.-bound. But if it did come here, and if you were in the market for a luxo-limo, would you consider it over the best from Germany and Japan?
Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Concept Car: Subaru Hybrid Tourer

Skimming through the Subaru Hybrid Tourer concept press release, the second paragraph left us a little confused. “The original point of the ideal grand touring car is its interior design, featuring four independent and comfortably positioned seats. Passengers are enclosed within an atmosphere that provides a surpassing feeling of openness and stress-free reassurance, through the further pursuit of a human-centered philosophy, the essence of Subaru car design, and the incorporation of functions that are friendly to passengers.” Say what? After some head scratching, what we divined from reading that jargon is that this car has four seats and it’s about the essence of nothingness.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hot News: Mazda Confirmed Tokyo Motor Show Plans

Mazda will launch its next-generation of engines and automatic transmissions at next month’s Tokyo motor show.

The Japanese firm will exhibit its Mazda SKY-G direct-injection petrol engine, its Mazda SKY-D clean diesel engine and the Mazda SKY Drive high-efficiency automatic transmission. It will also show off its Kiyora concept car in its home country for the first time.

The Mazda SKY-G is a direct-injection petrol engine with significantly improved fuel economy and power output due to enhanced thermal efficiency. It has been designed to reduce mechanical friction and achieve an optimal air-fuel mix, with fuel economy and torque improved by approximately 15 per cent compared to Mazda’s current 2.0-litre engine.

This equates to the fuel economy seen in a Mazda 2 to be achieved by a Mazda 3.

The Mazda SKY-D engine reduces mechanical friction to the level of a petrol engine. By employing piezo injectors, a two-stage turbocharger and other technologies, fuel economy becomes around 20 per cent better than the current 2.2-litre diesel engine. This equates to fuel economy of the Mazda 2 being achieved in the Mazda 6.

Mazda’s SKY-Drive automatic transmission offers improved feel and fuel consumption. It improves fuel economy by five per cent, due to a complete redesign that significantly reduces mechanical friction, a revised torque converter and clutch with minimised slip, and an optimised lock-up mechanism. These changes give it the feel of a dual-clutch transmission.

The Mazda Kiyora concept car was first seen at the Paris motor show last year and it will be seen for the first time in Japan next month. It runs on Mazda’s SKY-G engine mated to the SKY-Drive ‘box and can return around 90mpg. It achieves this by using lightweight materials, improved aerodynamics and Mazda’s i-stop stop/start system.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2011 Peugeot 408

This is the new Peugeot 408, which has been caught testing in heavy disguise.

As previously revealed by Autocar, the replacement for the 407 will be more conservatively styled and less of a visual leap forward as its predecessor.

The car will be more evolutionary in its looks than the step from 406 to 407, said a company insider.

However, it is understood that the design will have eye-catching detailing and “hard-edged” looks that will help it stand out from other mid-sized saloons.

“The car will be an evolution, not revolution,” said the source. “For the overall effect, think Insignia.”

An all-new chassis features, which it will share with the new Citroen C5. Other technology which should make production is hydropneumatic suspension and adaptive headlamps.

The new 408 will feature a hybrid powertrain in the line-up, most likely with a diesel engine rather than petrol.

Peugeot is pioneering the diesel hybrid in cars like the 3008 and will extend the technology to its next generation of saloons.

A hybrid 408 should be capable of class-leading economy and CO2 of less than 100g/km. It is expected to be officially revealed later this year and will go on sale in the UK in 2010, with the hybrid following in 2011.

Thanks to: Autocar

Unofficial Picture: 2013 Citroen C-Cactus

Stylish, affordable and econmical, the Citroen C-Cactus is a car for our times. And now these incredible leaked photos of the production-ready model prove that the French manufacturer is ready to turn concept into reality.

The concept's styling, first seen at the 2007 Frankfurt show, has evolved into a more subtle statement, but retains the rounded bonnet and hatchback bodystyle from the show car. Up front a pair of huge air intakes sit below Nissan 370Z-style boomerang headlights, while a pair of prominent creases run along the sides to the clean and uncluttered rear.

Rumours are rife that Citroen is planning to establish a new eco-brand to sit below its standard models, which in turn sit below the recently introduced DS premium range. Called 'Essentiale' the new sub-brand would focus on low-weight, simplicity of design and affordability - and the C-Cactus is mooted to be the first member of the Essentiale family when it goes on sale in 2012.

The philosophy of simplicity and ditching of superfluous equipment places the C-Cactus as a spiritual succesor to cut-price Citroens of the past such as the legendary 2CV and lesser-known Citroen Visa. If the 2007 concept is anything to go by, the entire dash structure could be ditched to cut weight and provide additional room in the cabin.

The interior might be purposefully low-tech, but under the bonnet a three-cylinder diesel engine mated to an electric motor should provide class-leading fuel economy, and mark the start of a new wave of cheap but reliable hybrids. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Ferrari 458 Italia Spider Confirmed

Ferrari is opening up about its future plans! Prancing horse chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo has confirmed that a convertible version of the already stunning 458 Italia is on the way.

The news doesn't come as a huge surprise, considering Spider versions of the 458's predecessors, the 360 Modena and F430 have proved extremely popular, but any news about a forthcoming Ferrari is guaranteed to cause a stir.

First deliveries of the fixed-roof 458 start in mid-January, while in di Montezemolo's own words "We also plan a spider version, but not for a couple of years."

Expect to pay a hefty premium over the standard car for an 'al fresco' 458 - and with prices starting at around £175,000 for the coupe, don't expect much change from £190,000 for the rag-top. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Car: 2009 Bentley Continental GT

Russian firm TopCar has launched an aerodynamic package for the Bentley's Continental GT and GT Speed models.

The 'Bullet' aero package comprises of a new bonnet, new air-intakes, a new front grille, a new front bumper and new LED daytime running lights.

Other tweaks include the addition of a new lip spoiler, side skirts, and a rear bumper with an integrated diffuser and air vents.

Completing the package are a new boot spoiler, new exhaust pipes and new privacy glass for the rear windows. It also benefits from 20-inch alloy wheels.

Prices for the aerodynamic package start at 25,000 euro (£23,000), which rises to 30,000 euro (£28,000) if you opt to have the parts in carbonfibre.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2009 Renaultsport Twingo 133 Cup

Renault's up for the Cup! Hot on the heels of the recent Clio Cup, the French firm has announced details of another stripped-out model.

This time, the Renaultsport Twingo 133 city car is getting the treatment.

Engineers have ditched the air-conditioning, sliding rear bench and the auto headlights and wipers to ensure the all-new 133 Cup is as light as possible.In addition, £700 has been shaved off the price – so the new car costs £11,795.

That buys you the Cup lowered suspension pack, tuned dampers and 17-inch alloy wheels with an Anthracite finish. The 133bhp 1.6-litre engine is unchanged, so 0-62mph still takes 8.7 seconds and it hits 125mph. Orders are being taken now. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Hyundai Pulled Out from Tokyo Motor Show 2009

It's the story of the incredible shrinking auto show. With less than a month to go before the doors open, one of the last major foreign automakers has pulled out of the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show. Hyundai called the show's organizers late last week to let them know it wouldn't be coming.

"Hyundai called last week and orally confirmed their intent to cancel," said Toyokazu Ishida, administrator of the international exhibition for show organizer the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. "It's unbelievable."

JAMA is still waiting for official, written confirmation of cancellation from Hyundai, and the company declined to comment on its plans. Though no official reason has been given for Hyundai's last-second departure, Japanese newspapers report that it was a money-saving decision. The company will lose the $122,000 it put down as a non-refundable deposit for 4,300 square feet of exhibit space, but won't have to pay for a display, staff, or other costs, which can run into the millions of dollars.

The South Korean automaker follows a slew of other non-Japanese marquees out the door and spells more trouble for the troubled show. Speculation about the end of the show ran rampant earlier this year when all three major U.S. automakers pulled out of the show along with several major European manufacturers. At the time, JAMA officials insisted that the show would go on, despite some internal disagreement about whether it was better to simply cancel the show than go forward with so few exhibitors. As of March, only half the number of exbitors as the 2007 show had signed up for 2009 and the number has fallen since then. The Tokyo Motor Show runs every other year, so a cancelation would leave a four-year gap between shows.

With Hyundai's withdrawal, the only remaining foreign makes are German tuner Alpina and British sports car-maker Lotus. Ishida said that JAMA hasn't decided how to fill Hyundai's floor space yet.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2011 Citroen C4

Somewhere under the dense black camouflage is the next Citroen C4. At least, that's what our spy photographer tells us. The C4 was caught undergoing hot weather testing as it readies for a 2010 debut.

Of what is visible, these images guarantee that the next C4 will have a windshield, four wheels, and one A-pillar, at least. Look closer and you might be able to guess at the shape of the headlights. You can expect some cues from the recently upgraded C3 to translate, but the rest is up to your imagination.

Autocar, citing Citroen product head Vincent Besson, says powertrain options will consist of three-cylinder engines, but there is a chance of a gas-electric hybrid. In any event, we hear the C4 will debut at the Paris auto show in 2010.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Saturday, September 26, 2009

New Car: 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander

The big story for the 2010 Outlander is the thoroughly “next generation” styling, inspired by the outstanding Mitsubishi Outlander GT Prototype displayed at the 2009 New York International Auto Show. The front grille design is taken from the Lancer Evolution’s “jet fighter” look and is complemented by contemporary design elements, such as a reshaped front bumper, side mirrors, fenders and bonnet. Reshaped headlamps, a new rear bumper and side sills complete the slick sports styling.

Complementing the exterior changes, the Outlander interior design has been freshened with the addition of new seat, door and dash trims, grained leather to premium models, double-stitching, chrome accents and a brilliant new instrument cluster. Additional Lancer-Evolution-inspired design cues include available aluminium racing style pedals and a sport-type steering wheel.

Technological upgrades for the new Outlander include the addition of Mitsubishi’s acclaimed Super-All Wheel Control system (S-AWC) to V6 models, improvements to power delivery and fuel economy, the addition of Hill Start Control (HAC) for all CVT and automatic models and USB inputs for audio (where Mitsubishi’s Multi Communication System or MMCS is not fitted).

Merging Mitsubishi’s experience in off-road and rally racing with production car development, the V6 Outlander features the revolutionary Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) system. Beyond simple four-wheel drive, S-AWC is a comprehensive system that improves handling, traction and stability. Using a first-in-class active front limited-slip differential and an electronically controlled four-wheel drive coupling, S-AWC can prevent wheel slip between front to rear and side-to-side, providing greater traction through all types of terrain and inclement weather, including ice, snow and rain.

The 2010 model year Outlander continues with two tried and trusted engine choices. First, the 2.4-litre DOHC 16 valve MPI MIVEC engine provides peppy, yet frugal motoring for drivers with a keen eye for economy and generates 125 kW of power @ 6,000 rpm and 226 NM of torque @4,100rpm. The 2.4-litre engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with Sports Mode sequential style shift changes and INVECS Smart Logic.

Drivers with a need for speed will choose the powerful V6 3.0-litre SOHC 24 valve MPI MIVEC engine which generates 169 KW of power @ 6,250 rpm and 291 Nm of torque @ 3,750 rpm. The V6 benefits from improvements to the all-aluminium engine, including a reduction in intake restriction plus optimised camshaft timing and compression ratio. These changes raise the maximum output by a modest 7 kW, but, importantly, also contribute to an improved torque curve for more responsive city driving and improved fuel economy and emissions.

Thanks to: Press Portal

New Concept Car: Honda U3-X

Honda has developed a new personal mobility device, called the U3-X, it is a compact design fits comfortably between the riders legs, to provide free movement in all directions just as in human walking forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally.

Honda has said it will will continue research and development of the device including experiments in a real-world environment to verify the practicality of the device. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Friday, September 25, 2009

Free Nitrogen Tire Fill

Always in pursuit of maximum performance and reliability, race teams from NASCAR to Formula 1 have filled tires with nitrogen gas for years based on the many benefits it offers over conventional air inflation. In another huge step toward superior customer service, aftermarket Mustang part retailer is now offering free nitrogen inflation with all wheel and tire purchases. That’s right, we said FREE.

The benefits of nitrogen tire inflation are obvious, and extensive. Nitrogen is an inert gas, so pumping it into your tires eliminates the presence of oxygen and water, both of which are sources of many tire problems. Here are just a few of the benefits of nitrogen:

  • Better Performance: Nitrogen-filled tires maintain the same pressure, regardless of ambient and operating temperature. With no water to radically expand and contract with temperature changes, tires keep a constant pressure. This means better performance when things get hot.

  • Longer Tire Life: Operating tires at the incorrect pressure is the primary cause of uneven and premature wear. Compared to oxygen molecules, nitrogen molecules are much larger and unable to permeate the tire sidewall. Some reports suggest that nitrogen-filled tires maintain their pressure up to three times longer than non-nitro tires.

  • Better Fuel Economy: Under-inflated tires mean higher rolling resistance that requires additional fuel to maintain speed. Tires that don’t lose pressure keep your fuel economy right on track.

Further proving AmericanMuscle’s commitment to offering Mustang owners the total shopping package, the new nitrogen inflation program, a benefit that often costs $10 per tire, is offered along with free mounting and balancing on all wheel and tire purchases. Add in the company’s guarantee that all mounted wheel and tire packages will ship within three days of ordering and clearly is the best place to buy wheels and tires for your Mustang, bar none. For more information on nitrogen-filled tires from AmericanMuscle, please visit:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spied: 2011 Audi R8 Clubsport

The Audi R8 is on a diet! Our spies have caught a second R8 V10 Clubsport mule lapping the Nurburgring in Germany, this time finished in stealth-like matte black paint.

Set to be the fourth model in the R8 line up, following V8 and V10 versions of the Coupe and the Spyder variant revealed at Frankfurt last week, the Clubsport will be the most focused incarnation of the supercar so far. And with its wild rear wing, enlarged rear diffuser and more prominent bodykit, you’ll certainly see it coming.

Taking its lead from hardcore models such as the Lamborghini LP550-2 Valentino Balboni and the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, the Clubsport will feature a stripped-out cabin and ditch an all-wheel drive transmission in favour of a lighter and more dynamic rear-wheel drive setup.

The 525bhp 5.2-litre V10 from the coupe will receive a mild boost in power, while around 50kg will be shed from the kerbweight, meaning performance should be mind-blowing. Expect the 0-60mph sprint to be dispatched in the region of 3.5 seconds and a top speed approaching 200mph.

Our sources have revealed that an unveil at the Essen Motor Show in Germany in November is likely, with the car actually going on sale in the first quarter of 2010.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2010 Toyota 4Runner

"Easily the most capable vehicle to come along since the current-generation Wrangler, and there's much to be applauded in an off-roading legend that's remained true to itself," says editor at large Arthur St. Antoine of Toyota's all-new 2010 4Runner Trail Edition. Truck Trend editor Allyson Harwood adds, "This new 4Runner is an SUV that makes me want to go off-road. Those are getting harder to come by, and it's the only new sport/utility for 2010 that causes that kind of feeling."

As its name suggests (and as the previous comments intimate), the all-new fifth-generation 4Runner -- Toyota cites that of the 1.8 million sold since 1984, about 1.3 million are still on the road today -- soldiers on with body-on-frame construction and a live rear axle. And we couldn't be more pleased. Frankly, with the Highlander, RAV4, and Venza in its lineup, Toyota doesn't need another car-based sport/ute, so sticking with a rugged, heritage-rich offering seems wise, especially when the number of truck-based 4Runner competitors can be counted on one hand.

Based on the Land Cruiser Prado sold in other world markets, the made-in-Japan 4Runner wears boxier -- retro, if you will -- sheet metal that more closely resembles that on the FJ Cruiser. Headlamp and taillamp lenses extrude from the body, the grille is bold and in your face, and the overall appearance just looks bigger, despite modest gains in length (+0.7 inch), width (+0.6), and height (+0.8); the wheelbase, at 109.8 inches, remains the same. Inside, the FJ similarities continue, due to oversized knobs and buttons, a more upright windshield, and water-resistant seats. Our tester was a pre-production model fitted with shiny, unfinished plastics; those pieces in production models will be grained and matte-finished. Some editors found the interior a bit overwrought, but none could argue it wasn't extremely functional, roomy, and easy to use.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty

Heavy-duty trucks are the workhorses of the truck world. Capable of towing nearly 20,000 pounds (as much as 24,600 if you include the F-450), these are the pickups that haul huge loads, are built to survive the rough stuff, and see more than their share of dirt, grime, and hard labor. So it's a little strange to look at them as being high-tech vehicles. In fact, "high-tech" may be the last phrase you think of to describe them. However, that is starting to change, especially with regard to the 2011 Ford Super Duty. Ford recently gave us a sneak peek at the next F-250/350/450, and while it may not look dramatically different from what you see at dealerships today, a lot has changed under the skin to make it more capable, more efficient, quieter, and more reliable than it was before.

The overall appearance of the Super Duty has not changed all that much. But there are differences. Take a look at the nose: The headlights and side-marker lights have been restyled, as has the bumper. The grille now has two large bars, much like the three-bar grille first seen in the Super Chief concept Ford unveiled at the Detroit auto show in 2006, and there's a much larger Blue Oval up front. The hood is also new, featuring a more pronounced dome. Inside the cab, there's a new 4.2-inch LCD screen within the gauge cluster that displays trailer brake control gain, an inclinometer, fuel economy, trailer data, and more, and it can be customized to show what information you want to see. Also new to the interior is a flow-through console that includes two 12-volt powerpoints and a 110-volt inverter.

Under the hood, though, is the most significant change to the Super Duty: the engines. An all-new diesel engine will make its debut, and it was designed, engineered, tested, and built by Ford. It's a 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8, with a compacted graphite iron engine block instead of gray cast iron. CGI is a stronger material, one that Ford has successfully used in other markets and is implementing here for the first time. Use of CGI also helps reduce the overall weight of the new engine, said to be about 160 pounds lighter than the outgoing 6.4-liter.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hot News: HSV Kills Diesel, But LPG Gets Green Light

Holden Special Vehicles has confirmed it has dumped diesel plans and will go into production with a range of LPG-powered vehicles from early next year. But the company has admitted it has an uphill battle on its hands reversing LPG's "taxi image" and convincing dealers that it is a viable alternative to power its performance cars.

"We are going ahead with an LPG option which we will call LPI and we should see cars available in quarter one next year," said HSV managing director Phil Harding at the launch of the E2 range this week.

"We've got vehicles undergoing cold weather testing as we speak and we've got engines on test beds."

HSV is looking to make LPG optional on most of its range -- including the high performance flagship GTS and Maloo ute. Only the R8 Tourer will miss out, because the gas tank takes up too much cargo space.

"The tank will be fully trimmed, it [the boot] will be fully carpeted, so when you open the boot you won't see the tank," he said.

HSV considered putting an LPG tank in the spare wheel well of its cars, but the tank would be smaller in capacity and therefore provide less driving range.

"The VE boot is pretty big any way," Harding said. "In a sedan with an LPG tank you can fit two golf bags instead of three."

HSV says there is no performance reduction with its LPG-powered cars and that the system switches seamlessly from petrol to LPG.

"When you floor the throttle it automatically goes back to petrol," he said. "Those who've driven it say you can't tell when it switches from LPG to petrol and vice versa. It's seamless."

Harding wouldn't reveal how much the LPG versions of its cars would cost but said: "on typical mileage and at the current cost of LPG the system pays for itself in about 12 months."

The HSV boss also revealed that HSV dealers are yet to be convinced they can sell LPG-powered versions of Australia's favourite performance sedans.

Thanks to: Car Point

Spied Up Date: 2010 Lexus LF-A

More spy photos of the production Lexus LF-A supercar pounding round the Nurburgring have emerged.

The Lexus LF-A, which will go on sale in October priced around £300,000, will be officially unveiled at the Tokyo Motor show next month and just 500 examples will be built over the next two or three years, depending on how long it takes to sell that many cars.

20 cars are earmarked for the UK, starting in early 2010, and each owner being introduced to their car at a private circuit in Spain by one of Toyota’s hand-picked driving superstars.

The car, which began life in 2003, will be fitted with a 5.0-litre V10 engine that can be revved to an extraordinary 9,000rpm.

Lexus engineers are confident the unit will produce around 550bhp with ease and with a power to weight ratio 366.6bhp per tonne performance should be up with a Ferrari 599, the car’s main competitor.

Stopping power is expected to come courtesy of carbon ceramic rotors sitting behind 20-inch wheels.

Suspension is by double wishbones and coil-over dampers at the front with a multi-link arrangement and coil-over dampers at the back.

The chassis-tub is made from carbon composite, which will give the Lexus LF-A with one of the stiffest shells in production car history, and the outer body skin will be made from aluminium.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Rolls-Royce Phantom EV Ready to Roll?

Rolls Royce fans cover your eyes now, you're in for a shock! The most-luxurious car maker in the world is considering an electric variant of its flagship saloon, the Phantom, Auto Express has learnt.

Speaking to a member of the press at the Goodwood Revival, a spokesman for the brand let slip that a battery-powered Phantom is something that's under consideration - noting that the excess weight of the lithium-ion battery pack would be less of a problem in a car that weighs close to three tonnes with a V12 petrol engine under the bonnet.

Other electric car attributes of near-silent operation, and huge reserves of torque available from zero rpm would appear to suit the peerless Rolls Royce driving experience perfectly, too.

The problem, as always with electric vehicles, is giving the car a useful range between charges. However, a small-capacity range-entending engine, such as the 1.5-litre three-cylinder diesel engine fitted to parent company BMW's Vision EfficientDynamics Concept, could be used to top up the batteries on the go. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News Up Date: Magna Buys Opel/Vauxhall

ALMOST 1,400 jobs could be lost at Vauxhall’s two UK plants, according to a leaked business plan from the firm’s new owner.

The document worked out by Canadian parts maker Magna International, which is set to take control of Opel and Vauxhall from General Motors, proposes 11,000 job cuts across Europe.

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) moved to allay fears, however, dismissing reports that the number of job cuts had already been decided.

“Speculation on job losses across General Motors Europe is unhelpful at such early stages of the negotiations," said a spokesman. "Every aspect of these negotiations is under very active discussion and the government is working to secure the best possible outcome for Vauxhall in the UK.

According to sources, the firm’s plan will be discussed with unions and Governments later this week.

How any losses would be divided across the UK's Ellesmere Port and Luton plants has not yet been made clear.

However, union bosses in the UK have previously indicated that workers at the Luton site, where the Vivaro van is built, could be most at risk.

Vauxhall currently employs 4,475 staff in the UK.

The leaked plan shows that 4,116 of Opel’s German workers could be laid off, Spain could lose 2,090, and all of the 2,517 workers at its Antwerp plant in Belgium may be made redundant.

Magna was named the successful bidder for the firm earlier this month by the German Prime Minister Angela Merkel.

At that time, UK Business Minister, Pat McFadden also gave the news a cautious welcome, commenting: “Our objective throughout has been to get the best possible outcome for the Vauxhall workforce and the production plants in the UK.

We have been in close contact with all parties throughout including GM in the US and Europe and all the potential bidders.

Now GM has announced its preferred bidder is Magna. We will now continue our discussions with Magna: they have told us of their commitment to continuing production at both Ellesmere Port and Luton and we will work to make sure we get the best possible outcome for the UK.”

The bidding process, which began earlier this year, is reported to have attracted interest from a wide range of parties including Belgian investment group RHJ. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Unofficial Picture: 2010 Nissan Altima

In the process of recalling 26,398 Nissan Maximas and Altimas, a full picture of the updated 2010 Altima has leaked out along with news that the new model has been recalled before ever leaving the factory.

Last week, Nissan dropped a tightly cropped teaser picture of the 2010 Altima with the promise that more pictures and information would be forthcoming in the near future. In the course of reporting a recall that affects the new Altima, though, a full picture of the car inadvertently leaked out.

The leaked photo gives a good look at the updates to the Altima's bodywork, including a new front fascia, hood, wheels, headlights, tail lights, and sides. Up front, the lower fascia has lost its single large, black intake, which has been replaced by molded body-color pieces with a single horizontal bar across the middle. The fog lights get their own alcoves over in the side ports and are more prominently displayed on the 2009 car

Above, a new grille features a slightly thicker that no longer reaches on to the hood and is broken up by three horizontal slats accented in chrome. The hood itself has lost the twin creases running up the middle in favor of a more subtle bulge. To the sides, the headlights feature cleaner, sharper lenses with the turn signals pushed out to the sides, far less prominent than on the old model.

Around the side, the new Altima appears to get a slightly sharper crease running down its side along the plane of the door handles, which leads to new tail lights. Unfortunately, the front three-quarter view only shows us that the tail lights are larger and more prominent. Other changes to the rear end remain to be seen. The new look is topped off with a set of shiny new split five-spoke wheels that appear to be slightly larger than those found on the 2009 model.

As for the recall itself, the 2009 and 2010 Maximas and Altimas have been recalled because metal upper strut insulators on the cars were not made correctly by the Chinese parts maker Trelleborg Automotive Americas. In extreme conditions, there is a chance the insulator could crack and allow the strut rod to come out of its housing, possibly damaging other suspension elements and leading to an accident.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hot News: Porsche Reveals Electric Car Plan

Porsche will have an electric car on sale in five to ten years, according to company boss Michael Macht.

Speaking to German magazine Welt am Sonntag, Macht said that Porsche is working "intensively" on an electrically powered sports car.

However, he added that it would take some time until a marketable model could be introduced "with a reasonable reach, achieving the same handling characteristics of a gasoline engine."

He added: "I could imagine that we will drive the first vehicles in as soon as five to ten years."

Macht also predicted that Porsche would near double its annual sales to 150,000 cars a year in the mid to long-term, so long as new models are added to the range.

"If the world economy picks up again, we can well imagine unit sales of 150,000 Porsche cars per year," said Macht.

"But we won't achieve this with the four models that are existing today. Otherwise, we would have to significantly increase the number of cars of the current models. And then we would not be exclusive anymore. Therefore we have to think about new vehicles."

These are believed to be a car based on the VW BlueSport roadster concept, an Audi Q5-based car close to the Roxster concept and a Panamera coupe.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2011 Audi A8

These are the clearest pictures so far of the new Audi A8, which is set to be unveiled later this year.

The new A8 has been spied testing around the Nurburgring in heavy disguise previously, but has now begun its final phase of development in lighter camouflage.

The Mercedes S-class, Lexus LS and BMW 7-series rival will use a weight-saving aluminium spaceframe and be around 10cm longer than the current model.

It is also expected to get a cleaner and more efficient range of engines, including 3.0-litre and 4.2-litre V8s. Front and four-wheel-drive versions are likely to be offered for sale.

Audi says the car will be unveiled in late autumn, and it is expected to go on sale in the UK in early 2010.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2012 Land Rover LRX

Land Rover has been out and about in Germany lately, testing its new CUV based on the 2008 LRX concept. These photos, taken by our spy shooters, find the LRX test mule wearing heavily modified LR2 bodywork, with a dramatically shortened rear end and an altered front fascia.

This LRX prototype was caught at the Nurburgring (as so many prototypes are these days), presumably running laps to lock down its suspension tuning for when it enters production - likely in 2011. While the angular nose could give a good indication of the production item, we're anticipating a bit more rake and curve to the rear end, rather than the lopped-off, blocky appearance of this test mule - again, based on modified LR2 bodywork.

We expect to see both three- and five-door versions of the LRX when it makes its production debut next year, the latter competing with such luxury CUVs as the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi Q5, and BMW X3. Land Rover told us earlier in the year that there is a focus on lighter weight and an efficient powertrain with the LRX, though details on just what engines could be used are scarce at this time.

The LRX was sent into development after two concept versions (the most recent is pictured below) and a $37 million grant from the UK government.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Car: 2010 Lexus ES350

The Lexus ES350 has been revamped for 2010 with minor styling and feature changes, and the Japanese luxury automaker has announced it's price will increase by $330 (about 1%) for the new year.

The $35,675 for a base 2010 ES350 (including $875 for destination) gets you the choice of four exterior colors you can't get on that 2009 ES sitting on the dealer lot, plus one new leather trim color. Rear seat-mounted side airbags are standard and the center console is actually bigger than before.

Still don't think that's worth $330? 2010 ES sedans also get an upgraded audio system with Bluetooth streaming audio and a USB port as well as the auxiliary port. An HDD (hard drive disc) navigation system is now optional, but revised steering wheel controls are standard.

Visually, the ES now sports a grille that keeps its design in line with newer Lexus models. The taillights have been refreshed and the 17-in. wheels shown are new, too, but, well, they appear more Toyota-like than Lexus-grade. The ES is Lexus' second best-selling car -- what do you think of the changes? And, for that matter, Lexus would like to know what you think of the LF-Ch concept. If you'd like to fill out a survey giving them your thoughts, head here.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2011 Hyundai Sonata

Following leaked images of the all-new Korean-market 2010 Hyundai Sonata earlier this month, Hyundai has finally let the curtain fly, giving us details and official photos of its revamped mid-sized sedan entry. In the U.S., we'll know the car as a 2011 Sonata, as it won't be sold here until mid-2010. Sales will begin soon in Hyundai's home market of Korea, however.

True to previous images we've seen, the new Sonata features styling that features plenty of four-door-coupe-style styling touches, which should distinguish it from more conventional sedans. With what Hyundai refers to as "fluidic sculpture" styling, the car is immediately more eye-catching than its predecessor, and the new Sonata is said to extend that appeal to the interior with the use of premium materials. Hyundai hopes the upmarket changes will make the Sonata a strong competitor in the mid-size sedan class against segment leaders Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, as well as further a shift in brand image started by the full-size Genesis sedan, introduced last year.

"The Sonata will set a new standard for world class mid-size sedans with state-of-the-art technology, superior build quality, and emotional design," said Euisun Chung, Hyundai's vice chairman, said at the Sonata's Seoul, Korea launch. "The new Sonata will raise Hyundai's brand values."

The 2010 Sonata launches in Korea with the expected 2.0L Theta II MPi four-cylinder engine that produces 163 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. A new six-speed automatic transmission is standard, with an optional six-speed manual available. In January, the Korean market will get an optional 2.4L Theta II GDI direct-injection engine that will be featured as standard in the U.S.-bound 2011 Sonata. Reports also suggest that a hybrid version of the new Sonata is forthcoming.

Hyundai has included a host of technological features in the new Sonata, including an 8-in. infotainment and navigation screen, JBL Premium Sound system, electronic parking brake, heated rear seats, and Amplitude Selective Dampers. Details are unknown about options available in the U.S.-spec 2011 Sonata, but we expect most of these to carry over.

The 2010 Sonata will be priced between 21.3 million and 25.95 million Won in Korea (roughly $17,600 to $21,450). Hyundai predicts annual sales volume to be 60,000 units in Korea alone just this year. When the Sonata enters full production in 2011, Hyundai is looking for sales of 450,000 sedans per year on a global scale.

We expect the 2011 Hyundai Sonata's U.S. debut to come at the either the Detroit or Los Angeles auto shows. Meanwhile, how do you think the 2011 Hyundai Sonata will stack up against the competition when it arrives in showrooms Stateside?

Frankfurt Show 2009 Highlights: 2011 Saab 9-5

It's the start of a new era for Saab! The Swedish manufacturer is not only heading for new management from supercar maker Koenigsegg, but its all-new flagship saloon, the 9-5, has broken cover in Frankfurt too.

The styling is a big departure from the model it replaces, but with its wraparound windscreen and thick C-Pillars the newcomer is still unmistakeably a Saab.

An all-turbo powertrain line-up offers the choice of a 1.6-litre 180bhp unit, a 2.0-litre with 220bhp, or a 300bhp 2.8-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol engine, the latter available exclusively in Aero specification with Saab's advanced XWD and 6-speed automatic transmission. The four-cylinder diesel offering comprises a 160bhp, 2.0-litre turbo engine with impressive fuel economy of just 53.3mpg over the combined cycle.

Exact prices and UK specifications will be announced closer to the car's on-sale date in early 2010. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Frankfurt Show 2009 Highlights: 2011 Mercedes SLS AMG

It's the car that had the press flocking to see it! Mercedes' 'Gullwing' SLS AMG stunned Frankfurt with it's retro-inspired looks and modern mechanicals - proving that Merc's performance arm AMG is more than simply a tuner.

The gullwing-style doors, hinged at the roof, were predictably the big talking point, but the 555bhp AMG 6.3-litre dry-sumped V8 with 650Nm of torque, should prove just as impressive when we have the chance to get behind the wheel.For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Frankfurt Show 2009 Highlights: 2011 Skoda Superb Estate

Space was in abundance on the Skoda stand at Frankfurt. The Czech firm took the wraps off its Superb Estate at the show and its vast 633-litre boot promises to put its rivals in the shade when it hits the UK next Spring.

Folding its rear seats liberates an incredible 1,865-litres of load area, making the newcomer a front-runner in the space race.

The extended roofline of the Estate is neatly incorporated so it arguably looks even better than its saloon/hatchback stablemate. And all models come with roof rails as standard while the big Superb is also available with keyless entry and start, as well as a full-length panoramic glass sunroof.

A powered tailgate, retractable load cover and sliding boot floor also give buyers the option of making the versatile estate even more practical. It will be available with the same range of engines as the existing model, but prices are yet to be confirmed. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Frankfurt Show 2009 Highlights: Peugeot BB1 Concept

Peugeot has unveiiled that strangest-shaped car at the show! Dubbed the BB1 concept, the pure electric city car uses a clever-seating configuration to cram four passenger into its tiny footprint - smaller even than the Toyota IQ.

Twin electrc motors mounted inside the rear wheels give a combined output of around 20bhp, plenty of power for something weighing in at only 600kg.

And it wasn't the only electric car on Peugeot's patch in Frankfurt. The iOn is essentially a rebadged Mitsubishi MiEV, but that's no bad thing. It's lithium-ion batteries can deliver a 130km range, a top speed of 80mph and can be fully recharged in just six hours. Sales will start at the end of next year. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Frankfurt Show 2009 Highlights: Volkswagen E-Up! Concept

Volkswagen is getting charged Up! The German giant took the wraps off this all-electric city car at the Frankfurt Motor Show. With a bank of advanced lithium-ion batteries under the floor, its 80bhp electric motor provides the E-Up! with up to 80 miles of zero-emission driving from a single charge.

The pack of cells can also be charged to 80 per cent of their full capacity in only an hour, while its roof is covered in solar panels to help the batteries topped up.

And if you don’t fancy an all-electric Up!, a conventional model is also on the cards. Unlike the original 2007 concept car, its engine will be in the front and the interior has a Toyota iQ-inspired three-plus-one configuration, to maximise cabin space.

The petrol model will share the looks of this brightly painted electric version, as well as its functional interior. Simple features such as manual windows help to get keep costs under control, so entry-level versions could cost as little as £7,000 when it hits UK showrooms towards the end of 2010. An all-electric version is likely to follow later in 2011. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Frankfurt Show 2009 Highlights: Volkswagen L1 Concept

It’s as long as a Volkswagen Fox but only as tall as a Lamborghini Murcielago – say hello to the VW L1 Concept!

The two-seater is the star of the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, thanks to fuel economy of 189mpg and CO2 emissions of only 38g/km. Its 800cc two-cylinder TDI diesel engine produces up to 29bhp, but thanks to a kerbweight of only 380kg, the narrow commuter vehicle can still accelerate from 0-60mph in 14.3 seconds.

How has Volkswagen achieved such stunning figures? Well, the L1 features a hi-tech carbon fibre chassis that is both incredibly strong and light. The car's streamlined teardrop shape has also been honed in the wind tunnel, resulting in an incredibly low drag co-efficient of 0.19Cd. As a result, its tiny 10-litre fuel tank provides a range of 416 miles between refills.

Neat touches include an iPod-inspired touch-sensitive control to open its jet-fighter style canopy, while rear-view cameras are used in place of traditional door mirrors.

The L1 is an up-to-date reworking of VW's 1-litre car, which was unveiled in April 2002. Since then, production costs of the car’s carbon chassis have decreased, giving the tandem two-seater a genuine chance of reaching production. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Frankfurt Show 2009 Highlights: Citroen Revolte Concept

Vive la revolution! Citroen has pulled the wraps off the supermini of tomorrow – the Revolte.

Packing design cues from the legendary 2CV and a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, Citroen's 'city car of the future' caused quite a stir at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

With suicide-style doors and a wacky interior with super-thin bench seats, computer screens and a vast steering wheel, its interior is just as adventurous as its exterior.

Under the skin, the Revolte uses a similar set-up to the Vauxhall Ampera, with a small internal combustion engine that assists some powerful electric motors.

While it may have some of the famous 2CV in its styling, the French firm describes it as the 'anti-2CV'. "This is the opposite of the much-loved 2CV. It's luxurious and fast where the 2CV was basic and slow," said a spokesman.

It's just a concept for now and the firm has no plans to put the Revolte into production, but some of its styling cues and technology will influence upcoming Citroen models.

For instance, Citroen will launch its first hybrid diesel in the shape of a new flagship, the DS5. Sitting at the top of the DS range, it will arrive in 2011 and be based on the C5. Before then, though, the French firm will reveal a smaller model, called the DS4.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Frankfurt Show 2009 Highlights: Lexus LF-Ch Concept

In its continued drive to gain a larger share of the highly-competitive European market, Lexus is preparing an assault on the key C-segment with a vehicle that should bear a strong resemblance to the LF-Ch concept the brand will show at Frankfurt.

Built to take on the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3 in the compact luxury market, the LF-Ch concept is a hybrid-powered five door similar in appearance to the Mazda3. While diesels still rule the day in Europe, the LF-Ch will instead be powered by a version of Toyota's tried-and-true Hybrid Synergy Drive under the hood. Lexus has not indicated whether the LF-Ch will use the four-cylinder version of the powertrain or the V-6 version, but either is a strong possibility depending on whether Lexus will target enthusiasts or fuel economy-minded buyers.

In addition to marking Lexus' foray into the compact luxury segment, the LF-Ch also debuts a new styling direction for the Japanese luxury brand. The LF-Ch appears to be an evolution of the sharper, edgier styling of the IS-F and upcoming LF-A supercar. A wide, low stance, combined with a short greenhouse and big scoops, vents and louvers give the LF-Ch an aggressive, sporty appearance.

For now, the LF-Ch is targeted at the European market, though it's possible it could come to the U.S. in the future and slot below the IS line. Rumors indicate that if the LF-Ch is well-received at Frankfurt, it could get the green light for production and deliveries could begin as early as next year.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Frankfurt Show 2009 Highlights: Hyundai ix-Metro Concept

The Hyundai ix-Metro Concept is a tiny crossover designed to slot into Europe's sub-B car class. It's powered by a turbocharged 1.0L three-cylinder gas engine that's been combined with an integrated starter motor-alternator for a mild hybrid system that generates a combined 123 hp and 115 lb-ft, the starter motor-alternator contributing 7 hp to that total. To add that extra bump in power, Hyundai has added an Electric Double Layer ultra capacitor connected to a 12-volt battery for juice. The relative shortage of power is offset by a low curb weight of less than 2100 lb, so performance shouldn't suffer too much.

While all the power-adders are nice, they're intended for efficiency, not performance. The tiny engine makes use of turbocharging, continuously variable valve timing and direct injection to burn as cleanly and efficiently as possible, emitting only 0.28 lbs of CO2 per mile. Power is routed to the wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Frankfurt Show 2009 Highlights: SEAT Ibiza ST Concept

SEAT has put the boot into the Ibiza!

And this concept car – revealed on the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show – offers a sneak preview of everything drivers can expect from the new model, which is due on sale in 2010.

James Muir, SEAT’s new chief, announced the arrival of the newcomer – christened the SEAT Concept IBZ.

This production version, likely to be called the Seat Ibiza ST, or Sports Tourer, will offer a similar engine line-up to the five-door hatch and three-door SportCoupe. That includes a 105bhp 1.9 TDI diesel, plus 105bhp 1.6, 85bhp 1.4 and 70bhp 1.2-litre petrol units.

The unveiling of the attractive ST is, however, not SEAT's first entry into the supermini estate segment: it follows in the wheeltracks of the VW Polo-based SEAT Cordoba Vario, which arrived in showrooms back in 1998.

This time around, the compact estate promises plenty of style, comfort and practicality, thanks to the creative efforts of SEAT design chief Luc Donckerwolke.
Thanks to: Auto Express