Hot News: Hummer is Dead

General Motors has announced its intention to shut down the Hummer brand after its planned sale to Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines collapsed.

The off-road brand looks set to join Saturn and Pontiac on the scrap heap of failed GM brands.

The only hope for Hummer would be a surprise last minute bidder, such as Spyker's rescue of Saab, but that seems unlikely at this stage. Hummer sales have continued to slump amid the financial crisis and rising fuel prices.

"One year ago, General Motors announced that we were going to divest HUMMER, as part of focusing our efforts on Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac going forward," explained John Smith, GM vice president of corporate planning and alliances. "We have since considered a number of possibilities for HUMMER along the way, and we are disappointed that the deal with Tengzhong could not be completed.

"GM will now work closely with HUMMER employees, dealers and suppliers to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner," said Smith.

The company has declared it will honour all Hummer warranties as well as providing parts and services to existing owners around the world.

Thanks to: Car Point

Hot News: Mercedes Plans E-Class Diesel-Hybrid

Mercedes has confirmed it will launch its first diesel-electric hybrid later this year.

The E300 BlueTec hybrid will be the firm’s first ever diesel-electric hybrid car; it will reach European showrooms early in 2011.

The BlueTec will be powered by a specially tuned twin-turbocharged 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine from the E250 CDI. Mercedes claims the car is capable of more than 56mpg.

It will share many of its hybrid components, including the lithium ion battery pack and electric motor, with the S400 hybrid.

Mercedes has been pleased with the initial sales of the S400 hybrid, which currently accounts for around 15 per cent of all S-class sales in Germany.

The firm intends to develop plug-in hybrid and electric propulsion systems alongside traditional combustion engines for at least the next 20 years. All future Mercedes will be underpinned by modular platforms which can house all three powertrain options, previewed in Geneva’s F800 Style concept car.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car; 2011 Pagani Tricolore

The Pagani Zonda Tricolore has been revealed, ahead of its Geneva motor show unveiling.

The Tricolore edition has been made to honour the Italian air force aerobatics team, known as the Frecce Tricolori.

Based on the exclusive Zonda Cinque, the Tricolore is constructed from a carbon-titanium weave. The car is unpainted except for a clear blue lacquer and red, white and green stripes that run up from the nose along the top of the car's surface.

The car's also distinctive for having extra air vents and LED running lights over the Zonda Cinque.

Only one Pagani Zonda Tricolore is being sold, for 1.3 million euros (£1.2m).

The Zonda is due to be replaced by the new Pagani C9 later this year.

Thanks to: Autocar

Sneak Peek: Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid Concept

Lotus is going green! This is the first teaser shot of the Evora 414E hybrid - a showcase for the firm’s latest eco technology. It uses the standard Evora chassis, but the petrol-powered drivetrain has been replaced by a plug-in hybrid system backed up by a 47bhp three-cylinder 1.2-litre range extender engine.

Each rear wheel is driven by an electric motor which produces 204bhp, or 207 metric horsepower, hence the car’s name. And because each rear wheel is driven independently, Lotus has been able to develop a sophisticated torque vectoring system, which adjusts the power to each wheel improving stability at speed, increasing manoeuvrability around town and eliminating understeer in cornering.

The motors draw power from lithium polymer batteries which are mid-mounted to optimise the weight distribution. The car can travel 35 miles on electric power alone, and the cells can be recharged overnight from a household plug. For longer journeys, the range extender engine kicks in to increase the range to over 300 miles.

Lotus claims the hybrid will sprint from 0-60mph in under four seconds. To increase driving thrills, the sensation of gearchanges has been engineered in, despite the car only having a single-speed transmission. The 414E also features HALOsonic sound synthesis, which mimics a number of different engine sounds both inside and outside the car. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2011 BMW 5-Series Touring

BMW's all-new 2010 5 Series has attracted plenty of attention in each of the variants released thus far - sedan and Gran Turismo. But soon, Europe will get a third version, the 5 Series Touring, which reworks the sedan's rear body into wagon form. Our spy shooters recently caught up with a pre-production version testing in wintery conditions and brought us these photographs.

New Car: 2011 Volkswagen CrossGolf

Like the Volkswagen CrossPolo also debuting at the Geneva auto show, the new Volkswagen CrossGolf is a rougher, tougher version of one of the brand’s traditional hatchbacks, which VW says blurs the line between a multipurpose vehicle and an SUV. Hitting European showrooms in April, the CrossGolf won’t make the voyage to the U.S. market largely because it would step too hard on the toes of the automaker’s actual small crossover, the Tiguan.

If you’re still interested despite the forbidden-fruit status, the details on the CrossGolf follow. Based on the five-door Golf but with a higher seating position and about an inch more ground clearance, the CrossGolf is the sixth variant of the new sixth-generation Golf (counting the Golf Plus, which is known as the Jetta SportWagen here). While the Cross version doesn’t feature all-wheel drive, it does sport a more rugged look courtesy of beefier wheel arches and gray plastic cladding on the lower elements of the body. Bright silver accents on the front and rear bumpers, roof rails, and door mirrors, as well as special 17-inch wheels shared with the CrossPolo, add some visual zest.

The CrossGolf also sports a tweaked interior, featuring two-tone front sport seats with light-gray inserts and black bolsters. Added brightwork around the air vents gives a stainless-steel look, while “CrossGolf” inserts sit in the door sills. The steering wheel and gearshift are wrapped in leather as standard and the pedals are capped in aluminum.

Other features include heated and powered door mirrors, LED taillights, and heat-insulated glass with a green tint. Major options include more interior leather, bi-xenon headlights with dynamic cornering lights, and a rearview camera. An intelligent park-assist system, similar to that found on several Ford and Lincoln vehicles in the U.S., also is available and employs sonar sensors and the electric-assist power steering to guide the CrossGolf into a parallel parking space. The driver only controls the speed.

Obviously geared for the European market, powertrain choices encompass a mix of gasoline and diesel engines. Turbocharged gasoline four-cylinders come in 105-hp and 122-hp flavors, with the coolest option being the turbo- and supercharged 1.4-liter “Twincharger” four. Rated at 160 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, it allows for a 129-mph top speed and 35 mpg in the combined European cycle. More efficient TDI turbo-diesels are available in 1.6-liter (105 hp) and 2.0-liter (140 hp) displacements, with the latter capable of a combined 44 mpg. Six-speed manual gearboxes are standard across the lineup, while seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automated manuals are optional on all gas engines and the 1.6-liter TDI. Automatic options for the 2.0-liter TDI are limited to a unique six-speed DSG unit designed to handle the engine’s 236 lb-ft of torque.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2011 Porsche Cayenne

Porsche's Cayenne has been a great success for the sports-car maker, but the company, as you know, also has received a lot of flak for building the big SUV. Enthusiasts complained that it deviated, ahem, massively from the core brand values of light weight and world-class handling, while many politically correct folks didn’t give a damn about sacrilege; they just thought the thing was too big, too powerful, too thirsty. Now Porsche tries to soothe both groups of critics, while—and this is most important—keeping the Cayenne's existing customer base happy.

The styling department deserves kudos for fooling most observers into thinking the second-generation 2011 Cayenne, debuting at the Geneva auto show, is smaller than its predecessor. The perception was so strong that some thought this was the mysterious “Baby Cayenne,” a.k.a. “Roxster,” when spy pictures surfaced. In reality, however, the Cayenne is 1.9 inches longer than its predecessor and continues to share much of its structure with the Volkswagen Touareg, the latest version of which was just revealed. The Porsche’s wheelbase has grown by 1.6 inches, but it remains a five-seater.

While it has grown in size, mainly to enhance rear-seat space, the Cayenne’s weight has come down by as much as 400 pounds, Porsche claims. Much of that is due to a new and somewhat downgraded all-wheel-drive system. But hey, did you really ever take your Cayenne Turbo up the Rubicon? We didn't think so, but it’s good to know the new Porsche is still plenty capable.

The redesigned interior reflects the changes to the exterior. The cabin is more airy, and the center console looks slim and draws styling cues from the Panamera four-door sedan, housing as it does a shift lever flanked by plenty of buttons. The infotainment screen up front is operated via touch screen, while, in back, the rear seat has over six inches of fore and aft travel.

Like the latest Touareg, the Cayenne has vastly improved in the looks department. It looks muscular and far more harmonious than the previous model. Like before, the regular and the Turbo models are remarkably different with their distinct front grille and lighting strips.

With a full-hybrid powertrain, the Cayenne S hybrid—which we sampled in prototype form early last year—marks a Porsche first. A 47-hp electric motor works in conjunction with an Audi-sourced 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 for a combined output of 380 hp and 427 lb-ft of torque. Accelerating up to 40 mph or so can be achieved under electric power alone, and the gasoline engine can be decoupled from the drivetrain when cruising at speeds up to 97 mph. Porsche calls this driving condition "sailing.” (The Cayenne hybrid’s natural competitor is, of course, the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid, but the Bimmer scoffs at greenies by focusing on ultimate performance, offering a combined 480 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque.) Porsche doesn’t mention any EPA fuel-economy numbers yet, but says the Cayenne lineup as a whole trumps the outgoing models’ mileage by as much as 23 percent on the Euro cycle.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Unofficial Picture: 2011 Lexus CT 200h

The hybrid revolution is gathering momentum! These are the first official pictures of the Lexus CT 200h - the firm's first compact five-door car and the first full hybrid to enter a segment that until now has been ruled by the BMW 1-Series and Audi A3.

Previewed by the LF-Ch Concept shown at Frankfurt last year, the production car, which will debut at Geneva next week, has retained many of the show car's design cues, albeit toned down for the showroom. Up front there's Lexus' familiar family face, but the rest of the hatchback design, including a stylish wraparound rear windscreen, represents new territory for the Japanese manufacturer.

The cabin uses a plethora of luxury materials to compete with its premium rivals, and there's a useful 700-litres of boot space with the rear seats folded. Infotainment features are displayed on the eight-inch LCD screen and controlled via the Remote Touch pad which works much like a computer mouse.

Lexus already has ten years experience with hybrids and the CT 200h uses the latest iteration of the technology. A 1.8-litre VVTi petrol engine works alongside a electric motor to produce similar performance to a 2.0-litre engine, but class-leading CO2 emissions. The system is capable of working in petrol and electric modes alone, as well as a combination of both.

To tailor the driving experience, four driving modes can be selected - Eco, Normal and Dynamic - each one progressively sharpens the throttle and steering feel for a more responsive drive. An EV mode allows the car to run on battery power alone for up to two kilometres and up to speeds of 28mph.

Scheduled to enter production at the end of this year, we'll report whether Lexus has done enough to topple its European rivals when we meet the car in the flesh at the Geneva show. For more details click here.

Thaks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Honda 3R-C

Forget trains, buses and conventional cars this is how Honda envisages the commuter vehicle of the future! Called the 3R-C it an all-new three-wheeled battery-powered concept with space for just one passenger, and it's heading for the Geneva show.

Created by European designers working at Honda's R&D facility in Milan, the 3R-C is powered by an electric drivetrain mounted low in the chassis - to keep the centre of gravity as close to the ground as possible thus improving stability.

The clear canopy you can see covers the driver's seat when its parked up and not in use, and protects the driver from the elements when in motion. The high sides of the safety shell add to the weather protection and offer protection in case of a crash.

Also on display in Geneva will be the EV-N - Honda's take on a small, stylish zero-emissions supermini. First shown in Tokyo last year it takes its inspiration from the 1967 N360 city car. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2011 Hyundai Accent

At five years old, the current Hyundai Accent, which is one of the least expensive new cars available, is nearing the end of its product cycle. Hyundai is readying the next generation of the compact, and our spy photographers have spotted a prototype undergoing winter testing at an undisclosed location.

Hot News: Audi Plans to Build Mini and Audi A1 Rival

Saab saviour Victor Muller is working at top speed on a “super-cool” new supermini, even before his acquisition of the company is complete.

The new car, code-named 92, is intended to have the same kind of relationship with the original teardrop-shaped ‘50s Saabs as the latest Mini has with the Issigonis’s original.

The new Saab baby, sometimes described as the 9-1, is tipped to be at least three years away and likely to be made at Saab’s Trollhattan plant.

It will be based on major components, including engines, supplied by a multinational partner. Muller declines to confirm the partner’s identity, though Vauxhall Opel looks the likely contender, given the strong and continuing relationship between the companies over Saab’s other models.

Muller and Saab’s reinstated CEO, Jan Ake Jonsson, plan a four-model range: the mid-life 9-3, a new 9-5 executive saloon which is “ready to go”, a Mexican-built, GM-based SUV, the 9-4X, to be launched late this year, and the new “92”, unlikely to be seen before 2013.

A deal to supply Corsa parts for the baby Saab is rumoured to be part of the acquisition deal, valued at around £45 million. Victor Muller, who “works with Saab designers every day” on the 92 project, carries the latest renderings when he travels on business.

He says Saab will be be successful again when its annual volume exceeds 100,000 cars. Sales for 2009 collapsed 40,000, but hit 95,000 in 2008.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Land Rover LRX to Debut at Paris Show 2010

Reports are in that Land Rover will finally be unveiling a production version of its LRX concept this year. The venue? The 2010 Paris auto show.

Late last year, Land Rover confirmed it would indeed build the LRX -- first shown as a concept in 2008 -- as a production vehicle. Since then, we've seen spy photos of the LRX prototype zig-zagging its way around the Nurburgring, but specifics have been somewhat hard to come by. Although details are still slim, we've heard the company plans on offering the model as a Range Rover, allowing it to fit in just beneath the Land Rover Sport.

Rumors suggest Land Rover may use the LRX to launch its new hybrid powertrain, which also appeared in the LRX concept. The system could pair a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 with an electric motor, and reports suggest a plug-in version -- which could offer up to 20 miles range from electricity alone -- has also been discussed. Dealers privy to the product information told Automotive News the LRX will be "the most efficient vehicle" ever offered by the brand.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2011 Maserati Quattroporte GT S Award Edition

The Geneva auto show is traditionally a hotbed of automotive erotica, a showcase of all the great—and terrible—boutique brands of which America is systematically deprived year after year. But even established marques tend to save something fabulous for rollout at the Swiss show, and Maserati’s entry this year will be the Quattroporte Sport GT S Awards Edition. (We propose amending the name to QuattroSporte GT S Awards Edition—still not short, but 12.5 percent less long.)

Maserati tells us this is a special edition meant to honor the many laurels bestowed upon its sedan—56 awards by the company’s count, in 14 countries on four continents. We have only one question: What happens if the Awards Edition wins an award? A spiral into nomenclature hell is our best guess.

Maserati started with the Quattroporte Sport GT S, which teams a screaming, 433-hp, 4.7-liter V-8 with a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic transmission. It then paints the car a new color it calls “Quarzo fuso,” a pale metallic gold.

The paint is set off by matte finish on the chrome exterior trim and charcoal-gray 20-inch wheels. Polished calipers are tucked inside the wheels. The paint is matched by the interior, where tan leather seats with perforated Alcantara inserts promise the utmost in pampering. The headliner is likewise rendered in the soft faux suede, as are door-panel inserts. Satin-finish wood moldings and brushed-aluminum door moldings are included as well. And, of course, an “Awards Edition” plaque serves to remind friends that your Q-porte cost more than theirs.

The Quattroporte Sport GT S Awards Edition goes on sale in the second half of 2010 as a 2011 model. Pricing has not yet been announced, but figure on at least a $10,000 premium, which would push this Maser’s price into the low-to-mid-$140,000 range.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car; 2011 Audi RS5

When Audi started building high-performance cars, they were turbocharged when everyone else was building high-revving, naturally aspirated engines. With the last-generation RS4, Audi made the switch to a beastly, naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V-8. Now the tide is turning in favor of the turbo—both BMW's M and Mercedes’ AMG division are working on turbocharged engines. Audi, on the other hand, intends to keep its free-revving V-8—at least in some models.

At the Geneva auto show, we’ll meet the upcoming Audi RS5, the wildest evolution of the A5 coupe, and as direct a competitor to the BMW M3 coupe that exists. Here, Audi's 4.2-liter V-8 makes 450 hp at 8250 rpm, and maximum torque is 317 lb-ft, available between 4000 and 6000 rpm. The hand-built engine is direct-injected and closely related to the 420-hp V-8 which powers the R8 supercar.

Top speed is electronically governed at 155 mph or 174 mph, spec’d to your order. Zero to 62 mph is accomplished in a claimed 4.6 seconds. That number trails what we’ve recorded from the BMW M3 coupe, but it is likely a conservative guess.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Unofficial Picture: 2011 Audi RS5

Audi mystery Geneva model has stepped into the spotlight! Leaked onto the internet via an unamed German agency, these exclusive images show the long-awaited RS5 - the more powerful sibling to the S5 Coupe and the latest model to wear the hallowed RS badge.

There are no official details yet, but it's clear that the RS5 has received a unique body treatment to the lesser-powered S5. A new front bumper with larger air intakes, blistered wheel arches and a new honeycomb grille without a horizontal bar through it are the most obvious changes.

At the back a re-profiled rear bumper sits above a blacked-out diffuser with the trademark RS oval tailpipes either side. Unique alloys, revised LED taillights and a retractable rear spoiler finish off the exterior tweaks.

Judging by the interior shots it appears there are no significant cosmetic differences to the S5's cabin, which is no bad thing. But when it comes to an 'RS' model it's what's under the bonnet that counts.

Despite the S5 Cabriolet now being fitted with a supercharged V6, it's believed that the RS5 will be the final sppearance of Audi's venerable 4.2-litre V8. Likely to be in naturally aspirated form with around 450bhp and mated to a seven-speed S Tronic twin-clutch gearbox, it should sprint from 0-60mph in well under five seconds and on to a limited top speed of 155mph.

More details will be revealed closer to the car's unveil at Geneva next week.For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

First Sketch: 2011 Kia Magentis

These are the first official pictures of Kia’s all-new Insignia rival, the Magentis, which will make its public debut at the New York Motor Show on 2 April. The striking concept is longer, lower and wider than the previous model, making it near-identical in size to the Vauxhall saloon. What’s more, Kia promises that the new car will feature a lengthened wheelbase to provide more interior space for passengers and luggage.

The car’s front features Kia’s prominent tiger’s snout chrome grille, establishing a clear link between the new car and the rest of the Kia range. In profile, it features a sharply creased C-pillar, mimicking the famous Hofmeister kink seen on all BMWs, and further hinting at Kia’s premium brand aspirations. Lights with horizontal LED bars feature at the rear.

The new Magentis is set to go on sale in the USA and Asia – where it is known as Optima - from autumn 2010, while UK sales will begin in Spring 2011. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Mercedes F800

By the time we head to the Geneva auto show in a few days, there won’t be many surprises left to report—which is fine by us, as we’ll be busy arguing with French-speaking cabbies about accepting euros instead of Swiss francs.

Now Mercedes has prematurely announced the F800 Style concept, which seems to be a pretty faithful look at the upcoming 2011 CLS. If accurate, it looks like the next CLS will be as dramatic departure from the old as the original was from the E-class on which it was based. That’s disappointing to us, as the current car is among the most beautiful cars on the road today, whereas this one—in pictures at least—seems to be based on Zoolander’s “Derelicte” line of nonsense spun as fashion. It looks like they borrowed ideas from a few carmakers and combined them into one, then slapped on an SLS grille and put a BMW 3-series front fascia on the rear. But we’ll reserve final judgment for when we see it in person.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2011 Nissan Patrol

You might not have picked up the seismic tremors in North America, but jaws thunked to earth in places as far flung as Australia, Africa, Russia and the Middle East when Nissan confirmed its Patrol heavy-duty SUV was trading in its good ol' live axles for independent underpinnings.

So what's the Patrol and why should you care? Well in plenty of places, it's a 4x4 icon, conquering the tough terrain of the Middle East since the 1950s and in 1962 becoming the first vehicle to successfully cross Australia's scorching Simpson Desert.

So it's a tough, old-style truck -- go anywhere, do anything, tow anything. Mechanically, it's barely altered in the last 25 years. Philosophically, not at all through 60 years and six generations.

But it's all changed now, much to the chagrin of traditional fans, who fear such things as those newfangled double wishbones will compromise the Patrol's legendary off-road ability.

It's the requirements of North America that have a big role to play in this fundamental shift, because the Patrol is finally headed for the world's largest SUV playground, albeit as the new-generation Infiniti QX56.

Scheduled for unveiling in New York in April, the luxury SUV will have its own external and internal styling features, its own seats and instrument panel, but all the important mechanical and technical stuff and much of the equipment will be shared.

Previously the QX was twinned with Armada, both built in Nissan's Canton, Missouri, plant alongside the Titan pickup. The new QX will be built in Kyushi, Japan, on the same line as the Patrol.

So what happens to the Armada? Pretty much nothing, says Carla Bailo, program manager for the P61G Patrol.

"Right now [the future of the Armada] it is still to be determined," she explains. "The current model based on the current Titan we are going to continue building as long as physically possible, meaning as long as it meets all the emissions and safety requirements.

"We are going to have a next Titan, but whether we turn that into an SUV is still TBD."

So what about turning the Patrol into the Armada? "This is a little bit more sophisticated than the Armada, quite frankly," responds Bailo. "So we are not sure if it is right for that segment. We would have to do some tuning and decontenting."

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2012 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

Late last month, we brought you the first spy shots of the next-generation Porsche 911 testing in the snow, replete with subtle body modifications. Now, our spy photographers have captured the nearly identical convertible model testing as well.

New Car: 2011 Volkswagen CrossPolo

It's not really clear to us why people with perfectly average driving styles like to drive cars with big tires, huge fenders, and an altogether aggressive look. But whatever—people gotta drive something, and if their stylistic preferences mean even-meaner-looking, actually purposeful stuff for us, then we’ll let it slide. Volkswagen is catering to both preferences within one model lineup at this year’s Geneva auto show, satisfying speed merchants with the already revealed Polo GTI and serving the rest with this crossover-inspired CrossPolo.

Compared to the standard Polo, the CrossPolo’s body has been raised by about an inch, which should help immensely for off-roading expeditions through city parks. Rugged gray plastic skirts and fenders will take almost any kind of shrubbery-inflicted abuse. But the 17-inch alloy wheels will demand your utmost attention during parallel parking to avoid curb damage.

The CrossPolo comes only as a five-door hatchback, emphasizing its practical nature. Six colors are available, including exclusive Magma Orange, which highlights the wild and crazy nature of the car, and Terra Beige Metallic, which takes on the spirit of your last trip to the Gobi desert. Standard roof rails will support the fuel and water supplies for your next exploration mission.

VW is offering three diesel engines and three gasoline engines. The diesels are all 1.6-liter four-cylinder units making 75, 90, or 105 hp. The gas engines include a 70-hp, 1.2-liter four; an 85-hp, 1.4-liter four; or a turbocharged 105-hp, 1.2-liter—you guessed it—four-cylinder.

It’s worth noting that VW is actually sort of a pioneer in the crossover arena. The 1990 Golf Country, a sort of jacked-up Outback-ish model based on the second- generation Golf, was sneered at in its time, but is a sought-after collector's item today.

While we poke a bit of fun at it here, the VW CrossPolo really is a fun twist on an efficient little car. Sales start in May in Europe and Japan, but this Polo variant is unlikely to make it to the U.S.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Spied: 2012 Citroen DS4

This is the first spy photos of the Citroen DS4 crossover testing.

The DS4's styling is set to be previewed by the High Rider concept car, which will be on display at next month's Geneva motor show. It will give the firm a rival to the Nissan Juke and Mini Countryman when it enters production in early 2011.

It uses the new Citroen C4’s platform, itself due to be launched later this year, and is taller and wider than the current C4 hatch at 1480mm and 1820mm, although it is slightly shorter than the current C4 at 4260mm.

However, the styling is much more radical than the C4’s, drawing influence from both the smaller DS3 and the C-SportLounge concept from 2005.

Much of the High Rider’s front-end styling is borrowed from its smaller DS3 sibling, including the grille, headlights, bonnet sculpting and badging, all of which should carry over to the DS4 production car. More radical design features, such as its fog lights, 19-inch alloys and fabric roof, are unlikely to feature.

The DS4’s Engines are likely to be borrowed from the next C4 range and a version of the concept’s diesel-hybrid powertrain should also make production. The electric motor sits on the rear axle, providing extra power and torque to the rear wheels under certain driving conditions. The diesel engine drives the front wheels ensuring the car is four-wheel drive.

The DS4 will be further removed to the C4 than the DS3 is to the C3 and its origins are less obvious than the DS3’s. It will be pitched as a more refined and luxurious model within the C4 range, which includes hatchback and Picasso models, rather than the DS3’s billing as a sporty, more dynamic version of the C3.

The DS4 is scheduled to go on sale early next year, before a C5-based DS5 arrives later in 2011.

Thanks to: Autocar

First Sketch: Opel/Vauxhall Flextreme GT/E Concept

MEET the latest incarnation of Vauxhall's electric dream! This is the Flextreme GT/E, a striking five-door luxury coupe concept that will be the star of the firm's stand at the Geneva Motor Show.

Previewing a future Vauxhall design direction with a lightweight body made of aluminium and composite materials, it gets a more powerful version of the Ampera's plug-in hybrid range extender that allows a top speed of 125mph and 0-60mph in nine seconds.

Produced over the last twelve months by design director Mark Adams and his team in Russelsheim, Germany, it points the way forward to a future large flagship for the range, as well as showing how the firm's electric powertrains are developing.

As you can see, it's a remarkable looking car with a low roofline – some 19cm lower than the Insignia's – complete with bold recessed headlights, a wide grille and a dramatic waistline that kicks up over the rear wheels. This detail hides movable aerodynamic 'blades', which automatically deploy to keep the airflow attached at the rear, drastically reducing drag. Overall, the Flextreme GT/E has a drag factor of just 0.22 – a figure Adams believes could go even lower.

Similar in size to an Insignia, the concept uses aluminium and carbon composite materials to reduce weight to a similar level to the Ampera. Speaking to Auto Express, Mark Adams said: "Whether these details will make it onto a production car is down to cost. But I could certainly invisage active aero aids and exotic materials on a more expensive top end car."

Power comes from an uprated version of the Ampera's E-REV pack, with a 161bhp electric motor hooked up to a range-extending 70bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine, which kicks in when charging is required. Some 370Nm of torque is sent to 21-inch front wheels which feature narrow 195/45 tyres. Vauxhall engineers estimate a battery-only range of 40 miles, a total range of around 300 miles and an average CO2 output of just 40g/km. Top speed is 125mph while 0-60mph takes around nine seconds.

There's every chance the Flextreme GT/E will make it into production sitting above the Ampera in Vauxhall's range. Expect its design details to feature on upcoming models too. "This is not a flight of fancy. This is to electric cars what the Insignia was to our prodcution car portfolio. A flagship," Adams told Auto Express.

Expect to see more concept cars based around the architecture too. Adams reckon they'll be great to look at as well. "Flextreme GT/E is just one expression of our intent. The design of the E-REV pack allows much more design freedom. Packages could become smaller, with reduced bulk around the nose, allowing us to improve design and meet tough pedestrian protection laws."

We'll learn more about the Flextreme GT/E at Geneva on March 2nd.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2011 Mercedes Vito EV

Benz has announced a battery-powered version of its Vito light van will go into low-volume production this year.

The first factory-made vehicle of its kind from any auto maker, the lithium-ion battery powered Vito matches its conventionally powered siblings' load capacity of more than 900kg.

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a prototype before a gathering of European political dignitaries at the EU Competitiveness Council meeting in the Spanish city of San Sebastián.

Throughout 2010, the company will deliver more than 100 of the vans to 20 customers, mainly fleet operators and public authorities. It is in its element on urban delivery runs and the like, involving short distances and multiple stops. Plans are afoot for another 2000 vehicles to follow.

The drivetrain was designed from scratch, sharing nothing with the conventional Vito's internal combustion packages. A 400V, 16A lithium-ion battery pack delivers 32kWh to a 90kW electric motor. The package gives the Vitos a range Benz says averages 130 km, but it can extend considerably beyond that, according to driving style and usage. Top speed is governed at 80 km/h.

It comes with Benz's usual panoply of primary and secondary safety systems including stability control, ABS, multiple airbags depending on specification and crash-tested passive systems -- enough to warrant four stars in Euro NCAP testing.

Thanks to: Car Point

Hot News: 2014 Jaguar XK

Jaguar’s next-generation XK sports car will have a near-300bhp V6 diesel-powered variant in its line-up when it goes on sale around 2013.

The British manufacturer’s first ever diesel-powered sports car will get a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 to take on models like the BMW 635d, which has become the best-selling car in its class in the UK and Europe.

In the new, lightweight aluminium-alloy XK, the punchy 3.0 turbodiesel promises a practical mix of performance and economy, with 0-60mph in under five seconds and a combined average of 30mpg within its grasp.

With V8 levels of torque on offer, the XK D could even become the ‘sleeper’ in the range, boasting giant-killing in-gear acceleration for strong point-to-point driving pleasure.

Significantly, as the market has shifted towards diesel sports cars, it should also help to lift the XK’s production average back up to 10,000 to 12,000 units per year by exposing the XK to a large new market segment.

To refresh the Jaguar sports car concept, the XK will feature all-new sheetmetal and a new grille design that will ditch today’s ‘Spitfire wing’ oval shape, which dates back to the E-type of the 1960s.

This traditional shape will be dropped for two reasons. Firstly, it can’t easily be expanded to make a bolder front-end statement. “It just looks wrong when it’s stretched,” said one insider. Secondly, the oval shape has proved to be less of a success overseas, where research shows it can be confused with other brands’ grilles.

Instead, Jaguar is deriving a new shape from the oblong design launched on the XF, but with its own unique characteristics. “The studio has explored dozens of variations. It’s just a matter of choosing the right one,” said another insider.

The XK’s exterior sheetmetal is also expected to move Jaguar design further forward again, just as today’s Ian Callum-designed model did when it was launched in 2006. Although the final styling still has to be chosen, the favoured sketches are understood to feature crisper metalwork and more developed body surfacing.

As with today’s car, both hard-top coupé and open-top convertible body styles will be available. The cabrio will retain a soft-top roof for packaging, styling and marketing reasons.

As the interior quality of competitors continues to increase, so the XK will respond with the highest-quality cabin ever seen in a Jaguar sports car. The design inspiration comes from the new XJ, with that car’s clever blend of hand-stitched leather and hi-tech materials taken to a new level. Expect the TFT-screen instrument panel technology developed for the XJ to be employed in the XK, along with the XJ’s electrical harness and system.

Under the skin the new XK is less ambitious, featuring a carried-over rivet-bonded platform of alloy extrusions borrowed from today’s car; Autocar understands that this key decision has been firmed up in recent months. That will keep the XK’s 2+2 cabin and relatively compact dimensions intact.

Much of the new car’s undercarriage is expected to be carried over, such as the front and rear axles and adaptive suspension, albeit with tuning improvements. The same goes for the powertrains, which will major on V8 petrol engines — both supercharged and normally aspirated — alongside the V6 diesel.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Concept Car: Bertone- Alfa Pandion

Alfa Romeo is celebrating its 100th anniversary in style. This is the Pandion – a remarkable concept car that will make its worldwide debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

Penned by famous design house, Bertone, it's based on the 8C Competizione supercar and features a single door that extends vertically allowing access to the 2+2 cabin.

Named a mythical predatory bird, the Pandion also boasts a transparent roof and side sills that show its inner skeletal structure. Tipping the scales at just over 1,000kg it measure 4.82m long, is 1.28m tall and gets lots of carbon fibre touches throughout.

Fellow Italian styling house, Pininfarina, will also reveal a concept at Geneva, in the shape of a two-seater spider. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2012 Opel/Vauxhall Astra OPC/VXR

These are the best shots yet of the fastest Astra ever! The high-performance VXR model looks set to shake-up the hot-hatch market as it goes head-to head with the Focus ST and VW's Golf GTI.

Our spies caught this protoype undergoing winter testing and while it may look like a regular five-door model, look closely and you'll spot the widened track and revised front end, complete with larger air intakes.

That's because under this mule's body lies the new three-door only Astra VXR. Powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, the new VXR should put out around 250bhp and 320Nm of torque. That will be good enough for a 0-60mph time of 6 seconds and a top speed of 150mph.

But the newcomer won't just be quick in a straight line. Vauxhall's adaptive FlexRide suspension means drivers can choose to put the car in 'Sport' or 'VXR' mode which will improve throttle response and stiffen the suspension for more agile handling. For a softer ride, drivers can simply push the 'Standard' button.

The finished article will have the visual muscle to match its performance with a coupe-like body, complete with a rakish roofline, ground-hugging body-kit and a large central exhaust pipe replacing the twin exhausts shown here.

Inside, as with the rest of the Astra range, the newcomer gets a totally redesigned cabin with high-quality soft-touch materials will be used, while equipment including a Bluetooth phone connection and an MP3 compatible stereo are set to appear.

The Astra VXR will be publicly unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September this year. Sales will begin in early 2011 starting at around £22,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: 2012 Honda CR-Z Type R

From hybrid to high-performance! Honda’s new petrol-electric coupe, the CR-Z, is being readied for Type R treatment, and Auto Express can bring you the first exclusive images of how the hot new model is shaping up.

Revealed in production trim at this January’s Detroit Motor Show, the CR-Z has already caused quite a stir by marrying a sporty three-door body with a fuel efficient hybrid powertrain – creating the world’s first truly desirable sports hybrid in the process. But the Japanese firm is going one step further with this stunning Type R version, which boasts a raft of head-turning design cues, and a more powerful hybrid powertrain under the skin.

A tarmac-hugging bodykit will create a clear definition between the standard car and this high-performance variant, and includes daytime running lights in the front apron and a black rear diffuser with integrated exhaust pipes. But it’s the colour scheme that will be most recogniseable to Type R fans.

A black bonnet, wing mirrors and wheels set against an alpine-white paint scheme will make the CR-Z stand out in a crowd. Blacked-out A-pillars are a new styling cue - giving the impression of a glass area that wraps around the car.

The standard CR-Z uses a 102bhp 1.5-litre engine coupled to a 20bhp electric motor for a total output of just 122bhp - but the Type-R is set to offer much more than that! Mugen, Honda’s official tuning arm, is reportedly being lined-up to work its magic on the CR-Z and boost its performance credentials. There had been rumours that a reworked version of the Civic Type R’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine could make it into the CR-Z Type-R, but because the coupe has been designed as a hybrid from the outset, a petrol-electric powertrain is a must.

The front-wheel drive layout and six-speed manual gearbox will remain, but expect the naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre engine to be cranked up to around 150bhp and mated to a larger 50bhp electric motor. The combined output of 200bhp will move the Type-R into serious performance territory with a 0-60mph time of close to six seconds, three seconds faster than the 122bhp CR-Z, and a top speed of 140mph.

The standard car’s three driving modes will also be extended to four, to include an additional Sport Plus setting. Select it and the throttle response, steering, timing of the stop-start system and the level of assitance from the electric motor will be set for maximum performance. Upgraded brakes and stiffened suspension will complete the package.

Our sources have revealed that the CR-Z Type R is already being prepared for a debut at next year’s Tokyo Motor Show before going on sale in Japan in late 2011. UK sales are set to commence a few months after that with prices starting from around £20,000. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Bew Car: 2011 Volkswagen Polo GTi

Here in the U.S., the name GTI is automatically associated with the top-of-the-line Volkswagen Golf because it's the only one we've ever known. Across the pond, though, there's also a Volkswagen Polo GTI, and for 2010, there's a new one.

Some 24 years after the debut of the original Polo G40, later known as the GTI, the new tiny hot hatch steps onto the stage rocking Volkswagen's 1.4-liter supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder engine good for 178 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, available at just 2000 RPM. With a curb weight just a tick over 2600 pounds and a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox onboard, VW says the Polo GTI will hit 62 mph in just 6.9 seconds and top out at 142 mph, all the while getting 47 mpg on the European combined cycle and emitting just 0.49 pounds of CO2 per mile.

Differentiating the Polo GTI from a standard Polo is a new front fascia with a new honeycomb grille and horizontal red stripes, as well as a GTI badge, new headlights and optional LED running lights. Slightly bulging sills wrap around the sides to a new rear fascia with a small diffuser and dual chrome exhaust tips, finished off with a GTI badge replacing the Polo badge. A set of 17-inch wheels from the Golf GTI backed by red-painted brake calipers completes the look.

Inside, the new Polo GTI gets a flat-bottomed steering wheel with red accent stitching and manual shifting paddles, black trim and headliner, aluminum pedals and new, heavily bolstered sport seats.

The Polo GTI is expected to go on sale in Europe by summer and will likely cost significantly more than a standard Polo, though no exact pricing has been announced yet. There are no U.S. plans as the Polo isn't currently sold here.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2011 Jaguar XKR Speed Pack

Jaguar's XKR is already plenty quick, what with 510 hp on tap and an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. But buyers hankering for a faster pussycat will love what the automaker has in store for the 2011 XKR Coupe.

New Car: 2011 Suzuki SX4

Suzuki has released an updated version of its SX4 compact crossover vehicle in Australia, addressing a number of concerns raised by customers and media.
All models are now equipped with stability control (ESP) as standard, a continuously variable (CVT) automatic transmission is now offered and fuel consumption has been reduced, thanks to an all-new 2.0-litre petrol engine.

"SX4 set a new vision for small crossover vehicles when it launched and the updated version continues to stamp Suzuki as a significant player in the local industry," said Suzuki Australia General Manager Tony Devers.

"The update guarantees the new SX4 will offer small-car customers a value-packed choice combining performance, efficiency and Suzuki's legendary reliability."

The new engines output 112kW/190Nm and fuel consumption has been reduced to 7.3 litres per 100 km for the 2WD manual and 7.6L/100 for the CVT 2WD models, improving efficiency by 11 and 16 per cent respectively.

Devers claimed that the SX4 is one of the best performing and fuel-efficient small cars available today: "Customers have always enjoyed the power of the SX4; now they can do it without paying an impost at the petrol pump. Our aim is to be among the class leaders, and SX4 more than delivers on the powertrain front."

As well as improvements in safety and efficiency, the SX4 comes in for some minor styling updates, though only eagled-eyed car spotters will notice the difference (new mesh grille, different wheels). The interior has also been refreshed.

Available in two-wheel drive sedan and hatch, there is also a 4WD version of the SX4 hatch. Stay tuned for our launch drive of the new models.

Thanks to: Car Point

New Car: 2011 Bentley Continental Supersport Convertible

Bentley’s new Continental Supersports Convertible will be the fastest and most powerful open-top Bentley ever when it goes on sale later this year.

Supersports models are the most extreme interpretations of the Continental — hence the name, which was made famous by 1925’s Bentley Supersports, the fastest and most powerful car of its day.

The Supersports Convertible’s twin-turbocharged W12 engine produces 621bhp and 590lb ft of torque. It takes 3.9sec to get from 0-60mph and 9.6sec to reach 100mph from a standstill, and can reach 202mph.

Power is sent to all four wheels through a six-speed ZF Quickshift automatic gearbox, which cuts shift times to just 93 milliseconds and allows double downshifts.

As in last year’s Supersports coupé, Bentley has reduced the weight of the four-seat Supersports Convertible over the standard car. Almost 100kg has been shaved off the base car’s 2485kg kerb weight, through the use of lightweight 20-inch alloys, carbon-ceramic brakes, lightweight seats and carbonfibre in its cabin.

The Supersports Convertible is the latest Bentley to receive the firm’s FlexFuel technology, which allows it to run on petrol, E85 biofuel or any mix of the two. Bentley says FlexFuel cuts ‘well to wheel’ emissions by 70 per cent and the technology will be standard across the Continental range from the 2011 model year.

Bentley has revised spring, damper and steering settings, and the four-wheel drive system has a 40/60 rear-biased torque split to cut understeer. The rear wheel arches have been flared to accommodate a 50mm increase in rear track, and the ESP has been tweaked to intervene less at low speeds.

Pricing will not be announced until the car’s launch in the autumn, but expect to it cost

from around £175,000. The car will be officially revealed at next month’s Geneva motor show.

Thanks to: Autocar

Sneak Peek: Idea Hybrid Concept

Italian design firm Idea will launch a hybrid powered four-seat saloon at the Geneva motor show.

The car is described by the company as being "Italian to its core: its shape, its look, its elegance and name are instantly recognised as being synonymous with Italian styling and beauty."

No other details have been released, although the company has shown a teaser picture.

Idea previously made headlines with its ERA design study, which it showed last year.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2011 Porsche Panamera V6

Porsche has expanded the Panamera line-up with a new entry-level V6 petrol engine, which will go on sale in the UK in June. The new 3.6-litre unit gets direct fuel injection and a stop-start system and produces 296bhp along with 400Nm of torque.

It will be available in both the rear-wheel drive Panamera and four-wheel drive Panamera 4 models, priced at £61,461 and £66,929 respectively. Both get Porsche's PDK double-clutch gearbox as standard.

The most economical engine in the range, the Panamera returns 30.4mpg on the combined cycle and emits 218g/km of CO2, while the Panamera 4 does 29.4 mpg and emits 225g/km respectively. Porsche claims the brand-new unit is approximately 30 kg lighter than the V8 units in the Panamera S and 4S.

Standard equipment includes steel suspension with xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic dimming rear view mirrors, Porsche Communication Management with touch-screen satellite navigation and audio controls and cruise control. Options include variable dampers and full adaptive air suspension with 19-inch alloy wheels. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2012 Volvo V60

Slotted squarely into the hole between the V50 and V70 is a new Volvo V60, essentially a wagon version of the new 2011 Volvo S60 set to take the stage in production form in Geneva next month. Our spy photographers caught up to the upcoming V60 during a recent winter testing session.

Under the larger body, the V60 is expected to be nearly identical to the S60 sedan. Along with the sedan's fresh new looks inside and out, the V60 is expected to get its drivetrains as well. That means both diesel and gasoline power plants, with the 205-horsepower 2.4-liter inline five-cylinder diesel and the 304-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder gasoline engine almost certainly are assured in Europe. So far, only the latter gasoline-powered mill is confirmed for the U.S.

At launch, Volvo also plans to offer the S60 sedan with a turbocharged 203-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and a 163-horsepower 2.0-liter inline five-cylinder diesel, both of which could also find their way into the V60. Later on, Volvo will add three more turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engines, two displacing 1.6 liters and making 150 horsepower and 180 horsepower and one displacing 2.0 liters for a total of 240 horsepower. Volvo will also add its DRIVe 1.6-liter diesel that makes 115 horsepower and all of these engines could also see duty in the V60.

Further likening it to the S60 sedan, the V60 is expected to use the same Geartronic six-speed automatic gear box and an optional six-speed manual transmission. The V60 is also expected to be offered in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations, like the sedan.

Spied: 2012 Volkswagen Amarok Single Cab

Since the cat is already out of the bag, Volkswagen isn't exactly trying to cover up the single cab version of its coming Amarok small truck, which was recently caught testing. It's expected that the single cab variant will debut soon after the crew cab edition arrives in Europe and South America early next year.

It'll likely get some available feature differentiations as a result of its natural "workhorse" designation. Rumors also suggest it'll come in either four-wheel or rear-wheel drive, in addition to the truck's already announced 2.0L TDi (120 or 158 horsepower) powertrains.

There are no plans as of yet to import the truck to the U.S.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2011 Lotus Elise

It's hard to believe, but Lotus' pint-sized sports car has soldiered on with only minor changes for the last 10 years. For 2011, small changes are on the way to give the Elise a fresher look for the new decade.

For the most part, styling revisions are limited to the car's front fascia. Designers sought to visually tie the Elise with the company's all-new Evora, replacing the quad headlamps with two angled lamp assemblies. The lower fascia receives a grille and side splitters that ape the Evora, while the upper air intake is also restyled for a resemblance. Side air intakes are simplified on the new model, and the engine cover has also been restyled.

New Car; 2011 Honda Jazz Vibe

The Jazz was one model in Honda's local product range that acquitted itself well in the local market last year. Despite facing new competition from its own platform sibling, the City, Jazz lost just 5.6 per cent of its sales in 2009, versus 2008. In real numbers that's 9031 sales last year, versus 9563 for the year before.

All the same, Honda hopes for Jazz sales to improve to a stronger level still, in 2010. To that end, the importer has announced 1200 units of a limited edition model, the Jazz Vibe, based on the 1.3-litre GLi and the 1.5-litre VTi variants. The offer on the table is a price rise of $750 for a vehicle worth $2300 more, retail.

Extra features comprise a sportier grille, alloy wheels (including the spare), front fog lights, Bluetooth connectivity and exclusive badging. On top of all that, the Jazz Vibe can be ordered in a colour unique to the limited edition model, Brilliant Orange (pictured) -- the Jazz VTi manual excluded.

Thanks to: Car Point

Sneak Peek: 2011 Porsche Cayenne

Porsche has teased the new Cayenne ahead of its official launch at the Geneva motor show next month. The silhouette of the new SUV can be made out chasing the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, which was revealed last week.

Porsche will continue offering its new four-wheel drive system with the choice of three petrol engines – all updated versions of the units used in the outgoing first-generation model.

They include a 296bhp 3.6-litre V6 in the entry-level Cayenne, a 395bhp naturally aspirated 4.8-litre V8 in the mid-range Cayenne S and a 493bhp turbocharged 4.8-litre V8 in the range-topping Cayenne Turbo.

Also planned from the outset of UK sales in May is a successor to the Cayenne Diesel running a lightly modified version of the existing model’s Volkswagen-developed 237bhp 3.0-litre V6. A hybrid model will also be added to the range for the first time.

Porsche has also managed to cut the weight of its SUV by up to 10 per cent, with the mid-range Cayenne S having shed an impressive 180kg at 2065kg, according to Porsche’s official information.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Concept Car: Peugeot 5

Say hello to Peugeot's new 5! The Geneva Motor Show star is aiming high - with a dramatic new take on the luxury car market.

Essentially a replacement for the unloved 607 saloon, the 5 aims to put right previous wrongs in this sector with a bold new look and a daring design.

The newcomer also promises the very latest environmental technology, with a 200bhp diesel-electric hybrid engine that offers four-wheel drive and CO2 emissions of 99 g/km or zero in battery only mode.

Like the recent SR 1 concept car from new Peugeot design boos Gilles Vidal, the contours of the 5's bodywork flow smoothly and without interruption, from the end of the bonnet to the top of the boot lid.

At the front, new LED equipped lights are highlighted by the use of illuminated surrounds that blend perfectly with the overall exterior body styling.

The headlamps frame a unique front grille design, also influenced by the SR1.

The streamlined sides of the car are enhanced further by the bevelled, brushed-aluminium window surrounds and door handles, combined with sculpted 19’’ wheel trims.

Under the bonnet, the 2.0 litre HDi FAP163 bhp diesel engine is mounted at the front of the vehicle, and combined with a 37 bhp electric motor at the rear.

This arrangement provides an overall maximum power of 200 bhp, an electric only mode for low speed operation, four-wheel drive when required, and low fuel consumption and emissions of 74.3 mpg and 99 g/km of CO2 or zero in electric mode.

Details of the car's interior are stil to be revealed, however, Auto Express understands the cabin focuses on delivering an upmarket blend of space and luxury.

Full details are expected on March 2nd 2010. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

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