Hot News Up Date: Jaguar F-Type Gets Green Light

A new sports car, a fourth Range Rover, a BMW 3-Series rival and an executive estate, plus new factories in China, exciting engines and a return of focus to innovation... Under Tata control, Jaguar Land Rover will be more ambitious, says top boss Carl-Peter Forster. The man in charge of making it happen is Ralf Speth, and he told us it’s time to put the pedal to the metal!

The F-Type was first seen in the form of the XK180 concept back in 1998, but the project has been constantly delayed as the company struggled with its finances. But now, thanks to the promise of £1bn of investment every year for the next five years by new Indian owner Tata, a driver-focused sports car is imminent.

Despite the good news about Jaguar Land Rover’s investment in new product and advanced technology, Tata boss Carl-Peter Forster believes the firm remains committed to closing one of its UK factories.

Put simply, Forster says “It is much better for a car company to have one large factory, than two small ones.”

Currently, Jaguar Land Rover is reviewing the future of its two West Midlands plants in Solihull and Castle Bromwich. An announcement about the future of the locations is due this summer.

Meanwhile, JLR has confirmed it will open a new plant in China within the next two years. With a production target of around 30,000 units per year, the factory is set to build Defender, Discovery and Freelander models from UK-supplied kits. A similar set-up is also planned for India.

“This move isn’t about taking volume out of the UK,” said Forster. “It’s about strengthening business in emerging markets.” For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Mini Plans to Release City Car?

Mini has kicked off studies into an affordable city car as part of a programme aimed at boosting sales by adding new models at the lower end of its line-up.

Described as a Smart Fortwo rival, the new model is aimed at complementing parent company BMW’s Megacity project. It will use conventional technology and modular mechanical components employed across the German car maker’s line-up to keep development costs down and hit profit targets.

Mini has long argued that cars smaller than its popular three-door lacked the profitability to be sustainable in the longer term. “The question we’ve asked ourselves all along is: how do we make money at this level?” a source within the firm told us.

But with BMW now committed to a three-cylinder engine and its officials investing heavily in new production techniques, Mini appears confident it can now build a solid business case for an ultra-frugal city car.

“Nothing is decided just yet,” said our source. “It is all at an early stage of conception. But there is a lot of momentum behind it right now. We may be ready to show a concept within the next 12 months or perhaps a little longer.”

Mini is tight-lipped about whether its city car will be a two or four-seater, and whether the engine will be at the front or rear.

Autocar has been told that Mini officials are keen to ensure it stretches to no longer than 3050mm — the length of the original Issigonis-engineered Mini. That would make it a good 700mm shorter than the modern-day version but some 300mm longer than today’s Smart.

Proposals for the new Mini are being developed primarily in Munich, although BMW’s design thinktank DesignWorks in Los Angeles is also contributing ideas to the project, which one official referred to by the name ‘Minor’.

Mini’s renewed interest in city cars follows Smart’s recent announcement that it plans to develop the next Fortwo with Renault, which is expected to sell its own styled version from 2014.

The last Mini city car concept to be made public was the Spiritual in 1997, three years after BMW’s takeover of the Rover Group. Shown in three and five-door form, it had an 800cc, rear-mounted three-cylinder engine.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Alfa Romeo to Release 3-Series Rival

Alfa Romeo is close to signing off the final shape of the Giulia, its all-new 3-series challenger, which is little more than 17 months from the showroom.

With the launch of the Mito out of the way and the showroom debut of the Giulietta weeks away, getting the new Giulia saloon and estate exactly right has never been more crucial.

However, Alfa Romeo has never been better placed in terms of the quality of the components it has its disposal. Not only does it have access to the Fiat Group’s cutting-edge new Compact Global Modular Architecture, but Alfa will also be able to use upcoming developments of Fiat Power Train’s Multiair engine technology and new dual-clutch gearboxes.

The new Giulia is based on a longer version of the Compact platform used for the Giulietta. While the Alfa 147/GT platform has double wishbone front suspension and a multi-link rear, it is ageing and significantly lacking in torsional rigidity. By contrast, the Premium platform that underpins today’s 159 may be extremely stiff and safe, but it is also too heavy.

Although the platform will not be the absolute lightest in its class, it makes extensive use of high-strength materials (accounting for around 90 per cent of the structure) and features lightweight crash structures front and rear, and aluminium suspension wishbones all round.

The new MacPherson-strut front end sits on a large subframe, which will allow the suspension to resist the distorting effects of the lateral forces generated by cornering. Among other advantages, this should mean the Giulia will not lose steering precision under hard cornering.

Alfa bosses say they want the Giulia to be ranked as best in class for ride and handling. Philippe Krief, head of dynamics for the Fiat Group, says that while the Compact platform’s suspension design and geometry has to cover all of Fiat’s brands, it will still be possible to tune the system to deliver Alfa’s dynamic targets.

Alfa engineers are also developing new two-stage dampers with Koni, and the company has 15 engineers working on the control software for an optional active damping system. It’s thought that the ‘DNA’ control for the throttle, steering and stability control will be standard. The Compact platform will offer Alfa the option of using a four-wheel drive system for the Giulia, as well as offering the Q2 electronic differential.

The Giulia will have some of the most modern engines of any car in this class. As well as the engines in the Giulietta (118bhp 1.4 turbo petrol and 168bhp Multiair petrol, and 104bhp 1.6 and 168bhp 2.0 diesels), the Giulia will get some even more advanced powerplants.

On the petrol front, Multiair 2 will be launched, combining the clever valve timing and lift set-up with direct injection. This step forward slightly improves CO2 emissions and dramatically reduces NOx pollution, as well as improving driveability.

A new 1750 TC GDI unit, delivering between 200bhp and 235bhp, looks like it could be the choice of the Giulia range. At the top end of the petrol line-up, it’s expected that Alfa will fit a Multiair 2 induction and injection system to Chrysler’s all-new Pentastar V6 engine. Alfa’s version should be a 3.3-litre unit delivering 273bhp with an unusually muscular torque curve for a normally aspirated V6.

There’s no news yet on whether Alfa will offer the V6 with the new torque-vectoring four-wheel drive transmission. Not only does an all-wheel drive system add considerable weight, but it can also blunt even the performance sensation delivered. If this range-topper does get the nod, at least one version will wear the GTA badge.

For diesel buyers, there’s a new, sophisticated Multiair and Multijet 2 combined induction and injection system on the way. There’s no news as to which engines will get it, but the upcoming 3.0-litre V6 diesels (220bhp and 250bhp) are the most likely. A 140bhp version of the 2.0-litre JTDm with a variable-vane turbocharger is also on the cards. Multiair also helps to significantly clean up the pollution from diesel engines.

Aside from the standard-issue six-speed manual gearboxes, there will be some interesting high-end units on offer. The M40 unit is good for handling up to 295lb ft of torque, and it will come in six-speed manual and automated manual forms. These specs could point to the technical make-up of the Giulia GTA.

Higher-performance Giulias will have the option of the new C635 twin-clutch transmission, which comes in front-drive and four-wheel-drive forms and can handle between 185lb ft and 258lb ft of torque.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: 2014 BMW i1

Heading for a city near you soon, these artist impressions from Germany, show what the new BMW Megacity could look like when it debuts in 2013. Currently referred to as the i1, the vehicle in the drawing gets its inspiration from the 1-Series, but it could be mistaken for a miniature X6.

The five-seater will be similar in size to the VW Golf, but the rear-wheel-driven car will be fully electric. Part of a new BMW sub-brand, the 'Megacity' range will be a specialist division comprising solely of electric vehicles. Joining the city-focused car, BMW is als developing a two-wheeler and three-wheeler. Featuring all the latest technologies, the i1 will be very light and also highly aerodynamic too.

Nothing has been confirmed about the drivetrain yet, but it is expected to be closely linked to the Concept ActiveE which debuted at the 2010 Detroit Motor Show.

BMW has also announced it plans on building a plant in Moses Lake, Washington, which will employ 80 people and this is where a lot of the development will take place.

The official transportation provider for the 2012 London Olympics, it is likely prototype versions of the new i-range including the i1 will transport athletes and officials around the Olympic village. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2011 Honda Civic (Europe Version)

Work on the new Civic has begun! Our spies caught a prototype of the next-generation Honda hatchback out testing in the Italian mountains.

The current model made its debut back in 2005 but has continued to look fresh thanks to its radical design touches, a feature the new car promises to carry on when it arrives early in the spring of 2012.

Because it's such a long way off, the prototype snapped here looks very similar to the old car, and the wheelbase is unchanged, but it does have a slightly wider track overall dimensions won’t differ much from today’s model. this tis

The test car was disguised with a fake front suggesting we’re looking at the old Civic, but one closer look reveals the front bumper is actually mounted yet in front of the real piece that is therefore hidden underneath.

Power will continue to come from four-cylinder petrol and turbodiesel units delivering between 80 and 140 hp. The current 1.3-litre, 115-hp hybrid motor will be carried over for the new model, too. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: GM to Release New Small Truck??

General Motors is reportedly working on a new small truck that will be closer in size to the Chevrolet S-10 and GMC Sonoma of yore than the current-generation Colorado and Canyon duo, according to's sources.

Unofficial Picture: 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia Racer

These pictures of a Ferrari 458 Italia converted for race use have sparked speculation that there will be a one-make race series for the car from 2011 - and give the first clues as to how a hardcore Scuderia model could look.

As well as standard race preparation features such as a rollcage, plastic windows and race seats, the prototype car appears to be lower than standard, have a revised aerodynamic package and wider side skirts.

Ferrari hasn't released any information about the car.

The pictures came from the Axis of Oversteer website.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2011 Ford Mondeo Estate

Get a load of this! These are the first and best pictures yet of the Ford Mondeo Estate.

The facelifted car, which is due to go on sale later this year, promises to build on the appeal of the current machine with greater attention to detail and interior quality.

Sharing much of its engineering design with the facelifted saloon, also due later this year, the car will also feature a new range of engines.

Under the bonnet there will be a 2.0-litre Ecoboost petrol unit, already available in the current Mondeo and debuting in the S-MAX and Galaxy. Delivering 200bhp, 300Nm, the Mondeo will take less than 9 seconds to go from 0-62mph.

Ford’s PowerShift transmission will be featured on a Mondeo for the first time, coming as standard with 2.0-litre EcoBoost, and it will be an option with the 138 and 160bhp 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi variations.

A smaller 1.6-litre version of the Ecoboost will also come. Added to this there will be the usual healthy selection of diesel variants. Highlighted by an updated version of the 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCI, there will be three cleaner, more efficient options, with power ratings of 113, 138 and 160bhp. There is also expected to be a 2.2-litre diesel, offering around 180bhp. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied Up Date: 2012 Volkswagen Jetta

Last time we saw the Jetta, it was sweating through summer testing in the desert wearing heavy camouflage!

But now we have caught Volkswagen's newest sedan with almost all the camouflage removed!

While there are still a few pieces of body-coloured camouflage on this 2011 Jetta prototype, most of the car is completely production-ready.

And while VW seems to have stuck fake, Toyota-looking badges on this car, it only takes a quick look at the steering wheel centre cap to see the VW logo under a thin piece of tape!

Internally known as NCS – or New Compact Sedan – this updated Jetta will be built on a re-engineered fifth generation Jetta platform. Expect the new car to be longer and wider than the current model.

The Jetta name will likely be carried over, and assembly will continue to take place at Volkswagen's Puebla, Mexico, plant, but the new Jetta will be somewhat longer and a bit wider. Volkswagen will hope to sell 160,000 units annually as they try to lure potential Corolla and Civic buyers in the U. S. with its lower base price. The car will also make it to European dealers but is – again – not expected to be a hot seller.

Although cost-cutting measures may be obvious as compared to the current Jetta, there is speculation that an AWD option may be offered. Production is expected to start in the 4th quarter of 2010, making this updated entry a 2011 model when it crosses the border. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Mini Moke is Back!

The Moke is back! MINI bosses have given Auto Express strong hints that the buggy-inspired Beachcomber concept will be sent down the production line.

Designed to show off the new Countryman crossover, the stripped-down Beachcomber proved a massive hit when it was revealed at the Detroit Motor Show in January.

So much so that MINI is close to giving it the green light. Head of brand management Dr Wolfgang Armbrecht said: “We will come back to this to see if there is a business basis, as we were overwhelmed by the reaction. MINI will never show a concept that won’t make production.”

The Beachcomber was built around the road-ready version of the Countryman, but lost the doors and roof panels in homage to the Moke – the legendary Mini-based take on the classic beach buggy. Its four individual seats are wrapped in wetsuit material for all-weather durability, and the rear-mounted spare wheel holder is actually a lockable storage box. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, a fabric tonneau can be attached to the car, while more long-term rain protection is provided by lightweight, removable plastic door and roof panels.

As with the Moke – made from 1964 to 1993 – the Beachcomber has a metal, body-coloured grille, only this time the designers have inserted driving lights. Off-road ability is enhanced by higher ground clearance than the Countryman, as well as chunky tyres. Plus, the new ALL4 four-wheel-drive system is likely to be included as standard.

If it is built, the Beachcomber would have few natural rivals – perhaps only the permanently open-topped Smart Crossblade.

And the name? Bank on Moke, if Dr Armbrecht’s comments are anything to go by. “MINIs need authentic names,” he said.

The Countryman goes on sale in the UK in September, with prices starting at £16,000 for the 1.6-litre One model. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2012 BMW 3-Series Touring

As the fifth-generation BMW 3 Series plows through its fourth year of production, we've begun to catch glimpses of the sixth-generation car set for 2012. Today, we've captured the first images of the next BMW 3 Series Wagon.

Hot News: Mahindra Eyes Ssangyong Motors

Mahindra & Mahindra is learnt to be keen to make a bid for the ailing Korean car manufacturer SsangYong Motor Company. Bidders had to submit their letters of intent by end of May.

The acquisition of Ssangyong may be a good fit for the Indian company in its quest to become a global player in SUVs and pick-ups. The Korean company has two plants, one of which makes SUVs such as the Rexton II and a luxury saloon called Chairman, and the other plant manufactures engines.

M&M may have to shell out up to $300 million to bid for Ssangyong, which has been attracting investments since December 17, 2009. China’s SAIC is the single largest shareholder in Ssangyong. Some years ago, M&M had planned to introduce the Rexton in India under a licensing agreement but that never materialised.

Thanks to: Autocar India

Hot News: New Volvo XC to Replace S40?

Is the S40 dead, set to be replaced by a baby XC softroader? That’s the most likely conclusion we've drawn from discussions with a number of key Volvo personal last week.

Discussed in the shadow of the launch of the S40/V50's larger and much more accomplished S60 sibling, the future of Volvo's Focus-based small sedan and wagon looks far from certain. In fact, it seems even the decision to facelift the car is on hold.

Volvo insiders admitted to the Carsales Network that any announcement regarding the future of the S40/V50 was still some way off. They expected the future of the car would be resolved in "the next 12 months" but would not comment on any timing for a facelift for the car, nor the timeframe for the debut of its replacement.

"With most models there is a clear plan. We have no news on timing for [the S40]," our Volvo source stated.

"We are keen to understand how the S60 and V60 will impact the S40. Currently there is less space in our line-up for the car [S40/V50]. It doesn't sit in any segment and doesn't directly compete with established small or medium car."

The current second generation S40 arrived Down Under in 2004. Though it's been tweaked since, the car is essentially unchanged. In the faster moving flow of small and medium cars an all-new replacement is almost overdue.

Volvo execs said the next 12 months are "crucial" for the S40.

"Maybe the gap between C30 and S60 is too big -- but how to fill it?" our source mused.

At the Sintra Portugal launch of the S60, Volvo execs again categorically ruled out the prospect of a five-door variant of the C30. Speculation is therefore that the S40/V50 'gap' will likely be addressed by a compact softroader.

With BMW seemingly onto a winner in sales terms with X1 and a Q3 reportedly in the wings, XC40 has a pleasant ring to it.

Thanks to: Car Point

Sneak Peek: 2011 BMW X3

These are the first pictures of the new BMW X3 – although little is given away about the new SUV, which will appear for the first time at this autumn’s Paris motor show.

The cryptic teaser pictures released in Germany reveal little more than the styling of the rear lights and bonnet, both of which have been inspired by the new BMW 5-series.

The pictures also show the car’s exterior and interior designers at work on the new X3’s styling.

Previous spy pictures of the new X3 have revealed it to be bigger and bulkier in size than the current model, meaning it will sit between the X1 and X5.

Its wheelbase will be around 2900mm. The increase in dimensions will help answer two of the biggest criticisms of the original X3: its lack of rear legroom and poor access to the back seats.

BMW has always been serious about making its SUVs handle like the rest of the range on asphalt, and the new X3 has undergone extensive testing at the Nurburgring.

Despite the new car's larger dimensions, four-cylinder diesels will continue to be offered in its line-up, alongside six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.

The new X3 is expected to reach UK showrooms in October, with prices starting at around £35,000.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: ItalDesign is Bought by Volkswagen

Despite demand from Chinese carmakers for seductive designs from renowned Italian design houses, firms like Pininfarina, Bertone and Italdesign (IDG) have found making money pretty tricky in the current financial climate.

But help is at hand for the latter at least, with news that the VW Group has acquired a 90.1 per cent stake in the firm, with the founding Giugiaro family retaining the remaining shares.

Speaking at the announcement of the deal, VW Management Chair Dr. Martin Winterkorn said “With this shareholding in Italdesign, we are participating in one of the most renowned design and development companies with one of the richest traditions in the automobile industry.”

Giugiaro designed the original VW Golf and Scirocco, and produced concepts for the Passat and Audi 80. But more recently, the IDG has been collaborating with VW on work on the firm’s new Up! range of fuel-efficient small cars over the last two years.

Taking advantage of taxation rules, IDG was purchased for the VW Group by Italian-registered Lamborghini Holdings. As well as the Up! models, IDG will work on making the firm’s entire line-up more attractive to the ever-growing Chinese market. IDG currently generates sales of over €100 million and has a workforce of 800 employees.
For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Cosworth

The Cosworth badge is back – on a Subaru Impreza. Based on a standard STi, and re-engineered by Cosworth, the 395bhp CS400 aims to set new performance standards. With only 75 being built, it
will be an instant collectors’ item, too.

Racing pedigree runs through the car’s long list of modifications, yet while power output has shot up from the standard 325bhp, so has the price tag: it now weighs in at an eye-watering £49,995.

The 2.5-litre boxer engine remains the same size as normal, but the added grunt comes courtesy of a brand new turbo and remapped ECU. Its internalsare hand finished to ensure that they cope with all the extra power, and the head gasket, con rods, cylinder heads and pistons are tougher and more durable.

A shortened throw and new clutch plate speed up the changes offered by the six-speed gearbox, giving the CS400 a Porsche 911 Turbo-rivalling 0-62mph sprint time of only 3.7 seconds.

Even so, don’t be fooled into thinking that the Cosworth Impreza will be a rock-hard track-day special. Although the ride has been lowered by 10mm and the track has been widened, Subaru claims that new Bilstein gas shock absorbers and Eibach springs improve comfort as well as giving sharper, more controlled handling at the limit. There are larger, 355mm ventilated discs from AP Racing at the front, with heavy-duty six-pot calipers to rein in the Scooby.

All of the upgrades were deliberately kept simple, the reasoning being that Subaru wanted the Cosworth to be a much faster, harder Impreza that is also a reliable, comfortable and usable everyday car. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News Up Date: Toyota Prius MPV to be Called 'Alpha'

Toyota is charging ahead with its plans to expand the Prius range, with a compact people-mover as one of its top priorities. Now in its final stages of development, the Prius mini-minivan, dubbed Alpha, will be the first vehicle in the Prius line to use lithium-ion batteries when it debuts in March 2011. Just one-third the weight of the nickel-metal hydride battery pack used in the current production Prius sedan, the new lithium-ion batteries generate greater power and are already in use in the prototype Prius plug-in hybrid.

Hot News: Maruti - Suzuki Alto to Get New Engine

India’s largest selling car, Maruti Suzuki Alto is all set to receive a major upgrade. The company is planning to introduce a new Alto with the K-Series engine.

The current Alto that has been out in the market since the year 2000 has received minor upgrades over the years like crystal headlamps and tail lights, new front grille design, new front bumper and the recent upgrade to a BS-IV compliant engine.

Alto has been one of the best selling cars in the country since its launch and has sold more than 13,500,000 units. The new Alto will have redesigned front and rear styling and a bigger engine bay to accommodate the larger K10B engine.

The K-Series engines are being offered in two displacements - 998cc three-cylinder motor ('K10B') that is doing duty in the A-star, Estilo, and the new WagonR and a four-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine ('K12M') powering the Ritz, Swift and Swift Dzire.

In April, Maruti Suzuki India has crossed the milestone of rolling out 300,000 K Series engines. The company has a total engine capacity of 100,000 units annually, of which the share of K-Series engines is 2,50,000 units.

Thanks to: Autocar India

Spied: 2011 Opel/Vauxhall Astra Coupe

It’s a family affair at Vauxhall. Next month, the firm will officially reveal the Sport Tourer estate version of the new Astra. But our spies are one step ahead of the game, and have snapped the first pictures of the dramatic three-door Sport Coupe that’s set to add a little more glamour to the range when it arrives in time for the Paris Motor Show in October, before going on sale in the Spring of 2011.

Designed by Brit Mark Adams, the Coupe follows the trend set by the previous generation Astra. So while the five-door car had fairly sober lines, the coupe was much more rakish and used very different sheet metal.

And as you can see, in profile the new car has a curved roofline and dramatically swooping glazed area which drops quickly from the front doors back to the tailgate glass. The camouflage hides a dramatic crease above the rear wheelarch which gives the shape extra dynamism. More aggressively sculpted LED taillights and a new rear bumper will also feature.

The Astra’s front has also been revised to further differentiate it from its five-door sibling. Tweaked bumpers, headlights and LED daytime running lights, and a sloping bonnet, which better suits the curvaceous roofline, will all feature.

Under the skin, the Sport Coupe gets a wider track than the five-door for better stability and cornering grip. The Coupe will share the same range of engines as the five-door - the 1.4-litre turbo and 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrols will be joined by a 2.0-litre diesel and 1.7-litre ecoFLEX oil burner.

But the real headline is the addition of two new performance versions of the stunning Coupe. The first is a 210bhp 1.6-litre turbo which revives the GSi name and is designed to take a swipe at the VW Golf GTI. This car is set to debut alongside the rest of the range. Performance fans will have to wait until later in 2011 for a firebreathing 240bhp 2.0-litre petrol turbo VXR version of the car. For more details click here.

Sneak Peeks: Two New Models of Infiniti M

Nissan’s ambitious luxury brand Infiniti is set to expand. At this year’s Geneva Show, the firm exhibited its new M saloon, which takes aim at the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class. The car will arrive in UK showrooms in September, powered by V6 petrol and diesel engines, with a petrol electric M35 hybrid arriving 12 months later.

What’s more, the M series is about to gain two extra models which will make their debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August.

Details are being kept under wraps until the show, but one of the cars is believed to be an M-based coupe, which would lock horns with the BMW 6 Series. Power is likely to come from a turbocharged version of the 3.7-lire V6 engine used in other Infinitis and the Nissan 370Z, with styling heavily influenced by the stunning Essence concept car which was shown at Geneva in 2009.

The other car is more mysterious, with a convertible M or another version of the forthcoming hybrid both touted as possibilities. For more details click here.

First Sketch: 2011 Maybach 57S Coupe

Never before has a car promised such an impressive combination of supercar looks and performance paired with unrivalled luxury. This is Xentac’s vision of the ultimate Maybach 57S. Already given the go-ahead by the Daimler owned company, it appears Maybach has no problem handing over the reigns to the specialist German engineering firm who will make the necessary changes to turn the four-door limo into a two-door sports coupe.

Developed in close cooperation with Maybach, the complicated modification process will mean that the A-, B- and C-columns all need to be redesigned. The biggest changes being made to the B-column which needs to be moved back by 200mm. Other big differences will include the sharper raked roofline, restyled front and rear ends, and body that has had to be widened. The overall wheelbase of the car will remain the same though, measuring a lengthy 3.39m. Newly designed 20- or even 21-inch alloy wheels will also be available.

Under the bonnet the coupe will remain to get its power from the Mercedes sourced 6.0-litre bi-turbocharged V12. Delivering 617bhp, 0-62mph will take only 5.0 seconds, with a top speed of close to 170mph.

Xentac are planning on producing only 100 versions of the 57S built and expect a hefty price tag of around £575,000 to accompany. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2012 Audi S7

The all-new production version of Audi’s A7 is still a few months off, but already the German firm has begun work on a hot ‘S’ version of the luxury sportback. Due to make its debut at one of this year’s major motor shows, early predictions are that the Mercedes CLS rival will debut at the Moscow show in August but don’t be surprised if it shows up at Paris a few months later.

If this is the case, there is every chance the new Audi could be joined by one or possibly even possibly two of its sports orientated siblings. Rumours have already begun that an RS7 version is on its way too, but before we get too far ahead of ourselves lets focus on the S7 spied in the pictures.

Despite the hypnotising camouflage, it’s not hard to make out the Audi’s muscular outline. The large wheels, rear spoiler, lower ride height, more aggressive front end and set of twin tailpipes emphasise this even further.

The close-up of the dash also gives the first clear indicator of what the interior of the new A7 will look like.

Under the bonnet there have been no confirmations about which cars will get which engines but it is expected the S7 will get either Audi’s new 3.0-liter V6 or possibly even a 4.2-litre V8, while it is expected the RS7 will most likely get the 580bhp version of Audi’s naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 engine mated to the firm’s new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Prices for the S7 are expected to start from around £65,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Pininfarina Nido EV

Pininfarina's latest endeavor is the pint-sized Nido EV, a city car capable of transforming into four different vehicles.

Spied Up Date: 2012 Mercedes CLS

Born in 2004, the Mercedes-Benz CLS defines sleek, its elegant body seemingly drawn entirely from the simple sweep of the body-side crease. In the car business, falling in love with a design is dangerous, but we did. As previous spy shots (and one frightening concept said to lend cues to upcoming Benzes) trickled out, we feared the next-generation CLS might be headed in the direction of a Hollywood plastic-surgery disaster.

Although slightly obscured, the most recent photos captured by our spies prove the 2012 CLS will thankfully do without the superfluous forms of the F800 Style concept, although the shape won’t be quite as dramatic as the CLS-shaped sculpture Mercedes trucked to Detroit. The new look does little to quell the debate in our office about whether or not the upcoming car will be an improvement on the last generation.

Our past peek at a car wearing tight-fitting vinyl camouflage had already exposed the modifications to the new design. The nose is reshaped with a larger grille, more sculpting to the front bumper, and bigger headlights. The grille has to grow to match up with the taller hood, raised to provide more space between sheetmetal and hard bits in accordance with stringent new European pedestrian-protection standards. (Relatively speaking, sheetmetal is softer than engine components, and more space between hood and engine ostensibly means less-severe injuries in car/human collisions.) The most controversial aspect of the new shape will likely be the buff new E-class–style rear haunches, which are decidedly outside the standard of conservative elegance established by the first CLS. Like the rest of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the 2012 car is going in a more muscular, angular direction.

That muscularity will extend under the hood as well, with “CLS350 CGI” trunk badging suggesting that the car captured here sports the new 3.5-liter V-6, the first member of Mercedes-Benz’s forthcoming engine family we’ll see in the U.S. The rest of the CLS’s U.S. engine choices will be drawn from this family—indeed, that family will replace the current engines across the Mercedes board—including a twin-turbocharged 429-hp, 4.7-liter V-8 and an even more powerful, 536-hp, turbocharged 5.5-liter eight for AMG models.

The—at this point—almost fully uncovered CLS will make its official debut later this year, with sales beginning shortly thereafter elsewhere in the world, but likely not before 2011 in the U.S.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

First Sketch: 2012 Volkwagen Vento

Volkswagen India has released the first sketch of its new Sedan, the Vento. The saloon is slated to hit the Indian roads later this year. The Vento is essentially the saloon version of the recently launched Polo and it shares a common platform with the hatchback.

Specifically designed for India, the Vento will be tailored to the requirements of the Indian consumer and carry the Volkswagen DNA of German Engineering. The sedan will be manufactured in Volkswagen’s state of the art plant at Chakan, Pune.

Both the saloon (Vento) and the hatch (Polo) are similar upto the B-pillar, except for a different grille and lights to differentiate it from its hatchback sibling. The Vento’s rear section or third box is well integrated with the body. The wheelbase has also been extended by an estimated 50mm for better legroom. Headroom too will be better as the roof doesn’t taper down as sharply as in the hatch.

With its authentic and elegant design coupled with innovative features and driving dynamics, VW is hoping the Vento to set new benchmarks in its class and to act as a key brand pillar for the company to stimulate its growth in the country.

The Vento will be in addition to Volkswagen’s already existing product line-up which includes the Polo, Passat, Jetta, Touareg and the new Beetle.

Thanks to: Autocar India

New Car: 2011 Toyota Rukus

Toyota has released the most "un-Toyota" vehicle it has ever launched locally, a boxy small car called the Rukus -- and Australia's most popular car maker has openly admitted that it is a "love it or hate it" vehicle.

"I must confess I wasn't sure about the appeal of the Rukus when I first saw it," says Toyota Australia senior executive director of sales and marketing, David Buttner. "I thought cars were supposed to have curves on them ... but suddenly I discover it's hip to be square."

Buttner admitted that the Rukus was designed to appeal to Gen Y buyers, "but that doesn't mean everyone who's young will love it, and everyone who's old with hate it. It's a bit like vegemite, it's an acquired taste."

When Toyota did "blindfold" customer clinics in Australia (where the Toyota badges were covered on a Rukus sample car) most people didn't pick it as a Toyota. They thought it was a Honda or a Volkswagen.

Priced from $27,490 -- a substantial price premium over the Corolla on which it is based -- the Rukus is not intended to be a volume seller for the brand, rather it is "the first of a series of cars that are about brand image, not volume", says Buttner.

"We expect to sell about 150 to 200 a month, which is relatively low volume but important volume. Most of them will be first time Toyota customers."

He said many young buyers will see the car as "a blank canvas, limited by only by their imagination and, of course, what's legal".

To help with its appeal among younger buyers, Toyota will launch the Rukus with a special finance deal starting from $123 per week.

Designed at Toyota's styling studio in Los Angeles, where boxy cars have become cool among younger buyers, the Rukus has about the same size footprint as a Corolla but with the roominess of a wagon.

"Depending on who you talk to it's either a Corolla wagon on steroids or a lowered, front-drive RAV4," says Buttner. "It straddles the line between family car and SUV. It's a small car with a tall roof."

The chief engineer for the vehicle, Hiroya Fujita, describes it as "something of a TARDIS, compact outside, roomy inside".

There are three model grades in the new Rukus range, known as Build One, Build Two and Build Three.

Priced from $27,490 Build One comes with six airbags, stability control, a proximity key, digital speed readout, and four-speed automatic transmission (a manual is not available on any model).

Priced from $29,990, Build Two gains climate control air-conditioning with a digital display screen, six-CD player and a nine-speaker sound system.

Priced from $31,790 Build Three gains a sunroof in addition to the equipment on the other two models.

The Rukus is powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine with 23 per cent more power and 28 per cent more torque than the 1.8 in the Toyota Corolla, but a 0 to 100km/h is not yet quoted for the car.

The first cars have begun to arrive in dealerships and the first customer deliveries are expected this week.

Despite the arrival of the Rukus, Buttner said that Toyota was not about to introduce the Scion brand locally.

"The Toyota badge is fine," he said. "We were pleasantly surprised about the positive reaction to the car once the people in customer clinics realised the car we were showing them was a Toyota."

Thanks to: Car Point

Hot News Up Date: 2012 Ferrari Enzo Gets Green Light

The new F70 is go! Ferrari has exclusively confirmed to Auto Express that it will definitely build the ultra-light carbon fibre supercar previewed by the 2007 Millechili (1,000kg) concept.

It could be on sale from as early as next year, and will use the 562bhp, mid-mounted V8 from the latest 458 Italia, with the likely addition of twin turbochargers. The newcomer will also borrow the aerodynamics and carbon fibre and aluminium honeycomb body materials from the 2002 Enzo supercar.

“This model won’t be as big as the Enzo,” said Roberto Fedeli, Ferrari’s technical director, “more in line with the 328 or the old model [288] GTO. Theoretically, this is a practical car.” Weighing only one tonne, the F70 should top 200mph and sprint from 0-60mph in three seconds flat. It will be faster than the 458 but also, in line with the project’s emission-cutting aims, more economical. Combined fuel returns could be as high as 25mpg, and better than the 458’s 21.2mpg.

There’s no word on price, but expect it to be around £350,000.

The parallel development of a hybrid model – using Ferrari’s F1 Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), and previewed by the 599 HY-KERS set-up at March’s Geneva Motor Show – is causing some technical headaches. “The most important thing is to lose weight,” said Fedeli of the system. “We’re trying to cut 80kg out of the car and 20kg out of the hybrid drivetrain. It’s difficult.” For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2012 Land Rover LRX

Land Rover’s family album for 2010 is complete! has got the first undisguised images of the eagerly anticipated Compact Range Rover and the first pictures of the new, facelifted Land Rover Freelander.

Lightly disguised with a psychedelic paint job, these world first shots of the Range Rover reveal just how faithful to the design of the original Land Rover LRX concept car the new Range Rover will be.

It’s distinctive three-door bodywork and bold profile is virtually identical to the 2008 Detroit Motor Show star, as is the dramatic face, which gets pinched headlamps and a bold honeycomb grille.

Under the skin, Range Rover is promising to offer the very latest fuel saving technology. That means drivers will be offered a choice of 2.0-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines – both of which will offer stop and start technology.

First versions of the car will feature four wheel drive transmissions, though parent firm Land Rover has announced that a two-wheel drive edition is also under development.

The first front wheel drive model in its history, the two-wheel drive machine will be an addition to the range of all wheel drive compact Range Rovers. Serving as an entry level model that will focus on lower running costs and improved fuel efficiency.

Low emmissions are also promised, with the car producing less than 120g/km of CO2 - all of which will be achieved without the need for hybrid technology. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2012 Aston Martin DB9

It's no more unusual for siblings to imitate one another in the automotive world than it is in the human world and our latest spy shots illustrate the phenomena nicely. But what's really going on with this Aston Martin?

Hot News: Hindustan Ambassador to Get New Engine

Hindustan Motors -- India’s oldest carmaker is in talks with some foreign powertrain manufacturers to source a new diesel engine to replace the 1.5 litre diesel for the Ambassador.

Its 2.0 litre diesel is currently undergoing tests at the ARAI. Ambassdor’s petrol, CNG and LPG engines have been upgraded to be BS IV compliant. HM also plans to monetize some of its non-core business/assets to strengthen itself financially. There could also be an equity partnership with its Japanese partner – Mitsubishi. Replying to a query from Autocar, an HM official said “plans have been there but we cannot specify any timelines”. He also said that Mitsubishi will have a ‘couple of new launches’ during this financial year. Mitsubishi dealership and service centres will be hiked to 50 during 2010-11, from the current level of 36 dealers.

Hindustan Motors recently reported itself to the BIFR (Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction), as its net worth eroded more than 50% of its peak net worth during the immediately preceding four years.

Its losses mounted to Rs. 42.85 crores in the year that ended on March 31, 2010. Losses during the previous year stood at Rs. 37.78 crores. HM says even though its networth has gone down, its flagship Ambassador’s production will not be affected. The company expects to sell around 1,000 Ambassadors monthly during this year. With the new plans HM says it is ‘confident’ of making profits this year.

Thanks to: Autocar India

Hot News: Suzuki Recalls Alto in Europe

Suzuki has recalled about 10,000 units of the Alto in the Europe – sold as the A-star in India – due to a problem that leads to the tail lamps not working properly. Maruti has exported 1.27 lakh units of the A-stars in the last fiscal.

However, the A-star models sold in India are not a part of the recall. A Maruti source has confirmed the development, although no official statement has been released by the company. This is the second recall concerning the A-star. Earlier this year, Maruti had recalled 100,000 units of the A-star sold in India due to a fault with the fuel pump. The batch recalled were vehicles made till August 22, 2009.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: BMW Plans to Release Front-Drive Baby

BMW will abandon decades of tradition and launch its first front-wheel-drive hatchbacks in 2013 as new entry-level models to its range.

The new cars will be based on the next-generation Mini platform and be positioned below the 1-series, which will continue in production as a rear-drive family of hatches and saloons.

Surprisingly, the new front-drive hatches are also tipped to carry 1-series badges, giving buyers the choice of BMW’s entry level with either front or rear-wheel drive.

Despite carrying the same badges, the two families of models will be distinguished by unique sheetmetal and price positioning; the rear-drive car will be pitched higher in price and quality than its front-drive stablemate.

Despite the clear overlap with the Mini, BMW is not concerned that its own front-wheel drive models will cannibalise sales of the third generation of the British car, due in 2014.

“Both brands possess a clear and individual image,” a BMW insider told Autocar, pointing to the sales success Volkswagen and Audi have achieved with both the Golf and A3. “Our research shows BMW and Mini appeal to different buyers.”

Just as VW and Audi appeal to different audiences, BMW will aim its front-drive and rear-drive 1-series at different buyers.

The front-drive model will be designed to attract new customers to the brand. The BMW source said, “We want a car that will appeal to non-BMW buyers with a focus on roominess and interior flexibility, yet like our existing entry-level model it will be fun to drive and cheap to run.”

The first of the new front-drive BMWs to appear in UK showrooms will be a tall five-door, five-seat hatchback, a rival for the upcoming Audi A2 and next-gen Mercedes A-class. It will offer the sort of interior space and overall practicality not found in the rear-drive 1-series.

The keys to the front-drive car’s spaciousness are a transversely mounted engine and gearbox. These have allowed engineers to create an uncharacteristically short bonnet for a BMW. This flows into A-pillars positioned well forward of the front wheel arches.

The altered front-end architecture helps to free up cabin space by moving the bulkhead closer to the front axle than in any existing BMW model.

The driving position also moves forward within the wheelbase, and the seat is positioned higher to give a more commanding view of the road.

While we’ve yet to get a glimpse of the new car’s exterior design - prototypes are not planned to start testing until this time next year - it is already clear that the looks of the first of BMW’s front-drive models will be quite different from those of next year’s second-gen 1-series.

A second model under development at BMW’s FIZ R&D centre in Munich is a more sporting variant, conceived to go head to head with the soon-to-be-launched Audi A1.

Clothed in a sleeker body — BMW is undecided on whether it will offer both a three and five-door or just a three-door — the second of the front-drive models is aimed at typical BMW customers looking for a less expensive alternative to the 1-series.

Thanks to: Autocar

Sneak Peek: 2011 Ford Explorer

After two-and-a-half years in the oven, we have our first partial picture (farther down in this post) of the next Ford Explorer, along with chief engineer Jim Holland's assurance that the new unibody crossover will be just as capable as the body-on-frame rig it's replacing.

Slow Motion Chevy Goodness!

Video: Chevy serves up super slo-mo testing footage — Autoblog

Thanks to Autoblog for spotting this one. Check out the video.

Hot News Up Date: Next Mazda RX-7 Stays Rotary

Mazda is working on a new rotary engine for an RX-7 successor that can run on petrol or diesel - and offer much-improved fuel consumption compared with the recently discontinued RX-8.

The two-stroke 16X engine is designed to rectify the shortcomings of Mazda’s most recent rotary powerplant, including its high oil consumption. Sources in Japan say the new unit has achieved significant improvements in fuel efficiency.

But the final go-ahead has not yet been received from Mazda’s top executives. The firm is still working out how to attain the best combination of performance, economy and emissions, and needs to address the rotary’s lack of torque in the mid-range. In its current state the 16X is expected to give the RX-7 around 300bhp and enable it to reach 60mph in under five seconds.

Mazda’s R&D department has invited several external drivers and racers to test RX-7 mules, and the design team has sought feedback at customer clinics.

Much of the push towards another rotary-engined sports car comes from Mazda USA. A recent independent survey revealed that demand for an affordable rotary-powered sports car is still as strong as it’s ever been in the US. It’s been suggested that were it not for American demand for the car, the project would have been shelved.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: 2013 Volkswagen Golf

It's the storming hatchback that’s heading to the top of the family car leaderboard. This is VW’s sensational new Golf – the seventh incarnation of one of the world’s most enduring and popular models. And this latest version is set to be the best yet.

Boasting a striking fresh look, all-new lightweight platform and an even more efficient range of turbo engines, the Golf MkVII will be the most desirable compact family car you can buy. What’s more, it will spawn a wide range of variants, including a four-door coupé and soft-top convertible.

Reinventing the Golf is oneof the toughest jobs in motoring design – and, as you can see from our images, inspiration is likely to come from VW’s New Compact Coupé (NCC) concept, displayed at this year’s Detroit Motor Show.

Although the body takes on a more square shape, the headlight lenses house twin circular LED units which help to give the Golf a familiar face. The two-bar upper grille is an evolution of the MkVI’s, but at the rear, the tail-lights are again inspired by the sporty NCC, and feature an intricate LED arrangement. As ever, the overall design is chunky yet taut with simple surfaces.

Under the skin lies an all-new platform, which is currently undergoing development. This lightweight chassis, which will also underpin the next Passat, will ensure the Golf is more efficient than ever.

Power will come almost exclusively from small-capacity turbo units, such as the recently launched 103bhp 1.2 TSI found in the Polo (tested on Page 66). Expect to see petrol and diesel three-cylinder motors, too.

BlueMotion diesels will be the stars of the line-up, offering sub-100g/km CO2 emissions and fuel returns of 80mpg. Also likely is a diesel hybrid, plus an electric version (see Page 10). At the top of the range, the GTI will continue alongside a GTD hot hatch diesel and four-wheel-drive Golf R.

In addition to the five-door shown here, there will be a three-door, estate and four-door coupé – the latter taking inspiration from the Passat CC. Sun-loving buyers will be pleased that VW is planning a desperately needed, all-new soft-top version, too.

All models will benefit from a wide range of gizmos including automatic parking and traffic sign recognition. The most exciting gadget will be a sat-nav system capable of warning the driver of sharp turns, speed limits and steep hills. But as the current Golf is selling well – and was only launched last year – the new version isn’t expected in dealers until 2012 at the earliest. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2011 Kia Soul Ghost

Halloween is still several months away, but Kia decided to give its fourth (and possibly final) special-edition Soul a spooky touch, dubbing the finished product the 2010 Soul Ghost.

Spied: 2012 Volkswagen Passat

Somewhere beneath all that heavy black camouflage is the next Volkswagen Passat pulling that trailer. Our spy shooters caught this mule testing in poor weather conditions in some of Europe's higher elevations.

New Car: 2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Blink and you’ll miss it! Porsche has unleashed official pictures and details of the new 611bhp GT2 RS – its fastest and most potent street-legal car to date.

Engineers used the 204mph GT2 as a starting point, but cut 70kg in weight and found an extra 89bhp. The result is a power-to-weight ratio of 446bhp per tonne – better than the Bugatti Veyron.

Sitting over the rear axle is a reworked version of the GT2’s twin-turbo six-cylinder 3.6-litre engine, with the boost cranked up from 1.4 to 1.6 bar.

But despite the massive step up in performance, fuel consumption and CO2 output have fallen by about five per cent, to 23.7mpg and 284g/km respectively.

As with all GT2s of the past, power is sent to the rear tyres through a six-speed manual gearbox capable of coping with the 700Nm of torque.

Straight-line performance is impressive, with the sprint from 0-62mph completed in 3.5 seconds, and 0-124mph in 9.8 seconds. The car goes on to a 205mph top speed.

In a bid to tame the RS, Porsche has fitted a variety of hi-tech electronic safety nets – including its Adaptive Suspension and Stability Management. And to ensure it’s just as quick through corners, it features sportier suspension settings and uprated anti-roll bars.

Key to the pace is its slimmed-down 1,370kg kerbweight. A number of lighter carbon-reinforced components are visible on the exterior, including the bonnet, rear engine cover and front spoiler. Light centre-locking wheels sit inside flared arches, while GT2 RS graphics on the doors and engine cover leave you in no doubt that this is the performance flagship.

Wafer-thin bucket seats help to reduce the weight, and give the interior a road-racer feel. Fabric straps replace the door handles for the same reason.

The basic colour inside is black, with red Alcantara trim on the seats and headlining, as well as the steering wheel, gearlever and handbrake.

Porsche intends to produce only 500 examples of the new GT2 RS – giving UK customers lucky enough to be able to afford the £164,107 price an alternative after Ferrari sold
all planned 599 models of its 599 GTO For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

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