Volkswagen teases possible 2012 Beetle.

Volkswagen teased us today with commercial for us to watch this coming Sunday, Feb 6th during the Super Bowl. Judging from the rally striped 6 legged kind of beetle briefly shown, we're going to get some sort of glimpse of the all new 2012 Beetle. Look for "Black Beetle" this Sunday.

According to VWs media release,   "In “Black Beetle,” the first spot for The 21st Century Beetle, cutting-edge CGI creative goes etymological, creating a photo-real lush kingdom where the Black Beetle rules, runs, navigates and out performs all the other creatures. The ad is an homage to some of the greatest car chase scenes in the history of film and TV. With the fast-paced and explosive song “Black Betty,” rerecorded by Jon Spencer and the Blues Explosion, the Beetle ad revs to life even though it does not feature any actual images of the car, a bold move for any automotive brand. The iconic shape of the Beetle and its performance attributes are prominently showcased in the spot, further building anticipation of the reveal."

Spied: 2012 Ford Falcon GT-H

When a 450-horsepower supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 is not enough, Ford will soon offer an even more powerful version of the engine — in the Australian Falcon sedan. That model — the Falcon GT-H, is shown here, winter testing.

The car you’re seeing here starts with the 2011 Mustang’s 5.0-liter V-8 and adds a supercharger for Falcon GT duty. Upgrading to the GT-H means including twin intercoolers, pushing horsepower closer to 500.

Ford’s Falcon GT hit the streets at the very end of 2010. The model represented the first time Ford Performance Vehicles used a supercharger.

“FPV’s customers certainly won’t be disappointed by the performance of the new GT range, or in the way the cars drive, and they have real presence with the new graphics package,” said FPV general manager Rod Barrett about the Falcon GT.

The GT-H may borrow the GT-P’s 13-inch Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers front and rear. The prototype shown here wears chunky, five-spoke wheels and has a big spoiler like the GT model. It remains to be seen whether the GT-H will be offered with eye-catching paint packages seen on other high-performance Falcons.

LED daytime running lights similar to those seen on the Fiesta, Taurus, and Edge might be integrated into the lower fascia. Then again, with those two intercoolers, the space normally reserved for fog lights may have been removed to provide more space.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Mercedes C63 AMG

It is always tough to follow-up a hit; records, movies, restaurants, when you get something right the first time it can be a daunting task to do better. The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG rocked the mid-sized performance sedan market when it stormed into BMW and Audi’s playground and laid an old-school smack-down of torque and tire smoke on its more reserved German competitors.

When Mercedes released photography of the 2012 C-Class, the first question was, how will this affect the C63? Well first the best news: AMG has decided to stay with the normally-aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 from the previous car. The burbling monster that really defines the car is rated at 451 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. An optional AMG Development Package includes forged pistons, lightweight connecting rods, revised crankshaft and revised ECU programming and increases the horsepower figure to 481. The package also includes an increase in the speed limiter to 174mph, red brake calipers over two piece 14.2-inch front rotors, an AMG performance steering wheel and last but not least a carbon-fiber rear lip spoiler.

The C63 is equipped with AMG’s MCT single-clutch automatic transmission that is equipped with four different modes. One of those modes incorporates a launch-control feature to optimize performance off the line to satisfy your inner drag racer.

It sounds as if Mercedes and AMG have kept everything that made the previous car so good and simply replaced its few soft spots. The transmission will be a welcome addition as will some of the luxury features. Overall, we are just thrilled beyond belief that the big thumper of a V-8 is still under the hood.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Mahindra Genio

Mahindra & Mahindra has launched its next-gen commercial vehicle, the Genio, in Mumbai. Targeting to a captive segment – small and medium business needs – the Genio pick-up is priced at Rs 4.99 lakh for the BS-III variant (ex-showroom Navi Mumbai). With the launch of the Genio, M&M is expecting to change the face of the pick-up industry in India.

The Genio single-cab pick-up will be the second product after Maxximo that will be rolled out of Mahindra’s new Chakan facility. The pickup has been developed from Mahindra’s Ingenio platform (U-platform) – the same platform which formed the basis of the Xylo MPV. This 1.2 tonne pickup will also be powered by the same mDi CRDe motor from the Xylo D2, but in a detuned state. The motor now produces 75bhp, 20bhp less than the Xylo D2, while the max torque remains identical at 22kgm.

Speaking at the launch, Dr. Pawan Goenka, President, Automotive & Farm Equipment Sectors, M&M said, “The Genio is a result of extensive consumer insight which captured the latent and expressed needs of the customer. The Genio is an ideal vehicle for businessmen, traders and SMEs. I am confident that it would be a game changer for the pickup segment in times to come.”

Mahindra already has its Bolero pick-up doing duty in the segment, which the manufacturer dominates with 75 percent market share. The segment has seen a growth of 5 percent in the pervious year and is expected to grow in double digits this year. The underperforming segment which had seen no new launches for the last four years – the most recent being the Bolero pick-up – needed fresh products to help it grow. The newly launched Genio will now directly compete with the Tata 207 Di.

On the occasion, Rajesh Jejurikar, Chief Executive, Automotive Division, M&M said, “The pickup industry in India is more than 6500 vehicles per month and growing. With the majority market share that we command, the onus is on us to offer superior products thereby driving the industry growth. Genio has been launched keeping this in mind.”

Launch of the Genio threatens to canablise the market share of Mahindra’s own Bolero pickup. However, Jejurikar is hopeful that the new product won’t eat up into Bolero’s market. He added, “Genio will not canablise Bolero’s market as they are targeted at different customer base. And even if it happens, it will help the segment grow overall.”

The Genio has been developed with an investment of Rs 225 crore and Mahindra claims that more products on the similar platform are in the pipeline. Looking at the value-for-money quotient of CNG powered vehicles; Mahindra is also working on a CNG powered variant of the Genio on priority basis, which will be followed by a double cab pick-up version on the similar platform in future.

At present, Mahindra’s Chakan plant has a capacity of manufacturing 2000 Genios per month, which can be expanded to meet with the market demands. Mahindra is also eyeing the export markets where it’s already selling the Scorpio and the Bolero pickups. “For now, the Genio has been developed for the Indian market only. We are looking at select export markets, but that will happen only after six months,” Goenka said.

The Genio is available in BS-IV variant as well which will be around Rs 15000-18000 dearer than the BS-III version. Offered in four attractive colour options – Silver Shine, Diamond White, Marvel Granite and Skyline Blue, the Genio will be available across 70 dealerships at the time of the launch. And by mid-February 2011, the pickup will be available across Mahindra CV dealerships pan India.

Thanks to: Autocar India

New Car: 2011 Porsche Panamera 4S Exclusive Middle East Edition

Porsche has revealed this limited edition Panamera 4S at the Qatar motor show in Doha.

The Porsche Panamera 4S Exclusive Middle East Edition will be limited to just 66 units for sale in the Middle East only. The special model is from Porsche Design and its interior is upholstered in bright Carrera Red leather, including the doors and dash, while the exterior paint finish is a special Carrera White Metallic paint finish.

The exterior colour is also used for the front air intakes, rear bumper, rear diffuser and the headlight washer system. It gets 20-inch Turbo II alloy wheels.

An Alcantara black headliner also features in the interior, which is trimmed with carbonfibre, and comes with a steering wheel and gear selector wrapped in black leather. The Porsche logo is embossed in the headrests of the red leather front seats and the key fob is made from the same material.

It comes with the standard 395bhp 4.8-litre V8 from the 4S complete with a seven-speed PDK gearbox and all-wheel drive. The Sport Chrono package is standard on the Middle East Edition.

Prices start from just over £100,000.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2012 Honda Accord (European Version)

Spot the difference! Honda has revealed a revised version of the Honda Accord, which includes a mildly updated look as well as a range of chassis and engine tweaks.

At the front Accord models now get a new bumper, grille and headlights but only the most eagle-eyed of motorists will be able to spot the subtle changes. Meanwhile, at the rear is a slightly reshaped bumper and re-styled lights.

There have been a few changes to the interior too including a silver finish for the door handles and handbrake. ES and EX models also get ambient blue lighting in the footwells too.

The biggest updates though, are unseen. Honda claims refinement has been improved with the use of targeted sound-deadening under the bonnet.

Improvements in efficiency have been made to the Accord's 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine, cutting CO2 emissions down to 138g/km – down from 147g/km. For estate models the figure now stands at 143g/km.

The 2.0-litre i-VTEC petrol engine has also seen CO2 emissions in the saloon cut from 168g/km to 159g/km.

There's a range of new viusal upgrades available too, including 17-inch alloys on ES and ES GT models as well as three new colours.

The facelifted Accord will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March with sales starting in July. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2011 Mercedes G55 AMG Arabia

Think the street legal Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 Qatar is one insane SUV? We managed to spot two additional SUVs on display at the 2011 Qatar Motor Show that happen to walk — if not run — on the wild side.

With some legendary off-road credentials and nearly 507 horsepower on tap, the Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG is already a pretty outrageous (and ostentatious) SUV — but that hasn’t stopped the automaker from crafting a special Arabia Limited Edition model for the Middle Eastern market. Admittedly, the modifications are subtle, limited mostly to black trim pieces, wheels, and a single paint stripe down the sides of the vehicle.

Mechanically speaking, the G55 Arabia Edition is the splitting image of stock G55 models. Power still comes from a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8, and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and a four-wheel-drive system complete with locking front, center, and rear differentials.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Concept Car: Volkswagen Touareg Gold Edition

While the Race Touareg 3 caters to performance junkies, the new Touareg Gold Edition targets those seeking the most opulent SUV possible. Although the special Magic Morning white paint contains hints of gold, the SUV’s name stems directly from its exterior trim. The Gold Edition’s 22-inch wheels, roof rails, window frames, mirror caps, and other trim pieces are actually plated in 24-karat gold.

Inside, Gold Edition Touaregs are fitted with white Nappa leather seats and a matching headliner fashioned from Alcantara, while the dashboard — also trimmed in leather — receives a natural brown hue. Walnut burr accents are used throughout the cabin, many of which receive gold inlays.

Currently, both the Gold Edition and the homologated Race Touareg are billed as concepts, but there’s a fair chance each could see limited production. We overheard VW officials saying their “price is fixed, but volume is not.” Expect each to be built in small numbers, with most — if not all — headed to Middle Eastern markets.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Concept Car: Volkswagen Race Touareg 3

Most of the hubbub at the 2011 Qatar Motor Show surrounds Volkswagen’s small, fuel-sipping concept car, but the automaker also chose to debut two special-edition versions of its Touareg SUV at the same venue.

Of the two, perhaps the most adept at actually tackling the desert sands is the new Race Touareg 3 Qatar. As the name suggests, this is an evolution of Volkswagen’s diesel-powered race buggy (the same vehicle recently dominated the Dakar Rally), but is actually designed to be street legal — at least in Qatar. Lights have been revised as to comply with legal standards, while the interior is dressed up ever so mildly with leather door panel inserts, along with Recaro seats trimmed in Nappa leather.

Make no mistake: this is still a race-ready vehicle. If the retention of the roll cage (now painted Serpentino Grey metallic) and the race seating wasn’t enough of a tip-off, the powertrain itself should be. Like the actual race-spec Race Touareg 3s, the street-legal version makes use of a 2.5-liter, twin-turbocharged, 2.5-liter I-4, which churns out 305 horsepower. Partnered with both a five-speed sequential gearbox and an all-wheel-drive system, the Race Touareg 3 Qatar is still capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in less than six seconds and reaching a top-speed of 117 mph off-road.

Much as we like the notion of purchasing a street-legal rally weapon, we think more buyers will be interested in Volkswagen’s other introduction.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Sneak Peek: Toyota FT-86 II Concept

Toyota has released a teaser image of the FT-86 II sports car concept, which the automaker confirms will debut at the Geneva auto show in early March. The FT-86 II is, of course, a sequel to the FT-86 that was shown at the 2009 Tokyo show, and it’s still officially in concept status. The same goes for its Subaru brother, a concept of which is also set to bow in Geneva, but bear in mind that neither is far removed from the production designs that will eventually arrive in dealerships.

Thanks to the magic of Photoshop, we’ve lightened Toyota’s teaser image for a clearer look at the car. The pic reveals squinty headlights and a big mesh lower grille that resembles our earlier rendering of the FT-86. The company promises this car demonstrates its “reborn passion” for sporty cars, something that has been missing from Toyotas of late.

Both the Toyota and Subaru versions of the car may bow in production form on their home turf at the Tokyo auto show this December—two years after the original Toyota FT-86 concept first saw the light of day. While we know the cars will use boxer engines and rear-wheel drive layouts, many questions remain, including whether turbocharging or all-wheel drive are on the agenda for either. For the Toyota, we’re expecting a final name that somehow includes the number 86, especially in light of the company’s recent trademark filing for a boxer-engined “86″ logo.

Keep an eye out during our coverage of the Geneva show for more information on the FT-86 II and Subaru concepts and—hopefully—the production versions, too.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Bicolore

While debuting a super-fuel-efficient VW concept may have seemed out of place in Qatar, using an auto show in the land of the oil-rich to unveil a special-edition Gallardo seems just about right. The two-tone Gallardo Bicolore will be offered only with all-wheel drive as an LP560-4 in other markets, but the version that makes it to us will drive just the rear wheels—à la Gallardo Valentino Balboni—and be dubbed LP550-2. (Yes, that means our cars will make 10 fewer horsepower.)

Aside from the welcome fact that it means more rear-wheel-drive Gallardos coming to our shores beyond the sold-out Balbonis, this special edition is basically an appearance package. But what an appearance it is. The blacked-out greenhouse—which starts at the base of the windshield and extends to the area between the taillights—lends a very tailored look to an already svelte-seeming vehicle. It accentuates the flowing line from front fender to rear haunch, quite possibly making it the best-looking Gallardo yet. Gloss black is applied to the front splitter, air intakes, and rear diffuser. The normally optional glass engine cover is standard here, providing an unobstructed view of the 542-hp V-10 that powers the rear wheels.

The not-black part of the car is available in five shades with names—like all Lambo colors—so wonderfully Italian we just have to share them: Giallo Midas (yellow), Arancio Borealis (orange), Grigio Telesto (gray), Bianco Monocerus (white), and Blu Caelum (blue). The interior gets a dark leather treatment set off by contrasting stitching that corresponds to the exterior color on all but the white car (that one, like the gray car, uses gray thread, too).

One important distinction between this and the Balboni: the transmission. Whereas Valentino’s car came with the six-speed manual, offering Lamborghini’s e-gear transmission as a $10K option, the Bicolore comes only with the single-clutch e-gear automatic.

A total of 222 Bicolores will be offered worldwide. The LP550-2 version will be available here in March starting at $194,000, which is well under the price tag for the e-gear–equipped Balboni ($235,795). Oh, and fuel economy? Leave that to the VW.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2012 Pagani Huayra

Pagani’s new supercar has breezed in, and Auto Express has the first pictures! Taking its name from the ancient Argentinean god of wind, the Huayra is set to blow the supercar competition away – thanks to its stunning gullwing-door-styling and an AMG Mercedes-sourced twin-turbo V12.

Pronounced ‘why-eera’, the newcomer replaces the Zonda but certainly builds on the outgoing car’s reputation for striking, outlandish design. At the front, the Huayra features quad jewel-like headlights and a bluff nose, which incorporates daytime running lights.

Behind the gaping front grille is a pair of flaps incorporated into the bodywork. These work in tandem with a pair of flaps at the car’s rear to give the Huayra active aerodynamics, which are controlled by a powerful ECU, which constantly monitors speed, yaw, lateral acceleration, steering angle and throttle position and adjusts each flap as necessary.
When cornering, the flaps closest to the inside of the bend pop up, increasing downforce and thus grip on the unloaded inside wheels, and reducing body roll. The ECU is also linked to the front suspension, which is firmed up under heavy braking to counter the weight transfer.

In profile, the Huayra’s silhouette owes much to the Zonda. But look closer and details like the wing mirrors which protrude on slender, carbon fibre stalks, and wheels which are different on the right and left so the spokes curve in the direction of the wheels’ rotation, demonstrate the attention to detail that has promoted Pagani to the supercar big league. And of course, there’s drama in spades, helped no end by the swooping gullwing doors.

The rear is dominated by quad titanium exhaust pipe exits, which spout from the Huayra’s twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12. The engine is built specifically for Pagani by AMG, Mercedes’ performance arm, and produces more than 700bhp at 5000rpm and 1,100Nm at 3500rpm, yet it will be rated at below 310g/km of CO2 - for comparison, the 562bhp V8-engined Ferrari 458 Italia comes in at 307g/km.

The engine’s power is fed to a bespoke single-clutch seven-speed automated Xtrac gearbox. Couple that to a kerbweight of just 1,390kg, and it’s no surprise that the performance figures are seriously impressive. 0-62mph takes 3.2 seconds and top speed is over 235mph, although this might be limited to avoid having to use bespoke tyres like those fitted to the Bugatti Veyron.

The interior picks up where the Zonda left off, with a bespoke, hand-crafted look and feel. The cabin is a little bigger than the Zonda’s, and features impressive details like the gear selector which rises from the centre console, and the multi-function steering wheel which incorporates controls for the lights, wipers, indicators, even Pagani’s version of the manettino switch, which alters both the electronic stability control and gearbox settings.

Hand-made dials for the dash and a key that’s shaped like the car and doubles as a music storage device set the Huayra apart.

Sadly, all of this fanatical attention to detail, hand-crafted elegance and brutal power comes at a price. The actual asking price is yet to be finalised, but will be at least €800,000 plus taxes, which equates to around £1,000,000 here. But if the Huayra seems a bit tame, there’s always the roadster and more powerful S version on the cards too. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

Faster, lighter and more thrilling... that’s Aston Martin’s S express! This is the new V8 Vantage S, which bridges the gap between the ‘entry’ model and the mighty V12 Vantage.

Under the bonnet is an uprated version of the familiar 4.7-litre V8, boosted by 10bhp to 430bhp at 7,200rpm. Peak torque also rises 20Nm to 490Nm at 5,000rpm. The improvements are brought about by a revised intake system, which lets in more air at higher engine speeds, plus more precise management of how the spark plugs ignite the fuel.

The tweaked engine drives the rear wheels through a new seven-speed version of the Sportshift automated manual transmission. Despite having an extra ratio, this weighs 24kg less than the old six-speeder. Aston says the first six gears sit closer together, allowing seventh to be longer, for more relaxed motorway cruising.

Add all this together, and the Vantage S is expected to complete the benchmark sprint from 0-60mph in less than 4.5 seconds – that’s three-tenths quicker than the standard car. It goes on to a top speed of 189mph.

To match the increased punch, Aston has beefed up the Vantage’s looks with a carbon fibre splitter, wider sills – inspired by the GT4 racer – and a larger rear spoiler with a fresh diffuser. Other upgrades include revised 19-inch V-spoke alloys. There’s also a new hill-hold system.

The Vantage S is on sale now, in coupé or roadster form, and starts at £102,500 – an increase of just over £10,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: New Concept Car from Alfa Romeo at Geneva Show 2011

Rumors have been rampant about a possible KTM X-Bow-based sports car from the Fiat Group , but we now have the first teaser image of the possible car: the Alfa Romeo 4C GTA concept headed to the Geneva Motor Show.

Alfa Romeo isn’t giving much away with the teaser image, merely the grille and emblem, which look extremely similar to the lengthened Alfa grille on the 2uettottanta concept from Geneva last year. Recently, reports supposedly based on ‘leaked’ information, attest that the car will be based on KTM’s X-Bow and positioned as an affordable successor to the beautiful 8C Competizione.

Although the 4C GTA concept is reportedly set to replace the 8C, it will be substantially different if it is indeed based on the X-Bow. Reports suggest that the cylinder count will be cut in half, but that the four-cylinder engine will use a means of forced induction to help boost power. The engine is rumored to be a 1.8-liter, turbocharged I-4 producing somewhere in the neighborhood of 265 horsepower. This is drastically different from the 8C’s 450-horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8, but should provide compelling performance in a car that could weigh less than 2000 pounds (the X-Bow tips the scales at a svelte 1540 pounds).

In addition to providing enough power for the sports car, the engine could hint at the 4C’s production intent. According to leaked information, the production sports car will be named the Alfa Romeo 1750SS, which is consistent with the powertrain in the concept car (1750 cc).

This is all we know for now, but we should learn more as more teasers are introduced and as we approach the concept’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Concept Car: Volkswagen XL1

In the battle for the sky-highest fuel-efficiency figure, Volkswagen continues to hone its superweapon. The XL1 concept, unveiled today at the Qatar auto show—foolishly, we neglected to put a man on the scene—is a plug-in hybrid boasting triple-digit fuel economy. It builds on prior super-high-efficiency concepts from VW, namely the 1-Liter that debuted in 2002 and the L1 concept that appeared in 2009. The former used a tiny diesel engine and was designed to travel 100 kilometers on a single liter of fuel, hence the name; the L1 added a plug-in hybrid system in pursuit of a more marketable approach to the same goal.

Like the L1, the XL1 uses a two-cylinder turbo-diesel. Displacing 800 cc, it is rated at 47 hp and 89 lb-ft of torque and transmits power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed DSG transmission. The electric motor pitches in with 27 hp and 74 lb-ft, and can work in parallel with the diesel or drive the car independent of it. Fully charged, the XL1 can travel up to 22 miles on electric power, and Volkswagen predicts a fuel-economy rating of 261 mpg in hybrid mode. Performance credentials include a claimed 11.9-second 0-to-62-mph run and a governed top speed of 99 mph.

Riding on an 87.6-inch wheelbase and measuring 153.1 inches long, the XL1 has a footprint similar to that of the Mazda 2. But its Lamborghini Gallardo–like height (just 45.5 inches) helps create a slippery drag coefficient of 0.19. The unusual body design was largely influenced by the L1 concept, with a bubble-like greenhouse and sharply tapered rear end that help achieve the outstanding Cd. Two large scissor doors swing up from the A-pillar for easy—and showy—access. The cockpit has two bucket seats, with the passenger seat mounted slightly farther back than the driver’s.

The body is built from carbon fiber, with further weight gains realized by using magnesium wheels, ceramic brake discs, and aluminum suspension components. As a result, the XL1 tips the scales at a skinny 1753 pounds, with just 406 of those accounted for by steel or iron parts.

Volkswagen says the XL1 is “still very much a concept,” but this series of concepts is moving in a very deliberate direction: VW CEO Martin Winterkorn has promised a production version of the 1-Liter by 2013. We’re just wondering how well oil-rich Qatar receives the idea of a 261-mpg car. Next year, we’ll be sure to send someone to the show.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2012 Porsche 911 Black Edition

As the Porsche 997 is entering the autumn of its life cycle—we expect its successor, the 991, to debut this September at the Frankfurt auto show—the marketing team in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen still is coming up with ways to keep the current model attractive.

The last few variations on the 911—including the GTS and Speedster—were positioned at the top of the model range. The 911 Black Edition follows a vastly different approach: Available as a coupe and cabriolet, it comes only with rear-wheel drive and the standard 345-hp engine. At a base price of $82,250, the Black Edition coupe carries a $3500 premium over the barest of all 911s; the cabrio’s sticker of $92,250 represents a $2500 uptick.

Like the GTS, the Black Edition adds more extra equipment than its additional cost would otherwise cover. Normally a $2440 option, 19-inch Turbo II wheels are included in the purchase. Also on the house are the Bose surround sound and a navigation system, plus a few other trinkets. Altogether, the extras in the Black Edition are worth about $10,000.

Appropriately, this 911 is available in any color as long as it’s black: standard black or $710 Basalt Black Metallic, to be precise. Even the brake calipers are black. Black Edition plaques adorn the door sills and glove box, and “aluminum look" (read: plastic) decorative panels are affixed to the dashboard and center console.

If you hear “base engine” and think “bummer,” a turn behind the wheel will change your mind. Coupled with one of the best manual transmissions on the road today, the 345-hp, 3.6-liter flat-six should storm to 60 mph in under 4.5 seconds; with the optional PDK dual-clutch transmission, we’ve clocked a rear-drive 911 to the mile-a-minute mark in just 4.1 seconds. On PDK cars, the optional Sport Chrono package will shave some time from acceleration runs thanks to its launch-control function. Top speed is said to be 180 mph with the manual, 178 with PDK.

Porsche will build exactly 1911 Black Editions, of which about 25 percent are headed to the U.S. If you are in the market for a 997 and want a black one, this is one of the smartest choices out there. Theoretically, building cars in limited numbers makes them future collectors’ items, but if Porsche keeps turning out limited editions at this rate, the standard models might be the rarest of all.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Spied: 2012 Hyundai HA

Here are some of the early spy pics of the soon-to-be launched Hyundai HA. Hyundai is aiming at stealing some of the Nano’s thunder with the inclusion of a Rs 2-3lakh car. At this price point, it will be able to compete with the top-end versions of the Nano and scaled down and slashed products from Maruti as well.

The HA will be based on a pared-down Santro platform, which already costs Hyundai very little and the company will leverage its already fully localised powertrain as well. The motor that powers the car will be an 814cc three-cylinder version of the Epsilon engine in the Santro, developing approximately 48bhp, and Hyundai will carry over other bits and pieces from the Santro too.

Hyundai knows how to build quality products that are well engineered, well suited to Indian conditions, deliver very good fuel economy and the company is at the top of the game as far as parts and service are concerned too.

Expect Hyundai’s all-new small car, the HA to be launched in the second-half of 2011.

Thanks to: Autocar India

Hot News: 2013 Opel/Vauxhall Astra OPC/VXR

Vauxhall is aiming to outscore Renaultsport’s benchmark Mégane 250 hot hatchback on power, handling and coupé-like styling, judging by these exclusive images of the next-generation Astra VXR and details on the car obtained by Autocar.

The next-gen VXR will get around 50bhp more, taking its power output to just shy of 300bhp, and will also feature a UK-honed and track-developed chassis designed to give it circuit performance to match that of the highly rated Renault, and take on Ford’s forthcoming four-pot Focus ST.

The images are high-resolution renderings, believed to be part of an internal planning document or an early draft of promotional material. Vauxhall declined to comment on the shots, but Autocar sources have confirmed that they are accurate in all bar the alloy wheel design, which has yet to be finalised.

They show that Vauxhall has stayed true to its stated intention of keeping the hot version of the forthcoming three-door Astra — likely to be badged GTC — as close as possible to the extreme looks of the Paris motor show concept that previewed the new model.

Several of the GTC Paris’s more intriguing styling cues look set to make production. They include sharp creases that emerge from the door handles and run across three different panels to the edge of the tail-lights, and a particularly complex tailgate shape.

There’s also an integrated roof spoiler, a small rear diffuser and Vauxhall’s signature ‘blade’ along the flanks, positioned towards the front of the car, like the Insignia, instead of at the rear like the five-door Astra’s.

GM’s chief designer, Mark Adams, admitted to Autocar last year that his team had “pushed the boundaries” on manufacturing tolerances with the GTC concept’s curves. “The technology to make cars has improved,” he said. “The body side, the stamping and the complexity is incredible. Five years ago the blade wouldn’t have made production.”

The styling of the car is designed to give the entire Vauxhall range a ‘halo’ product. Of the GTC Paris, Adams said, “I think we’ve got great products; what we need to achieve is to get people to believe in the brand. We want to build on our quality attributes — the rational elements — but make it much more emotional.”

This style-focused attitude is likely to transfer to the entire production GTC range, not just the VXR — but the high-performance variant will get a heavily modified chassis over its more mundane stablemates. “This VXR will be much more extreme and hardcore than the old one,” an insider told Autocar. “It’s being designed to offer a track-day experience far beyond the outgoing model’s.”

One of the key elements in this is the removal of the old VXR’s electronic ‘artificial limited-slip differential’ and the use instead of a mechanical Quaife-type unit. This will be mated to HiPerstrut front suspension, a set-up not dissimilar to a double wishbone layout that has proven successful on the Insignia in providing steering feel and accuracy, but minimising torque steer.

The GTC is expected to appear in production form at the Frankfurt show in September and will go on sale early next year. The VXR will follow around six months later; a debut at next year’s Geneva show is likely, with cars in showrooms by summer 2012.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2012 Fiat Freemont

Fiat will show off the latest product of its tie-up with Chrysler at the Geneva Motor Show. Called the Freemont, the seven-seat MPV is a mildly reengineered version of the 2011 Dodge Journey which arrived at the LA Show last year.

The Fiat will be built at Chrysler’s Toluca plant in Mexico, where the US-market 500 is also assembled, and imported to Europe, although Fiat is yet to decide whether to bring the car to the UK.

The Fiat Freemont has seven seats as standard, and slots into the range to fill the gap vacated by the six-seater Multipla and seven- or eight-seat Ulysee, which were phased out at the end of last year.

Design tweaks from the Journey include new bumpers, a new front grille and LED taillights on the outside, plus tweaks to the dashboard, soft-touch materials and improved soundproofing are intended to add class to the cabin.

Fiat has also tweaked the steering and suspension for greater accuracy, and added a choice of powerplaints. Two versions of Fiat’s 2.0-litre Multijet diesel will be available from launch, with either 138bhp or 168bhp. Both cars drive the front wheels through a manual gearbox. A four-wheel-drive model will offered later, with the 168bhp diesel or Chrysler’s 272bhp 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 petrol, both with automatic transmissions. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: 2012 Peugeot 208

Meet the Lion’s new pride! Auto Express can lift the lid on Peugeot's forthcoming 208 supermini family - including the thrilling news that the line-up is expected to include a new GTI hot hatch.

Powered by a 200bhp 1.6-litre engine, the newcomer will be based on a development of chassis that underpins the brilliant Citroen DS3 - creating a spiritual successor to the original 205GTi in the process. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Mazda to Develop 2 Electric

Mazda is the latest manufacturer to announce trials of a new battery powered car. The firm has confirmed that it plans to begin field tests of an electric car based on the Mazda2 – called the Demio in the Japanese domestic market – in 2012.

Mazda hopes that its electric Mazda2 will have a range of 124 miles, and the car will be leased to local government departments and fleet customers.

The electric car forms the next step in Mazda’s Building Block Strategy. The first part of this plan begins this year, when the firm’s new, high efficiency SKYACTIV engines and gearboxes begin appearing in production cars. This will launch in tandem with Mazda’s continued plan to reduce the weight but increase the safety of its new products.

The next step in this process will be to introduce brake regeneration systems, then a hybrid powertrain and finally the electric car. The firm believes that electric cars will form the commuter cars of the future, and its project with the Mazda2 EV is designed to increase the firm’s knowledge of electric car usage requirements and electric drive technologies. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: New Acura TL Will Debut at Chicago Show 2011

Perhaps Acura’s most controversially styled car with the power plenum grille is the 2011 TL sedan. The car has been a consistently good seller for the brand and we’ll see a restyled 2012 version at the Chicago Auto Show on February 9.

Acura isn’t releasing any information on the 2012 TL just yet, but it’s safe to say the car’s front grille will be revised from the 2011 model shown here. Now that the MDX and ZDX have received the six-speed automatic transmission, don’t be surprised if the TL gets it, as well. Currently, the 2011 TL is rated 18/26 mpg city/highway in front-wheel-drive form, with a five-speed automatic. A six-speed automatic would likely increase those figures.

We’re guessing that style, more than fuel economy, will increase TL sales, which were flat in 2010. What details do you hope to see in the 2012 TL’s new design?

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Ferrari FF

It’s Forza Ferrari! Meet the FF, Ferrari’s replacement for the 612 Scaglietti. Not only is the newcomer an all-new model, it’s also the company’s most powerful four-seater ever, as well as its first ever four-wheel-drive car.
The FF - an acronym for Ferrari Four (four seats and four-wheel drive) – is described by Ferrari as a car that “represents not so much an evolution as a true revolution”.

And that includes an all-new naturally aspirated 6.3-litre V12 with direct injection. The unit produces 651bhp at 8,000rpm and an impressive 683Nm at 6,000rpm. Performance is suitably rapid, with 0-62mph taking 3.7 seconds, and a top speed of 208mph. The 612 managed the sprint in four seconds and hit 199mph flat out.

Drive is fed via a transaxle-mounted dual-clutch F1 gearbox, but the big news is the FF’s patented four-wheel-drive system. Called 4RM, Ferrari claims the system weighs 50 per cent less than a conventional all-wheel drive transmission, and helps to maintain a 47:53 weight distribution, although is yet to detail whether the system features conventional driveshafts or uses electric motors to power the front wheels.

The FF’s drivetrain is integrated with the car’s electronic dynamic control systems, and Ferrari claims it “delivers record levels of performance on all terrains and in all conditions”.

Despite the addition of four-wheel drive, the FF weighs 1,790kg – 50kg less than its predecessor. That also helps curb fuel consumption, with the FF returning 18.3mpg and 360g/km when specced with the HELE stop-start system, down from 13.8mpg and 470g/km respectively.

Completing the FF’s dynamic package, is Ferrari’s latest SCM3 adaptive dampers and Brembo’s new carbon-ceramic brakes.

As for the striking design, the FF was penned by Pininfarina, under the guidance of Ferrari’s styling chief Flavio Manzoni. It breaks with tradition by offering a unique two-door hatchback. The newcomer measures 4,907mm long, 1,953mm wide and 1,374mm high, making it longer, but narrower and taller than the 612.

Ferrari has said that it will never build a four-door car, but the FF does feature seating for four. What’s more, the FF boasts 450-litres of luggage space with the seats up, which is slightly less than a Ford Focus estate!

An array of personalisation options and accessories has been developed for the FF, including six model-specific exterior colours and special leather upholstery.

The newcomer will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, with prices yet to be announced. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Audi A6L

The Audi A6L has been a top seller in the Chinese market and has captured the entire executive business use market and also the government minister market in a single swoop, its German rivals in the form of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5-series can barely keep up with the A6L’s popularity in China.

The next generation of A6 has only just been shown off in Detroit but it seems to be getting the stretched treatment for the Chinese market even though it is not expected to launch in China until mid to late 2012.

Thanks to: China Car Times

Hot News: Mahindra's New Brand Identity

Mahindra and Mahindra has got itself a new brand identity, symbolised by the word ‘Rise’. This will be included in their existing logo, and is in line with the company’s aggressive growth plans. The company will also invest Rs 120 crore over a period of three years to promote its new brand position. This new positioning couldn’t have come at a better time for the automobile manufacturer, which has recently acquired Korean SUV maker SsangYong.
Thanks to: Autocar India

New Car: 2012 Aston Martin Cygnet White and Black

Aston Martin will launch its Cygnet city car with this pair of special editions, called White and Black, the firm has announced.

The new model - a reworked version of Toyota’s iQ - will be offered with matt stripes and chrome brightwork on the white version, and matt black louvres on the black car . The standard transmission will be a manual, although Aston will also offer the car with a CVT; the motor will be the iQ’s more potent unit, a 1.33 petrol, producing 97bhp and 92lb ft of torque.

Aston says the car can accelerate to 62mph in 11.8sec with a manual box, while returning 56.5mpg and emitting 116g/km of CO2. The CVT can hit 62mph in 11.6sec; its fuel consumption is 54.3mpg, and it emits 120g/km of CO2.

The Cygnet gets 16in diamond-turned alloy wheels as standard, fitted with 175/60 R16 tyres.

Aston is placing great emphasis on the car’s interiors - to the point of describing the vehicle as ‘Handcrafted in England’ on the door sill plates - so they get lots of leather and plenty of visible stitching, particularly around the heavily revised centre console. The roof lining is completed in Alcantara, too.

Both of the new models will come with a bespoke Bill Amberg five-piece luggage set, comprising a glove box bag, removable door pocket bag, holdall, garment bag and collapsable tote bag.

Other standard kit includes a removable sat-nav system (produced by Garmin, judging from Aston's images), keyless entry and start, and a garage door-opening rear-view mirror.

Aston has confirmed the White and Black editions will cost from £30,995, an increase of more than £20,000 .

over the entry-level Toyota iQ. Production of the Cygnet White and Black will start in April but the order book is already open.
Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Renault Launches Bizu Limited Edition Range

Renault is out to become a value for money champ with its new Bizu range of entry-level models. Available until June, the limited edition versions run across the Twingo, Clio, Mégane and Scénic ranges, with prices up to £3,870 lower than the entry-level versions of the same model.

The Twingo 1.2 75, is available for £6,595, £2,300 lower than the standard Expression model, while the Scénic 1.6 VVT Bizu costs £12,595 - £3,755 less than the regular car.

Every Bizu model comes fitted with ABS, Brake Assist and electric front windows, plus Bluetooth and an aux input for plugging in the latest tunes.

Clio versions get body-coloured rear spoilers and chrome-effect front fog light surrounds. The Mégane and Scénic models also benefit from CSV understeer control, electric heated door mirrors, ESC, air conditioning and keyless go.

On sale now, the Twingo Bizu starts at £6,595, Clio at £8,595, Mégane at £11,595 and Scénic for £12,595. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2011 Lexus IS Advance

Lexus has introduced IS Advance special edition versions of its 250 and 200d saloons.

Taking the SE spec as a base, the firm has added a hard disc drive sat nav, rear parking camera, heated seats, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.

Despite all the extra kit, the Advance IS 250 costs an extra £340 compared its £26,495 SE equivalent, with the IS 200d coming in at an additional £130, costing £24,995.

Lexus is also keen to point out that if you compare the V6-powered IS 250 Advance spec like for like, it’s cheaper than either the BMW 320i and 325i SE, and the IS 200d diesel undercuts both the BMW 318d SE and the Audi A4 2.0 TDI 140 Technik.

The Lexus IS 250 and 200d Advance are on sale now. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2012 Citroen DS5

Hot on the heels of the DS3 and with the launch of the DS4 imminent, Citroen is hard at work getting its DS5 ready for its grand debut.

Based on the same platform as the Citroen C5 and Peugeot 508, the DS5 will offer dramatic exterior styling and a luxurious interior as Citroen bids to offer Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series an interesting alternative exec choice.

As you can make out from our spy pictures, the DS5 will feature jacked-up estate car looks. These are inspired by Citroen’s C-Sportlounge concept of 2005 and its Hypnos SUV concept shown in 2008 and will give the DS5 a unique bodyshape in its segment, plus plenty of cabin space for passengers and their luggage.

Styled by Peugeot-Citroen design boss Jean-Pierre Ploué and Citroen design director Thierry Metroz, the DS5 is set to feature an extremely aerodynamic body, benefiting emissions and refinement by keeping wind noise to a minimum. Chrome detailing and LED lights are also expected.

To compliment the looks, as well as conventional petrol and diesel engines, the DS5 will be Citroen’s first production hybrid, mating a 200bhp diesel unit which drives the front wheels with an electric motor which powers the rears. More than 60mpg and 120g/km are expected too.

A new generation of Citroen’s famed hydropneumatic suspension is also on the cards for top models, giving a comfortable ride when cruising, but allowing the option of making the damping more aggressive when driving faster.

Like the DS3, which was previewed by the DS Inside concept, and the DS4, shown by the DS High Rider, the DS5 is likely to break cover as a thinly-vieled show car, possibly at the Shanghai Motor Show in April, as Citroen steps up its product offensive in Asia.

A Frankfurt Debut is likely for the production DS5, with Citroen then turning to getting a larger DS9 into production, based on the Metropolis shown at last year’s Shanghai event. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2011 Infiniti EX30d Black Premium

Infiniti has announced its poshest crossover yet. Called the Black Premium, the limited edition EX30d is based on the top-spec EX30d GT Premium model.

As well as the high level of standard kit already included, like Infiniti’s Around View Monitor, Intelligent Cruise Control and Scratch Shield paint, the Black premium gets Malbec Black metallic paint, 19-inch alloy wheels, graphite leather upholstery, a Bose sound system, sunroof and aluminium roof rails.

Power comes from a 235bhp 3.0-litre V6 which drives all four wheels. Just 150 cars will be made available for the whole of Europe, and the EX is on sale now, priced at £45,671 - £3,124 more than the normal top-spec model.

As well as the extra kit fitted as standard, the purchase price also includes membership to the Relais & Chateaux Club 5C, and dinner, bed and breakfast for two at one of over 200 Relais & Chateaux hotels around the world. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Jaguar XK

Despite being treated to some styling tweaks and some very impressive engines, Jaguar is still tweaking the XK, planning to give it one last facelift in 2012, before an all-new model arrives late in 2014.

This prototype is based on the current 5.0-litre supercharged V8 XKR, but features a new front-end treatment, including a redesigned bumper with extra cooling vents along its top edge. The new car also features full LEDs in its redesigned light clusters.

At the back, it’s the same story, with a new rear bumper and diffuser, and the addition of a modestly-proportioned rear wing. The XK will also benefit from new trim materials in the cabin.

The engine line-up is set to include the current 5.0-litre naturally aspirated and supercharged V8s, but could be joined by 3.0-litre V6 petrol and diesel units if Jaguar decides that’s what its customers want. The addition of an eight-speed gearbox to boost efficiency is also a possibility.

Performance fans will also be pleased to know that the final XK facelift will also spawn a special edition XKR-R high performance model, based on the XKR but offering a more hardcore drive thanks to an upgraded supercharger for the 5.0-litre V8, bigger brakes and the latest version of the firm’s adaptive dampers. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Saab 9-5 SportCombi

Saab fans with lots of stuff to carry will soon be able to cross-shop the forthcoming 9-4X without having to leave the showroom. The Swedish brand is showing the reborn 9-5 SportCombi, based on the latest 9-5 sedan, at the Geneva auto show in March. It goes on sale in the U.S. this fall, likely as a 2012 model.

Styled essentially like the sedan from the C-pillar forward, the wagon adds wraparound rear glass that mirrors the look of the taillights below. An integrated rear spoiler and roof rails are standard. The design is as clean and handsome as the sedan’s, but the wagon—this may come as no surprise—is our favorite of the two 9-5 body styles.

The SportCombi’s cargo bay can swallow 56 cubic feet of belongings with the rear seats folded, or just 18.6 cubic feet with the seats in place. For reference, the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon provides 25 cubic feet with the seats up, 58 with them folded. The Saab’s rear bay has a flat floor that’s flush with the hatch opening for easier loading, plus four tie-down hooks to keep everything in place. The floor folds back to reveal storage cubbies of varying size depending on how buyers equip their car. A powered tailgate is optional.

In the U.S., the SportCombi will come equipped only with the 220-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine from the sedan—the four-door’s uplevel, 300-hp turbo V-6 won’t be on the menu. Saab’s XWD all-wheel drive will be standard.

Pricing and trim levels haven’t been confirmed, but expect basically the same selection of toys as on the sedan, including adaptive chassis control, keyless ignition, adaptive cruise, and a head-up display. SportCombi models typically command a $1000 premium over their sedan counterparts, which should put a base 9-5 wagon just north of $40K.

We'll bring you more detailed information and photos as the 2011 Geneva show draws closer.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Hot News: Daihatsu Stop Selling in European Market

Daihatsu has announced that it will withdraw sales from the European market by 2013.

The decision has been taken because of the strength of the Japanese Yen against the Euro and GBP, which now makes export to the region unprofitable.

Daihatsu sales in Europe have declined significantly, with just 19,300 vehicles sold in 10 EU countries last year, compared with 58,600 in 2007.

Sales in Europe will end as of 31 January 2013, but the company will continue its after-service.

There is no stock of new cars in the UK, and no further orders are expected to be placed.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2012 BMW 6-Series Coupe

BMW’s showed off its latest 6 Series Convertible for the 2012 model year at this month’s Detroit Auto Show, and fortunately it hasn’t strayed very far from the styling of its inspiration, the 6 Series Coupe Concept, apart from losing its top. But now we’ve gotten our first glimpse of the production Coupe a little ahead of schedule.

The new 6 Series is 2.9-inches longer overall and in wheelbase than the outgoing version, while being 1.5 inches wider and just under half an inch shorter. Weight was a major factor in the new car, with efforts taken to drop pounds via body panels being made out of both aluminum and composite materials.

Power comes from a new 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 that pushes out 400 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. The Convertible’s 0-to-60-mph time is said to be just 4.9 seconds and we expect the coupe to shed a few tenths of a second from that. Combine that additional power with EPA figures that are expected to be lower and you can consider the 6 Series’ powertrain to be well improved.

Expect the finished product to be a technological tour d’ force, with Driving Dynamic control, ConnectedDrive, and a three-dimensional heads-up display. Active cruise control is also on the menu, along with start-stop capability, lane-departure warning, and night vision.

What’s next after the 6 Series Coupe debut in Geneva this March? We’re still waiting on a M version…

Thanks to: Motor Trend

First Sketch: Mazda Minagi Concept

Images of what we believe to be a Geneva show concept from Mazda leaked onto the Internet today. The red SUV concept called Minagi is destined to become a CX-5 or next-generation CX-7 in toned-down production form.

Clearly influenced by Mazda’s new design language that first appeared on its Shinari concept, the Minagi SUV loses the smiling grille that has defined the lineup for a few years now. Not too long ago, prototypes of the CX-5 were caught winter testing. Adding a CX-5 to the U.S. Mazda lineup could help the automaker reach buyers who want a crossover with a base price of under $20,000. The Tribute and CX-7 both feature base prices above that barrier.

Mazda hasn’t confirmed that the leaked content is genuine, but even if this isn’t the CX-5, 2012 will be the sixth model year for the CX-7, a crossover in need of an update soon.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Concept Car: Mitsubishi Global Small Vehicle

Mitsubishi has been slowly dishing bits and pieces of its plans to increase U.S. sales and market share, which we’ve now learned to include a new family of models that will be produced at its U.S. factory, along with a new global subcompact offering.

Let’s start with that small hatchback. Mitsubishi teased the new B-segment offering earlier this year, when it unveiled sketches of what it dubbed the New Global Small back in December. The company just announced, however, that the car will be shown in concept form (pictured) at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show in March.

Few finite details have been announced to date, but Mitsubishi officials have confirmed to us that the NGS will, in fact, be sold in North America, where it will compete against the Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Chevrolet Sonic, and the forthcoming Hyundai Accent hatchback. Mitsubishi’s offering, however, may prove to be on the smaller side of that segment. In other markets, the car will be fitted with 1.0- and 1.2-liter I-4 engines and a CVT, both engineered to provide maximum efficiency. Mitsu, in fact, says these features, along with regenerative braking, will help yield best-in-class fuel economy.

Mitsubishi expects on launching the new subcompact in North America by 2013, but the car won’t be built on the continent. That said, the automaker is finalizing plans as to what vehicles it will build within its U.S. assembly plant in Normal, Illinois. Automotive News suggests a family of vehicles based upon the GM platform used for the Lancer, Outlander, and Outlander Sport, will be produced at the plant. A Mitsubishi spokesman confirmed that the new U.S.-built vehicles will be built on the GM platform and suggested an SUV or crossover-like vehicle would be the most logical possibility. However, he did note there is the possibility of building other variants — excepting, of course, the niche Lancer Evolution — at the Illinois site.

Mitsubishi is expected to finalize its U.S. production plans on January 20, but for now, things remain up in the air. If AN’s source is on the money, expect production to begin roughly two years after the Galant, Endeavor, and Eclipse — all currently built in Normal — are phased out of production.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Video of the 2012 VW Beetle reveal on Oprah

Remember when we published the story about the 2012 VW Beetle reveal on Oprah not too long ago. Here's a clip of the show courtesy of Volkswagen showing the reveal and everybody loosing their minds in a good way. We can't wait to see more of the next Beetle in coming months.

A classic GTi

Spotted at the 2010 Carlisle Import/Kit Car Nationals.

More So Cal hot roddin.

More from So Cal Speed Shop's open house.

Another great example of a traditional hot rod.

New Car: 2011 Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo

Skoda is set to celebrate its 100th anniversary of competing in motorsport with a Monte Carlo edition of the Fabia. The newcomer will be launched at this month’s IRC Rally Monte Carlo, which celebrates its 100th birthday this year.

Based on the SE spec, and only available as a five-door hatch, the Fabia Monte Carlo adds a piano black bodykit, which extends over the wheel arches and down the full length of the car, a black roof, black door mirror covers, a black radiator grille top, smoked headlamps and black 17-inch alloys.

The interior gets either black or black and red sports seats, a black roof lining, a leather steering wheel with red stitching, leather handbrake and gearstick gaiter with red stitching. Silver kick plates and steel pedals are also fitted as standard.

Buyers have the choice of five different engines, three petrol and two diesels, and all cars come with a five-speed manual as standard. The Fabia Monte Carlo goes on sale on 24 January, with prices starting at £12,755 for the 68bhp 1.2-litre petrol, rising to £15,000 for the 104bhp 1.6-litre diesel.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2011 Land Rover Defender X-Tech

Land Rover has launched a new limited edition version of the Defender. Called the X-Tech, the newcomer makes its debut at the Brussels Motorshow and will go on sale from March, starting at £24,995

Based on the 90 Hard Top Commercial derivative, the X-Tech’s exterior is painted in Zermatt Silver, with a contrasting black finish to the roof and wheel arches. The X-Tech Defender also debuts newly-designed gloss black 16-inch Saw Tooth alloy wheels. The interior is available in Ebony and the seats now feature leather side bolsters.

The Defender X-Tech is powered by a 2.4-litre diesel engine with 360Nm. Despite the special edition spec, buyers can still pick from the full range of accessories also available. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2011 Smart ForTwo Lightshine

Smart has announced another special edition. Called the Lightshine, the newcomer is based on the ForTwo Passion, which is powered by the 54bhp cdi diesel engine that emits just 86g/km of carbon dioxide.

The Lightshine model stands out from the crowd thanks to light green matt body panels, LED daytime running lights, colour-coded headlamp bezels, ‘Lightshine’ badging and painted three-double spoke alloys.

The interior of the Lightshine edition features all the enhancements from the Passion model, including the new, larger sat-nav touchscreen and a three-spoke steering wheel which includes paddles to change gear. The special does get branded floormats.

Only 86 Smart Fortwo Lightshine editions are coming to the UK, priced at £11,405 on-the-road. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

First Sketch: 2012 Kia Rio

These are the first official sketches of the next generation Kia Rio. The three images preview the car that will share the Kia stand with the all-new Picanto at March’s Geneva Motor Show.

Longer, lower and wider than the existing Rio, the new model is designed appeal to “progressive, energetic consumers who want a stand-out design.”

Kia describes the new Rio as the next big step in the company’s ongoing design revolution. As with all new Kias, the newcomer was overseen by the firm’s Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer. The new car features the firm’s trademark tiger’s snout grille, swept-back headlights like those on the current Sportage, and a sculpted crease which runs back from the front wheel up the car’s side.

Inside, Kia has worked to up the level of quality of the trim in a bid to attract customers who are downsizing from larger, plusher models.

The Rio will be powered by revised versions of the 1.5-litre diesel and 1.4-litre petrol engines used in the current car, while a downsized 1.2-litre turbo petrol unit joins the range.

Despite coming to the end of its life, the current Kia Rio remains the company’s third best-selling vehicle, selling more than 205,000 units worldwide in 2010. As far as the new model is concerned, the five-door model arrives first, going on sale here in September, while a sportier three-door arrives at the start of 2012. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Unofficial Picture: 2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible

It didn’t show up in Detroit as some had predicted, but the new Chrysler 200 Convertible has made its debut this week anyway thanks to leaked photos on an Italian car blog.

A 200 Convertible was pretty much always a foregone conclusion, since the 200 is really an updated Sebring. And if Chrysler can update the fixed-roof Sebring, why not apply the same polish to the convertible? And so they have. We don’t know when the new 200 Convertible you see here will go on-sale, but with the first 200s rolling off the line already, we’d bet you won’t have to wait long.

When it does reach your dealer lot, we see no reason why it wouldn’t carry the same four-cylinder and “Pentastar” V-6 engine options as the sedan, along with the same four- and six-speed automatic transmissions. Given that the Sebring Convertible featured a folding hardtop that stowed in the trunk, the 200 Convertible will almost certain follow suit. Naturally, the 200 Convertible will get all of the sedan’s upgraded body, chassis, suspension and interior parts as seen in these pictures.

Really, the only questions left at this point are when it will go on-sale and how much it will cost. Considering that most of the hard work is likely already done, we expect it’ll be on the lots within a few months and will fall in line with the old Sebring Convertible’s $28,600 starting price (four-cylinder, or $33,460 for the V-6).

Thanks to: Motor Trend

New Car: 2012 Mercedes SLK

AMG powersleds being a separate matter, Mercedes-Benz isn’t known for building true sports cars. To make the third-generation SLK roadster at least look the part, the company turned to the SLS AMG for styling inspiration.

Specifically, the SLK’s long hood now seems even longer, thanks to an upright grille nearly identical to the one that leads the SLS down the road—a grille design similar to those found on many other vaunted Mercedes-Benz two-seaters of the last 50 years. You’ve already seen this face on the CLS, and Mercedes-Benz’s design chief, Gorden Wagener, has decreed that it will spread across the lineup.

New LED headlamps feature illuminated brows à la the previous-gen BMW 5-series, and lead nicely into the crisp crown of the front fenders. Particularly with the optional Sport package, which adds a chunky, snowplow-like apron, the entire front is starkly angular, providing an interesting contrast to the curvy, sloping rear end—which also is emblazoned with LEDs. The retractable roof’s center panel is available in three varieties: body-color metal, dark-tinted glass, or the variable-tint “Magic Sky Control” glass. Sadly, the 2012 SLK is the latest vehicle to join the superfluous-fender-vent club.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Detroit Show 2011 Highlights: 2012 Toyota Prius V

It's 13 years since the Prius first appeared, shaking up the establishment and inspiring a glut of hybrids from rival manufacturers. But it's not until today, at the Detroit Motor Show, that an all-new Prius model has been introduced.

As a reaction to customer feedback demanding more practicality from a Prius, the Prius V is a more spacious, family-orientated version of the hybrid that outsold every single car on sale in its home market of Japan last year.

Five inches longer and an inch wider than the standard Prius, there's more leg and headroom all five passengers - it also offers up to 971-litres of loading space - that's 50 per cent more.

Under the skin the Prius and Prius V both share the same platform and powertrain - the familiar 1.8-litre engine working in tandem with an electric motor - but here thanks to the extra weight combined fuel economy will be 48mpg.

Available to order, and a Toyota-first, is a resin Panoramic View moonroof with retractable sun shades. The innovative material delivers a 40-percent reduction in weight as compared to conventional glass roofs of the same size, and excellent heat insulation performance.

Four driving modes (Normal, Power, Eco and EV), a Smart Key System with Push Button Start, an electronic shift lever, Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), and a back-up camera are standard. Available options include energy-efficient LED headlamps, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with a Pre-Collision System (PCS), and Advanced Parking Guidance System.

Also making its debut on the Prius V, available to buy in the UK from early next year, is the cutting-edge Entune multimedia system. It offers the ability to download apps, upgrade your navigation system, use the latest voice recognition software and throws in an HD digital radio too.

Also on Toyota's stand was the new Prius C Concept and the Prius Plug-in. The latter is capable of driving 13-miles, up to 60mph, on electric power alone before the range-entending petrol engine kicks in. It's the most efficient Prius to date, can be fully charged via a 240V socket in an hour and a half, and will be available to buy in the UK from early 2013. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

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