New Car: 2011 Porsche 911 Special Edition

Porsche has unveiled yet another special-edition Porsche 911, this time to celebrate 10 years of the company in China.

The car – based on the Porsche Turbo S model – features a gold exterior, 19-inch alloys, carbonfibre bonnet and rear spoiler and 10th anniversary badging on the door sills as well as an individual plaque.

Inside the special 911 gets Alcantara seats with contrasting gold stitching, carbonfibre touches to the dash and new floor mats.

Power remains the same as the standard model, with the Turbo S’s 3.8-litre engine producing 523bhp and 516lb ft of torque, enough to launch the car to 60mph in 3.3sec and onto a top speed of 196mph.

Although pricing hasn’t been announced, numbers for the anniversary model will be limited to just 10 units.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2012 Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster

As soon as we learned that Mercedes-Benz had commissioned its AMG performance division to build a Gullwing redux, we knew a convertible version wouldn’t be far behind. For one thing, its progenitor, the 1950s-era 300SL, was offered in both hardtop and roadster varieties (though never at the same time). Each was beautiful in its own right, and both are pricey collectibles today. And Mercedes-Benz itself repeatedly spilled the ragtop beans, at media gatherings that took place before the launch of the coupe, by dropping the yet-to-be-revealed car into a Super Bowl commercial, and by recently offering its own “spy” shots of the car. But only now has the complete body of information on autodom's worst-kept secret, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG roadster, been made public.

There are few surprises. We knew, for starters, that the convertible would be built around an aluminum space frame, just like the coupe. We figured that front hinged-doors and a cloth top would not contribute much additional weight, considering the complex doors and roof-mounted hinges on the coupe. Turns out we were right: At a Mercedes-claimed 3661 pounds, the roadster weighs just 88 pounds more than the company reports for the bewinged car. This is in spite of added bracing around the windshield, the rear axle, and the base of the doors, as well as an additional crossmember to support the fixed roll bars behind the seats. Mercedes-Benz claims that the space frame weighs less than five pounds more than its hardtop counterpart.

The frame for that top is composed of steel, magnesium, and aluminum, with the cloth skin presenting a profile that appears just as sleek as that of the coupe. We expect that shape will work well with the deployable trunk-mounted spoiler to help match the coupe’s high-speed aerodynamics. The three-layer top, which is available in black, red, or tan, may be raised or lowered in a scant 11 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. Regardless of the top deployment, trunk space roughly matches that of the coupe, at a meager 6.1 cubic feet (versus 6.2 for the coupe).

Something else we knew before the official info release is that the SLS AMG roadster would get the same glorious, AMG-designed, 6.2-liter V-8 as the coupe, sending the same 563 hp at 6800 rpm and 479 lb-ft of torque at 4750 rpm to the rear axle via the same carbon-fiber driveshaft. Likewise, the coupe’s seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle serves as the roadster’s sole gearbox, with four driver-selectable shift modes and a “Race Start” launch-control feature (though we hope that AMG heard our cries for quicker shifts in manual mode). The standard vented and cross-drilled disc brakes and optional two-piece carbon-ceramic discs also are shared with the coupe.

The roadster will offer an optional active suspension with three-mode, driver-selectable adaptive shocks; the options are Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus. According to Mercedes-Benz, the feature will be offered on the coupe in the future, although for now the roadster alone offers this upgrade over the standard suspension (which is already rather capable). With no powertrain changes of consequence, then, the roadster’s minor difference in mass and—presumably—weight distribution may only slightly affect its ability to match the coupe’s 3.5-second 0-to-60 time and 151-foot 70-to-0-mph stopping distance. Of course, we won’t know for sure until we strap our test equipment to it, but for the record, Mercedes-Benz states the SLS AMG Roadster’s 0–60 time as 3.7 seconds, and its top speed as a very breezy 197 mph (same as the coupe).

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2011 Mahindra Scorpio EX

Mahindra & Mahindra has launch an entry level version of its flagship model Scorpio, called Scorpio EX. The new offering is powered by a 75bhp m2DiCR engine, and offers a mileage of 14kmpl mileage (as per ARAI). This new offering is priced at Rs.7.21 lakhs (ex-showroom Pune, for BSIV).

The new 2.5 litre m2DiCR engine with 75bhp power and 220NM torque, is a product of efficient engineering. It is equipped with the fuel-saving Micro Hybrid technology, which allows it to intelligently switch the engine into the standby mode, when not required – ensuring lower fuel consumption while being more environment-friendly too. Compliant with stringent BSIV emission norms, the Scorpio Ex emits lower emissions leading to a reduced carbon footprint.

Additional features include crash protection crumple zones, to protect passengers in the unfortunate event of a collision and the digital immobilizer which protects the vehicle from theft. Further, effortless acceleration enables the vehicle to go from 0 to 60 kmph in just 11.2 seconds. The Scorpio Ex is available in four attractive colours namely Rocky Beige, Diamond White, Fiery Black and Mist Silver.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Vivek Nayer, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., said “At Mahindra, our endeavour has always been to offer the best-in-class products and this new offering from the Scorpio stable is no exception. With its easy drivability, great mileage and refined performance, I am sure that the Scorpio Ex will be an instant hit with young customers looking for an affordable entry point into the Scorpio franchise. An unmitigated success in the SUV segment since its launch, the Scorpio has kept up its momentum with constant up-gradations and new offerings.”

Thanks to: Autocar India

Hot News: Tata Plans to Release Nano Micro-Hybrid?

The Nano is gradually gaining traction in the market, and by the end of this year, Tata Motors showrooms may also sell a micro-hybrid version, of the small car.

When contacted, a Tata Motors spokesperson said that the company “does not comment on the company’s product plans”. The Nano micro-hybrid will be another example of Tata Motors’ growing capabilities in greener technologies. It will launch an electric version of the Indica Vista in Europe this year.

Earlier, it had showcased an electric Ace and had also run a few hybrid buses during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi last year. We learn that the micro-hybrid technology may be supplied by a German tier I supplier. Currently, German component majors Bosch and Continental supply some key components to the Nano.

The Nano clocked its highest monthly sales volume of 10,000 units last month. Cumulatively, around 80,000 units of the Nano have been sold since its roll out from Sanand in June last year.
Thanks to: Autocar India

Hot News: Mazda RX-9 Hybrid Gets Green Light?

The Mazda RX-8 will be replaced – but this time, the super-smooth rotary engine will be much less thirsty, thanks to hybrid technology borrowed from Toyota. And a Mazda source in Japan has confirmed that development of the newcomer – likely to be dubbed RX-9 – is well underway.

Our exclusive image shows how the car could look, revealing styling inspired by 2010’s Shinari four-door coupé concept. That means flowing lines and sharp edges, suggesting the agility Mazda sports cars have become synonymous with.

It dumps the RX-8’s innovative four- door set-up, but it’s under the bonnet that the biggest changes come. Using technology borrowed from partner Toyota, the rotary engine will now become a range-extender – a petrol motor that helps keep a bank of lithium-ion batteries topped up, similar to the system in Vauxhall’s Ampera.

“Smaller, lighter, cleaner, more efficient and fun to drive. That’s where we want to take the next rotary car,” said our Mazda source. To make it lighter, the RX-9 will actually be based on the new MX-5 platform, which uses Mazda’s weight-saving SKYACTIV technology.

However, for now, the RX-9 will play second fiddle to the roadster. “We must give priority to the next generation MX-5,” said our source. “We only have a small band of guys working on the RX-9.”

Expect it to be launched in late 2013. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2011 Kia Soul Hamstar Edition

Kia’s “This and That” commercial, which starred animated hamsters waxing poetic about the Soul hatchback, was nothing if not memorable. Whether you loved it or hated it, ratings group Nielsen awarded the spot its “Automotive Ad of the Year” award for 2010. Kia is celebrating the honor by launching a special-edition model dubbed Soul Hamstar Edition.

This is just the latest in an excessively long list of special-edition Kia Soul models. Prior ones include the White Tiger, Ghost, Ignition, Dragon, and Denim. Why the change from hamster to hamstar for this car’s name? Presumably because the special model has a big black star emblazoned on its hood.

Hamstar models begin life as a Molten Red Kia Soul+ with a four-speed automatic transmission. They’re dressed up with the aforementioned black star graphic, matte-black stripes on the driver and passenger doors, black fender vents, a blacked-out fuel door, and black 18-inch wheels. Upgrades for the interior encompass special Hamstar floor mats, black leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, and an upgraded sound system with 315-watt amplifier and speaker lights that pulse in sync with music.

“We are committed to keeping [the Kia Soul] fresh, fun and relevant in the marketplace and the special edition Hamstar Soul is the latest embodiment of that philosophy,” said Michael Sprague, vice president of Kia marketing and Communications.

If, like the commercial’s rapping rodents recommend, you decide to “go with this”, your Kia dealer will require a check for $20,990 (including destination.) The regular 2011 Soul+ automatic starts at $17,190.

Like previous special editions, the Kia Soul Hamstar will only be available for a limited time. If you miss out on this car, don’t worry: Kia tells us more customized Souls are in the cards for later this year.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2012 BMW M3 GTS

BMW added the orangalicious, bewinged, and stripped-out GTS to the M3 coupe lineup last summer; the next model in the special-edition pecking order, apparently, is the M3 sedan.

Such a model was previewed by the Lightweight M3 Sedan Concept shown this past April, and now the company is putting the production version through its paces at the Nürburgring. Heck, the car seen here may actually be the “concept,” as it looks identical—right down to the black wheels—excepting windows you can actually see through and the missing chin spoiler.

This special M3 won’t be an exact, tit-for-tat partner for the GTS. BMW says that, in the interest of streetability, the GTS sedan will instead occupy the wafer-thin real estate between that hard-core variant and the stock car. It’s thus unlikely to make as much power as the 444-horse GTS (or get that car’s bored-out 4.4-liter), instead utilizing a slightly brawnier version of the regular 4.0-liter S65 V-8, which is good for 414 hp in basic tune.

It also clearly won’t get the GTS’s huge, junge-racer spoiler, and the navy paint is several steps less garish than the two-door’s tangerine stuff. It will, however, follow the GTS’s lead in reducing curb weight, although the exact method is unknown at this point. Figure on expanded use of carbon fiber, as well as a few key equipment deletions.

Full details on the car—including the final name, which could incorporate GTS or even resurrect the old Evolution addendum—will emerge from the M division’s big party at the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring in June. Don’t rush to your local dealer to drop a deposit, though, as this one’s probably joining the GTS as a limited-production European exclusive.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Spied: 2013 Mercedes GL-Class

The arrival of the second-generation Mercedes-Benz GL-class brute is drawing closer, and today our spies got their best look yet at the next three-row ute at, of all places, the Nürburgring.

While the development mule pictured here is still wearing a good bit of camouflage, there is much we can tell about the GL. First and foremost is that, like its platform mate, the soon-to-be-unveiled 2012 ML-class, it will probably look much like the vehicle it replaces. A similar rising beltline, blunt nose, and upright profile all are evident here, although the detailing will certainly change. The windows should get larger, with the backlight becoming more sloped, and, from these pictures, it looks like the rear fender line will sweep all the way back to the bumper.

Also expected to return is the fuel-efficient 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6, which makes 210 hp and 400 lb-ft in today’s truck. Although a 300-hp V-6 is possible for other markets, gas-powered GLs in the U.S. will probably use V-8s only. The 550 will get Benz’s fabulous new twin-turbo 4.7-liter V-8, with output between 400 and 450 hp, but the fate of the naturally aspirated 4.7-liter V-8 in today’s GL450 is unknown. A hybrid also is likely down the road, especially since Mercedes already offers a two-mode gas-electric ML.

Some reports have pegged this particular mule, with its big wheels and lowered stance, as a GL63 AMG. If this were a true AMG product, though, we believe the vehicle would be wearing larger brakes and more-obvious exhaust pipes, even in the prototype phase. This looks to us like a GL550 with an AMG sport package, and not a full-blown AMG. But oh, how we’d love to be wrong.

Expect the redesigned GL-class to appear in concept form at an auto show this fall and in dealerships early next year as a 2013 model.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Spied: 2013 Aston Martin Rapide S

Its 470-hp V-12 and gorgeous shape make the Aston Martin Rapide one of the most gratifying sedans on earth, but the $200,000-plus Aston is way slower—and way more expensive—than most of its loosely defined competitive set, which includes the Porsche Panamera Turbo and Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG. While we don’t expect the Rapide to get any cheaper in future iterations, we do expect it to get quicker. Some have suggested that the car seen here is merely a face-lifted car, but we believe the lightly camo’d Rapide caught in these spy photos is a prototype of an upcoming, rapide-r Rapide likely to be called Rapide S.

This particular mule’s nose is slightly modified, with a front clip that features an additional air channel along the lower lip. The rear camouflage effectively hides any subtle changes Aston Martin may have made to the bumper and taillights, although its taller integrated ducktail spoiler is one indicator that this particular Aston is serious about high-speed stability.

Impossible to discern from the pictures, of course, is the degree to which the Rapide S’s performance will improve, but expect the 5.9-liter V-12 to see a bump of 40 or so hp. (In the DBS, this engine makes 510 hp.) Certain to accompany the zestier V-12 will be tweaks to the suspension and brakes—this prototype seems to have carbon-ceramic rotors—and no uplevel offering in this pricing stratosphere would be complete without unique wheels.

Expect to see the new Rapide S join Aston’s lineup sometime in 2012—likely for the 2013 model year—at a premium of around $20,000 to $30,000 over a standard Rapide.
Thanks to: Car and Driver

Circle yer wagens!

We've all seen dummy spinners. But how about dummy wagon wheels for your early hot rod?

New for 1957!

There's no denying that the 1957 Ford Fairlane is a seriously cool car with the right set of wheels.

Spied: 2013 Toyota Kijang Innova

Toyota’s mainstay the Innova will be refreshed and updated in the near future. These spy shots show some of the changes carried out to the car quite clearly. Toyota has given its brilliant people mover a major facelift, with new lights and a new grille. And the profile has been altered a bit as well. The more upright grille sits more vertically than the current car and this means the bonnet looks less van like. There are new headlights that have been stretched over the fenders, and the fogs and chin are new as well. Also new is the rear bumper and all new Innovas could get parking sensors as an option as well.

The main focus on this car however will be a through update of the interior, which according to many customers is looking a bit long in the tooth. New more upmarket materials, a better looking instrument panel and more car like insides are on the cards for this Toyota. And better utilization of space is another priority, especially on the third row, which Toyota are desperately trying to make more comfortable, spacious and useable on long journeys.

While there won’t be a new engine, the current 2.5 common rail diesel will be updated and will deliver more power and torque. As ever, Toyota has been very conservative with the amount of power and torque they have extracted from their 2.5 and upping the power as a result is unlikely to be a difficult job even keeping Toyota’s legendary reliability in mind.

What remains to be seen however with this car is if Toyota maintains the current price line. The Innova has easily seen off many recent threats from competitors and with no creditable rivals in sight, Toyota may just take the opportunity to stretch the margin on this car when they launch it sometime in the middle of 2012.

Thanks to: Autocar India

New Concept Car: BMW 328 Hommage

This is the BMW 328 Hommage, the latest show car offering from the German manufacturer to star at the Villa d’Este Concours in Italy.

The extreme open-topped two-seater is designed to commemorate the 75th birthday of the BMW 328 racing car, which still holds the highest average speed around the classic Mille Miglia circuit.

“With the BMW 328 Hommage, we wish to pay homage to the passion and inventiveness of the fathers of the BMW 328,” said BMW Group Classic CEO Karl Baumer. “They created an icon which is considered a milestone in the history of the automobile.”

The 3.0-litre straight six-powered concept makes extensive use of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic, a material already used by BMW in the M6 and M3, and one that’s likely to feature in its forthcoming range of i eco-models. Indeed, the show car’s bodywork uses the carbon weave pattern as a design cue; it’s not covered up by any paint, a move that also fits with the 328’s ethos of light weight.

The styling apes the looks of the original 328, incorporating key BMW design elements such as the double kidney grille - but there are also strong overtones from the Vision ConnectedDrive roadster that was revealed at the Geneva show earlier this year. The rear has a particularly angular tail, with lights that echo the look of the Vision ED eco-supercar that’s earmarked for production.

Other design cues include a slightly asymmetric windscreen - a nod to early racing machinery - and four leather straps which run across the bonnet, disappearing at the top of the side panels and then re-emerging near the deep surfacing at the bottom of each flank. In common with many racing cars, there are no doors.

BMW has declined to issue any technical details beyond the engine size and type, and no performance figures have been issued. Nor is the car likely to make production. But much of its styling language will influence the production Vision ED, and BMW’s MegaCity EV.

The Villa d'Este Concours is becoming a regular spot for BMW 'tribute' vehicles. In 2008 the firm used the event to showcase the M1 Hommage, which celebrated the 30th anniversary of the iconic supercar.

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2012 Aston Martin V12 Zagato

Aston Martin has revealed details and images of its first tie-up with design-house Zagato, since the two worked together for a limited run DB7 in 2002.

Based on the V12 Vantage, the new model – called the V12 Zagato – commemorates the 50th anniversary of the very first Aston-Zagato project, the DB4GT.

Dr Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin said: “The Zagato design language is a perfect complement to our design and engineering expertise. After 50 years of the two companies being associated with each other the partnership has produced some of the world’s most iconic cars.”

Dr. Bez went on to confirm “a strictly limited run of road going V12 Zagatos.” Before then, a stripped-out race-ready version of the car will compete in the Nurburgring 24 hours race.

Underneath the newly crafted aluminium body is the same 6.0-litre V12 engine from the standard car producing 510bhp and 570 Nm of torque.

Production is expected to be well under the 99 units offered of the DB7 Zagato but prices will be similar, with buyers asked to pay around £200,000 for the car.

The V12 Zagato will debut at the Villa D’Este Concours at Lake Como, alongside Ferrari’s coach-built Superamerica 45. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Ferrari Superamerica 45

Could this be the World's most exclusive Ferrari?

This one-off prototype is set to make its public debut at the ultra-fashionable Villa D'Este Concorso d’Eleganza in Italy on 20th May 2011.

Called the Superamerica 45, the V12 engined coupé convertible is based on the beautiful 599. As well as subtle changes to the design it gets a one peice revolving roof made of carbon fibre.

The boot has been carefully shaped to hide the arrangement when it is open, and is also made of lightweight carbon.

The rear buttresses are body-coloured, and flow seamlessly into the rear wheelarches.

The side view is further distinguished by the new air vents on the front wing.

Finally, the Ferrari Superamerica 45 also features a chromed front grille and burnished aluminium A-pillars, wing mirrors and door handles.

Finished in colour called Blu Antille, the wheels are body-coloured with a contrasting diamond finish to the spokes.

The roof and other carbon-fibre elements of the bodywork – front splitter, side skirts and rear diffuser – are in a special contrasting darker blue, a theme that is carried over to the cockpit which features dark blue carbon-fibre dash trim and driver zone.

The interior meanwhile is trimmed with a combination of Cuoio leather trim and Blu Scuro carbon fibre. It also gets the latest-generation touch-screen infotainment system.

Comissioned by New York-based Ferrari collector Peter Kalikow, the car was styled by Ferrari Design and engineered and built in-house.

Ordered in 2010 by Mr Kalikow the creation is designed to celebrate 45 years since he first became a Ferrari customer, hence the number 45 in its title.

The Superamerica 45 becomes the the latest appear at the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza.

Hosted on the shores of Lake Como, Italy, it's not the first time, Ferrari has chosen to use the Villa D'Este show to advertise its ability to build bespoke cars. The event was previously used to launch the Ferrari P4/5, created for financier James Glickenhaus. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Audi A6 Avant

This is Audi’s A6 Avant, which has been unveiled by the firm’s chairman Rupert Stadler this evening at an event in Berlin.

The new model promises more interior space and greater fuel efficiency than the old A6 wagon; Audi claims improvements in economy of up to 18 per cent.

The Avant is 4.93m long, 1.87m wide and 1.46m tall. Its wheelbase grows to 2.91m (an increase of around 7cm) in a move designed to free up cabin and luggage space. Despite the fact that its dimensions are very similar to those of the outgoing model, the new Avant weighs up to 70kg less. That’s down to greater use of aluminium; around 20 per cent of the body is made from the lightweight material.

There’s 565 litres of boot space with the seats in place, but this can be increased to 1680 litres when the rear seats are folded down. That gives the A6 a seats-down advantage over BMW’s 5-series Touring, but its maximum capacity is almost 300 litres down on that of the class benchmark, Mercedes’ E-class Estate. The engine line-up will include two petrols, a 2.8 FSI with 201bhp and a supercharged 3.0 TFSI with 295bhp - but the focus is on diesels.

The leanest oil-burner is the 2.0 TDI with 174bhp. It comes with front-drive only and when paired with a manual gearbox, it delivers 56.5mpg and 132g/km of CO2 emissions. There are also two regular V6 turbodiesels, producing 201bhp and 241bhp.

However, the A6 Avant also marks the debut of a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre diesel motor. It has a maximum boost pressure of 3.2 bar and delivers 308bhp; that’s enough to take the A6 Avant to 62mph in 5.4sec and achieve an artificially limited top speed of 155mph.

The transmission line-up comprises a six-speed manual, a CVT, a seven-speed dual-clutch and, for the most potent diesel, an eight-speed automatic.

The Avant’s interior follows the new A6’s layout and materials. But the estate-only options list will include a load-through hatch, a power hatchback with an integrated, powered boot cover, and a gesture control system that responds to a foot movement and opens the boot.

UK sales are expected to start in late summer, with prices from around £30k.

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: Baby Jaguar to Replace XF?

Jaguar will replace the core model in its range, the XF, before extending its line-up with a new small saloon, Autocar has learned.

This new plan is one of many detail changes to Jag’s future strategy under its Tata-led management team, now headed by experienced Briton Adrian Hallmark.

Jaguar did have a new small saloon and a sports utility spin-off pencilled in to the product plan under the codename X760 and due for launch around 2014, a year ahead of a new XF in 2015.

But for a significant reason the replacement for the XF is being given higher priority - to ensure the new ‘small’ saloon doesn’t encroach on the XF and pinch sales from the car that saved Jaguar.

“We definitely won’t kill today’s XF with a new small car,” Hallmark said. “We’ll kill it with the new XF.” Given that the new F10 BMW 5-Series and Merc E-Class models have moved up in size, so will the next XF.

The same goes for next year’s 2012 F30 3-series and the new C-class, particularly since BMW and Mercedes have significant models lower down their ranges.

To be competitive with the new 3-series and C-class, Jag’s small saloon will end up being close in size to today’s XF; hence the need to switch the models in the cycle plan.

Jag’s engineering chief Bob Joyce said, “The small car has to be designed and engineered to be exactly right for its market.”

Hallmark is a strong advocate of the new small saloon, cautioning that the failure of the X-type shouldn’t generate negative thinking about this vital segment. “We’ve got to be careful and not be too British and think that just because we didn’t hit the bullseye first time, we can’t hit it a second time,” he said.

He also believes that the success of the radical XF shows the way forward for Jaguar to be successful with a new small saloon. “We haven’t realised the full potential of the XF yet,” he said. “It was a vision and it has been very successful. Why can’t we do the same in the segment below?”

Thanks to: Autocar

Hot News: The Real Mini at 2014

It’s the car that fans of the original Mini have been waiting for – and it could be the biggest-selling new MINI yet. With stringent emissions regulations and spiralling petrol prices, the demand for compact cars is going through the roof.

And the new baby MINI is set to head a new breed of penny-pinching small cars that prove you don’t have to sacrifice style and driving fun for low running costs. Based on the Rocketman concept shown at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, the ‘mini’ MINI will expand the burgeoning brand even further.

It will create a new entry point and mark the beginning of a new era, too, with a range of three-cylinder engines on offer, lightweight materials throughout and an all-electric version in the pipeline.

Our images show how the pint-sized production car is likely to look – and all those who have been waiting patiently for a true successor to the Sixties model will be pleased to see this car’s tiny footprint on the road. The ‘mini’ MINI is only 40cm longer and 50cm wider than the original, and engineers are intent on making the production car no bigger than the concept.

It will make the most of every inch available to it, though, with a space-saving 3+1 seating layout similar to the Toyota iQ’s. While there will be seats for four, the chair behind the driver will only be suitable for short trips. However, the instrument cluster moves backwards and forwards with the steering wheel to boost room when necessary.

Carried over from the concept will be the dual-function boot, which features a conventional compartment accessed via a hatch with a drawer-like storage area underneath. The centrally mounted ‘Coke can’ exhaust is also slated for production. Predictably, however, the concept’s Union Jack glass roof will make way for a more conventional metal top. Plus, the concept’s three-dimensional ‘handlebar’ rear lights will be replaced by simpler clusters fitted flush into the bodywork.

The distinctive door hinge spikes will be smoothed out, too, but the exposed carbon fibre sections on the front flanks and grille will be retained. Speaking to Auto Express, BMW sales and marketing director Ian Robertson told us: “MINI will never produce a car under the ‘i’ brand – this is exclusively for BMWs – but the technology we are developing for the ‘i’ family of cars will certainly be made available for the rest of the BMW Group.”

This suggests the structure of BMW’s electric i3 city car, with its carbon fibre passenger cell mated to an aluminium chassis, could be adapted for the production car. That would strip out weight, and give it benefits including trademark ‘go-kart’ handling and improved efficiency. The i3’s all-electric powertrain would slot neatly into the MINI, too, although power would be sent to the front wheels, rather than the rears.

Electricity won’t be the only power source available – petrol and diesel versions of BMW’s forthcoming family of three-cylinder turbocharged engines will be offered from launch. Although there are no specifics on power outputs or performance, BMW claims the most efficient petrol unit will be capable of returning 94mpg.

The next MINIs to go on sale will be the Coupé and Roadster in 2012. Expect the ‘mini’ MINI to arrive in 2014 – the same time that the next-generation hatch is due. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2011 Nissan 370Z GT Edition

Built to celebrate Nissan's global racing success and mark the 40th anniversary of Z cars on British roads, the new 370Z GT Edition promises to be the best handling version yet.

Inspired by its 1970s forebearer, the newcomer features a set of eye-catching racing stripes down both sides, darker 19-inch RAYS alloys, and a trio of special paint finishes - Pearl White, Kuro Black and Black Rose.

Extra kit for the GT Edition includes a reversing camera that appears in the sat-nav screen and a new tyre pressure monitoring system, as well as a new 'snow' setting for the seven-speed automatic gearbox, which sets the car off in second gear and controls engine revs, to prevent spinning the wheels in slippery conditions.

However changes aren't purely cosmetic - the latest addition to the line-up has been fettled by Nissan's UK engineers, who have retuned the dampers to help provide "the ideal balance the ride comfort and high-speed handling" and added underfloor insulation to help increase refinement.

The newcomer is available to order now, with the first deliveries expected in June. Prices start at £35,000 - around £2,150 more than the standard GT Pack automatic. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Opel/Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

The Zafira is moving up in the world. In an attempt to scalp Ford’s S-MAX, Vauxhall’s all-new people carrier is larger, more luxurious and sportier to drive – and Auto Express has first official details.

Called the Zafira Tourer, it will sit above the current model, which will continue to be sold, and prices are likely to start at £20,000 – making it around £5,000 more expensive. For the extra money, buyers will be getting a much more desirable car. For starters, it’s better looking.

The production version is every inch as striking as March’s Geneva Motor Show concept, with a slippery shape that gets a panoramic glass roof, bold headlights from the Ampera electric car, and neat slashes in the flanks. Slim A-pillars and lots of glass help reduce blindspots, too.

Inside, Vauxhall claims “limousine-like quality and space”. And at 190mm longer than the current Zafira, it certainly has the latter. A new Flex7 seven-seater arrangement allows the third row to be folded flush with the boot floor, while the second row has three individual seats.

These can be moved fore and aft, while some models feature a middle seat back that can be folded forward and rotated, providing occupants in the outer seats with armrests. These chairs can then be moved forward or back and slid towards the car’s centre, increasing shoulder and elbow room.

Compared to the existing Zafira, the Tourer also has more boot space. It can carry 710 litres in five-seater mode (up 65 litres) and 1,860 litres (40 litres more) with all seats folded flat. Vauxhall claims it will be good to drive, too.

Underneath the skin, it sits on a front-wheel-drive chassis derived from the Insignia, with a longer wheelbase and wider tracks for increased grip and stability. The firm’s FlexRide adaptive damping system will be available as an option.

Engine choices include an entry-level 1.8-litre petrol, a 1.4-litre petrol turbo, and a 2.0-litre diesel in three power outputs. Sales will begin later this year with first deliveries in early 2012.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Audi S1

Audi's European-market Mini fighter, the A1, is selling more slowly than expected. It's the most expensive and the only premium iteration of a platform that is shared with mundane vehicles like the Škoda Fabia, the SEAT Ibiza, and the ubiquitous VW Polo. When we drove it last summer, we were impressed by the A1's handling and composure, but there is no denying that the VW Group offers cheaper ways to enjoy a similar level of driving pleasure. The quickest A1, powered by a turbo- and supercharged, 185-hp, 1.4-liter gasoline four, is only a symbolic five hp more powerful than its Fabia RS, Ibiza Cupra, and Polo GTI siblings. The Audi reaches 62 mph in 6.9 seconds, and its top speed is an ungoverned 141 mph, but a mere five hp aren’t going to pull it ahead of the other three.

With the upcoming S1, Audi will put its pedestrian sister brands in their place. Thankfully, its platform is flexible enough to accommodate something a little larger and more powerful than the complex 1.4-liter Twincharger engine: the turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI shared with the VW GTI. When the S1 goes on sale in 2013, its version of VW’s vaunted four will make in the neighborhood of 225 hp. With Quattro a certainty and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission likely, the S1 should catapult to 60 mph in less than six seconds, which would put it ahead of even the Mini John Cooper Works. Top speed will be in the vicinity of 150 mph.

From the outside, the S1 will be distinguished from the regular A1 with a GTI-like wide-set dual exhaust system. The 185-hp A1, by contrast, features two tailpipes clustered on the left side of the rear bumper. LED taillights like those seen on the prototype captured here will be standard, and larger brakes also are a given.

The S1 won't be cheap. At around €30,000, it will be more expensive than the bigger VW GTI (which starts at €27,275, or about $38,500, in Germany), but then it also will be more powerful and feature all-wheel drive. For most customers, it won't stop there, though: Audi may not sell as many A1s as it would like, but the equipment level on each example is, on average, unusually high. Smiling executives tell us that the countless individualization options generate handsome profits.

Of course, we can always wish for even more. The 2.0-liter can be tweaked to produce close to 300 hp; if an S1 is in the works, what about an RS1? It shouldn't be ruled out, we are told. That’s very good news for Europe, but irrelevant for us. While we are scheduled to get the next-generation A1, this one isn’t in Audi’s U.S. plans—and that means no S1 or RS1, either. Here’s hoping that the hotter versions of the A1 sell well enough to ensure that they get a next generation, too.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Spied: 2013 Ford Fiesta ST

It's the hot hatch that everyone has been waiting for – this is the new Fiesta ST, and it's looking meaner than ever.

Spied testing at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany, these latest shots show the racy hatch gets the same dramatic grille as its bigger brother, the Focus ST. And that distinctive air intake gives the Fiesta some real visual aggression.

Take a look below the number plate and it's also clear to see an intercooler, indicating this model is turbocharged. Although there are no official details, it's expected that the Fiesta ST will pack a 1.6-litre direct injection turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder engine.

With rivals such as Vauxhall's Corsa VXR and the RenaultSport Clio 200 all producing in the region of 200bhp, expect the Fiesta to do the same. That will be enough punch for a 0-60mph time of around six seconds and a top speed of 140mph.

According to our spies this prototype is being used to test the engine and its cooling systems with the new ST 'nose' – hence the reason for the track-required roll cage and the fact that the rear diffuser is different to a previous ST model we photographed.

The finished car is likely to receive a diffuser with exhaust pipes on either side, plus a bodykit with pumped up wheelarches and a larger roof spoiler. The chassis will get lowered and stiffened suspension along with wider tracks front and rear. Upgraded brakes and Recaro seats will also feature.

The Fiesta ST will debut in 2012, whlle the Focus ST will arrive later this year.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2012 Audi R8 GT Spyder

These spy photos of the Audi R8 GT Spyder are not a big surprise. Neither do they raise any important questions. Audi recently confirmed that it would build a roofless version of its lightweight R8 GT and released a pair of sketches, but now we have real photos of the hotter R8 Spyder. It may not be major news, but we just can’t pass up the chance to share more pictures of the stunning R8, especially in this beautiful blue.

Knowing what we do about the GT coupe, we don’t feel like we need official confirmation of the Spyder GT’s hardware; the same weight-saving and track-focusing measures employed on the coupe will be applied to the roofless version. Considering that a regular convertible with the 5.2-liter V-10 weighs about 240 pounds more that its coupe counterpart and the GT weighs about 220 pounds less than that same V-10 coupe, expect the Spyder GT’s curb weight to be right back where the 5.2-liter hardtop started—about 3700 pounds. The GT’s weight savings will be slightly less in the U.S., though, if the lightweight seats of the Euro model—they save about 70 pounds combined but don’t have side airbags—are not approved for sale here.

Power will come from the 5.2-liter V-10, here producing an extra 35 hp and 7 lb-ft of torque, for totals of 560 and 398, respectively. We expect that the full run of GT Spyders will be fitted with the R tronic transmission, as is the case with the R8 GT coupe. For both weight savings and track prowess, the Spyder likely will have the same carbon-ceramic brakes—with seductive anodized calipers—and adjustable coil-overs as the GT coupe. If passersby fail to notice the brakes, a fixed carbon-fiber spoiler and enormous circular tailpipes (the latter not seen on this prototype) will clue them in to the fact that this is a GT.

In addition to the lightened suspension bits, we expect the Spyder GT to shed pounds thanks to lightweight carpet, less sound deadening, a lighter exhaust system, assorted carbon-fiber bits, and a lightweight battery. Although they’re not present on the prototype here, the Spyder GT should have the same modified front and rear fascias as the GT coupe.

Audi will produce just 333 GT coupes worldwide—90 of which are headed to the U.S.—and we expect that the Spyder GT will be limited to a similar number. With the coupe priced just over $200,000, figure on the Spyder going for around $220,000. That’s a sizable premium over a V-10 Spyder, but a savings of around $30,000 over the same car wearing a Lamborghini badge.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Spied: 2013 Honda CR-V

A fearless Car and Driver reader in Washington, D.C., snapped this picture of the next-generation Honda CR-V crossover, which will debut this fall. The vehicle looks ready for production, wearing its own sheetmetal (rather than the modified body of an existing Honda model) with the badge buried in tape on the tailgate.

Like other Japanese auto companies, Honda is as tight-lipped as can be about its future products. We’re left to use recent history and this photo to determine that the next CR-V will represent a gentle update to the current car, rather than a radical redo.

Figure on a naturally aspirated four-cylinder being the only engine available. It should displace 2.4 liters like today’s CR-V engine, and we expect it to make between 180 and 200 hp—although the number may be closer to the bottom end of that range. Fuel economy also should improve slightly; in front-drive spec, the current model is rated for 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. (All-wheel-drivers are rated for 21/27.)

If there are any major changes to the upcoming CR-V, it could be in the seating layout. Until now, every CR-V has been a strictly five-seat affair. Given the long rear overhang of the car in this photo, however, it looks like there just might be room for a small third row of seats for short-legged passengers. Toyota sells a three-row RAV4, but most others in the segment serve a maximum of five.

Few would call the CR-V in its present form a pulse-raising vehicle, but it’s a staple for Honda, offers good driving dynamics, and is a sensible choice for more than 200,000 Americans per year. Even without concrete details on the next-generation CR-V, we feel confident saying it will maintain the current car’s sales success. We expect the 2012 CR-V to debut at the Los Angeles auto show this November.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Concept Car: Audi A3 E-Gas

While many carmakers are gambling on hydrogen and electricity becoming the fuels of the future, Audi is taking a very different approach in the race for zero-emissions motoring.

Starting in 2013, the company announced that it will make a limited production run of both the all-electric A1 e-tron, and a new gas-powered A3 - dubbed e-gas - as part of a new environmentally friendly ‘balanced mobility’ initiative.

Initially only 1,500 e-gas A3s will be built, and they will all run on a synthetic methane gas produced using electricity generated from purpose built off-shore wind farms.

As well as being cleaner burning than petrol, natural gas also has the advantage of being easier to produce and distribute than hydrogen, and doesn’t impose the extra weight and performance limitations of battery-based electric cars.

The A3 e-gas uses a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine with 109bhp and two fuel tanks, one for gas, one for petrol, that provide performance figures similar to the 1.2-litre TSI petrol from the A1.

The compressed natural gas (CNG) unit has a top speed of around 118mph, and a theoretical range of over 250 miles, plus the additional mileage of the standard petrol tank – working in a similar way to the Chevrolet Volt.

Audi is also building a new synthetic e-gas plant to supply the new cars, as this approach reduces well-to-wheel emissions by up to 85% over the current crop of gas-powered vehicles, an investment of over 10 million Euros.

Audi’s Technical Development director Michael Dick was clear about the ultimate goal of the project: “It’s early days for the project, but in the next few months and years, eventually we’ll have a C02 neutral assessment for every new Audi”. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: McLaren Plans New Supercar to Compete Veyron

Work is under way at McLaren on a new flagship model that is intended to eclipse every supercar to date, combining blistering performance with ultimate agility and everyday usability.

Known internally as the ‘Mega Mac’, the new car is scheduled for a 2014 launch. The production run will be limited to just 500 units. The price is expected to be between £350,000 and £400,000 in today’s money.

According to insiders, the styling of the Mega Mac will be “bigger, angrier and more functional looking” than the MP4-12C, although it will have a family resemblance to both the current car and the McLaren F1.

It will also get active aerodynamics systems that include front and rear spoilers being deployed in certain conditions, in addition to the use of a rear airbrake, as seen on the MP4-12C.

Inside, the cabin will deliver impressive all-round visibility and luxuries will be kept to a minimum, with a small luggage space behind the seats. Sources say the car will be fitted with on-board data logging and a video camera to allow the driver to film his or her own track time.

At the core of the new car will an extraordinary 799bhp 5.0-litre V8 engine — that’s 160bhp per litre — which will be developed in conjunction with Ricardo.

According to insiders, maximum power will be developed at 7500rpm and 590lb ft of torque will be delivered between 3500rpm and 6800rpm. The engine will drive a Graziano seven-speed dual-clutch ’box.

According to McLaren’s internal calculations, the Mega Mac should hit 60mph in just 2.8sec, 100mph in 5.5sec and 200mph in just 20.0sec.

Although the car’s 0-60mph time is just slower than the 2.6sec Autocar obtained with the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, the Mega Mac should eclipse the Bugatti’s 0-200mph time of 22sec.

The Mega Mac will be based on a similar carbonfibre Monocell to the MP4-12C and will use similar, although extensively retuned, aluminium pushrod suspension, hydraulic anti-roll control, adaptive dampers and a five-stage traction control system.

Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes will be standard, as will Brake Steer and electronic brake force distribution.

Insiders say McLaren is considering making it possible to turn off the ABS system on race circuits. A sat-nav link would ensure that ABS could not be disabled on public roads.

The Mega Mac (whose showroom name may include the number ‘799’) will be built within the main McLaren building, rather than at the new bespoke MP4-12C factory site, at a rate of two to three per week over a three to four-year production life.

Thanks to: Autocar

Spied: 2013 Porsche Cayman

These are the best pictures yet 
of Porsche’s all-new Cayman. Spied undergoing hot-weather testing in Spain, it’s clear to 
see that the second-generation coupé will stand out more than the current car, with a larger rear window and lower overall profile giving it a sleeker shape.

The new glass hatch should also boost practicality, by increasing luggage space and access. Every other body panel 
is new, with an evolution of the 911-style nose at the front.

Under the skin, the Cayman is identical to the all-new Boxster drop-top. Both cars go on sale next year, featuring revised suspension, a higher-quality cabin and new engines.

Sources have revealed that Porsche is developing a more efficient unit to lower CO2 emissions without harming performance. This is rumoured to take the form of a turbocharged, direct-injection 2.5-litre flat four-cylinder unit, which can produce around 350bhp in S trim. Sales are 
due to start in late 2012. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Unofficial Picture: 2013 Mercedes A-Class

Yet again, the European Patent office has sprung a leak. Detailed drawings of the production-ready Mercedes A-Class have surfaced on the web, via French website And they show every curve and crease of the premium hatch.

This comes only three weeks after the Concept A, a radically-styled concept that previewed the production A-Class, made its global debut simultaneously at the Shanghai and New York Motor Shows. And elements of the Concept A's styling can be clearly seen in the showroom-ready model.

While the concept was in sleek three-door form, the drawings depict a more practical five-door hatch, suggesting that both bodystyles will be offered. Predictably, the show car's psychedelic front grille and lower air intake have been substituted for a less-dramatic upright two-bar opening with a trio of air intakes underneath. The bulkier headlights appear to feature LED 'eyebrows'.

In profile, a truncated rear, long bonnet and roof spoiler give it a dynamic stance and a look reminiscent of its biggest rival, the BMW 1-Series - a model that's due to be replaced later this year. The inticate surfacing on the side of the car is neatly reinterpreted for production, while tt the rear the light clusters wrap around the corners of the car, but are deeper than on the concept and omit the horizontal linking bar.

Under the skin, the A-Class will feature an all-new front-wheel drive platform with McPherson struts at the front and a multi-link rear axle, while power will come from the latest C-Class engines with a line-up of four-cylinder petrol and diesel units. There will also be a new 2.0-litre turbocharged and direct-injection petrol motor, which the Concept A previewed in 204bhp hot hatch form, hooked up to a dual-clutch gearbox.

And Mercedes engineers won't stop there. At the Shanghai show our sources revealed that a four-wheel drive AMG version of the A-Class, producing around 350bhp from an unspecified engine, has already been given the green light. British designer Mark Fetherston also hinted that the firebreathing AMG variant would be based around the sportier three-door model. the five-door is expected to make its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and go on sale early next year, with the three-door variant following soon after. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS

Another day, another edition of the soon-to-be-replaced 911. This time the Carerra 4S Coupe and Cabriolet have received the GTS treament - to join the two-wheel drive GTS that went on sale in December 2010.

Besides the extra badges, the most notable change is an increase in power for the 3.8-litre flat-six engine - an additional 23bhp takes the output to 402bhp, sent to all four wheels. Fitted with the standard six-speed manual gearbox that's enough to send the coupe and cabriolet from 0-62mph in 4.6 and 4.8 seconds respectively, although 0.2 seconds can be shaved from those times if you opt for the PDK 'box.

Despite the boost in performance, fuel consumption is identical to the Carrera 4S at 26.9mpg, with CO2 emissions of 247g/km.

Compared to the standard 4S model, the GTS gains a Sport-Design front apron, with a black painted spoiler lip, and deeper side skirts. Inside there's sports seats as standard while 19-inch black RS Spyder alloys with a central wheel bolt add to the exterior aggression.

Other standard kit includes a rear limited slip differential, a switchable sports exhaust and a reflective strip between the tail lamps - the latter of which marks out all four-wheel drive models in the 911 range.

The 911 Carrera 4 GTS Coupé and Cabriolet go on sale in the UK in July, priced from £83,145 for the Coupé and £90,024 for the Cabriolet. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Audi SQ5

More power for the Audi Q5? It makes sense. BMW's X3 makes up to 300 hp, and the Infiniti EX35 is just behind with 297 hp. By contrast, the top-spec Audi Q5 3.2 FSI makes 270 hp, and its V-6 isn’t really among those powerplants we’d call flexible and sporty. If Audi wants to be regarded as the "sportiest premium brand"—a goal we've often heard mentioned in Ingolstadt—installing its more charismatic and powerful engines into a wider range of products is essential.

It's no surprise then that Audi isn't leaving the Q5 alone, and our spy photographers have snapped what appears to be a test mule for an upcoming high-performance version that might be called Q5 S or SQ5. Power will come from the company's 3.0-liter "T" engine, a V-6 force-fed by an Eaton TVS Roots-type supercharger nestled between the cylinder banks. This engine is found across the Audi lineup—including in the latest A6—and it also is used as the internal-combustion portion of a hybrid system installed under the hoods of the VW Touareg and Porsche Cayenne and Panamera.

It seems that the supercharger has a bright future at Audi after all. Two years ago, we were told the 3.0T would be Audi's only supercharged engine, and that its successor would be turbocharged. But now the signals are mixed and it seems that Audi might keep the Roots blower after all. That's good news for enthusiasts, as the supercharger delivers low-end response that even the smallest turbo can't match. Audi has gone to great lengths to eliminate the blower’s characteristic whine, so those who like to drive in peace and quiet won't have reason to object either.

The SQ5’s version of this engine is likely to put out at least 330 hp and be coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The exterior will be distinguished by add-ons similar to those in the S line package—which the test mule pictured here doesn't have. There also will be larger brakes and the characteristic S-model four-tip exhaust. And there's another possibility: The SQ5 might be offered with a 310-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 diesel as an alternative to the gasoline-powered SQ5. This model's engine would be shared with upcoming diesel versions of the Audi S6 and S7.

The sharp handling of the regular Q5—the 3.2 FSI model placed first in a comparison test—would seem to bode well for the SQ5’s dynamics. Unless BMW brings an M version of the X3 to market, the Audi SQ5 would be another nice step in achieving Audi’s “sportiest brand” aspirations.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Sneak Peek: 2012 BMW 1-Series

The countdown has begun! This teaser image, released by BMW's marketing department, shows the brand-new 1-Series hidden beneath a cover, and tells us the car's official unveiling is imminent.

Exactly what lies beneath the cloth isn't entirely clear, but photos from our team of spy photographers (see right), as well as a video of the car on track shown here, have already given us a clear indication of how the five-door version will look.

And it's the five-door model which we'll see first at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, a three-door hatch is also on the way, but will join the range in 2012. All-new versions of the 1-Series coupe and cabriolet are also currently under development.

According to a spokesman for the brand, the purpose of having two cars not one in the image is to support BMW's international advertising campaign for the new 1-Series. It uses the slogan 'One origin. Two originals', and uses carfully selected pairs of siblings to front print, online and TV ads.

We'll bring you full official details and an extensive picture gallery of the newcomer the moment we receive them - likely to be in the next two weeks. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2011 Volkswagen Golf GTi Edition 35

It’s been 35 years since the Golf GTI was introduced and what better way to celebrate than with a more aggressive, more powerful special edition of the current car.

Called the Edition 35, the newcomer gets a subtly redesigned front bumper, a new alloy wheel design unique to this model, contrasting black door mirrors and ‘35’ badging on the door sills.

The interior also gets a few tweaks, with a golf-ball gear-lever and ‘35’ stitched into each of the part-leather sports seats.

Underneath the bonnet, VW has tweaked the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine to produce an additional 25bhp over the standard car, taking the total power output to 232bhp.

There are no official details on improvements to performance but expect to see a few tenths of a second shaved of the standard car’s 6.9 seconds 0-62mph time.

The new model will be unveiled at the Worthersee tuning festival in June and will go on sale in the UK towards the end of the year. Expect to pay a premium over the standard car’s £25,060 price-tag.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Jaguar C-X75 Gets Green Light

It will be real: Jaguar has decided to put the C-X75 supercar, first shown as a concept at last year's Paris auto show, into production. It will be a joint project with Williams F1, and exactly 250 units will be produced. The announcement was made at a press conference in London, and the build run will start in late 2013 and last through late 2015.

Jaguar describes the car as the "fastest and the most efficient supercar on the market." When asked whether this includes the forthcoming Porsche 918, group engineering director Bob Joyce bluntly replied, "Yes." And he added this about the Porsche: "25 kilometers [16 miles] of electric range is good for the [fuel-economy test] cycle, but you are effectively driving with the internal combustion engine all the time." With this car, Jaguar envisions fuel economy of more than 55 mpg—although it didn’t specify if that figure is really mpge—with a pure-electric range of around 30 miles

More important for a hypercar, Jag says the car will hit 60 mph in less than three seconds, can achieve 100 mph in less than six, and won’t run into its speed limiter until passing 200 mph. There will be three driver-selectable modes of operation: all-electric, a hybrid mode called Dual, and a full-power Track setting. To refill the batteries, it will have typical regeneration abilities, as well as plug-in recharging capability.

The two-seater’s styling will stay very close to that of the Paris concept, and it will feature all-wheel drive with a small-displacement four-cylinder turbo engine and an "extremely powerful" electric motor at each axle. The power ratio between electric motors and internal-combustion engine is going to be 1:1. This Jaguar won't mark the return of the turbine car, as the micro-turbine technology used for range extension in the show vehicle won’t be ready for production in time. But the company "remains committed to the micro-turbine technology," says brand director Adrian Hallmark. In the long run, Jaguar intends to bring the tech to market in its series-production vehicles, although we’ll believe it when we see them in our office parking lot.

Weight is kept down with a sophisticated carbon-fiber chassis, and ceramic brakes are included. The body likely will have aluminum panels and a carbon-fiber roof.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2012 Porsche Cayman S Black Edition

Black is perhaps most evocative of death or misfortune, but when sprayed on a car, it creates a sinister, menacing aura that we find more than a little alluring. It’s not quite magical enough to make us think differently of, say, the Pontiac Aztek, but pour it over something that has some zing and suddenly, it’s got a lot more pull. Porsche, no stranger to lusty products—and apparently with a surplus of black paint, judging by the previously revealed Black Editions of the Boxster S and 911—is now extending the Black treatment to the Cayman S.

As the name suggests—to say nothing of the other Black Edition cars—the Cayman S Black Edition is the color of evil, as are its lightweight 19-inch Boxster Spyder wheels, air intakes, and exhaust tips. The theme continues inside, including black cloth seats with leather trim—all-hide chairs are an option we expect most buyers will choose—black-faced gauges, and, of course, black trim for the dash and center console. “Black Edition” script adorns the sill plates, and a plaque on the glove box denotes each car’s production number within the limited run. The Cayman Black will be the rarest of the group with only 500 copies set for production. (Porsche will build up to 1911 Black Edition 911s and 987 Black Boxsters.)

Accompanying the visual treatments is a predictable 10-hp bump in output, compliments of the Cayman R’s exhaust. The 3.4-liter flat-six produces a total of 330 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, the latter unchanged from the S. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, while the equally excellent but not as engaging PDK seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will be on the options list. Other costly extras like carbon-ceramic brakes and an adaptive suspension also are on the menu.

Like the Boxster Black Edition, the darkened Cayman actually represents a savings of several thousand dollars compared to a similarly spec'ed S. For $68,450, the Black Cayman includes navigation, xenon headlights, an upgraded Bose stereo system, and other assorted goodies. Deliveries begin in July, and with just 500 being produced worldwide, you’ll probably need to move quickly to get your hands on one. Given the ominous looks and bargain pricing, it’s certainly worth a shot.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Spied: 2013 Ford Escape

Ford's plans to streamline its compact SUV models in concert with the One Ford strategy are beginning to coalesce. About four months ago the company unveiled its Vertrek concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but there was some confusion as to whether this vehicle would replace the European Kuga as well as the Escape sold here.

It's now clear that a new production model SUV based on the Vertrek will succeed both Ford's Escape and Kuga models. Our master spy photographers at Carparazzi have snapped pics of pre-production cars undergoing testing and, according to Carparazzi, the C250, as it is codenamed, will be marketed as the Ford Escape when it goes on sale globally, either at the end of this year or during the first quarter of next year.

In style, the new SUV will follow the general looks of the Vertrek, but Carparazzi advises that the new vehicle won't be far removed in size from the current Escape.

Boxy camouflage at the rear conceals the shallow rake of the D pillars and tailgate for the new vehicle. Tail lights are an angular design, according to Carparazzi. Apparently too, the frontal styling incorporates cues from both the Vertrek and the US market Ford Edge.

The bonnet seems quite high and lends the car a VW Tiguan air. In addition to meeting aerodynamic targets, the frontal styling is undoubtedly aimed at improving on the Kuga's already admirable three-star pedestrian rating -- as determined by Euro NCAP. New pedestrian safety regs in Europe are scheduled for implementation in 2013 and the C250 will be developed with those in mind.

This particular vehicle is believed to be a high-spec 'Sport' or 'Titanium' variant and was riding on alloy wheels wrapped in 235/50 R18 Continental ProContact tyres. Carparazzi has also spotted other pre-production vehicles getting around on steel wheels with lesser tyres.

It's anticipated that the new vehicle, which is based on the C1 platform that also underpins the third-gen Focus, will launch globally from very late this year or during the first quarter of 2012.

Rumours that have reached Carparazzi's ears suggest that the new SUV will do away with V6 engines and rely instead on a 2.5-litre four, with an EcoBoost alternative for high-end models. At this stage it's unknown whether the forced-induction and direct-injection engine chosen for this application will displace 2.0 litres or 1.6. In line with Ford's commitment to hybrid-drive technology, there will be a petrol/electric model available not long after the vehicle is launched.

There's little word as yet concerning how the new SUV will be handled when it arrives in Australia. It will replace a car that has been on sale for a long time and is well overdue for replacement, but precisely when the new model will arrive here remains uncertain. The Carsales Network contacted Ford Australia's Product Communications Manager for SUVs and LCVs, Peter Fadeyev for further comment. In response, he said that the name for the new SUV was "yet to be determined" and "timing of its arrival in Australia is currently unknown".

"The usual process of developing the production car is well under way, but we're some way off from knowing when the car will be launched in Australia."

"Obviously the North American and European markets will be keen to secure that model first."

Thanks to: Car Point

Hot News: Porsche's 458-Rival

Set to become the new performance benchmark for Porsche’s regular range, the all-new model will be aimed squarely at the Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C, and priced accordingly at around £170,000.

It has been widely reported that to separate it from all other models in the range, including the £678,000 hybrid 918 Spyder, the newcomer will be called the 961 – a badge that should ring a bell with motorsport fans. The 961 was a racecar built in 1986 based on the 959 supercar, it was designed to compete in Group B sports car racing but only one example was ever made before the Group B class was axed.

Our rederings show how the production car is likely to look, and there’s no denying the similarity to the 918 RSR hybrid race car revealed at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year. The classic mid-engine proportions and dimensions that are longer, lower and wider than the 911 will be shared, but every panel on the 961 will be new.

In true Porsche tradition though, the design will borrow from other models in the range, including a 911-style snout and an extended roofline that echoes the Cayman coupe. The engine will also be visible just ahead of an automatic pop-up spoiler.

Experience in lighweight engineering, gained from existing models like the GT2 RS, will be used to keep the 961’s mass to a minimum. Expect is to use a stiff and light carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, putting it on a par in technology terms with the McLaren MP4-12C, as well as carbon-fibre body panels and a raft of aluminium components.

Our sources revealed that it will initially be offered as a fixed-roof coupe, as shown in our illustrations, although a roadster version is also under consideration. Less information is available on the powertrain, but it will need around 600bhp to compete with its rivals. To keep costs down a tuned version of the 4.8-litre, twin-turbo V8 from the Panamera Turbo and Cayenne Turbo is available, but it could prove to heavy for the task. If so, a turbocharged version of the high-revving 3.4-litre V8 borrowed from the RS Spyder racecar would fit the bill.

And Porsche is wasting no time in putting this new flagship into production. A showroom-ready car could be on the road as soon as 2013 – the same year the 918 Spyder is scheduled to begin production.

Spied: 2013 Ford B-Max

But while Ford is keeping its B-MAX mules disguised with Fiesta bodywork, the eventual look of the production car is no longer a secret. As our picture gallery shows, the B-MAX was unveiled as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show in 2011, where it was confirmed that the car will go on sale early in 2012, priced around £13,000.

Set to replace the slow selling Ford Fusion, the production version of this car gets a design inspired by the latest Ford Focus, including a distinctive trapezoidal front grille and bold looking headlamps.

However, it's the B-MAX's innovative pillarless design and sliding doors which give this car it's unique character, as well as a massive side opening of up to 1.5 meters. The design promises make the B-MAX one of the most practical and versatile cars in its class.

Despite this huge entry space, the B-MAX should remain an easy car to drive around town. While the finished version will be both taller and wider than the Fiesta on which it is based, it will be just 110mm longer - meaning tight parking spaces should prove no problem.

Under the bonnet, the car will feature Ford's new EcoBoost petrol engine range, the highlight of which will be the new 1-litre, three-cylinder unit with fuel economy of up to 70mpg.

Inside, the cabin will feature seats for five, and flat-folding rear chairs. A panoramic sunroof will be offered as an optional extra, as will leather seats with colour coded stitching.

Drivers can also look forward to an upmarket cabin, complete with the funtionality of the Ford Focus derived "MyFordTouch" in car technology. This combines the latest entertainment, navigation and phone technologies, as well as a customisable instrument panel.

Top specification cars will even offer advanced technologies like automatic reverse parking systems, and intelligent cruise control - bringing executive car technologies to the supermini class for the first time. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car; 2011 Volvo V70 R-Design

To achieve its R-Design status, the V70 receives body-coloured bumpers, silk metal wing mirrors with intergrated LED indicators and unique 18-inch 'Ixion' alloys. Inside two-tone leather, with the R-Design logo embossed on the seats, adds a sportier feel. The pack is available together with all engines, which makes it possible to choose the newly launched 1.6-litre DRIVe diesel with CO2 emissions at 119g/km.

Prices for the V70 R-Design range start with the DRIVe model at £28,195, while the 211bhp D5 version with stop-start costs from £32,400. Topping the price-list is the T6, costing £37,985. For more details click here.

Thanks to: Auto Express

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