News: Fiat Qubo MPV

Fiat Qubo MPV fq

Fiat has released the first pictures of Qubo, which will make its world debut at the Paris Motor Show in October offering a people mover capable of using as little as 3.8 l/100 km and targeting the market sector that is seen as the next big thing in Europe.

Built on the Fiat same platform as the Fiat Punto already on sale in New Zealand, the Qubo offers 16 different combinations of seats and load space area, including a fold down front seat that allows objects as long as 2.5 metres to be loaded inside, quite an achievement for a vehicle that is only 3.9 metres long! And, despite its diminutive exterior size, it has a load space that can expand up to 2.5 cubic metres or offer spacious comfort for five occupants and still have a 330 litre boot under its luggage cover.

The Qubo arrives in market sector that can be said have been first identified by Fiat with its Idea model, a people mover based on a small hatch back, to produce a car that is economical and easy to drive as the car on which it is based, but with the interior space of larger conventional cars. With taxes based on carbon dioxide emissions sweeping across Europe, Qubo’s ability to offer a C02 figure of just 119 g/km enables it to be in the low tax, as well as low emissions bracket without being a small, cramped car inside.

Making these emissions and economy figures possible is the same 1.3 litre turbo diesel engine that has made the Fiat 500 JTD one of the most economical cars available in New Zealand, and it is matched to the Dualogic gearbox that has economy and performance of a manual gearbox and ease of use of an automatic.

News: C200 – finally a Ssangyong that isn’t ugly

Ssangyong C200 concept fq

SsangYong will unveil a new compact passenger car concept at this year’s Paris Motor Show. The SsangYong C200 is an urban compact SUV and the first SsangYong to feature a front-wheel drive platform and monocoque construction.

The C200 is reminiscent of the Saab 9-4. Ssangyong vehicles are currently leading in our poll to find the ugliest new car on the market today, so this will be a welcome change.

The C200 uses a new six-speed manual transmission and a new 2,000cc diesel engine with 175 horsepower. Although this platform can also be used with a front-wheel drivetrain, the C200 employs SsangYong’s full-time four-wheel drive technology for optimal driving performance. It is environment-friendly, with low CO2 emissions, conforming with EURO V European exhaust emissions regulations.

News: Renault’s top-of-the-line Ondelios crossover

Renault Ondelios fq

The Paris Motor Show sees the wraps come off Renault’s top-of-the-range concept car Ondelios. Ondelios is Renault’s vision of the high-end crossover, combining a comfortable ride with respect for the environment incorporating an original hybrid powertrain and some pretty ethereal design.

The 4.8-metre-long, 1.6-metre high Ondelios has drawn inspiration from the world of aviation design to deliver high drag efficiency and a Cd of just 0.29. The aluminium-finish grille is flanked by headlamp units that suggest flowing motion.

Another feature of Ondelios’ aerodynamic styling is the boomerang-shaped tail lights. They are built into the bodywork and ringed with air extractors to control the flow of air from the wheel arches.

The glazed roof bathes the interior in natural light.

“We think of it as made from a single material, where the body and glazed areas merge into one. Ondelios is a glimpse of what the automobile might be in the medium term future,” adds Patrick Le Quement, Renault’s Design Director.

The butterfly-type side doors, which also feature an extensive glazed area, swing out and upwards as the sills slide down to
facilitate ingress.

The dark blue anthracite of the bodywork blends perfectly with the tinted glazed area, making the car look as if it were all of a piece and a single colour. The tailgate’s upper section rounds off the sleek, aerodynamic lines with a profiled glareshield
that slides inwards to air and cool the cabin.

Ondelios sits on seven-spoke, 23-inch aluminium alloy wheels with propeller-like hubs draw that airflow from the sides of the car to prevent turbulence. They operate in conjunction with the rim-side brake discs to ensure they suck in air effectively.

The sleek sidewalls of the large diameter 255/40 Michelin Pilot Sport tyres deliver excellent drag performance. Their tread pattern is designed to minimise deformation of the contact patch while on the move to help curb rolling resistance.

The tread has efficient, active flow channels which, together with the wide circumferential groove that helps clear water, strengthen the image of a high-end, high-tech tyre.

Inside, there are three rows of seats that offer individual seating for six. With their cantilever mounts they give the impression of floating, while their kinematics are redolent of airplane seats. The electrically adjustable backs fold into comfortable, business-class positions, while occupants can deploy and retract their footrests at will. They are designed, like giant leaves, to hug their occupants who can curl up in them.

Some of the car’s structural parts are made from natural flax fibre for greater recyclability. In keeping with the commitment to make the car as light as possible, its body is made from carbon and the glazed areas from polycarbonate.

Ondelios is powered by a hybrid powerplant which combines a more powerful 205hp (150kW) version of the 2.0 dCi engine, with two 20kW electric motors at the front and rear. They operate in mild hybrid mode, giving the engine extra boost as required. They use a brake and boost system, recovering energy during braking then delivering it to the engine to boost
acceleration. The front motor also uses fuel-saving stop-start technology.

The electric motor mounted on the rear axle drives the rear wheels when the ESP sensors detect a loss of traction, thus giving Ondelios the capability of a 4WD vehicle. The car is equipped with a lithium-ion battery that can deliver power of up to 4kW/h.

With torque of 450Nm between 1,700 and 3800rpm, the diesel engine provides comfort and flexibility at all engine speeds for long-distance driving pleasure. The 2.0 dCi unit takes Ondelios from a standing start to 100kph in just 7.8 seconds. Driving through a seven-speed, double-clutch gearbox, fuel consumption is kept to a frugal 4.5 litres/100km and CO2 emissions at a lowly 120g/km.
Weights, dimensions, capacities

Length (mm) 4,805
Width (mm) 1,998
Height (mm) 1,605
Height with doors open (mm) 2,230
Wheel base (mm) 2,895
Front track (mm) 1,690
Rear track (mm) 1,720
Unladen weight (kg) 1,452
Boot (dm3) 530
Technical data

Internal combustion engine 2.0 dCi
Power in hp (kW) 205 (150)
Maximum torque (Nm) 450, from 1,700 to 3,800rpm
Electric motors Two 20kW electric motors: one at
the front and one at the rear
Power supply 4kWh lithium-ion battery. Size:
40dm3. Weight: 50kg
Acceleration from 0 to 100kph (s) 7.8
CO2 emissions, combined cycle fuel
consumption 120g/km, 4.5 litres/100 km
Transmission Double-clutch seven-speed
automatic transmission
Internal combustion engine drive
and electric motor drive
Tyres 255/40 ZR23
Wheels Diameter: 23″. Width: 9″
G Studio Bodywork
Michelin Tyres
Samsung Telephone for communication with
Mgs par Materialise Sintered parts

News: Mercedes-Benz ConceptFASCINATION reinterprets shooting-brake

Mercedes-Benz ConceptFASCINATION fq

Mercedes-Benz has released pictures and details of its ConceptFASCINATION design study. With unconventional proportions it manages to pull off sporty, elegant and practical at the same time. It features wood, aluminium and smoked glass in the luggage compartment, which incorporates a refrigerated compartment and a humidor as well as offering a large load space.

Mercedes’ two objectives of ConceptFASCINATION were to provide a high level of practical usability and to create a coupe which appeals to the heart with fast, thrilling lines. In developing this design study, Mercedes-Benz has given fresh impetus to the long-established (although now rarely seen) “shooting brake”, a vehicle category with its own distinctive charisma.

The design study’s elongated body is dominated by the dynamic front-to-rear sweep of its lines which gives it a dynamically charged look, evoking movement even when the vehicle is stationary. This impression is emphasised by the long, frameless, side-window line which creates a continuous arc from front to rear, uninterrupted by a B-pillar.

Rhomboid headlamps which are set against a grey background reveal technical details of the light units which feature the latest LED technology as well as C-shaped fibre-optic inserts which serve as discreet running lights.

The bonnet of the design study has pronounced contours with a central ridge which picks up the V-shape of the front end and continues it along the vehicle body. A single-louvre radiator grille with the central Mercedes star makes a very dominant brand statement.

To give more light and a feeling of space, there’s a large panoramic glass roof.

The interior is inspired by the world of equestrianism. Recalling the look and feel of a saddle, thick, dark leather covers the aluminium centre console which, like a bridge extending from the front to the rear, spans the space between the four individual seats and translates the taut lines of the exterior to the interior of the vehicle with minimalist elements. This leather also covers the upper section of the dashboard while its supple, flowing character means that it also lends itself to enhancing the look and feel of the door armrests.

Contrast is provided by light, fine nubuck leather which is used for the other surfaces and the four individual seats as well as by the deep-pile carpet with heavy fibres. The seat centre panels are covered in strong, high-quality fabric. Trim strips in American walnut with a fine chrome surround complete the portfolio of materials.

It is powered by the new four-cylinder diesel engine which features BlueTEC and AdBlue technology and develops 204 hp from a displacement of 2.2 litres.

News: Moller creates flying Ferrari?

Moller Autovolantor fqh

At last, we can tick another one o our dreams off: Moller has proved that it can create a flying Ferrari. Not only that, but it’s ‘green’ – it’s a hybrid-electric 599 capaable of lifting off vertically and flying for about 15 minutes.

In theory, you’d use the Ferrari on the road, but if you get stuck in traffic you just lift off, fly at over 200kph for a short distance to get yourself out of the jam, land, then travel up to 70km further.

Moller was under contract with a wealthy Russian businessman who was fed up getting stuck in traffic between his country home and his office in Moscow.

Preliminary analysis was conducted by Moller, which found that a hybrid propulsion system consisting of electric motors and engines, together with an eight-fan aircraft design, could be constructed to form the Autovolantor.

Scale models confirmed the theory, but it’ll cost more than US$5m to produce. The businessman didn’t want to fund a prototype, so Moller is currently looking for more bonkers Russians so it can complete the project.

Moller’s most famous contraption is its Skycar, though it has never had commercial success with any of its flying vehicles.

News: Lexus LF-Xh hybrid SUV

Lexus LF-Xh fq

The Lexus LF-Xh hybrid concept car made its original European debut at the Museo della Permanente art gallery during Milan Design Week earlier this year.

Now appearing in the more conventional surroundings of an international motor show, the LF-Xh features powerful, highly sculptural bodywork, a funky, user-intuitive interior and an all-wheel drive Lexus Hybrid Drive system, which combines a grunty V6 petrol engine with high output electric motors. The LF-Xh should be a good performer on the road, have near-silent operation, excellent fuel efficiency and low emissions.

We should have more photos when it finally appears at the Paris Motor Show in October.

News: MINI Crossover Concept

MINI Crossover Concept fq

Does this concept prove BMW has a sense of humour, or that it is committed to bringing a four-wheel drive vehicle to the MINI range within the next couple of years?

The MINI Crossover Concept is a new model variant for the first time measuring more than four metres in length, with four drive wheels, four doors and four single seats.

A universal, multifunction fastening rail, the MINI Center Rail, extending between the seats on the centre console of the MINI Crossover Concept, offers not only offers unconventional storage options, but also provides a consistent link between the front row of seats and the rear – that’s kind of ‘designery’ talk that car manufacturers say to justify an unusual idea.

There’s also an innovative central instrument in three-dimensional finish – the MINI Centre Globe. It’s a combined control and display unit formed as a globe, which hasn’t been seen before in a car. It allows integrated control of entertainment, communication, navigation, and vehicle functions.

MINI is obviously targeting the lifestyler with its all-wheel drive, and the extra length gives more storage options. We’re wondering whether ‘MINI’ is the right term for a car that, at four metres long, is anything but!

There are asymmetric doors – a conventional arrangement of doors is to be found only on the front passenger’s side, while on the driver’s side the MINI Crossover Concept comes with a conventional door for the first row of seats plus a lift/sliding door moving along the outside for convenient access to the rear and for loading the car from the side. And by dropping the B-pillar on the driver’s side, the MINI Crossover Concept presents a generous opening.

The rear door swivelling to one side, together with its frameless and retractable rear window, likewise offers better loading conditions, giving a large opening and the low loading sill. Sports equipment and other, even bulkier objects can be loaded into the luggage space offering even larger capacity when required by lowering the individually folding rear seats completely into the floor of the car with the help of a parallelogram kinematic mechanism.

Storage capacities may then be increased even further by a transport case fitted outside on the rear door, and the roof rail system available on the MINI Crossover Concept is ideal for fitting ski, snowboard and bicycle carriers as well as transport boxes of all sizes.

As a folding roof cover extending throughout the entire length of the roof, the roof structure may be opened both from the front and from the rear, letting either fresh air or warm sunshine into the car – or both, depending on the driver’s and passengers’ wishes.

The opening at the rear also serves to accommodate extremely long objects transported in the car, ranging from a surfboard all the way to cross-country skis.

The single seats at the rear, to mention perhaps the most significant highlight, come in the same contours as the driver’s and front passenger’s seats and are adjustable by 13 centimetres or 5.1″ fore-and-aft. So depending on individual requirements, the rear seats offer either lounge-like legroom or additional storage capacity in the rear compartment.

News: Hyundai Genesis arriving for Koreans soon (+video)

Hyundai Genesis 2008 Korea TVC

September 26 marks the day that Korean owners will get their hands on the brand new Hyundai Genesis, but we have to be content with gazing adoringly at this commercial now playing in Korea.

Genesis Coupe 2.0 GL

210HP Theta 2.0 TCI RS engine, dual airbags, 6-speed MT, 18-inch alloys, ABS, VDC, starter button, seat warmers, Bluetooth handsfree system

Options: 5-speed automatic, sunroof, reverse parking radar, side and curtain airbags

Price: 25,360,000 WON (approx NZ$35,000)
Genesis Coupe 2.0 Stylish Pack (we love that name!!!)

– GL base options, 19-inch alloys, LSD, HID headlights, leather seats, full-auto climate control, reverse parking radar
Options: 5-speed automatic, sunroof, side and curtain airbags, Brembo brake system

Price: 26,920,000 WON (approx NZ$36,500)
Genesis Coupe 2.0 GLS

Stylish Pack base options, Brembo brake system, active headrests, 6-disc CD changer, aluminium pedals, JBL sound system, Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tyres

Options: 5-speed automatic, sunroof, side and curtain airbags

Price: 30,690,000 WON (approx NZ$41,500)
Genesis Coupe 3.8 GLS

2.0 GLS base options, 303 HP Lambda 3.8 RS engine, Brembo brake system, LSD, 19-inch alloys, reverse parking radar, leather seats

Options: ZF 6-speed automatic, sunroof, side and curtain airbags

Price: 33,150,000 WON (approx NZ$45,000)

Sounds like a bit of a bargain to us, though it’s likely to be significantly more if it reaches New Zealand because of shipping costs.