Toyota to debut GRMN Hybrid Concept II at Nürburgring race

June 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota got import car fans excited at last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon when it unveiled a hybrid-power MR2 roadster-based concept car that was developed in partnership with Japan’s Gazoo Racing.

Now, over a year later Toyota is following up on that concept machine with its successor the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II. The new hybird sports car will receive its official unveiling and on track debut this weekend at the 39th Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race.

The name “GRMN” has special meaning for the Japanese brand and stands for Gazoo Racing tuned by Meister of Nürburgring. The car has been named in honour of the late Hiromu Naruse (1944-2010), Toyota’s chief test driver and head of the Gazoo Racing team who died in an accident last year driving a prototype of the Lexus LFA Nurburgring Edition in Germany (read news).

The car is an evolution of the earlier concept and features a mid-mounted 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine that puts 183kW of power to the rear wheels. The car is also equipped with an electric motor that adds another 37kW and runs the front wheels, giving the hybrid concept all-wheel-drive handling capability. Total power output is rated at 220kW. Continue reading “Toyota to debut GRMN Hybrid Concept II at Nürburgring race” »

AC Schnitzer builds Eagle concept – world’s fastest Mini (+video)

June 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Being the fastest of the bunch is seldom a bad thing, extra speed usually equals extra kudos. This fact hasn’t been wasted on the BMW Group which recently set about building the world’s fastest Mini.

Called the Eagle concept car, this mean Mini was pieced together by specialist BMW tuner AC Schnitzer. To prove its ability and take its place as the Asafa Powell of Minis, the concept was taken to the Hockenheim circuit where it turned in a cracking lap time of 1:13.34. To put things into perspective a standard issue Ferrari California achieves a time of 1:13.5 and a Porsche 911 Turbo 1:14.6 – so the Mini was very rapid indeed.

The Eagle is based on the standard John Coooper Works platform and uses a modded version of its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. Power output is fairly modest at 194kW but the vehicle’s weight has been further reduced by 80kg. Other tweaks include height adjustable racing suspension and sharp 18-inch alloys with sport tyres. Continue reading “AC Schnitzer builds Eagle concept – world’s fastest Mini (+video)” »

VW Golf R Cabriolet concept unleashed at 2011 Wörthersee Tour

June 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The annual Volkswagen Group hot-hatch festival at Lake Wörthersee, Austria is now used as a serious launching pad for some exciting concept machines. Audi kicked it all off earlier this week with its 370kW A1 concept, and now its VW’s turn itself.

VW has just pulled the covers off its Golf R Cabriolet concept and its set to give the fans exactly what they want. Designed to demonstrate the “inexhaustible potential of the Golf,” the concept is very similar to the Golf R hatch and stands out with an aggressive front fascia, aerodynamic side skirts and a center-mounted dual exhaust system.  Other treats include a sport-tuned suspension, high-performance 17-inch brakes and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Under the bonnet is the Golf R’s 197kW, 2.0-litre turbo four engine which can accelerate the drop top from standing to 100km/h in under 6 seconds and hit a top speed of 250kph.

No interior images have been released but VW has confirmed that it is detailed like the Golf R hatch with Nappa leather sports seats, piano black trim and carbon fibre pieces. Continue reading “VW Golf R Cabriolet concept unleashed at 2011 Wörthersee Tour” »

Audi reveals aggro 370kW A1 Clubsport Quattro show car

June 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The annual Worthersee Festival kicks off today in Austria and sees brands of the VW group show off their latest concepts and vehicle ranges. The enthusiast’s show has got so big that the carmakers are building one-off concepts just to give brand fans something to cheer about.

This year Audi is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its Quattro AWD system and has marked the occasion with a wild little concept car. Named the A1 Clubsport Quattro the vehicle will appear among its 18 vehicles on display at the festival.

The special A1 is a rally-inspired hot hatch that is built around an extensively tuned 2.5-liter turbo five with just under 500 horsepower (370kW). The five-pot is usually used in Audi’s TT-RS and the RS3 Sportback and produces 340-horsepower. With engine upgrades like tuning of the turbocharger, intercooler, induction tract and exhaust, output has been boosted to ridiculous levels.

Power is put to all four wheels through a six-speed manual and naturally, the Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system. Audi claims the 1,390 concept car can reach 100 km/h from a standing in a scant 3.7 seconds, and push on to 200 km/h in just 10.9 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h. Continue reading “Audi reveals aggro 370kW A1 Clubsport Quattro show car” »

BMW reveals classically-inspired 328 Hommage concept at Villa d’Este (+video)

May 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW used last weekend’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este glitzy annual event to show off it’s new 328 Hommage concept.

The historical concept is heavily based on the Vision Connected Drive concept vehicle recently revealed at the Geneva Motor Show and has been built to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the classic 328 model. The original BMW 328 was a true success story for the German brand during the 1930s and was considered to be one of the finest-looking sports car of the era.

BMW’s 328 Hommage is a speedster body shape that features the latest in lightweight construction methods. Extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) on the concepts interior and exterior have given the concept an extremely light kerb weight of just 780kg.

The interior of the 328 Hommage is trimmed in fine leather, with high-gloss black, polished aluminum and carbon fibre pieces. For exterior design, the classic 328 design elements are obvious, there’s the vertically positioned double kidney front grille, the flat silhouette and wide-set tail lamps at the rear. Continue reading “BMW reveals classically-inspired 328 Hommage concept at Villa d’Este (+video)” »

Aston Martin to uncover new Zagato special at Villa d’Este

May 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Zagato design house has created plenty of beautiful machines with a wide variety of automakers over the years. But for many car fans it’s the collaboration between Zagato and Aston Martin that has created the most special automotive specimens.

The first and possibly most important, was the iconic Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. To mark the event, the British automaker and the famous Italian design house have reconnected on a new project that could potentially head into limited production. Details on this latest collaboration remain scarce but the concept is set to be revealed at the forthcoming Villa D’Este Concours on May 21 to check initial customer reaction with a production model possibly following as early as next year.

For now, a teaser rendering has been released with little else except speculation that the new Aston Martin Zagato could be based on the mechanical hardware and platform of the current V8 Vantage.

Aston Martin boss, Dr. Ulrich Bez, said: “Now is the right time for a new Aston Martin Zagato and in combining our design intelligence I think we can create something fitting of the iconic DB4GT Zagato that has gone before and since established itself as one of the most famous Aston Martins of all time.” Continue reading “Aston Martin to uncover new Zagato special at Villa d’Este” »

Audi considering Q5 crossover/cabriolet – seriously

May 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Is there really a market for crossover-cabriolet vehicles or is it just one niche too far? Nissan were the first to try and find out the answer with its Murano CrossCabriolet revealed late last year and now it would seem Audi wants a slice of that action as well.

Reports coming out of Europe are claiming that Audi is already at work on a cabriolet version of the Q5. While details remain scarce the new model will likely be based on the Audi Cross Cabriolet Quattro concept (pictured) which first premiered at the Frankfurt Auto Show back in 2007. The Audi Q5 cabriolet is expected to retain the two-door configuration of the concept, and should feature a soft-top roof. An electric motor will handle opening and closing the roof.

The Audi Q5 cabrio will not be an uncompromising driver’s car by any means, but more a highly styled cruiser with high quality materials and unique styling. Expect it to be priced accordingly. Continue reading “Audi considering Q5 crossover/cabriolet – seriously” »

Jaguar sending C-X75 hybrid supercar into production

May 9th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Jaguar has officially confirmed that its striking and environmentally friendly C-X75 supercar prototype will be taken into production.

The hybrid model first debuted as a concept at the Paris Motor Show last year and many thought that’s as far as it would go, but Jaguar have other ideas. The C-X75 is a hybrid supercar that produces less than 99g/km of CO2 emissions but for performance can rival the best supercars in the world and boasts a top speed of over 322 km/h (200mph).

The C-X75 will be an all-wheel drive machine with a “downsized, highly-boosted petrol engine coupled with two powerful electric motors,” says Jaguar, although the automaker is staying tight-lipped with any more details than that.

Jaguar will team up with the Williams F1 team to build the C-X75 and with Formula 1 preparing to switch to four-cylinder engines by 2013, it is possible that the C-X75’s powertrain will use similar or the same technology being developed for the Williams F1 team.

As a concept car the C-X75 used four 145-kW electric motors (one at each wheel) with two small turbine engines to create electrical current. But the production C-X75 will likely opt for a more conventional setup. Continue reading “Jaguar sending C-X75 hybrid supercar into production” »