Peugeot clocks fastest electric car lap at the Nürburgring

May 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

While the Nurburgring is the scene for heated competition for carmakers testing out their latest sports models and bragging about lap times, it’s rare that an electric vehicle tackles the track. That will surely change in the future and getting its name on the board early is the Peugeot EX1 which has set a new electric car lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife with a 9:01.338-minute run.

The previous lap record set by an electric car belonged to the Mini E racer, which lapped the German track last year in a more leisurely 9 minutes and 51.45 seconds.

The fully-electric Pug, averaged 136kph on its record-setting run. Peugeot has promised to release a video of the EX1 tearing up the Nordschleife, but for now we’ll have to wait.

The lightweight, four-wheel drive EX1 was originally built to mark Peugeot’s 200th birthday, and is powered by a pair of electric motors. Each electric motor produces 125 kW for a combined output of 250kW and 240Nm of torque. Energy comes through a high-output lithium-ion battery pack. Continue reading “Peugeot clocks fastest electric car lap at the Nürburgring” »

Subaru breaks out XV concept vehicle at Shanghai show

April 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For any Subaru fans out there wanting a glimpse of the future for their favoured brand – here’s the new XV Concept. The covers have just been pulled off this latest crossover concept at the Auto Shanghai 2011 motor show.

What exactly is it? It’s a compact crossover vehicle based on the same platform as the upcoming 2012 Subaru Impreza. Keen enthusiasts will already know that a high-riding Impreza XV variant already sells in some markets globally.

Features of the concept vehicle’s design include popped out wheel arches, full length glass roof, integrated roof rails and lower body cladding – all features that suggest a focus on practicality and off road ability. Flashing it up is Subaru’s latest hexagonal grille, hawk-eye headlights, 19-inch light alloy rims with clear blue centre caps and a matte ‘Electro Yellowgreen’ finish.

No surprises under the XV’s bonnet with Subaru’s 2.0-litre horizontally opposed Boxer engine turning all four wheels through a symmetrical AWD system. Power is shifted through a CVT transmission.

In the cabin, light leather treatment contrasts with the darker tones of other cabin features. There’s a large touch panel multi-function display in the center console for easy navigation and audio control while displaying vehicle information. Continue reading “Subaru breaks out XV concept vehicle at Shanghai show” »

Peugeot pulls covers on SXC crossover concept

April 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Peugeot is out to send a message at next week’s Shanghai Auto Show with its new SXC concept car. That message will be that the French carmaker is committed to developing vehicles for the Chinese market.

The proof is in the pudding with the SCX concept designed right there in Shanghai by Peugeot’s Style Studios of China Tech Centre. The name SXC actually stands for “Shanghai Cross Concept”, with Peugeot making it clear that the crossover study was build to suit the tastes of Chinese buyers.

At 4,870mm long and 1,610mm tall the SCX is a largish, sleek crossover using similar styling to Peugeot’s other concept offerings like the SR1, HR1 and the EX1. The French firm states that the study combines elements from both SUVs and sedan models. In profile the SCX has coupe-like lines, there’s concept car staple suicide doors and a thin glasshouse, while creative tailgate styling dominates the rear.

The concept’s drivetrain comes from Peugeot’s HYbrid4 technology, combining a conventional combustion engine driving the front wheels with an electric motor at the back for an all-wheel-drive set up. The 1.6-litre turbo petrol motor produces 162kW of power while the electric motor adds a further 70kW into the mix. Fuel consumption is suitably impressive with a quoted figure of 5.8 litres per 100km while C02 emissions are 143g/km. There is a fully electric mode available on the SCX but only at low speeds and a range hasn’t been quoted. Continue reading “Peugeot pulls covers on SXC crossover concept” »

Subaru gives sneak peak of XV Concept

April 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Next week is a busy one for Subaru with the scheduled debut of two new vehicles for the Japanese carmaker.

At the Auto Shanghai 2011 show, Subaru is ready to drop the covers off its XV crossover concept car that has been teased in a single, darkened image this week.

While the silhouette image leaves some mystery, the XV is a preview of the 2012 Impreza XV,  the high-riding version of the Impreza Hatchback already sold in some markets in the current generation. While Subaru are staying tight-lipped at this stage the XV will feature Subaru’s symmetrical All Wheel Drive system and likely a boxer engine. This will allow the XV genuine crossover ability.

In terms of design there’s four doors, highly styled headlamps, big concept car wheels and the overall  shape of a crossover, albeit one with a raked back profile. Continue reading “Subaru gives sneak peak of XV Concept” »

BMW officially reveals production ready 2012 M5 concept

April 5th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Following a series of leaked photos from a press event in Germany, BMW has officially released details of its much anticipated M5 sports sedan. Due for its world premiere at the Auto Shanghai 2011 in China later this month, official images and details have just become known.

Apparently, the Concept M5 is around 99 percent production ready, so the production model should look almost identical to the vehicle in the official images.

In terms of power the fifth generation of the M5 has a new twin-turbocharged V8 engine waiting under the bonnet. BMW has confirmed that the engine is a development of its 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 which outputs 414kW and 680Nm of peak torque, but in M5 guide it will be tweaked to deliver more power. For now, the German company is staying tight-lipped on exact performance numbers.

What BMW has said is that compared to the fourth generation of the M5’s  V10 power unit, the freshly developed V8 turbo has a significantly increased output level. The upcoming M-car also has greater fuel economy and lower emissions than its predecessor. Continue reading “BMW officially reveals production ready 2012 M5 concept” »

Kia Naimo electric concept car dazzles Seoul show

April 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kia has just unveiled its new Naimo electric car concept at the 2011 Seoul Motor Show.

The name Naimo is the Korean word for “square shape,” and the new Kia EV concept is certainly a boxy design. The funky aesthetic also features no B-pillars and rear hinged doors that open up in a clamshell style. The concept also features huge 20-inch wheels which further the square theme and come wrapped in 20-inch rubber. Apparently the design is influenced by Asian Celadon-style pottery with asymmetrical shapes that reflect in the roof design and dotted LED front lights.

The hectic exterior design is contrasted with a more peaceful cabin for the concept. Korean oak covers the concept’s floor and door panels. A transparent organic LED display instrument panel and full connectivity gives the Naimo an advanced feel.

Powering the Naimo is a PMSM. What the hell is that? It’s a permanent magnet synchronous motor of course, and it provides a maximum output of 80 kW and 280Nm of torque. The juice comes from a 27 kWh lithium ion polymer twin battery pack, giving the EV a range of 200kms on a full charge. Kia claims that a special quick charge system enables the driver to charge the battery to 80 percent capacity in just 25 minutes. Strangely, a full charge takes five and a half hours. Continue reading “Kia Naimo electric concept car dazzles Seoul show” »

Suzuki to unveil two new models at New York show

March 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Suzuki Kizashi has been a success in the NZ market with steady sales and various automotive awards, but it hasn’t been as well received in all markets. Now, in a bid to renew interest and give the Kizashi fresh hype, Suzuki has announced it will be taking it “to the next level” at the New York Auto Show.

What does that mean? Well no one really knows yet but Suzuki will take two new concept models to next month’s New York show. No details have been released yet but many suspect Suzuki will reveal a production version of its Kizashi Turbo concept car which was first shown last year.

This special concept featured a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine that produced 179kW of power and 330Nm of torque. The concept car got special treatment like a boot-mounted spoiler, a revised suspension set-up and 19-inch Enkei alloy wheels. If the turbo concept does go into production it will be a smooth move for Suzuki because a high-performance Kizashi would help build appeal for the whole range. Continue reading “Suzuki to unveil two new models at New York show” »

GM previews next global ute with Colorado concept

March 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

General Motors has just revealed the first details and images of it’s next-generation midsize ute truck. Ahead of an official unveiling at the Bangkok Auto Show GM has revealed the new ute in Chevrolet Colorado form but expect a new re-badged Holden Colorado in the future.

The concept truck is an extended-cab mid-size ute which features a prominent grille, polished aluminum accents, and LED-infused headlights. Elsewhere, there’s a body-color tonneau cover and 20-inch alloy wheels with Cooper Zeon off-road tyres.

Like the next-gen Ford Ranger the styling of GM’s new ute is sure to stir some controversy as all the best and worst designs do. But Chevrolet’s global vehicle line executive Brad Merkel said of the design, “Although this is a show vehicle, the basic proportions convey the vision for the next-generation Colorado that we will bring to market.”

The Colorado in concept form features a 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine, five-speed manual transmission 20-inch wheels and all-wheel drive.

The Colorado cabin was an area of criticism for the current model and that has been addressed with the new concept vehicle. The interior is apparently high quality and has a motorcycle-inspired instrument cluster, leather seats, dark wood trim, and chrome accents. Other highlights include a dual-zone climate control system and an infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen display. Continue reading “GM previews next global ute with Colorado concept” »