Renault planning three new electric vehicles

June 22nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Renault be bop fq

This September’s Frankfurt Motor Show will be the venue for the unveiling of three new electric vehicles from Renault, including a concept that previews an all new model. The concept is predicted to be put on the same dedicated platform created from Renault’s alliance with Nissan, set to underpin its new EV debuting at the Tokyo Motor Show and going on sale next year. Renault development chief Christian Steyer has said that the EVs will benefit from distinctive styling to set them apart from the rest of the automaker’s lineup.

In addition to the three new EVs, Renault will apparently be showing off both fast charging technology and battery swapping equipment, along with electric conversions of existing Megane and Kangoo models.

Audi to unveil electric R8 concept

May 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Audi r8 electric concept

Recent reports out of France and Germany are indicating that in addition to the all-new A8 and A5 Sportback, Audi has plans to debut two new versions of the R8 at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

If rumour is to be believed then the drop-top supercar will be available with either the standard 420 hp, 4.2-litre V8 or the newly released 525 hp, 5.2-litre V10, allowing Audi to compete directly with the 911 4S, Turbo and convertible models.

However, the big news is the rumoured reveal of an electric version of the R8. Details are scarce, so it’s unclear if the R8 concept will be a pure EV, a diesel/gasoline-electric hybrid, or a limited production model. Watch this space for more details as they come to light.

Last Ferrari F430 produced going to charity

May 14th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Ferrari F430 special

The Ferrari F430 has had a good run but production is scheduled to stop to make way for its replacement, the new Ferrari F450. The Ferrari F430 entered production in 2004 and has been made in a number of versions, including the Spider and the Scuderia. The new F450 model is set to premiere at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

The very last Ferrari F430 to drive off the production line will be charity-auctioned to raise funds for the reconstruction of the Abruzzo region in Italy. The Abruzzo region was heavily affected by the Italy’s recent earthquake.

This special final Ferrari F430, which will be built towards the end of this year and will have a two-tone paintjob with the traditional colors of Aquila, the city most heavily affected by the disaster.

BMW Z2 concept to debut at Frankfurt show

April 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

BMW Z2 concept

Recently the internet rumormill has been in overdrive with speculation that BMW would introduce a new Z2 concept vehicle at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Some sources are now confirming those reports, though the production version isn’t likely to reach market until 2013. Built atop BMW’s next-generation 1 Series platform, which will be prepared to allow for front, rear or all-wheel drive, the Z2 is likely to feature all of the German automaker’s latest fuel-saving Efficient Dynamics tech, including a potential plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Powering the eco-friendly model will be both gas and diesel engines with 2.0-litres or less displacement. The Z2 sounds like an intriguing machine and may even get a sequential transmission borrowed from BMW’s line of high-end motorcycles. Weight will be minimal thanks to good use of composite materials, and adjustable aerodynamics should offer high downforce when tackling the bends and minimal drag when cruising on the motorway.

Spyker Peking-Paris SUV to drop V12

April 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Spyker Peking-Paris fq

It may not seem like the right time for Dutch supercar maker Spyker to unleash its $300,000 D8 Peking-Paris SUV on the global motoring public. However, a recent influx of development money from Russia means the project is very much still in the works. According to reports, inital plans for a V12 engine have officially been shelved in favor of a V8.

No word on who will supply the engine for the Spyker D8. Currently, the automaker sources its powerplants from Audi, including the 400-horsepower 4.2L V8 powering the flagship C8, but earlier rumors have suggested that Spyker may instead use anl American V8 in the production SUV. If the reports are true about the Peking-Paris getting a supercharged 8-cylinder poweplant with at least 550 horsepower, there are a few excellent choices for Spyker to consider. We all should find out soon enough — Spyker is reportedly prepping the D8 for a debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Honda abandons Frankfurt Motor Show like it’s F1

April 2nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Honda Insight concept fq

It’s looking like all auto shows are going to be feeling the pinch of the diminshing auto market the latest being the mighty Frankfurt Motor Show. Honda has joined Nissan by pulling out of this year’s event in Germany in it’s latest bid to save some coin. Earlier this year, Nissan announced that it would only participate in one auto show on each continent — Geneva, Tokyo and Los Angeles — and although Honda hasn’t made such a sweeping announcement yet, it appears to be taking things one show at a time. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a similar move with only one North American show presence as well. At this year’s Detroit Auto Show, Honda had a stand but didn’t bother with a press conference. Honda’s frugality is quickly becoming legendary, it has already thrown away the F1 team with the quickest car in the competition. What’s next?

Volkswagen GTI-R with AWD ready to roll

March 13th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

VW Golf GTI-R fq

The much rumored Volkswagen Scirocco R20T never made it to the Geneva Motor Show, but according to a car magazine, VW has something else up its sleeve for this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Reports are coming in about the imminent arrival of the Volkswagen Golf GTI-R, a hotter version of VW’s iconic hatch with a more powerful variant of the turbocharged 2.0-litre turning all four wheels.

The turbo’d four-pot is related to the Audi S3’s powerplant, so power is expected to be up and over 260 hp. According to these reports, a major element of the GTI-R is weight reduction, so VW has opted to use the 2.0-litre turbo over its 3.2-litre V6. The supposed weight-loss regime might come in the form of lighter structural and body components, along with a more spartan interior that won’t infringe on the premium confines of the R32 and Scirocco. Then again, with the additional weight of the AWD system — versus the Focus RS and Renaultsport Megane 250, which both use a smart trick front differential to limit torque steer — the overall weight could still be more than the standard GTI. The GTI-R should debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year, with sales beginning in early 2010.

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