Audi reveals sketches of electric Urban Concept (+video)

August 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Design sketches have been released of Audi’s Urban Concept vehicle which is set for its debut at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show.

The Urban Concept is the latest in a range of e-tron electric car concept Audi has revealed with many scheduled for production in the coming years.

The car is an open wheel, 1+1 seat, ultra-light cruiser for congested urban environments. Interestingly, the passenger doesn’t sit directly behind the driver instead the passenger seat is located to the right and just slightly back from the driver’s seat. Access is via the tailgate with a roof that slides back to open as well.

Development of the concept focused on lightweight construction, efficiency and reduction. There is no unnecessary weight and the drivetrain is built for absolute efficiency. The concept is made from a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque frame that integrates the substructures of the two seats as well. The alloy wheels measure 21-inches. Continue reading “Audi reveals sketches of electric Urban Concept (+video)” »

New Suzuki Swift sport previewed before Frankfurt debut

August 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Suzuki has given hot hatch fans a preview of its upcoming 2012 Swift Sport ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month.

When Suzuki unveiled its S-Concept earlier this year, it was a styling exercise to show what the next Swift Sport may look like. Some of the concepts bold styling has remained and some has been dropped. The pumped out wheel arches are gone, as are the vented quarter panels and giant wing. What has been kept is the striking front bumper and smoked headlights.

Under the bonnet the 2012 Swift Sport will feature a 1.6 litre M16A engine developed exclusively for the sportier model. The four-cylinder petrol unit will produce 100 kW of power and 160 Nm of torque. That’s a 30kW/20Nm increase over the standard new-model Swift and a 8kW/12Nm increase over the previous Swift Sport.

The engine will be connected to a six-speed manual gearbox. Continue reading “New Suzuki Swift sport previewed before Frankfurt debut” »

Mazda reveals new CX-5 crossover ahead of Frankfurt debut

August 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has just revealed its all-new 2012 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover ahead of its world debut at the upcoming2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.

The new crossover is based on the Minagi concept vehicle, which was revealed earlier this year, and is the first new model to use the ‘Kodo’ design language.

The CX-5 styling includes a new prominent corporate face with a five-point grille and touches of chrome trim. The word ‘Kodo’ means soul of motion in Japanese and there is plenty of dynamic flair to the CX-5′s shape. It also hints at the design of the next generation of Mazda’s hatchbacks and sedan models.

The CX-5 will also be the first model to feature Mazda’s new SKYACTIV green technologies which includes gasoline and diesel engines, manual and automatic transmissions and lightweight construction methods.

The engine range for the European-spec CX-5 will include the new SkyActiv-G 2.0 petrol engine and also the SkyActiv-D 2.2 diesel engine in two power outputs. The diesel models will push their power through a front-wheel-drive layout and a SkyActiv-MT manual transmission. Continue reading “Mazda reveals new CX-5 crossover ahead of Frankfurt debut” »

BMW reveals i3 and i8 concept vehicles (+video)

August 1st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

BMW’s hotly anticipated i-brand has officially arrived with the first introduction of two concept models.

BMW has given out the first details and images of its i3 and i8 models before the concepts are shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Originally teased as the MegaCity concept, the BMW i3 electric car will be the first vehicle to be produced under the i brand and will arrive in 2013. Built for urban environments this high-tech machine uses an electric motor mounted on the rear axle for an output of 125kW with 250Nm of torque. Power will go through a single speed gearbox and the i3 will accelerate briskly from 0-100km/h in around eight seconds. Top speed is limited to 150 km/h.

BMW claims the i3′s battery pack can be charged to full in six hours and will get to 80% charge in just one hour using a standard socket. Expect details on battery capacity and range to be revealed soon. Continue reading “BMW reveals i3 and i8 concept vehicles (+video)” »

Mercedes-Benz reveals variable-displacement V8 engine

July 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With many auto makers dropping cylinders off their larger engines Mercedes-Benz was rumoured to be developing a hardcore turbocharged V6. But those rumours have now proved false with news that Mercedes is set to continue with a naturally aspirated V8 engine in the next generation of the SLK AMG.

Details have been released before the new sportscar debuts at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. The latest AMG powerplant, labeled M152, is based closely on the M157 engine that already sees use in the new CL63 AMG and its four-door brother – the S63 AMG. But the M152 is different in a few key areas, first of all, is the removal of the twin turbochargers. It also uses a new air intake, cylinder heads, valve drive, oil system, crankcase and, most importantly, a Formula One-derived cylinder deactivation system. This new system allows it to cut back to just four cylinders when required and with only four pistons firing, fuel economy is markedly improved. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz reveals variable-displacement V8 engine” »

2012 Porsche 911 teased in video before Frankfurt debut

July 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Porsche fans can begin counting down to the release of the next-gen 911 which is scheduled for a September debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Porsche is in the final stages of testing its new sports car and has released the first official video of the new 911 shot during hot weather testing in South Africa.

Although the 911 is still partially disguised in the clip, its obvious that this new model will look like the many before it. The 911′s evolution looks set to continue without major disappointment or radical new design cues.

That said, the next 911 will be slightly bigger, roomier and on a longer wheel base than the current version. The engine will also continue to slowly creep forward. The new 911 will be made available with more fuel efficient and greener engines which include a smaller displacement 3.4-litre flat-six producing around 260kW for the Carrera /4, and a larger 3.8-litre flat-six producing around 300kW for the Carrera S/4S. Continue reading “2012 Porsche 911 teased in video before Frankfurt debut” »

De Tomaso preparing new Pantera for Frankfurt show

July 13th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

After plenty of speculation De Tomaso is rumoured to be preparing its all new Pantera for the upcoming Fankfurt Motor show in September.

The comeback of De Tomaso got sports car enthusiasts all excited but its first action was to show a rather ho-hum luxury crossover concept machine. Now, De Tomaso is set to finally give fans what they really want a brand new tough-guy Pantera.

The new supercar should be worthy of reviving the famous nameplate of the 70s/80s classic (pictured) and is rumoured to weigh less than 1,200 kilograms and be powered by a 450kW Chevrolet Corvette V8 engine. Expect exciting performance and razor sharp styling. Continue reading “De Tomaso preparing new Pantera for Frankfurt show” »

2012 VW Beetle tuned into the ‘Speedle’ by ABT

July 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The 2012 VW Beetle hasn’t even reached NZ yet, but European tuners are already working over the new model and showing their skills. One of the first is ABT Sportsline who has created its own take on the new bug, calling its creation the Speedle.

ABT is famous for its work on VW Group offerings and while the Speedle won’t go on sale until September the German firm has released details of its latest offering.

ABT plans to offer performance kits for the entire engine lineup in Europe with the modified 1.2 TSI petrol estimated to deliver around 105KW, up from 78kW, the 1.4 TSI petrol about 157kW, up from 120kW, while the top-spec 2.0 TSI petrol could produce around 178kW, up from the factory model’s 150kW.

The diesel engines wont escape treatment either with the tweaked 1.6 TDI producing 94kW instead of 78kW, and the 2.0 TDI 126kW instead of 105kW.

Other modifications will include lowered sports suspension and a variety of alloy wheel options including the 19-inch rims shown on the pictured car. Continue reading “2012 VW Beetle tuned into the ‘Speedle’ by ABT” »