2014 C7 Corvette to be conservatively updated

November 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

For Chevrolet fans the next-gen Corvette can’t come around soon enough, but it’s not scheduled to arrive 2013 as a 2014 model. While it’s still a few years off, there is plenty of wild rumour and speculation about exactly what form the new model will take. Will it use a turbocharged V8 engine, will it have a retro-inspired split rear window design? Nothing is certain, but recent reports have been leaking out from GM sources that it might not be as exciting as fans hope.

The reports are stating that the design of the next Corvette will be more evolutionary than revolutionary. The design won’t include anything as far out as a standard split window, and it probably won’t be offered as an option, either. The rumored new 5.5-litre V8 may not happen and the new Corvette could push on with the tried-and-true 6.2-litre V8 as its base engine. The rumour of a mid-engine layout was always a bit fanciful and has also been denied. Continue reading “2014 C7 Corvette to be conservatively updated” »

Ford’s next-gen Mustang to be less retro

September 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The year 2014 will be a big one for the Ford Mustang. The iconic sports car will celebrate its 50th anniversary and a new production model will be released. The announcement came last week from Ford’s design chief, J Mays, who spoke to the press at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

According to Mays, the design of the next-generation Mustang has already been completed – three years ahead of its launch. But what’s even more interesting is Mays statement that the new version of Ford’s pony car will be more future focused than retro styled.

“Both redesigns introduced in 2005 and 2010 are retro vehicles,” Mays said at the Frankfurt Motor Show. “The challenge with the 50th anniversary car is to not just look back over your shoulder, but to try to win all of the Mustang faithful yet bring the brand forward as well.”

It sounds like a tough task and if there’s anything that really angers badge fans it’s poorly considered exterior styling. However, Mays is confident that, even though the new Mustang will be different, it will still keep the famous models character. Continue reading “Ford’s next-gen Mustang to be less retro” »

Honda busy developing next-generation NSX?

September 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The original Honda NSX was a fan favourite and it was a dark day for many in 2005 when Honda announced that the sports car would be discontinued. But now, six years later, those same fans have a glimmer of hope that one day soon this nameplate will rise up from the dead.

The NSX saviour comes in the form of new Honda president Takanobu Ito who is busy attempting to revive some of Honda’s performance image. And if his recent comments prove true the automaker will get a new flagship sports car.

Ito knows the NSX well from earlier in his career when he helped develop its aluminum body. He claims that the next Honda sports car won’t try to achieve Ferrari levels of grunt, but instead aim for an excellent power-to-weight ratio and high efficiency.

The original Honda NSX, sold from 1990 to 2005, weighed around 1350kg and produced 216kW – a power-to-weight ratio that still holds up well today. The NSX mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout also made it an enjoyable steer and gave it supercar-caliber dynamics combined with unrivaled reliability. Continue reading “Honda busy developing next-generation NSX?” »

Subaru to split next-gen WRX from Impreza model line

July 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru revealed its new shape 2012 Impreza earlier this year in standard trim, it looked good but fairly conservative. Despite this, WRX fans everywhere began imagining it with a full wide-body kit and big gold rims. But for the next WRX it’s not going to work like that, according to reports, the next WRX will be built as an entirely separate model line.

Due for release in 2014 the new WRX will apparently become a sports coupe with an entirely different body design to the new Impreza. The two models will continue to share a platform but the upcoming WRX will have a shortened wheelbase for improved handling dynamics, and other extra goodies.

A Subaru source said in a recent interview, “The first thing you must understand about our all-new WRX is that we have developed it from the ground up to win in motorsports events. That’s why we have focused so heavily on weight issues, not to mention a shorter wheelbase that permits faster, more precise turn-in. Marry that to our proven AWD system, and we think we have a winner.”

Subaru is planning a return to WRC rallying so when the hardcore STI variant of the WRX is released a future WRC rally car will be based on it. Continue reading “Subaru to split next-gen WRX from Impreza model line” »

Next-gen Porsche 911 range getting KERS system as standard

May 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

According to recent reports, Porsche has confirmed that its much-anticipated next-generation 911 model will include a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) as standard on every model in the range.

Porsche’s KERS system will be sophisticated and retain energy during braking and store it in a dedicated flywheel system. Then, when the driver is ready, the stored energy can be released and generate faster acceleration for the sports car. What began suspicions of a KERS system being included in the 911 was a dramatically increased wheelbase over the current model. An extra four inches have been added to the wheelbase with a total vehicle length increase of 2.75 inches. Which is the extra length required to fit in the new flywheel technology. Continue reading “Next-gen Porsche 911 range getting KERS system as standard” »

Honda restarts next-gen NSX development

April 26th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Good news for fans of Honda’s long-dead NSX supercar with fresh reports that the model line is on the way back from oblivion.

At the recent Shanghai Auto Show the Japanese automaker revealed plans for the development of a new hardcore sports car that will become spiritual successor to the iconic NSX.

Honda Motor Company president, Takanobu Ito brought the big news and said the new car won’t feature the stonking V10 engine that had been planned for the next NSX, as the company scrapped this project back in 2008. But Ito did promise that the future NSX would be “exhilarating to drive and also environmentally friendly”. With those words in mind,  it’s likely the car will use an electric motor to boost power for a conventional gasoline engine, much like the CR-Z sport hybrid. But unlike the limp CR-Z, the NSX successor will be positioned as a full-blood high-performance hybrid vehicle.

The initial plans for an NSX successor were cancelled by former Honda president Takeo Fukui, who told fans it was a cost-saving measure. Before the project was shelved the new car was expected to have a front-mounted V10 engine pumping out at least 500 ponies. It was this drivetrain, in concept form, that was later used by the Honda HSV-010 GT racecar. Continue reading “Honda restarts next-gen NSX development” »

Mitsubishi to keep Evolution alive… for now

March 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It was just a couple of weeks back that we brought readers the sad news that Mitsubishi planned to kill of its iconic hero model – the Lancer Evolution. Currently, in its tenth generation, Mitsubishi claimed dropping sales and plans for a new greener direction. This left Evo fans globally sulking around the house and making attempts at drowning their sorrows.

But now, after a strong backlash, Mitsubishi is backing down quickly from its earlier claims that the Lancer Evolution would be no more after its 10th generation. The Japanese automaker now promises that the Evo X will live out its life cycle as planned, and will continue to evolve in the future, but that may mean going a slightly different direction.

A different direction, WTF you might say. Well you got to feel a bit sorry for Mitsi here, it’s desperately trying to balance the necessity to move toward more eco-friendly vehicles while not alienating the huge fan base that the Evo has cultivated since the first-generation car was introduced in 1992. Continue reading “Mitsubishi to keep Evolution alive… for now” »

Ford GT set for hybrid-powered comeback

February 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The rumours are swirling around the upcoming Ford GT successor with speculation on the supercars powertrain taking a seemingly unlikely turn.

Apparently the next GT40 inspired supercar from Ford will use hybrid technology to help it achieve break-neck speeds. Like the Porsche 918 Spyder the layout will consist of a standard combustion motor turning the rear wheels with an electric motor powering the front wheels for better low-sped efficiency and to boost high-speed power.

It seems radical but electric-assisted drivetrains are here to stay and are beginning to find applications in all vehicles – even retro-styled supercars.

Before you Ford fans start tearing your hair out, the good news is that the primary engine is set to be a beast. Ford is expected to use a supercharged V8 motor and the total output including the fancy new hybrid system will be in the region of 600 horsepower. That output figure would exceed the last Ford GT’s 5.4-litre dry-sump, aluminum-block supercharged V8, which was rated at 550 horsepower. Continue reading “Ford GT set for hybrid-powered comeback” »

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