Friday, 30 November 2007

New Car: 2008 Audi A3 Cabriolet

Sporty, elegant, emotion-packed – the new Audi A3 Cabriolet is making its appearance in perfect time for spring 2008. The open-top Audi A3 is the premium option in the compact class.

It offers the sporting genes of the A3 coupled with the uncompromising quality that distinguishes every Audi model. There are four engines to choose from, together with an extensive range of individual equipment options. Sales commence in Germany at the start of February 2008.

Audi convertible models generally sport a classic fabric top – and in the case of the Audi A3 Cabriolet this feature lends its profile a note of harmonious elegance and coupé-like sportiness. Its soft top is notable for its light weight and excellent fit. It can be opened hydraulically in just nine seconds; when open, it takes up very little space. The hood is available in semi-automatic and fully automatic versions, in the latter instance as a specially soundproofed acoustic hood.

The body structure of this premium convertible from Audi contains a high proportion of high-strength, ultra-high-strength and hot-formed steels, as well as a large number of reinforcing measures that provide maximum rigidity and crash safety. Inside, the accustomed uncompromising build quality, attractive design and exemplary ergonomics create an atmosphere of sporting elegance. There is ample space here for four occupants. The rear seat backs can be folded down, increasing the luggage capacity from 260 to 674 litres – whether the hood is up or down!

The A3 Cabriolet is being built in four engine versions – two petrol and two TDI. They combine ample power with impressive efficiency. All of them are direct injection units with turbocharging. The performance range extends from 77 kW (105 bhp) to 147 kW (200 bhp). As an option, the innovative S tronic dual-clutch gearbox takes charge of applying the engine's power to the wheels.

The Audi dynamic suspension lends the A3 Cabriolet superior agility. It comes complete with responsive electromechanical power steering, which consumes very little energy. The four-link rear suspension combines superb comfort with sporty handling properties. As well as the standard suspension, there is also the option of sports suspension.

Audi is offering the Audi A3 Cabriolet in the Attraction and Ambition equipment lines. In both cases its equipment specification is extensive and the Ambition line includes 17-inch aluminium wheels, sports suspension and sports seats, among other features. An S line exterior package and S line sports package are available from quattro GmbH.

The exterior design:

There are many arguments in favour of the classic soft top as featured on Audi convertible models. One of them is evident at first sight: the harmonious proportions. Thanks to the hood's compact folding design, Audi's designers were able to create a four-seater with appealing lines. With the roof open, the Audi A3 Cabriolet looks compact and light; with the roof closed, it radiates the elegance of a coupé. Measuring 4,238 millimetres in length, 1,765 mm in width and 1,424 mm in height, it ranks among the sporty compact models in its competitive field.The strong presence of the A3 Cabriolet is typical of the Audi brand. The interplay between its surfaces lends the body the character of a sculpture; these lines are framed by the forward urge of its lines. The horizontal dynamic line above the sill and the ascending shoulder line create the impression of a more elongated body.

The face of the A3 Cabriolet is dominated by the large single-frame grille, but the headlights are also an eye-catching feature. The precision of their design gives visible expression to the perfectionism of the brand with the four rings. They can be supplied optionally with xenon plus lights, which can operate in tandem with the dynamic adaptive light technology. The "wing" – a chrome vapour-coated wing-shaped contour – has become established as a characteristic Audi element; its form varies depending on the type of headlight.

The daytime running lights in the form of an integral light strip – an important safety feature at Audi – comprise seven white light-emitting diodes in conjunction with the xenon plus units. Similarly to the headlights, the rear lights of the A3 Cabriolet are of a flat, broad design. Their technology is based on fibre optic rods, but the visual effect is of two radiant rings that clearly distinguish the car as an Audi even after dark.
When viewed side-on, the athletic physique of the Audi A3 Cabriolet is clearly in evidence. The striking wheel arches accommodate large wheels: in the case of the Attraction equipment line, 16 inches in diameter. The Ambition version has 17-inch wheels made from cast aluminium. 18-inch wheels from quattro GmbH are available as an option. Audi supplies the A3 Cabriolet in 15 paint colours that can be combined with three hood colours – black, blue and red.

The hood and body:

Audi has remained faithful to its successful line: the new A3 Cabriolet likewise has a classic fabric top. This blends in perfectly with the original, authentic idea of open-top driving and the feeling of carefree agility. The hood keeps its shape thanks to the mechanically moved metal linkage, which assures an excellent close fit, perfect tightness and the silhouette of a coupé. A large, heated glass rear window affords a good view to the rear.

Audi can supply the fabric top in two versions – the semi-automatic soft top and the fully automatic acoustic hood. In both cases the hood is moved by a high-pressure pump with two hydraulic cylinders. They open the large soft top in an extremely rapid nine seconds. This means that even a short stop at traffic lights is long enough to complete the process.

When lowered, the hood is folded up in a Z-pattern so that it takes up a minimum amount of space.

The header – a board at its front edge – comes to rest on top, basically flush with the body, with the result that the structure needs neither a tonneau cover nor a cover flap. The folded hood is set down in a compact sheet steel compartment that reduces the luggage compartment capacity only very slightly. The high-performance kinematics mean that the acoustic hood can also be opened and closed at speeds of up to 30 km/h – a big advantage in terms of convenience when driving in urban traffic. The process is controlled by a switch on the centre console; the hood can also be opened and closed conveniently from outside the car, via the ignition key in the door lock.

The fully automatic soft top takes the form of an acoustic hood. Between the outer skin and the inner lining there is a synthetic fibre mat that further improves thermal insulation and soundproofing – at a speed of 140 km/h it is only 1 dB (A) louder inside the Audi A3 Cabriolet than in the A3. If only the front seats are occupied, a wind deflector can be erected above the rear bench seat in a few simple steps from one side of the vehicle.

High-strength steel: low weight and maximum rigidity:

An extensive package of measures gives the body of the A3 Cabriolet its rigidity, and this open-top Audi drives with the same standards of precision, agility and comfort as the A3 with permanent roof. 45 percent of the bodyshell is made from high-strength steels, while nine percent in fact consists of ultra-high-strength steels, combining low weight with maximum rigidity. The roof frame and roll-over bar incorporate hot-formed steels for maximum safety.
Reinforcing profiles are integrated into the side sills and vehicle floor. V-pattern steel profiles additionally reinforce the forward structure and rear end, and there is a capsule with another reinforcing frame beneath the engine compartment. There are high-strength panels in the B-posts.

A box-shaped structure made from high-strength sheet steel separates the passenger compartment from the luggage compartment. The roll-over bars of hot-formed steel tubing are bolted into this structure. Similar high-tech tubes serve to reinforce the A-posts internally. Head/thorax side airbags are integrated into the backs of the front seats. In the event of a rear-end collision, the Audi integrated head restraint system promptly cushions the head and upper body.

The interior:

The interior of the Audi A3 Cabriolet radiates an air of sporting elegance; its materials, Audi's accustomed uncompromising build quality and its design accentuate the premium character of this new convertible model. Calm lines border its large surfaces. The four round air vents and the side knee cushions on the centre console's struts are reminiscent of the Audi TT.

It is a matter of honour for Audi to maintain the perfect standards of ergonomics that it has pioneered. The speedometer and rev counter's red needles sweep across dials in a sporty black. On the Ambition equipment line, the A3 Cabriolet is supplied with a three-spoke leather sports steering wheel. Multifunction keys are available as an option, and the S tronic transmission features shift paddles. The switches adopt an organic, ergonomic design. The two navigation systems available use an operating logic adopted from the superior MMI concept as familiar from Audi's large car lines.

Audi offers a broad range of options for the seats. On the Ambition line, both front seats are sportily contoured. An electric four-way lumbar support is available as an option, as is heating for the front seats or all four seats.

The interior: that free, open-air feeling:

The classic convertible character that the fabric top creates in the open-top A3 can also be detected in the way the interior space is used. The windscreen is as upright as on the A3 with permanent roof, creating an unobstructed, airy impression of openness – unlike many competitor concepts with a steel roof, where the windscreen lies flatter. Because the folded hood occupies little space, it has not been necessary to move the rear bench seat further forward. This leaves ample legroom at the rear, thanks in part to the long wheelbase of 2,578 millimetres.Another of the Audi A3 Cabriolet's major strengths in everyday use is its variable luggage compartment. The rear seat backs, split 50:50, can be released from the luggage compartment. The wide, high through-loading space that is created increases the luggage capacity to 674 litres and the load area length to 150 centimetres – ample even for large items of sports equipment. In the standard arrangement the luggage compartment has an ample capacity of 260 litres, whether the hood is open or closed.

The drivetrain:

The A3 Cabriolet is being built in four four-cylinder engine versions, two of them petrol and two diesels. All of them are turbocharged direct injection engines – their designations TFSI and TDI embody technological combinations that blend impressive output with high efficiency. TFSI technology demonstrated its potential over many years in the realm of motor sport – the sports prototype R8 won the Le Mans 24 Hours five times between 2000 and 2005. The Audi R10 TDI added to the string of successes in 2006 and 2007 with its immensely powerful V12 TDI.The new A3 Cabriolet is available with a choice of two TDI engines – a combination with which Audi already established a trend in 1995; back then, the 1.9 TDI became the first diesel engine in the world to be used for powering a convertible. In the A3 Cabriolet, the smaller of the two four-cylinder engines musters up an output of 77 kW (105 bhp) and a hefty 250 Nm of torque at just 1,900 rpm from a swept volume of 1,896 cm3. The speedometer needle takes 12.3 seconds to pass the 100 km/h mark, and the top speed is 185 km/h. This diesel version uses just 5.1 litres of fuel per 100 km. The A3 Cabriolet 1.9 TDI is available with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The new 2.0 TDI with its displacement of 1968 cm3 displays the strengths of the TDI concept in an evolutionary interpretation – it runs efficiently, powerfully and very quietly. The four-valve engine, which is equipped with two balancing shafts, has been fitted with a newly developed common rail system. Its turbocharger has variable vanes for greater responsiveness and the pistons have acquired an optimised geometry that further enhances the efficiency of the combustion process.

The two-litre engine develops 103 kW (140 bhp). Between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm it generates 320 Nm of torque – enough to accelerate the A3 Cabriolet from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.9 seconds and up to a top speed of 204 km/h. The 2.0 TDI is content to clock up 100 kilometres on an average of just 5.3 litres of fuel and its emissions already undercut the limits of the future Euro 5 standard. As an option, Audi can supply the high-tech S tronic transmission instead of the manual six-speed gearbox.

Petrol direct injection: injection pressure boosted to 150 bar:

The newly developed 1.8 TFSI produces 118 kW (160 bhp) and 250 Nm, the latter across an engine-speed range of 1,500 to 4,200 rpm. An adjustable intake camshaft optimises filling of its combustion chambers and two balancing shafts guarantee plenty of refinement.

Direct injection and turbo technology is the ideal combination for abundant driving pleasure and impressive efficiency. The turbocharger responds extremely fast and the four-cylinder engine is spontaneous, fleet-footed, high-revving and torquey. It accelerates the A3 Cabriolet with six-speed manual gearbox to 100 km/h in 8.3 seconds and on to 218 km/h; it accomplishes the EU driving cycle on an average of 7.3 litres per 100 km. Alternatively Audi can supply the sporty S tronic.

Technically speaking, the 1.8 TFSI is a very close relation of the 2.0 TFSI that was voted "Engine of the Year" three times in a row by an international panel of journalists. The two-litre version puts 280 Nm of torque onto the crankshaft from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm, and between 5,100 and 6,000 rpm it develops 147 kW (200 bhp). The 2.0 TFSI likewise operates with an adjustable intake camshaft and two balancing shafts, and its compression ratio of 10.5:1 guarantees high thermodynamic efficiency.

With the S tronic dual-clutch gearbox that is available alongside the six-speed manual gearbox, the A3 Cabriolet 2.0 TFSI sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds; its top speed is 231 km/h. It uses on average 7.6 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.

The engine's power is directed to the front wheels on all versions of the Audi A3 Cabriolet; the engine versions from the 103 kW (140 bhp) upwards are fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. The S tronic combines the advantages of both automatic and manual transmission. At high loads and engine speeds, it shifts between its six gears in just 0.2 seconds without palpably interrupting the power flow.

The driver can operate the S tronic by means of the one-touch lever or, in motor racing style, using the shift paddles on the steering wheel. There are furthermore two fully automatic modes available, D for Drive (standard) and S for Sport. The S tronic operates highly efficiently and its electronic management in the automatic mode ensures that the engine runs as economically as possible at low engine speeds. Even the most painstaking of drivers could not accomplish this better.

The dynamic suspension:

The light, compact fabric top lowers the overall weight and the centre of gravity of the Audi A3 Cabriolet. This helps the Audi dynamic suspension to realise its full potential.Audi had recourse to a classic layout for the front suspension – a McPherson design with triangulated lower wishbones. The subframe on which the structure is mounted is made from aluminium. Bolted to the body, it imparts the forward structure with very high rigidity.

The precise, firm-acting rack-and-pinion steering operates with electromechanical power assistance with speed-dependent control. The system does not use energy when the car is driving in a straight line, saving 0.2 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres on average.

The four-link rear suspension represents another technical highlight. Its design principle brings major advantages in terms of handling characteristics because it registers and responds to longitudinal and lateral forces separately. Here again, a subframe connects the suspension with the body; compact coil springs and dampers provide vertical support.

All these technologies are key ingredients of the overall impact made by this sporty convertible. It is infused with the precision and spontaneity that the car delivers with every turn of the steering. The open-top A3 is sprung with subtlety and its steering functions with unshakeable calm. The self-steering behaviour remains neutral right up to a very high handling limit.

Options: sports suspension and large-dimension wheels:
For the Ambition equipment line, the A3 Cabriolet is available optionally with sports suspension that lowers the body by 15 mm. The Attraction line comes with 16-inch wheels with size 205/55 tyres. On the Ambition, 17-inch aluminium wheels with size 225/45 tyres are standard. Audi can also supply four other wheel versions as options, as well as a tyre pressure monitoring system.

The brake system of the A3 Cabriolet likewise satisfies sports standards. The front discs are ventilated and have a large diameter. The pedal feel is direct and spontaneous, and the braking power can be regulated with outstanding ease. Particular emphasis was placed on reducing the braking distance when the stabilisation program (ESP) was being fine-tuned.

The equipment:

The Attraction line of the Audi A3 Cabriolet already comes with a semi-automatic hood. Four electric windows and the standard daytime running lights round off the specification. The sporty Ambition line has the distinguishing features of 17-inch aluminium wheels, front fog lights and sports suspension. Inside, the sumptuous equipment includes sports seats, a driver information system, a leather sports steering wheel, a wind deflector and special inlays, upholstery and door sill trims.The range of options for the A3 Cabriolet includes such convenient items as multifunction steering wheels, deluxe automatic air conditioning, leather upholstery, heated seats and a parking aid. Xenon plus headlights and the adaptive light for cornering illuminate the road effectively in the dark. The storage package for the interior and luggage compartment and a ski and snowboard bag further add to the practical utility of the A3 Cabriolet.

Typically for Audi, the A3 Cabriolet too features a broad range of multimedia technologies. This extends from the chorus CD radio, with four speakers, to the Bose sound system. All audio systems from the concert radio upwards include an interface on the centre tunnel for connecting up an iPod or MP3 player. Two navigation systems – with monochrome or large colour monitor – help with providing directions. For mobile telephony, Audi offers a mobile phone preparation in combination with the audio systems.Those who are fond of very special features will appreciate the equipment lines on offer from quattro GmbH. The S line comprises an exterior package for the body and a sports package. A third option available from quattro GmbH is the Audi exclusive line.

Subaru Impreza WRX STi pricing announced (UK)

The Impreza WRX STI which makes its UK public debut at Autosport International Show at Birmingham’s NEC in January has been priced at only £24,995 on the road, £1,600 less than old model.

The STI is powered by a 300 PS (305 hp) 2.5-litre turbo flat 4-cylinder – unlike the Japanese market STI which uses a higher-revving 2.0-litre turbo. Max speed is 155.3 mph with a 0-60 mph time of 4.8 seconds. Fuel consumption compared to the previous model improves to 20.5 on urban/34.4 extra urban and 27.4 on a combined cycle.

First deliveries are expected next March.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

2009 Subaru Forester uncloaked

Subaru has dedicated a countdown website for the 2009 Forester. The countdown will end on 22nd or 23rd December, depending on your time zone otherwise, we have this spy photo of the new crossover caught completely undisguised.

The Nissan X-Trail, Honda CR-V, BMW X3 and Land Rover Freelander rival is set to go on sale in spring after being shown at the Geneva motor show in March.

It is based on the new Impreza platform and has a wider wheelbase and track than the current model. This should improve interior space and handling.

The rear suspension has also been radically altered to improve ride and handlingIt will initially be launched with a 2.0-litre petrol engine, with a 2.0-litre diesel unit following in September 2008.

No prices have been announced, but they are expected to start at around £18,000.

2009 Subaru Forester

Lexus GS 300, IS 250 & IS 350 recalled

Toyota Motor Sales USA said it is recalling approximately 34,400 2006 Lexus GS 300, IS 250 and IS 350 models to fix faulty fuel pipes in the engine compartment. The recall involves both two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models.

It is part of a larger global recall by Toyota Motor of some 215,020 units of the Lexus GS, Crown and three other high-end car models in Japan. Toyota Motor Sales USA spokesperson Nancy Hubbell told us that "we've seen only one occurrence [of the problem] in the U.S." with no injuries or accidents reported. The recall is being launched in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In a statement on Wednesday, Toyota's U.S. sales arm said, "A possible crack may form over time in two specific fuel pipes in the engine compartment in the affected models.

"The condition is due to high-stress areas that may have been created in two specific fuel pipes in the engine compartment during the manufacturing process," it said. "Combined with other factors such as the presence of corrosive agents in the fuel, a crack may form in the high-stress areas over time that could lead to fuel leakage.

"Owners of the affected vehicles in the U.S will be notified of the recall in early December. Lexus dealers will replace the fuel pipes with redesigned ones at no charge.The recall casts a pall on what has been the largely sterling reputation of Toyota's upscale brand. It is yet another blow to the Japanese auto giant, which is still smarting from its plunge in October in Consumer Reports' 2007 reliability survey.

The consumer watchdog said it no longer recommends the V6 version of the best-selling 2007 Toyota Camry or the four-wheel-drive V8 version of the 2007 Toyota Tundra because of below-average reliability. The all-wheel-drive version of the Lexus GS sedan also scored a below-average rating and is no longer recommended. Toyota fell from 1st to 5th place in the Consumer Reports ranking for 2007, behind Honda, Acura, Scion and Subaru.

KIA Mohave/Borrego leaked ahead of Detroit debut

The Borrego has been leaked online ahead of its world premiere early next year. Until now only two teaser shots of Kia's new seven-seater SUV primed for the North American market have been officially released. These are the first photos of a production model caught in South Korea that reveal both the Borrego's rear end styling and extensive interior shots showing design, fit and finish.

Manufacturered in Korea and set to enter North American markets between summer next year and early the following year as a 2009 model, the Borrego will be Kia's first entry into the hotly-contested midsize SUV market.

The first interior shots of the car show a neatly-designed but functional central console with nicely-integrated vents, switchgear and vehicle display with what can be assumed encompasses navigation, audio system and other electronically-operated car functions. Steering wheel-integrated handsfree controls and a fully automatic transmission are revealed by the new photos, while adjustable suspension, hill descent control and keyless ignition also appear to feature.

A V6 engine will be fitted as standard, while a new V8 unit - another first for the brand - will be optional. The new SUV will incorporate the latest in noise and vibrations-reducing engineering, also offering consumers the Korean brand's renowned 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.

Teaser: 2008 Vauxhall/Opel Insignia

Vauxhall’s new upper-medium sized saloon will have an all-new name when the covers come off it at the London motor show in July 2008. Out goes the Vectra moniker, with all its undesirable ‘rep-mobile’ connotations; in comes Insignia, the badge that, General Motors hopes, will carve out a more upmarket and aspirational identity for one of its most important European cars.

Vauxhall’s big announcement came this morning, along with an enigmatic picture showing only the badge of the new car and its rear light cluster.

“Dynamic performance is one of Vauxhall’s core values,” said GM Europe’s Chief Marketing Officer Alain Visser, “and in the new Insignia, this defining characteristic is realised by sophisticated powertrain technology, active safety and the interface between driver and car. The Insignia’s level of comfort and environmental friendliness is unrivalled even among considerably more expensive competitors.”

For the Vectra, a model which has spent twelve years on sale, and through two generations has sold more than a million models in the UK, this is the end of the road. However, it’s expected to stay in production until well into 2008, before the Insignia launches later in the year.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Foraging for the Subaru Forester

With the current Forester sales falling, Subaru needs to regain sales. Numerous mules of the forthcoming Forester have been sighted in Death Valley, based off the current Outback. The mule measured merely inches shorter than the Tribeca SUV meaning that the next Forester will be much longer than the current model thus offering more interior space and practicality.

The next Forester will be a genuine crossover but this CGI looks a lot like a Mitsubishi Outlander and Dodge Journey. Official photos have been leaked to a Japanese car magazine but it seems that none of the images have reached the web yet.

No diesel's are expected just yet but Subaru did say in a press release that there may be a 2.0 diesel in the Subaru line-up. This engine is likely to go into the Legacy, Outback and Impreza.

We expect to see the new Forester in late 2008.

Subaru Justy pricing & spec announced (UK)


Totally new five-door 1.0 litre Justy supermini

Outstandingly good fuel economy at 64.2 mpg Extra Urban

Outstandingly low emissions at 118 g/km

Should be London Congestion Charge-free

Outstandingly low running costs including £35 per year RFL

Standard five-year/60,000 mile warranty

Outstandingly high equipment such as ABS with EBD, air-conditioning, driver, passenger, side and four curtain airbags, alloy wheels, rev-counter, fuel-economy read-out, radio/CD player with auxiliary input socket, rear parking sensors, ISOFIX child-seat mountings, four electric windows and remote central-locking with alarm

Justy 1.0 R on sale now at only £8,495 on-the-road

Subaru’s new Justy supermini is now on sale, offering outstanding fuel economy, equipment and space plus ultra-low exhaust emissions which should make it exempt from the proposed new London Congestion Charge.

In fact, with a 64.2 mpg Extra Urban figure, ultra-low 118 g/km exhaust emissions and annual £35 Road Fund Licence, the new Justy 1.0 R promises to be one of the cheapest petrol-engined cars to run on UK roads.

However, the five-door body offers interior space from the next class up while the efficient, 69 PS three-cylinder 1.0 litre engine offers sufficient power for long-distance driving. Top speed, for example, is almost 100 mph and the 0-60 mph time is 13.5 seconds.

The new Subaru Justy also carries a peace-of-mind five-year/60,000 mile warranty backed by five-years’ UK and European roadside assistance.

Standard equipment is outstanding for a small car and includes: ABS with EBD, driver, passenger, side and front and rear curtain airbags, alloy wheels, air-conditioning, radio/CD player, rev-counter, fuel-economy read-out, four electric windows, reversing sensors, remote central-locking with alarm and ISOFIX child-seat mountings.

The front-wheel drive Justy is based on the Japanese-built Daihatsu Sirion. It is supplied thanks to an arrangement with Toyota which has a share in both Subaru and Daihatsu.

Subaru’s version will be limited to only 6,000 units per year throughout the whole of Europe and 1,000 sales in the UK, ensuring strong residuals.

Strong Customer Loyalty - Lawrence Good, Subaru (UK) Limited Managing Director said: “Everyone is very enthusiastic about the new Justy as it is will appeal to environmentally-conscious motorists and those seeking ultra-low running costs.

“Subaru dealers enjoy strong customer loyalty and the new Justy gives them a much-needed entry-level car to sell to both existing customers and new prospects.”

The new Subaru Justy carries a five-year/60,000 mile mechanical warranty and five-years’ UK and European roadside assistance.

It also has a 12-year anti-perforation warranty and its Group 5D insurance rating is also highly-competitive.

Spacious Interior - The new Subaru Justy has a particularly spacious five-seat interior clothed in a stylish body with an exceptionally low 0.31 Cd drag coefficient which improves fuel economy and high-speed touring and refinement.

Its wide-opening doors and 590 mm seat height allow easy entry and exit – especially appreciated by older customers. The rear doors, for example, open to 80 degrees. Luggage space measures 225 litres with the rear seat up and 630 litres (VDA) when folded, making it a practical small family car. Its turning circle is an especially tight 9.4 metres.

Well-Proven Powertrain - The punchy 1.0 litre twin-overhead camshaft petrol engine – mated to a manual five-speed gearbox is not only extremely economical and low-polluting but also well-proven.

In fact, the same three-cylinder engine not only sees service in the Daihatsu Sirion but also in the Toyota Yaris and Aygo, Citroën C1 and Peugeot 107.

Producing 69.3 PS at 6,000 rpm and 69.3 lb ft of torque at 3,600 rpm, the 12-valve unit offers some of the highest outputs for its class.

And the variable valve-timing enhances both low-speed pulling power and high-rev responsiveness.

Top speed is a highly competitive 99.4 mph with a 0-60 mph time of 13.5 seconds. Meanwhile fuel economy figures are class-challenging at 46.3/64.2 and 56.5 mpg on the Urban/Extra Urban and Combined Cycles.

In addition, the CO2 emissions are among the lowest available in a petrol-engined car at 118 g/km.

This puts the Justy in Band B for Road Fund Licence at only £35 per year and should result in it being London Congestion Charge-free when proposed new changes take place in 2008.

European-Tuned Chassis - The new Subaru Justy benefits from a European-tuned chassis which has long suspension-travel for a smooth ride. Unusually, anti-roll bars are fitted at the front and rear which combine with firm damping to aid agility.

The front suspension is via MacPherson struts and the rear is equally conventional featuring a torsion bar with separate coil springs. Its power steering is via an electric system which helps fuel economy but has been tuned for more feel than provided by some competitors.

Safety-wise, the new Justy’s multiple airbags are complemented by an advanced braking system featuring not only anti-lock ventilated front discs and rear drums (ABS) but also Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). This optimises the braking force according to the weight distribution of passengers and luggage.

Performance And Economy:



Overall length mm: 3,600

Overall width mm: 1,665

Overall height mm: 1,550

Wheelbase: 2,430


Front mm:


Rear mm:


Ground clearance mm:


Turning circle (kerb-to-kerb) m:


Fuel capacity litres:


Luggage capacity litres:

Seat up:

VDA: 225

Load length mm: 570


Kerb weight kg: 890

Payload: 500

Towing weight kg:

Braked: 750

Unbraked: 350

Gross vehicle weight kg: 1390


1.0 litre


Water cooled, three-cylinder mounted transversely. Four valves per cylinder with double overhead camshafts. Dynamic Variable Valve Timing (DVVT)

Bore and stroke:
71 x 84
Capacity cc

Compression ratio:


Maximum power PS (kW) (bhp)
69.3 (51) (68.4)
6,000 rpm

Maximum torque lb ft (Nm)
69.3 (94)
3,600 rpm

Fuel system:

Unleaded 95 octane petrol. Electronic fuel injection


Front-wheel drive with 5-speed manual


Mechanically operated, single dry plate with diaphragm spring

Manual 1.0:













Final rear drive


mph/1000 rpm












Power assisted rack and pinion. Speed-sensitive electric system



Independent, MacPherson struts andcoil springs, anti-roll bar

Semi-independent with torsion beamaxle, coil springs, anti-roll bar


Ventilated discs front, rear drumsleading and trailing. Handbrake -mechanical on rear wheels. Foursensor, four-channel anti-lock (ABS) with electric brake force distribution (EBD)

175/65 R14


14 x 5 ins alloy


1.0 Litre Manual

Maximum speed, mph: 99.4
0-62 mph, sec: 13.5

Department of Transport fuel consumption figures, mpg (litres/100 km):

Mpg (litres/100 km):

1.0 Litre Manual

Urban: 46.3 (6.1)

Extra Urban: 64.2 (4.4)

Combined: 56.5 (5.0)

CO2 Emissions, g/km: 118

Ford Kuga uncovered

Here is the first photo of the production version of the Ford Kuga SUV completely uncovered. Based on the Iosis X Concept, a production preview model which debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show this past september showing us all but a few minor trim and specification modifications. Fortunately, it appears Ford have kept their promise - judging by this photo, the only visible difference is the addition of the aluminum roof rails.

Production will start early next year at Ford's Saarlouis plant in Germany with sales beginning throughout Europe sometime during spring 2008 and as per usual, the U.S won't be receiving this.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Will the Audi RS6 Avant start from £75k?

The Audi RS6 will go on sale in the UK in spring 2008. Pricing has been kept quiet but the Avant variant is likely to start from £75,000 which is £2,000 cheaper than the R8 supercar.

The RS6 uses a 5.0 V8 litre petrol engine which develops 600bhp. Overall luggage space for the RS6 is 1,667 litres with the rear seats folded down. Claimed combined fuel economy is 20.3 mpg.

Orders are currently taken now with sales starting spring 2008.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Audi goes Allroad with A4?

It looks like it, judging from these photos. Spy photographers in Stuttgart were baffled when they saw this jacked up Audi A4 sedan. Because the wagon hasn't officially been revealed yet, in the near future we expect to see A4 Allroad mules wearing the wagon bodyshell. The prototype has matte black wheelarche extensions and raised height which are both main components for an Audi Allroad.

Due to this being a sedan, the A4 Allroad will only be available in a wagon variant. The A6 Allroad was never popular amongst American customers compared to the Volvo XC70 so don't expect to see this at your local Audi showrooms in 2009.

The A4 wagon is set to make a world debut at the Geneva motorshow in March 2008.

Friday, 16 November 2007

New Car: 2009 Lincoln MKS

· The new Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan aims to attract new buyers with its timeless design, fuel-efficient powertrain and an unparalleled suite of features and technologies.· Class-leading convenience features include SYNC™ voice-activated, hands-free in-car communications; EasyFuel™ capless fuel filling; THX-certified audio; SIRIUS Travel Link™; voice-activated navigation; and a next-generation keyless entry keypad.
· Lincoln-exclusive fuel-efficient 3.7-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive provide smooth driving.
· Lincoln MKS will be the first vehicle to offer Ford's new gasoline turbo direct injection engine technology – which provides the power and torque of a V-8 engine with the fuel efficiency of a V-6 – less than a year after launch.· An outstanding value starting below $38,000, Lincoln MKS orders are now being accepted; customers can visit to build and price their vehicle.

The all-new 2009 Lincoln MKS full-size luxury sedan debuts today, providing customers understated style, first-of-a-kind convenience features, advanced safety and one of the best values in the luxury market.

Unveiled at the Greater Los Angeles International Auto Show, the new Lincoln flagship is designed to help fuel Lincoln's growth by attracting new customers.

"Lincoln has reestablished itself as a quality and design leader with award-winning products like the Lincoln MKZ, MKX and Navigator," says Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company's president of The Americas. "With the Lincoln MKS, we are raising the bar even higher with unparalleled amenities and performance, and a price that should be irresistible to luxury customers."

The New Lincoln Flagship: A Strong Contender in the Luxury Sedan Segment:

The Lincoln MKS is a full-size luxury sedan aimed at bringing new and younger buyers into the Lincoln fold. Not traditional luxury buyers who shop based on name and price tag alone, Lincoln MKS customers are under 50 and value beautiful modern design, more fuel efficiency and good value.

Pricing for Lincoln MKS starts at less than $38,000, a strategic move aimed at attracting new customers to the brand. Many will be first-time luxury buyers, with a significant number expected to migrate from imports. In fact, up to 60 percent of those buying the luxury sedan are expected to be new to Lincoln.

"We're playing to win with the Lincoln MKS, especially in California, where more luxury vehicles are sold than anywhere else. We will do so by offering confident, understated, respectful luxury – not something that will go out of fashion in a year or two," said Mike Richards, Lincoln General Marketing Manager. "We're also making an extra effort to reach out to African American and Hispanic buyers who want and deserve luxury in their lives, in part, through new marketing relationships with artists Common and Juanes."

Juanes, a 12-time Latin Grammy award winning artist, will help introduce SYNC, which is standard on Lincolns and widely available on Ford and Mercury products, to the Hispanic market. Juanes was recognized by Time magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" for his belief in the possibility of social change through music.Common, an accomplished musician, children's author and actor, will represent Lincoln beginning in 2008. The partnership will feature multiple levels of advertising, marketing and promotional activities between Lincoln and Common's wide-ranging businesses and his community service program. Common is currently appearing in the Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington in the Ridley Scott-produced film American Gangster.

Consumers can visit to build and price their ideal Lincoln MKS and place their order at their local Lincoln dealer immediately.

To be built at Ford Motor Company's Chicago Assembly Plant, the Lincoln MKS will begin arriving in Lincoln showrooms next summer.

Loaded with Convenience and Technology:

Lincoln MKS offers unprecedented amenitiesThe Lincoln MKS offers a suite of technologies and features not found on other luxury sedans. They include:

· SYNC, a hands-free, voice-activated hands-free in-car communication and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft. The system fully integrates most Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and digital media players, providing customers hands-free cell phone and music selection capabilities.

· THX®-certified audio system with 5.1 Surround Sound, SIRIUS Travel Link™ and Voice-Activated Navigation, which provides superior sound quality – plus real time traffic updates, movie listings, Doppler radar weather forecasts and even directions to the closest local gas stations with the best prices.

· Lincoln's Next-Generation Keypad, which uses heat-sensing technology to bring alive the keypad of LED backlit numerals embedded in the driver side B-pillar. The driver enters a five-digit code to unlock the vehicle.· EasyFuel™ Capless Fuel-Filler System, a customer convenience that helps reduce evaporative emissions that create smog and global warming. When fueling is completed, and the nozzle is removed, the system automatically seals shut.

· Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which allows the driver to set the car's speed and maintain that speed without using the accelerator pedal. The radar-based system also can monitor the vehicle in front (up to 600 feet) and adjust the speed of the Lincoln MKS to keep it a safe distance behind the lead vehicle. Four settings accommodate different driving styles.

· Intelligent Access with Push Button Start, which is a first for Lincoln and allows the driver to enter the Lincoln MKS and start the engine without using a key. Drivers simply carry the special fob as they approach the vehicle, touch the keyless entry pad on the B-Pillar, open the door and with the brake pedal engaged, start the engine by pushing a button.

· Adaptive Headlamps with Automatic High Beams and Standard High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps, which enhance nighttime visibility by illuminating more of the road and reducing glare from oncoming traffic. Sensors monitor vehicle speed and steering wheel input engaging electric motors that pivot the left headlamp up to five degrees and the right headlamp up to 15 degrees to increase the driver's field of vision. Plus, automatic high beams switch to high intensity when no other vehicles are detected.

· Rain-Sensing Wipers, which are moisture-activated and programmable.
· Forward Sensing System, which determines how close front objects are while parking.
· Rearview Camera System, which is mounted beneath the Lincoln Star on the decklid and activated when the vehicle is shifted into reverse, giving the driver a view of what's behind the vehicle. The system works in conjunction with the vehicle's reverse sensing system and uses the navigation screen as a display.

Understated Design:

Lincoln MKS debuts new design DNAThe Lincoln MKS is the first vehicle to embrace Lincoln's new design DNA.

"Every element of this luxury sedan reflects the culture of Lincoln – from its well-proportioned athleticism to the design cues we have painstakingly developed, modernizing the best elements over time," says Peter Horbury, executive director of Design for The Americas.

Its most striking exterior design feature is its double-wing grille, which sweeps up into the jewel-like headlamps, wrapping around the front fascia and forming a sharp crease that defines the high beltline. A subtle kick-up over the rear wheel calls back cue found on many classic Lincolns. Strong shoulders, dramatic C-pillars, clean body sides, a tall rear deck and large wheels and tires lend the Lincoln MKS a confident stance.

Modern luxury carries through inside, as well. Space is abundant, with a class-leading interior package. In fact, the MKS has the largest rear cabin in its class in every important dimension, including head, leg and shoulder room. And Lincoln tends to passengers' comfort with standard heated rear seats, an overhead skylight and a sun shade for the backlight.

Its interior is sleek. For instance, the Lincoln MKS's symmetrical instrument panel has fewer break lines than other luxury vehicles. The flow-through center stack is clean and uncluttered, with an information screen integrated at the top. The large center console has a split, two-piece, padded upper section. Each section slides forward individually to form an armrest.

"Luxury buyers still expect rare beauty, but today, they also seek authenticity," Horbury said.

"This is space Lincoln can rightfully reclaim, given the design of our vehicles and the way we've chosen to adorn the MKS with the finest real leathers, rare woods, real aluminum and chrome accents – in a more environmentally responsible way".

For example, the leather used for the seats is perfected with vegetable dyes and a chromium-free tanning process to create the softest leather ever used in a Lincoln.

It is supplied by Bridge of Weir Leather, the same company that provided hides for the Ford Model T and the iconic Continental Mark II, as well as the Concorde, the Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Burj Al Arab, the world's first 7-star hotel.

Ebony wood used for some models is reclaimed from furniture makers and others sources, offering a rare wood with minimal environmental impact. Also offered is Olive Ash, a wood with a distinctive grain pattern created when the roots of two trees grow together.

Smooth Power: Fuel-efficient V-6 today; V-8 power with V-6 efficiency tomorrow:

The Lincoln MKS is powered by a Lincoln exclusive new 3.7-liter V-6 engine. The powertrain has been derived from the proven 3.5-liter V-6 found in the Lincoln MKX, which was voted one of Ward's 10-Best Engines for 2007.

Both engines share the same strong, die-cast aluminum block and lightweight four-valve heads for smooth operation at high RPMs. The 3.7-liter's larger cylinders contribute to the increase in horsepower and torque. This engine delivers 270 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift that delivers smoother shifts, better fuel economy, acceleration and the option to manually select gears.

"This engine is tuned to maximize the increased torque to improve performance where it's needed most – standing acceleration and passing," says Michael Celentino, chief engineer.

Less than a year after launch, the Lincoln MKS will be the first vehicle to offer Ford's new gasoline turbo direct injection engine technology.

The premium engine – which offers the power and torque of a V-8 with the fuel efficiency of a V-6 – will make the Lincoln MKS the most powerful and fuel-efficient all-wheel drive luxury sedan in the market.

Lincoln MKS also is available with an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that provides a confident driving experience in all weather. It uses a sophisticated system of clutches to quickly distribute torque between front and rear wheels – up to 100 percent in either direction – to avoid wheel slip. The AWD system works with the standard Advance Trac® stability control system to provide additional stability, transferring torque from side-to-side.

An all-new independent rear suspension design features vertically mounted shock absorbers mounted at the outboard end of the suspension arms near the wheels, maximizing suspension travel and allowing for more precise suspension tuning.

The MacPherson strut and rear-facing L-shaped lower control arm front suspension also was designed to maximize suspension travel and tuned to work in harmony with the rear suspension. As an added benefit, the new suspension design can accommodate larger, 20-inch wheels and tires without compromising ride comfort.

The Lincoln MKS comes standard with 18-inch bright, machined, cast aluminum painted 10-spoke wheels. Nineteen-inch 10-spoke painted, polished or machined aluminum or a class-exclusive 20-inch, 11-spoke, highly polished, cast aluminum wheel are available options.

Building on a Heritage of Safety Leadership:

The Lincoln MKS is equipped with a comprehensive package of the latest in active and passive safety features to provide the highest level of protection for all occupants.

Standard safety features include:

Dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags, safety belt pretensioners, load-limiting retractors, driver seat positioning sensor, side air bags and Safety Canopy™ side curtain air bags with roll-fold technology and four-wheel ABS brakes.

Additional standard safety features include an anti-theft perimeter alarm, Battery Saver, Belt-Minder®, Child Safety Locks, glow-in-the-dark trunk release, illuminated entry, LATCH (Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children) and a tire pressure monitoring system.


Ford is pitting the Lincoln MKS against the Lexus GS 350 and the Cadillac STS. The base FWD 2009 Lincoln MKS will start at $37,985, including a $750 destination charge. The base AWD 2009 Lincoln MKS will start at $39,855, including shipping. Ford pricing spokesperson Lydia Cisaruk said a "well-equipped" MKS will cost less than $50,000. In comparison, the 2008 Lexus GS 350 starts at $44,915, including a $765 destination charge. The Cadillac STS starts at $43,245, including a $745 destination charge. But both of those competitors outstrip the MKS in terms of horsepower.


FWD fuel economy (city/highway) 17/24(Preliminary and subject to change at vehicle introduction)
AWD fuel economy (city/highway) 17/23(Preliminary and subject to change at vehicle introduction)
Fuel capacity (gallons) 19
Horsepower@rpm 270(Preliminary and subject to change at vehicle introduction)
Torque( 265(Preliminary and subject to change at vehicle introduction)
Headroom (front/rear, inches) 37.9/38.6
Legroom (front/rear, inches) 41.9/38.6
Shoulder room (front/rear, inches) 58.6/57.4
Luggage capacity (cu. Ft.) 18.4
Overall Height (inches) 61.6
Overall Length (inches) 204.1
Overall Width (without mirrors/with mirrors; inches)75.9/85.5
Tread (front/rear, inches) 65/65.4
Wheelbase (inches) 112.9
Curb weight (FWD/AWD; lbs.) 4127/4276

2010 Renault SportMegane?

There have been rumors that this blue prototype of a Renault SportMegane is a mule for the next Megane which is due in 2009.

The mules have been caught undergoing high speed testing at the Nurburgring racetrack. One picture showed the car with a 4 wheels off the ground which could indicate a new, more powerful engine. Staying with my suspicion of a new engine, check out a random air intake on the bonnet and wider, lower front radiator grille.

I've come to three conclusions on what this car might be and what it is testing:

1. New engine
2. Next generation Megane
3. Next generation MeganeSport which is due in 2010

A few months ago, new pictures of a C-Segment Renault surfaced on the Internet showing what looks like the next Megane undisguised. The picture were taken from a French magazine. The Megane had a slightly toned bootlid which strongly resembled the Egnus SUV. The rear lights flowed with the strong shoulderline. The front resembled the recently launched Laguna III. The Renault badge dominated the bonnet while a large radiator grille over-took the lower front end. Overall the new Megane looked curvier, stylish and eye-catching.

Chevrolet Beat heads for production in 2009

If you were one of the more than 1.8 million voters who pressured General Motors into building the Chevrolet Beat concept, you should be smiling right about now. The automaker said on Wednesday at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show that the Beat will hit the market in mid-2009. The bad news is that it likely won't be coming to North America.

The Beat, a Mini Cooper knock-off punctuated by a Vertigo Green paint job, was one of the supermini triplets that made their debut at the 2007 New York Auto Show. It was flanked by the hybrid 4x4 Trax crossover and the retro-styled Groove. At its spring coming-out party, the Beat was described as a micro import tuner and representative of "urban grunge."

"The people have spoken," said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. "The vote count tripled [that of] all previous GM online consumer surveys, telling us the Beat resonated with customers all around the world. Chevrolet was overwhelmed by the positive reaction to each of the 'triplets,' but the Beat was the clear winner."

GM said the "A-class car will initially be targeted to markets outside of the U.S. and Canada." No word yet on critical details about the production Beat, including powertrain specifications or what kind of price it will carry.

New Car: 2008 Vauxhall/Opel Zafira facelift

With fresh design accents and three additional engines, the new Opel Zafira will be available at dealerships from February 2008. The Zafira’s striking looks communicate dynamics and self-confidence. Its 1.6-liter gasoline and two 1.7-litre CDTI engines embody the current trends: powerful, economical and affordable. This all puts the Opel compact van in an excellent position to continue the success story of the world’s first fully versatile seven-seater, which will see its two millionth unit rolling off the assembly line early next year. Following the introduction of the second generation in mid-2005, this Zafira also belongs to the top of its vehicle class with over 450,000 units sold and around ten percent market share in Europe. The new edition of the bestseller makes its world premiere at the Bologna Motor Show (December 7 - 16, 2007).

Alain Visser, Chief Marketing Officer of GM Europe, describes the new Zafira as “the right offer at the right time. We know that customers are very satisfied with its quality, reliability, functionality and versatility. And now we’ve made the Zafira even sportier and equipped it with more efficient engines. This all keeps the Zafira in benchmark position in the European compact MPV class.

Dynamic V-styling defines face:

The new Zafira is characterized by striking front and rear design elements that give the car a sporty note. The confident wide front chrome beam with integrated Opel logo takes the hood tapering and draws it into the two-part radiator grille fins, which are now fully chromed. The distinctive lines around the fog lamp recesses also integrate the bumper into the dynamic V-styling; headlamp housings are also in chrome-look. The Zafira Sport boasts an even more impressive look with its bold, full front lip. The resulting sweep continues from the flared wheelarches, over the side sills to the pronounced rear apron. Other new eye-catching features include two transparent 3-D cells in the red tail lamps. The design enhancement is rounded off by the rear lamps’ silver-white strip, which crosses over into the rear chrome beam.

The further refined interior is accentuated by glossy chrome-rings around climate and radio controls as well as new decorative trim on the instrument panel and doors. The Cosmo version features elegant piano lacquer trim on the center console and decorative molding on the steering wheel. The infotainment systems with Navi, CD, DVD and MP3 functions also have stereo connections for external audio equipment, such as an iPod.

The Zafira’s “trademark” Flex7 seating system is of course always on board. The unrivalled versatile system ensures fast reconfiguration of the interior without cumbersome removal of the seats.

New engines:

The motto for engines is higher economy and power. With a new 1.6-litre gasoline and two 1.7 CDTI common-rail turbo-diesel engines, the range now boasts further highly-efficient propulsion alternatives. In future, Zafira customers can choose from a total of nine different engines. Their output spectrum ranges from the 94 natural gas hp of the especially economical and environmentally-compatible Zafira 1.6 CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) to the 240 turbo hp of the sporty top model Zafira OPC. With these two engines, Opel also enriches the segment with two innovative variants: the natural gas Zafira with only 138 g CO2 paved the way for this alternative form of propulsion, while the OPC version with 240 hp took over the pioneer role for sport vans.

The Zafira model line’s favorable operating costs result from a number of factors including low fuel consumption, low maintenance requirements, long service intervals and above all high value retention. This all helped the Opel van to take first place in the “Best Value 2006” awards.

The new, weight-optimized 1.6 ECOTEC with seamlessly controllable intake and exhaust camshafts has output of 85 kW/115 hp. The four-cylinder, four-valve unit replaces the 77 kW/105 hp 1.6-litre engine and consumes just 7.0 litres of fuel per 100 km. This reflects a savings of 4.3 percent compared to the predecessor. At the same time, better driving performance can be achieved thanks to the increased power, which is reflected in the 9 km/h higher maximum speed and acceleration of 13.4 seconds from zero to 100 km/h.

The new 1.7 CDTI engines with 81 kW/110 hp and 92 kW/125 hp both come with six-speed manual transmission as standard and feature common-rail injection, four-valve technology with swirl control as well as maintenance-free diesel particulate filter. They replace the 74 kW/100 hp 1.9 CDTI and the manual gearbox version of the 88 kW/120 hp 1.9-litre diesel. With increased torque of 20 and 40 Nm respectively, the 1.7 CDTI units provide noticeably more power while consumption and emissions are reduced. Efficiency is increased by up to 5 percent. Both diesel units require 5.7 litres of fuel per 100 km and emit just 152 g CO2 per km, thats 10g less than the outgoing model which emits 162g.

Technological excellence:

The new edition of the Zafira also offers innovative technological highlights unique in this vehicle class. These include the optional IDSPlus chassis system with electronic CDC (Continuous Damping Control), which provides an exclusive dimension of driving comfort and safety. In this integrated chassis control system, the control units and sensors of ESPPlus, ABS and CDC exchange data constantly, resulting in immediate optimization of chassis fine-tuning. The new edition’s further improved trailer stability control is also far from a matter of course when looking at other brands. The sophisticated system monitors the intensity of yawing motions in the car-trailer combination. Such motions are stabilized by control electronics via regulated brake application.

Best-in-class Zafira:

Opel introduced the AFL bi-xenon headlamp system (Adaptive Forward Lighting) with dynamic curve light into the compact van segment. The panorama roof system is a true highlight, further enhancing the pleasant, light atmosphere for the passengers. The power-operated shading system protects against strong sunlight when needed. For practical organization in the interior, the roof console running down the length of the ceiling houses five large drop-down storage compartments. These innovative technological features underline the modern overall concept of the flexible compact van.

Nissan GT-R in high demand (Japan)

Nissan took the pulse of GT-R orders on its home turf and reported "strong demand" on Thursday. Word of the surge comes just six weeks before dealers in the U.S. will be accepting pre-orders for the 2009 Nissan GT-R.

"In less than two months since pre-orders were accepted for the all-new Nissan GT-R in Japan, orders have already reached 2,282, exceeding by a factor of 11 the planned monthly sales total," Nissan said in a statement.

Nissan said pre-orders in Japan for the GT-R show that 60 percent of the buyers are under 50. It said the most popular grade series is the Premium edition, and the most popular color is Pearl White, making up 27 percent of all orders.

The GT-R goes on sale in the U.S. in June, starting at $69,850; it goes on sale in Japan December 6

Top import cars to reach South Korea next year

If your living in South Korea expect to see a few new faces at your local dealerships because for the first time, Nissan and Mitsubishi will be entering the South Korean market.

Nissan will be taking the Rogue, Altima and Murano from the U.S and bringing it to South Korea and Mitsubishi will be taking the i, Lancer, Galant and Pajero over.

Chrysler Korea:

Chrysler 300C/Sebring diesel sedan/Sebring Convertible/New Grand Voyager/300C SRT/300C Touring

Jeep Grand Cherokee facelift/Grand Cherokee SRT-8

Dodge Dakota facelift

Ford Korea:

Ford Mondeo/S-MAX

GM Korea:

Cadillac CTS/DTS Platinum Edition/BLS Diesel

Saab New 9-3 Convertible (facelift)/New 9-3 (facelift)

Volkswagen Korea:

Volkswagen Tiguan/9 BlueMotion models

Audi Korea:

Audi A3 facelift

BMW Korea:

BMW 650Ci Convertible

MINI Clubman

Volvo Korea:

Volvo all new XC70

Hanbul Motors:

Peugeot 207SW

Honda Korea:

Honda Accord 2.4, 3.5

Nissan Korea:

Nissan Rogue/Altima/Murano

Daewoo Auto Sales:

Mitsubishi Lancer 1.5/Galant 2.0/Pajero/i

Saturday, 10 November 2007

KIA Cee'd out sells Ford Focus (FI and CZ)

Update: 28/05/2008:

The Kia Cee'd has now sold in excess of 200,000 units. The 200,000th unit was a golden Pro-Cee'd for a customer in Germany

The popularity of Kia only increases these days and there is further proof of that with the high sales numbers of the automaker's European Cee'd C-segment hatchback. The Cee'd was the best-selling import (non-Skoda) car in the Czech Republic for October and was also the best-selling car in its class in Finland for the month of October.

The Cee'd was the top-selling imported C-segment car in the Czech Republic for the second time, having achieved the same in April. The brand managed to garner a 3.47% market share in the country, as Kia's total sales for October jumped 63%. Over a span of 10 months, Kia sales have increased 67% and slotted in the Top 10 Brands rank knocking out Fiat in the process.

In Finland, the Cee'd managed to gain enough sales last month to claim the no.1 position in its class. The Cee'd beat the Volkswagen Golf, Skoda Octavia, Toyota Auris and the Ford Focus. The Cee'd captured a staggering 14.7% market share in the demanding C-segment category. Kia's overall market share in the country leaped 50% to an impressive 7.2%. The Cee'd has a 5-star EuroNCAP rating and since its market launch in December of 2006, the automaker has received over 100,000 orders for the car. The Cee'd family consists of the conventional five-door hatch, the five-door estate, and the three-door Pro-Cee'd which are built at Kia's first European plant in Zilina, Slovakia. The €1 billion facility also assembles the 2008 Sportage compact SUV. All Cee'd's and Sportages sold in Europe come with Kia's 7-year/100,000 mile warranty.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Citroen C4-Triomphe; European bound?

The Citroen C4-Triomphe wasn't intended for Europe but that is before we captured this prototype undergoing road testing in Southern France.

The C4-Triomphe is largely based off the extended platform of the C4 hatchback. The sedan first went on sale in China in late 2006 with expected sale figures of 30,000 units a year but it merely achieved 25,000 units. Earlier on this year, the car was announced to go on sale in South America later on this month.

Whilst a test mule was sighted undergoing cold-weather testing in Finland in 2005, Europeans were expecting it to go on sale in looks like their wishes are about to come true.

We don't know why there is tape around the front headlamps but the little wires leading into the bonnet (check out top left hand corner of bonnet) means the mule is doing some engine and cooling testing.

Engines are likely to come from the C4 hatchback & coupé.

The C4-Triomphe could be revealed at the upcoming Geneva motorshow in March with sales starting in summer 2008. Pricing wise for the UK, it could start from around £12,500 for the entry level model going upto £20,000 for the flagship grade to rival the Volkswagen Jetta (Golf sedan).

Citroen could possibly keep the C4-Triomphe name in Europe otherwise it will be called the C4 sedan.

Lexus ES350 is best selling car in October (KR)

The Lexus ES is currently in second place for the total sales of import cars for the year with 2765 units sold in Korea. The second place honours went to the 2007 Honda CR-V with 366 units sold last month. However, the popular crossover is first in the total sales for 2007 with 2991 units sold.

October 2007 sales figures:

1. Lexus ES350 (367)

2. Honda CR-V (366)

3. Lexus IS250 (222)

4. BMW 528i (175)

5. Infiniti G35 Sedan (169)

6. BMW 320i (116)

7. Honda Civic 2.0 (110)

8. Audi A6 2.0 TFSI (105)

9. Honda Civic 1.8 (104)

10. Lexus LS460 (100)

Sale figures this year:

1. Honda CR-V (2991)

2. Lexus ES350 (2765)

3. Infiniti G35 Sedan (1596)

4. BMW 528i (1450)

5. BMW 320i (1379)

6. Lexus IS250 (1378)

7. Lexus LS460 (1146)

8. Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI (825)

9. Peugeot 307 SW HDi (821)

10. Honda Civic 2.0 (773)

New Car: 2008 Ford Focus ST, 3dr coupé & wagon

The 2008 Ford Focus will keep the same engines underneath the bonnet. The coupé-cabriolet will follow shortly after the launch of the 5 door hatchback in Spring 2008.

Click the link below to see the 5 door Focus facelift and a press release.
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