Monday 29 December 2008

Poll results are in!

The poll results are finally in after 1 and half years. The poll asked how your whole experience with the blog was and to rate it.

Out of the 370 people to took part, more than half (60%) had clicked the "Brilliant" button which is good news for me and the blog. 19% of our readers said their experience was "Good", 8% said it was "Average" and 3% said it was "Poor". Surprisingly, 8% of readers said their experience of the whole site was "Very Poor".

Cars Of The Future® Blog was designed to be easy to navigate around, understand and see. Unlike other online car sites/e-zine's, the cool blue background mated to the grey text means that the text written is clear and you won't have to strain your eyes too much nor will it blind you.

If you were the 8% who said they had a very poor overall experience with the blog, please voice your opinions and thoughts so the blog can be improved.

Thank you to those who took part in the poll.


New Car: 2009 Jaguar XF S (MY'10)

Although the XF went on sale earlier on this year, Jaguar has given it a slight tweak and introduced a new diesel engine.

The Jaguar XF’s new engine is a development of the 2.7-litre AJ V6 that was jointly engineered with PSA and also powers the Land Rover Discovery.

Capacity has increased to 3.0 litres, and power is up by 33%, from 207bhp to 272bhp. Torque increases to 420lb ft from 320lb ft, a 66% hike. That makes the new unit more torquey than any of its rivals apart from the BMW 535d.

The new engine means that the Jaguar XF S, as the new diesel model will be called when it arrives in dealerships in March 2009, can hit 60mph in 5.9sec, 1.8sec faster than the old 2.7-litre diesel. The car’s CO2 emissions fall from 199g/km to 179g/km whilst returning upto 42mpg.

Jaguar’s engineers have upgraded the engine’s forced induction system. Up to 2800rpm the larger of the two turbos does all the work, at which point the smaller unit kicks in. Jaguar claims that this system improves efficiency and reduces fuel consumption.

Along with the 272bhp engine, there will also be a 237bhp version with the same fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, although that model’s 0-60mph time is increased to 6.7sec.
The new diesel Jaguar XF S gets 20-inch wheels and a boot lid lip spoiler to help distinguish it from the regular XF.

Jaguar is also adding a Portfolio model to the XF range, which will get a similar treatment to the XK and XF Portfolios; expect bespoke interior trim and colours, including lots of leather, and exterior tweaks such as polished aluminium wing vents.

Jaguar will also upgrade its petrol V8s in 2009, kicking off with a new 5.0 litre engine that’s due to be unveiled in the XFR super-saloon at next month’s Detroit motorshow. Equipped with a supercharger, this engine produces 503bhp.

Press Release:


“The new XF V6 Diesel S – combining superb performance and excellent fuel economy - sets the pace with acceleration from 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds, a maximum speed of 155mph, yet delivers an average fuel consumption of 42mpg and CO2 emissions of 179g/km: Truly the best of both worlds!”

Mike O’Driscoll, Managing Director, Jaguar Cars


• The most advanced, powerful and efficient Jaguar diesel ever

• New 275PS high-performance XF Diesel S featuring Jaguar’s new AJ-V6D Gen III S 3.0-litre diesel engine delivers a massive 600Nm of torque

• 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds, 50-70mph in just 3.2 seconds, a maximum speed of 155mph and yet combined fuel economy of just 42.0mpg – 12 percent better than the acclaimed 2.7-litre V6 diesel engine

• Emits just 179g/km – a 10 percent reduction in CO2. Conforms to EU5 emission regulations using conventional exhaust after-treatment

• 33 percent more powerful and 61 percent more torque from 1500rpm than the 2.7-litre V6 diesel

“With CO2 emissions of 179g/km, 42mpg average fuel economy and 0-60mph acceleration in 5.9 seconds, this is another great example of Jaguar delivering unrivalled performance while at the same time taking the level of refinement in diesel engines to a whole new level.”

Mick Mohan, Jaguar Programmes Director.

When it was introduced last year, the XF was recognised as a dramatic expression of a bold new Jaguar design language. It also soon became apparent that here was a car where the driving experience exceeded the expectations created by the striking appearance. Now, the new XF Diesel S takes this driving experience to new levels, shifting the balance even further towards dynamic performance while still retaining the XF’s core values as a refined and luxurious sports saloon.

Distinguished by 20 inch wheels, aerodynamic boot lid spoiler and discreet ‘S’ badging, the car that defines Jaguar sporting luxury is even better for the 2010 model year, with a stunning new high-performance diesel. Powered by a 275PS engine, the Diesel S gives the XF outstanding levels of performance, accelerating from 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds, 1.8 seconds quicker than the excellent 2.7-litre model. In-gear acceleration is equally impressive, with a 50-70mph time of just 3.2 seconds. Maximum speed is electronically limited to 155mph.

Featuring parallel sequential turbochargers to help deliver the high levels of power and torque seamlessly and with effortless flexibility, this engine is perfectly matched to Jaguar’s sophisticated six-speed ZF 6HP28 automatic transmission.

“The new parallel sequential turbocharger system on our new V6 diesel delivers V8 levels of performance from very low revs. It’s a power unit that offers superb flexibility and remarkably low fuel consumption and emissions, while building on the refinement that has become a trademark of our Jaguar diesel engines.” Ron Lee, Group Chief Engineer, Powertrain.

There is an equally impressive 240PS version of the new 3.0-litre engine available too, which produces 16 percent more power and a 15 percent increase in torque over the 2.7-litre diesel, allowing the XF to reach 60mph in 6.7 seconds. Its 50-70mph time of just 3.7 seconds is only fractionally slower than the 275PS Diesel S model. Maximum speed is 149mph. And like the 275PS engine, these great performance leaps are achieved with combined average fuel consumption of 42.0mpg – an improvement on the 2.7-litre diesel of over 10 percent – and a CO2 emissions rating of only 179g/km.

There are also significant trim and specification changes – including many new features – and the introduction of a new Portfolio derivative as part of the core range. For Jaguar and the new 2010 model year XF, the high-performance diesel has truly arrived. Pricing for the 2010 model year diesels – which will carry a premium over the current 2.7 – will be announced shortly.

The acclaimed XF 2.7 Diesel has won several accolades, including in the UK What Car magazine’s ‘Diesel Car of the Year’ and ‘Car of the Year’, What Diesel magazine’s ‘Diesel Car of the Year’ and the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers’ Best Diesel of 2008. Additionally, the XJ 2.7-litre Diesel was also named Britain’s greenest luxury car in the Environmental Transport Association’s 2008 Car Buyers Guide for the second year running.


Drawing on the experience gained in designing the original, acclaimed 2.7-litre engine, the new 3.0-litre AJ-V6D Gen III diesels demonstrate that it is possible to deliver improved performance, while reducing CO2 emissions and fuel economy. In the XF, the new engine produces 10 percent less CO2 than the 2.7-litre, while power has increased by 33 percent in Diesel S guise. As well as tackling CO2, the new 3.0-litre engines meet the forthcoming EU5 regulations, due to come into force at the start of 2011. And these great performance leaps are achieved with combined average fuel consumption in both models of 42.0mpg – an improvement on the 2.7-litre engine of 12 percent.

Twin-turbos – maximum efficiency, instant response:

A key feature of the new engine is the unique, parallel sequential turbocharger system, the first of its type to be fitted to a V-engine anywhere in the world. Delivering high torque throughout the entire engine rev range, improved throttle response and low CO2 emissions, the twin-turbochargers work sequentially to deliver unrivalled response and best-in-class torque – an impressive 61 percent more than the 2.7-litre diesel from 1500rpm – while packing a huge punch at higher engine speeds. For most day-to-day driving, including motorway cruising, a responsive, variable-geometry primary turbocharger does all the work, while the smaller, fixed-geometry, secondary turbo is dormant, saving energy and improving efficiency. When the engine revs climb above 2800rpm, the secondary turbo is brought on line within 300 milliseconds, smoothly and seamlessly boosting the engine output with no discernible turbo-lag or power-step.

Driving a turbocharger requires pressure from the exhaust, creating pumping losses in the engine and increasing fuel consumption. To alleviate this, valves under the control of the engine management system isolate the secondary turbocharger both from the exhaust stream and the engine inlet tract when it is not required.

Some twin-turbo systems rely on a smaller turbo for primary use, only using a larger turbo when higher power is required. Though effective, this has the disadvantage of raised exhaust pressure and increased pumping losses. The Jaguar system uses a larger, variable-geometry turbocharger more of the time, which not only reduces pumping losses, but also improves fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Jaguar engineers particularly focused on the issue of turbocharger ‘lag’ at low engine speeds. The new AJ-V6D Gen III 3.0-litre diesels significantly out-perform their rivals by delivering 500Nm of torque in only 500 milliseconds from idle.

Third-generation common-rail:

A new common-rail fuel-injection system delivers up to five injections on each cycle at a pressure of 2000bar. Each injector tip is perforated by seven holes through which finely atomised fuel is sprayed into the cylinders. The high-pressure injection increases power, improves economy and reduces both CO2 and particulate emissions. New, third-generation high-speed piezo injectors allow up to five precise injection events during each combustion cycle, minimising engine combustion noise. Piezo crystal ‘packs’ operate each injector by expanding when an electric current is passed through them. They react virtually instantaneously but can make a distinctive click when fired, which can add to diesel engine noise at idle. The crystals in Jaguar’s new injectors are fitted nearer the tip, meaning they are mounted deeper inside the engine providing better sound insulation and quieter operation.

Another new feature of the third-generation fuel-injection system is the metering mode. Traditional diesel common-rail fuel pumps oversupply the injectors, with the surplus being returned to the fuel tank. During this process, fuel temperature increases and cooling it again consumes considerable amounts of energy. In metering mode, the pump delivers fuel to the injectors only at the rate required. Consequentially, there is no rise in fuel temperature and no wasted energy.

Compact, light and clean:

The two cylinder heads, with four valves per cylinder, are made from aluminium and the cylinder block is made from compact graphite iron (CGI). The higher tensile strength of CGI makes it possible to cast a smaller block; some 80mm shorter than a conventional ‘grey’ cast iron equivalent. The new, water-cooled, exhaust gas recirculation system (EGR), important for reducing pumping losses and emissions of NOX in a diesel engine, is more efficient and consumes less power than the 2.7-litre unit. The valves that allow exhaust gas into the system are located on the ‘hot side’ of the engine nearest the exhaust manifolds; these valves never cool while the engine is running, so there is no condensation of combustion deposits which occurs on engines fitted with ‘cold side’ valves, hence the EGR system always works at maximum efficiency. Since the EGR cooling is so effective, exhaust gasses can bypass the system and return to the exhaust pipes, allowing faster engine warm-up from start-up and reducing emissions still further.

EU5 emissions regulations have been achieved ahead of the 2011 legislative timetable using conventional diesel oxidation catalysts and diesel particulate filters (DPFs). NOX levels are reduced at source through the combustion system design, the addition of the new common-rail injection system and the new EGR system with by-pass. As a result, specialised NOX exhaust after-treatment is unnecessary, avoiding a potential cost and the need to use additional precious metals in the exhaust system.

Remarkably quiet for a diesel:

The CGI cylinder block and new piezo injectors reduce combustion noise in the engine. Multiple, precise injections of fuel on the combustion stroke also reduce combustion noise and all engine covers including camshaft covers, front covers and the sump have been optimised to subdue radiated noise. Engine enclosures have been ribbed to minimise radiated noise and the sump pan is manufactured from sound deadening steel (SDS), comprising a polymer layer sandwiched between two layers of steel.

Internal friction, a major contributor to unnecessary fuel consumption, has been addressed by careful optimisation of the crankshaft, valves and pistons. All these features combine to make the new Jaguar AJ-V6D Gen III engines amongst the quietest premium diesels on the market.

A major step forward:

With its parallel sequential turbocharger system, third-generation common-rail fuel injection system and fully optimised EGR system, the new 3.0-litre AJ-V6D Gen III diesel sets new class standards when it comes to power, response and refinement in the premium diesel segment.

“The new XF challenges the rules and redefines Jaguar sporting luxury. Our designers and engineers have worked together to develop elegant, inspired solutions to complex technical challenges. It’s a simple but very effective philosophy and the result is great new products like the new 3.0-litre diesel XF.”

Mike O’Driscoll, Managing Director, Jaguar Cars.

SEAT Exeo pricing announced (UK)

SEAT UK has announced pricing on it's Exeo sedan. The previous-generation Audi A4-based saloon is offered in S, SE, Sport and range-topping SE Lux trim levels, with an initial choice of three engines, a 2.0 TDI turbo-diesel producing 143bhp or 170bhp, as well as a 2.0 TSI turbocharged petrol unit with 200PS. All engines are mated to a standard 6 speed manual gearbox.

Prices for the Exeo start from £17,740 for the entry-level 2.0 TDI S. Comparatively, a similarly powered Ford Mondeo sedan 2.0 TDCi 140 Edge starts from £18,449, though Ford does offer discounts.

All Exeos will come equipped with standard USB connectivity that allows MP3 music players to be used in-car, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, dual zone climate control, alloy wheels, front fog lamps, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, 4x electric windows, ESP, ABS, 6 airbags, volumetric alarm with tilt sensor and remote central locking.

Stepping up to the Exeo SE adds rear parking sensors, automatic headlights and wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror, leather steering wheel and gearknob, and an acoustic windscreen to the standard features.

Exeo Sport buyers will benefit from the likes of sports suspension, sports seats and 18-inch alloys, while those who opt for the range-topping SE Lux will enjoy black leather upholstery and bi-xenon headlights with AFS among the standard kit. The Exeo goes on sale in April 2009.

Model, Engine, PS, Recommended On The Road Price:

S, 2.0 TDI, 143, £17,740.00

SE, 2.0 TDI, 143, £18,345.00

Sport, 2.0 TDI, 143, £19,230.00

SE Lux, 2.0 TDI, 143, £20,410.00

Sport, 2.0 TDI, 170, £20,160.00

SE Lux, 2.0 TDI, 170, £21,340.00

Sport, 2.0 TSI, 200, £19,410.00

Related links:

Photo Gallery: 2010 BMW Z4

For those of you who can't get enough of the 2010 BMW Z4, I have for you some PC wallpapers to enjoy. Resolution: 1024x768.

JDM Honda Insight brochures leaked

Despite Honda's attempts to keep a tight lipped on any information concerning the new Insight hybrid sedan, a set of scans from the official Japanese market model brochure have been leaked online, two weeks before the car's worldwide premiere at the Detroit motorshow on 11th January. Honda had released a three-quarter front shot of the production version but the brochure scans give us our first glimpse of the 2009 Insight's more conservatively styled rear-end along with the hybrid's interior which remains for the most part unchanged compared to the Insight concept.

The brochure that was uploaded on the Honda enthusiast site also reveals a picture of the Insight Modulo. Modulo is the name Honda gives to altered versions of factory-designed cars. The accessorised Insight features a sporty bodykit with a front spoiler that incorporates an extra set of fog lights, side skirts, a rear apron and larger alloy wheels. The JDM Insight will be offered in three trim levels, G, L and LS.

Another site posted a more detailed article with plenty of data sourced from an unnamed Japanese car magazine that supposedly gathered the information from a product preview meeting for Honda dealers in Japan.

As for the information that Honda has verified up until now, the production Insight will be equipped with a mild hybrid powertrain developed from the one found in the Civic IMA, combining an electric motor with a small displacement petrol engine and a CVT gearbox. The Insight will go on sale worldwide in the Spring 2009 with UK prices expected to start at a mere £15,000. U.S prices are said to start from less than $20,000. The U.S market is predicted to snap up 50% of all vehicles. In Europe, Honda has said the UK market will be the largest Insight market.

G Specification:

Ecological Drive Assist System

Multi-information display

Climate control

Projector-style headlights

Remote-control body-coluored door mirrors

Tinted rear windows

Security alarm w/Immobiliser

15-inch steel wheels

Solar-heat-reducing/noise-reducing glass

Active front headrests

Tilt/telescoping steering wheel adjustment

Height adjustable front seats

Three rear headrests

Puncture repair kit

The L model adds:

High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights with automatic lamps

Turn signals integrated in door mirrors

Leather steering wheel

Rear speakers

Front/rear armrests

Variable-speed windsreen wiper

Map light and luggage-area light

Drivers side seat back pocket

The LS model adds:

16-inch aluminum wheels

Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA)

Front fog lights

7-speed paddle shifters

Sun-shade tinted windscreen

Optional accessories:

Satillite navigation system with 7-inch screen and hard disk drive (this system may also display additional fuel economy information and in Japan it may include a TV tuner and ECT, an electronic motorway toll payment system etc)

Honda smart key system

Curtain airbags

15-inch aluminum wheel for L grade

High-intensity discharge headlights (HID)

Comfort view package plus rear window wiper

Body colour options:

Spectrum While Pearl (also a Civic hybrid colour)

Milano Red (also a CR-V and Civic colour)

Premium Deep Violet Pearl (also a Jazz colour)

Crystal Black Pearl (also an CR-V, Accord, Civic, and Jazz/Fit colour)

Polished metal metallic (also an Accord and Civic colour)

Alabaster Silver metallic (also an Accord and Civic colour)

Brilliant Sky metallic (also a Jazz colour)

Interior colour options:


Warm gray

Other data:

Length - 4390 mm

Width - 1695 mm

Height - 1425 mm

Wheelbase - 2550 mm

Weight - 1180kg

Minimum turning radius: 16.4 feet

Engine type: inline 1339 cc SOHC 4-cylinder

Engine generates 88 brake-horsepower @5800rpm and 12.3 kgm torque @4500rpm

IMA motor generates 14 brake-horsepower @1500rpm and 9.4 kgm torque @500rpm
Japanese 10.15 mode fuel consumption test: 30.0 kilometres per litre (which is greater than 70 mpg)

Saturday 27 December 2008

Mercedes E-Class reaches 1.5 million milestone

Mercedes has announced that the company has delivered 1.5 million units of the current generation of the E-Class since it went into production 6 years ago. With a total of 1,270,000 sedans and 230,000 wagons in the hands of customers, the latest generation of E-Class was highly successful in the company's key markets of Germany and the United States, both of which contributed 25% in sales. This means that combined sales of the E-Class and its predecessors has now surpassed 12 million units.

The most popular versions were the E220 CDI and E350 which both attracted 10% percent of E-Class sales, and a total of 40% of all E-Classes sold came equipped with a diesel engine. Over the years the current model was given a number of awards including the E320 BlueTEC being named 2007's World Green Car, a 2002 award for Best Car in the Upper Mid-Range Segment from Auto Motor und Sport magazine, and an award in January 2008 for the introduction of BlueTEC technology in Europe.

Production of the current E-class will ease up in 2009, ahead of the introduction of an all new E-Class in 2010.

Press Release:

The E-Class is one of the best selling models in the upper-range segment worldwide

A total of around 12 million units of the E-Class and its predecessor models have been sold to date

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been the epitome of safety, comfort, and quality for more than 60 years

Mercedes-Benz has delivered 1.5 million units of the current E-Class series to customers since the model’s market launch six years ago. “The current E-Class and its predecessor models have been the ‘heart’ of Mercedes-Benz for more than 60 years now,” says Dr. Klaus Maier, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars. “With its typical brand attributes that include safety, comfort, innovation, economy, and quality, the E-Class has delighted around 12 million customers worldwide across eight model generations.”

A total of 1,270,000 sedans from the current E-Class series have been delivered worldwide since the model was launched in 2002, while 230,000 customers have opted for the station wagon version. The most important markets for the E-Class are Germany and the U.S, each of which accounts for approximately 25 percent of total sales. The most popular E-Class engine versions are the E220 CDI and E350, each of which attracts ten percent of all E-Class customers. Some 40 percent of all customers select a diesel-powered vehicle.

In 2007 innovative BlueTEC diesel technology was launched for the first time in a passenger car in Europe - in the E300 BlueTEC. This European introduction was preceded by the launch of the E320 BlueTEC in the U.S. in October 2006. With BlueTEC, Mercedes-Benz has succeeded in greatly reducing emissions and ensuring compliance with the EU5 emission standard. Innovative BlueTEC technology has thus made the diesel engine one of the cleanest and most efficient drive systems in the world.

The “Germany - Land of Ideas” initiative of the German federal government and German industry presented Mercedes-Benz with an award in January 2008 for innovative research in connection with the brand’s introduction of BlueTEC technology to Europe. In addition, the E320 BlueTEC was chosen “2007 World Green Car” by automotive journalists from 22 countries in April of last year. The current E-Class model series has received numerous other awards since its market launch in 2002, including an award for Best Car in the Upper Mid-Range Segment from Auto Motor und Sport magazine.

In the fall of 2006, the E-Class also clearly demonstrated its typical Mercedes brand attributes of exemplary safety, comfort, and economy during the longest long-distance diesel endurance test in automobile history: 36 E-Class cars went on a transcontinental marathon, with each vehicle driven approximately 14,000 kilometers from Paris to Beijing over 26 days. In this endurance test under extreme conditions, Mercedes-Benz once again demonstrated the top performance of its ultramodern diesel engines in terms of emissions, fuel economy, and reliability.

Hyundai Elantra Touring pricing announced (U.S)

In Europe, the Hyundai Elantra Touring is known locally as the Hyundai i30 Estate/CW so it's not surprising to see Hyundai releasing official U.S pricing for the new model.

Prices start from $18,495 for the entry-level model and $19,995 for one featuring a Premium-Sport package. In the U.S, the Elantra Touring is offered exclusively with the same 2.0 litre, I4 engine found in the Elantra sedan. With a manual transmission, the Elantra Touring's fuel economy is rated at 23mpg city and 31mpg highway while with the optional four-speed, automatic transmission, the Hyundai's EPA rating is 23mpg city and 30mpg highway.

The entry level model's standard equipment includes air conditioning, electric windows and door mirrors with heat function, remote keyless entry with alarm, steering wheel-mounted cruise control and audio controls, 8 way adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support, cooled glove box and an integrated 172-Watt AM/FM/XM Satellite Radio/CD/MP3 audio system with 6 speakers, USB input and auxiliary input.

The Premium-Sport package adds a electric sunroof with tilt and slide functions, heated front seats and 17 inch alloy wheels with P215/45VR17 tyres.

The all-new 2009 Elantra Touring will be available at Hyundai's dealerships in the first quarter of 2009.

2009 Elantra Touring Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Pricing:

Touring M/T Standard Equipment Five-Speed M/T with B&M Sport shifter - $18,495

Touring A/T Standard Equipment Four-Speed A/T - $19,295

Touring M/T Premium-Sport Five-Speed M/T with B&M Sport shifter - $19,995

Touring A/T Premium-Sport Four-Speed A/T - $20,795

MPG figures refer to U.S market

Subaru Impreza diesel delayed (UK)

The anticipated launch of the diesel Subaru Impreza has been delayed indefinitely due to the Yen exchange rate, which hit its highest level in 13 years last week.

Sources inside International Motors, Subaru’s official UK importer, admitted that the company had no choice but to delay the vital diesel model until the Yen rate drops.

“At the current rate we would have to charge vastly more than we can justify for the diesel Impreza if we were to make a profit. As a result we can’t guarantee when the car will go on sale as we can’t predict when the economy will change.”

Subaru is not the only company suffering as a result of the poor exchange rate. Takeo Fukui, Honda’s chief executive, called on the Japanese government to ‘move a bit more swiftly’ to stabilise the Yen after the company announced that it could make a second-half loss. Toyota has also posted its first operating loss since 1941.

Though the Japanese government has intervened in its currency rates in the past, there is no guarantee as yet that any action will be taken in the current crisis.

Related links:

BMW 7 Series pricing announced (U.S)

BMW has set pricing for the 7 Series sedan at $81,125 for the 750i and $85,025 for the 750Li, reflecting a 0.7 percent increase in BMW's average U.S pricing.

The new 7 Series goes on sale Spring 2009.

Press Release:

BMW of North America, LLC announced today an average price increase of 0.7 percent for BMW vehicles sold in the U.S. effective January 1, 2009. This action is driven by the ongoing structural and economical changes in the market place. It will ensure revenue generation for the company's U.S. operations and help to protect the quality of business.

In addition, BMW announced pricing for the new 2009 7 Series that debuted recently at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. The base price for the 750i is $81,125 and the 750Li is 85,025 (including $825 for destination and handling). Both models began production in November and will arrive at BMW Centers in the Spring

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Mazda6 pricing announced (UK)

Although the Mazda6 only went on sale this year, the revised Mazda6 will start from £14,891 when it goes on sale in the UK January 2009.

The range features an all-new 2.2 TDCi diesel engine (used in the Ford Mondeo) with power outputs of 125bhp, 163bhp and 185bhp and some specification upgrades. New equipment on offer includes a rear-view monitoring system to warn the driver of cars approaching their blind spot which is standard in cars in TS2 trim level upwards, from £17,563.

Jaguar "X351" spied in Northern England

The last time the 2011 Jaguar XJ was spied, it was a test mule with extended fenders and a slightly revised face. Now, it's a proper prototype with very heavy cladding and fake body panels all over.

The current model wasn't as successful as Jaguar had hoped for thanks to it's old-fashioned styling so the newcomer will take a step into the wild side. The flagship sedan, code-named "X351" will take some styling hints off the popular XF sedan including LED rear lights. We can see impressions of an elongated hood and potentially elegant rear styling on a four-door coupe. Interior wise, the XJ is likely to use the automatic transmission gear-knob selector to replace the conventional gearshift. This will also be taken of the XF alongside other interior components.

The underpinnings won't be completely new, however, because Jaguar has decided to just modify the existing all-aluminium platform, another way to cut back on costs. There will be changes to the suspension to enhance the driving dynamics.

Engine information isn't yet available but we can expect the XJ to use a newly-developed 5.0 litre V8 petrol engine and a new 3.0 litre diesel unit which will replace the existing 2.7 litre diesel. Other engines will also be available.

Rivalling the Audi A8, Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series , the new XJ will go on sale in 2011. To match upto its rivals, the new car will measure at least 5,000mm in length ensuring plenty of leg/knee/foot-room. Considering the sloping roofline, headroom could be cut hugely, especially for rear passengers.

Related link:

GM opens another plant in China (CN)

GM, the cash-strapped U.S car manufacture has just opened another assembly plant in China with local partner Shanghai Auto.

The $390 million factory, GM's second in the northern city of Shenyang, has already begun pilot production of the new Chevrolet Cruze. GM does not plan to begin building and selling the Cruze in the U.S until MY2011, but the new model will begin reaching Chinese showrooms in Spring 2009. The Cruze is currently on sale in South Korea, where it is known as the Daewoo Lacetti.

GM and its local partners now have the capacity to produce more than 1 million vehicles a year in China. The new Shenyang plant can build up to 150,000 cars a year. GM and Shanghai Auto also operate assembly plants in Shanghai, Liuzhou and Yantai, building a wide range of products from Wuling MPV's to Buick sedans.

GM executives have said the company expects to sell up to 1.2 million vehicles, including imports, in China in 2009, despite an industry-wide downturn this year.

Suzuki Splash gets entry-level 1.0 litre petrol engine (UK)

The Suzuki Splash will receive the 1.0 litre petrol engine, found in the upcoming Alto and current Agila.

Equipped with a 68bhp, 1.0 litre 3 cylinder petrol engine, the Splash GLS has combined fuel economy of 56.5mpg. Since the new engine emits 120g/km of CO2, it currently benefits from £35 yearly taxation, which will fall down to £20 sometime in the near future.

Priced at £8,350 on the road, the GLS comes with air conditioning, electric front windows and heated adjustable door mirror, three-spoke leather covered steering wheel with audio controls, radio CD player with MP3 compatibility, six airbags, ABS with EBD, and ESP come as standard.

The new entry-level Splash GLS will go on sale in the UK January 2009.

2010 Mercedes S-Class spied

Despite slow car sales, Mercedes is still pushing ahead will it's revised S-Class flagship sedan. The latest spy photos, taken in Germany show the newcomer undergoing final shakedown testing. While the all-new model isn't due until 2011, styling tweaks include new front fog lights and bumper skirt, reshaped bumpers, side mirrors with side repeater indicators, modified headlights with indicators integrated into the bottom of the units and LED daytime running lights. At the rear, a revised bumper and LED tail-lights will feature with the AMG models getting new exhaust tailpipes.

The range will include the S400 Bluehybrid - not a full hybrid capable of running on electric power only, but a petrol-engined model with stop-start and other modifications to deliver a fuel saving of over 20% compared to the previous S350 V6. Upgrades to the other petrol and diesel engines will be made to improve fuel economy and emissions.

New equipment in the S-Class will include Mercedes' new Driver Attention Assistance system, which monitors driving patterns and warns tired drivers who seem ready to nod off at the wheel, and the new SplitView double-layered display screens which allows the driver to use the sat-nav while the front passenger can watch television.

Mercedes being Mercedes, expect prices to boost a-little over the current £52,000 price tag. Saying that, there should be more standard equipment.

Related links:

SsangYong can't pay its staff (SK)

Korean carmaker, SsangYong cannot afford to pay its December salaries and has confirmed it’s more than £50m in debt.

“Due to lack of operating funds for December, it is impossible for the company to pay salaries any longer,” SsangYong told workers in a letter last Friday.

Korea’s smallest manufacturer turned to its parent company Shanghai Automotive Industry in China for emergency funds, but the request was refused. The firm employs about 8,000 staff in Korean. Shanghai Automotive bought the majority stake three years ago.

The SsangYong executive committee now plans a protest rally against its Chinese management.

SsangYong sales in Korea have dropped by more than a third in the last year. It’s already shut 60 dealers in the country. In the UK, SsangYong has sold 595 cars to date this year, compared with 1,299 during the same period last year.

Sunday 21 December 2008

2010 Hyundai i40/Sonata caught testing in South Korea and France

Updated: 25/05/09

Hyundai is still working hard at testing their forthcoming large family car - the i40. New spy photos, taken in a South Korean car park and in Northern France, the new i40 will use a variety of engines including the new R diesel engine. The i30's 1.6 litre CRDi, 2.0 litre and 2.2 litre diesel engines and petrol engines, 2.4 litre and 3.3 litre V6 will be available, alongside a hybrid model later on. The biggest seller in the U.S is likely to the the 2.4 litre, while in Europe, the 2.0 diesel should be popular. The newcomer will use a newly ZF developed 6 speed automatic transmission which will be mated to the 4-cylinder diesel engines.

Up front, the i40 features attractively shaped head-lights and a three bar grille. Similar to the Genesis Coupe, the upcoming i40 will also have a strong character line on the front and rear doors and an elegantly designed rear fascia with a pair of tailpipes integrated in the rear bumper - similar to the Lexus LS. According to a Hyundai insider, the i40 will major on style, “and won’t be a car that people buy purely for value”.

Out goes the boxy American styling in favour for something sleek, slinky and European. The i40 should be unveiled September '09 before sales start in Winter 2009 in South Korea. The wagon variant will be launched first in the UK to draw customers in, while the sedan will join later on in 2011.
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