Wednesday 30 July 2008

Lamborghini Gallardo smashed up (UK)

A supercar destroyed in a country lane crash may have been driven by a man who hired it for a weekend wedding reception. The white Lamborghini convertible was badly damaged when it hit a tree in Shropshire on Sunday 27th July.

Escaping serious injury, the idiot was picked up by another car and abandoned his luxury vehicle, according to police.

He was one of a group of men who told drinkers in a nearby pub, The Cider House in Wootton, near Bridgnorth, Shropshire, that they had been to a wedding reception and had hired three Lamborghinis and a Bentley for the weekend. A man who saw the group commented: "I was down the pub having a quiet drink with a few friends when three Lamborghinis and a Bentley raced up the quiet country lane and onto the car park."

The driver of the white Lamborghini sat in the car park "for a while, just revving it until it was hitting the limiter", he said. Two hours later, he was looking at the crumpled bodywork of the crashed Lamborghini, which people had stripped of its badges, centre caps and gear stick knob, said the onlooker.

A spokeswoman for West Mercia Police said: "The driver was seemingly not seriously injured as he was picked up by another vehicle and his car was abandoned. "Inquiries are under way to identify the driver and we are appealing for any information which might assist."

She could not comment on whether the crashed car was rented or not. Brian Jarvis, the licensee of The Cider House, said that the pub was co-operating fully with the police and had made their CCTV available to officers.

He said he could not confirm whether the group had visited the pub on Sunday as it had been "packed".

Another day, another moron damaging an expensive car...

Renault Kangoo B-Up uncovered

The Renault Kangoo will receive a younger brother dubbed Kangoo B-Up later on this year. The regular Kangoo will launch in Spring 2009 in the UK, while the 3dr Kangoo B-Up will go on sale in 2010.

First spied in Southern Italy heavily disguised, this production model, which was caught on a photoshoot, reveals how the newcomer will look.

Engines and equipment levels will be very similar to the 5dr Kangoo. Expect sales to kick off around Autumn 2008, after a debut at October's Paris motorshow.

Via > Renault Kangoo B-Up spy video

Related link:

New Car: 2008 Renault Kangoo

Motorists leave their cars at home (UK)

More than half of British motorists are leaving their cars at home due to the increasing cost of fuel, according to a new survey.

Out of the 15,300 people involved in the AA poll, 55% had made a conscious decision to cut back on the number of car journeys they take as a result of pump prices – up from 37% in April.

This figure cooled to 77% when including those who had continued to use their car but had cut back their expenditure in other areas.

Almost half of those questioned, 47%, said they are cutting back on leisure activities such as eating out or going to the cinema, while one in 10 had cut back on car servicing, a decision which could result in more breakdowns.

Mazda3 sedan shows up in Death Valley

Updated: 24/08/08

The new Mazda3 has been spied undergoing hot-weather testing in Death Valley, CA. To date, only the sedan variant has been spied but European engineers have let the hatchback variant out in the wild, in the Austrian Alps.

Despite being on the market for a long time, the Mazda3 is still looking fresh after 6 years. The newcomer is based on the next generation Ford Focus and blends these proven underpinnings with chassis expertise from the MX-5.

Refinement and cabin quality are high on the agenda for Mazda, so expect plenty of soft-touch cabin plastics and a layout inspired by the bigger Mazda6. Launch engines will come from the Ford stable, with petrol units ranging from 1.4 to 2.0 litres and diesels from 1.6 to 2.2 litres.

As engineers made the latest 2 lighter than its predecessor, the new 3 is set to weigh less, too. Add in the liberal use of biodegradable materials, and it will be one of the greenest hatchbacks around.

The MPS performance model will feature the 2.5 litre five-cylinder turbo from the Ford Focus ST. In the Mazda, which is due in 2010, this will offer around 250bhp. And the discreet look of the current 3 MPS is set to be axed in favour of a more menacing design.

The Mazda3 variants are due in 2009. Like the current model, it'll be better equipped and cheaper than the Focus. The sedan should be at the Los Angeles motorshow in November, while the five-door hatchback will be launched at the Bologna Show in Italy in December.

Fiat 500 production expands for the 3rd time

For the 3rd time since the 500's launch last year, production of the popular city-car will be expanded to 200,000 units + annually to cope with European demand.

Fiat’s initial plans in 2007 where to sell approximately 120,000 units this year, however high demand saw the Italian carmaker raise the target to 140,000 earlier this year. According to a report, between the 500’s July 2007 introduction and the end of June 2008, Fiat dealers have received in excess of 230,000 orders.

Related links:

Tuesday 29 July 2008

Hyundai i20 on British soil

Its not unusual for Hyundai to test cars in the UK. This is the first sighting of the firms new car on British roads, since engineers are currently in the Austrian Alps and Germany.

The new i20 will replace the aging Getz hatchback when it arrives early next year. This mule was spied on back of a tow-truck between Coventry and Leeds, Northern England.

The Getz replacement will take styling hints off the larger i30 to make it look more distinctive than its rivals. The interior will be improved immensely over the outgoing model. The current models dull, hard, cheap-looking interior will be ditched in favour for soft-touch plastics, upgraded fabrics and silver styling elements to give the interior a posher feel.

2 petrol engines will be available, producing around 80bhp for the 1.2 litre and 109bhp for the 1.4 litre, with an optional automatic transmission. A 1.5 litre 110bhp diesel will arrive and likely to be hooked to a manual gearbox.

The newcomer will premier at October's Paris motorshow in 5-door form. Sales are expected in Spring 2009 with prices starting around £7,500, however, 6 months down the line, the 3dr will arrive.

Related links:

Hyundai i20 undisguised

Hyundai i20 spied in Spain

2009 Honda Jazz specifications revealed (EU)

Honda's smallest baby, Jazz, has been on the Europe market since 2001. In the UK, the Jazz clocked up over 161,000 sales. The newcomer is set to follow in the predecessor footsteps when its arrives in November.

Surprisingly, there will be no diesel engines under the bonnet as Honda believes the refinement, fuel economy and performance of its i-VTEC petrol engines justify shunning a diesel. So, the 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrol engines will power the new Jazz at launch and a hybrid will come during 2009, promising no road tax.

Emissions fall from 129g to 120g/km for the 1.2 litre, which is mated to a 5 speed manual. Instead of 78PS, the 1.2 now has 90PS and returns 55.4 mpg combined. The 1.4 litre emits 124g/km from 137g and 139g and is teamed up with Honda's new 6-speed automated manual i-SHIFT transmission that replaces the previous CVT. A 5 speed manual is also optional. Power is increased from 83PS to 100PS and returns 53.3 mpg combined.

The UK Jazz line-up should consist of the entry-level S, followed by the mid-range SE, ES, and rising to the flagship EX. The 1.4 litre EX receives the heat absorbing, panoramic glass-roof with electric shade.

Set to be officially unveiled at the Paris motorshow on the 17th October, prices for the Jazz will start at £10,000, rising to around £14,000 for the 1.4-litre model.

Press Release:

Honda's all-new Jazz is once again set to redefine the B-segment parameters of practicality and interior space. The 5-door hatchback will achieve class leading interior space and combined it with significantly improved fuel economy and 120 g/km CO2 emissions (1.4-litre i-SHIFT and 1.2-litre). The exterior design is at first glance an evolution rather than a revolution, but this subtle change of appearance is only one small part of the thousands of changes that push the all-new Jazz forward. It retains the concepts of the previous Jazz with its centre fuel tank layout and Magic Seats which gave it world beating interior flexibility.

Yet while the best features are retained, including cabin space to rival mid-sized saloons, the new Jazz brings change to every area, raising the bar even further and promising to expand on its success in the supermini segment. The previous generation was given more than fifty awards and has sold over two million around the world since its 2001 launch. A slightly larger, ‘cab forward' style body brings better visibility and means Jazz is even more spacious, benefiting rear legroom and boot space in particular. The Magic Seats now dive down in one easy action and their versatility is now complemented by a new Double-Trunk boot feature in the luggage bay.

There are greater levels of safety equipment including the introduction of Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, active front seat head restraints and VSA. Larger wheels, revised suspension and a longer wheelbase/wider track bring greater agility while enhancing ride comfort. And new 90 PS 1.2-litre and 100 PS 1.4-litre i-VTEC engines deliver better performance characteristics while boosting economy to exceptional levels - 5.1 and 5.3 l/100 km combined, respectively. CO2 emissions for both the 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre engines have also been significantly reduced. The 1.2 litre engine now emits just 120g/km (down from 129g/km), while the 1.4 litre produces 123g/km in manual or 120g/km with the i-SHIFT transmission (down from 137g/km)

Greater economy and lower emission from two new engines:

New, more powerful petrol engines, capable of outstanding economy, are designed to appeal to customers who might be downsizing as well as those looking to achieve fuel economy comparable to diesel powered models. Their balance between economy and lively performance are unmatched in the class. Adopting Honda's VTEC technology (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control), the new 1.2 and 1.4-litre four-cylinder engines are connected to either a 5-speed manual transmission or, on 1.4 models, Honda's i-SHIFT 6-speed automated manual transmission which includes steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Offering 90 PS compared to the 78 PS of its predecessor at a slightly higher 6,000 rpm and torque up from 110 to 114 Nm for improved performance, the 1.2-litre engine nevertheless achieves 5.1 l/100km combined, down from 5.5 l/100km, while CO2 emissions are also improved, reduced from 129 to 120 g/km. It is a similar story with the new 100 PS, 127 Nm 1.4-litre engine. Compared to the previous i-DSI unit which produced 83 PS and 119 Nm, fuel economy is now 5.3 l/100km for the manual model (down from 5.8 l/100km) and an even better 5.1 l/100km when equipped with the i-SHIFT semi-automated manual transmission (5.9 l/100km for the previous 1.4-litre CVT). CO2 output drops to 124 and 120 g/km, respectively (down from 137 and 139 g/km). The new SIL (Shift Indicator Light) fitted to manual models, similar to that found on the new Accord, provides a visual prompt of the best gear shift points to maximise economy.


The 1.2 and 1.4-litre models are equipped with an evolution of the previous 5-speed manual transmission with gear ratios optimised for a more sporty driving experience while ensuring good fuel economy. Key improvements include a revised clutch pedal stroke, carbon-type synchroniser on third gear to minimise shift load, crisper shifting through reduced clutch disc inertia and improved refinement. Manual transmission-equipped models feature the new SIL (Shift Indicator Light) within the centre of the rev counter, also found on the latest Honda Accord. Providing the driver with a visual prompt of the best gear shift points to maximise economy, it has been demonstrated to provide meaningful fuel economy improvements.

i-SHIFT (6-speed automated manual transmission):

As well as a 5-speed manual gearbox, the 1.4-litre engine can be teamed up with Honda's latest i-SHIFT transmission. The first time a 6-speed automated manual transmission has been offered in this vehicle class, the gearbox offers better fuel economy than is possible with either a true automatic or a CVT (continuously variable transmission). The unit is a development of the system first fitted to the Civic, with improvements made including; reduced gear change times, smoother shifts and more intelligent automatic mode shift logic.

New cab forward styling and increased dimensions:

At 3900 mm long, 1695 mm wide and 1525 mm tall, the new Jazz occupies its own unique niche between superminis and compact MPVs, offering the style of the former and the practicality of the latter. Overall height remains the same, but the length of the new Jazz is up by 55 mm and it is also slightly wider - by 20 mm. A wheelbase increase of 50 mm, and front and rear track increases of 35 mm and 30 mm, respectively, aid handling stability. Despite those increased dimensions, the turning circle at 9.8 m kerb to kerb is no larger than that of the previous Jazz and together with improved visibility, the new car's around town abilities are even better.

Prom-night leads to a Porsche Carrera GT getting wrecked (U.S)

A giddy father decided to loan his very own Porsche to his son in Atlanta, GA. The car is now sitting on a truck cargo bed in an Atlanta parking lot. The driver of the truck that made a pit stop at the parking lot after bringing the car from Miami claimed the Carrera GT was destroyed by a teenage driver during prom night.

Perhaps bumping up the driving age to 18 years old?

Monday 28 July 2008

Toyota Mark X Zio hydrogen snagged

Its extremely rare to see a Toyota Mark X Zio in the U.S since the minivan is exclusively sold in Japan only. Anywho, this is no ordinary petrol powered Mark X, it is in fact running on hydrogen fuel cell. Spied undergoing hot-weather testing in Death Valley, CA, unusually the mule is wearing Michigan plates and is left hand drive...?

Following in the steps of BMW and Honda, will hydrogen be the answer to future fuels? Toyota is of course very well known for its world-leading hybrid technology, but as we all know hybrids are just a step forwards. Other automakers will be extremely interested in this vehicle if it gets shown publicly and still runs on hydrogen, because Toyota is a pioneer and leader of the hybrid cell system.

Hyundai cuts Santa Fe prodcution (U.S)

Following a 10.6% drop in net profit during the second quarter, Hyundai is cutting back on production of the Santa Fe in their Montgomery, Alabama plant. Production will be cut down by 40,000 units due to slowing sales and sky-rocketing fuel prices.

Hyundai has already cut production of the Santa Fe over the last several months, and increased the output of the Sonata sedan. Thus, Hyundai will not be forced to cut workers or shifts due to the switch.

However, in 2010 when the Santa Fe receives a facelift, a 2.4 litre 4 cylinder Theta engine will be available, alongside the current 2.7 and 3.3 litre V6's. The new engine should offer 22mpg (26.4mpg UK) in city driving and 32mpg (38.4mpg UK) highway driving. That means it offers better fuel economy than the Nissan Rogue crossover.

Saturday 26 July 2008

Renault Megane III coupe caught uncloaked in U.S!

Following the leaked images of the 5dr Megane and a journalist getting arrested, spies have caught the 3dr completely undisguised in the U.S, getting ready for a photoshoot. The new Renault Megane III will be launched at the Paris Motor Show in October and as you can see, will be a strong departure from the current Megane design.

The 5dr and 3dr Megane are almost ready for production with sales kicking off just before early 2009, after the debut.

Related links:

Renault takes a scenic route

'08 Renault Megane undisguised

2010 Renault SportMegane?

Motorshow: 2008 British International Motorshow

Yesterday, we attended the British International Motorshow (BIM). Although, in the morning it wasn't crowded, during the afternoon, it was heaving.

Its not surprising that Ford attracted heaps of attention thanks to the new Fiesta hatchback and Kuga SUV. Both cars had people swarming around them, particularly the Fiesta. So much so, there was a queue just to sit inside it. To draw more people in, Ford did a song and dance exclusively for the Fiesta's launch. The Fiesta looks just as good in pictures as in real life.

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