Monday 30 May 2011

BMW reportedly green-lights X7 again

BMW's largest on-off SUV has been at the centre of talk in both Munich, Germany and South Carolina, U.S as the luxury marque decides on whether it will be green-lighted for production.

A new report now suggests the large three-row SUV may make production. Codenamed F17, the project is under serious consideration as BMW assesses at how popular it would be in China, the firms most moneymaking long-term market. Additionally, BMW will keep an eye on Audi as it schedules an SUV larger than the current Q7, which will offer more interior space.

2012 Mercedes GL63 AMG spied ripping up the 'Ring

Mercedes is set to schedule a performance-orientated large SUV for 2013, to directly rival the BMW X5 M. Cue the GL63 AMG; the most noticeable features on this prototype are the 20” alloy wheels and huge front air-intakes, behind the extensive cladding.

While the overall shape of the upcoming GL remains similar to the outgoing model, despite the taped cardboard placed above the rear windscreen, the new model will steer towards the new design language of sharp, edgy lines.

Photo Gallery: 2012 Kia Picanto (UK)

Kia has revealed prices for its new Picanto city-car. The first bodystyle to arrive is the 5dr which starts at £7,995 for the base '1' trim-level, representing an 11% price hike on the outgoing model at £6,995. Mid-spec '2' – expected to be the best-seller – commands a £1,600 over the '1' grade at £9,595 while the range-topping '3' trim inflates the price to £11,195, plunging the Picanto straight into supermini territory.

Two new petrol units are available, both more powerful, flexible, and more economical over the outgoing units, with CO2 emissions starting from 99g/km. Features like x6 airbags, ESP, AUX input w/4 speakers, electric front windows, height adjustable driver's seat, tilting steering wheel, trip-computer, hill-start assist, internally adjustable door mirrors, remote central locking w/alarm, and 14” steel wheels will come as standard on the '1'.

Hyundai planning Prius rival for 2013

2009 Hyundai Blue-Will Concept sketch
Hyundai is hoping to launch a Prius rivalling plug-in hybrid by 2013. The vehicle will essentially be a production version of the 2009 Blue-Will concept, which is powered by a direct-injection 1.6 litre GDI petrol engine that is mated to a continuously variable transmission and a 100kW electric motor.

“We plan to launch a plug-in hybrid model which is in the same segment as the Prius in 2013,” said an unnamed source.

Lincoln planning two seat sports car

With tumbling sales, Ford's luxury brand, Lincoln needs to better distinguish itself from its lesser Ford-badged models. Hence why Ford is developing several new models for the marque within the next three years, including an unpredicted sports car.

According to insiders deep within Lincoln, the American car firm is apparently discussing the prospect of a two seat, mid-engined sports car which would become the firm's flagship vehicle. The unconfirmed sports car will also take lead as Ford uses new technology to inject life into the Lincoln brand.

Video: Couple survive deadly Joplin tornado inside a pick-up truck

With the deadly tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, killing scores of people, the remaining survivors were left with nothing or very little.

According to Fox News, William Lynch and his partner were casually driving along in their large pick-up truck when they saw the tornado, forcing Lynch to pull up next to a nearby building to sit the storm out as it passed overhead.

Friday 27 May 2011

Fiat expands 875cc TwinAir variant

While it comes as no surprise, Fiat has announced it is expanding its 875cc, turbocharged two-cylinder TwinAir petrol engine.

The turbocharged 0.9 litre TwinAir picked up the International Engine of the Year award last week and can already be found in the Fiat 500, Punto Evo, Alfa Romeo MiTo, and the all-new Lancia/Chrysler Ypsilon.

Video: Volkswagen salesman tests quality to the extreme

If you're a salesperson struggling to sell new Volkswagen's, watch this video very carefully. It shows a Chicago based Volkswagen retailer testing the quality of doors on a 5dr Golf GTI.

In short, the salesman is slamming and stomping on the Golf GTI doors to show how strong the hinges are. He even requests us to try the same on a Honda or Hyundai.

Upcoming Mini Roadster to feature manual roof

Mini is allegedly fitting its upcoming Roadster with a manual fabric roof. While many expected an electrical system, the soft-top would be easier to incorporate into the Roadster's bodyshell.

Additionally, the extra weight of an electrical hood would add complexity, hamper fuel economy, and increase the sticker price.

Next-generation BMW X5 and X6 to be lighter

The first details have appeared about the next-generation BMW X5 SUV and X6 SUV coupe. The new models will primarily focus on weight reduction and improving fuel economy.

Per se, the newcomers will feature new axles that are around 150kg (330lbs) lighter than the outgoing ones, and when combined with other weight-saving steps, the base X5 is looking to tip the scales at 1,814kg (4,000lbs).

Thursday 26 May 2011

BMW X3 M may feature tri-turbocharged petrol engine

According to “well placed” sources, BMW is looking to launch an X3 M by Spring 2012.

The performance–orientated model may utilise a tri-turbocharged (one electric and two exhaust-gas powered) 3.2 litre inline 6-cylinder petrol engine that may develop upto 449bhp (455PS/335kW).

Mazda3 reaches 3 millionth milestone

Production of the compact Mazda3 have reached a new milestone of 3 million units over a period of 7 years and 10 months on the 26th April. This makes the Mazda3 the fastest selling Mazda model in Mazda’s current line-up.

Since its launch in 2004, the Mazda3 has been hugely popular in the UK with 9,659 units sold last year, accounting for a quarter of sales. During its time, the vehicle has won numerous awards including the 2010 customer satisfaction study conducted by J.D. Power.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Forthcoming Volkswagen Passat may spawn convertible variant

If Volkswagen wants to become the world's largest car maker by 2018, it's going to have to expand its product line-up rapidly.

With several possible European Passat variants being discussed, including a pseudo 4x4, cue the Passat coupe and convertible variants. Although details are undefined, the vehicle would compete with the upcoming Opel/Vauxhall Calibra.

Mini Rocketman green-lighted for production

With Mini's habit of turning concept cars into production vehicles, it comes as little surprise to learn the British-cum-German marque has given the 'thumbs-up' to the Rocketman concept.

Expected to launch in 2014, the entry-level model will keep some of its concept car features like its two-piece tailgate, 3+1 seating layout, and centre-mounted exhaust but will lose its futuristic styling and partial carbon-fibre door inserts.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

BMW CEO regrets axing 5-Series Touring for GT (U.S)

BMW's North American CEO has announced that sales of the peculiar 5-Series Gran Turismo has been weak in the United States. Jim O'Donnell said the vehicle was mainly purchased by 7-Series owners who wanted to downsize, and not former 5 Series Touring owners who wanted to upsize, for whom the model was intended.

He regrets killing-off the 5-Series Touring and has admitted the brand is now losing customers to competitors, chiefly Mercedes.

Friday 20 May 2011

GM facing issues regarding $1bn rear-wheel-drive platform

For more than five years, GM has been developing a new rear-wheel-drive architecture - dubbed Alpha – which will be used on small cars. Despite not even being fitted onto a production model yet, the platform has faced numerous issues. This new issue is far by the largest yet....

According to numerous internal sources within GM and the suppliers involved, the whole project is in jeopardy as it has missed its initial target weight and other requirements.

Fiat 500byGucci pricing announced (UK)

Fiat has launched another fashion-based 500 called 500byGucci, which is on sale now. Unlike the 500byDiesel, the Gucci edition is strictly available with two petrol engines; a naturally-aspirated 69bhp (68PS/51kW) 1.2 and a turbocharged 85bhp (84PS/63kW) 0.9 TwinAir.

Prices for the special-edition start from £14,565 for the lower-powered engine while the TwinAir starts at £15,765. 16” alloy wheels, bespoke leather seats, bi-xenon headlights, and fixed panoramic glass sunroof will come as standard.

Thursday 19 May 2011

Video: Dodge Durango catches fire during a parade

Hot off the press is the news that a Dodge Durango caught fire whilst at the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, DC.

Apparently, Chrysler was advertising the new Durango in which it was towing a float at low speed when the engine compartment caught alight. The fire was quickly distinguished and the parade continued without a hitch. This got us thinking of our own slogan for the Dodge marketing team to use to promote the new Durango. Check out the video and slogan after the jump!

Kia confirms sports-orientated Cee'd and Carens for Europe

2012 Kia Soul facelift
Kia officials have said the marques upcoming performance–oriented Pro_Cee'd will be powered by an all-new direct-injection 1.6 litre petrol engine that will produce over 200bhp (197PS/149kW).

Having already confirmed the vehicle recently, the company previously considered a 2.0 litre petrol powertrain but scrapped the idea over running costs. The firm is also benchmarking the Seat Leon Cupra on power, price, and running costs.

Citroën DS3 convertible may adopt canvas roof

If you didn't know already, Citroën is creating a convertible variant of the popular DS3 supermini, which will launch alongside the revised DS3 in 2013.

Details of the hood layout have been scares but reports suggest the newcomer will acquire a unique hood layout, similar to the one used on the tiny Fiat 500. That means the roof mechanics will be integrated into the upper part of the vehicle's bodyshell, so the car will retain more chassis rigidity, to reduce scuttle and shake.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

New Car: 2012 Vauxhall/Opel Zafira Tourer

GM Europe has taken the wraps off the upscale Zafira Tourer - which sticks to its concept-car looks – that will premier at the upcoming Frankfurt motor show in Autumn.

While the current Zafira rivals the Ford C-Max and Citroen C4 Picasso, the Zafira Tourer is aim squarely at the Ford Galaxy and Citroen C8. Unlike the smaller Zafira, the new Zafira Tourer underpins GM's Epsilon II architecture, shared with the Opel Insignia/Chevrolet Vectra (in Latin America), Buick Regal/La Crosse, Saab 9-5, Chevrolet Malibu, and Orlando.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Ford Fiesta ST test mule spied at the Nürburgring

Spy photographers have caught the Fiesta ST again, this time undergoing engine testing at the Nürburgring racetrack. Previous mules were very inconspicuous, sporting slightly altered fascias and large exhaust tips.

This test mule is on the other end of the scale with its Focus ST-esque dominant radiator grille and smaller aggressive air intakes. Visible underneath the license plate and black bumper insert is the intercooler, that strongly indicates a turbocharged petrol engine.

Facelifted Mercedes GLK caught in Stuttgart

Mercedes will refresh the compact GLK for 2013, to bring the vehicle up-to-date with the firms current line-up. Currently, the GLK is getting outsold worldwide by BMW's recent X3 and Audi's popular Q5.

Spied strolling around Stuttgart, Germany, this black pre-production vehicle features very minimal changes, like integrated LED daytime running lights with restyled headlights, altered rear diffuser, exhaust outlets and front bumper. Full production models will feature extensive external chrome accents, revised front and rear fascias, an updated interior, and cleaner engines.

Monday 16 May 2011

Audi Q3 pricing announced (UK)

Audi's tiniest crossover yet, the Q3 will start from £24,560 for the front-wheel-drive SE model, while Quattro variant demand an additional £3,900 over the FWD, at £28,460.

Base models are powered by a 2.0 TDI with 138bhp that is linked to a 6 speed manual. The high-end engines are hooked to a 7 speed S-Tronic automatic twin-clutch transmission.

Kia Picanto pricing announced (UK)

Kia has revealed prices for its new Picanto city-car. The first bodystyle to arrive is the 5dr which starts at £7,995 for the base '1' trim-level, representing an 11% price hike on the outgoing model at £6,995. Mid-spec '2' – expected to be the best-seller – commands a £1,600 over the '1' grade at £9,595 while the range-topping '3' trim inflates the price to £11,195, plunging the Picanto straight into supermini territory.

Two new petrol units are available, both more powerful, flexible, and more economical over the outgoing units, with CO2 emissions starting from 99g/km. Features like x6 airbags, ESP, AUX input w/4 speakers, electric front windows, height adjustable driver's seat, tilting steering wheel, trip-computer, hill-start assist, internally adjustable door mirrors, remote central locking w/alarm, and 14” steel wheels will come as standard on the '1'.

Audi mulling Q5 cabriolet

When Audi premiered the Cross Cabriolet concept back in 2007, we kinda knew sooner or later it would be green-lighted for production. Now, Audi is allegedly considering a Q5 cabriolet that will take hints off the Cross Cabriolet concept.

Although it doesn't make much sense and details are scares, the newcomer will keep its two door set-up and fabric top. Additionally, the vehicle will have a unique interior that will help warrant its estimated price-tag of £40,000 (€45,700/$65,375).

Saturday 14 May 2011

Skoda Fabia Greenline II travels 1,246 miles on one tank of fuel

Gerhard Plattner, an Austrian driving economy specialist has managed to travel 1,246 miles (2,006km) on a single 45 litre tank of diesel in a Škoda Fabia GreenLine. The aim was to travel to Bov, Denmark from Reutte, Austria and back, via the A7 in Germany, which saw the Fabia average 127.8mpg (2.2l/100km), beating the official figure of 83.1mpg (3.3l/100km).

Dr. Eckhard Scholz, head of technical development at Škoda said: “We work hard to reduce the fuel consumption in our vehicles. The primary goal of these efforts is to offer efficient technology in all of our models at affordable prices, and our second-generation GreenLine models meet this requirement perfectly. The Fabia GreenLine is going to show what can be achieved by combining refined technology with economy driving.”

Friday 13 May 2011

Renault Twizy Z.E pricing announced (UK)

Renault has confirmed that its tiny Twizy Z.E electric vehicle will start from a hefty £6,690 when UK sales start in early 2012.

The quadricycle (due to its low weight of 450kg) will arrive in two trim-levels; Urban and Technic, which starts from £7,400. Power comes from a 17bhp (17PS/13kW) electric motor which develops 57Nm (42lb-ft) of torque and allows for a range of 62 miles (100km) and a top speed of 50mph (80km/h), although Renault states “in everyday use, this figure can vary depending on driving conditions.”

Thursday 12 May 2011

Mercedes working on G65 AMG

Despite sales of the G-Class restarting recently in the UK, Mercedes has started winding down production on their range-topping SUV, however reports suggest a limited edition G65 AMG may be offered soon.

Power would come from a 6.0 litre bi-turbo V12 petrol engine that will develop 604bhp (612PS/450kW) and a meaty 1,000Nm (737lb-ft) of torque.

New Car: 2012 Hyundai i40 saloon

Hyundai has launched the new i40 sedan at today's Barcelona motor exhibition. Designed and engineered in Russelsheim, Germany, the 4,740mm saloon will go on sale in Winter 2011 with UK sales starting in Spring 2012, six months after the i40 sports wagon.

Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe, commented, “The reveal of the saloon represents the next step of the i40’s introduction to the European market, following the very positive reception for the i40 tourer. The i40 saloon shares the same qualities found in the tourer, including outstanding levels of fuel-efficiency, comfort, and quality, and broadens the appeal of the i40 to buyers in the D-segment.

Kia sub-compact sports car still under consideration

This sketch was previewed at the press
Kia is strongly considering a sub-compact sports car to compete with the ever-popular Mazda MX-5/Miata, claims Tom Loveless, vice-president of Kia sales in North America.

Our previous reports suggested the car would take styling cues off the 2007 Kue concept, but reports now indicate the car will be a two seater. A sketch that was presented at a press meeting at Kia's HQ in the U.S seems to be based upon the KCV III concept that debuted way back in 2003.

Next-generaton Fiat Panda spied in Italy, Idea/Multipla replacement spied in Sweden

Italian automotive publication has uncovered the first spy pictures of the hotly-anticipated Fiat Panda city-car, being produced in Pomigliano d'Arco, Italy. Although there's not much to go by, the bodyshell of this upcoming Panda seems to sport a more curvaceous design theme, especially the addition of muscular wheelarches.

The current Panda will be 10 years old when the new model is released in 2012 and will be thoroughly upgraded, as it will be taking styling clues of the 500, following in suit of the recent Punto Evo. With that in mind, the tail-lights will be wider but substantially shorter than that of the outgoing model, so expect a contemporary exterior and a colour co-ordinated interior with a wealth a new technologies and optional equipment like panoramic glass sunroof, leather steering wheel, Blue&Me, cruise control, decals, keyfob covers, and rear electric windows.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

GM to move GMC brand upmarket (U.S)

General Motors has said it will move the GMC brand more upmarket to differentiate it from Chevrolet, as the GMC brand sits in between Chevrolet and Buick. GM claims there are very small differences between Chevy and GMC and will be expanding the gap through prices and products.

“We need to make sure that we drive the differentiation in the product and the price to create that separation that we know we can on GMC and Chevrolet,” noted Mark Reuss, executive of GM North America. “I don’t think we have the margin opportunity set up quite right with GMC,” he concluded.

David Beckham crashes Caddy Escalade in California (U.S)

Footballer David Beckham was involved in a car accident on Friday 6th April. The LA Galaxy star rear-ended a gold Mitsubishi sedan on the 405 Freeway in California, one of the countries busiest roads.

The male model was strolling around in a Cadillac Escalade with his eldest son, Brooklyn on board in Torrence, CA when he ploughed into the Mitsubishi in the carpool lane.

Next-generation Land Rover Discovery to be more rugged

According to a leaked document, the new shape Land Rover Discovery will return back to its roots as a more conventional workhorse and more robust.

The forthcoming Discovery – dubbed 'L661' - will launch a year after the next Defender, sometime in mid-2016 and will be closely related to the upcoming Defender, codenamed 'Project Icon' and 'L660'.

Sunday 8 May 2011

Teaser: 2012 Hyundai i40 sedan

Hyundai has released a teaser CGI of the upcoming Hyundai i40 sedan, ahead of its European debut in Barcelona.

The sedan is the second variant after the station wagon was launch earlier this year. Unlike international Sonatas (i45 in Australia), the European model will feature a more striking fascia - similar to that of the wagon – considering it was designed in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

Friday 6 May 2011

Nissan Leaf EV outsells Chevy Volt range-extender in April (U.S)

Yes, we know the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt have as much in common as an apple and an orange, but at the moment there pricing structure and classification are very similar.

But when it comes to sales figures, the Chevrolet Volt is currently outselling the Nissan Leaf since it was launched. Around 2,029 units have been sold, compared to around 1,000 Nissan Leaf's. However, April saw the Leaf outselling the Volt by 80 units, at 573 compared to Chevy's 493.

Jaguar to launch new V6 petrol engine

Jaguar is apparently developing an all-new V6 petrol engine that will replace the current Ford-sourced 3.0 litre V6 in the mid-sized XF. The V6 engine will be more fuel efficient than the outgoing unit and will be available worldwide, offering more than 300bhp (296PS/224kW).

The new engine may even be used in the larger XJ, although my decision has been made. Currently, Jaguar only offers a 5.0 litre V8 for the North American market.

Kia may premier flagship K9 before December 2011

For over two years, Kia has been developing its range-topping K9 sedan but reports suggest the rear-wheel-drive sedan may premier before year's end.

Australian reports indicate the large executive sedan may bow at this Autumn's Frankfurt motor show. When speaking to chief designer, Peter Schreyer he remained tight-lipped on when the car may debut.

Chevy Suburban crushes Ferrari California (U.S)

A male driver in a 1987 Chevrolet Suburban sped through a set of traffic lights close to Galveston, Texas before ploughing into a Ferrari California. Despite the accident occurring early in the morning, another incident back in 2009 involving a Bugatti Veyron and a pelican occurred in the same place....

Anywho, after ploughing into the California, the Suburban also damaged a F-150 pick-up. For what we were told, the Chevrolet driver was carrying his whole family when the accident happened.

Brand new Mercedes SLS AMG coupe plows into a tour bus (BA)

Photo: Darku Zabuš/Fotoservis
A new Mercedes SLS AMG coupé – that rolled off a dealership forecourt a day before – crashed into a tour bus in Bosnia.

Local reports suggest the 36 year old man hit the tour bus and a Volkswagen Passat at 2:30pm in the afternoon, before gliding to a halt.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Feature: How to avoid paying that extra 37% on your car insurance

How to avoid paying that extra 37% on your car insurance:

In the last year, leading motoring authorities such as the AA and some of the largest car insurance providers have estimated that insurance premiums have risen by an average of 37% for many drivers. This exceptional hike in premiums has been credited to everything from cash for crash fraudsters to ‘adjustments’ by the insurance industry to make up for years of steady prices. Whatever the reason, an extra 37% on your annual car insurance bill is enough to send any sane driver scuttling for the nearest price comparison site to sniff out a bargain.

However, if you’re looking for cheaper car insurance then there are a few other things that you can consider that will help keep the cost of your insurance premiums down.

Cadillac to offer 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines

With rapidly increasing fuel prices, premium car brands are taking a gamble by offering smaller capacity engines, so it seems Cadillac is the latest marque to cave in to pressure according to internal sources.

They noted the brand will be adding turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol engine in “a number of models” in the future.

Teaser: 2012 Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster

Mercedes has released early teaser images of the hotly anticipated SLS AMG Roadster, ahead of its world debut at September's Frankfurt motor exhibition.

With tape plastered over emblems, headlights, and rear light clusters, power comes from the same 6.2 litre 571bhp (563PS/420kW) V8 petrol engine that powers the coupé variant.

2011 Toyota Etios - Quality for The Masses

Toyota Etios - Quality for The Masses

The brand name Toyota has been synonymous with quality and reliability in the Indian market. The Innova for instance continues to be the segment ruler from the day it was launched in the Indian market. However, even the cheapest Innova variant is out of common man’s reach and hence the idea of a mass product was developed. The Etios sedan was born after years of development, both in India as well as Japan.

Video: 14 wheel lorry falls over while taking a corner (CN)

Car accidents can happen anywhere and everywhere, but sometimes, just sometimes, they can be easily avoided if the driver simply uses their initiative and some common-sense. Take this imbecile for example, whose 14-wheel truck overturned on a busy road in Wenling City, Zhejiang Province, Eastern China.

The video - taken off some CCTV cameras - shows the driver hurrying along before taking a sharp corner and tipping over. If you look closely, the cargo on the truck narrowly misses some pedestrians as it falls off the vehicle. Watch the video after the jump.

Vauxhall/Opel Calibra due in 2013, may be front-wheel-drive

2007 Opel GTC concept
According to reports out the Holland, GM will launch the new Calibra coupé in 2013.

Leaked documents say the car will underpin the Insignia architecture and will be produced in Russelsheim, Germany. Since the Insignia platform doesn't support rear-wheel-drive, we expect standard models to be front-wheel-drive, while the range-topping performance-orientated VXR/OPC models may be equipped with all-wheel-drive and a turbocharged 2.8 litre 321bhp (325PS/239kW) V6 petrol engine that develops a muscular 435Nm (321lb-ft) of torque.

Chevrolet to update aging Impala sedan

Chevrolet has refreshed most of its North American line-up, with the exception of the dated Impala sedan. So time has come to drop GM's advance 3.6 litre V6 petrol engine and a 6 speed automatic into the Impala for 2012, to replace the previous 3.5 litre and 3.9 litre V6 petrol engines and 4 speed automatic. Before you ask, it keeps its old “W” platform, that dates back to 1988.

A replacement for the Impala was originally intended for launched this year on a rear-wheel-drive platform, but the dire market situation forced Chevrolet to axe those plans, so expect a launch sometime in 2015.

Revised BMW 7 Series spied in Munich

It's hard to believe the BMW 7 Series is already three years old and with that in mind, BMW is readying a facelifted 7 Series for 2012, which has been spied undergoing chassis testing in Munich.

Although this is the first prototype of the facelift, BMW is looking to restyle the headlamps with LED indicator lights, hence why it's covered in tape. Elsewhere, expect minor adjustments, especially under the bonnet where the engines will be tweaked to improved fuel economy.

Mercedes mulling over S-Class EV

According to Thomas Weber, technical executive for Mercedes, the marque make be considering a electric variant of the S-Class flagship sedan.

“At the moment, we are looking at customer demand,” he said.

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