Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Smart's Forvision Conceptualizes the Next-Generation of the Fortwo



Daimler's Smart unit will be represented at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September by a new concept study named Forvision that does two things for the brand: it previews the new design direction for the Fortwo and it hints at the technology being readied for the firm's future models.

The Forvision is Smart's second concept model after the sportier, roofless Forspeed that debuted in Geneva this past March to feature the brand's new styling language that brings the original Fortwo's design into the 21st century.

Smart worked together with BASF, the world's largest chemical company, for the development of several advanced technologies used on the Forvision.

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Missed Opportunities Warehouse: Bizarre New Ad for Chevy Europe



In the same warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant is purportedly stored, all of the world’s missed opportunities are held in a sort of limbo, no doubt waiting for sweet release at the hands of Irina Spalko.

What you may not realise until the last twenty seconds (assuming you’re seeing this ad for the first time and didn’t look at the title of this post) is that it’s a TV commercial for Chevrolet’s European arm.

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Refreshed 2012 Honda Pilot Revealed in Detail



After a bit of a tease in late July, it's time for Honda to detail the changes on its 2012 Pilot SUV that has received a mild facelift as well as some mechanical and equipment upgrades.

So what’s new? Let’s start with the exterior. Up front, the most evident change is a new and more "politically correct" grille with a three-bar horizontal design that replaces the letter-box style six-sided grille insert.

The reconfigured headlights and turn signals, a new front air dam and optimized strakes in front of the wheels that improve aerodynamics, along with the fresh alloy wheel designs in sizes 17- or 18-inches round off the tweaks on the outside.

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New Chevy Camaro Rulz the Streets and…Facebook



Chevrolet’s Camaro was the best-selling sports car in the US in 2010 stealing the crown from the Ford Mustang despite the fact that, unlike its longtime nemesis, General Motors' pony car was available only as a coupe.

The launch of the convertible version in early 2011 extended its lead: in the first eight months of the year, the Camaro looks set to outperform the Mustang by more than 10,000 units according to General Motors' data.

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Abarth to Unleash Punto SuperSport and two Special Editions of the 500 in Franfkurt



The Fiat Group’s Abarth division will display three “specialties” based on the firm's Punto supermini, the 500 and 500C softop models at September's Frankfurt Motor Show.

First up is the Abarth Punto SuperSport featuring a “Grigio Campovolo” two-tone color scheme with silver bodywork and a matte black bonnet and roof, along with “SuperSport” decals on the side, the tailgate and the mirrors, plus a set of 18-inch alloy wheels with red brake calipers.

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New Report Seeks to Answer the Question, “Why do Accidents Happen?”



If there are two questions that everyone from police to policy makers have asked over the last one hundred or so years of motoring, it’s these: “How do accidents happen?” and “How can we stop them from happening?”

With regards to the first, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) in the UK has analysed some 700,000 fatal road accidents that occurred over a four year period between 2005 and 2009.

Their so-called Licensed to Skill report aims to identify the leading causes of automotive accidents in the UK, the results of which may surprise you. License to Skill project manager Neil Greig explains:

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Lancia Rolls Out New Thema at 68th Venice International Film Festival [Video + Photos]



The Fiat Group may have forced Lancia to give up on the art of…making cars, but the Italian company is trying to compensate by mastering the art of…promotion.

The Italian firm's new flagship model, the Chrysler 300-sourced Thema, is making a special appearance at the 68th Venice International Film Festival, of which Lancia is the main sponsor for the seventh year running.

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NISMO-developed GT-R Makes its Debut in GT3 Racing Series



Nissan’s GT-R GT3 entered its maiden race in the fourth round of the Blancpain Endurance Series. Developed by Nissan's tuning and racing division, NISMO, and JR Motorsports, the GT-R competes in the GT3 series which includes production-based models such as Audi's R8, the Porsche 911 and the McLaren MP4-12C. Read more »

Video: A Very, Very Close Call for Biker



A motorcycle ride almost turned deadly for a biker and his passenger when an oncoming pickup truck literally passed inches away– if not touching the man's arm.

It all happens so fast that you will probably miss it the first time you view the video (freeze 12 seconds into the clip to watch the truck go by). Watch it for yourself in the video after the break.

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Lotus to Unveil 3 New Models in Frankfurt in Addition to the Production Evora GTE Special



Lotus is gearing up for the largest and most important automotive event of the year that takes place in Frankfurt next month with the presentation of three brand-new models, one special edition version and two new options for its current lineup.

The British company announced that one of the new models is the Elise S that replaces the Elise SC with a more capable 1.8-liter supercharged engine delivering 220-horsepower, while also returning lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

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Diesel-Powered Porsche Panamera Heads to Frankfurt for its Public Debut



Understandably, all eyes at Porsche's Frankfurt auto show stand will be turned towards the spanking new 911 Carrera and Carrera S Coupes, but the Germans will also celebrate the first public outing of their diesel-powered Panamera, details of which were announced earlier this year.

The most fuel-efficient variant of the Panamera sports sedan to date is fitted with an Audi-sourced 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 common-rail diesel pumping out 250-horsepowerand a brawny maximum torque of 550Nm (406 lb-ft). Power is channeled to the rear wheels through an eight-speed auto.

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BMW Joins Skynet’s Army with Ultimate…Self-Driving Machine



Dr. Nico Kampchen is driving on the A9 motorway from Munich to Nuremberg, or rather, he is trying to since, as usual, there is a lot of traffic. However, unlike other drivers around him, he isn’t stressed one bit.

While it could be because he seated inside the soothing cabin of BMW’s new 5-Series, it’s not. Dr Kampchen is conspicuously calm because his car is actually driving itself, accelerating, braking and even overtaking while the driver simply monitors the situation.

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Jeep Swallowed by Sinkhole after Hitting a Fire Hydrant [Videos]



A 35-year old man, who has not been named, made news in Boston after he was involved in an odd accident that set off a chain of events that eventually led to a…sinkhole swallowing his Jeep Patriot.

According to local reports, the accident took place on Lowell Street in Lexington, Massachusetts, on Tuesday morning at around 6:30 am when the silver Jeep smashed into a telephone pole and then rebounded into a fire hydrant, which cracked and started flooding the surrounding area with water.

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Mazda Exec Says New CX-5 will Reach U.S. Shores in Early 2012 with Prices Starting from Around $20k,



It won't be long before we get our first intimate taste of the all-new Mazda CX-5 compact SUV at its world premiere in Frankfurt, but we now have some interesting news about the North American variant, courtesy of Hideaki Tanaka, manager of the CX-5 program.

During the first press test drive event of a pre-production model, Tanaka told Autonews that the CX-5 will arrive in the States early next year, adding that while Mazda has not finalized pricing and packaging, it will likely carry a base MSRP of around $20,000, close to $3,000 less than the larger CX-7 ($22,785 with delivery).

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McLaren Announces New Special Operations Customizing Division [with Video]



If you are one of the few lucky people in this world to be able afford an MP4-12C, but you want the supercar to differ from the one parked in the garage of your obviously wealthy neighbor, the new Special Operations division of McLaren Automotive has a solution.

The new division, which was announced at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance show, aims to create bespoke versions in order to satisfy customer needs for differentiation.

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Report: Fiat Group Mulling to Build Jeep and Alfa Romeo SUVs in the U.S. Instead of Italy



If there's one car company that's notorious for making promises and/or premature announcements on decisions only to have the projects cancelled, delayed, altered, or even postponed for years (Alfa Romeo's return to the U.S. is a typical example), it's the Fiat Group.

In late 2010, the Italian company that also controls the Chrysler Group, revealed plans to update its Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy, in order to produce larger segment passenger cars and SUVs for the Jeep and Alfa Romeo brands.

Less than a year after the announcement, Bloomberg is now reporting that Fiat is considering moving planned production of the upcoming Jeep and Alfa Romeo SUV models from Turin to a factory in North America, due to the strengthening euro against the dollar.

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Subaru Continues Slow Striptease of Impreza-Based XV Crossover



The slow drumbeat carries on in advance of the official world premiere of the new 2012 Subaru XV crossover at next month's Frankfurt auto show, with the latest teaser photo providing us an unobstructed view of hatchback model's rear and side profile.

The Impreza-based XV, which could make it into North America as a replacement to the Impreza Sport Outback, was displayed as a concept model at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show earlier this year.

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A Tail of One Civic: Honda Releases Official Picture of all-new European Hatchback



Honda has already provided us with a lot of information on the European market 2012 Civic that will be revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in about two weeks' time. But today, the Japanese carmaker released the first picture of the actual production car.

The cropped teaser photo shows the hatchback model's tailgate and rear lights, which appear to follow a similar styling theme to the U.S. market Accord Crosstour.

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Citroën to Bring Complete Lineup of DS Models to Frankfurt Including Final Production Version of DS5



It's show time for Citroën that is getting ready to display the complete DS line for the first time in Europe at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Unless the French automaker is hiding a surprise under the hat, the company's star attraction will be the final production version of the DS5, which will be making its first appearance on European soil after its debut in showcar trim at this year's Shanghai auto show.

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Volvo and Siemens Form Partnership for Electric Vehicle Development



Volvo Car Corporation and Siemens, Europe's largest engineering company, will join forces for the development of electric vehicles through an extensive strategic cooperation.

The partnership between the two companies will focus on electric drive technology, power electronics, charging technology and the integration of all those systems in Volvo’s existing C30 Electric project.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Land Rover Previews the Future of the Defender with Frankfurt-Bound DC100 Concept



The Land Rover Defender is without doubt, one of the most renowned and recognizable off-road models in the world, which makes designing a replacement model an extremely challenging task, to say the least.

But the British automaker, which is now under the control of India's Tata Motors, believes it's time to move on and prepare fans of the vehicle and consumers alike for the next generation of its iconic Defender with the presentation of the DC100 concept that will bow in Frankfurt next month.

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Official: New 2013 Audi S8 gets 4.0-liter Twin-Turbo V8 with 520-Horses



Audi's third and final "S" model heading to the Frankfurt Motor Show is the luxurious S8 that will be launched on the market along with the S6 and S7 Sportback in the spring of 2012.

As it holds the title of being the 'Big Daddy' of Audi's S range, it was only appropriate that the S8 receive a more powerful version of the newly revealed 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine than on the S6 and S7 models.

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Frankfurt Show Preview: New Audi S6 and S6 Avant



Joining the brand-new S7 Sportback in its world premiere at next month's Frankfurt motor show will be the latest iterations of Audi's S6 saloon and Avant models.

If you've already read the story on the S7, then you won't be surprised to learn that both the S6 and S6 Avant pack the same 4.0-liter TFSI twin-turbocharged V8 with 420-horses and a constant 550 Nm (405.66 lb-ft) of torque from 1,400 to 5,300 rpm, which replaces the naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10 of the previous model.

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Audi Reveals New S7 Sportback with 420HP Bi-Turbo V8



When the doors open to the 64th IAA International Motor Show on the September 13, Audi will hold the world premiere of the all-new S7 Sportback.

The most potent member of the A7 Sportback family to date debuts a new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged TFSI V8 engine that will also find its way under the hood of a variety of VW Group models including Audi's own S6 and even Bentley's Continental series.

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Frankfurt Preview: Ford Evos Concept Reveals Brand’s New Design Language [73 Photos]



Ford has gone ahead and revealed the Evos concept, which it claims, premieres the brand’s “first truly new global design language” developed under the One Ford product plan. Now, haven't we heard that before? If “New Edge” and “Kinetic Design” ring any bells, the answer to that question is yes…

According to automaker, the Evos' signature styling will form the basis for the next generation of Ford cars, minivans and crossovers, with the first actual production car to feature the new design language set to arrive in the market in 2012.

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2012 Nissan Maxima Receives a Barely Noticeable Refresh, Prices Remain the Same



Nissan's product-redesign blitz continues with the Maxima sedan, which receives a very modest refresh for the 2012 model year.

The cosmetic tweaks on the outside include a different front grille design, restyled rear combination lights, and new 18-inch and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels plus the addition of two new exterior colors named Java Metallic and Dark Slate.

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VÄTH Drops More Power to the Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG



There are plenty of reasons to leave the latest Mercedes-Benz CL 63 AMG untouched, but some folks out there are always open to improvements. Enter the world of German tuning firm Väth that has unleashed a new performance package for the Mercedes' facelifted coupe.

Väth starts with the V63S tuning kit that includes a software upgrade for the ECU bumping the bi-turbocharged V8's output from 536HP 590 lb-ft to a monstrous 630-horsepower and 686lb-ft (930Nm) of peak torque.

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Scoop: New Lotus Exige Reveals itself in the Open



Last time we brought you spy photos of the 2013 Lotus Exige, it was a set of grainy pictures shot from a distance, which only revealed the profile of the British firm's mid-engine sports car. But our canny scoopsters are back with a new batch of photos, this time showing the prototype in detail.

The developed model pictured appears to have a longer wheelbase and rear overhang than the outgoing Exige while the design is entirely new featuring a lower nose that resembles the styling of the Evora. Our spies told us that the car also looked wider than the older model.

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Fiat’s Frankfurt Carmageddon: AWD Freemont, 500 “by Abarth” and 500C “by Gucci”, Plus Two New Editions of the Qubo



If you think that Fiat would be content with two premieres at the Frankfurt Motor Show, both of which belong to important segments for the European market, you wrong. Apart from the Nuova Panda and the revised, MultiAir-equipped Punto, the Italian company has a bunch of other models as well.

The Dodge-derived Freemont, which was initially available with front-wheel drive only, now gets an all-wheel drive. It utilizes an on-demand AWD system with an electronically controlled coupling that sends power to the rear wheels only when its slip sensors detect a loss of grip at the front axle.

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Infiniti to Add Three New Front-Wheel-Drive Models to its Line-Up Over the Next Few Years



Top marks to those of you who remember the last front-wheel-drive Infiniti. If you don’t, you’re not going senile: it was the 2000 I35, the Infiniti version of the Nissan Maxima sedan that lasted until 2004.

Now, the luxury division of Nissan is bringing back FWD, starting with the all-new JX crossover that will be available in front- and four-wheel-drive configurations from April 2012.

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DMC Presents Molto Veloce Tuning Package for Lamborghini Murcielago



The Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 may be the new kid on the block, but Duesseldorf-based tuning house DMC has set its eyes on the Murcielago with the presentation of the Molto Veloce styling and performance package.

As the name suggests, the kit is inspired by the Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce or SV for short. On the outside, the package adds a new front bumper, a large and somewhat awkwardly looking rear wing and a restyled rear bumper that houses a diffuser, with all parts made in carbon fibre.

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2012 Fiat Punto gets 85HP 0.9-liter TwinAir and 1.3 Multijet Engines



The Nuova Panda may be Fiat's star attraction at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, but the Italians will also show a subtly revised version of the Punto supermini.

The most important change is the introduction of the two-cylinder MultiAir turbocharged gasoline engine. It’s the same unit used in Fiat's 500 and Panda, as well as the Alfa Romeo MiTo, producing 85HP and 145 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm.

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Frankfurt Show Preview: Chrysler 300 Wears Italian Undies and Becomes the New Lancia Thema



After its international public debut at the Geneva Salon last spring, the new Lanica Thema will be making one more appearance at the 64th International Motor Show in Frankfurt next month before it goes on sale across Europe in October.

Lancia's contribution to the transformation of the Chrysler 300 to the Thema is restricted to the Italian brand's badges, plus the higher quality materials and different trim options for the interior.

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Saudi Plays Around with Mini Garbage Truck



Whoever said you can't wow the crowds with a commercial vehicle apparently hasn't seen this driver fooling around with a garbage truck (or at least something that's supposed to resemble a garbage truck) in Saudi Arabia.

You can watch the clip for yourself in the video after the break.

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Jeep Brings the 465HP Grand Cherokee SRT8 to Europe



In Hall 6 of the Frankfurt Motor Show, a specially designed 760-square-meter area with multiple terrains will host Jeep’s new models for the 64th IAA. Chief among them is the fastest and most powerful model Jeep has ever produced: the Grand Cherokee SRT8 that will make its debut on European soil.

Powered by the Chrysler Group's new 6.4-liter Hemi V8 that produces 465HP and 630 Nm (465 lb-ft) of torque, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 can accelerate from standstill to 100 km/h (62mph) in 4.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 255 km/h (159 mph).

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Spied: 2013 Ford B-MAX Small MPV Based on Fiesta Starts Taking Shape



Ford is putting the final development touches on the production version of its Fiesta-based B-MAX small MPV that was snagged with a funky color scheme and very few parts covered up while testing in Europe.

The subtle camouflage does little to hide the fact that the B-MAX's design is very close to the original concept displayed at the Geneva Salon earlier this year right up to the sliding rear-doors.

The only noteworthy changes over the Blue Oval's concept study concern the addition of door handles and the much smaller alloy wheel and tire combos. From these pictures, we can't be sure if Ford has equipped the tall five-door model with B-pillars.

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Fiat’s 2012 Nuova Panda to Fight for City-Car Supremacy



Replacing a car with a 31-year long history is never an easy task. Especially if it has become one of Fiat's most successful city cars offering ample interior space and practicality for its size.

The first generation of the model introduced in 1980, was the first city car to offer a diesel engine (1986), four-wheel drive (1983) and one of the first electric variants (the Elettra in 1990), while the second generation Panda that was launched in 2003, managed to keep Fiat afloat and formed the base for the successful 500.

Now it's time for Fiat to lift the wraps on the third iteration of the Panda that will make its world premiere in Frankfurt. The “Nuova” (that’s Italian for new) Panda has grown in dimensions compared to its predecessor measuring 3,650 mm long (vs 3,538), 1,640 mm wide (vs 1,578) and 1,550 mm tall (vs 1,450).

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Bentley Motors to Auction Unique Collector's Items Including a Table Made from the Mulsanne's V8



An array of one-off items created by artisans from the tooling, woodshop and styling teams at Bentley Motors are heading to the auction block to raise money for The Prince’s Trust, which is a youth charity that provides practical and financial support to 14 to 30-year-olds.

The graduates from Bentley Motors have handcrafted a variety of collector's items ranging from display objects such as a chess-set with pieces tooled from aluminium set on a veneered board, to an impressive table created from a polished V8 engine from the Mulsanne and a cutlery-set engraved with the Bentley emblem commissioned by Robert Welch.

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Alfa Romeo Updates Giulietta with Twin-Clutch Transmission and MiTo with Two-Cylinder Engine



The…freshly painted version of the 4C sports coupe concept will be joined at Alfa Romeo's Frankfurt Motor Show stand by the updated variants of the Giulietta and Mito hatchbacks.

The Giulietta gains Alfa Romeo's new double-clutch TCT transmission that will be offered on the 1.4-liter turbocharged MultiAir gasoline engine and the 2.0-liter turbodiesel, both of which have a maximum output of 170HP.

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Lancia Flavia Cabrio Coming to Frankfurt Show, Sedan Plans Axed



The Fiat Group may have exhibited both the sedan and convertible variants of the Chrysler 200 re-branded as the Lancia Flavia at the Geneva Salon in March, but at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Italians will only bring the open top model.

Citing inside sources from the Fiat Group, Autonews reported that only the convertible version of the Flavia will make it into production as the cost of adding an essential diesel engine wiped out the business case for the sedan model in Europe.

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Alfa Romeo 4C Concept gains New Color for Frankfurt Motor Show



Instead of presenting the final production version of is 4C mid-engine sports coupe at the upcoming Frankfurt auto show, Alfa Romeo will once again display the concept model but with a different paint job.

The new color is named 'Fluid Metal' with Alfa claiming that it "dynamically enhances the smooth and sinuous lines of the car". We find it much better looking than the washed out matte red shown on the original Geneva Salon concept.

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