Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rendering - 2012 VW Passat

The VW Passat looks outdated after the entry of the refreshed BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes C-Class. If VW has to regain the top position in this segment, it needs to fix a car that is visually more powerful and with the next model, they are trying to do just that.

Friday, May 29, 2009


The 2010 Honda Civic should see no major changes after a modest freshening for 2009. These compact cars should continue to come in 4-door sedan and 2-door coupe body styles. A gas/electric Hybrid sedan should also remain available, along with a sedan that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG). Sedans and coupes should continue to come in DX, LX, EX, EX-L, and sporty Si trims, along with DX-VP and LX-S sedans, which were new in 2009. DX, DX-VP, LX, LX-S, EX, and EX-L should continue to have a 140-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine. Si versions should continue to have a 197-hp 2.0-liter four. The Hybrid should combine a gas engine and an electric motor for 110 hp. The Hybrid can run on one or both of its power sources. Most of the time, however, the gas engine shuts off at a stop and restarts again when the driver releases his or her foot from the brake pedal. Hybrids require no plug-in charging. Likely remaining available for sale in California and New York and to fleets is the Civic GX, which should continue to use a 113-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that runs on CNG. All 140-hp Civics should continue to come with a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. GX models should remain automatic only. Si will likely only come with a 6-speed manual. Hybrids should have a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Available safety features should include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags. EX-L models should have leather upholstery with heated front seats. A navigation system with voice activation should remain available on EX, EX-L, Si, and Hybrid. An available wireless cell phone link for EX, EX-L, Si, and Hybrid should continue. Leather upholstery should also be available on the Hybrid. This report is based on evaluations of the 2009 Honda Civic.

Nismo's kit for the GT-R frightens the Godzilla in your Nissan

The Nissan GT-R cannot be named but Godzilla. The GT-R is how a Godzilla could be represented on 4 wheels and if you know your chicanes well at the local race track, you can feel like you're taped to the back of one.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Vauxhall’s all-new Astra breaks cover in first official pics

These are the first official images of the new, British-built Vauxhall Astra, which will debut as a five-door hatchback at this September’s Frankfurt Show and will appear in UK showrooms at the end of the year.
Marking the sixth generation of Astra in 30 years, the new car’s design team was led by Mark Adams, the British designer responsible for last year’s European Car of the Year-winning Vauxhall Insignia.
With its strong, cab-forward silhouette, steeply-raked windscreen and sloping rear roofline, the new Astra makes ingenious use of many of the design features found in the Insignia, but in a fresh and innovative way. Also like the Insignia, it has spent over 600 hours in the wind tunnel, benefiting performance, economy and overall refinement.
We’re continuing with the same premium design cues as the Insignia, inside and out of the car,” said Adams, Vice President of GM Europe Design. “However, the main design themes, like the wing-shaped light signatures and the blade, needed an individual execution to avoid ‘cloning’ the model ranges. This is why, for instance, you see twin wings in the rear lights and a reversed blade on its flanks.”
Underpinning the Astra’s rakish, 4.4 metre-length body, is an all-new chassis with a 71 millimetre-longer wheelbase, benefiting both passenger comfort and packaging. Wider tracks front and rear feature, as does a new rear axle design, which not only improves stability and agility, but takes the Astra’s ride comfort into a different league.
Enhancing the Astra’s dynamic performance still further is the option of Vauxhall’s clever FlexRide system, a rarity in this sector which offers drivers three unique damper settings – standard, sport and tour – while being fully adaptive to changes in driving style and cornering speed.
Pictures of the new Astra’s interior will be released soon, but in the meantime expect similar strides in quality to those found in the Insignia, combined with big improvements in packaging, seat design and in-cabin storage. Mark Adams’ unique wrap-round dash treatment will also appear in the Astra, but with a different take on that found in the Insignia.
Unique in this sector will be the Astra’s optional, latest generation AFL (Adaptive Forward Lighting), which features bi-xenon lighting that changes its intensity and reach to suit prevailing road conditions. A similar system was introduced on the Insignia, and is now recognised as one of the most advanced systems availableThe highlight of the new Astra’s powertrain line-up is the introduction of an all-new, 140PS turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol unit, which builds on Vauxhall’s commitment to engine downsizing and reduced emissions/fuel consumption, while retaining the performance of a larger capacity vehicle. The 1.4T joins three further petrol engines, which range from 100PS to 180PS, and four diesel engines ranging from 95PS to 160PS. All engines are Euro 5 compliant.
The only part of the Astra which isn’t new is its name,” said Andy Gilson, Vauxhall’s Marketing Director. “And that name currently accounts for around 30 per cent of all Vauxhall’s car sales, with the five-door hatch taking 60 per cent of those sales alone – so it’s important to lead with this body style. Not only is the Astra a crucial new model for Vauxhall, but we’re confident that its blend of dynamic design, new-to-class technology and immense driver appeal will attract an even broader spectrum of buyers in this sector.”

Pre-Orders Start in Japan for All-New Mazda Axela

Mazda Motor Corporation began taking orders today for the all-new Mazda Axela (known overseas as the new Mazda3) at all Mazda, Mazda Anfini and Mazda Autozam dealers throughout Japan. The sales launch is set for June 11, 2009. Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (including tax) range from 1,660,000 to 2,678,000 yen.

Fast and Furious 4 starring Hyundai Genesis and Nissan GT-R.

Think about it: a couple years ago, no one would have ever thought of a Hyundai starring in a movie, even less one from the Fast and Furious franchise. The brand is really turning its image around and its role in FF4 will be a great help to its success. We think that starring in a successful movie will put the brand into the category of the “real” automakers, and no longer into the “discount” ones, in the eyes of the public. Ahhh, the power of product placement… What kind of deal has been signed between Universal and Hyundai, we don’t know yet, but we have reason to believe that there’s big money behind it!
Concerning the GT-R, it might be different. The studio could have asked for the hottest new sportscar to appear in the movie, generating another kind of deal. A very rare car to do car chases with…
Whatever those deals are, it’s going to be great to see those two in action. Just hope they don’t make them too outrageous! Nissan being very strict about the plastique of it’s baby (they officially warn users against tuning), we’re not to worry about the GT-R

Nissan FORUM Concept

Nissan today unveiled their concept vehicle for the 2008 North American International Auto Show. The Forum is an exploratory design concept based on the idea of a family transportation vehicle.
Although it undeniably has the profile of that most dreaded of vehicles, the minivan, Nissan executives preferred not to call it that. Whatever you want to call the Forum, Nissan just hopes you call. The new concept is designed to provide flexible transport for grownups and those not so grown. All seats are equipped with personal entertainment systems that allow the occupant of that seat to plug in their own digital media player and have the sounds play back through seat-mounted speakers.

The front seat grownups can monitor activity in the back two rows thanks to a pair of roof mounted cameras that can play back through the dash mounted display screen. When things get out of hand, a time out button on the steering wheel allows the driver to mute all entertainment systems instantly. On the propulsion front, the Forum is designed around Nissan's upcoming clean diesel V-6 engine. According to Nissan's VP of product planning Larry Dominique, if a vehicle like the Forum does get produced it could use either a diesel engine or a hybrid power-train. The diesel does seem like the better option for this type of vehicle thanks to it's plentiful low-end torque. Regardless of the ultimate fate of this people mover, we will definitely see the diesel engine in the Maxima in 2010. The Nissan press release and a video of the Forum are after the jump.

Jaguar X K 8

The Jaguar XK8 was produced in 1997, and was available in coup? or convertible body styles. The first-generation Jaguar XK series shares its platform with the Aston Martin DB7. Both cars are derived from the Jaguar XJS, though the platform has been extensively changed. The XK8 heralded a change in direction for the company, resulting in the S-Type and X-Type.

Pagani Zonda

The Pagani Zonda C12 is one of the most impressive masterpieces of Pagani, an Italian auto manufacturer.

It was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 1999. This car is powered by a model 190.3344L 5987 cc (365cu in) Mercedes-Benz M120V12 engine and can run at 210 mph (340km/h) speeds.

Its engine produces 408 PS (402 hp/300 kW) at 5200 rpm and 421 lb-ft (571 N-m) at 3800. Its interior promotes functional and original themes which are underlined by using the best materials such as the leather, satin finish aluminum, carbon and other pricey materials. And the performance? One word – Amazing! This car has a price of $ 325 000. So truly, this ride out here can be afforded by the rich ones, however, with the help of Wyclef Jean, those who don’t have this amount of money can still own like this through a replica. Well, that would be enough.

Bugatti veyran $ 1,700,000

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is the most powerful, most expensive, and fastest street-legal production car in the world, with a proven top speed of over 400 km/h (407 km/h or 253 mph). It reached full production in September 2005. The car is built by Volkswagen AG subsidiary Bugatti Automobiles SAS and is sold under the legendary Bugatti marque. It is named after racing driver Pierre Veyron, who won the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1939 while racing for the original Bugatti firm. The Veyron features a W16 engine—16 cylinders in 4 banks of 4 cylinders.


This neat little roadster will appeal to buyers who want ultimate driving machines. The 2009 Z4 has more power, new styling and a power retractable hardtop that can fold into the trunk in only 20 seconds. While the base model gets a carryover 255-horsepower 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine, performance fans will be happy to hear that BMW’s 300-horsepower turbocharged 6-cylinder will also be offered.

2009 Wheelsandmore Mercedes-Benz CL 45

Wheelsandmore from Germany shows once more that they are playing in the big league with their latest spectacular car C45L.
The serial power from this Mercedes cl500 is for the most sportive drivers much to less. So wheelsandmore decided to create a tuning pack for this sportscoupe. Within a v-max abilition they tuned the performance up to 450 hp at 575lb-ft. A special exhaust system with 100cells sport catalysts, 4in1 manifold and a valve controlled rear silencer with serial endtips combinated with an ECU update is responsible for this incremental power.
With their LowMaXX electronic lowering module the look oft he car and the suspension setup is getting as sporty as the power upgrade.
Finishing the project they took their well known wheeldesign TS-1 Ultralight Forged in special sizes 9,5 + 10,5x21 with tyres 255/30/21 and 285/30/21 Dunlop Sportmaxx. All Wheelsandmore-rims are coming with stainles steel outer rims, high gloss consolidated centers and are customized as the client likes.

Ferrari Enzo

A car that rightly deserves to be featured in every piece of literature written on Supercars. The Enzo takes the laws of physics and makes a mockery a out of it. It is by far one of the best Supercars ever built and recently after the entry of the 1000 bhp Bugatti Veyron, experts and journalists still rate it as the best.
'Sport', 'Race' and 'Super' are the modes the gearbox can be slotted into. The three words can also be used as adjectives to describe the car as a whole. Only 399 were ever built making this one very exclusive as well. This car shares a whole lot in common with a F1 car. The strong yet light monocoque weighs a mere 92 kg and is made of aluminium and carbon fiber. The 6.0 V12 all-aluminium engine mounted in the middle of the car develops no less than 660 bhp and 657 Nm of torque pushing the Enzo to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.2 seconds.
The Enzo's engine is controlled by Bosch's complex ECU, the 'Bosch Motronic ME7'. The flappy paddles behind the steering give you complete control over the 6-speed Semi-Automatic gearbox which can upshift and downshift in a mere 150 milliseconds. Shift it into sport mode and it'll take a lot lesser- 90 milliseconds!
The Enzo is cushioned by an independent suspension setup both at the rear and the front. Electronic dampers help in varying the stiffness of the ride. Another highlight of this car is the advanced steering wheel. Similar to the one found on F1 cars, the Enzo's steering wheel has an array of LED's indicating when to shift. One can also choose the gearbox setup, switch on or off traction control and control the indicators.

Ferrari F430

The Ferrari Modena 360 was replaced by this and no questions were ever raised on the replacement. It's not very hard to get the point behind the F430. It was always designed to give Ferrari enthusiasts a track experience on a road car.
The F430 shared design cues with the 360 but the changes stood out, courtesy of Frank Stephenson, who was in charge of Ferrari's design department, worked in tandem with design expert Pininfarina to deliver a modern car with retro styling elements. A fine example is the twin air intakes, which was inspired from the 1960's 'shark nose' F1 cars.
The F1 connection doesn't terminate cosmetically. The E-diff (Electronic differential) found on the F430 was borrowed from Micheal Schumacher's F1 car which helped it to shave off 3 seconds from its lap times around the Fiarano circuit compared to the outgoing 360 Modena.
The six-speed manual gearbox was from Ferrari's F1 car, controlled by paddles behind the steering wheel- just like how one would in a F1 car.
The mid-mounted V8 delivered 483 bhp to its rear wheels. Suspension, both at the front and the rear, was a double wishbone aided with coil springs. 0-60 mph came in at roughly about 4 seconds and acceleration continued all the way up to a staggering 196 mph. Interestingly, the engine is visible through a glass window fixed at the rear.
The F430 wasn't better only in terms of acceleration and top speed, but was safer and a lot better in handling too. It managed all of that weighing only a few kilograms more than the 360.
The F430 will be the closest Ferrari has ever reached to a production model. Even then, the keys belonged only to a fortunate few!

Ferrari F50

349 of them were built, and the 349th was brought out on the day when Ferrari turned 50. The F50 came in versions with and without a roof with its body built entirely of carbon-fiber. It was also used to make parts on the interior such as the seats and gear level knob, a clear indication of weight-savings given prime importance, more so when you consider the F50 's kerb weight of just 1,230 kg- A respectable statistic for a supercar. Sporting stylish 18-inch magnesium alloy wheels, the F50 was officially only available in five colours, Rosso Corsa, Rosso Barchetta, Giallo Fly, Nero and Argento although Ferrari satisfied clients who needed customization.
The car sat on the road with thicker rubber at the rear and thinner ones up-front. Suspension was an electronic unit, which responded with regard to road conditions. The mid-ship mounted 4.7-liter V12 had enough grunt to take the F50 to 60 mph from a complete standstill in under 4 seconds and would run out of steam at a blistering 202 mph. The F50'S engine bares close resemblances to a Formula 1 engine. A dry-sump lubrication unit, aluminium cam heads and titanium forged con-rods being its unique characteristics.

Ford GT40

Ford has always been conceived as a brand that makes cars for the average man. The reason for this has been their racing background which is nothing to write home about. The same problem plagued them in the 60's and when they were looking at seriously contending in the Le Mans 24 hr races, they had nothing but a clean sheet of paper at the design table.
To gather pace, Ford acquired rights to the Lola 63, a car that a had a poor showing in the earlier years at Le Mans. Using this car as a platform, Ford developed a very successful race car - a car that dominated the 24 hr races for 4 straight years. Yes, we are talking about the Ford GT40.
40 years later in 2002, Bill Ford unveiled the Ford GT concept car at the American Motorshow and a mere 45 days later, they announced that a production model was heading right to the showrooms in a short while. The new car was similar in appearance to the original car and the performance figures weren't too far off either.
Taller and longer than the original, the Ford GT was what one would term as a charming hooligan. The performance figures would leave one with a wide open mouth. Powered by Ford's biggest V8, the all-aluminium 5.4-liter engine produced a whopping 540 bhp pushing it into the league of engines with 100 or more bhp per liter.
An Eaton screw-type supercharger was the culprit behind the mountain of power and all of it was transferred to the rear wheels through an advanced six-speed trans-axle and a helical limited slip differential, the sort of stuff that would make an automobile engineer jump up and down withjoy.
The advanced technology wasn't restricted to the inner mechanicals. Superplastic-formed aluminium body panels reduced overall weight while simultaneously enhancing looks. The underbody design was new which took care of the rear-end lift, a problem that troubled the 60's GT.
These machines are special and unique. They give a whole new identity to the term 'Supercars,' while showcasing how much technology has affected performance figures which is at present in a new level altogether.

Jaguar XJ220

Jaguars are visually stunning and sensational in terms of performance. Leave alone the fact that their ownership changed several hands and were monetarily challenged on multiple occasions, Jags have shown how beautiful cars can be.
For three straight years, the Jaguar XJ220 wore the crown of the world's fastest production car before being tipped by none other than the Mclaren F1. The interesting story began one fine day in the year 1984 when Jag's director of engineering Jim Randle, hit upon a creative idea of creating a 500 bhp supercar. In the mid-80's, Jaguar was deeply engrossed in the work cut out for them and a supercar wasn't in any way associated to their agenda. After a few discussions, Jag planned to get together on Saturday mornings to work on this dream project and it took four long years to realize it.
The mid-engined 6.2-liter V12 supercar was displayed for the first time at the Birmingham Motor show in 1988. Sporting a stylish design and a much hyped scissor doors, its top speed was estimated to be well over the 200 mph mark.
Ford acquired Jaguar in 1989 but nevertheless, they too found this idea interesting and set out to produce it. But the production version had its differences to the concept car. It was eight inches shorter and the V12 was stripped and instead, a twin turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 filled the void. With that said, there was no compromise on power. The engine was powerful enough to generate 524 bhp which could take the beast to a record shattering 213 mph. 0-100 mph came in an eye-blinking 8 seconds! (Let's remind ourselves that we are in 1991)
Customers and motoring journalists adored the new supercar which was quite comfortable too. The only bad bit was the exhaust note which sounded a little non-supercarish (we made up that word). The XJ220 costed the earth. At 403,000 pounds it wasn't cheap. Sadly a lot of controversy surrounded this supercar after they sold a few and production was halted right after the 275th model was put together in 1994. 350 numbers were proposed initially.
A disguised version of the XJ220, the XJ220-C was a lighter car which emerged the winner at Le Mans in 1994 but was later disqualified due to a technicality. All in all, the XJ220 was the best supercar Jag made and the best ever made, some say. It had to bite the dust due to controversies and problems, a death that can be described unfortunate.

Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR

We kick start today's special with the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR. In the year 1998, what could a sum of 1.1 million pounds get you? A medium-sized yacht, yup;a grand apartment in central London, hmm...maybe; a CLK-GTR ?, Obviously!
The CLK-GTR was the same car that helped Mercedes win two consecutive 24 hr Le Mans races in the 90's. Instead of building one unit as per the regulations to contest in the races, Mercedes made 25 examples. The CLK-GTR wasn't sold in showrooms. Twenty five numbers meant they were 'offered' to the extra-ordinarily exclusive bunch of their 'clients.'
The car was put together in batches of 3 at Mercedes' AMG facility near Stuttgart, Germany. Each batch taking a time period of up to 4 weeks to finish, engineers played craftsmen and toiled to attain precision of the highest order. Modifications included a body shell made of Kevlar, a modified suspension to increase ride height for road use. Similarly sports seats, 3-pointed seat belts and dual airbags were the additions which assisted in making the car fit for the road.
A carbon fiber monocoque kept weight under check and housed a mammoth 6.8-liter engine developed by Ilmor engineering. Power was sent through a 6-speed manual gearbox which could be controlled by the driver via paddles placed behind the steering wheel.
There were key differences between the Mclaren F1 and the CLK-GTR. In fact, the purposes behind these car shared little in common. Both the cars had big engines that developed a million horsepower and both were aerodynamically efficient and used advanced technology, but that's were the similarities terminated. The Mclaren F1 was a road car built borrowing race car technology while the CLK-GTR was a race car which was tamed for use on the motorways. Power brakes, power steering and traction control aided the cause, which the Mclaren F1 lacked.

Exclusive photos: World premiere of Peugeot 3008 and 308 CC

We are bringing you exclusive photos from Dubrovnik Croatia, where Peugeot on Tuesday held an international press event, presenting the all-new Peugeot 3008 and Peugeot 308 CC. More than 1000 reporters from all over the world tested these two models, and we also were there to bring you these exclusive photos.

New Golf GTI to make debut at SMMT Test Day 2009

The eagerly-awaited new Golf GTI will be available for journalists to drive at the SMMT Test Day at Millbrook Proving Ground next Thursday (21 May) ahead of the car’s official launch date on 22 May

Award-winning Nissan GT-R achieves new record lap time at Nurburgring circuit

The NISSAN GT-R, winner of the 2009 World Performance Car of the Year, has improved its lap time at the renowned Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany to 7min 26 seconds 70 on April 23.

Success for Audi in “Auto Bild Design Award”

Audi continued its run of success in the reader’s poll“Auto Bild Design Award”, taking two first places and one second place in the vehicle design poll.

New Peugeot 308 CC pre-orders ahead of launch see Limited Edition all sold

Pre-orders taken so far for the new Peugeot 308 CC have seen all of the highly-specified ‘GT100 Limited Edition‘ models sold. The GT100 is an exclusive, advanced availability model that allows 100 lucky customers to take delivery of their 308 CCs in May, ahead of the official on sale date of 1st June. The new Peugeot 308 CC is available in three well specified trim levels: Sport, SE and GT

Bentley Achieves Recyclability Benchmark

British car manufacturer Bentley has taken another step in delivering its class-leading environmental strategy. Bentley now guarantees 85 % recyclability (or 95 % recoverability) of materials for all its current Continental models, becoming one of the first carmakers in the luxury vehicle bracket to take such a step as well as providing environmental friendly recycling or recovery at the end of the car’s life.

The New Quattroporte Sport GT S

The new Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S sets another milestone in the high performance luxury saloon segment. Conceived and developed as “a real driving machine in the guise of a luxury saloon”, the Quattroporte Sport GT S is the ultimate expression of Maserati’s sportiness in the Quattroporte range.

1000th Maserati Quattroporte registered in the UK

Maserati GB is proud to announce that the 1000th Quattroporte has just been registered in the UK, since its debut on UK roads in 2004.