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27th June 2011

roadsters to fuel-efficient hatchbacks

The this week contained announcements from a number of about new models, from roadsters to fuel-efficient hatchbacks.

released news of a Congestion A1, with CO2 emissions of just The new mini Audi has a 1.6-litre common-rail turbo-diesel engine produces 104bhp and returns The low CO2 emissions also mean it is from VED from year two

Despite its frugality, it is still of 0-62mph in around 10 seconds and a top of 118mph. Standard equipment stop-start, alloy wheels, and Electric Stability Control and begin at £14,480 for the base SE and go up to ВЈ17,865 for the top-of-the-range S Line. The marque has also released about its 3.0-litre TDI A8 model, will produce 201bhp, 47.1mpg and emit just CO2 to take on the new four-cylinder diesel

The MINI Coupe has also announced this week, the promise of the Roadster to come The MINI Coupe is based on the and will begin in Cooper with Cooper S, Cooper SD and Cooper Works models as well. The Coupe, which is a only, promises to be the stiffest-bodied available, despite being than the Hatch. The aluminium is lower than the Hatch, the car a much sleeker appearance.

for a coupe, the absence of rear also means it has more capacity than its hatchback The rear spoiler (additional to the spoiler) pops up at 50mph, like that of the Porsche In terms of power, the 1.6-litre JCW engine kicks out 208bhp and performance of 0-62mph in 6.4sec and a top of 149mph, whilst returning fuel economy of nearly The diesel model of the range, the SD, provides 141bhp and 225 lb ft of torque and 65.7mpg whilst emitting 114g/km.

The base prices for the arriving in October, will be for the Cooper, with the top-spec JCW coming in at £23,795.

Toyota gave us some tantalising that it is considering producing its hybrid convertible concept car in Power would come a V6 petrol unit in a mid-mounted coupled to an electric motor from the RX450h SUV. power output would be shy of 270bhp.

The hybrid convertible join the ranks of the Honda as a sports car featuring both and battery power.

20th 2011

Internal combustion — are they still the

Frugality has once again the name of the game this with vehicles of various benefiting from lower whilst still using the combustion engine.

Mazda, has somewhat shunned the idea of vehicles, has put its first Sky Activ engine into a new model, the 2, to bring its emissions below CO2. The 1.3-litre petrol should deliver around thanks to a new seven-speed CVT gearbox, high compression ratio, a sequential valve timing new six-hole injectors, much internal friction and a new stop-start Mazda has also included a called i-DM, similar to BlueMe setup, which how the car is being driven and indicates how it can be more economically.

The Mazda 2 yet set for sale in the UK and other European but demand for such a frugal car be strong.

Toyota unveiled of its new Yaris this week, promises to be more efficient the outgoing model. The new model be available with a choice of engines, with petrol including 1.0-litre VVT-i and dual VVT-i units and the choice being the 1.4-litre motor. Beyond promises of efficiency, the new Yaris is said to be higher quality than the generation model and will a brand new infotainment system a 6.1-inch screen controlling called ‘Toyota Touch and

In slightly older news, launched a new Passat BlueMotion capable of 68.9mpg and emissions of 109g/km — remarkable for a car of its Under the bonnet is the firm’s turbo-diesel engine, producing directed through a six-speed transmission. The new Bluemotion is also in estate form, providing and kicking out only 113g/km Features include stop-start, tweaks, lower suspension and low rubber.

The car should reach UK in July and will cost for the saloon and £21,180 for the estate.

Land Rover’s Range_e was spied this week, disguised and in testing. The hybrid in the Range_e should drop below 150g/km and make the Rover an even more proposition when it hits the in a couple of years. The car was apparently in the hands of Bosch engineers a company which already hybrid technology to Porsche and VW for SUVs.

13th June

Built in the UK

Fantastic news week for UK plc as vehicle manufacturers to be rushing out news of investment and in the UK.


First up was Nissan with the that it will design, and produce the Qashqai in Britain, 6,000 jobs and nearly million of investment in the UK economy. The car be penned at Nissan’s design in London, developed at the Cranfield centre and then built in the plant where first-generation are currently made. The firm’s Leaf will also be in Sunderland from 2013.

BMW had good news this with the announcement that new a of new Mini models will be in Britain and £500 million in the firm’s Oxford plant. The new drive platform will underpin a new range of BMWs. The range is growing to eight including the new coupe, roadster and car.

The news was welcomed as were rumours that the might go to Germany instead. Up to 20 BMW and Mini models are expected to be on the new front-wheel drive platform.

Land Rover also had a announcement this week, in it is set to build a new engine factory in Plans for the plant are in the early but it will mean an investment of £750 million and around 700 new The engine plant, which is to the firm’s Birmingham and Solihull will support the significant range expansion planned for the years — with 40 new JLR hitting the market.

Finally, Martin made headlines the news that it is relocating the of its Rapide four-seater from to its base in Gaydon next The four-door has been built by Steyr since 2009, but the is bringing the car’s production into the UK. A more flexible in Gaydon means that of the Rapide is now far easier to accommodate.

6th June 2011

Summer sun and tops

The sun has been shining week and

car manufacturers have tempting

us with their soft-tops.

Mercedes-Benz took the off the

roofless version of the SLS AMG,

to cost around £180k. will doubtless be a bit

disappointed the Roadster loses the coupe’s doors, instead getting conventional ones. Performance the 563bhp, 6.2-litre V8 remains unchanged, with the car being of 0-62mph in 3.8sec and having a top just under 200mph. The takes just 11 seconds to and can be opened while the car is moving at of up to 30mph. Audi also the lid off a convertible this week, the VW Group

announced how it would its VW, Audi and

Porsche models the same platform. Audi’s R4 hit the roads in a few years and cost £25k. The mid-engined model likely have two petrol on offer, but these are still to be

The range-topper is likely to offer 350bhp from Audi’s five-pot turbo unit. there is also the possibility of a engine joining the line-up. somewhat surprisingly, has also a new roadster based on its Fabia vRS rally car.

Whilst it is unlikely to see production, a Skoda isn’t too unfeasible in the future. is supplied by a 2.0-litre twin-turbo engine producing over The car is incredibly striking, sporting the green paint as the road-going vRS. It also has new bonnet flared wheel arches, white alloy wheels and a big diffuser.

Inside the interior is with carbon fibre and in the front enjoy proper seats with four-point style harnesses. Finally, also launched a convertible week in the shape of the R version of its Cabriolet. It uses the

five-cylinder petrol from the Golf R which develops 266bhp and a 0-60mph time of under six with a top speed of 155mph. power is equally good to 17-inch ventilated brake The interior is fitted out with carbonfibre and blasted aluminium.

time to get out and enjoy the summer

1st June 2011

Choose Save fuel

Some news this week for

looking to save money on with a few interesting superminis to a showroom near you. off, journos have off recently driving the new Chevrolet with the 1.2 litre petrol seeming to be the key variant.

The Aveo Chevrolet’s new corporate face, it into

line with the and Cruze, but with the double

giving it a distinctive edge. The is also a step up

from the generation, borrowing much of its from the Vauxhall stable. For a car, the new Aveo carries a lot of including six airbags, cruise and iPod connectivity. The 1.2-litre, four-pot comes in a few hundred below £10,000 and for the economical delivers 51.4mpg. Kia is also something for the buyer on a

budget the latest version of its Picanto. The car be available with two engines: a 68bhp three-cylinder, with CO2 of just 99g/km and fuel of 67.3mpg; and a 1.25-litre four-pot with 84bhp that out only 109g/km CO2 and delivers The latter model is available an optional stop-start system brings CO2 emissions to 100g/km and fuel economy by 5mpg. kit is impressive and includes ABS with assist, ESC and hill assist and running lights.

Options include alloys, Bluetooth LED indicators and rear lights and headlights. The base trim model starts at just £10,000, whilst the 1.0-litre is from just £7,995.

is also bringing out a frugal new in the form of a 1.3-litre diesel to its Swift range. The new 74bhp emits 109g/km CO2 and achieves a economy figure of 67.3mpg. Top is 103mph and the Swift will get to in 12.7 seconds.

Seven air conditioning, 16-inch alloys and USB all come standard in the starting of £12,890.

18th May 2011

Electrifying news this as battery-powered cars seemed to the headlines somewhat.

Renault details on pricing for its unusual ‘heavy quadricycle’, which go on sale in 2012. It is going to £6,690 for the base Urban excluding the battery, which be leased at £40 per month for 36 or 4,500 miles per year. The Technic with alloys, paint and carbonfibre graphics come in at £7,400 plus the cost. Both use the same motor and the battery pack provide a range of up to 62 miles and a top of 50mph. Volkswagen also noise about its plug-in car with the group chairman new volume models arriving as as 2013 — most starting with a plug-in Golf.

VW’s view is plug-in hybrids — an electric range of around 20 — will satisfy expectations as the internal combustion means they get most of the benefits of a pure electric without the range anxiety.

A of niche brands also had EV this week, with Cars — newly by Frazer-Nash Research — not confirming that it would cars in Britain, but that its involve advanced electric and drive technologies. Frazer-Nash its 190mph Namir electric at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in so they know a bit about vehicles.

Finally, emerging manufacturer, Delta Motorsport, week held a ride-and-drive of its innovative E-4 electric sports The vehicle is being dubbed the Tesla’ and has a range of up to 200 miles, it is Acceleration from 0-60mph take less than seconds and each of the car’s produces a staggering 443lb ft

The vehicle makes extensive use of composite material and can achieve a top of 150mph.

11th May 2011

A into the future.

This seems to have been one of power plants being in some unexpected vehicles.

It be impossible to avoid mentioning the news today that will be putting the C-X75 into limited production. The stole news headlines when it was unveiled and the company has forces with Williams F1 to it into a reality. The car will in 2013 and it is suggested that 200 cars will be powered by a high-boost four-cylinder turbo, that will arrive in the production programme should the gas turbine technology seen in the car.

Electric motors in the wheels the car four-wheel drive, with a top of around 200mph and an acceleration of 0-100mph in under six seconds humbling many cars’ times. A lithium-ion battery in the car will provide it with 30 miles of all-electric range, it a very low emissions figure The predicted retail price reach a staggering £900,000, the likes of the Bugatti Veyron, but importantly, the Jaguar will be engineered and built here in

Mercedes-Benz has also been in the with a rumoured all-electric of its flagship S-Class luxury The company is assessing customer for such a vehicle and it could sit in a range next to the firm’s and plug-in hybrid models. similar plans by Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz is likely to include a four-pot turbo-diesel in its engine for the S-Class, which should a hit with fleet drivers.

interesting diesel coming to soon will be the Porsche UK dealers should get models by this year and the company is a range of up to 750 miles on one tank, a combined fuel economy of 43.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 172g/km. The oil-burner will use a version of the VW 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel, which produces 247bhp and 406lb ft of available between 1,750 and

Despite the rather economical the diesel model should be capable of high performance, 62mph arriving in just 6.8 and the ability to go on to a top speed of 150mph. will start at just £62,000, which should it a rival for Jaguar’s 3.0-litre XJ.

22nd April 2011

East to West

A day earlier usual due to the Easter break, the continues his tour to the New York Show.

The motor industry focus from east to this week, kicking off the Shanghai Auto Show by the start of the New York Auto Amidst the news of big-engined like the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG coupe, Jaguar XK and Jeep Grand SRT8 were announcements of new four-cylinder models.

The most is undoubtedly the revamped Jaguar XF, in 2012, which will a 2.2-litre four-pot diesel adapted from the unit in Land Rover’s Freelander. The new develops 188bhp and 332lb ft of at just 2,000rpm and is mated to eight-speed automatic gearbox. predicts that the new model account for getting on for two-thirds of of the XF and will steal market away from the smaller offerings from both and BMW. The engine gets a new start-stop system and more for an even more refined

In terms of the vital statistics, the car be capable of 0-60mph in 8.0 seconds and a fuel economy figure of whilst kicking out just CO2 — critical for company car

BMW also unveiled a new four-cylinder in the shape of a 2.0-litre turbocharged Z4, due in showrooms later this The Z4sDrive28i motor produces and BMW claims it actually offers torque and better performance the existing six-cylinder BMW Z4 sDrive30. the new smaller unit also greater fuel economy and emissions over the larger engine, thanks in part to new fuel injectors and a revised design.

Suzuki showed off a car as it took the wraps off the Kizashi concept. The hybrid car uses a petrol engine combined a 20bhp electric motor to an additional boost of power energy generated under The new ‘green’ model also start-stop and low-rolling resistance

Emissions and fuel economy are over the standard model and the uses innovative new materials on the that require significantly energy to produce.

The last of the is Subaru’s new Impreza, the US-spec of which launched at the New York Show uses a 2.0-litre in the company’s trademark flat-four Power output is 148bhp at with 145lb ft of torque at 4,200rpm. Of course, four-wheel is standard, and the fuel economy over the outgoing Impreza is 30 percent.

Enjoy your weekend

18th April

Shanghai Surprise

News week comes from the Auto Show as the Spoiler east.

MINI confirmed for its ‘Inspired by Goodwood’ special that will appear in and seems to be shaping up as possibly the rival to the Aston Martin in the super-luxury supermini segment. basically the manufactured offspring of a and a Cooper S and features a bespoke with walnut burr trim, high-quality leather and lambswool carpets. The roof boot and sun visors even a soft-touch Rolls-Royce cashmere and the instrumentation uses the distinctive typeface.

As standard, the car comes in but not just any black, it is Rolls-Royce’s Diamond Black finish! The has said 1,000 examples of the by Goodwood’ edition will be and it’s likely to cost in the of £40-50,000.

Also on show in will be Audi’s Q3 — a version of the Q5 and more of a direct for the likes of the Ford Kuga and the Tiguan, the latter of which we to be the best performing car for residual in 2010. Audi SUVs always done well, both the Q5 and Q7 selling beyond initial targets. It’s that the Q3 will replicate success.

Both front-wheel and all-wheel drive models be available, starting at around for the front-drive derivative in 2.0-litre petrol guise with The 2.0-litre petrol engine is in a higher state of tune for the four-wheel drive model — generating 208bhp and of 0-62mph in under 7 seconds, the ability to reach 143mph. A model will also be from launch in the form of the 175bhp 2.0-litre TDI with drive only. An entry-level diesel, available with drive options, should be from the end of 2011.

A six-speed ‘box is standard for the entry-level with the more powerful getting a seven-speed S-tronic transmission.

Of course Shanghai be a motor show without concept cars and two of the ones have already been to be at the show are the Peugeot SxC and the Subaru XV.

The SxC (Shanghai Cross Concept) is a SUV with ‘suicide’ rear and dramatic 22-inch alloys. It shock you to hear that for a car bigger than a Porsche there’s only a 1.6-litre, engine under the bonnet, but not the whole story. Peugeot has its Hybrid4 technology, which total power output to

Theoretically, the very big SxC should be of around 48.7mpg and CO2 emissions as low as — if it, or anything like it, goes into production.

conceptual contribution comes in the of the XV, which will likely styling from the 2010 concept with the company’s boxer engine in an SUV package.

5th 2011

Fantastic or Foolish?

I know why, but we’ve had a outrageous string of stories

First off, we had two incredible from BMW. The German is introducing a limited edition M3 to the royal wedding — in Regal Red, Bridal and Imperial Blue colours with a special ‘Will’ in place of the standard ‘M’ Dubbed the M3 Royal Edition, is no word yet on price or how many make it into production.

BMW revealed a whole new derivative of the M3 in the of the M3 pick-up. Astonishingly, the drag is said to be just the same as the M3 and it will max out at around 186mph, it one seriously fast way of transporting around the country!

Next the announcement from Kia that its in the UK are taking action against spoiling the cars on their by enlisting the help of pigeon to draw the feathered fiends Apparently black and red models to be the most attractive targets for the as those most frequently hit by unpleasant aerial bombardments!

is also trying out some innovative technology in the form of its new navigation system, the SEAT Audio Recognition Technology which uses GPS to instruct the using the appropriate regional The aim is to make drivers feel at home in any area and as if they asking for directions from people. The possibility of receiving the ‘Awright geezer, it’s on at these lights, innit?’ as driving through East is very. interesting.

Finally, Rover has introduced a new self-levelling tax holder, meaning that when off-roading on extreme traffic enforcement officers can see your vehicle is appropriately The innovation comes after officers complained of neck incurred by reading tax discs at angles of more than 10 from horizontal

28th 2011

Super is the word

interesting announcements this about some unusual and cars.

First up was Renault rumours of a plan to create new models under the Renaultsport possibly starting with a The Dezir concept showed such a car might look and, whilst the French still has the Alpine badge in its it seems the brand recognition of is strong enough to usurp the and evocative name of Alpine. The line-up would be very and produced in very low volumes.

The model would be the spiritual to the whacky Renault Sport from the 1990s and would use a 2.0-litre, 200bhp power from the top-spec Renaultsport

The second possible revival is the to the legendary Renault 5. In the wake of the of the Fiat 500, MINI and DS3, Renault sees a for an upmarket supermini based on the icon. The car is only a rumour at the but if it gets the green light, it arrive within three Fans of the original model wonder whether a Turbo might also make

Another surprise this was the news that Porsche has to break away from the 911 shape to put a new mid-engine supercar production to take on Ferrari’s 458 Italia and McLaren’s MP4-12C. cars are significantly more than Porsche’s 911 Turbo and the brand is considering introducing a to help grab back market share. Initial suggest the car would produce 600bhp to have a hope of customers from its rivals Woking and Maranello.

In GT2 RS guise, 3.8-litre six-pot can already out 620bhp when twin-turbocharged.

any mid-engined production model likely be around in the £150,000 to price range, Porsche this week the price of its 918 Spyder hypercar that goes on sale this — but you won’t be finding knocking about your dealership! The hybrid will a staggering £672,000, putting it in the sort of league as top-end and even the Bugatti Veyron. No than 918 cars will be although one wonders whether size of market exists, and will also have the of spending an additional £126,000 (or for the cabriolet) on a special 911 Turbo S 918 Spyder — available to 918 Spyder owners.

The hypercar is of driving up to 16 miles on all-electric and can reach 62mph in just 3.2 before proceeding on to 199mph. Not bad for a car will also return and kick out just 70g/km

12th March 2011

some people fail to the distinction between the terms drive (the mechanics of the wheels) and SUV (the body So, here are some recent new that highlight the differences.

off, it would be impossible not to the new Ferrari FF, the firm’s first into four-wheel drive Designed to be a supercar for all seasons, the FF the 4RM (which stands for ‘Ruote in case you were wondering!) which is half the weight of systems — weight being the enemy of performance in with four-wheel drive and directs torque to the front when the going gets but otherwise defaults to a rear-wheel setup and keeps the weight towards the rear. The four-seater packs a punch with a 650bhp from the new 6.25-litre V12 through a seven-speed double-clutch

Top speed is 208mph and 62mph is in just 3.7 seconds from making the FF a seriously capable

Aston Martin is also set to get its wet in the four-wheel drive domain the news that the much-rumoured to revive the Lagonda brand as an SUV line will go ahead. The of Lagonda is already being to Daimler’s work on reviving Aston Martin sees the brand as especially important to markets where weather and rougher roads might full enjoyment of a supercar.

You’ll need very pockets to afford one, the price range is set to start at and go right up to £300k!

At the other end of the will be the new Mazda CX-5 which will arrive year and compete with the of VW’s Tiguan and Audi Q5 although likely beating at the latter, if not both of these, on Greater fuel efficiency come from the Skyactiv gearbox and lightweight chassis, as aims to cut fuel consumption by 30 percent by 2015 versus

Finally, and very differently, has announced that a four-wheel-drive of the firm’s Swift supermini is considered for entry into the UK later in 2011. The company has onto the sentiments of the British about the winter weather and there could be a market for 1,000 of its all-wheel drive Prices are likely to come in at £13,000 and the system will be on the 1.2-litre petrol model.

SMART ed cabrio – 55kW 74bhp Auto

a good day.

19th 2011

This week that hybrid and electric trains are likely to be seen in and sports cars just as as smaller vehicles, particularly the higher imperative to reduce

Porsche released details of its Boxsters going on trial in The Boxster E prototypes are being to gather data on usage, and so on. The battery pack is pretty at 29kWh, compared to something 24kWh in a Nissan Leaf, and deliver the equivalent of 241bhp.

is on par with the German brand’s S model, meaning a 0-60mph of just over 5 seconds and a top edging 170mph.

Whilst has no plans to put the electric Boxster production, but one model that see showroom floors is the hybrid of its four-seat Panamera S. The 374bhp will emit just in CO2 emissions, putting it in the same as many a family saloon. The V6 works with a 44bhp motor, which can power the car on its own up to at which point the V6 kicks in and can it from 0-62mph in 6 seconds and a top speed of 168mph. The Panamera S adds about £3,000 to the price of a standard 4S at just £86k.

Infiniti has also intentions to step into the hybrid fray with its concept being unveiled at the show in a couple of weeks. One of the ambitious crossovers ever with hints of coupe, hatchback and SUV, the Etherea use a hybrid drive system mates a four-pot engine an electric motor borrowed the M35h hybrid saloon. As as being a concept car, are rumours that the Etherea make production in 2014.

unveiling at Geneva will be Rover’s diesel hybrid Range Rover Sport. The drive Range_e model a ridiculously low 89g/km in CO2 emissions, it level with the latest Prius. The Landy uses a V6 diesel engine coupled to an motor to allow it to travel up to 20 on electricity alone, before the starts up and helps it along.

The top is 120mph — hardly but equally entirely adequate for drivers’ needs.

7th February — Who Whoever said the car industry was dead?

Whoever the British car industry was dead? this week shows it is and well and producing some of the exciting cars on the market. up was low-volume, Leicestershire-based sports car Noble with details of the model of its M600 supercar.

in at under 1200kg thanks to gratuitous use of carbonfibre, the M600 cost around £200,000, it above something like the MP4-12C. It boasts enviable statistics, including power of 650bhp, meaning it can achieve in 3.5 seconds and an eye-watering top speed of Exclusivity is ensured as initial will be just 12 cars per which could rise to 36 per year if there is greater

Next we had news from of Bentley’s forthcoming V8 motors. The GT will be available with a V8 for the time and will come in two — a turbocharged 415bhp level’ model and a twin-turbo 555bhp. The company also positive production news every Mulsanne scheduled for in 2011 had already been

Jaguar was also making this week with the of its strategy to get stuck into the executive market within the four years. Some tasty smaller models are in the including a long-awaited spiritual to the E-Type in the form of a Boxster-sized The company will also the 3-Series and A4 domain with a saloon after having its X-Type from the market.

promises that the new car will be a different proposition from the front-wheel drive model never really took market share from its rivals.

Finally, McLaren the world that its MP4-12C has now production in Woking. The car, will retail at £168,500, be produced in numbers of up to 1,000 in The British supercar delivers performance thanks to the 592bhp on

6th December 2010 — Derivatives

Perhaps it’s the cold weather, but manufacturers to have gone a bit mad creating derivatives of some already quick cars this

Low volume maker Ginetta up with its most powerful GT — the G55. Based on the it will compete in the Ginetta GT and offers GT3-rivalling performance. lies a 3.7-litre powerplant up 370bhp — kept in with upgraded brakes and a new kit.

If you’re dipping hand into your already, you best be prepared to up the £75,000 required. Add the cost of the Supercup series and you’re at more like £90,000.

If you to worry your bank even more, you might to look towards the GT4 concept of the TT. The GT4 is an extrapolation of the road-going TT RS, but sports a carbonfibre on the bonnet, doors and to reduce weight, as well as a fuel tank. Expect the to be the same as that in the TT RS — a TFSI five-cylinder unit. The GT4 is to set you back just over

The sports and supercar press been alight this with first drives of the Stratos recreation, and the excitement no doubt increase even now that the people behind automotive icon’s rebirth indicated that they make a racing version. The car is to be made to compete in GT2 racing, technical details are entirely The revived Stratos road car extensive use of carbonfibre over a 430 Scuderia chassis in order to in at just 1257kg, meaning with the power on tap from the Ferrari V8 under the bonnet, it a rather ridiculous power-to-weight of more than 420bhp per

Speaking of Ferrari, they also unveiled their own car this week, in the form of the 458 that will compete in a series. Whilst the 458 Challenge the same 562bhp powerplant its sibling, its gearbox has been and Ferrari has cut a significant amount of from the road car. As you expect, big racing wheels and big brakes obviously feature as

Just don’t eat too soon getting into the car, as says it can generate lateral of up to 1.6g!

15th November

This week seems to been filled with a of automotive news from The British Prime Minister was in on a goodwill trip that involved taking a handful of the top UK people with him to see how they sell to the Chinese. However, if Cameron was eyeing up an export in I wonder if he took a look at the EC8 Limousine.

You’ve probably not of Emgrand, but it is a sister company to which has just bought and has the same relationship to it as Lexus has to The luxury marque has just it onto the government’s procurement meaning that China’s can now stretch out in comfort in the limo now extends to nearly six metres in

Whilst Emgrand was taking the off its diplomatic barge, General China was making a huge market statement at the Shanghai Expo as it registered 1.2 million drive requests. The Expo has running since 1st May and GM’s stand featured the company’s of low-carbon urban transport for crammed full of electric vehicles, including the upright and Segway-ish EN-V. I hope all test drive requests going to have to be put into the spreadsheet.

Coming back to Europe, word emerged the Czech Republic that its Minister is now rather ironically a driving licence after a driving ban for having a fake plate on his Maserati. The minister, Vit received the ludicrously small of 5,000 koruna, which to less than £200.

the most bizarre story of the — and frankly a victory for sense — was that is being allowed to use the name for its new small electric car. The of a child with the name Zoe filed a lawsuit against saying that their would be the subject of mockery and throughout her life if they ahead. Unsurprisingly and thankfully, the ruled that the evidence this would happen was thin and threw the case

18th October 2010

the news of power-crazy luxury and cars coming from this week, you wouldn’t we’ve just come out of a and are still very much in the stages of economic recovery.

came VW announcing the pricing for its luxo-barge, with engines from the relatively modest V6 diesel to the colossal 6.0-litre W12 developing 444bhp — the power you’d find in the new BMW M3 GTS or 911 GT3 RS. Standard equipment includes adjustable electric seats, so you yourself in the car for quite some without going anywhere!

car body manufacturer Xenatec was with a £586,000 (yes, you that right) super-coupe on the Maybach 57S. The car has been by Daimler and only 100 will be The Maybach was hardly designed as a or performance car, so it’s strange that the firm has their creation will people to savour the Maybach from the driver’s seat, them leaving the engine and the same.

Maserati also news of a new stallion for its stable in the of a new four-door model to sit beneath the in its range. It will be squarely at the top AMG derivative of the Mercedes E-Class, BMW M5 and the XFR and is an exciting prospect for all petrolheads, Maserati has arguably been some of the prettiest cars of

BMW is also upping its game in the stakes after giving us a peek at its ‘M’-badged 1-Series The car is rumoured to have 350bhp up 50bhp on the 135i M Sport which already does in just over 5 seconds!

announced this week its flagship model, the GT-R, be getting a power boost up to the 500bhp mark. Given the production car has already lapped the quicker than the Koenigsegg the idea of even more may signal Nissan is getting to launch another challenge on 911 GT2 lap time.

Another car that’s out on the Nurburgring this week is the Camaro in high-spec Z28 guise. The is said to have a 6.2-litre V8 under the bonnet that develop around 550bhp, a 0-60mph time of something 4 seconds. Whilst you’d get to test that sort of on UK roads, a new muscle car’s on our shores from next is rather enticing!

4th October

Following the media coverage of the motor show being by the surprise Porsche 918 hybrid, it has a hybrid supercar that has the limelight in Paris, too. The C-X75 concept combines two gas and a battery pack to deliver and a 560-mile driving range.

took the covers off no fewer six models at the Paris motor Whilst there has been criticism from some industry commentators that new strategy goes against Chapman’s legacy of a firm with lightweight performance, the City Car concept is arguably to the company’s traditional ideology. It is a prestige rehash of a more supermini (in this case a in the same vein as the Aston Cygnet, which was based on the iQ.

It remains to be seen as to whether and performance brands downsizing be welcomed by the market, or whether vehicles will simply niche curiosities and rare exhibits in years to come.

Two brands diversifying their range ‘downwards’ are Smart and Whilst both already superminis, they have unveiled their own take on an scooter. Smart claims its will cover 62 miles bad when you consider the range of the Smart ED is 80 miles) and, it’s called the ‘escooter’, guessing it could be changed to the instead.

Rather than make its any smaller, Mercedes-Benz has opted to the engine and dropped a four-pot into the latest version of the luxury saloon. The car, at the Paris motor show, a 2.2-litre diesel with and two-stage turbocharging. All this that it has tailpipe emissions of 149g/km and achieves fuel of 48mpg, whilst still 201bhp, 369lb/ft of torque, acceleration of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of

Finally, Volvo is researching ways to produce cars have no tailpipe emissions at by looking at ways of essentially batteries to create car body The firm is working on a material can store and discharge electrical but is also strong, light and enough to be used for car parts. It is as much of the residual value around electric vehicles up to point has assumed that the would be removed at the end of their life and that the rest of the will still hold

This presumably wouldn’t be the for a car that is made from

27th September 2010

week began with that Lotus will be on established supercar manufacturers a new hybrid offering badged the The name has been revived its first usage on the original from 1958 to 1963 and on the second generation model 1974 and 1982. The car, will be unveiled at the Paris show, is expected to sell at £115,000, putting it firmly in and Aston Martin territory. of Aston Martin, the company on Tuesday that the engine in its exclusive One-77 model gain the official status of the world’s most powerful powerplant.

The 7.3-litre V12 develops beating the 739bhp provided by the in the Pagani Zonda R Clubsport and more than three greater than the 245bhp from Ford’s F-Series in the late 1990s.

Another car has announced with a power this week and that is the KTM The new X-Bow R now comes with on tap — a pretty scary given the X-Bow weighs in at 700kg. Having said the Ariel Atom still to dominate the ‘stripped-down-sports-car’ (or should be ‘four-wheeled-bike’) market, with the Atom 500 — as the name — providing a whopping combined with being lightweight, thanks in part at to the lack of a windscreen, doors, or body panels of any sort!

One the Atom definitely doesn’t is eyelashes. Yes, you read right — eyelashes. emerged this week or a offering people the opportunity to their motor with the of stick-on eyelashes that go the car’s headlights.

Quite why would buy these, I don’t understand, but each to their own I

Another body adornment in the this week, for slightly serious reasons, has been the ‘Flying B’ bonnet Concerns have been by US authorities that water may affect the mechanism that retracts the mascot in the event of a collision, which could injure pedestrians. Thankfully have been no injuries so far and is recalling the vehicles affected and is the necessary parts free of

Finally, whilst the industry has the government of the possible negative on the UK motor industry of a migration cap on workers, it is good to see one bastion of UK — Jaguar Land — recruiting 1,000 new

16th September 2010

The car-buying news from in Car.

There has been a lot of about crossover vehicles week, including the MINI and the rumoured Fiesta mini-SUV. the UK’s motoring press has out in force testing MINI’s new (also available with drive), a Fiesta-based mule has spotted out testing, although seems to have been little reference to Ford’s efforts in this area the Fusion.

Manufacturers are anxious to the industry that these models offer consumers choice than the more derivatives of ‘hatchback’, ‘saloon’ or However, there is also to suggest that buyers are confused by the myriad choices Even the SMMT vehicle guide isn’t crystal with the Ford Kuga in the ‘4×4/SUV’ segment with the of the Land Rover Freelander, the Nissan Qashqai is in the ‘lower bracket together with the Focus and VW Golf.

As well as of four-wheel crossover models, week saw the announcement from and Smart that they looking at two-wheels as well. manufacturers are set to reveal two-wheel at the forthcoming Paris Motor There are several companies selling electric scooters, so be interesting to see how such vehicles are from established brands. In contrast to electric scooters, it that McLaren may be joining and Ferrari in developing hybrid

The firm is apparently recruiting for an engineer to work on hybrid and whilst the rumour remains this latest news to suggest they are serious developing hybrid powertrains.

as the Paris Motor Show we are being bombarded with teaser images of the concepts will be on display. Jaguar, Peugeot and Nissan have all pictures that show patches of light clusters or whilst BMW has employed a nifty bit of psychology by sending out pictures of a mule with ‘don’t about this’ written on the — thereby guaranteeing people will!

The Porsche 918 shown at Geneva was a genuine debut, whereas many new struggle to remain under until press day. all the secrecy around the concepts for I will be watching with to see if they remain top secret, or any journalists manage to bag an ‘exclusive’ the show and reveal all.

SMART ed cabrio – 55kW 74bhp Auto
SMART ed cabrio – 55kW 74bhp Auto
SMART ed cabrio – 55kW 74bhp Auto
SMART ed cabrio – 55kW 74bhp Auto
SMART ed cabrio – 55kW 74bhp Auto
SMART ed cabrio – 55kW 74bhp Auto

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