This is default featured post 1 title

This is default featured post 1 title

To set your featured posts, please go to your theme options page in wp-admin. You can also disable the featured posts slideshow from certain parts of your site if you don't wish to display them. »

This is default featured post 2 title

This is default featured post 2 title

To set your featured posts, please go to your theme options page in wp-admin. You can also disable the featured posts slideshow from certain parts of your site if you don't wish to display them. »

This is default featured post 3 title

This is default featured post 3 title

To set your featured posts, please go to your theme options page in wp-admin. You can also disable the featured posts slideshow from certain parts of your site if you don't wish to display them. »

This is default featured post 4 title

This is default featured post 4 title

To set your featured posts, please go to your theme options page in wp-admin. You can also disable the featured posts slideshow from certain parts of your site if you don't wish to display them. »

This is default featured post 5 title

This is default featured post 5 title

To set your featured posts, please go to your theme options page in wp-admin. You can also disable the featured posts slideshow from certain parts of your site if you don't wish to display them. »

Vauxhall GT Concept interior revealed ahead of Geneva show debut

AppId is over the quota

The interior of the Vauxhall GT concept has been revealed ahead of the car’s global debut at the Geneva motor show next month.

The two-seat coupé concept is described as “a template for future sports car,” and is broadly similar in size and mechanical layout to a Mazda MX-5 but has ultra-modern, flowing lines and a fixed roof. It is so pared down and “unashamedly avant-garde” that it doesn’t even need door handles or exterior mirrors. It does, however, employ the classical long-bonnet, short-boot proportions used by ‘emotional’ rear-wheel-drive sports cars through the ages, although its mechanical components are distinctly modern.

Vauxhall says the car’s infotainment system is operated purely by voice control, but a touchpad controller is included as a backup. The voice-controlled system is described as being able to learn a driver’s habits or adapt to their needs, and can even respond vocally to commands. Vauxhall says its Human-Machine Interface can even select appropriate music for passengers.

The instrument clusters can display 3D content in a variety of colours, a development of the system first shown on 2013’s Monza concept. The system displays different content depending on the situation. If the driver is driving at speed, for example, the system displays g-force values. The system can also issue spoken warnings on upcoming obstacles. As on many concept cars, the GT eschews traditional door mirrors in favour of cameras.

A 144bhp turbocharged version of Vauxhall’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine drives the rear wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox, which is also controllable by column-mounted shift paddles.

Vauxhall-Opel design chief Mark Adams, who led the project, said the GT Concept unashamedly pays homage to two influential European concepts of the mid-1960s – the Vauxhall XVR and the Opel Experimental GT – both of which had a big influence on the design of the production cars that followed.

In particular, the Vauxhall XVR – a long-nosed coupé produced under legendary British design boss Wayne Cherry – used and refined design influences from the US-built Mako Shark II concept of 1963, which six years later went into wide circulation in the Chevrolet Corvette C3. Then came the Vauxhall Equus, another promising Cherry design, plausibly based on the Chevette city car.

As well as echoes from the past, this latest GT Concept also carries influences from Vauxhall-Opel’s Monza sporting estate, a 2+2 plug-in hybrid concept shown at the Frankfurt motor show in 2013. Company officials admitted at the time that the car might eventually be the precursor of a new-generation Manta in production.

“It’s difficult to reinvent iconic concepts like these,” said Adams of the Vauxhall XVR and Opel GT, “but just as each of them was avant-garde back then, so is this GT Concept today. It’s pure and minimalistic, yet bold and uncompromising.”

Adams believes the car “impressively demonstrates the continuous development of our design philosophy”.

The GT Concept’s rakish looks are backed by a very contemporary mechanical package. The 1.0-litre, all-aluminium 144bhp engine (used in various guises in the Adam, Corsa and Astra) also packs an impressive 151lb ft of torque in the GT’s turbocharged form. Ready for the road, the GT is tipped to weigh less than 1000kg.

A 0-62mph time of  less than eight seconds and a 134mph top speed are promised. 

Perhaps the GT Concept’s most striking design features are the large doors, whose side windows integrate seamlessly into the body surface without the need for conventional sills. They are opened via roof-mounted touchpads in the red signature line, which flows on either side from the GT’s eye-grabbing red front tyres, along the tops of the front wings and over the roof onto the rear, enclosing a see-through roof.

Another unique feature is the GT’s use of integrated headlight/indicator units that develop the technology used for the new Astra’s glare-reducing IntelliLux matrix lighting to its next level.

The large doors have space-saving hinges ingeniously mounted in the front wheel arches that allow the door to open wide even in tight parking spaces.

Although most observers will see the GT Concept’s use of eye-grabbing red front tyres, mounted on ‘rollerskate’ wheels, as an avant-garde feature, they are also a subtle reference to an iconic Opel motorcycle from the 1920s called the Motoclub 500, which had red tyres front and rear.

Vauxhall-Opel bosses are saying very little about the GT Concept’s prospects for production. Spokesmen say they have “heard of no plan” to build it, but they also say they will “judge reaction” to the car before deciding whether it has any production future.

At present, the company lacks a suitable front-engined, rear-drive platform on which to base a production GT. But Vauxhall-Opel has a history of putting rule-breaking sports cars into production. It turned the Opel GT from concept to production car in the late 1960s. It also built a Vectra-engined Lotus Elise in the 1990s and called it the Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster. Most recently, it turned the US Pontiac Solstice roadster into a second-generation Opel GT.

Comment – is Vauxhall serious about sports cars?

It’s too easy to conclude that Vauxhall-Opel will never build a front-engined, rear-drive sports car, such as the latest GT Concept,  just because the company doesn’t currently have a suitable platform with a front-mounted engine that drives the rear wheels.

Look through Vauxhall-Opel’s past products and you’ll find several that made production even though there didn’t seem to be the right supporting infrastructure. The company has displayed a continuing penchant for sports cars and has been extremely resourceful about finding ways to get them built.

The most unlikely of recent times was the transverse mid-engined Vauxhall VX220/Opel Speedster, which was an expensive – and expansive – reworking of the Lotus Elise produced by Lotus at Hethel. The company decided its image for humdrum car design needed improvement and the VX lasted five years.

Even more recent was Opel’s second-generation GT, a badge-engineered, US-made Pontiac Solstice (itself a last-ditch attempt by Bob Lutz to spice up the Pontiac brand). It was a decent enough car, although Germany’s discerning buyers never really took to it.

Still, my point is that today’s car makers – Vauxhall-Opel high among them – can make unusual cars happen if they’re determined enough; witness Fiat’s deal to produce a 124 Spider that is actually a Mazda MX-5 underneath.

Vauxhall-Opel bosses say they will be “gauging reaction” to the GT at Geneva. Strikes me that unless they had the glimmer of a plan for production, they wouldn’t bother.

Q&A with Mark Adams, Vauxhall-Opel design director

Why did you decide to build a sports car?

“The project’s origins go back to the 50th anniversary event we held at the Rüsselsheim design department. We had an Opel GT on display and we were all struck by how small and simple cars were 50 years ago. We decided to see if we could strike the same kind of simplicity and compactness again while meeting modern needs.”

You say you’ll be judging reaction to it at Geneva. Given you don’t have a front-engined, rear-drive platform, why would you bother?

“Even if we don’t build this car exactly as it stands, there’s plenty in it we might use in other applications. There are lots of emotional forms and connections in this car, and we’ll be interested to see which ones people like.”

Is there a sense that now SUVs are commonplace, emotional cars can make a comeback?

“There’s definitely some of that. SUVs continue to be extremely important, but there’s also a growing tendency in modern life for consumers to want to get back to a greater level of simplicity. Today’s cars are very complex, but we wanted this one to take simplicity and light weight to the next level.

Why the special door design?

“It’s an extension of our simplicity theme. I was keen to find a layout that meant we’d only have one cut-line for the door. We came up with a system where the door is quite large, but the hinge becomes a fulcrum, so part of the door goes inside the wheel arch as it opens. It works really well. The doors open wide in confined spaces, and they allow very good ingress/egress.”

Does the simplicity theme continue inside the car?

“It does. We’ve used exactly the same principles and made a big effort to free the car from clutter. It’s small, but it delivers a great feeling of openness and space.”

View the original article here

Asia to offer lifeline to hot hatch manufacturers

AppId is over the quota

Warm and hot hatches could be given a lifeline through rapidly emerging sales opportunities in China and elsewhere in Asia, although the sales rise could lead to the performance of the cars being watered down.

It is understood that sales of performance versions of standard cars have grown significantly in China in recent years as a car culture has developed among a generation of buyers wanting to drive rather than be driven.

Given the cost of developing warm and hot hatches, plus the limited sales potential of such cars in Europe and the US, the growth in interest in sales across Asia is seen by some manufacturers as an opportunity to strengthen the business case for continuing to develop such models.

As well as Renault Sport, Ford Performance is another sub-brand said to be among those eyeing the market opportunities.

However, an insider told Autocar: “The problem is that some of these cars are simply too tricky to drive for people with no real experience of fast cars, especially given some of the road conditions. The culture of track days is also some way from evolving, especially outside of Shanghai and the biggest cities where most of the wealth is.

“Some manufacturers are looking at toning down the sportiness of the cars – and that could end up influencing the type of car that’s sold around the world.

“If these markets grow enough, they could dictate what kind of cars get developed. At the moment they’re not after the raw, exaggerated hot hatches Europe is used to. Often, it is more about the visual statement a car makes than the last degrees of speed.

“For the makers, that presents a challenge: they can’t throw away the heritage built up around their ‘ultimate’ models, but nor can they ignore what their biggest markets want. Sales are unlikely to be enough to justify developing cars in ?two different directions.”

View the original article here

Kia targets CO2 emissions of 37g/km from new Optima Plug-in Hybrid

AppId is over the quota

Kia is targeting CO2 emissions as low as 37g/km from the new Optima Plug-in Hybrid, which is due to go on sale in Europe at the end of 2016.

The Korean manufacturer’s first plug-in hybrid was recently revealed at the Chicago motor show alongside its sister car, the Optima parallel hybrid, but only the plug-in model is due to go on sale in the UK later this year.

The Optima PHEV uses a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine that produces 154bhp and 139lb ft and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Electric power is produced by a transmission-mounted 50kW motor, which is 42% more powerful than that used in the previous parallel Optima Hybrid in order to provide greater all-electric capability.

With an estimated 600 miles of total driving range, the Kia Optima PHEV’s next-generation battery system features a 9.8 kWh lithium ion polymer battery pack, which is estimated to have a range of 33 miles in full EV mode. The car will operate in EV mode at speeds of up to 74mph.

The total output of the petrol-electric powertrain is 202bhp and 276lb ft, with the latter available from 2300rpm. According to Kia’s figures, the Optima Plug-in Hybrid can accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.4sec.

The battery pack is situated behind the rear seat and in tyre well, both to maximise cargo volume and provide the space needed to offer 60/40 split folding rear seats. It means the car offers a 307 litre boot, compared with the 510-litre capacity of the standard petrol-powered Optima’s boot.

Additional power for the battery system is harvested from a regenerative braking system. Updated over the system found in earlier iterations of the Optima Hybrid, the new system is able to regenerate 11% more energy.

The car is also equipped with an heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system that allows ventilation to the driver only during single-occupancy driving.

The Optima PHEV is equipped with a single charging port located in the front wing. A full charge can be achieved in less than three hours via a 240V charger, and less than nine hours via a 120V charger.

The driver can choose between all-electric mode (EV) for city driving, hybrid mode (HEV) for open roads and charging mode, which increases the amount of energy being sent back to the battery during higher-speed driving.

The Optima gets some design elements to set it apart from its petrol and diesel powered siblings, including a bespoke instrument cluster and a special design of alloy wheels.

It also features an active grille which automatically opens and closes to improve aerodynamics and optimise engine bay cooling.

Other styling differences include a model-specific front air curtain, a bevelled rear bumper and a rear diffuser designed to streamline airflow by shrouding the exhaust tip. These are complemented by LED lights, a chrome side sill moulding and ‘Eco Plug-In’ badging.

The aerodynamic tweaks actually make it more slippery through the air than the standard Optima saloon, with a drag coefficient of just 0.25.

The Optima Plug-in Hybrid carries over the same suspension hardware from the standard Optima saloon, ensuring high ride comfort and engaging handling, while the spring, damper and alignment settings have been tuned specially for the Plug-in Hybrid model, in order to manage the additional weight of the powertrain.

Larger disc brakes at the rear of the car compared to conventionally-powered Optima models (300mm in diameter for the Plug-in Hybrid, up from 262mm) ensure braking performance remains high in spite of the additional weight.

The Optima Plug-in Hybrid is equipped with Kia’s latest satnav system, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and DAB radio.

The infotainment system also features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for smartphone connection and a series of bespoke menus to show the car’s current EV range and a new function to locate nearby charging stations. There’s also an 

The Optima Plug-in Hybrid will be built at Hwasung, South Korea and will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.

Pricing will be confirmed closer to the on-sale date, but it is likely to sit at the top of the Optima’s model range, costing more than £30,000.

View the original article here

MSO-tuned McLaren P1 and 675LT at Geneva show

AppId is over the quota

McLaren will showcase bespoke examples of the P1 hypercar and 675LT Spider produced by its McLaren Special Operations (MSO) division at next month’s Geneva motor show.

The one-off 675LT Spider features ceramic grey paintwork, a carbonfibre retractable hard-top (saving 1kg of weight), and carbonfibre louvres around the front wings. Carbonfibre weave is also used for the car’s airbrake at the rear. Only 500 examples of the regular 675LT Spider will be made, all of which have already been sold.

Inside, the car features black Alcantara seats with contrasting yellow stitching, and unique colour detailing. The titanium exhaust system also receives a 24-carat gold heat shield.

The MSO 675LT Spider is unchanged mechanically, meaning it retains its twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V8 engine, which produces 666bhp and 516lb ft of torque. The Spider variant matches the 675LT coupé from 0-62mph, with a time of 2.9sec, and has a top speed of 203mph.

The bespoke McLaren P1, meanwhile, receives a full ‘visual’ carbonfibre body conversion and also features new black alloy wheels, black Alcantara trim inside with contrasting blue stitching, and the same gold heat shield as the 675LT Spider.

Also present on McLaren’s Geneva show stand will be the 650S GT3 race car.

Read more Geneva motor show news

View the original article here

Chinese firm to showcase turbine EV technology at Geneva show

AppId is over the quota
Jump to navigation

Home China-based Techrules is set to reveal a new electric supercar concept that is claimed to be capable of covering 1000 miles on a single chargeTechrules concept

China-based automotive research and development company Techrules will reveal its new Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) system in an all-new electric supercar concept at the Geneva motor show next month.

A preview image released today gives very little away in terms of the actual model, but the real interest here is the turbine-electric powertrain. Details of exactly how the technology works have yet to be revealed, but Autocar understands that it uses a small turbine to physically recharge the battery while the car is being driven, resulting in an improved range.

The Chinese manufacturer is claiming a total electric range of more than 1242 miles and a massive power output of 1030bhp. By comparison, the Tesla Model S manages 330 miles between charges.

Turbine recharging has been around for a number of years. Jaguar used Bladen turbines – a gas-based turbine, developing electricity to charge the battery – in its C-X75 concept in 2010.

Techrules is a new automotive research and development company based in Bejing, China. The Chinese company says its goal is to develop automotive powertrains to help next-generation vehicles be more efficient and more environmentally friendly.

Read more Geneva motor show news

Danni Bagnall

Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S is an upmarket rear-wheel-drive electric saloon

In theory, this all-electric luxury car looks a hit. So is it in practice?

View the original article here

2016 Maserati Levante – latest spies reveal overall design

AppId is over the quota

The Maserati Levante SUV has been spied with lighter camouflage, which reveals some front-end styling details.

Camouflage cladding still covers much of the car’s bodywork in these latest spies, but the skin-tight nature of the cladding means the overall shape of the car can be seen more clearly, with a tapering roofline and rakish tailgate. The dramatically sculpted bonnet can also be seen in more detail, and the camouflage no longer shrouds the large front air intakes, which are deeper and give a more aggressive appearance than those of other Maseratis.

Although the camouflage is still fairly comprehensive, the Levante adopts a similar front-end styling treatment to other Maseratis, and previous spy shots show that the tail-light clusters closely follow the design of those of the Ghibli, Quattroporte and GranTurismo. The Levante also adopts the quad tailpipes featured on its stablemates.

Maserati’s upcoming Porsche Cayenne rival was also spied winter testing and road testing ahead of its launch in 2017. Its sales success is crucial to the firm’s rebirth as it builds towards launching the Alfieri sports car in 2018.

The Levante, which will rival the Porsche Cayenne in both size and intent, has been spied testing several times in recent months. Styling cues include a long bonnet and sloping roofline. Insiders say the car has been heavily restyled from the 2011 Kubang concept, with it subsequently taking design cues from the 2014 Alfieri sports car concept.

Giulio Pastore, Maserati’s European general manager, told Autocar that the success of the Levante in the burgeoning and hugely profitable SUV segment was crucial to Maserati’s plans to grow sales to 70,000 cars by 2018, and to generate enough profit to maintain investment in new products.

“We are building to 2018, when we will realise the potential of the brand,” said Pastore. “The Alfieri will represent the absolute DNA of the brand, and to build to that we must build a sustainable business. The Levante is a critical part of that; there is no life for a company that sells only sports cars, so its success is key to us.

“That is why we have invested so much in the Levante. It is our design, engineered entirely by Maserati and built to our values. It is a sports SUV with an emphasis on the sport, but with credible off-road capability and the unique Maserati qualities around style and sophistication. We will also always be more exclusive than our rivals – the Levante is something truly special.”

The Levante will be built at the firm’s Mirafiori plant and be unveiled at the 2016 Geneva motor show.

Maserati boss Harold Wester has previously revealed that the Levante will be based on “100% Maserati parts” and will not borrow anything from other Fiat-Chrysler brands, including Jeep. To that end it will be based on the same platform that underpins the Ghibli and Quattroporte, will be sized and priced between those models and use the same V6 and V8 engines, transmissions and all-wheel drive system as those cars.

Speaking at the last year’s Frankfurt motor show, Maserati boss Harald Wester confirmed the Levante will receive its global debut at the Geneva motor show.

He revealed that it would be based on “100% Maserati parts”, and would not borrow anything from other Fiat-Chrysler brands, including Jeep. To that end, it will be based on the same platform that underpins the Ghibli and Quattroporte, will be sized and priced between those models and will use the same V6 and V8 engines, transmissions and all-wheel drive system as those cars.

Wester, who ruled out a smaller SUV as he has no further plans to expand the range beyond the addition of the Levante and Alfieri sports car, said the Levante would sport many new features and innovations which would then drip down through the Maserati range.

Among these would be plug-in hybrid drivetrains, which will be offered in the Levante, Ghibli and Quattroporte from late 2017/early 2018, with appearances in the Alfieri and GranTurismo replacement likely. Diesels would continue to be offered in Maseratis following the launch of plug-ins, Wester confirmed, although they will not be in the sports models.

He said the production Levante would be “different in every way” from the concept car of the same name shown at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. It will have strong off-road ability “better than competitors”, Wester revealed, and would be as capable off road as a non-Trail Rated Jeep.

Wester revealed that SUV coupés were not in the Maserati plans, as he has no desire to fill niches with Maseratis. “We need to be a 100% SUV,” he said.

Wester also revealed that replacements for the GranTurismo and GranCabrio sports GT models were in the works and would arrive around the same time as the Alfieri in 2017.

One sports model that won’t be appearing is a Maserati version of LaFerrari, something that happened before when Maserati launched its own version of the Ferrari Enzo.

Maserati marketing director James Cowan told Autocar earlier this year that the SUV has the potential to be a “game-changer” for the brand. “It will be our biggest seller in many markets and will attract almost universally new customers to the brand,” he said. “The key factor is that it is a global vehicle; it will sell well in Europe, the US and China, and that gives us a broad base to approach sales from.”

The brand has set targets to grow sales to 75,000 units by 2018, of which around 3000 will be in the UK. “That’s massive growth from where we were in 2013, when we sold 319 cars in the UK, but it is still relatively niche,” said Cowan. “By 2018 we should have around 30 UK dealers – so that averages out at 100 sales per dealer, which should ensure customer service and experience remains top-notch.”

Wester has said the Levante is still a real Maserati and that it has been built as a response to the changing market: “Of course it is a real Maserati; sports and luxury can stand for different things. The market has changed, and the preference of our customers has changed. The sports car market has slowed down dramatically to 50,000 cars a year. The luxury SUV segment is 10 times that.”

View the original article here

Bentley considering all-electric model

AppId is over the quota
Jump to navigation

Home The Bentley board is weighing up offering an all-electric car but has confirmed the Bentayga SUV will get a plug-in hybrid option from 2018Bentley Bentayga

Bentley’s design team has drawn an all-electric car for the brand but there is no certainty it will make production.

New design director Stefan Sielaff revealed to Autocar his team had been charged with provoking debate within the company and that an all-electric Bentley was among the projects he had presented to the board to spark debate.

“Of course we are looking – and by sketching out proposals we are provoking emotions,” he said. “Not every idea we have is for production, but the creation of something physical to debate allows us to test new ideas. We don’t want to be thinking in one direction all the time – we want to challenge conventions.”

The Bentley Bentayga will be sold with a plug-in hybrid option from 2018, but Bentley’s board has mixed views on full electrification.

Head of sales and marketing Kevin Rose acknowledged the range and charging shortcomings of current electric tech, but added: “I’d like to offer an electric car. It’s far from certain, but customer demand is growing and it is on our agenda.”

However, Bentley boss Wolfgang Durheimer was more cautious, saying: “Plug-in hybrid will be available on all our models in time, but I don’t see that as stop-gap technology. It will give customers the range they are used to with the capability of running emissions-free in cities, for instance. That is a good compromise.

“Full electric is less certain. I don’t see it as a priority at the moment for our customers, nor as being crucial to our brand values.”

Bentley Bentayga

Bentley takes its first steps into the world of the sport utility vehicle

View the original article here

New 200mph Jaguar F-Type SVR revealed

AppId is over the quota

Jaguar has confirmed the full specifications of the F-Type SVR sports car ahead of its Geneva motor show debut next month.

Previously, Jaguar had only confirmed the 200mph top speed of the F-Type SVR coupé, although a leaked brochure revealed many more details. Now, Jaguar has confirmed that power will come from a 567bhp, 516lb ft version of the firm’s 5.0-litre supercharged V8. The F-Type SVR is four-wheel drive and uses an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The 1705kg F-Type SVR coupé can crack 0-60mph in 3.5sec and reach a 200mph top speed. The 1720kg convertible shares its 0-60mph time with the coupé but has a top speed reduced to 195mph. Economy and CO2 emissions figures are the same for both cars, at 25.0mpg and 269g/km respectively.

The SVR’s aerodynamic package is an uprated version of that used by the F-Type R on which the new model is based. It includes a new front end, a flat underfloor and a carbonfibre active rear wing.

The chassis has been tweaked, with new dampers and anti-roll bars added and stiffer rear knuckles fitted, while wider tyres wrap around lightweight 20in forged alloy wheels. Carbon-ceramic brakes provide stopping power.

A new titanium exhaust is said to give “an even more purposeful, harder-edged sound”. Completing the upgrades are new calibrations for the gearbox and the all-wheel drive, torque vectoring, adaptive dynamic, power steering and stability control systems.

The SVR coupé costs from £110,000 and the convertible from £115,485. Both are available to order now ahead of summer deliveries.

“The new F-Type SVR is the first series production Jaguar to be developed by Special Vehicle Operations and benefits from everything we know about precision engineering, performance and design,” said JLR’s special operations managing director John Edwards.

“The result is a 200mph, all-weather supercar that you can drive every day. We even made a Convertible version so that enthusiasts can revel in the sound from the new titanium exhaust system.”

Blog – Jaguar’s F-Type SVR needs to show us what ‘special’ means

View the original article here