Mazda: hybrid cars within two years

Mazda hybrid car
Source: www.whatcar.com

Mazda is planning to introduce hybrid technology into its next generation of models.

Mazda says environmental concerns and safety are high on its list of priorities and is hoping to install new 'green' technologies such as stop/start and petrol/electric hybrids into its cars within the next two years.

Mazda has already introduced hydrogen-fuelled cars into its line-up. Its RX-8 Hydrogen RE, which can run on either high-pressure hydrogen or petrol, is available for lease in Japan.

New Mazda 2: lighter, but no compromise
This week, the new Mazda 2 was launched in Geneva and the company was quick to point that its diesel model, due to go on sale in the UK in November, has the best fuel economy and lowest carbon dioxide emissions in its class.

The 1.4-litre diesel engine delivers an average fuel consumption of 65.7mpg and emits 114g/km of carbon dioxide, which puts it in road tax band B.

Shigeo Mizuno, the Mazda 2 programme manager, said weight reduction had been the key to the new model.

Engineers were told to find weight savings 'everywhere' and, as a result, the new Mazda 2 is 100kg lighter than the previous model.

Lightweight steels were used in the chassis and even measures such as shortening the wire harness were employed to shed weight. The car is also shorter and lower than the old car.

Mazda vehicle development chief Hirotaka Kanazawa said: 'Nowadays, cars are getting heavier and bigger, but this car has bucked that trend.

'This may be smaller than the old model but we have not compromised on interior or boot space - it's the perfect compromise.'

The old Mazda 2 sold around 5000 cars a year, but Mazda is hoping to double that with the new car.

Other engine choices
There are three petrol engines and one diesel engine to choose from. 74bhp and 85bhp 1.3-litre petrol variants are complemented by a 102bhp 1.5-litre petrol. The sole 1.4-litre diesel develops 67bhp.

The petrol versions will go on sale in the UK from September 8 and prices range from £8499 to £11,799. Prices for the diesel will be announced soon.

New Porsche tyres design from Russia, Moscow

New Porsche tyres design from Russia, Moscow :)

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MINI USA offers John Cooper works tuning kit for new MINI Cooper S

MINI USA announces the availability of the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit for the all-new MINI Cooper S introduced this year. The new kit, designed specifically for the Cooper S with a manual transmission and its twin-scroll turbocharged engine, offers increased horsepower and torque over that of the standard model. The tuning kit is just the latest addition to the successful line of MINI’s high performance John Cooper Works accessories which include suspension upgrades, performance wheels and tires, body kits as well as exterior and interior appearance accessories. A John Cooper Works Tuning kit calibrated for the MINI Cooper S with an Automatic transmission will be made available later in the year.The John Cooper Works Tuning Kit boosts the output of the twin scroll turbocharged engine from 172 to 189 horsepower. Maximum torque is also boosted from 177 foot-pounds between 1,000 and 5,000 rpm to 185 foot-pounds between 1,750 and 5,000 rpm. With MINI’s overboost function, peak torque for the kit reaches a temporary level of 200 foot-pounds between 1,750 to 4,500 rpm. Compared to the previous generation John Cooper Works Tuning Kit the new kit offers an improvement in performance at a significantly lower price while requiring fewer changes in components and labor time. Notable performance improvements are seen in the accelerations times: 2006 MINI Cooper S with JCW Kit 2007 MINI Cooper S with JCW Kit 0-60 MPH 6.5 seconds 6.5 seconds
50-75 MPH 4th gear 6.4 seconds 5.3 seconds
50-75 MPH 5th gear 6.7 Seconds 6.6 seconds
50-75 MPH 6th gear 8.9 seconds 7.6 seconds The unique John Cooper Works kit is sold exclusively through MINI dealers and is covered under MINI’s comprehensive new car warranty. Key features of the new 2007 John Cooper Works kit include a redesigned high-flow air intake box with a performance air filter element, a low-restriction dual pipe sport exhaust with larger diameter chrome tips and special reprogramming of the electronic control unit to improve throttle response and overall performance. The kit is also tastefully distinguished by JCW badges on the exterior of the car as well as under the bonnet. The air box that comes with the John Cooper Works Tuning Kit features a larger aperture to allow more fresh air to enter though a special low restriction filter element. In addition to dramatically increasing the airflow, the new air box creates a more powerful induction sound that compliments the impressive growl from the performance exhaust, also part of the kit. The enhanced Electronic Control Unit (ECU) programming has been recalibrated to optimize power output and drivability, resulting in lively throttle response and increased acceleration in the mid-range torque band. The reprogramming optimizes the power output by managing all engine control functions including airflow, combustion, fuel delivery and spark advance. The stainless steel Sport Exhaust System is a parallel-flow, low backpressure system with superb interior and exterior noise quality. The system adds a throatier, more powerful exhaust note, and has distinctive-looking twin chrome exhaust tips engraved with the John Cooper Works logos. Visual cues for the kit are understated and will appeal to the MINI enthusiast. Unique chrome John Cooper Works badge adorns the front grill and rear deck lid. Under the bonnet the low restriction air box is also distinguished with a John Cooper Works logo. The John Cooper Works kit is sold and professionally installed through all MINI dealers in the U.S. A MINI Cooper S equipped with the dealer-installed package is fully backed by MINI’s 4 year, 50,000-mile new car warranty. Owners of an existing MINI Cooper S may visit their local MINI dealer and have the kit installed at any time. The balance of the factory warranty will still remain in effect. The full 2007 John Cooper Works kit retails for $2,100.00 plus a recommended 2 hours of labor for installation. The Cooper name is forever entwined with MINI, originating with the 1961 MINI Cooper, which was developed by John Cooper. Recognizing MINI’s inherent motorsport potential, Mr. Cooper’s team produced cars that took numerous race titles, and the MINI Cooper S became the stuff of legends with three Monte Carlo Rally wins between 1964 and 1967, driven by greats such as Paddy Hopkirk and Rauno Aaltonen.

Toyota iPod Integration Kit

Toyota iPod Integration Kit

No more earpieces, no more fiddling with the clickwheel as you drive, no more fumbling on the floor to search for your wayward player: Toyota has come up with a perfect integration system that links Apple’s iPod directly to your car’s audio system. The iPod Integration Kit, available now, provides a simple and discreet connection in the glovebox. Simply plug in the iPod and a direct link is formed between the player and the audio system, letting you select and play tracks using the controls on the audio head unit or (where fitted) the controls on the steering wheel. Functions such as random play, scan, fast-forward, rewind and song or playlist repeat are all made possible.

On systems with CD text read-out, the playlist and selected track titles are shown, while on all units, the play list, track number and elapsed time are displayed. And there’s no risk of the music being cut short by a failing battery, as the adapter will charge up the iPod if the level runs low.

The unit is simple to install and has been developed with approval from Apple, earning it the Made for iPod certification of quality. Its location in the glovebox also keeps your iPod out of sight from prying eyes.

The iPod Integration Kit is compatible with all current generation iPod models that have an Apple dock connector. It will also work with many earlier generation versions, although in a few cases some functions may not be accessible. It can be used in any current Toyota or Lexus model, apart from Aygo. It is not currently available for LCVs.

The cost is £150, including owner’s manual and VAT, but not including fitting (approximately one hour).

Source: www.automotoportal.com


Jaguar Launches the 2009 XF saloon on Frankfurt Motor Show 2007

2007 Frankfurt Motor Show Cars Preview: Jaguar’s replacement for the aging S-Type has just been revealed ahead of its debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show 2007. The all-new XF is a crucial model for Jaguar and is the first expression of its new design language in a four-door sedan model.

Jaguar 2009 XF Keen to shed the old and stodgy image that plagued the previous S-Type, Jaguar designers have given the XF a slick new look drawn from the lines of the X-CF concept car. They then packed it with enough with high-tech gizmos to match the car’s modern lines. Some of these include LED detailed headlights, new shift-by-wire transmission control for quicker gearshifts, an optional Bowers & Wilkins designed stereo and voice-activated control for many ancillary features.

Four different versions will be on offer, a 300hp (224kW) naturally aspirated car with a 4.2L V8 that enables a 0-60mph time of 6.2 seconds, a new ‘SV8’ flagship with a 420hp (313kW) supercharged version of the same engine and a 0-60mph time of 5.4 seconds, a smaller 240hp (179kW) 3.0L V6 and a 210hp (157kW) 2.7L turbodiesel that takes 7.9 seconds to reach the ton. All the cars are electronically limited to a top-speed of 155mph (diesel maxes at 143mph) and come with a six-speed auto with steering wheel paddle shifters for the gear changes.

The Jaguar 2009 XF rides on a conventional steel chassis, like its predecessor, but utilizes aluminum, composites and magnesium in places to help shed weight. It also shares the older S-Type’s 2909mm wheelbase, plus its double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension set-up. Kerb weight measures in at 1749kg for the naturally aspirated V8 and tops out at 1842kg for the supercharged car.
Jaguar 2009 XF Lets looking forward to the Jaguar 2009 XF Saloon at 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show

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Wiesmann GT with BMW V10 power confirmed for Frankfurt Motor Show 07

Wiesmann is confirmed to present its new GT MF 5 coupe at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the first major update for the model since its introduction almost two years ago. Despite its retro styling, there’s nothing old fashioned about the car’s new powerplant. Residing under its long hood will be the same 507hp (373kW) V10 found in the potent M5 and M6 models from BMW.Weighing just 1,250kg, a Wiesmann GT packing the 5.0L V10 engine would offer a significant leap in performance compared with the 362hp (270kW) currently available. Expect performance to better the current car’s 0-100km/h time of 4.6 seconds and top speed of 280km/h. Production of the car hasn’t started as yet as testing is still being finalized. Early reports suggest the car will arrive in dealerships by the middle of next year. The new model will also be differentiated from the standard models with several subtle stylistic changes.
Wiesmann’s V10 GT MF 5 [source: Motor Authority]


Corsa OPC Sets Circuit Record on Nürburgring Nordschleife

The Nürburgring Nordschleife, nicknamed the “Green Hell”, met its match today in the shape of a standard production Corsa OPC. After 20.8 challenging kilometers, the stopwatch showed eight minutes, 8m47.99 seconds – a new record for a supermini. Manuel Reuter set the officially confirmed circuit record during level four of Opel’s popular motorsport initiative called “OPC Race Camp”. The former Opel works driver and current head of the innovative racing driver talent search showed the candidates just what the 141 kW/192 hp top-of-the-line Corsa OPC is capable of. Reuter has already set class records on the legendary Nordschleife with the Astra OPC and Zafira OPC.Manuel Reuter, who is involved with the chassis tuning and post launch modifications to OPC variants, said: “You can sense that this car had its final tuning here on the most demanding racing circuit in the world. The Corsa OPC reacts directly to driving commands and remains fully predictable even well into the car’s physical limits.” The Nürburgring, and in particular the famous Nordschleife circuit, is Opel territory, as development engineers from Rüsselsheim regularly test and optimize the driving dynamics of new models there. The Corsa OPC, which has been on sale since March and already exceeded the planned annual sales target of 3000 units, also offers top class everyday driving fun away from the racing circuit. The sporty top version of the fourth-generation Corsa has a 1.6-liter turbo engine, which accelerates the car from zero to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds. The Corsa OPC has a top speed of 225 km/h, and its maximum torque of 230 Nm can be temporarily increased by 15 percent via the Overboost function. The Corsa OPC’s only conservative trait is its fuel consumption – just 7.9 liters per 100 km.


All-new Dodge Journey revealed

Dodge designers and engineers have answered the needs of the global passenger car market, as well as the needs of individual drivers, and delivered the all-new Dodge Journey: a global vehicle that meets life’s changing demands by offering a unique combination of versatility and flexibility in a sporty, sexy package.This all-new vehicle takes the practicality of a minivan, the capability of a sport-utility vehicle (SUV) and the overall efficiency of a passenger car and blends all the best attributes of each into an all-new “right-sized” crossover for the Dodge brand. “The all-new Dodge Journey gives our customers the entire package,” said Michael Manley, Executive Vice President – International Sales, Marketing and Business Development, Chrysler. “With its unique combination of purposeful versatility and bold, youthful styling, this new vehicle from Dodge delivers safety, quality and reliability at a great value. Journey also blends innovative technology, entertainment features and useful storage, all wrapped together with an attitude that can only be Dodge.” The Dodge Journey is built on the company’s global D-segment platform and is designed to meet the needs of customers ranging from young singles, couples and families with small children to mature families who want the flexibility to do more in terms of seating people or storing gear. Clever, flexible seating and storage combinations include standard five-passenger seating with spacious cargo room and available 5+2 seating, for times when additional passengers are along on the journey. Spacious storage bins, hidden in the floor and under the front passenger seat cushion, combined with a variety of fuel-efficient and powerful powertrain options, make Dodge Journey flexible, functional and fun-to-drive. Safety also is at the top of mind for customers, and the Dodge Journey delivers with standard multi-stage front driver and passenger air bags, front-seat-mounted side air bags, three-row side-curtain air bags, standard four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes (ABS), standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP), standard Electronic Roll Mitigation, an available back-up camera and available all-wheel drive (AWD) in the United States and Canada. The 2009 model-year Dodge Journey will be available in U.S. dealerships with both five-passenger and available 5+2 seating in SE, SXT and R/T models in the first quarter of 2008 and in global volume markets outside North America in both left-hand and right-hand drive, starting in mid-2008.

Land Rover launches the 2008 LR2 HSE

Since its introduction in April 2007 the all-new Land Rover LR2 has enjoyed strong sales and to reinforce its line-up in the U.S., Land Rover North America today announced the introduction of a new and enhanced derivative – the LR2 HSE. This new version has a sportier stance than the LR2 SE due to body color bumpers and side sills, a rear spoiler, titanium door handles and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Changes to the interior see 8x6-way power adjustable seats and a storage box with a sliding cover.“The LR2 reflects Land Rover’s dynamic design, with a smart and spacious interior and an abundance of advanced technologies. It has been very well received around the world since its introduction,” said Phil Popham, Land Rover's Managing Director. “The HSE version offers subtle changes for those customers seeking a slightly different look to their LR2." All of the technical highlights of the LR2 SE are carried over into to the HSE model. These include a 3.2-liter inline-six engine that develops 230 bhp and provides 0-60 mph acceleration in 8.4 seconds (0-100 km/h in 8.9 seconds). The engine is matched to a new six-speed automatic transmission, with Land Rover’s CommandShift™ offering manual sequential gear changes when required. There is also a driver-selectable sport mode for even more responsive performance. The LR2 HSE is packed with technologies to improve both on-road and off-road performance. Land Rover’s unique Terrain Response™ system is standard, making off-road use easier. Other advanced technologies include a new permanent intelligent all-wheel-drive system for superior traction and better on-road fuel economy. The patented Gradient Release Control works in conjunction with Hill Descent Control to improve driver confidence and control when releasing the brakes on steep and slippery slopes. The LR2 HSE will be available November 1, 2007 at Land Rover retailers nationwide.


Castagna Aznom

Back when Top Gear was young and impressionable, we thought a coachbuilder was a mutant amalgamation of a football coach and a bodybuilder - a steroid-pumped, whistle-blowing, press-up dictating maniac.

And, on the evidence of the coachbuilt Castagna Aznom, we weren't too far off the truth.

This snarling lump of supercar is the product of Italian firm Castagna Milano, and it's the scariest thing to come out of Italy since Caligula. (Always on the ball with topical references, us.)

Coachbuilding, of course, is the art of sticking a new body on an existing chassis, and the frame that underpines the Aznom is that of the Corvette Z06.

However, Castagna has bolted a carbon fibre/aluminium frame on top, taking styling cues off the 'Vettes of the 50s and 60s to create a deep-vented, mad-grilled schoolboy fantasy.

A retracting rear wing, F430-esque rear diffuser and fat 20-inch alloys give the Aznom plenty of intent, but we're not so keen on those stuck-on wing mirrors. There are a few more cultured touches inside the cabin, including a Google Earth satnav system.

Castagna has also fettled the Z06's seven-litre V8 up to a massive 750bhp, which should be good for a 0-60mph time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 217mph.

And that's before it gets down the gym and puts in some serious reps on the ergs. Or whatever it is that goes on in gyms.

© Source: topgear
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Rendered Speculation: Ford Fiesta Concept sketches surface

Auto Express has published a series of renderings that it swears are a dead ringer for the Ford Fiesta Concept that will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. If that's true, then it's a very good thing, as the sketches show a B-class car that's one part Mondeo and one part S-Max with a pinch of attitude for flavor. The Ford of Europe kinetic design language that debuted on the Iosis Concept two years ago has filtered down into production quite nicely, and this latest application on the Fiesta Concept is a tiny jewel. We particularly like the up-kink at the C-pillar and how the Iosis headlights extend from its grille all the way back to the A-pillar, nearly covering the front fenders entirely. Auto Express breaks down the design panel by panel, but we're content to just look for now while we wait for the vehicle's official debut on Friday. Click the Read link to view more renderings over at Auto Express.
 Ford Fiesta Concept sketches
[Source: Auto Express]

Nissan Qashqai – a popular choice with female drivers

Nissan’s popular compact crossover, QASHQAI, has been voted best Family Hold-all in the inaugural women’s Car of the Year awards conducted by evecars.com. QASHQAI beat off stiff competition from more traditional models from Volkswagen and Honda to pick up the award, its second high-profile accolade of the year. An expert panel of women, joined by What Car? Editor Steve Fowler, put the cars through rigorous assessments to reflect what women are looking for when buying a car.Editor of evecars.com Alex Jenner-Fust said: “The judges were impressed by the QASHQAI’s classy cabin, and the visibility afforded by the high-set seating position. They found it comfortable, spacious and straightforward to drive. Safety and value for money were both strong points too.” Gary Frigo, Nissan’s managing director commented: “This is the second award for QASHQAI in its first six months of sale. QASHQAI offers an alternative to the conventional hatchback and is the perfect vehicle for families who need space and comfort without compromising on style.” QASHQAI went on sale on 1 March and since then, over 9700 have been sold. Available with a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines, QASHQAI offers a unique blend of 4x4 strength, interior space of a hatchback and the sleek image of a coupe. Prices starting at £13,499 for a 1.6-litre Visia model rising to £23,249 for the 2.0-litre diesel Tekna with automatic transmission and Nissan’s acclaimed Birdview™ DVD satellite Navigation.

First New Astra Sedan Leaves Production Line in Gliwice

The first new Astra sedan model has left the production line at General Motor’s plant in Gliwice, Poland. The four-door notchback variant, which made its world premiere last November at the Istanbul Motor Show, has been primarily developed for the Central and Eastern European growth markets. Together with the Zafira and Astra Classic, this is the third model currently being produced in Gliwice.


Opel Presents Corsa Hybrid Concept

Opel presents a range of especially economical and low-emission vehicles at the IAA in Frankfurt (September 13 – 23, 2007). The current models showcase how automotive technology will look in the near future: the Corsa Hybrid concept car uses innovative technology with starter generator and stop/start automatic transmission which contributes to an average consumption of about 3,75 liters of diesel per 100 km (99 g CO2/km). The Vectra Flexpower with a 2.0-liter turbo engine designed for operation with bioethanol/gasoline mix also makes its debut at the IAA.

2007 Frankfurt Motor Preview: Citroën C5 Airscape - full details, hi-res gallery

Citroën has officially released everything its got on the C5 Airscape Concept that leaked out a few days ago, and it turns out our guess that it incorporated a soft top beneath its tonneau cover was wrong. The C5 Airscape will actually shade its occupants with a folding hard top made out of lightweight, strong and certainly expensive carbon fiber.

Billed as an "executive cabriolet", the C5 Airscape is a four-seat hard-top convertible with expressive styling that looks less like a concept and more like a production ready prototype. Its length is accentuated by a sharp crease running the vehicle's length that also incorporates a strip of chrome acting as a door handle for both sets of doors. The cabin is covered in rich looking Chocolate Brown leather and reportedly features just as many chrome accents as the exterior, though Citroën didn't provide any interior shots.

The concept rides on unique 19-inch alloy wheels that are turned by a 2.7LHDi V6 engine producing 208bhp and augmented by what Citroën calls an 'UrbanHybrid' system. Much like the mild hybrid system used by GM, Citroën's set up incorporates a reversible alternator-starter and super capacitors that can both power accessory systems like the A/C and stereo, as well as give the diesel engine a shot of extra torque when needed.

The C5 Airscape will officially debut in Frankfurt next month and gives us a preview of the new C5 sedan, which we expect to meet next March in Geneva.

[Source: Citroën]
Citroën C5 Airscape Citroën C5 Airscape Citroën C5 Airscape

Citroën C5 Airscape Citroën C5 Airscape

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Castagna Aznom

Back when Top Gear was young and impressionable, we thought a coachbuilder was a mutant amalgamation of a football coach and a bodybuilder - a steroid-pumped, whistle-blowing, press-up dictating maniac.

And, on the evidence of the coachbuilt Castagna Aznom, we weren't too far off the truth.

This snarling lump of supercar is the product of Italian firm Castagna Milano, and it's the scariest thing to come out of Italy since Caligula. (Always on the ball with topical references, us.)

Coachbuilding, of course, is the art of sticking a new body on an existing chassis, and the frame that underpines the Aznom is that of the Corvette Z06.

However, Castagna has bolted a carbon fibre/aluminium frame on top, taking styling cues off the 'Vettes of the 50s and 60s to create a deep-vented, mad-grilled schoolboy fantasy.

A retracting rear wing, F430-esque rear diffuser and fat 20-inch alloys give the Aznom plenty of intent, but we're not so keen on those stuck-on wing mirrors. There are a few more cultured touches inside the cabin, including a Google Earth satnav system.

Castagna has also fettled the Z06's seven-litre V8 up to a massive 750bhp, which should be good for a 0-60mph time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 217mph.

And that's before it gets down the gym and puts in some serious reps on the ergs. Or whatever it is that goes on in gyms.

© Source: topgear
We need your comments below >>

Toyota Announces Prices For 2008 Highlander Hybrid

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., announced manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) today for the all-new 2008 Highlander Hybrid. A best-in-class fuel economy and emissions leader, Highlander Hybrid with Hybrid Synergy Drive™ has been enhanced for power, roominess and economy in 2008. It is noticeably quieter, larger and smarter, with significantly improved versatility and ride comfort. The 2008 Highlander Hybrid will have one of the most comprehensive lists of standard safety features in the mid-size SUV class where safety is at the top of purchase considerations.


2008 Aston Martin DBS Spy Shots

The DBS will launch the new Aston Martin era with one hell of a bang. Set to go into production in October, it'll be quicker than any Aston road car before it, thanks to its massaged V-12. It'll weigh about 220 pounds less than a regular DB9. It'll wear a body kit designed to help it slice through the air more cleanly. And it'll introduce high-tech materials and a new upgraded cockpit for the entire DB line.

The ultimate embodiment of the DB9 coupe, the DBS will replace the muscular Vanquish as the flagship Aston Martin, although senior execs struggle to admit it.

"It'll be our halo car and will have superior performance to the now-aged Vanquish," said Aston's Ulrich Bez earlier this year, before quickly countering: "It's not the Vanquish successor, but another car to raise awareness of the brand." Adds design director Marek Reichman, "The DBS isn't replacing the Vanquish; it's a standalone product based on the DB9."

The $260,000 Vanquish goes out of production shortly. The price of the DBS? About the same. And with just 300 cars to be produced each year, the DBS will be as exclusive as, er...the Vanquish. Still, reading between the lines, Bez and Reichman are clearly leaving room for a new Aston supercar to slide in above the DBS at some point in the future.

At least they can stop acting like caring parents protecting their eldest child from a younger, more talented sibling. When the 450-horse DB9 was launched in 2004, it immediately matched the heavier, pricier Vanquish, which needed some nurturing-well a 51-horse boost-to stay on top. But without the need to protect the Vanquish, the DBS is edgier: lighter, louder, and faster.
2008 Aston Martin DBSIs it a track-day car? "Absolutely," says Reichman. But it won't be a stripped-out street racer like Ferrari's 360 Challenge Stradale. "We want an element of luxury, too. It'll still be swathed in carpet, but a carpet made of lighter materials. There'll still be leather and Alcantara." Bez puts it this way: "The DBS is brutal, but dressed in black tie."

A bit like Daniel Craig's edgier, darker, more intense James Bond, then, though Reichman, who started work on the DBS in October 2005, insists the car's crash-and-burn cameo in "Casino Royale" was never on the original agenda. "Part of my brief was to make the DB9 look more edgy, like a tough guy in a dinner suit," he says. " I wanted to convey strength, power, and agility." One month into the design phase, however, the producers of the James Bond films walked into Reichman's studio, and the seeds were sown for Aston's return to the big screen.

"We didn't design the car for Bond; we wanted a flagship DB9," insists Reichman. "That's what the project is about." Bond, did, however, influence the new Aston's name: Australian George Lazenby drove a DBS in his sole performance as 007 in 1969's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." (Lazenby trivia: He served in Australia's SAS [special forces] before becoming one of the world's highest-paid male models and Europe's Marlboro Man.) Reichman says the "S" is appropriate for the car's sporting intent.

Whether the DBS is officially Aston's halo model, insiders admit it is the company's technology flagship. Naturally, the car is built on the DB9's aluminum VH chassis, and the exotic materials don't end there. The new body kit is carbon fiber and all business. "Everything is present for an engineering reason, nothing is extraneous," notes Reichman. The new lower bumper section feeds more air to the enlarged radiator and oil cooler and also helps cool the standard carbon ceramic brake rotors.

2008 Aston Martin DBS 2008 Aston Martin DBS
Additional apertures in the hood help vent heat from the upgraded V-12 underneath, which will kick out 510 horses, according to Aston. The fenders have been pumped out to cover the wider track and new 20-inch-diameter wheels, and the right height has been dropped 20 mm. Reprofiled sills better manage airflow along the sides of the car, and a large rear diffuser helps improve high-speed stability.

"The DBS is a lighter car with more efficient aerodynamics and more horsepower," says Reichman. "Naturally, that equates to..." With the final specification still to be determined and targets a closely guarded secret, Reichman trails off. But his sentence could be finished thus: "higher performance." With a power-to-weight ratio close to that of a Porsche 991 Turbo, the DBS should run 0-to-60 mph in close to four seconds even, with a top speed naturally north of the DB9's 176 mph.
2008 Aston Martin DBS 2008 Aston Martin DBS

Inside, Reichman has taken the opportunity to rework the DB9's fiddly ergonomics. "For performance driving, you need the controls at your fingertips," he points out. "We've reconfigured the center stack to make it more functional, more precise." The HVAC and audio controls are now more user-friendly, and the paddleshift automatic trans has been replaced by a regular six-speed manual (an auto will be available on the production version, however).

Despite being completed in six months to meet an April 2006 shot schedule for "Casino Royale," the DBS had been in a holding pattern while Ford negotiated the sale of Aston Martin. But production is now confirmed for the fall.So prepare for sensory overload. The DBS looks gorgeous, the interior materials feel sensational, and the V-12's bark is apocalyptic. Concludes Reichman: "It's a to-die-for car." A sentiment of which James Bond would definitely approve.
[source: Motor Trend]

New Audi A3 will be free to charge into London

Londoners may breathe slightly easier in the knowledge that a specially developed A3 1.9 TDI joins the Audi range this month with extensive revisions that ensure it will fall under the proposed 120g/km CO2 limit permitting exemption from the congestion charge. Available in three-door and five-door Sportback body styles, the new A3 1.9 TDI is priced from £16,660 OTR.

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Aston Martin Introduces the Ultimate Luxury Sports Car – the DBS

Aston Martin will unveil the most eagerly anticipated car of the year when the new DBS is revealed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 16th, where the company takes a starring role as the featured marque. Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez, said: “The DBS is the ultimate expression of Aston Martin’s engineering and technical ability. It offers pure performance without compromise. “The DBS delivers the complete driving experience and bridges the gap between our road and track cars – the DB9 and DBR9.”

All-new Avenger brings Dodge attitude to the UK

The Dodge brand is running on all cylinders in the UK with the introduction of the Dodge Avenger – an all-new four-door family saloon that combines bold, aggressive Dodge styling with power and performance, fuel efficiency, innovative interior features and high levels of safety and reliability.


Loremo working prototype debuting in 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show

It certainly looks cool, but even fuel mileage in the realm of 117 mpg may not be enough to convince buyers that the nearly totally impractical configuration is worth it. Seriously, a car you have to shimmy over the fender to get into? Think of how much fun that'd be in the winter, especially if you wanted to keep your pant leg clean. Do the Limbo Rock! The concept has nice lines, looking like an update of one of those "car of the future" flights of fancy from the 1950's. Fitting right into that theme is the tilt-away windscreen and controls – again more fun for inclement weather. Well, that was cathartic. The real news here is that a roadworthy prototype will hit the stand this September in Frankfurt. Details between the showgoing car and actual production models may vary slightly, but the show car will be a very close approximation of what Loremo hopes to offer for sale. One thing that's definitely going to come in for adjustment are the fuel consumption figures. The 117 mpg figure was realized with a computer simulation, so we'd expect that number to change as the prototype goes about proving out all the theory. In addition to the motor show circuit, Loremo will be competing for the California X-Prize in hopes of securing further development funding.


Peugeot 407 Coupe – new HDi 136 and sport models

One of the most important changes to the 407 Coupé line up is the launch of a new derivative – the HDi 136 – and now available to order. The new 407 Coupé HDi 136 has a CO2 output of just 156g/km with 48.0mpg on the Combined Cycle. It can achieve a top speed of 129mph, and 62mph from standstill in 10.1 seconds. Coinciding with the launch of this new model is a revised Coupé range, with a single ‘Sport’ trim level and a choice of four engines; the new 2.0-litre HDi 136, the 2.2-litre petrol, the 3.0-litre V6 petrol manual and the 2.7-litre V6 HDi automatic.


Audi: Over 1,000,000 engines produced in the first six months of the year for the first time

AUDI HUNGARIA MOTOR Kft. has set another engine production record during the first half of 2007: the company has already exceeded the one million mark in the first six months of the year. 1,013,697 (994,777)* engines were produced in Győr by the end of June, 1.9% more than in the same period last year. There was also a significant increase in the production of the Audi TT and TT Roadster sports cars during the first half of the year. 32,089 (5,194) vehicles left the factory floor.


2007 Frankfurt Auto Preview: MINI's track-prepped John Cooper Works Challenge

MINI will unveil a new track-only car at Frankfurt: the John Cooper Works CHALLENGE. The race-ready hatch incorporates extensive revisions to the engine and suspension to ensure that it is essentially maxed-out in all areas of performance. New pistons, a reworked turbocharger, new intake and exhaust plumbing and a reprogrammed engine management system highlight the underhood mods. Power is channeled up front via a six-speed manual. The chassis is upgraded with a race suspension, and new four-piston brakes hide behind the Dunlop-shod Borbet wheels. The entire package is wrapped in a John Cooper Works aero kit that features an adjustable rear spoiler, a rear diffuser, and a new front spoiler. Since the car is intended to be raced, a full roll cage is welded in, the stock front seats are replaced by Recaro buckets with six-point harnesses, and a HANS device is also included. The car is basically a ready-to-rock package for racing teams participating in the MINI Challenge series held in certain markets. For those not inclined to participate in the series, however, it looks like a very entertaining track-day bomber. The price is set at €49,900 including VAT. The order form goes online on September 11, 2007, and racing teams will begin taking delivery of the cars in March of next year. Private buyers will have their orders filled starting next June. Follow the jump for MINI's full press release.
MINI's track-prepped John Cooper [Source: MINI]

New Chevrolet Aveo to make Frankfurt debut

There’s a new face to look out for at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, as Chevrolet will be pulling the wraps off its latest supermini offering, the Aveo. One of the Aveo’s most striking features is its dramatically-styled exterior. The radiator grille is split horizontally, with curved clear glass headlamps and the company’s trademark ‘bow-tie’ logo becomes a styling feature in itself, while at the rear, new clear glass lamp lenses add to the model’s futuristic style.


Drive Experience: Citroen C-Crosser Exclusive HDi

Citroen is ready to make a splash in the mud... in the UK! Up until now, the French firm hasn’t dipped a toe in the SUV class. But that’s about to change as the C-Crosser is bursting into the off-roader market.

If you’re getting a sense of déjà vu, that’s because the newcomer is part of a collaboration between Mitsubishi and PSA Peugeot Citroen. This has pro-duced the Outlander and the Peugeot 4007; we drove the latter in Issue 970.

All three get the same platform, 4x4 drivetrain and near-identical styling. Only at the front is there any variation, and in our view, the C-Crosser is the most handsome of the trio. With neat lights, the classy Citroen double-chevron grille and a sporty lower air intake, it’s not exactly a head-turner, but it has a friendlier face than the far more aggressive 4007.

Rivals include the Land Rover Free­lander, Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Captiva and Vauxhall Antara, so the French off-roader needs to look, and act, sharp in order to survive.
Citroen C-Crosser Exclusive HDi Along with its sister cars, the C-Crosser does have an advantage in this sector: it comes as standard with a handy seven-seat layout. The third row is quite cramped, as it is in the Captiva, while the seat folding mechanism has a cheap and flimsy feel. But there’s no denying the extra flexibility the layout provides. And boot space is decent. In five-seat mode, the load area has 510 litres of space; fold the rear seats flat, and this increases to 1,686 litres. The useful split tailgate supports items weigh­ing up to 200kg, too.

Up front, the cabin is well laid-out, the driving position commanding and the standard equipment tally generous. The VTR+ comes with air-conditioning, cruise control and auto­matic headlights, while our flagship Exclusive adds leather, rear parking sensors and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Unfortunately, the design flair the maker has used to differentiate the C-Crosser from the Outlander outside isn’t replicated in the cabin. The finish isn’t as good as on other Citroens – such as the C4 Picasso – either.
Citroen C-Crosser Exclusive HDi Still, the driving experience is good. The newcomer features the same stiff suspension set-up as the Peugeot and Mitsubishi, which means it’s surprisingly car-like. The steering is accurate, there’s plenty of grip and body roll is minimal – although the ride is rather firm, and not as com­fortable as other Citroen models.

Aiding stability is an electronically controlled 4x4 system, engaged by a switch next to the gearlever. Power from the 156bhp 2.2-litre HDi diesel can be sent to the front wheels or all four, but it’s best to leave the system in ‘auto’ mode and let it feed the diesel’s impressive 380Nm of torque to the tyres that need it most.

There’s a setting which locks the differentials, too, aiding traction over slippery terrain. But as ground clearance is so limited, the C-Crosser isn’t really a full-on mud-plugger in the same way as the Freelander.

Back on the tarmac, the punchy engine provides impressive acceler­ation. It’s quite green, too, returning nearly 40mpg and emitting 191g/km of CO2. However, it is rather noisy.

Buyers are offered a choice of two specification levels: the VTR+ costs £22,790, while the range-topping Exclusive we drove is £25,490 – the prices are exactly the same as for the equivalent 4007 models. By comparison, the Outlander will set you back around £1,000 less.

To put this into perspective, if you want a seven-seat Citroen, a luxuriously equipped C4 Picasso is nearly £4,000 cheaper. It’s no off-roader, but is a class-leading family transporter. The C-Crosser is unlikely to claim a similar title in compact SUV circles.


2007 Frank­furt Motor Show Preview:Renault Clio Grand Tour

We’ve driven Renault’s gold standard! In a world exclusive, Auto Express has taken to the road in the biggest Clio ever – but is it good enough to make it to the top of the podium?

With nearly 200bhp, a redesigned front end and a sleek panoramic glass roof, this Renault has got something for every­one! What’s more, the sexy new model will be revealed in full production-ready form at the Frank­furt Motor Show next month.

The Clio Grand Tour was a surprise star of the Geneva expo earlier this year. As soon as you clap eyes on the car, it’s clear that the newly launched Peugeot 207 SW will face some stiff competition in the style stakes.

Renault is very keen to attract young, trendy buyers to its forthcoming more practical Clio, so it’s no surprise that the Grand Tour is based on a Renault­sport Clio 197. It comes with only three doors, and sits low down on gold alloy wheels.

Designers cite cult TV show Pimp My Ride as the inspiration for the front, and they have given it a low spoiler and chrome detailing around the traditional Clio grille. A brushed aluminium shroud covers the air vents behind the front wheels, while the shoulder line rises to the rear, providing the car with a sporty profile.
Renault Clio Grand Tour The back end is finished off with a subtle roof-mounted spoiler, and brushed aluminium body inserts surround the sporty twin tailpipes. It’s not revolutionary, but it looks clean and classy, and not unlike the Volvo C30 in profile. To compete with the Peugeot estate, Renault bosses know their contender must also be highly practical. So the Grand Tour is 30cm longer than a standard Clio – with most of that in the wheelbase.

The reward is 147 litres more boot space than in the hatch, even before the back seats are folded. Plus, the tailgate goes all the way down to the boot floor for easy loading.
Renault Clio Grand Tour By incorporating the registration plate and bumper in the rear door, there’s no awkward lip to lift luggage over. And to demonstrate the usability of such a system even further, the manufacturer has also fitted a storage drawer and even a stool in the boot floor, which you can pull out when the tailgate is open.

The unforgiving seats remind you that this car is still at the concept stage, but there are a number of features the stylists are keen to see in production. These include an extra- wide satellite navigation screen, with a joystick to control its functions, plus a Neoprene gearlever gaiter.
Renault Clio Grand Tour You could easily imagine the thick-rimmed wheel in a production vehicle and, on the road, this working model isn’t too far removed from the final version. It uses the same 194bhp engine as the range-topping Clio, which gives it plenty of punch. Even though this is a precious prototype, you can accelerate hard all the way through the gears, and the power­plant res­ponds with a rasping exhaust note. The flipside is that this lack of sound insulation, combined with fibreglass and carbon fibre bodywork, makes for a ride that’s anything but refined.

Still, the glass roof adds a sense of occasion, providing a clear view of the sky. And while it feels special on the inside, the car’s shape is also truly attention grabbing.

To start with at least, the production Clio load-lugger will have a traditional five-door layout. But it’s still set to bring a welcome dose of style to the oversized supermini market.