Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Quick news: Volvo V40 pricing; Ford's carbon panels; Honda hydrogen plans

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 06:20 AM PDT

Pricing revealed for V40 R Design, V40 Cross Country and SsangYong Korando pickup; Ford develops carbonfibre bonnet; Citroën DS5 Hybrid4 CO2 reduced

The Volvo V40 R-design and V40 Cross Country are priced from £22,295 and £22,595 respectively. R-design highlights include a new front bumper and rear diffuser, five-spoke 17in alloys, R-embossed upholstery and sports steering wheel and pedals. The Cross Country features auto-folding door mirrors, 16in alloys, automatic wipers, bespoke upholstery, tread plates and silver roof rails. Both models are available in 'Lux' trim, full leather upholstery and adaptive xenon headlights. Deliveries begin in January 2013.

Ford has unveiled a prototype carbonfibre bonnet it hopes will help lower fuel consumption. The carbonfibre reinforced plastic is claimed to be 50 per cent lighter than standard items, five times as strong and twice as rigid. Ford plans to continue developing cost-effective means of saving fuel, culminating in reducing the weight of its cars by up to 340kg by the end of the decade.

Honda, along with Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with organisations from Nordic countries, to support the introduction of fuel cell vehicles between 2014 and 2017. The agreement also applies to the development of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. 

SsangYong has announced its pricing and specification for its Korando Sports Pick-up. The commercial vehicle is priced between £18,295 and £21,245 in SX and EX trims. SX models are equipped with 16in alloy wheels, tinted glass, air-con, remote central locking and Bluetooth connectivity. EX models feature leather trim, heated front seats, electric folding door mirrors and rear parking sensors. Both levels are powered by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel producing 152bhp and 265lb ft. 

The Citroën DS5 Hybrid4 has received a number of updates to improve efficiency. New engine management software, improved energy recovery and a new battery management system means CO2 emissions have fallen. The DSign model now records 91g/km, down from 99g/km, while DStyle and DSport variants emit 102g/km, down from 107g/km. Additionally, 17in 'Houston' alloy wheels are a no-cost option on DStyle and DSport models, reducing CO2 further to 91g/km.

Vauxhall's new 197bhp 1.6-litre turbo announced

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 04:49 AM PDT

Vauxhall has revealed the first in a line of new engines, which will premiere in the forthcoming Cascada

Vauxhall has revealed a new turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that will offered across its line-up, starting with the soon-to-be-revealed Astra-based Cascada convertible, from early 2013. 

The aluminium block unit, the first in a range of so-called SIDI (spark ignition direct injection) Ecotec engines that form the centrepiece of the company's downsizing strategy, is claimed to boast vastly improved torque characteristics and a significant reduction in consumption over the engine it replaces.

In standard trim, known as Eco Turbo, the 1.6-litre engine kicks out a claimed 168bhp and 206lb ft of torque – some 54bhp and 92lb ft more than the version of Vauxhall's existing 1.6-litre engine offered in the Astra

In a higher state of tune, in which it gains the working title Performance Turbo, the new engine's reserves rise to 197bhp and 211lb ft, an increase of 20bhp and 52lb ft on the more powerful of the Astra's 1.6-litre units.

Despite claiming fuel savings of up to 13 per cent, Vauxhall is yet to announce specific details to its new engine on a model for model basis.

Lamborghini Aventador roadster spied testing

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 02:43 AM PDT

Lamborghini's flagship roadster will have a two-piece carbonfibre roof and debut at Geneva next year

The roadster version of the Lamborghini Aventador is set to use a two-piece carbonfibre roof rather than a removable soft-top, judging by these spy pictures of it on a German autobahn.

The Aventador roadster's predecessor, the Murciélago roadster, used a fabric roof that could be stored in the boot, but it was tricky to operate and the car could only be driven to a maximum speed of 99mph with it on.

Switching to a hard-top will mean the car will be able to travel at a higher speed with the roof on, and much of the coupé's rigidity should remain.The two-piece carbonfibre roof and underlying frame used for the Aventador roadster is understood to be lighter than the Murciélago roadster's fabric roof and metal frame. However, it is not clear where the roof will be stored when removed.

Save from the roof, the Aventador roadster is likely to be mechanically identical to the all-wheel coupé, sharing its 690bhp 6.5-litre V12 engine.The Aventador roadster is tipped to launch at the Geneva motor show in 2013.

Toyota recalls 138,000 UK cars

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 01:36 AM PDT

Faulty electric window switch affects RAV4, Corolla, Yaris and Auris models. It could catch fire if incorrectly lubricated

Toyota is recalling 138,000 cars in the UK due to a faulty electric window switch. Toyota RAV4, Corolla, Auris and Yaris models built between September 2006 and December 2008 may find the 'Power Window Master Switch – located in the driver's door - controlling the electric windows can stick and become inoperable, and could the catch fire if incorrectly lubricated by a user.

One case has so far been reported in the UK and as such Toyota GB has taken the decision to recall all affected cars. Symptoms are an uneven or notchy action. The switch is not designed to be lubricated with commercially available lubricants and if done so, this is when the switch may overheat or melt.

Owners of affected cars will be contacted within the next six weeks and asked to make an appointment with their local dealer for the repair or replacement to be carried out.  The work should take no more than one hour and will be free of charge.

Toyota is urging owners not to lubricate the switch themselves. Extra information can be found by contacting Toyota customer relations on 01737 367600.

Honda admits renewed F1 interest

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 01:26 AM PDT

The head of Honda R&D has told Autocar he hopes the marque can return to Formula One in the future, fuelling speculation it could return when the sport moves to turbocharged engines

The head of Honda R&D has told Autocar he hopes the marque can return to Formula One in the future, fuelling speculation that it is evaluating the new 1.6-litre turbo rules that will be introduced from 2014.

Yoshiharu Yamamoto, told Autocar: "On a personal level I love racing, but there is a lot involved when you are in F1 – it is the very top of auto racing and that requires a large commitment. But it is true that we do look up at those races and hope that one day we can take part again.

"I do not personally think we can just go straight back immediately, but there is potential for the rules to change and attract us. I follow the rules, certainly, and if they present an opportunity then it would be nice to go back."

Honda recently committed to the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), where the team will run a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. As a result, the next Honda Civic Type-R road car, due for launch in 2015, is widely tipped to run a turbocharged engine.

In an exclusive interview with Autocar magazine this week Honda president Takanobu Ito has admitted the firm is developing other turbocharged engines for sale in Europe, shifting the firm away from its long-held support of high-revving naturally-aspirated units.

That shift could tally with a renewed interest in Formula 1's revised regulations. However, Yamamoto admitted the firm had to hit other targets before it could consider returning to F1 for the first time since 2008.

"This is my personal view – not that of Honda – but I feel the first thing we must do is win in the WTCC, and then perhaps we can look further afield," he said.


First drive review: Bentley Continental GT Speed

Posted: 09 Oct 2012 11:02 PM PDT

Bentley Continental GT Speed is an emotive and crushingly powerful GT, but don't expect sports car handling The fastest production Bentley yet. The new Bentley Continental GT Speed gets the gentrified twin-turbo 6.0-litre W12, which has been updated with new engine management software, and mated to the new ZF eight-speed automatic (which will also be the standard gearbox in the 567bhp standard W12 as well as the V8, from now).The figures are impressive to say the least, with peak power output up to 616bhp and 590lb ft of torque on offer from 2000-5000rpm, meaning 16bhp and 37lb ft more than in the previous-generation Conti GT Speed. The four-wheel drive system retains the 60/40 rear/front bias, while the suspension is dropped by 10mm and gets stiffer springs, bushes and anti-roll bars over the standard car. As ever, the Conti GT is air-sprung at all four corners and you get four settings to vary their response, ranging from Comfort through to Sport.All of which adds up to a 62mph sprint time of 4.2sec, 100mph in 9.0sec and a top speed of 205mph. Economy is also up to 19.5mpg. Which sounds all very admirable until you consider the Bentley's stonking 2320kg kerb weight. At which point it becomes evident just how much of an achievement these performance figures are.

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