Thursday, October 18, 2012

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Sao Paulo motor show: Renault Clio Mercosur

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 04:59 AM PDT

Renault is to premiere an updated version of the Clio 2 at the Sao Paulo motor show next week

Renault is bolstering its thriving Brazilian business with a budget version of the Renault Clio. The Clio Mercosur will be unveiled at next week's Sao Paulo motor show.

The Clio Mercosur is the latest incarnation of the Clio 2, with the front and rear taking inspiration from the Clio 4, unveiled at last month's Paris motor show. The graphics are expected to be offered on the options list.

Little is known about the Mercosur, but it is likely to continue to be offered with the 1.0-litre 75bhp engine fitted to the current Brazilian market Clio. That engine is able to run on petrol or ethanol, reflecting Brazil's popularity for the fuel.

Cadillac ELR electric luxury coupé spied testing

Posted: 18 Oct 2012 01:00 AM PDT

Chevy Volt based 2+2 coupé will keep much of the 2009 Cadillac Converj concept's styling

Cadillac's long-planned electric luxury coupé has been caught testing. Judging by the prototype's disguise, the ELR looks set to keep the styling of the 2009 Converj concept.

The sharp 2+2 concept's name has changed to ELR to bring it in-line with Cadillac's traditional production car-naming system. Our spy shots show the prototype has kept the show car's big alloy wheels.

It's based on the Chevrolet Volt/Vauxhall Ampera powertrain; featuring a lithium-ion battery, an electric drive unit and a four-cylinder engine generator.

Electricity is the primary power source, switching to extended-range mode when the battery is low. Reports suggest the ELR will produce a useful 273lb ft torque and have a top speed of 100mph. There's no word yet on which axle will drive the production car.

Don Butler, vice president of Cadillac Marketing, said: "Like other milestone Cadillac models of the past, the ELR will offer something not otherwise present – the combination of electric propulsion with striking design and the fun of luxury coupé driving."

Development looks well underway and a production-ready version may surface at a motor show later next year, with customer cars ready in 2013 or 2014.

New Lexus LS spec and prices announced

Posted: 17 Oct 2012 08:58 AM PDT

Lexus is now taking orders for three new cars in its regenerated luxury LS Range

Lexus has announced the three new cars in its LS range are now available to order with prices starting from £71,995.

The LS range now includes the LS 460, a petrol-powered car reintroduced after requests from Lexus customers. Two trim levels are available for the LS 460, the Luxury and F Sport models, with both sharing the same 382bhp 4.6-litre V-8 Dual VVT-i engine.

LS 460 Luxury model comes fitted with a whole host of standard features, including four-zone climate control, the "world's first" Dynamic Illumination System and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system. Lexus claims that the 12.3-inch central display for the sat-nav and entertainment systems is the largest on the market today.

Costing from £74,495, the LS 460 F Sport retains the Luxury's specifications, but adds performance-enhancing extras such as Brembo brakes, suspension modifications and a Torsen limited-slip differential. The F Sport also receives a more aggressively designed exterior, F Sport 19-inch alloy wheels and altered interior.

Topping the new LS range is the 600h L that costs form £99,495. Power comes from a 439bhp 5.0-litre V-8 incorporated with the Lexus Hybrid Drive system.

The 600h L spec list is vast and includes as standard safety features like the Advanced Pre-Crash system, Lane-keep Assist and Blind Spot Monitor systems. Another "world first" electronic system in the LS range is the Lexus Climate Concierge system, which uses infrared sensors to monitor the facial temperature of each occupant of the car and adjusts the climate accordingly.

Lexus expects deliveries to commence from January 2013.

Dan Cogger

Aston Martin DB9 video review

Posted: 17 Oct 2012 08:36 AM PDT

Is the new DB9 good enough to justify its £132k price?

The new Aston Martin DB9 gets styling cues from the Virage, and retains the 6.0-litre V12 but now in 510bhp tune. So has it moved on enough to justify its £132k price and rationalise the Aston range? Steve Sutcliffe finds out.

Audi RS4

Posted: 17 Oct 2012 04:37 AM PDT

Audi's rapid estate returns. We know it's fast, but can it engage us? Fast RS models have propagated throughout Audi's range, but the RS4 still holds a special place in the memory of enthusiasts.The RS2 estate of 1994 was the first Audi to wear the RS badge, and it was a corking car to drive. It was succeeded by the second Audi RS model, the RS4, in 2000. That was less rewarding but incredibly usable, and really kick-started the RS spawning process. The RS4 of 2006, however, still shines brightest, and is remembered for its fluid ride, engaging handling and superb powertrain.There are some things you can predict about an RS Audi. That it will have monster performance and traction will be a given. That it will retain all the interior furnishings of its lesser siblings is taken as read, too.But just what kind of dynamic demeanour it will take on is harder to imagine. Some RS models have ridden well, some dreadfully, some have been engaging and some utterly inert, while some are a complex mix of all the aforementioned. All of which goes to make a test of the new RS4 a particularly intriguing one.Promisingly, RS Audis of late have been getting more consistent, and getting better. More promisingly still, the best of the breed has, to date, been the previous-generation RS4 – a car that many of our testers would have chosen over a BMW M3 at the time.And now it's back, in its third generation, retaining a high-revving, naturally aspirated powertrain rather than following the rest of the industry's inevitable progression towards blown motors. That was one of the high points of the most recent RS4, so it sounds promising again. Let's see if it delivers.

First drive review: McLaren MP4-12C Spider

Posted: 16 Oct 2012 04:01 PM PDT

No wonder McLaren expects 80 per cent of customers to choose the MP4-12C Spider. If you're in the market for a 12C, you'd be mad not to go for the Spider The MP4-12C Spider, McLaren's unashamed attempt to provide an alternative to the Ferrari 458 Spider, and also the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder and Porsche 911 Turbo convertible. It was planned in to the engineering process from the word go by McLaren, and as such suffers zero compromise when it comes to torsional rigidity or overall stiffness compared with the coupé MP4-12C. And it costs £195,500, undercutting the Ferrari 458 Spider by a small and not especially significant £3436.Just like the Ferrari, the 12C Spider's roof is a folding hard-top that disappears gracefully into the rear bodywork at the press of a button. It takes 17sec to go from fully closed to fully open, and the roof can be raised or lowered at speeds of up to 25mph. All-up, the Spider weighs mere 40kg more than the coupé, with an overall kerb weight of just 1474kg, a class best according to McLaren.Also new for the Spider is an upgraded version of McLaren's 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, featuring more power (up from 592bhp to 616bhp), fractionally better economy (24.2mpg v 24.1mpg on the combined cycle) and exactly the same CO2 emissions as before (279g/km). Peak power arrives 500rpm higher than before, adding to the sense of acceleration at the top end, claims McLaren, while removing nothing from the flow of torque, which peaks as before at 442lb ft.Key modifications to the software of the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox have further improved the speed and quality of the gear changes, says McLaren. In its most aggressive settings the shifts are faster than ever, while in auto mode they are smoother and more intuitive than before. Not that there was a whole lot wrong with the way the MP4-12C performed or shifted gear previously.Elsewhere, the Spider 12C is identical to the coupé in its engineering. Same steering, same suspension set-up, same brakes, same everything. And in case you were wondering, all of the various engine, gearbox and ECU upgrades applied here will become available on the coupé for the 2013 model year. Owners of earlier models will also be able to get the upgrades installed for free by taking their cars to one of McLaren's 38 worldwide dealers.

New Nissan concept for Sao Paulo

Posted: 16 Oct 2012 09:20 AM PDT

Nissan has published pictures of a concept built for the Sao Paulo motor show

Nissan has released teaser images of a new concept car that the firm is going to debut at the Sao Paulo motor show later this month.

Nissan has created the car especially for the Brazilian motor show, which runs from 24 October to the 4 November. The pictures appear to depict a two-door coupé similar in style to Honda's CR-Z, although Nissan is yet to release any technical or design specifications.

Nissan has said that the "high-character concept will introduce a unique new genre to the automotive world".

Dan Cogger

No comments:

Post a Comment