Friday, February 15, 2013

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Alpina B3 teased ahead of Geneva debut

Posted: 15 Feb 2013 06:53 AM PST

Alpina B3 Bi-Turbo, based on the current F10-generation BMW 3-series, will take a bow in Geneva

The new BMW Alpina B3 Bi-Turbo is being readied for its premiere at the Geneva motor show next month. 

The B3 Bi-Turbo is based on the latest F10 generation of the BMW 3-series. Autocar understands the car will be offered initially as a saloon, with a Touring model following later. Coupé and convertible variants will launch over the coming years.

The Alpina B3 Bi-Turbo shown in this official image carries a front lip spoiler with Alpina's logo across the front. BMW's blue and white roundel has been retained. Last year, Autocar uncovered images of the car during testing which showed the car will feature bespoke alloy wheel designs, a small boot spoiler and a quad exhaust system.

The B3 will be powered by a reworked version of BMW's 3.0-litre straight six. Power is likely to be marginally increased over the current model to around 410bhp. Peak power is said to be available from 5500rpm to the car's 7000rpm redline. Torque of around 400lb ft will be available from 1300rpm.

An eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox will be fitted. Power will be transferred to the rear wheels, although four-wheel drive will be offered optionally. Expect performance to be increased over the BMW 335i, with 62mph reached in just over 5.0sec. It is said to be around 20 per cent more efficient than the car it replaces.

Video: Mercedes CLA secrets laid bare

Posted: 15 Feb 2013 05:01 AM PST

We lift the lid on the new Mercedes CLA

The Mercedes CLA is the saloon version of the recently-launched A-class. It'll spawn a hot CLA45 AMG version as well as a Shooting Brake. We take a look at the technical and design highlights of Mercedes' swoopy four-door.

Toyota Auris Touring Sports line-up revealed

Posted: 15 Feb 2013 01:09 AM PST

The Toyota Auris range is set to expand this year with the introduction of the Touring Sports estate

More Toyota Auris Touring Sports specifications have been revealed, ahead of the Geneva motor show

Previously shown at the Paris motor show, the new British-built model represents the first time the Auris has been offered as an estate. An HSD version is also planned, which will be the only hybrid estate car in the C-segment.

The new Auris Touring Sports shares the hatchback's 2600mm wheelbase, but is 285mm longer to increase bootspace. It features a 1.15m long and 1.45m wide loadbed The boot measures 550-litres with the seats up. Space grows to 1658 litres with the seats folded.

Improvements have also been made to accessibility. The boot sill is 100mm lower than the hatchback, making loading and unloading large items easier. One-touch Easy-Flat folding rear seats, false boot floor, luggage net, shopping bag hooks, roof rails and a 12v socket in the boot are standard on all models.

The Toyota Auris Touring Sports engine line-up will match that of the hatchback: 1.33- and 1.6-litre petrol units, a 1.4-litre diesel and a 1.8-litre hybrid which will emit 86g/km of CO2. Toyota claims clever packaging of the hybrid powertrain means there is no impact on practicality for petrol-electric models.

The expansion of the Auris range is part of Toyota's aim for the model to secure a five per cent market share in the European C-segment by 2014.

Kia Procee'd price and specification details

Posted: 15 Feb 2013 01:00 AM PST

Third model in the Cee'd family hatch range will spawn Procee'd GT flagship this summer

Kia has announced prices and specs for its 3-door Procee'd hatchback. It bolsters the Cee'd range to three variants following the five-door hatch and Sportswagon estate, and will also form the basis of Kia's first hot hatch, the Procee'd GT.

The standard 3-door Procee'd is available in two trim levels, either S or SE. The former comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth music streaming and Isofix child mountings in its standard equipment list. The SE spec adds sat-nav and larger alloys.

Interestingly, Kia quotes faster acceleration times for the more plushly equipped Procee'd SE variants with both the petrol and diesel engine options. The 1.6-litre GDI petrol offers 133bhp and 164lb ft and is capable of 0-60mph in 9.8sec in S trim. As an SE, this figure drops to 9.5sec. An identical top speed of 121mph is claimed for each. The published mpg and emissions figures for the petrol Procee'd are 52.3mpg and 124g/km respectively for the S, while the SE returns 47.1mpg and 137g/km.

The 1.6-litre CRDI diesel engine produces 126bhp and 192lb ft. Kia's figures show a Procee'd CRDI S sprints from 0-60mph in 11.5sec, while an SE achieves a 10.5sec time for the same test. Again the top speeds are the same, at 122mph. The 1.6 CRDI S has an official combined fuel consumption of 74.3mpg, and emissions of 100g/km. For the diesel SE, these figures are 65.7mpg and 112g/km.

Both engine options come mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. The six-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) automatic option is only available on the 1.6 GDI SE.

Prices start at £17,495 for the 1.6 GDI S, rising to £20,795 for a DCT-equipped SE version. The CRDI diesel is £18,595 in S trim, and £20,595 for the SE. All Procee'ds come with Kia's seven-year/100,000 warranty, while the Care-3 package covers the first three years of servicing for £329.

Qoros to unveil new models at Geneva motor show

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 09:00 PM PST

New start-up brand Qoros to display saloon, estate and crossover models at the Geneva motor show

Israeli-Chinese start-up brand Qoros will show its first three new models at the Geneva motor show next month. 

The Qoros 3 saloon will be the first to go into production later this year, followed by an estate and crossover which are all based on the same brand-new platform. The three models will have the option of all-new three-cylinder and four-cylinder petrol engines, as well as a clever hybrid drivetrain. 

Virtually all of the engineering and development work on the cars has been carried out by international consultancies, with Austria's Magna Steyr being one of the biggest players. The Qoros management team is also multinational, with many senior bosses from companies including Volvo, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Saab.

Just over 4.6 metres long and 1.84 metres wide, with a 2690mm wheelbase, the Qoros 3 saloon sits in the same market slot as the Volkswagen Jetta. China's C-segment saloon market is worth seven million sales per year and Qoros buyers are expected to be 25-35 year olds living in the great metropolitan areas, says sales and marketing boss Stefano Villanti. 

Although the cars will be exported, the US market is not on the agenda and right-hand-drive versions are still being mulled over by management. A bigger, Passat-sized car is on the drawing board, along with a proper SUV. Qoros is aiming for a five-star EuroNCAP rating for its cars.

Qoros aims to shift around 150,000 cars per year within two years of starting production and its new factory (100 miles north of Shanghai and run by an ex-BMW boss) is in the final stages of completion. At full tilt, the factory has a capacity of 250,000 units per year and Qoros is aiming to sell 450,000 units per year in the longer term.

Cleverly, the Qoros 3 Estate Concept (which aimed primarily at Europe) uses the same rear lights and bumper as the saloon and has a 500-litre boot (50 more than the four-door).

Most striking of the three is the Qoros 3 Cross hatchback, which gets a unique rear end and much more stylish front and rear bumper treatments. The driver sits 80mm higher than in the estate (20mm in the seating position and 60mm in the ride height) and it has a shorter rear overhang. 

Inside, the Qoros has got both a smartphone dock (95 per cent of buyers will be smartphone users, says the company) and an eight-inch touchscreen. Its operating system is operated by two-finger swipes, in just four directions. 

Under the skin, these first three Qoros models are quietly conventional, aside from the hybrid. The platform is suspended on MacPherson struts and a beam axle at the rear. 

There are two ranges of petrol engines, with three cylinders or four. The 1.6-litre four-pot unit makes 124bhp/114lb ft in normally aspirated form and 156bhp/155lb ft in turbocharged guise. 

More intriguing is a pair of three-pot turbo petrol engines. The 1.2 develops 124bhp and the 1.4 makes 156bhp. Stop-start will be fitted to European versions and there's a choice of a six-speed manual Getrag gearbox or a seven-speed DSG. At the moment, diesel engines are not on the menu and their introduction is dependent on the state of future European sales.

The technical highlight of the range is a hybrid 4x4 transmission, which uses a 67bhp electric motor mounted on the rear axle. It is matched up to the 1.2-litre triple, which gets an integrated starter/generator to charge the 1.9kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Qoros is estimating a 0-62mph time of under seven seconds, a three-mile range on pure battery power and 56.5mpg, as well as on-demand all-wheel drive. The system was being developed by American Axle and Saab, and was intended to be used on the all-new 9-3 replacement. After Saab collapsed, Qoros bought the technology.

Design boss Gert Hildebrand (who was previously the BMW Mini design chief) says the Qoros design language is "solid and timeless, with no purely fashion elements and no gimmicks so that it leaves a strong impression. As a new Chinese brand, it is important that our cars communicate solid design and engineering and a sense that Qoros is here to last. I say we are building future history".

Qoros was created as a 50/50 joint venture between Chinese car maker Chery and giant investment company Israel Corporation. Chery wanted to create a new company and marque that could produce cars built to meet European safety and quality standards, something Chinese companies are finding it difficult to achieve solo.

Mercedes AMG creates world's fastest powerboat

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 07:45 AM PST

'Electric Drive Concept' shares components with electric SLS AMG

Mercedes-Benz AMG and Cigarette Racing have produced the world's most powerful electrically driven powerboat. The 'Cigarette AMG Electric Drive Concept' is being exhibited at the Miami International Boat Show this week, and has been inspired by the SLS AMG coupé Electric Drive.

This is not the first time the two marques have collaborated on a powerboat project. In 2009, the "46' Rider inspired by AMG" took design cues from the V8 SLS AMG, whilst last year saw Cigarette Racing showcase the "Inspired by AMG Black Series 50' Marauder". That concept was influenced by the C63 AMG Black Series.

This concept is powered by two rear-mounted drive units, each with six individual permanent-magnet, liquid-cooled synchronous electric motors. The 12 motors make 2221bhp and 2213lb ft, enough to push the boat 'over 99mph', according to its makers.

Like its road-going equivalent, the powerboat concept has its batteries and motors mounted low in the body for the best centre of gravity. The battery itself is a modular lithium-ion item comprising 48 modules and a total of 3456 cells. Its output is 2400 kilowatts. No details have been released about the weight of the battery pack, but given the far less powerful system in the SLS Electric Drive weighs 548kg, it is fair to assume the boat's batteries are much heavier.

The Cigarette AMG Electric Drive Concept can be fully charged in seven hours thanks to 22 kilowatt chargers, which are shared with the electric SLS and adapted for American marinas. Optional on-board chargers allow a full battery replenishment in under three hours.

The most obvious external link between the two AMG products is the lurid "AMG Electricbeam magno" paint, but the boat also takes interior cues from the supercar, including its instrument display.

Renault reveals further specs on Clio Renaultsport

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 05:20 AM PST

New Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo will be lighter and faster than outgoing car

The new Renault Clio Renaultsport is faster and lighter than the car it replaces, it has been confirmed.

The car's 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine develops 197bhp and 177lb ft of torque, 19lb ft more than before. Peak torque arrives at 1750rpm and is available to 5500rpm - a far wider band than the current car.

Renault claims the Clio Renaultsport 200 can sprint from 0-62mph in 6.7sec – 0.2sec faster than the car it replaces. The official kerb weight is 1204kg, 36kg lighter than before.

The car will be offered with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission only. Renault says it features the first sub-supercar application of the multi-downshift function.

It is also the first production car to be fitted with rally car-style hydraulic compression stops in the shock absorbers. A Renaultsport differential and launch control will be fitted as standard. 

The Clio will offer a Renaultsport drive system with three modes – Normal, Sport and Race. These allow engine, accelerator pedal, steering and ESP map settings to be altered. In Race mode, the car's ESP and traction control systems can be fully deactivated.

The suspension, which features a MacPherson front arrangement, has a thicker anti-roll bar. The front brakes measure 320mm, up from the old car's 312mm units.

Visual changes include a choice of 17 or 18in alloy wheels, an 'F1 blade' front bumper, a Renaultsport rear diffuser, twin exhausts and specific side skirts. Standard-fit tyres are Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2.

As before, the Clio Renaultsport is offered with an optional Cup chassis that reduces the ride height by 3mm and provides a 15 per cent stiffer chassis and a quicker steering rack. Clio Cup models also feature 18in gloss-black Renaultsport wheels wrapped with Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres.

Renault claims running costs have been reduced over the old car. Fuel economy increases by 10.3mpg to 44.8mpg, while CO2 emissions drop by 46g/km to 144g/km. Consequently, road tax is reduced from £250 to £135.

Standard equipment includes Bluetooth, USB connectivity, a seven-inch touchscreen operating TomTom Live navigation, keyless start and entry and Renaultsport front seats. On-board telemetry, which displays laptimes, real-time torque and standing start figures is among the options available.

Renault will confirm pricing on 28 February, ahead of order books opening in April. The first deliveries are set to commence in June.

Seat Toledo 1.2 TSI first drive review

Posted: 14 Feb 2013 04:34 AM PST

The combination of a small petrol turbo and base spec make for the pick of the Toledo range This is the model that, on paper, makes the most sense in the new Seat Toledo range. Go any lower than the 84bhp 1.2 TSI in the line-up, and you'll end up with the outdated 74bhp 1.2 MPI engine, which is slower and less powerful but is lumbered with worse economy and greater CO2 emissions, and comes with more expensive road tax and increased fuel bills as a result.Go any higher in the range, into the more powerful petrols and more efficient diesels, and the price goes up considerably as a result, thus losing the main selling point of the Toledo as cheap, practical and no-frills transport.So the £14,120 Toledo 1.2 TSI 85 in S trim, the only trim available with this engine, would appear to be the Toledo's sweet spot.

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