Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Is Audi turning Italian?

Posted: 12 Mar 2013 12:16 PM PDT

Three of the four companies in the Audi brand group are Italian. Now the coolly technical Germans are trying to tap into Latin spirit.

I've just spent 36 hours with Audi. Last night was the pre annual press conference dinner and this morning was the hard number crunching, where the board of management presented the 2012 accounts.

As you've probably already seen in Autocar's news story, the numbers were very healthy. Audi sold 1,455,123 cars, up 11.7 percent on 2011. Profits were only up marginally, but Audi argues that's because it is making massive investments in future models, future drivetrains and future factories.

But another thing came out of my visit to Bavaria. Just how Italian the Audi brand group is becoming. First off, of the four brands, three are Italian companies: Ducati, Lamborghini and design house Italdesign Giugiaro. And they are all headed by Italian executives.

Certainly when it comes to styling, Audi is under Italian leadership. The VW Group design boss is Walter Da'Silva - a long-term Alfa Romeo design chief - and Audi brand design boss Wolfgang Egger is also ex-Alfa. Audi also has one Italian on the management board, Luca de Meo, head of sales and marketing.

Both Giugiaro senior and junior were at the Audi events, with the legendary Giugiaro senior re-introducing the 1973 'Ace of Spades' concept, which was based on the then-new Audi 80. (And you can probably guess what the concept eventually morphed into).

Ducati CEO Gabriele del Torchio strode onto the stage accompanied by a pair of MotoGP race bikes (Audi had handed out ear plugs for this part of the proceedings) and suggested that 'Bavaria and Italy were not so different'. In proximity, perhaps. You can reach the Italian border from Munich in about 90minutes,

Audi chairman Rupert Stadler actually asked the question out loud. 'Is Audi to become more Italian? Emotion, design and creative solutions means we might become more Italian' he said to the gathering in the historic Munich Postpalast.

I don't think all of this was a coincidence. What immediately came to mind was the spat between Ferdinand Piech, the ultimate boss of VW Group, and Sergio Marchionne, boss of Fiat Auto. Piech has long been goading Marchionne about his desire to buy Alfa Romeo. As recently as last September, Piech told the press he was still interested in buying Alfa, saying 'we [VW] have time' and would wait for an opportunity to buy Alfa.

Of course, a complete revival of the Alfa brand is the lynchpin of Marchionne's plan to fill Fiat Auto's Italian factories with profitable, premium, cars. But having watched the presentation last night, it's clear Alfa would slip perfectly into the Audi portfolio. While Alfa Romeo won't be joining the Audi brand group anytime soon, the VW Group is watching and waiting.

In the same way that German carmakers hoovered up 'characterful' British brands, their attention has turned to the ailing Italian car industry. The Germans are constantly concerned that their own brands are little too cold and logical. Adding a character brands allows them to cover a wider pool of potential buyers. Meanwhile, if you are an ambitious Audi middle manager, it's probably time to buy a pair of brown shoes to go with your grey suit. 

Mazda still considering RX-7 successor

Posted: 12 Mar 2013 06:25 AM PDT

New rotary-engined coupé could rival next-gen Nissan Z-car

Mazda has revealed that it is discussing the possibility of developing a successor to the RX-7.

The new sports coupé would sit atop the Mazda range and rival future versions of the Nissan Z-car. With just two seats, the new car would not repeat the Mazda RX-8's four-door coupé layout, but it would retain the same front-engined, rear-drive layout.

It would once more be powered by a Wankel rotary engine, which would initially be naturally aspirated. Later versions could feature turbocharging, providing the reliability was proven and economy and emissions targets could be met.

No plans are confirmed as of yet, with Mazda looking to see how the economic situation develops before investing in a high-end sports car.

Mazda is, however, keen to see a new version of its rotary engine in production within five years. "We have a history of doing things a little differently," said Jeff Guyton, president and CEO of Mazda Motor Europe. "The rotary is clearly part of Mazda's soul."

It's likely that the new iteration of the RX-7, which could be called the RX-9, would use this engine.

Autocar magazine 13 March 2013 preview

Posted: 12 Mar 2013 04:03 AM PDT

LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 take centre stage alongside scoop details of Audi's new diesel hypercar

In the week the LaFerrari and McLaren P1 were officially revealed at the Geneva motor show, there could only be one subject for our 20-page special in this week's Autocar magazine - the world's fastest cars.

The special edition begins with a scoop story on Audi's proposed Le Mans racer for the road, a diesel hypercar that will smash all previous performance records for oil-burning machinery.

It is followed by an eight-page investigation into this year's bumper crop of hypercars: the aforementioned LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918. Sutcliffe analyses the performance claims for each car, and talks to the men behind the companies - Luca di Montezemolo, Ron Dennis and Wolfgang Hatz - to find out what they think makes their cars stand out from the crowd.

Steve Cropley talks to the key men that made the McLaren F1, asking them to recall their experience of creating what become a performance icon, and recalls his time behind the wheel of the Ferrari 288GTO , the car that kickstarted the hypercar breed. In addition, Sutcliffe also investigates what the performance champions of the future will look like, questioning whether electric motors really can replace the V12.

As ever, Autocar isn't all about top-end machinery, however. Our news pages are filled with every new car of significance (and a few from the outer reaches of sensibility) from Geneva, ranging from the new Dacia Logan estateRenault Captur and Peugeot 2008 crossovers through to the Alfa Romeo 4C, Porsche GT3 and Rolls-Royce Wraith

The incredible Volkswagen XL1 leads our first drive review section, with Hilton Holloway getting behind the 313mpg production car for the first time. We also drive the Vauxhall Cascada, updated Mazda MX-5, Range Rover Evoque with nine-speed gearbox and Electric Land Rover Defender. Greg Kable also heads in to the sand dunes to take readers behind the wheel of the incredible G63 AMG 6x6. The new Ford Kuga is subjected to our exhaustive eight-page road test.

Our efforts to tempt you with bargain used cars begin with a buying guide to the BMW X3, which can now be had from £5250, while James Ruppert ponders the merits of the Audi Q7, available from £14,000. Meanwhile, we challenge you to decide whether you'd spend £6000 on a new Dacia Sandero or used Volkswagen Phaeton.

Autocar magazine is available through all good newsagents, and available to download from Zinio and the Apple iTunes store.

F1 2013: A nasty case of pundititis

Posted: 12 Mar 2013 03:42 AM PDT

Pre-season F1 testing may point to quick teams and drivers for the upcoming season, but can you actually predict race winners from it?

This is a very dangerous time for Formula 1 pundits. You can fly a flag based on what you think you have seen in testing and can end up being hung out to dry when the predictions all go horribly wrong in Melbourne.

The best way to deal with this is to sit on the fence, or in the case of the stay-at-home monkeys with typewriters who pretend to be F1 reporters, you can write all kinds of stories, whether they are contradictory or not.

I found it fascinating to read that Peter Sauber is saying he does not believe for one minute that Red Bull is in trouble, while former F1 driver and TV commentator Marc Surer is widely quoted as saying that Red Bull Racing chiefs are worried because of the apparent speed of the Mercedes AMG Petronas team in recent weeks.

Surer reckons that Sebastian Vettel was two seconds off the pace of the Mercedes, which is a big amount, even if you are running with fuel. "They seemed surprised by how quickly Mercedes could go," he said.

He believes that Red Bull was holding back its best new parts during the winter tests and that these were put on for the last test, but did not produce the intended impact.

Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda says he does not know whether the other teams are bluffing or not, but he is happy with progress that has been made. "We showed at the last test that we are quick," he said.

But are they really quick? It is impossible to say. Running light when everyone else is testing with fuel can make a car look good. It is a trick that F1 teams have been using for many years when they want some good press in the run-up to the new F1 season.

These days, fuel is pretty important when it comes to distorting lap times. It is calculated that 10kg of fuel is worth around three-tenths of a second per lap, so if a team is running almost empty, the car is going to be a second a lap quicker than a team that is running with 30kg. A second per lap is a lifetime in Formula 1 terms.

Peter Sauber does not believe Red Bull is struggling. "Anyone who concludes that Red Bull are not right at the front is definitely in for an unpleasant surprise," he said. "They have so many resources that they can respond to difficult situations. You will see."

But who is right?

Talk to the engineers and they will tell you that science is science and that F1 development tends to be linear, with tiny gains here and there, rather than great leaps forward. The rules have been the same for quite a while and the loopholes are no longer there.

On paper, therefore, the pecking order should be much the same as it was three-and-a-half months ago when the cars last raced. Most of the machinery is pretty evolutionary. You can argue that Mercedes has put a lot if effort into this year's car after it became clear that last year's was not good enough.

You can argue that McLaren has built an entirely new car in an effort to move the goalposts and that Williams may have gained some advantage by delaying its car and having two more weeks of R&D, rather than testing at Jerez.

The problem is that all the engineers I have spoken to say that they don't know who is going to be quick. If they don't know, I don't see how any journalist could possibly know. They can guess and hope that they look smart in the end.

One gets the impression that the teams themselves don't know. A few days ago we had a bizarre situation when Lewis Hamilton was saying that the Mercedes team was not ready for big success, while at the same time Nico Rosberg was reported as saying that the team could challenge for the World Championship.

In the meantime, there is much speculation that Mercedes will be at the front in Australia. Expectations are high, and that means that if the team does not live up to them, the result will be disappointment.

Hamilton says he is still not convinced. "We definitely haven't seen the full potential of our competitors yet," he says, "so it's difficult to predict where we might be."

I'm with him on that one. But isn't that great?

Bring back real traffic cops - and more of them

Posted: 12 Mar 2013 03:23 AM PDT

Dealing with a real police officer is infinitely more pleasant than the alternatives, so let's hope they can continue patrolling our roads

The flashing blue light in the rear view mirror isn't usually a good thing.

I wasn't unduly concerned. It may have been dark, but to my knowledge I was not speeding and Shed 7 hadn't indicated that a bulb had blown. No, it was, said the jovial cop, "a routine stop".

Now I'm the first to get all agitated about a creeping police state and penalty-points-through-the-post officialdom, but this was different. This was the police service interacting with a taxpayer being unfailingly polite and smiley.

I am lucky enough not to live in some urban hellhole where a driver and passenger could be packing AK-47s. I am just an old middle class bloke in a large car that's not stolen in no real hurry to get home.

So, although there are rural cattle and farm machinery rustlers and idiot youngsters in mobile boom boxes on Friday and Saturday nights, on the whole, the police don't have too hard a time in the sticks. But that is not the point – whatever the circumstances, this officer gave a truly wonderful textbook example of how to deal with the general driving public.

I promptly dug out my driving licence, a proper old-school, falling-apart paper one. I was checked against all the relevant databases, and it passed off so quickly that my daughter in the passenger seat barely noticed the intrusion and only briefly looked up from her smart phone. She just found it funny that I had been stopped.

My daughter already has a very positive view of the police because she is in the army cadets and most of the officers in charge are police.

The point of all this is that the more we come into contact with the police, the better it is for everyone. The increasing reliance on cameras and computers is a bad thing. 

Bring back real coppers and loads more of them, I say. I trust you agree?

New Kia models in the pipeline

Posted: 12 Mar 2013 02:53 AM PDT

Production version of either the Kia GT or Provo concepts will get the green light soon

Kia is deciding whether to launch a new rear-wheel-drive sports model or a compact Nissan Juke-rivalling SUV as its next non-core model.

Speaking on the launch of the new Carens and Procee'd, Kia Europe's chief operating officer Michael Cole revealed Kia was weighing up both options as it looks to cement its future as a main player in the European new car industry.

"Everyone now knows our five-year plan to replace our volume models," said Cole. "We now have Peter Schreyer [Kia's design chief] looking at a halo sports car – he's keen on a GT.

"But we're also looking at a B-segment SUV through the Provo concept [seen at the recent Geneva show]; that's the real intense sector of the market and we could do it off the Rio base so that's what I could see in Europe," said Cole.

Cole hinted that it was not a case of 'either/or' as to whether Kia launched a rear-drive big hatchback/saloon inspired by the GT or a smaller compact SUV inspired by the Provo SUV concept.

"We're looking at everything as to what future product holds," said Cole.

Cole also confirmed that the launch of a new Soul was imminent, possibly as soon as the New York motor show later this month.

"There will be a new Soul for Europe in the next 12 months and it will come to Europe," said Cole. "But we could still see the likes of the Provo as a European Soul in the future."

Audi hits record sales

Posted: 12 Mar 2013 02:19 AM PDT

German manufacturer delivers a total of 1,455,123 vehicles in 2012, hitting an all-time record

Audi hit all-time record sales in 2012, delivering 1,455,123 vehicles to customers, up some 11.7 percent on 2011.

The brand turned over £42.6bn and operating profits were up marginally in 2012 to £4.7bn, a good result, Audi says, because of the substantial investment being made in future models and production facilities. Audi's return on sales margin was 11 percent and its return on investment 30.9 percent.

Audi's biggest selling model last year was the Audi A4 saloon, which saw sales of 216,012. The A4 saloon was closely followed by the A6 saloon (214,129 units) and the Q5 which saw 205,986 sales in 2012. Audi also shifted 57,778 A6 Avants.

The biggest gains were seen with the Audi Q3, which saw sales leap to 91,841 units from 2011's part-year sales of 9288. The Q7 also sold 56,193 units in 2012 and the A5 Sporback also saw strong sales at 53,522 units.

Lamborghini, which is part of the Audi brand group, sold 2083 cars in 2012, up from 1602 in 2011. The total was made up of 1161 Gallardos and 922 Aventadors. Ducati, Audi's third brand, sold 41,102 motorcycles, a record for the Italian company.

Audi boss Rupert Stadler says Audi sales have doubled in the last 10 years and that the brand achieved all-time high sales in all regions of the world. Sales were up 28 percent in Asia Pacific and up 12 percent up in North America.

Audi sales in the UK reached 123,000 units, 7 percent up on 2011 and Audi is now 'neck and neck' with BMW in the UK. 

New niche supercar to launch at Goodwood

Posted: 12 Mar 2013 02:04 AM PDT

VŪHL 05 supercar to be unveiled at the 2013 Festival of Speed

New niche car company VŪHL is set to launch its new '05' supercar at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The manufacturer states that that the 05 is a road-legal lightweight supercar, "endowed with exhilarating performance".

VŪHL, which is pronounced "vool" and stands for "Vehicles of Ultra-lightweight and High-performance", has a variety of development partners and suppliers that includes Magna Steyr, Multimatic and Ford.

The 05's body fabrication is carried out in Canada, the chassis production and final assembly is conducted in Mexico City. Handling calibration and tuning has been carried out in the UK.

Brothers Iker and Guillermo Echeverria set up VŪHL, backed by money from private investors and the Mexican government. The Echeverria's own design agency, Exte, is responsible for the 05's styling.

The brothers' father, Guillermo Echeverria senior, is stated to have built and campaigned GT and formula racing cars over a 30-year period. During this time the brothers took a hands-on role and developed their passion for all things automotive.

Iker said "We intend VŪHL products to be renowned for their effective simplicity and aesthetics guided by a purity of function. The 05 and its successors will also be notable for uncompromising build quality, rigorous attention to detail and a driving experience par excellence."

Further details will be released soon.

Vauxhall Cascada 1.6 SIDI Turbo Elite first drive review

Posted: 11 Mar 2013 10:00 AM PDT

New four-seat convertible is made of the right stuff, but will rely on open-minded buyers to appreciate it. The new Vauxhall Cascada: a stretchy lyrca thong of a car, really. Like so many mid-sized cabriolets, it's for people who like the sun, and like even more to be looked at. It would also be a practical, comfortable, sensible kind of thong, as it happens – so a good thong, in other words. But a thong all the same.Thing is, people who buy items of skimpy beachwear don't buy the practical, comfortable, well priced ones: they buy brands. It remains to be seen if they'll buy a Vauxhall when there are Audis, BMWs and Volkswagens available for the same price.For what it's worth, the enlightened ones should. Because they will unearth a much better convertible here than most equivalent mainstream brands currently offer.

Kia Carens 134bhp 1.7 diesel first drive review

Posted: 11 Mar 2013 09:37 AM PDT

New seven-seat Carens gets the Peter Schreyer design touch and modern underpinnings The new Kia Carens is another significant moment in the Korean company's coming of age as a mainstream manufacturer.While a new seven-seat Carens MPV may not seem to have the on-paper significance of a Rio or Cee'd, the arrival of this new model means that every single model in Kia's line-up has been given the magic Peter Schreyer design touch, competent underpinnings and modern, fuel-efficient engines.The new Carens not only replaces the outgoing Carens, but also the larger Sedona as well – the last two remaining old-school Kias, in other words. It gives Kia's dealers a whole range of good-looking cars to be proud of without having to hide a couple of the more spacious offerings in the corner of the showroom.

LaFerrari, F40 and Enzo star in new Maranello exhibition

Posted: 11 Mar 2013 09:23 AM PDT

Ferrari exhibits the new LaFerrari alongside past limited-edition specials, including the F40 and 250 GTO

Ferrari has opened a new exhibition called "Ferrari Supercar. Technology. Design. Myth." at its Maranello museum.

The exhibition, which was opened by Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo on 8 March, stars the new LaFerrari and celebrates the limited-edition models that  preceded it.

Road-going models include the classic 250 GTO, the 288 GTO, the F40, F50 and Enzo.

Track and competition-oriented cars are on show too, including F1 racers, the FXX, 599XX, F40 Competizione and the GTO Evoluzione.  

A large portion of the display is also devoted to the history and development of the new LaFerrari, which was revealed at the Geneva motor show.

The exhibition runs until 30 September and tickets, as well as guided tours, can be booked online.

Limited-edition Ferrari specials at the exhibition include:

250 GTO

The 250 GTO is probably the most famous Ferrari. With a 3.0-litre 296bhp V12 engine, a five-speed transmission and a dry weight of 880kg, it proved ferociously capable on both road and track.

It won the GT Manufacturers' International Championship three years in a row. Only 36 were produced – between 1962 and 1964 – but all remain in existence. 

Today, a 250 GTO is worth in the region of £13.4million.

288 GTO

The 288 GTO was Ferrari's attempt at a Group B racer, based on the 308 GTB. The project began in 1983 but had become a road car upon its unveiling in 1984, as Group B has been abandoned by the FIA.

Powered by a 400bhp, 2.8-litre twin-turbo V8, the 288 GTO was capable of 190mph. Ferrari made 272.


Perhaps the most iconic of Ferrari's supercars, the F40 was launched in 1987 to mark forty years of Ferrari road cars. Its chassis was steel, but the body included composites and Kevlar. Combined with minimal equipment, that meant the F40 weighed just 1100kg dry.

It was powered by a development of the 288 GTO's engine, with capacity increased to 2.9 litres and power rising to 478bhp. The F40's uncompromising nature made it hugely covetable; so much so that Ferrari made 1315 after an initial planned production run of just 400.

Today, F40 values are rising, with good cars starting around £350,000.


Following the F40 as the firm's flagship hypercar, the F50 celebrated the 50th anniversary of Ferrari. It brought contemporary F1 technology to the road in the form of its carbonfibre bodyshell and a highly strung V12, which was integrated with the chassis.

That V12 was a 4.7-litre unit that revved to nearly 9000rpm and produced 512bhp and 347lb ft. Ferrari claimed a top speed of 202mph, passing 62mph in 3.8sec.

Today, the F50 is much rarer than its F40 predecessor – just 349 were made.


The first Ferrari hypercar of the 21st century, the Enzo was far more technologically advanced than those that preceded it. The styling was inspired by F1 racers, a paddleshift-operated manual was the only transmission option and the Enzo also saw the introduction of the manettino dial on the steering wheel. This is now a feature on all Ferrari road cars.

Again the Ferrari flagship was powered by a V12 engine which, in the Enzo, was six litres in capacity and capable of producing 650bhp and 484lb ft. A dry weight of 1255kg ensured ferocious acceleration; 0-62mph was blitzed in 3.6sec and Ferrari claimed a top speed of "over 217mph".

599XX Evo

The 599XX Evo marked a return to track-focused, front-engined V12s like the 250 GTO. The Evo is in fact so hardcore that it isn't legal for road use. Customers can only unleash its 730bhp V12 on the track.

Ferrari claims its 47:53 front:rear weight distribution gave the 599XX Evo perfect balance, a point borne out when it claimed a lap record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

GTO Evoluzione

Built as a reaction to the commerical success of the 288 GTO, Ferrari intended to race the GTO Evoluzione. However, the five cars produced never hit the track in anger and the Evoluzione remained a development car, influencing the F40.

The Evoluzione produced 650bhp and would hit a top speed of 225mph.

F40 Competizione

The F40 Competizione was built following a request from French team Michelotto to race the car at Le Mans. In fact, the first two cars built in 1989 were F40 LMs, with increased power, modified suspension and improved aerodynamics.

Following increased customer demand, the LM tag was deemed too restrictive and it became the F40 Competizione. Around ten were produced in total.


The FXX represents a racing evolution of the Enzo, albeit one that doesn't officially compete. The 30 cars produced were allocated to special Ferrari customers who can use the car only during dedicated Ferrari track events.

As befits its extreme status, the FXX boasts some astonishing statistics; its dry weight of 1155kg is just 55kg up on the F40 and yet the FXX produces 789bhp from its 6262cc V12. That's a specific output of 127bhp per litre.

The FXX also featured adjustable aerodynamics that could be tailored to a specifiic circuit.

Richard Bergmann

Quick news: Audi tech, Ford UK chairman retires, Alfa offers, ST sales

Posted: 11 Mar 2013 08:06 AM PDT

Cylinder deactivation now available on Audi's A1 and A3, Joe Greenwell leaves Ford, £500 off all Alfas, Focus ST sells well

The Audi A1 and A3 are now available with cylinder deactivation. The 1.4-litre CoD (Cylinder-on-Demand) models can switch between two-cylinder and four-cylinder running in 13 milliseconds. Power is rated at 138bhp, torque at 184lb ft. Prices for the CoD models start at £16,740 for the A1 and £20,055 for the A3.

The current Ford of Britain chairman, Joe Greenwell CBE, will retire at the end of April having occupied the role since 2009. He will be replaced by Mark Ovenden, who will incorporate the chairman's duties into his managing director role. Ovenden has been Ford of Britain MD for 18 months.

Alfa Romeo is offering £500 off all Mito and Giulietta models for this week (11-18 March). Each range now features a Sportiva deal, too: for £250 more than a Mito Distinctive, the Mito Sportiva adds £1500 of equipment, while the Giulietta Sportiva adds £3000 of equipment to the Veloce for £1000.

The Ford Focus ST was the best-selling hot hatch in both the UK and Europe during the last quarter of 2012. Statistics provided by automotive data company Polk show Ford sold 1984 Focus ST models across Europe during this period, earning a market share of 44 per cent. A quarter of those sold were estates. The Golf GTI was second with a 33 per cent share, and the Renault Megane Renaultsport was third with 12 per cent.

Geneva motor show: The weird and the wonderful

Posted: 08 Mar 2013 04:06 AM PST

It's not all production models at the Geneva motor show, there's also a wide range of the futuristic and the plain outlandish

It's not just the new production models that draw the crowds in at Geneva; all manner of other concepts and creations are on show. Here are our favourites.

Volkswagen XL1

The Volkswagen XL1 uses a lightweight construction and a diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain to deliver spectacular efficiency. The use of carbonfibre in its construction keeps weight down to 795kg, and it's also extremely aerodynamic with a drag coefficient of 0.189cd. This means its 800cc, 47bhp two-cylinder diesel can deliver a potential real-world fuel consumption of 127mpg. Read our first drive of the Volkswagen XL1 here.

Mitsubishi CA-MiEV

The Mitsubishi CA-MiEV is a 'suburban crossover EV' according to its manufacturer. It represents a development of the i-MiEV city car following customer trials. Most significantly over the i-MiEV, the CA-MiEV offers an improved range of 186 miles thanks to improved battery technology, low weight and improved aerodynamics.

Roding Roadster 23

First seen at last year's show, the Roding Roadster 23 returned for Geneva 2013. The BMW-powered roadster weighs less than one tonne thanks to the use of aluminium and carbonfibre in its construction. The '23' denotes how many Roadsters Roding initially plans to produce.

Land Rover Defender Electric

Land Rover will not produce the Defender Electric, but it will run a batch of seven in real-world trials to further EV development. Its electric motor offers 250lb ft from idle, and the battery pack gives a range of 50 miles plus a 12-mile reserve. Land Rover's Terrain Response system has also been incorporated into the Defender Electric. Find out what it's like to drive here.

Mitsubishi GR-HEV

Another future commercial vehicle, the Mitsubishi GR-HEV uses a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain. This promises increased torque and efficiency, with CO2 emissions claimed to be under 149g/km. The production viability of the GR-HEV remains unconfirmed.

Volkswagen E-Co-Motion

The Volkswagen E-Co-Motion is an all-electric van, suitable for commercial work in urban low-emission zones. Its drivetrain is entirely modular, allowing the battery, motor and gearbox to be paired to any chassis configuration. Its range can be extended to 124 miles with a larger 40 kWh battery pack.

Toyota i-Road

The Toyota i-Road is a tiny (just 2.35m long and 85cm wide) three-wheeled vehicle intended for urban commuters. It uses 'Active Lean' technology to balance when cornering, and its battery can be fully replenished in three hours.

Citroen Technospace

Perhaps not as far-fetched as some other concepts, the Citroen Technospace features styling cues that will make it to the next C4 Picasso. That car will debut later this spring based on Citroen's new Efficient Modular Platform 2 (EMP2) which itself promises a weight reduction of around 140kg.

Rinspeed microMAX

The Rinspeed microMAX was developed with audio experts Harmann to revolutionise urban car sharing. All users have access to a cloud community so that journeys can be planned with the routes of various microMAXs. To that end, it features bus-style doors and standing seats for quick exit and entry.

Click here for more Geneva motor show 2013 news.

Matt Bird

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