Thursday, March 21, 2013

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Hyundai to unveil HND-9 coupé concept at Seoul motor show

Posted: 21 Mar 2013 03:34 AM PDT

Hyundai to unveil new HND-9 coupé concept at Seoul Premium coupé concept could influence production two-door flagship

Hyundai will reveal the HND-9 concept at the Seoul motor show later this month. Its design themes will influence Hyundai's next coupe.

Described by Hyundai as a 'modern reinterpretation of the classic premium sports coupe', the HND-9 has been designed at the firm's R&D Centre in Namyang, Korea.

The HND-9 uses Hyundai's 'fluidic sculpture' design language that has underpinned recent models such as the i40 and i30. It carries the hexagonal grille common in  those models but is more sporting in the rest of its design. The HND-9 has pronounced character-lines along its flanks, sleek headlamps, twin exhausts and butterfly doors.

A rear-drive coupé, like the current US market-only Hyundai Genesis, the HND-9 is powered by a 3.3-litre turbocharged V6 GDI engine that generates 365bhp. Power is delivered via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Matt Bird

New York motor show: Chevrolet Camaro SS facelift

Posted: 20 Mar 2013 10:11 AM PDT

Facelifted Chevrolet Camaro SS to debut at New York Iconic muscle car will be tweaked for the 2014 model year

Chevrolet will launch a revised Camaro SS for the 2014 model year at the New York motor show.

According to Chevrolet, the facelift represents the 'most significant change' for the current fifth-generation Camaro, which has been on sale since 2009.

The American manufacturer Chevrolet will also present the Corvette Stingray and its SS saloon. The updated Camaro will be unveiled on Wednesday 27th March.

Matt Bird

The Nürburgring: a nice little earner?

Posted: 20 Mar 2013 09:38 AM PDT

The Nürburgring: a nice little earner? After years of financial misfortune, the Nürburgring is now for sale. What does the future hold for one of the world's most famous circuits?

The Nürburgring is up for sale, so if you have a spare £100 million, it might be an idea. The track ran into trouble a few years back when someone came up with the brilliant plan of turning it into a year-round theme park and conference destination. The local government agreed to provide some of the funding, but when promised private financing failed to appear it had to pay for the whole thing or lose the money invested.

To add insult to injury, the saying 'if you build it, they will come' didn't turn out to be correct. The 'Ring is in a pretty remote region and no-one seemed to be very interested. The upshot of all this was that some of the local politicians lost their jobs and large amounts of public money is going to be lost.

The liquidator is selling all the assets that are left to try to minimise the disaster and says that the existing facilities could be sold off as a single unit or individually, depending on which arrangement produces the most money. The current assets include hotels, amusement facilities, accommodation, restaurants and the race tracks.

One of the requirements of the sale is that the circuit must remain available for the general public to use, either as spectators or for drives around the track. This means that it cannot be turned into an exclusive motor racing 'country club' of the type that has become popular in the United States in recent years.

Perhaps the greatest potential value will come from the brand rights to the Nürburgring name, which could be exploited much more in the future.

It was suggested some months ago that a copy of the Nürburgring could be constructed in hills close to Las Vegas, which might produce a sizeable fee for use of the name for licensing deals and merchandising. The 'Ring's reputation as the world's most fearsome race track has great sales potential.

In the meantime there are fears among the racing fraternity that any new owner is going raise prices in order to justify their investment and that this will have an effect on grass roots motor racing at the circuit

New York motor show: Jaguar XJR

Posted: 20 Mar 2013 09:05 AM PDT

Jaguar reveals new 542bhp XJR New high-performance XJR saloon expands Jaguar's R line-up

Jaguar has crowned its performance saloon line-up with a new R version of its flagship XJ. The Jaguar XJR will be the firm's star of the New York motor show next week.

Power for the XJR comes from Jaguar's famed supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine. In the XJR, it produces 542bhp, the same power output as the recently unveiled XFR-S.

Jaguar hasn't confirmed any performance figures for its new rear-wheel drive saloon, but a 0-62mph time close to 5.0sec would be expected. Jaguar has promised "supercar performance" for the new model. 

A single image released by Jaguar of the car ahead of New York reveals an aggressive new look for the XJ in its transformation into the XJR super-saloon. 

Darkened mesh is used for the front grille and air intakes, a front lip spoiler is added, and chrome trim contrasts against the gun metal grey paint finish. Large five-spoke alloys wrapped in low-profile tyres are further additions to the most potent XJ ever.

Jaguar hasn't gone into detail on the "bespoke chassis and aerodynamic developments" the XJR has compared to the standard XJ. Full details will be confirmed at the New York motor show. 

"The XJR is the most focused, agile and responsive Jaguar XJ ever made," according to the Gaydon-based firm, mixing "supercar performance and assertive looks with the highest levels of luxury".

Jaguar boss Adrian Hallmark said: "The new XJR epitomises the three pillars of technology, performance and contemporary design which the Jaguar brand stands for in the twenty-first century, while delivering new levels of dynamic ability in a luxury saloon."

Lamborghini Urus SUV set for 2016 debut

Posted: 20 Mar 2013 08:00 AM PDT

Lamborghini Urus SUV Bold off-roader will share MLB underpinnings with other VW Group 4x4s

Lamborghini's dramatic Urus SUV is "on track" to arrive in production form in late 2016, according to Audi boss Rupert Stadler.

Speaking to Autocar at Lamborghini's recent annual press conference, Stadler said the Urus should be signed off "this year".

"Lamborghini has to do it," said Stadler. "Because of the need to dovetail into production cycles, we should see the Urus in 2017." The Urus was centre stage at the Audi brand group conference, where Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winklemann made much of future Audi and Lamborghini models using lightweight technology.

Autocar was told that the Urus will be based on the same new-generation MLB platform as the Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7. While similar in layout to today's MLB platform – which underpins the Audi A6 – the next-generation version makes extensive use of lightweight materials.

The architecture mixes aluminium in cast, extruded and pressed forms, as well as conventional steel pressings, with the two materials glued and riveted together in a similar manner to Jaguar's XJ structure. It is rumoured that a new form of carbonfibre will also be used in the MLB structure.

The Volkswagen Group has been experimenting with a mix of chopped carbonfibres and resin which can be injected into a mould to create components in just three to four minutes – significantly faster than components made conventionally from layers of carbonfibre matting.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb: how would you drive it?

Posted: 20 Mar 2013 07:49 AM PDT

The Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb: how would you drive it? We all want to impress the crowds at Goodwood, but preserving the car is also a must. What is the best way to approach the famous hill?

The Goodwood Festival of Speed kicked off preparations for its 20th anniversary event today by holding a preview for the event proper, which runs from 4-7 July.

Over those years, I've always marvelled at the cars, drivers and magical atmosphere from the sidelines. And I've also pondered how it must be one of the most privileged yet thankless tasks to drive the machinery up the hill.

Today, I got to find out for myself, driving a BMW M3 CSL up the hill. And, yes, I can confirm that it was the most pressurised honour I've ever had to undertake, even with 'only' a few hundred spectators rather than tens of thousands.

The history lesson only needs to be brief but is highly relevant: BMW made 1400 Coupé Sport Leichtbaus, 110kg lighter than the standard M3 and 17bhp more powerful. The SMG transmission was meant to draw a link to F1, but found few friends.

All of which meant it was quite a car in which to be driving up Goodwood's hill for the first time. No pressure, and all that. Mighty car, very public venue and could you put on a show without doing anything silly?

Of course, it was a fraction of the pressure that the professional drivers face at the Festival itself, when accident delays can cause serious disruption, but then I have a fraction of the talent of those drivers. It was probably the slowest run ever, but at least the car was returned in one piece.

Come the Festival, countless car owners and drivers will face a similar dilemma. Try to entertain the crowds, or try to keep the car in one piece? I guess the answer is that you drive according to your talent, leaving the former to the professionals, but when the adrenalin is flowing it's easy to see why accidents happen.

So, here's a final poser for you: put yourself on the startline, in your own Ferrari 250 GTO. You've got one shot at the hill, what do you do? Would it be flat-out or flat-footed?

Suzuki Swift Sport SZ-R first drive review

Posted: 20 Mar 2013 07:40 AM PDT

Suzuki Swift Sport SZ-R first drive review Special-edition version of the Swift Sport adds greater visual appeal to a fine dynamic package The Suzuki Swift Sport is a brilliant car in so many ways. One such way is the simplicity of the buying process; the only option you're presented with upon handing over your £13,749 is colour, as everything else is included in the price.But of course there are some people for whom the standard specification is not enough and like their warm hatches with a touch more exclusivity. Enter the Swift Sport SZ-R.The SZ-R, of which only 100 units will be built, adds £500 to the price of a Swift Sport. For that price, you get no extra horses from the engine or chassis tweaks, with changes limited to cosmetic upgrades inside and out.

E-type-inspired Lyonheart K sports car revealed

Posted: 20 Mar 2013 07:17 AM PDT

Price and specification announced for Lyonheart K Retro sports car available as a coupé or convertible; 250 to be built, production starts in December

British firm Lyonheart has released details of its K coupé and convertible models, which are due to begin production in December. Just 250 units will be built between the two bodystyles.

The appearance of the Lyonheart K is inspired by the Jaguar E-type, with an oval grille, long bonnet, wire wheels and slim tail lights evoking the design of the classic Jaguar.

Under the skin, the Lyonheart is far more modern. Its chassis is aluminium, the suspension uses adaptive electronic dampers and speed-sensitive power steering is standard. The convertible's fabric roof is fully electric and can be raised or lowered in 12sec at up to 31mph.

Both Lyonheart K models feature a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine, modified by Cosworth. Peak outputs are 567bhp and 510lb ft, enough for a 0-62mph time of 3.9sec and a 186mph top speed. The only transmission option is a ZF six-speed automatic. Lyonheart has also claimed a combined fuel economy figure of 23.7mpg.

The interior of the Lyonheart K is bespoke and features extensive use of leather, chrome and aluminium. Equipment includes a Bowers and Wilkins stereo, a seven inch multimedia touchscreen, electric seats and climate control.

Prices for the Lyonheart K range have also been announced. The K coupé will cost £307,000 and the convertible priced at £320,000.

Matt Bird

Glickenhaus confirms Ferrari P4/5 successor

Posted: 20 Mar 2013 03:46 AM PDT

Glickenhaus confirms Ferrari P4/5 successor Smaller P33 will use a carbonfibre chassis and V6 power

A successor to the Ferrari P4/5 is being developed by James Glickenhaus and his Scuderia Glickenhaus Cameron team.

Firm details are scarce on the new car, which currently has the codename P33. It is expected to be smaller than the Enzo-based P4/5 and much lighter thanks to a carbonfibre chassis, with a suggested target weight of 725kg. A twin-turbo V6 with around 500bhp has also been confirmed.

The P33 will be a one-off, and it will be styled using a 'three-wing design'. As yet, it's unknown whether the P33 will be based on a production Ferrari as the P4/5 was. It is expected that the car will be revealed at the 2015 Geneva motor show.

Matt Bird

Budget 2013: The important changes

Posted: 20 Mar 2013 03:08 AM PDT

Budget 2013: Fuel duty rise scrapped What George Osborne's 2013 budget means for motorists

George Osborne has announced that the 3p per litre rise in fuel duty, scheduled for September, will be scrapped.

The Government has also extended the cut-off date for road tax exemption, for classic cars, by one year. From 1 April 2014 vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1974 will be exempt from paying road tax.

In order to reduce administration costs, SORN - Statutory Off Road Notifications - will now last indefinitely and not require renewing every year. The grace period for not displaying a tax disc, once you have paid for it, has additionally been extended to 14 days. 

There's good news for company car drivers too. Benefit-in-Kind tax will be 5 per cent of the P11D value of electric vehicles, from April 2015, instead of the 13 per cent previously announced.

The planned increase in fuel duty would have further pushed up the continually escalating cost of motoring.

Fuel for an average diesel car, travelling 10,000 miles a year and returning 40mpg, currently costs approximately £1,645 a year.

If the fuel duty rise had come in to play, that figure would have risen to £1,679. Motorists would have consequently had to pay an additional £34 a year.

The abolishment of the plan means that fuel duty will have been frozen for around three and a half years. The Government stated that "Pump prices are 13p per litre lower from April 2013 than under previously announced plans."

Chancellor George Osborne thanked Harlow MP, Robert Halfon, for campaigning to abolish the fuel duty escalator.

Goodwood Festival of Speed preview - latest pics

Posted: 20 Mar 2013 02:30 AM PDT

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2013 preview Fifty years of the Porsche 911 to be celebrated, McLaren P1 to get its world dynamic debut

Numerous milestones will be celebrated by Goodwood at the 2013 Festival of Speed, the details of which were revealed at a preview event.

Fifty years of the Porsche 911 will provide the core theme of the Central Feature Sculpture, while 90 years of Le Mans 24 Hours, 50 years of McLaren Racing, 50 years of Lamborghini, 40 years of the World Rally Championship and 60 years of the Sports Car World Championship will also be celebrated.

The McLaren P1 will also be given its world dynamic debut at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed. The P1 will be one of 43 supercars taking part in Goodwood's famed Supercar Run, one of the centerpieces of the Festival that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Goodwood has so far confirmed that seven Formula One teams will attend: Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lotus, Caterham and Marussia. More are expected to be announced in the build-up to the Festival, which runs from 12-14 July.

Well known faces from the world of motoring who have so far confirmed their attendance include Sir Stirling Moss, Derek Bell, Sir Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Alain Prost, Emerson Fittipaldi and Richard Attwood. A host of contemporary F1 drivers are also expected to attend.

The Goodwood Moving Motor Show also returns for another year on Thursday 11 July. Skoda, Peugeot and Lexus have already confirmed they will be giving world debuts to new models at the show.

For 2013, the Forest Rally Stage has been redesigned to be more spectator-friendly. The stage "will be considerably longer", according to Goodwood, with a fast Tarmac section running through the paddock among the additions.

Other returning events to the Festival include the Cartier Style et Lux concours, which will celebrate 'The Greatest Car Designs of All Time', the usual oddball creations in the Cathedral Paddock, static displays of Land Speed Record cars on the cricket pitch, and an expanded bike section with star riders including Kenny Roberts and 12-time world champion trials rider Dougie Lampkin.

A special parade will also be taking place to celebrate the 20 years of the Festival of Speed.

Quick news: Bentley profits up, Toyota Avensis refreshed

Posted: 19 Mar 2013 05:18 AM PDT

Bentley defies the global downturn, Renault takes advantage of Government EV incentive

Bentley increased its global registrations by 22 per cent in 2012 to 8510 units. A total of 87.3 per cent of Bentleys built last year were exported. Operating profit increased from 8 million euros (£6.8m) to 100.5m euros (£85.9m). Bentley's turnover in 2012 was 1.45 billion euros (£1.24bn).

Toyota has facelifted the Avensis to align it more closely to the latest Auris. New trim levels Active, Icon, Icon Plus and Excel feature similar equipment to the previous T2, TR, T4 and T Spirit specifications, though a digital radio is now standard on all cars above Active. The Avensis starts at £19,155.

Renault is offering buyers of its Zoe EV supermini a free domestic wall-box charger. It follows the Government's incentive to cover 75 per cent of the cost of installations, with Renault paying the last 25 per cent. The 32-amp (7kW) chargers can replenish the Zoe's batteries in 3.5 hours.

Tushek to follow T500 with Forego T700

Posted: 19 Mar 2013 05:01 AM PDT

Slovenian manufacturer promises 700bhp from its flagship

Slovenian supercar maker Tushek will follow its Renovatio T500 with the faster, lighter Forego T700. It aims to rival the Lamborghini Aventador and will use a carbonfibre monocoque chassis and titanium components to keep the kerb weight down to around 1000kg.

Power will come from a development of the 4.2-litre Audi V8 used in the Renovatio T500. With around 700bhp expected, a turbocharger or supercharger would seem likely to liberate the extra power.

According to Tushek, the Forego T700 is designed and engineered with "form follows function" in mind, so expect an appearance as single-minded as the T500.

Tushek's founder Alijosa Tushek says the new car will be capable of generating 3.3g in extreme cornering. With the Forego T700 still very much in the development stage, few firm details exist, such as a price and a launch date. Given the T500 costs £245,000, a price of more than £300,000 has been predicted.

To read Autocar's first drive of the Renovatio T500, click here.

Matt Bird

Online auction to sell final Saab models

Posted: 19 Mar 2013 04:20 AM PDT

The last 78 cars produced include 9-4X SUVs and 9-5 Sportkombi estates

An auction of the final 78 Saab cars produced begins today in Sweden. It has been commissioned by Saab's bankruptcy receivers and follows the huge success of a similar sale at the end of last year.

Amongst the lots are 31 9-4X SUVs, seven 9-5 Sportkombi estates and 37 of the 54 9-5 saloons built for the 2012 model year. Saab produced 700 9-4Xs and only around 30 9-5 Sportkombis, so all the cars have significant rarity value. Also included in the sale are a 9-3X and a six-cylinder diesel 9-5 saloon.

Per Blomberg of Swedish auction house KVD said: "The interest [in the last sale] was enormous, both in Sweden and internationally. With the last cars now being sold we expect an equally high level of interest from Saab enthusiasts."

The auction runs until 3 April and the cars can be viewed from Friday 22 March in Wallhamn, near Gothenburg. Details of each car can be found on the KVD website.

Matt Bird

New York motor show: SRT Viper TA

Posted: 19 Mar 2013 03:07 AM PDT

Just 33 to be made, with suspension and brake upgrades over the standard SRT Viper

A track-focused version of the latest SRT Viper will be unveiled at the New York motor show. The SRT Viper Time Attack (TA) features a range of modifications to make it more capable on circuits.

Just 33 TAs will be made in Detroit, all finished in 'Crusher Orange' with black 'TA' logos.

Over the standard SRT Viper, the TA has revised suspension comprising uprated springs and dampers as well as changes to its Bilstein Damptronic system with a smaller spread between the two modes. Unique 'Sidewinder II' alloy wheels are lighter than standard and so reduce the unsprung mass. Furthermore, the aluminium cross-brace of the standard Viper has been replaced with a carbonfibre item.

The brakes are a development of the Viper's standard Brembo set-up, with increased thermal capacity to improve performance during sustained track use.

The TA is powered by the same 8.4-litre V10 as the standard SRT Viper, producing 640bhp and 600lb ft of torque.

Externally, the TA can be identified by a new front carbonfibre splitter and rear spoiler, while the interior features Crusher Orange stitching on the centre console and steering wheel.

Production of the 33 SRT Viper TAs will begin this autumn.

Matt Bird

New York motor show: Acura MDX

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 05:19 AM PDT

Seven-seat SUV gets new equipment, more space and the option of two-wheel drive

Honda's luxury US arm Acura will show an updated version of its MDX seven-seat SUV at the New York motor show. It promises improved fuel consumption, better aerodynamics and a more versatile interior.

Thanks to a longer wheelbase, Acura claims improved legroom for second-row passengers in the MDX and easier access to the third row. Increasing the space between the axles also serves to boost ride quality.

Just one engine is offered in the facelifted MDX, a 3.5-litre i-VTEC V6 with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM). Four-wheel drive is provided by Honda's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), while front-wheel drive is also an option for the first time.

Acura makes proud claims about the safety equipment available with the third-generation MDX. Along with a Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Blind Spot Information (BSI), a rearview camera is also fitted. This equipment will contribute to the MDX's predicted five-star score from America's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

Matt Bird

New York motor show: Honda Accord Plug-In and Jazz EV

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 04:43 AM PDT

New range additions also include a facelift for the Odyssey MPV

Honda will introduce a raft of new models for the American market at the upcoming New York motor show.

Its large MPV, the Odyssey, is being facelifted for the 2014 model year and will be shown alongside an Accord Plug-In and the Fit (Jazz) EV.

The range-extender Accord will be the most efficient saloon in America when it goes on sale. In electric-only mode, it achieves an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy figure of 138mpg (UK). Furthermore, it's the first car to meet the EPA's tough new emissions standards.

Honda's Fit (the US-market name for the Jazz) EV has a range of 82 miles. Its electric motor offers 189lb ft of torque but Honda has not yet released any performance figures. There has also been no comment on the possibility of an electric Jazz for Britain with the Jazz Hybrid already available to customers.

Matt Bird

New York motor show: Toyota Highlander

Posted: 18 Mar 2013 04:28 AM PDT

US market off-roader receives subtle cosmetic tweaks

Toyota will unveil a revised version of its Highlander at the New York motor show. The large SUV will be on show at Jacob Javits Centre in Manhattan from 27 March.

The Highlander will take styling cues from the recently launched RAV4 in an attempt to make it more aesthetically appealing against other family-friendly SUVs.

As yet, Toyota has not released any specific details about the facelift. The current Highlander features two petrol engines in America, a four-cylinder 2.7-litre unit with 185bhp and a 3.5-litre V6 with 266bhp. Expect these to become more efficient as part of the overhaul, with a hybrid option also likely.

Matt Bird

New York motor show: Hyundai Equus

Posted: 15 Mar 2013 04:16 AM PDT

New York motor show: Hyundai Equus Hyundai's luxury saloon receives minor refresh for the 2014 model year

Hyundai's flagship Equus has been given a cosmetic makeover. The upgrades for 2014 include adaptive LED headlamps, new designs for the alloy wheels and an extended range of exterior colours.

Inside, the dashboard instruments are displayed on a TFT screen, like in the Jaguar XJ. In a bid to increase the luxury ambience, Hyundai has fitted the Equus with reclining individual rear seats that also include a footrest. This function can only work with the front passenger seat moved forward.

The Equus is expected on sale soon after its New York motor show debut. Hyundai has no plans to release it in the UK.

Richard Bergmann

New York motor show: Infiniti QX60

Posted: 15 Mar 2013 04:03 AM PDT

Infiniti QX60 to receive hybrid option Infiniti's replacement for the FX50 will be available with a hybrid option

Infiniti will offer its replacement for the FX SUV, the QX60, with a hybrid option. The FX is available currently with a V6 or V8 petrol and a V6 diesel, but even the latter emits 238g/km of CO2.

The QX60 will combine a supercharged 2.5-litre petrol engine and a 15kW electric motor, the latter drawing energy from a lithium ion battery pack. Drive will be transmitted to all four wheels through a CVT transmission.

There is also a regenerative braking system to harvest energy when the vehicle is slowed.

Infiniti claims the hybrid model offers a 24 per cent increase in fuel efficiency compared with the conventional 3.7-litre V6 currently offered. The QX60 will debut at this month's New York motor show.

Richard Bergmann

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