- Shanghai motor show 2013: Audi S3 saloon
- New look for 2014 Skoda Superb
- 2014 Porsche Panamera to offer 91mpg
- Citroën DS3 Cabrio DSport THP 155 first drive review
- Porsche previews 918 Spyder to customers
- Quick news: Honda City Brake, Leon and Forester pricing, new Mazdas, St John's Wood Supercar Pageant
Posted: 03 Apr 2013 06:35 AM PDT
Audi set to beat its German competitors to the UK market with its hot compact saloon
The S3 saloon was previewed as the A3 saloon concept shown at the 2011 Geneva motor show. It has been conceived to bolster Audi's already strong standing in the lucrative Chinese car market and provide an extra sales pillar for its US operations.
The S3 saloon will run the same 296bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and four-wheel drive underpinnings as the recently revealed S3 hatchback. It is likely to go on sale in the UK late next year, priced at about £33,000.
Audi insiders won't be drawn on the likelihood of an even hotter RS3 saloon joining the line-up, but they admit that it is not their top priority at the moment.
"Are we excited by such a car? Of course, but we don't see it as essential," said an Audi spokesman.
At the initial unveiling in concept car form in Geneva, Audi's new price-leading saloon showcased a highly tuned version of the German car maker's turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder petrol engine, delivering a claimed 402bhp and 369lb ft of torque.
At some 4500mm in length, the new S3 saloon is roughly the same length as the old Audi 80 — the precursor to today's A4. It is underpinned by parent company Volkswagen's latest front-wheel drive platform.
Although the S3 saloon lacks the outright visual drama of the slightly larger Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG with which it will be compared, Audi claims that its new performance saloon will nevertheless offer greater levels of everyday practicality, accommodation and perceived quality.
Posted: 03 Apr 2013 04:53 AM PDT
The Skoda Superb has received its first comprehensive facelift, which includes more efficient engines
Both the Skoda Superb hatchback and Superb estate receive new front and rear styling to bring the flagship model in line with the marque's latest design language. Skoda says the Superb has been completely designed from the nose to A pillars, most notably with a new grille, bumpers and headlights, which are now available as bi-xenon units with integrated LED strips.
Rear styling revisions include new rear lights with LED graphics that create a 'C' shape. Additionally, new paint colours, alloy wheel designs and interior trim fabrics are offered.
Stop-start and energy recuperation technology is fitted as standard to all diesel models in the new 2014 Skoda Superb range. The 1.6-litre Superb Greenline model sees economy boosted by 3.1mpg to 67.3mpg and emissions reduced to 109g/km. Other mechanical revisions see the adoption of a manual transmission in 2.0-litre TDI 138bhp 4x4 models, while 167bhp versions of the same powertrain are offered with a six-speed DSG gearbox.
Equipment revisions see the inclusion of park assist, which can now support parallel and bay parking and also helps with entering and exiting parking spaces. Rear seat passengers are able to move the front passenger seat electrically.
Posted: 03 Apr 2013 12:00 AM PDT
New Panamera plug-in hybrid saloon is claimed to mix low CO2 and fuel consumption with high performance; also receives minor facelift
Powered by a new 3.0-litre V6 and an electric motor, the Panamera E-Hybrid has the addition of plug-in charging of its lithium-ion battery pack that is tipped to drop the CO2 output significantly below the current hybrid's figure, which is 159g/km.
The fuel economy of the new E-Hybrid is said to be 56 per cent better than the old car. Although Porsche is not yet making public its CO2 figure, the Paris show Sport Turismo concept previewed the new powertrain and claimed 80mpg and 82g/km of CO2.
Despite these impressive green numbers, Porsche says the Panamera S E-Hybrid is still capable of 167mph flat out and 0-60mph in 5.2sec, which is over half a second quicker than the old hybrid.
The E-Hybrid's 3.0-litre V6 is said to be "entirely new", although further detail on what that means precisely was unavailable.
Pairing a 94bhp electric motor with the 316bhp V6, the new hybrid features a 9.4kWh battery pack — with five times more capacity than the outgoing hybrid's. The E-Hybrid will use an eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic while the normal models will use Porsche's seven-speed PDK.
On electric power alone, the E-Hybrid is said to be capable of 83mph and have a realistic range of 11 to 22 miles, although the latter is only likely in highly favourable conditions. Additional features include a high-speed electric coasting mode and an app that allows owners to preheat or cool the car remotely.
Its green powertrain is one of several significant advances that will be announced alongside the facelifted Panamera at the Shanghai motor show later in April.
A new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine replaces the naturally aspirated 4.8-litre V8 in the Panamera S and 4S. Power is up by 19bhp to 413bhp and torque by 14lb ft to 385lb ft, while fuel economy is said to be improved by a significant 18 per cent.
As uncovered by Autocar last week, much of the focus of the revised Panamera is aimed at smoothing the styling of the rear end. Changes include a wider rear window and pop-up spoiler. Another noticeable tweak is the relocation of the number plate from the rear bodywork to the new bumper, which tidies up the look of the back end.
The changes aren't restricted to the rear of the car, however. The front-end styling has been subtly tweaked, with a more prominent and tighter design, larger front air intakes and optional full-LED headlights.
Other new additions to the Panamera range include a pair of 'Executive' models, available in 4S and Turbo specification. These feature a 15cm longer wheelbase, increasing rear passenger space. All Executive models come with adaptive air suspension as standard.
Posted: 02 Apr 2013 06:50 AM PDT
The new soft-top Citroën DS3 delivers a surprisingly charming and enjoyable alternative to the likes of the Mini convertible The Citroen DS3 Cabrio, with its full-length folding fabric roof, harks back to the days of the 2CV. Fortunately, for us, that's about all that it has in common with the iconic but agricultural French fancy.Externally, the DS3 features lots of neat styling touches, such as the eminently recognisable front LED lights, and the end result is a distinctive-looking car.Push a button and the roof folds to one of three positions quickly and quietly; unlike other convertibles, the majority of the car's structure remains, so it's more refined and rigid.
Posted: 02 Apr 2013 05:13 AM PDT
Stuttgart manufacturer shows off hybrid V8 hypercar at Bahrain racing event ahead of official launch in September
A batch of Porsche 918 Spyders have been caught testing at the Bahrain grand prix track. It is believed the cars were being demonstrated to prospective customers ahead of the 918's launch later this year.
Spotted by an Autocar reader at a recent sportscar racing event at the track, four 918s were at Bahrain; two pre-production cars and two development mules. Potential buyers, who have signalled their interest in the car to Porsche, were offered test drive laps around the F1 circuit in the 795bhp hypercars.
Though recently overshadowed by the debuts of the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari, Porsche is confident its hybrid contender will be a match for its rivals. The car has already posted a 7min 14sec lap time around the Nürburgring Nordschleife and its CO2 emissions of 70g/km are unprecedented in this high-performance class.
When it goes on sale, Porsche will offer customers a choice of two 918 Spyder variants; the standard car, at £682,000, or a version equipped with the Weissach Package. The latter removes 35kg from the kerb weight (taking it down to 1665kg) through the removal of the stereo, air-con and leather seats, and also uses lighter wheels.
Deliveries of the Porsche 918 Spyder are scheduled to begin on 18 September.
Posted: 02 Apr 2013 04:24 AM PDT
Honda introduces active safety system, prices announced for three-door Seat Leon and Subaru Forester, new Mazda 3 models released, Clark Gable's 300SL to go on show
Honda has introduced a City Brake Active System to its Japanese market cars. Active up to 18mph, it uses radar to detect hazards and warn the driver. The City Brake Active System can automatically deploy the car's brakes if required also. The technology has not yet been confirmed for Europe.
Prices for the three-door Seat Leon SC have been confirmed. The range starts with the £15,270 1.2 TSI S, whilst the DSG-equipped 2.0-litre TDI FR initially crowns the line-up at £22,335. The SC is £300 cheaper than the equivalent five-door Leon. Orders are being taken from 14 April, with deliveries in July.
Subaru has finalised prices for its fourth-generation Forester, on sale in May. The range starts at £24,995 for the 2.0D X, with the petrol 2.0i XE available from £25,495. The flagship 2.0i XT gets a 237bhp turbocharged boxer engine mated to a CVT transmission and costs £30,995.
Mazda has added two new models to its 3 range. The Venture and Sport Nav models offer additional equipment for no extra cost; the former is available with either a petrol or diesel engine, the latter exclusively mated to a 182bhp 2.2-litre diesel. The new Mazda 3 models start at £17,495.
This year's St. John's Wood Classic and Supercar Pageant will feature over 30 classic cars and a contemporary supercar display from HR Owen. Taking place on Sunday 23 June, the event will raise money for the Rays of Sunshine charity and St John's Hospice. Confirmed cars include a 1928 Bentley Speed Six and Ferrari 250 GT.
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