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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry



Categories: Auto Shows

Jaguar Jumps Back in the Supercar Ring With Paris Concept

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 9:11AM | By: Chris Weiss


Jaguar Jumps Back in the Supercar Ring With Paris Concept test 1-1

Back in the early 1990s, Jaguar was among the elite of the elite in terms of high-performing supercars. For a brief time between 1992 and 1994, the company produced the XJ220, a car that held a world speed record of 217 mph for several years before the McLaren F1 broke it with its 240 mph run. Not only was the Jaguar XJ220 fast, if you look at a list of the world's fastest cars over the past 20 years or so, the XJ220 was arguably (not very arguably, in my opinion) the sexiest one of all.

Unfortunately for the auto world, while the XJ220 was a great success at the track, it was a market flop. And Jaguar abandoned the supercar segment ever since its production ended. Until today.


Lamborghini Pulls Covers Off 'Sesto Elemento' Concept After Leaked Photo

On: Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 9:37AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lamborghini Pulls Covers Off 'Sesto Elemento' Concept After Leaked Photo test 1-1

Lamborghini tried its best to keep our interest piqued for its Paris show car. They released five non-revealing teaser photos as of Tuesday, and yesterday, we were expecting nothing more than the sixth and final teaser. Unfortunately, for the Raging Bull, a leaked document showing a new, unidentified Lambo next to such cars as the Audi A8 and the Porsche 911 Speedster showed up on the French Blog Automobile. And thus, Lamborghini's hand was forced into a full reveal instead of just another painful teaser.

We see now why Lamborghini was set on six teaser images: the concept is called 'Sesto Elemento' or 'Sixth Element'. The Sesto is designed to show off a refocused Raging Bull with lightweight design at its core. The coupe makes extensive use of carbon fiber beginning with a carbon monocoque chassis and working into the front frame, rims, suspension components, and body panels. Carbon fiber may be the composite of choice, but other lightweight composites like Pyrosic, a glass-ceramic material, are also used. The result is a scant curb weight (especially for a Lamborghini) of 2,202 lbs. That number is even more impressive as a metric figure: 999 kg.

The lightweight base pairs with a 570-hp V10 engine and all-wheel drive to deliver a power-to-weight ratio of 1.75 kilograms per hp. And it's quick, real quick: 62 mph comes in the same 2.5 seconds that it takes the Bugatti Veyron to complete the same, and the car still manages a very solid 218 mph top speed, despite Lamborghini's new focus on acceleration over terminal velocity. The lightweight design also helps to deliver better fuel economy, something that Lamborghini desperately needs: the Murcielago is the least fuel efficient car in the United States, delivering a measly 8/13 mpg. Lamborghini also brags about the increased handling that the lightened bull possesses.


Lamborghini Teams With Swiss Watchmaker for Gallardo LP570-4 Special Edition

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 11:53AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lamborghini Teams With Swiss Watchmaker for Gallardo LP570-4 Special Edition test 1-1

Since premium automakers like Lamborghini and high-end Swiss watchmakers, like Blancpain, can offer only so many products to corral money from the world's wealthiest consumers, sometimes they need to team up to offer something ever-so-slightly different that is "special" and "limited" enough to take another bite out of that collective cash cow. Hence, we see cars like the Gallardo LP570-4 Blancpain Edition, a car that gets some performance, exterior, and interior enhancements to make it more exclusive than those other Gallardos.

Blancpain is a sponsor of Lamborghini's Super Trofeo racing series, so the partnership on the new car is a natural extension of that relationship. The car was unveiled at the final Super Trofeo race in Vallelunga, Italy over this past weekend. The new Gallardo combines the street-legal status of other Gallardo models with a variety of performance tweaks from the Super Trofeo cars. Its 570-horsepower 5.2-liter V10 engine is the same used in the racing cars, as is the prominent rear wing and vented engine cover. Other upgrades include carbon ceramic disc brakes, Skorpius wheels, and a carbon fiber injection that includes pieces like the rear diffuser and mirror casings. The carbon fiber upgrades help to keep weight down to 2,950 lbs., nearly 500 lbs. lighter than the Gallardo LP560-4.


Ferrari Introduces the SA APERTA, A 599 Convertible

On: Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 9:47AM | By: Chris Weiss


Ferrari Introduces the SA APERTA, A 599 Convertible test 1-1

Ferrari announced a new limited edition model last week: the SA APERTA. The new model is an open-top 599 that gets extra power and features a lightweight soft-top, making it an accessory most suited to the sunny coast or desert. Not quite as exciting as a brand-new Lamborghini, but a sexy, new model just the same, the SA APERTA will give us one more thing to look forward to at the Paris Motor Show beginning later this week. Officially, the SA Aperta is a tribute to design firm Pininfarina. The firm is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, so Ferrari will offer 80 models of the SA Aperta. And the lettering stands for "Sergio" and "Andrea" Pininfarina.

The 599 GTB Fiorano's 6.0-liter V12 engine has been tuned up to 661 hp for the special edition, a jump of 41 horses. AsAutocar points out, this modification puts it on par with the 599 GTO.


 

Latest Rumors Say No Lamborghini Jota in Paris

On: Mon, Sep 27, 2010 at 4:30PM | By: Chris Weiss


Latest Rumors Say No Lamborghini Jota in Paris  test 1-1

Last week, we reported on some new information from a leaked document that Lamborghini had two brand new models to show off, first to dealers and then to the public via the Paris Motor Show. The first was expected to be the Jota, a Lamborghini that's been spotted in various forms of testing and is known for a fact to be on the way. The second was a big, bold question mark that went by the code name of '83X'. Well, the latest rumor out of Autoguide.com is that Lamborghini will only be showing one car in Paris and it will be the 83X, which it says is a concept designed to demonstrate new technology.

Autoguide says that the Lamborghini won't be a successor to the Gallardo, a sedan headed for production or any form of production car whatsoever. Instead it will be a purely conceptual exercise that the site calls a "technology demonstrator." Unfortunately, their source didn't divulge any other information, but did say that the car will be the only new unveil that Lamborghini makes in Paris. We do know that it will be a V10-powered car with heaps of carbon fiber and a light, spry figure.


Audi R4 e-tron Roadster Artwork Leaks

On: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 9:26AM | By: Chris Weiss


Audi R4 e-tron Roadster Artwork Leaks  test 1-1

About two weeks ago, reports of a convertible version of the Audi e-tron R4 surfaced. The reports indicated that Audi would bring the convertible to the Paris Motor Show at month-end. The car would remain mechanically identical to the coupe version, which debuted at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, but would lose its top. This week, artwork of the alleged Paris-bound convertible has surfaced onto the Web and new reports indicate that the latest e-tron concept will be outfitted with a hybrid powertrain.

The artwork shows a convertible with a swooping three-quarter glass that wraps seamlessly around the cockpit. The frameless, sloping side windows ascend gently downward into the rear end, giving the concept a hot, minimalistic look. Outside of losing the top, a variety of other visual changes can be seen including new, widened front intakes and a restyled hood. Perhaps the most interesting change is the influence from the R8 in the rear fascia. The body is a mixture of carbon fiber and aluminum, according to reports.

Surprisingly the largest (alleged) change is not the loss of a top, it's the change to plug-in hybrid power. The original R4 was an all-electric that used two motors mounted to the rear axle to drive the rear wheels. Auto Bild reports that the  e-tron R4 Spyder will also feature two motors to provide up to 31 miles of range, but will add a mid-mounted 3.0-liter TDI V6 to extend that range. A continual variable transmission will pull shifting duties. In this iteration, the two motors will drive the front rather than the rear wheels, with the V6 hooked to the rear wheels.


Peugeot Unveils Revolutionary Electric Concept: EX1

On: Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 3:07PM | By: Chris Weiss


Peugeot Unveils Revolutionary Electric Concept: EX1 test 1-1

With cars like the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid and Fisker Karma coming to market over the next couple years, hybrids and electrics promise to become more than just practical, utilitarian tools; they'll soon be as fun, good looking and sporty as the greater gasoline market. Maybe more so, if Peugeot has anything to say about it. The French automaker recently pulled cloth off its EX1 concept, a four-wheel-drive electric vehicle that promises to break EV acceleration records right and left.

The dramatic EX1 features a tear-drop-shaped body that is wider in front than in back, helping to limit resistance and improve performance. A quick look, and the EX1 appears to be a motorcycle or go kart tucked away in a car's front end. It's crafted from a carbon honeycomb monocoque chassis and weighs just 2,200 pounds at the curb.

Each axle houses a 170-hp electric motor, giving the car a total output of 340 horses and 177 lb-ft. With its light, slippery profile, the EX1 promises to offer a 0 to 62 mph time that ducks under the 3-second mark. Peugeot hasn't quite reached that goal, but it has sped up to 161 mph in the EV.

Another interesting element of the EX1 is that it uses a motorcycle-like swing-arm to suspend both rear wheels. The front wheels get their spring from double wishbone suspension. The seats are integrated into the doors, which open in reverse.


Lotus Shows First Big Look at Its 'New Era': The Elite

On: Wed, Sep 22, 2010 at 9:44AM | By: Chris Weiss


Lotus Shows First Big Look at Its 'New Era': The Elite  test 1-1

Lotus has revealed its Elite 2 + 2 GT roadster concept that brings us the first example of the company's 'dawn of a new era.' A sexy, sporty two-door with plenty of power, the new concept gives a peek into what is sure to be an exciting future for Lotus sports cars.

It's been quite an exciting day for pre-Paris news. First, we read some credible information predicting that Lamborghini will be showing two brand-spanking-new super-vehicles, and now a look at the fetching Lotus Elite.

The Elite is powered by a front-mid supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine from the Lexus IS-F. The engine will be connected to an epicyclic transmission with two electric motors and KERS. Final output is expected at 542 horsepower, but a 610-hp R variant is also expected.

Performance for the 610-hp Elite R will come in at 3.5 seconds to 62 mph, with a top speed around 195 mph.

In terms of styling, design director Donato Coco aimed to provide some more depth and dynamics over models like the Evora, Exige and Elise. This is most apparent in the aggressive, restyled front end. The concept model coming to Paris will feature a retractable hard-top, but a coupe and full convertible may also come down the line. Inside, Lotus says the car matches its "shark-like" exterior with an equally attractive, well-appointed interior.

Lotus CEO Dany Bahar, CEO gave his thoughts on the new model in a release: "There's no denying that the Elite is breathtakingly beautiful to look at but it's so much more than that, it's a car that over delivers in all other aspects as well. One could say it's a car of perfect contradictions, it's compact yet spacious, high performing yet low emitting, lightweight yet still reassuringly solid. It's a car that we are exceptionally proud of at Lotus and we truly believe that there is nothing else like it out there both in terms of styling and performance.

The Lotus Elite is being developed for a 2014 release. Pricing is being estimated at 115,000 pounds (about $180K). It's sure to bring Lotus back into the conversation with the Porsches, Ferraris, and Aston Martins out there. Look for more Lotus concepts in the days leading up to the Paris Motor Show.


Saab Shows Its First Electric Vehicle Prototype

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 3:03PM | By: Chris Weiss


Saab Shows Its First Electric Vehicle Prototype  test 1-1

A short eight months ago, Saab was on the brink of extinction. GM didn't want it. The greater auto market wasn't exactly rolling in dough and financing deals to take it off of GM's hands. And proposed bids were falling through like finely shaved sawdust in a large collander. In fact, Saab straits were so dire that GM even began to wind the company down.

Then an unlikely hero emerged and swept Saab from the arms of the reaper. Spyker, a Dutch company known for aero-inspired supercars, succeeded in its bid to take Saab off of GM's hands. Usually, it's an established, mainstream brand name buying up an exotic supercar brand, but in this case it was the reverse.

Now that production on Saab 9-5 models is underway, and life is back to normal in Trollhattan, Saab is ready to look toward the future. The company announced an electric vehicle that it's calling "‘the first practical family estate with all-electric propulsion."


Porsche To Return to Detroit Auto Show

On: Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 3:02PM | By: Chris Weiss


Porsche To Return to Detroit Auto Show test 1-1

In a move that some are using to infer that the North American and global auto industries are officially on the rebound, Porsche will make a return to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this January. The Stuttgart-based automaker has missed the past three shows, opting to focus on less conventional ways of reaching customers here in the States and zeroing in on larger markets.

Bill Perkins, co-chairman of the 2011 North American International Auto Show, told the Detroit Free Press:  “We’re very excited about it. The demand for space is very strong. People see the market coming back.”

It's too early to tell what Porsche will be displaying at the show, but those that will be there can hope that Detroit marks the North American auto show debut of the 918 Spyder Hybrid. Porsche confirmed the hybrid for production earlier this summer, so it would make sense to show it off. The 918 made its world debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show in March.

Just this week, Porsche also unveiled the 2011 911 Carrera GTS, a 408-hp Carrera distinguished by exhaust modifications, a widened stance and new body work. That model goes on sale early next year for $103,100 for the coupe and $112,900 for the Cabriolet.


Production-Ready Fisker Karma to Debut in Paris

On: Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 4:13PM | By: Chris Weiss


Production-Ready Fisker Karma to Debut in Paris  test 1-1

Long teetering between promising luxury plug-in hybrid and vaporware, the Fisker Karma finally appears to be ready for production. Fisker announced today that it will debut a full-fledged, production version of the Karma at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, which begins in about two weeks. The car combines flowing, sporty looks with an economic hybrid powertrain delivering up to 100 mpg.