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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Concept Cars

Jaguar Doing Production Evaluation On C-X75 Hybrid SuperCar

On: Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 3:55PM | By: Chris Weiss

Jaguar Doing Production Evaluation On C-X75 Hybrid SuperCar test 1-1

We fell in love with it the minute we saw it. Autoweek gave it the "Best of Show" for the Paris Motor Show. And I think every car journalist, fan, and show-goer has been quietly thinking the same thing: "Please, please, please consider producing the Jaguar C-X75." Porsche did it with the 918 Spyder Hybrid, so crossing fingers doesn't seem like an entirely futile effort, despite the official line that the C-X75 is a concept with no plans for production.

Well, it looks like Jaguar will follow in Porsche's lead in running a production feasibility study of the C-X75, as told to Autocar by anonymous sources. The company will consider the viability of producing between 1,000 and 2,000 models.

Kia Details Its Pop Concept

On: Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 3:36PM | By: Chris Weiss

Kia Details Its Pop Concept  test 1-1

Kia teased its Pop concept weeks ago. Until the Paris Motor Show commenced, we were limited in what we could tell you about it. We knew it was a distinctive, 2 + 1 urban commuter that looked like it came from another planet. But Kia was rather coy with the details of what exactly was behind those capsule-like doors. Once the company unveiled the concept in Paris, it came clean with the details.

Under that short, flat hood, Kia has a 50 kW electric motor powered by an 18 kWh lithium-polymer gel battery. The battery is smaller and lighter than more common lithium-ion packs.The combination powers the Pop up to 100 miles and takes about six hours for a full charge. The concept's top speed is given at 87 mph.

In creating the Pop concept, Kia sought to look far into the future and well beyond the auto market of today. In doing so, it took inspiration from outside sources like ultralight racing bicycles and gliders (and presumably insects and sci-fi-derived spacecraft). The designers aimed to make something resembling a nucleas or "wild atom," and indeed, the Pop does give the appearence of the smallest possible unit of automotive technology, though it's actually slightly longer than cars like the Smart ForTwo.

Big Changes In 2012 For Rolex Grand Am Series

On: Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 10:35AM | By: John Welch

Big Changes In 2012 For Rolex Grand Am Series test 1-1

The AutoShopper Blog has been religious in our coverage of two of North America's premier road racing series, The American Le Mans Series and the Rolex Grand Am Series. We covered the changes in the ALMS in previous posts, but have only just now had some light shed on the changes for Grand Am, which we will see in 2012. The ALMS is getting smaller, LMP1 is going to downsize to LMP2-size power plants, and LMP2 is going to switch to straight-up production-based engines such as Ford's EcoBoost V6. The prototypes will all get slightly smaller, and there is a new "big honking fin" that will be added to the engine cover of all LMPs in an attempt to prevent blow-over type accidents. Grand Am solved that problem in 2003 by implementing an enormous cockpit and huge side pods on all Daytona Prototype chassis. These features have worn out their welcome, the DP chassis design has proven to be a safe one, and now it's time to let the engine manufacturers loose on the DP's bodywork, effectively clearing the way for Daytona Prototypes that closely resemble the design language used by their engine providers.

Before 2012 I would have recognized the Krohn DP as a Ford/Lola, whereas a layman wouldn't have had any idea what they were looking at. Hopefully, for the 2012 season, everyone, from veteran fans to the freshly initiated, will be able to recognize this car as a FORD. The Ganassi Rileys will be obvious BMWs, and GM-powered cars will be unmistakable as one Chevrolet sports car or another.
The GT field will change as well. Realizing the need for higher car counts and greater variety, Grand Am is already allowing GT3 Audi R8 machines in for next season, and will hopefully expand that rule to all FIA GT3 machines. Grand Am is not forgetting its current GT teams either; currently they are working on a rules set that will allow the GT3 cars and the current crop of Production 1 (road cars like the Corvette) and Production 2 (tube frame Riley chassis like the Mazda RX8 and Chevy Camaro) to race under the same classification.

Despite a disturbing economic climate that is supposedly ruining racing as we know it, it is an exciting time for the two best professional series in the world, and Grand Am isn't resting on their success. 2012 looks to be an incredible season for the Rolex Series.

Porsche President Confirms a Panamera Plug-In Hybrid

On: Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 12:10PM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche President Confirms a Panamera Plug-In Hybrid test 1-1

On a busy first day at the helm of Porsche, new CEO and president Mathias Muller revealed that Porsche is working on a plug-in hybrid version of its Panamera hybrid. Muller told press that he had driven the prototype version of the new plug-in and called the car "very convincing." The model hasn't been confirmed for production, and Porsche is still considering its viability. The good news is that it looks like the company may be following suit of its 918 Spyder in making the plug-in Panamera a model that combines high-end performance with greener intentions.

The version of the Panamera discussed is built upon the Panamera Turbo's 500-hp 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8. The plug-in hybrid will get an unspecified electric motor in addition to that big powerplant and should be able to offer emissions-free city driving as well as electric-assisted high performance.

This new plug-in model is distinct from the non-plug-in Panamera hybrid that Porsche has been known to be working on for several years. That model will be based on the Cayenne S Hybrid's powertrain: a parallel hybrid system pairing a 333 hp supercharged 3-liter V6 and a 47 hp electric motor. In July, Porsche confirmed that the Panamera S Hybrid will launch by the end of next year. In the Cayenne, the hybrid powertrain boosts efficiency by 20 percent while delivering all-electric driving at speeds up to 31 mph.


Paris Motor Show: Lotus Blitz Includes Six New Models

On: Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 10:11AM | By: Chris Weiss

Lotus Elan Concept test 2

If we had to think of one word to describe the Paris Motor Show, it would be "Lotus." We knew that Lotus was going to be hitting the show hard; way back on the first day of summer Lotus gave a hint that it had something big in store, and later reports indicated that Lotus was bringing four new model concepts to the show. As it turns out, Lotus bombarded the show with no less than six brand new concepts, showing that it has serious plans for the future.

CEO Dany Behar said of Lotus' future plans: "Our plan is to change Lotus from its present position as a niche sports car company to a builder of a range of premium sports cars."

Audi e-Tron Blows Its Lid

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 2:55PM | By: Chris Weiss

Audi e-Tron Blows Its Lid test 1-1

We heard plenty of rumors of it coming. We even saw some sketches. And now that Paris is underway, it's officially here; the Audi e-tron Spyder made its debut on the first media day of the Paris Motor Show, giving us one more look at Audi's electric/hybrid family. And it's arguably the sexiest look yet.

The new Spyder looks just like the sketches indicate it would: stylish, exposed, wraparound glass in front and sides providing a cockpit look; sharp, angular side window lines that disappear seamlessly just beyond the doors and an R8-influenced rear-end. The front-end and sides are similar to the R4 e-tron hard-top that Audi showed at the Detroit Auto Show, with a few departures. The slats in the grille extend all the way to the edges and the car loses the vertical slats from the Detroit version. Similarly, the front air intakes have switched from vertical slats to matching horizontal slats. Certain lines also have a little more definition, like the lippy front fenders.

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.

Paris Motor Show Debuts: BMW 6 Series

On: Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 11:10AM | By: John Welch

Paris Motor Show Debuts: BMW 6 Series test 1-1

Before its unveiling in 2004, the spec sheet of the BMW 6 Series was enough to make a grown man weep. Solid chassis, imposing size, true coupe body, strong V8 options with a chance of V10. It was a rad car, on paper. Then we got a look at it. Sad Bloodhound or Drowning Guppy, that’s what came to mind after laying eyes on the 6 Series. Who wants to tool around in a Sad Bloodhound? The dynamics didn't work out quite as advertised either.

Though physically smaller than the 5 Series sedan, on the outside, the 6 Series was just as heavy as its 4-door counterpart. This issue led to lack-luster acceleration, porky handling and a tendency towards tire howling hysterics when pushed past seven-tenths. Not to say that the 6 Series was slow, it just wasn't as fast as it should have been. Couple its ample waistline with Chris Bangles odd "flame surfacing" and you had a recipe for an expensive, unattractive, slightly sluggish convertible. It looks absolutely menacing when duded up for racing (see Turner BMW M6) but the road car left something to be desired.

BMW has redesigned the 6 Series, and it plans to reverse the 6's backsliding reputation. Pulling the headlights back, smoothing out the strange cut lines on the side of the car, changing the cheap-looking rear end treatment, all of these elements serve to pacify the 6's detractors. Also, the new interior is particularly inviting. It could be said that these styling changes soften the 6's image a little too much, possibly even make the car more boring. I say thee, nay! Just like the 3 Series, 5 Series and Z4, these updates make for a more focused looking, classier 6 Series.

Making its debut at the Mondial de l'Automobile Paris 2010, the 6 Series features new sheet metal, new engines and a host of interior upgrades that should improve its appeal to North American buyers.

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.

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.

Toyota A-BAT Concept Pickup; Will Other Automakers Follow Suit?

On: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 2:13PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota A-BAT Concept Pickup; Will Other Automakers Follow Suit?  test 1-1

Now that Ford Motor Company has announced the official plans to discontinue the production of the Ford Ranger, what is next in a small-sized pickup truck for Ford; will a new prototype be popping up soon to replace the Ranger?

Ford plans to get rid of the Ranger sometime next year and may be planning to replace it with a new vehicle built on the next generation Ford Focus platform.

It certainly seems that there continues to be a market for a small Ranger-type pickup as evidenced by the popularity of the Toyota A-BAT pickup concept at this year’s Detroit auto show. The vehicle is as small as a Toyota Corolla, with four seats and small (4-foot) cargo box.       

The A-BAT has some unique features, such as the midgate which is positioned between the back seats and the tailgate. The midgate can be lowered to create a cargo floor that can be expanded to reach from the cargo box all the way through the back seats up to the front seats of the cab. Extending the space of the cargo box would allow for hauling of a cargo up to 4x8 feet.