Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: Audi RS Q3 Concept

The Audi Q3 RS shows Audi "exploring the potential" of a high-performance SUV. It has been unveiled at the Beijing motor show ahead of the standard Q3's launch into China later this year.

The concept is the first time Audi’s RS skunkworks has developed anything other than a conventional hatchback, saloon or estate. Mercedes’ AMG performance arm has long been producing high-performance SUVs, while BMW M’s controversial X5 M and X6 M models have proved to be a commercial success.

The RS Q3 concept uses a highly tuned version of the 2.5-litre five-cylinder found in the Audi RS3 and TT-RS. Power is increased in the turbocharged TFSI unit by 20bhp to 355bhp. An increase in torque over the 332lb ft produced in standard form has not been confirmed.

The result of the extra power is a 0-62mph time of just 5.2sec and the ability to reach a 164mph top speed. Drive is channeled through all four wheels using a seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission. The concept features Quattro permanent all-wheel drive.

The RS Q3 concept has also undergone a series of chassis and styling changes over its more humble siblings. The RS Q3 has been lowered by 25mm, and sports suspension has been fitted.

Externally, the RS Q3 is distinguished by its muscular RS styling kit. At the front, there’s a new 3D-effect black honeycomb grille, tinted headlights, a redesigned front bumper with sculpted air intakes, and a spoiler made from carbonfibre-reinforced plastics (CFPR).

Flared side skirts and wheel arches give the RS Q3 a wider stance, while a long rear spoiler gives the RS Q3 a purposeful profile. At the rear, there’s a new bumper with diffuser insert, plus two large tailpipes. The concept is finished in striking Ordos Blue paintwork.

The blue and black-themed interior has also undergone a makeover compared to standard Q3s. Black Nappa leather seats get contrasting blue Alcantara stitching, while blue is also used for CFPR and Alcantara trim panels.

As a nod to its Chinese launch, Chinese characters are used on the tachometer.

Also on Audi's Beijing show stand is the Q3 Jinlong Yufeng concept. It's finished in a special livery that's a nod to the Chinese year of the dragon.

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: Lamborghini Urus Concept

The Lamborghini 4x4, previewed at the Beijing motor show today as the Urus concept and set to go into production in 2016, is crucial to the firm’s goal of nearly tripling sales and securing its future, according to boss Stephan Winkelmann.

Lamborghini is targeting annual sales of 3000 luxury 4x4s, on top of around 1500 to 2000 Aventador and Gallardo models. “Lamborghini needs a third model line that will provide sales stability and ensure profitability,” said Winkelmann. “We have looked at every sector, but it’s clear that a 4x4 offers the best opportunity for success.

“The extreme supersports segment is very cyclic and very sensitive to new product launches and economic downturns. Therefore, it is clear Lamborghini needs a wider customer base to ensure long-term profitability.”

Winkelmann has targeted the BMW X6 M and Range Rover as rivals for the four-seat Urus, which is likely to be priced from around £150,000 when it goes into production. “Our studies have shown that nearly all existing Lamborghini owners also have a sport utility vehicle in their garage, so in this respect we consider it the perfect extension to our existing supercar business,” said Winkelmann.

The Urus has already been granted the internal Lamborghini codename LB736. Insiders say the production version is likely to keep the same rakish exterior looks (other than the concept’s oversized 24in wheels) but will have a significantly more comfort-orientated and conventional interior. It has been conceived to sit on the same four-wheel drive underpinnings as future incarnations of the Audi Q7, Bentley Falcon (as previewed by the EXP 9 F concept at the Geneva motor show), Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg.

“It is the most suitable [platform] in terms of costs and shared investment,” said Lamborghini engineering boss Maurizio Reggiani. “For production, it would incorporate lightweight carbonfibre structural elements combined with an aluminium-intensive chassis to achieve a target weight less than the competition.”

Such measures are already being developed by Audi for the second-generation Q7 due out in 2014. That car is claimed to weigh up to 250kg less than today’s first-generation model.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Ford Ecosport

Ford has pulled the wraps off four new models, including three SUVs, at the Beijing motor show. The move is part of the brand’s commitment to introduce 15 new vehicles to China by 2015.

Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa said: “We are ready to demonstrate aggressive growth this year in China, the most exciting car market in the world."

Centre stage in Beijing is the Ford Ecosport. The Fiesta-based SUV is built in China at Ford’s Chongquin plant and will include the marque’s new turbocharged three-cylinder engine. In the Ecosport, it will produce 118bhp and 125lb ft of torque.

The Ford Kuga has also received its Chinese debut today, alongside the larger Ford Explorer. The debut of the Ford Focus ST marks the first time Ford has marketed a performance car in China. It will be offered only as a five-door hatchback.

Hinrichs said: "We are working hard to secure the avid interest of Chinese car enthusiasts with these new and exciting Ford vehicles loaded with green and smart technologies,"

"With the opening of our latest state-of-the-art brand new manufacturing facilities in Chongqing and the continued, rapid expansion of a family of vehicles in every class that Chinese consumers want and value, Ford is committed to China.”

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 JAC Heyue SC

The JAC Heyue SC, one of the homegrown stars of Beijing, is China’s latest attempt at creating a credible sports car. JAC has confirmed the car will go on sale in China priced from 200,000 Yuan (£19,700).

The Heyue SC is powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 162bhp and 160lb ft of torque, and mated to a manual gearbox.

Previous Chinese attempts at sports coupés haven’t fared well with domestic buyers; the Geely Beauty Leopard, which was powered by a weak 1.3-litre engine and featured a built-in karaoke system, was reportedly given away as a company car to Geely employees.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: Honda Concept S

When it makes production, the Concept S will be sold in global emerging markets. It’s mainly targeted at China however, hence its Beijing launch. The S stands for “stylish, smart and surprise”.

It is powered by an unspecified hybrid powertrain.

Honda has also confirmed it will launch its Acura ILX and RX models in the Chinese market later this year. The new NSX will also be launched in the country within the next three years.

The final significant launch on the Honda stand at Beijing is the new Ciimo saloon, the result of a joint venture between Dongfeng and Honda. The Ciimo is 4545mm long and is powered by a 1.8-litre i-VTEC engine.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: Honda Concept C

Honda has revealed two new concept cars at the Beijing motor show. The Honda Concept C previews a new budget saloon for the Chinese market and the Honda Concept S trails a new global compact car.

The Concept C, the C standing for “cool, challenge and China”, features angular styling inspired by a dragon. Honda’s operations in China completely led the product planning for the car, while the styling was a collaborative between Honda’s Chinese and Japanese design houses.

A production version of the Concept C is expected to be launched next year solely for the Chinese market.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: BYD-Daimler Denza Concept

Daimler and Chinese car maker BYD (Build Your Dreams) have revealed the Denza concept at the Beijing motor show. Prototypes of the production model are already at large in major cities across China prior to a market launch next year.

The venture aims to combine BYD’s battery technology (its original business was making batteries) with the manufacturing, technological and design clout of Mercedes-Benz. Currently over 200 engineers from both companies are working to make the Denza a production reality.

The concept is a four-seat car with rear-hinged rear doors, opening to reveal a spacious and luxurious interior, although it is thought the look of the production car will owe more to its exterior than its interior.

The Denza will be built in BYD’s home city of Shenzhen and will launch into what is already the largest car market in the world. According to Denza, the Government plans to include the number of New Energy Vehicles (electric cars) in China from 10,000 at present to 5 million by 2020; if Daimler and BYD have their way, no small number of them will be Denzas.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Renault Talisman

The Renault Talisman saloon has been unveiled at the Beijing motor show. The Talisman is a Chinese market version of the Samsung SM7.

The Talisman, formerly known as the Safrane, will be built alongside the SM7 in South Korea. Both cars use the Renault-Nissan Alliance J31 platform, which is also seen in China underneath the Dongfeng-Nissan Teana joint venture saloon for the Chinese market.

Two engines are offered in the Talisman: a 187bhp 2.5-litre V6 or a 254bhp 3.5-litre V6. Gearbox options include CVT or six-speed autos.

There are no plans to offer the Renault Talisman for sale outside of China.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: 2012 Aston Martin Dragon 88

Aston Martin has taken the wraps off three ‘Year of the Dragon’ special edition models at the Beijing motor show.

Available on DBS Volante, Virage Coupe and V8 Vantage S Coupe models, the Dragon 88 Limited Edition-spec cars (of which there are 88 in total) are finished in one of three colours - Amethyst Red, Volcano Red and Champagne Gold - and feature 24-carat gold wing badges.

Each car's front grille, bonnet meshes and side vents are finished in chrome and 10-spoke lightweight forged alloys (unique to each Dragon model) come as standard.

Inside the cabin, Dragon 88 cars are clad in either Spicy Red, Deep Purple and Chancellor Red colours (each specific to the exterior colour), with Piano Black and gold trim used on the dashboard. Each car's headrest also features an embroidered dragon while sill plates get a laser-etched plaque with each car's individual number. Standard kit also comprises a 1000W Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez said: “The stunning Dragon 88 sports cars – hand-built by our world-class craftspeople in England – reflect the design flair and technical excellence of the luxurious Aston Martin brand”.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: Jeep Wrangler Dragon Design Concept

Also on Chrysler Group’s Beijing stand is the Jeep Wrangler Dragon Design Concept. Based on a China-market Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon, the Dragon design concept adds matte black 18-inch five-spoke alloys clad in 35-inch off-road rubber. Bronze-gold details also feature on the concept, a colour associated with the dragon.

Inside, for example, the Jeep’s cabin gets a laser-etched dragon pattern on the head rests and dragon-scale pattern on the seats and arm rest.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: Chrysler 300 Ruyi Concept

Chrysler is marking its return to the Chinese market with a Chrysler 300 Ruyi design concept, which “blends modern American design and technology with tradition-rich Chinese symbols”, according to the marque.

Based on the 3.0-litre V6-powered Chrysler 300C saloon, the 300 Ruyi (meaning ‘as one wishes’) is finished in ‘Maximum Steel’ paint and features dark chrome touches to the door handles, grille surround and lower grille.

Colour contrasting badges, headlamps and dual exhaust tips also feature as do tinted windows and 22-inch alloy. Interior features include flashes of black chrome to the dashboard and leather and suede seats.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: Chery TX Concept

The stylish Chery TX SUV concept, on of the stars of the Beijing motor show, previews a replacement for the Tiggo SUV in Chery’s line-up and is perhaps the most credible car yet seen from a Chinese domestic manufacturer.

Chery, China’s fourth-largest car maker that recently confirmed a joint venture with Jaguar Land Rover, also plans to use the TX as a blueprint for its future designs. The firm has until now struggled with a unified design language across its line-up, and has been contracting some models out to Italian design houses while keeping others in-house.

It is not clear where the TX was designed, but it has proved to be a hit in both China and further afield after computer-generated official images were released last week. Chery says it was inspired by water when developing the TX and will “try to bring nature into the car”.

A prominent beltline and large alloy wheels give it a purposeful stance, although they are likely to be lost for production as volume Chinese buyers prefer smaller wheels.

The current Tiggo was China’s first domestic-use SUV of note due to its relative sophistication. Other manufacturers had made SUVs but these were often based on older Isuzu pick-up truck chassis, which made them unwieldy for urban and city centre driving.

The Tiggo started life as a first-generation Toyota RAV4, but has matured further over the seven years it has been on the Chinese market. Power now comes from a 1.6-litre supercharged petrol engine.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: Volkswagen E-Bugster Cabriolet Concept

Volkswagen is previewing the look of its new Beetle cabriolet with an open-top version of its electric-powered E-Bugster concept at the Beijing motor show.

The latest E-Bugster retains the earlier concept’s bold look, but it swaps its speedster-style roof structure for a roofless profile that insiders suggest provides clues to the look of the new Beetle cabriolet.

Unlike the previous Beetle cabriolet, whose roof remained exposed even when folded away, the E-Bugster’s structure is stowed beneath a plastic tonneau cover, preserving its retro-inspired lines while providing it with a cleaner overall appearance - something that is set to be reflected on the new model.

The concept’s tonneau cover extends forward behind the front seats, turning it into a two-seater, while the rear edge forms a spoiler that lends the car greater visual length.

The production-ready Beetle cabriolet will be revealed at the Los Angeles motor show in November.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Fiat Viaggio

Fiat has turned the US market Dodge Dart into a new Fiat-badged saloon for China. The Fiat Viaggio is at the Beijing motor show and will go on sale there in the third quarter.

The four-door, five-seat Viaggio will be the first model to built in a new plant in China as part of a joint venture between GAC and Fiat.

Changes over the Dart are minimal, and focus on giving the new Italian-designed Fiat its own distinct front and rear end designs. Both cars are based on Fiat’s Compact US Wide architecture.

The Viaggio will be offered with a turbocharged 1.4-litre Tjet engine with either 118bhp or 148bhp. Buyers can choose from either a conventional five-speed auto’ gearbox, or Fiat’s new six-speed dual-clutch auto.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Mercedes G63 AMG

The facelifted Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG has been revealed at the Beijing motor show in China, with company bosses predicting a surge in sales for the the iconic car, which is expected to now cost around £110,000 in the UK.

"At present 40-50% of G-class sales are AMG models, and we expect that figure to grow with the arrival of the new-look model," said AMG boss Ola Kaellenius in Beijing. "The first reaction from customers has already been quite overwhelming." Typically 100 to 200 G-class's are sold in the UK each year, with 6600 sold globally in 2011.

Flaunting a deep new front bumper with large cooling ducts, a double slat grille, side mounted exhaust pipes exiting ahead of the rear wheels and characteristic five spoke AMG alloy wheels, the G63 AMG enters the Mercedes-Benz line-up as a replacement for the long running G55 AMG.

Power hails from the German car maker’s twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 direct injection petrol engine. It develops 536bhp and a heady 560lb ft of torque – some 43bhp and 44lb ft more than the G55’s old supercharged 5.4-litre V8 powerplant.

The new engine is mated to a contemporary seven speed automatic gearbox, with drive channeled permanently to all four wheels through three separate differentials that can be manually locked from the cabin for added ability in off-road conditions. Unlike other facelifted G-class models, it also receives an automatic stop/start function and brake energy recuperation for added fuel savings.

Mercedes-Benz says the 2500kg-plus G63 AMG will do 0-62mph in 5.4sec, and has confirmed combined average fuel consumption of 20.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 322g/km, which is an improvement on the G55 AMG’s 17.9mpg and 378g/km.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 BMW 3-Series Li

BMW has showcased its new BMW 3-series long-wheelbase saloon at the Beijing motor show.

The new 3-series variant - available for the Chinese market only – has its wheelbase extended by 110mm compared with the standard car to substantially increase rear legroom.

The long-wheelbase model is available in BMW 335Li, the BMW 328Li, or the BMW 320Li guises and will be built in China’s new Shenyang production plant.

According to the firm, the new variant "fulfills precisely the expectations of Chinese automobile customers".

BMW has sold 80,000 cars in China in 1st three months; 37 per cent up on last year. It has also recorded 425,000 global sales in the first quarter, which is a best-ever performance from the brand.

Ian Roberston insists sales are still balanced despite Chinese growth: "China's sales performance is part of BMW's balanced, worldwide success. The first three months of 2012 have been our best start to any year globally - not just in China. We intend to continue that growth and claim the title of number oe premium car company in the world once again."

BMW has also confirmed it will open a design studio in Shanghai next month to tap into burgeoning Chinese market. The studio will include 'Connected Lab Drive' which will house a team of experts investigating Connected Drive functions, including infotainment and safety equipment. The bulk of these developments will be for Chinese markets, but this could prompt BMW to open a Chinese technology centre.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: Citroen Numero 9 Concept

This new Citroën Numero 9 concept is the first in a new wave of DS models. Revealed at the Beijing motor show, the Numero 9 previews the styling direction that the next three DS models - a VW Jetta sized premium saloon, an SUV and a BMW 5-series sized executive saloon flagship - will take.

The Beijing launch of the new concept coincides with the introduction to China of the existing DS3, DS4 and DS5. Citroën has racked up more than 200,000 DS sales in its core markets to date, and it plans to roll out the range to emerging markets - including Russia, Brazil and China - during 2012.

At least two of the three forthcoming DS models are likely to make it to Europe, including the UK. Each model will take styling inspiration from the Numero 9 shooting brake concept, but the 5-series rival will most closely resemble it in production, possibly taking the DS9 name.

Numero 9 is 4930mm long, 1940mm wide and 1270mm high, with a wheelbase of 3000mm. That puts it between the BMW 5-series and

BMW 7-series in size. It weighs 1500kg and rides on 21-inch ‘turbine’ aerodynamic alloy wheels that help channel air around the wheel arches.

Designed in Paris, the Numero 9 sports new-to-DS features, such as a 3D-effect front grille, new full LED headlights and a distinctive strip of LED daytime running lights. All these features will make it on to future DS production car designs, as will the ‘floating roof’ effect, glazed side surfaces and lots of chrome trim.

A plug-in hybrid all-wheel drivetrain powers the concept. A 69bhp, 148lb ft electric motor powers the rear axle and a 221bhp, 203lb ft 1.6 THP petrol engine drives the front wheels. A diesel motor can be fitted for European markets.

In petrol-equipped Beijing guise, the Numero 9 can crack 0-62mph in 5.4sec. In spite of the performance, its combined fuel economy is a startling 166mpg and CO2 emissions are just 39g/km.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: Mercedes CSC Concept

The Mercedes Concept Style Coupé (CSC) has received its debut at the Beijing motor show. The model previews the forthcoming Mercedes CLA compact saloon, which was confirmed for production at the show today by Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche.

He described the CLA junior saloon, inspired by the success of the CLS and due on sale next year, as the"rebel".

"It is the avant-garde sibling that strives to be bold and different, to establish a strong non-conformist identity and to even show a bit of attitude," revealed Zetsche. "I promise the production version will do justice to this concept version."

Among the CLA’s four-door rivals will be a saloon version of the new Audi A3, also due next year, and a secret four-door version of the BMW 1-series, which is currently undergoing conceptual development with a view to introduction in 2015.

The CLA also has in its sights the Volkswagen Jetta - a car officials suggest they will target heavily in North America and China, markets considered crucial to the CLA’s success.

Long billed as a junior CLS, the CLA will sit below the Mercedes C-class saloon on price and features in the marques line-up. However, this CSC show car hints that Mercedes’ new entry-level saloon will be 47mm longer, a considerable 121mm wider and 47mm lower than the C-class saloon. The CSC is 4637mm long, 1891mm wide and 1398mm tall.

These official measurements also make it 345mm longer, the same width and 35mm lower than the new Mercedes A-class - a car with which the CLA shares its platform, chassis and driveline architecture.

Based on Mercedes’ new MFA platform, it has a 2699mm wheelbase — 59mm shorter than the C-class but the same as the A-class.

The CSC concept has been fitted with the same turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine confirmed for the new A250 at the Geneva show in March.

This engine kicks out a Volkswagen Golf GTI-equalling 208bhp. Drive is channelled through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox to all four wheels.

In production guise, the CLA will offer the choice of standard front-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive. Gearboxes will include a standard six-speed manual or the same seven-speed dual-clutch unit as the CSC as an option.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: BMW i8 Spyder Concept

This open-top BMW i8 Spyder concept will be turned into a production variant of the petrol-electric hybrid supercar in 2015, BMW sources have told Autocar.

The i8 Spyder is the third pre-production version of the revolutionary 90mpg-plus, 155mph supercar. It’s received its first public airing at the Beijing motor show today.

This concept is said to give extra clues to the production coupé, which is due to go on sale in late 2014. Of note are the solid doors, which replace the transparent sides of the previous concepts.

There are other subtle differences from the two previous concepts. The kidney grille is blanked off to cut aerodynamic drag and the ‘layered surfacing’ styling treatment has evolved slightly.

With its open-roof design, the i8 Spyder has a new, free-standing windscreen and conventional door glazing that integrates with fixed rear three-quarter side panels.

To provide roll-over protection and boost chassis stiffness, there are prominent safety hoops, faired-in by body panels, at the rear of the cabin.

Although this concept leaves the design of the roof unclear, BMW insiders suggest that a removable panel, probably fashioned from carbonfibre, is the favoured solution.

The rear end has also been modified, with a flat, transparent engine cover in place of the sloping coupé roofline. It doubles as the luggage cover, over a wide but shallow stowage space.

As with all future BMW ‘i’ sub-brand models, the Spyder is based around a lightweight carbonfibre-reinforced plastic structure clothed in body panels of the same material. It is 4480mm long, 1922mm wide and 1208mm tall. That makes it 130mm shorter, 142mm wider and 187mm lower than a 335i cabriolet.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: Toyota Dear Qin Concept

Toyota has revealed three new concept cars at the Beijing motor show. They star among a vast Toyota show stand that’s home to 38 vehicles, and are designed to boost Toyota’s presence in the country by launching locally-developed models.

The Toyota Dear Qin concept is at Beijing in both saloon and hatchback guises. It previews a new compact global car that will be launched next year.

The model is likely to be an entry-level car targeted at consumers who have never bought a car before.

Toyota has also confirmed plans to launch a plug-in hybrid in China by the end of 2012, and a full electric vehicle by 2013.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: Toyota Yungdong Shuangqing Concept

Toyota has revealed three new concept cars at the Beijing motor show. They star among a vast Toyota show stand that’s home to 38 vehicles, and are designed to boost Toyota’s presence in the country by launching locally-developed models.

The Toyota Yungdong Shuangqing is a sleek hybrid saloon concept that was developed at Toyota’s Chinese R&D centre.

The concept previews Toyota’s latest petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain that’s due in 2015, but the firm has not confirmed exact details of the powertrain at this time.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: 2013 Nissan Sylphy

The Nissan Sylphy New-G is described as an-all new global saloon, but really it's the next generation Sylphy. The car, which received its debut at today's Beijing motor show will spearhead the firm's assualt on emerging markets.

Nissan says 'New G' means 'New Generation' as it is a new take on the car, and a big step on from the old Sylphy.

It is aimed at emerging markets and tagged as one class above the mainstream. Nissan says it is roomier than the class average and constructed using improved materials. It will be powered by a 1.8 petrol engine mated to a CVT transmission.

The new Sylphy will be produced at the Guangzhou plant, the product of the Nissan-Dongfeng joint venture, and will go on sale in the summer. It will launch in "most major markets by end of year and 120 countries by 2014"

Nissan also revealed the Pivo 3, which is described as a "smart urban EV of the near future". Production in modified form is now certain.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: 2012 Range Rover Evoque Victoria Beckham Edition

The long-awaited Victoria Beckham-designed Range Rover Evoque has been revealed at the Beijing motor show today. Just 200 units will be produced, with a price tag insiders hint will be around £80,000.

When the Evoque was first previewed in London in summer 2010, it was announced that Beckham had joined the Land Rover design team and would work with design chief Gerry McGovern on an exclusive special edition version of the Evoque.

Speaking in Beijing, McGovern told Autocar: "We chose to work with Victoria Beckham because she has credibility in a fashion design world. She specifically wanted the car to be masculine - something that David would drive. Both women and men like masculine cars."

Beckham said she looked at yachts, luxury jets, classic cars, movies, personalisation and fashion in creating her Evoque. “I want everyone who gets into this car to feel special and empowered by its quality and craftsmanship,” she said. “I like that it feel luxurious but also has quite a classic edge to it as well as a contemporary feel.”

The luxurious special will be built on the regular Evoque production line in Halewood, and then handed over to Land Rover’s special ‘Engineering to Order’ division to give it an exclusive makeover.

It is based on the three-door and comes with the range-topping 237bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, a six-speed auto’ gearbox and all-wheel drive.

Most striking externally is its hand-finished matt black paintwork and gloss black paint for the detailing. The 20in alloys are also in gloss black and feature rose gold accents. Rose gold is also used for the grille and badge surrounds.

The luxurious interior boasts tan semi-aniline leather seats that are hand stitched. Rose gold features again for interior accents, while other trim is finished in black lacquers and veneers, textured aluminium and soft-feel black paint.

Each of the 200 units, the first of which will go to Chinese customers, comes with a bespoke four-piece luggage set and a hand-sewn leather wallet for the manual that’s signed by Beckham herself.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: 2012 Bentley Mulsanne Diamond Jubilee Edition

Bentley will make 60 unique special edition versions of the Bentley Mulsanne to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Each car represents a year of her reign, the first of which is on show at the Beijing motor show.

Each model boasts a series of royal-inspired features over standard Mulsannes and have been created by Bentley’s exclusive Mulliner division. Mulliner created the Queen’s state limousine in 2002, and has an association with the royal family dating back to the 1760s. It is now a wholly owned Bentley subsidiary.

Exclusive features include gold embroidery for the headrests, veneered picnic tables for the rear cabin with a gold overlay, and special hide cushions for rear passengers. Two stainless steel sideplates also feature engraved with ‘Diamond Jubilee Edition’ in special Mulliner script.

A special red, white and blue theme runs throughout each models – the colours of the Union Flag – to highlight the car’s ‘Britishness’.

The launch also coincides with the opening of Bentley’s new Beijing dealership, its largest in Asia. China is Bentley’s largest market; it sold 1664 units in the country in 2011.

Thanks to: Autocar

Beijing Show 2012 Highlights: 2012 Jaguar XJ Ultimate

The new Jaguar XJ Ultimate is the most luxurious – and expensive – version of Jaguar’s big saloon ever launched. Revealed at today’s Beijing motor show, the XJ Ultimate takes inspiration from stablemate Land Rover’s Range Rover Ultimate Edition, which was a sell-out success in 2011 in spite of its £125,000 price tag.

Jaguar has yet to officially price the XJ Ultimate, but sources indicate it will cost around £128,000 when it reaches the UK in November.

Much of the changes to the Ultimate over the standard long-wheelbase car create a more opulent experience for rear passengers. Between the pair of fully adjustable rear seats sits a folding solid aluminium business table, a champagne chiller and storage for champagne flutes.

Each rear passenger also gets there own iPad and keyboard, plus a TV screen with individual wireless headphones.

There are suspensions tweaks to ensure a smoother ride quality for rear passengers, plus as series of styling tweaks to distinguish the Ultimate from its more humble siblings.

Engines include the first application of Jaguar’s new supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol. The existing supercharged 5.0-litre V8 petrol and 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engines can also be offered.

Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover said: "I expect the Jaguar XJ Ultimate to sell best in China, but it's on sale in all markets. We'll see how it does but I expect it to be very successful, as the Range Rover Ultimate was."

Thanks to: Autocar

New Car: 2012 Bentley Mulsanne Diamond Jubilee Edition

Bentley is celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne with the Mulsanne Diamond Jubilee Edition.

Only 60 will be made – one for each year of Her Majesty’s reign – with each inspired by the Bentley State Limousine presented to the Queen in 2002.

That means bespoke gold stitching on the headrests, veneered tables in the rear with a logo depicting the royal carriage and a set of cushions featuring the same picture.

The limited-edition Mulsanne is finished in the same paintjob as the State Limousine. Bentley calls it Beluga over Claret, and it’s designed to represent the red, white and blue of the Union Jack. The same chrome grille is also fitted. There are a further five paint options, ranging from White Sand to Black Sapphire.

Hand-painted detail lines – including one running the length of the car’s flanks – are unique to the Diamond Jubilee Edition. But the Mulsanne is no different under the skin. That means it’s powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre V8 engine producing 505bhp and 1,020Nm of torque.

Prices have yet to be announced, but the car is certain to carry a premium over the £225,000 standard model. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Car: 2013 BMW 3 Series Li

Making its debut at the Beijing Motor Show next week will be a stretched version of the new BMW 3 Series.

Built specifically for the Chinese market, the BMW 3 Series Li is 11cm longer than the standard car and will be produced at BMW's new plant in Shenyang.

It will be offered with a choice of three petrol engines. This includes a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 181bhp and 270Nm of torque, and a twin-turbocharged version of the same engine producing 241bhp and 350Nm.

Top-of-the-range 335Li gets a 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six, which produces 302bhp and 406Nm of torque. This version will be able to go from 0-62mph in less than six seconds.

The BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, M6 Coupe, X3 xDrive28i and X6 will also be making their Asian debut next week, and will join the standard 3 Series and i3 Concept on BMW's stand. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Cars: 2012 Mini Cooper Green Park & Hyde Park

While some consider the Mini Cooper sporty and economical transportation, just as many view it as more of a fashion statement. The brand’s latest creations, the Mini Hyde Park and Mini Green Park, draw inspiration from two of London’s most famous public venues, and are meant to appeal to the more style-conscious Mini’s customers.

Named after two famous parks in London, the Hyde Park and Green Park editions start with the same Pepper White exterior paint color, but differentiate themselves with contrasting accent paintwork – Hot Chocolate on the Hyde Park and British Racing Green on the Green Park. Each car also receives racing stripes and side pinstripes painted in its respective unique color, and sports clear turn signal lenses.

Inside, the Hyde Park and Green Park editions feature Pepper White surfaces on the door panels and other trim, while the dashboard gets leather accents in Polar Beige. Seats can be upholstered in a cloth/leather combination or in Leather Gravity with Carbon Black and Polar Beige accents to match the rest of the interior.

The special edition packages are available on hardtop coupe and Clubman body styles and, in the U.S. market, can be had with the base 121-hp four-cylinder or the 181-hp turbocharged I-4 of the Mini Cooper S. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, though a six-speed automatic is also available. Both models go on sale in the U.S. this July as 2013 models, with pricing to be announced closer to the special editions’ launch.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2015 McLaren F1

What It Is: A prototype of McLaren’s sequel to the legendary F1 supercar. The original F1, produced in the 1990s, was an exotic among exotics. It featured a 618-hp BMW V-12, lots of carbon fiber, and a $1,000,000 price tag. This F1 successor, due for 2015, is expected to deliver performance on par with the mightiest supercars out there, including the Bugatti Veyron and the Lamborghini Aventador.

Why It Matters: McLaren’s first F1 was the car in the ’90s that every kid had a poster of, so any car developed to succeed it is noteworthy, to say the least. The new car will give McLaren a second, more lust-worthy model; the MP4-12C is a hugely competent, yet reserved take on the exotica formula. (It recently won a three-car comparison test with the Ferrari 458 Italia and Porsche 911 GT2 RS.) This supercar could be McLaren’s next shot at poster fame, but it will face stiff competition from Ferrari’s equally anticipated Enzo replacement.

Platform: Our most recent intel suggests the F1 successor could utilize a modified version of the MP4-12C’s carbon-fiber chassis. These spy photos show that the new car may be slightly larger than the MP4-12C; its passenger compartment looks to be about the same size as that car’s, but its rear deck is much longer and more flat. (The car’s profile appears to closely resemble that of the original F1, actually.) Like the original McLaren supercar, its successor features a central exhaust; this one has a high-mount exit. The new car, though, will abandon the 1+2 seating layout for a more conventional setup.

Powertrain: The new model will be powered by a modified and potentially larger version of the MP4-12C’s twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter V-8. It probably goes without saying that it will be more powerful than the 593-hp MP4-12C. A Formula 1–style kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) will allow the McLaren to re-capture energy under braking and store it in either a flywheel or a battery. That energy can then power an electric motor that can aid the V-8 under acceleration.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Unofficial Picture: Lamborghini Urus Concept

Photos of Lamborghini’s much-anticipated Urus SUV concept have leaked out ahead of its official unveil at the Beijing auto show.

Once the Urus reaches production a few years from now, it will ride on a platform shared with the next-generation VW Touareg, Audi Q7, and Porsche Cayenne, as well as the production version of Bentley’s forthcoming SUV. The VW Group’s powertrain parts bin is deep and provides plenty of options for Rambo Lambo II: First Blood, but we think the Audi-derived V-10 currently used in the Gallardo or the new twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 found in the latest S8 (among other vehicles) are the likeliest choices. Hybridization is also a possibility.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2013 Mercedes Citan

The Mercedes-Benz Citan compact commercial van has come to life online in advance of the RAI commercial vehicles show in Amsterdam. The Citan small commercial van, teased a couple months ago, is the first joint product to come from the Daimler and Renault-Nissan partnership and will join the Sprinter and Vito in the German automaker’s commercial van range. Based on the Renault Kangoo, the Mercedes-Benz Citan is too small to see direct European competition from the newly unveiled Ford Transit Custom cargo van.

Mercedes revealed the Citan before its scheduled public debut at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover in September. The Citan, which combines the words “city” and “titan,” will continue the momentum Mercedes has in the commercial van market. Mercedes-Benz Van boss Volker Mornhinweg reports 2011 was the most successful year in the division’s history, and is convinced the Citan will gain a 4-5 percent market share of the emerging segment.

“We aim to sell more than 400,000 units worldwide by 2015,” Mornhinweg said in a release. In Europe, the market has quickly grown to 700,000 units.

The Citan is available in three lengths (155, 170, and 185 inches) the van will be offered as a panel van, multi-purpose van, and passenger-hauling crew bus. The multi-purpose vehicle, the Citan Mixto, is based on the 185-inch version, and offers a foldable rear bench seat and two sliding doors. The third, the 170-inch Citan crewbus, is available as a five-seater with a foldable rear bench seat and sliding door (sliding doors on both sides is optional).

Engine options include three direct-injection turbodiesel engines ranging from 75 to 110 hp, as well as a supercharged gas engine that puts out 114 hp. Engines will be paired to a five- or six-speed transmission. Mercedes’ BlueEfficiency package — with stop/start tech, low rolling-resistance tires, as well as a battery and generator management system — is standard on the gas variant, and optional for the diesel versions.

Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP II Coupe

A Mini John Cooper Works Coupe that’s been given the GP treatment, caught wearing very little camouflage. It’s already been confirmed that the high-performance Mini JCW GP II hatchback model is coming to the U.S. by the end of the year—we’ve even spotted one out testing—but this is the first time we’ve caught wind of a Mini JCW Coupe GP II. The Mini is wearing a few GP hallmarks, namely a set of four-spoke wheels and an aggressive rear diffuser.

You may be wondering why we’re referring to the coupe as a GP II, when this would be the first time the model has received GP kit. We doubt that Mini would refer to it only as the “GP” but at the same time call the three-door the “GP II.” It makes more sense for Mini to use common GP nomenclature, even if doing so means the coupe’s name makes a little less sense. The original Mini JCW GP was slightly lighter and slightly more powerful than a contemporary JCW three-door, attributes we expect will carry over to both the new hatchback GP II, as well as this new coupe.

When the first-generation Mini John Cooper Works GP went on sale in limited numbers back in 2006, the Mini lineup had yet to expand beyond the Cooper hatchback and convertible. Today, Mini’s offerings include the Coupe, Roadster, Clubman, and Countryman, and extending the GP upgrades to a second model is easy and makes some sense.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Unofficial Picture: Mercedes Concept Style Coupe

It’s rare when a model shifts as radically from generation to generation as has the Mercedes-Benz A-class. In this case, though, such shifts shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: The A has always been a bit radical, ever since its introduction in 1997 as competition for the perennially popular VW Golf. The Merc’s seating position was higher than in typical compacts, in the fashion of wildly popular SUVs, for a better view of the road. The car featured a sandwich-style floor for crash reasons (in frontal impacts, the engine would be driven under the occupants) and to provide room for battery or fuel storage in alternative-powertrain models.

The next-gen 2013 A-class—revealed in Geneva in March—remains a radical vehicle for Mercedes in both its architecture and its styling, even as it eschews the tall proportions and sandwich floor. Its MFA bones (for “Mercedes Front-wheel-drive Architecture”) serve as the jumping-off point for several derivatives, including the CLA-class previewed by the concept you see here. (They also will spawn an Infiniti model, thanks to the recent Renault-Nissan/Daimler tie-up.) With this model proliferation—three- and five-door hatchbacks, a small crossover, and the recently released B-class—Mercedes hopes to sell many more small cars globally. We will get the crossover and this sedan, while reports on U.S. hatch availability seem to be in flux.

Now, to the concept/future production model at hand. We received exclusive access to the Concept Style Coupé just ahead of its debut at the 2012 Beijing auto show, and were told by Mercedes design chief Gorden Wagener that what you see here (apart from the side mirrors and a few similarly fanciful elements) constitutes for all intents and purposes the series-production CLA-class. We hope that’s more true than with the A-class hatchback concept, which lost its sizzle in the transition to production.

The four-door car resembles a shrunken CLS, although at 182.6 inches long, it’s about a foot shorter. (It’s a smidge shorter in height and roughly the same width.) The exterior, with its sharply creased character lines, has a more dynamic look than is typical of cars this size. Amplifying the athletic styling, the concept is fitted with 20-inch turbine-style wheels, and it also boasts power domes on the hood and a gaping lower intake. The grille, as we saw on AMG-engineered Sport versions of the A-class, is punctuated by hundreds of bright elements. Merc confirms we’ll see more of this on future sporty models; the company refers to it as its “diamond grille,” although the shiny bits are made of chromed steel and not precious gems. All told, it’s quite a handsome piece.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

Hot News: Holden to Make New Car for Chinese Market

Holden announced earlier today that it had signed an agreement with Shanghai-GM, to assist in the development of two new cars specifically for the Chinese market. Holden will work hand in hand with GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) to develop the new vehicles which will be based on GM’s world platforms but tailored specifically for the Chinese auto market.

The models and the scope of the work required has not yet been announced, but it is an important milestone for Holden. This technically not Holden’s first move into developing cars for the Chinese market, the Holden Caprice is sold in China as a Buick Park Avenue which replaced the Buick Royaum (A Holden Commadore).

Thanks to: China Car Times

Unofficial Picture: 2013 Mercedes G63 AMG

Official photographs of the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG have been published on the internet ahead of the performance SUV’s planned public debut at the Beijing motor show in China.

Flaunting a deep new front bumper with large cooling ducts, a double slat grille, side mounted exhaust pipes exiting ahead of the rear wheels and characteristic five spoke AMG alloy wheels, the G63 AMG enters the Mercedes-Benz line-up as a replacement for the long running G55 AMG.

Power hails from the German car maker’s twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 direct injection petrol engine. It develops 536bhp and a heady 560lb ft of torque – some 43bhp and 44lb ft more than the G55’s old supercharged 5.4-litre V8 powerplant.

The new engine is mated to a contemporary seven speed automatic gearbox, with drive channeled permanently to all four wheels through three separate differentials that can be manually locked from the cabin for added ability in off-road conditions. Unlike other facelifted G-class models, it also receives an automatic stop/start function and brake energy recuperation for added fuel savings.

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t quoted any official performance claims for the new 2500kg-plus G63 AMG yet, but it does confirm combined average fuel consumption of 20.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 322g/km, which is an improvement on the G55 AMG’s 17.9mpg and 378g/km.

Set to join the G63 AMG in the facelifted G-class line-up is a new range topping G63 AMG model. Planned to be sold in selected markets, including China, Russia and the Middle East, it runs a 603bhp version of Mercedes-Benz’s twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 multi-point injection petrol engine boasting a mammoth 737lb ft of torque.

Thanks to: Autocar

First Sketch: MG Icon Concept

MG Motor will be unveiling the Icon at the Beijing Motor Show this month; a Juke-rivalling SUV concept thought to hint at a production model for the brand.

These sketches are our first look at the five-door model and they reveal the MGB-inspired design, including the wide-mouth grille and round pontoon-mounted headlights.

Underneath, the Icon is expected to ride on the same chassis as the Golf-rivalling MG5, set to be released in the UK some time during 2014. With that in mind it makes sense to assume the Icon will also use the same engines, including a 1.5-litre petrol and a 1.9-litre turbodiesel.

There aren't too many details available concerning the interior but the sketches reveal four individual seats, with the rear units able to fold completely flat into the boot floor.

We were told that the MG Icon is likely to become part of MG's plans for the future, but don't expect to see it on the road until at least 2015. Before then, the firm will release the MG3 supermini and MG5 family hatch in 2013 and 2014 respectively. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Hot News: Is McLaren Working on Super Estate?

McLaren is working on a top-secret shooting brake estate, Auto Express has learned – and we’ve produced these exclusive images to show how it could look.

The new model will be based on the MP4-12C and will be similar in concept to the Ferrari FF – although it won’t have the Ferrari’s £230,000 price tag. Instead, McLaren will position the car as a more practical alternative to range-topping Porsche 911s, with a price of around £150,000.

The two-seater will have more boot space than the MP4-12C, but will still offer the same incredible performance. That’s thanks to its lightweight carbon-fibre construction and 592bhp 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 – which will deliver 0-60mph in around three seconds and a top speed of 205mph. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

New Concept Car: Audi RS Q3

When Audi released the Q3 into the premium small-ute segment to mingle with the likes of the BMW X1 and Acura RDX, it wasted no time in confirming a 314-hp version of the 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five developed for the TT RS. Audi confirmed the turbo five would be offered in the U.S.-spec Q3, an announcement made after the company unveiled the winter-sports-themed Q3 Vail concept at this year’s Detroit auto show.

Now for the Beijing auto show, Audi has whipped up a new Q3 concept, this time focusing on dry-road performance over wintry-travel capabilities.

Audi is calling the RS Q3 concept an “interpretation of a high-performance athlete with a 360-hp engine.” What that means, for those of you who haven’t already figured it out, is more power and a few styling mods to differentiate the concept from mere production versions.

Immediately apparent is the honeycomb mesh grille that replaces the more vertically oriented strakes of production versions. Chrome and black accents mingle with the slightly tinted headlamp lenses, while air ducts occupy the space in the lower fascia formerly inhabited by fog lights. A signature “Quattro” insignia is positioned directly below the grille. Carbon fiber is used for the front spoiler, door mirrors, air intakes and blacked-out headlight details. Doorsills and wheels are trimmed in the same black-and-blue motif as the front spoiler and air dam. Audi calls the main exterior color Ordos Blue; it’s a matte blue with a yellow tint.

The rear auxiliary lamps and taillights are tinted in anthracite and made of clear glass. Two large RS-style elliptical tailpipes exit through a new diffuser insert below the rear bumper.

Twenty-inch wheels wear 255/30 rubber; Audi says the tire selection is “not exactly typical for an SUV, but certainly [fitting] for an RS model.” The body is lowered by about an inch in comparison to current production Q3s.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

New Car: 2013 Chang'an Raeton

Chang’an Automotive has released the first pic of the Chang’an Raeton, formerly known as Chang’an CD101. The Reaton is Chang’an biggest car so far, it will debut next week at the Beijing Auto Show and it will be listed on the China car market near the end of this year.

Earlier spy shots from the interior. Power comes from Chang’an’s own 2.0 ‘JL486Q’ engine, good for 152hp and 192nm. There will also be a 1.8 and a 1.8 turbo, but those engines won’t be available at launch. Size: 4920/1825/1500, wheelbase is 2800.

We will have to wait for more pics to be sure but this seems a very sharp looking machine. It has a bit of Camry and a bit of Accord, but not too much.

Thanks to: Car News China

First Sketch: Chery TX Concept

Chery has released two official pictures of the Chery TX SUV concept that will debut at the Beijing Auto Show next week. At the show it will sport a techy green engine that will disappear as soon as serious development starts. The TX SUV is expected to hit the China car market within two years.

By that time power will come from 1.8, 2.0 and 2.4 gasoline engines. The TX will likely be positioned higher than everything else Chery sells today. It loox too big and far too classy to be just te replacement for the Chery Tiggo, although some of the design-elements might filter through the whole range.
Thanks to: Car News China

New Car: 2013 Proton Preve

The wait is over. Proton has officially introduced its latest addition to the fold with the arrival of the Prevé. The car was launched an hour ago by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, at the Mines Malaysia International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Seri Kembangan.

It’s a huge car for the company, as its managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin stated at the launch. “The Prevé is a very important milestone for Proton in many ways. It represents a new and higher level of standard for Proton cars in all aspects encompassing safety, performance, comfort, build quality, technology, overall design and convenience,” he said.

“More significantly, it reflects on Proton’s maturity, technical knowledge and technological capability as a car manufacturer and to evolve from a domestic and regional player into a global car company,” he added.

As mentioned in our preview article about the car, the Prevé is available in three variant forms at point of launch, with two engine permutations and three transmissions – the list is led by the 1.6 CVT Premium, in turbocharged CamPro CFE form, followed by the 1.6 Executive CVT and 1.6 Executive five-speed manual, which both feature the normally-aspirated CamPro IAFM+ mill.

Thanks to: Paultan

New Car: 2013 Toyota Aurion

The wraps have come off the locally-made second generation Toyota Aurion, revealing a new take on the large car which is bigger than its predecessor but lighter, more efficient and with more standard features.

Toyota is using the "attainable luxury" catch-cry for the new Aurion, which launches this month and comprises five models, starting at $36,490 for the AT-X which undercuts its Holden and Ford rivals.

The range tops out at $49,990 for the Presara variant.

The new Toyota Aurion will do battle with the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon in the large car market which has been on a downward slide in sales terms for the last few years. In the first three months of 2012, the large car market has slumped 21% compared to this time last year, down from 19,701 sales in 2011 to 15,555.

With a quieter interior and larger seats, Toyota says the second generation Aurion will deliver better ride and handling qualities than its precursor. Weighing 1525kg, its around 15kg lighter than before and has a fuel consumption figure of 9.3L/100km, down from 9.9L/100km.

Tighter fitting panels are also being spruiked, whose tolerances have dropped from 5mm to 3.5mm, "the domain of a very few true luxury cars," claims Toyota.

Toyota's executive director of sales and marketing, Matthew Callachor, says the updated exterior design and improvements in manufacturing will elevate the Aurion's standing in the large car segment.

"The new styling, detailed improvements to the car in many areas and further improvements in manufacturing tolerances have all been absorbed. It was highly desirable to present Presara beneath $50,000," he said.

"It has become a line Toyota has drawn beneath which it is possible to present a proposition of attainable-luxury. The true barrier is most likely the luxury car tax threshold – but $50,000 is a strong statement."

Toyota is confident the new Aurion is in a strong position to take on Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore in terms of value for money, claiming "a price advantage of between $745 and $3,500 over the entry models of its two major large car competitors".

Thanks to: Car Point

Spied: 2014 Lexus IS

Our spies have spotted the next generation Lexus IS testing. The new BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class rival has been seen with a modified version of the current car’s body. This version has been in showrooms since 2005, so is substantially older then its competitors.

Lexus has confirmed that the next IS will look more like a shrunken version of the new GS, which goes on sale in June. Styling wise, that means the new IS will wear the new corporate grille that’s appeared across the entire Lexus range, and will have more angular styling to match.

The next IS range will reflect the current showroom line-up, with the entry-level IS 200d powered by a 2.0-litre direct injection diesel, the IS 250's 2.5-litre V6 petrol and range-topping 5.0-litre IS F V8. The IS F is expected to use the same engine as the current model, while there will also be a hybrid version of the IS for the first time. The IS hybrid should easily exceed the best performing model in the current range, the IS200d, which returns 55.0mpg and 134g/km of CO2.
Optional F Sport packages will also continue to be available, while it’s also likely that the next IS will have adaptive suspension, like its GS stablemate and German rivals, as well as the Dynamic Handling System that includes rear-wheel steering.

The new Lexus IS range goes on sale in 2013 with pricing expected to start around £26,000. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2014 Ferrari Enzo

The new Ferrari Enzo has broken cover for the first time. It was spotted testing in the grounds of a high-speed test track in Germany, and the rival to the Porsche 918 Spyder and upcoming replacement for the McLaren F1 sports very heavy camouflage. Underneath lies a dramatic carbon body, carbon chassis and a new mid-mounted V12 engine.

There are clear visual clues that it's a Ferrari, thanks to its 458-style front end and FF alloy wheels, and the Enzo has a flat front nose and rising haunches which mirror the 458’s proportions. The bigest difference is that this car is a lot wider than a 458.

There are also short overhangs underneath all that cladding, with more athletic proportions than these shots reveal. There’s also a rear wing underneath the disguise, unlike the original Enzo’s wingless body.

The rear sees massive shrouds each housing a pair of large exhausts for the mid-mounted engine. While downsizing is the trend for car makers at present, Ferrari has clearly stated that it intends to continue to use V12s in its flagship models.

The new Enzo will use a 7.3-litre V12 with more than 900bhp – eclipsing not only its chief rival, the 728bhp Porsche 918, but also the original 650bhp Ferrari Enzo. It will use a double-clutch gearbox, ceramic brakes and F1-style KERS, giving the driver a power boost at the push of a button on the steering wheel.

The new Enzo will also use a carbonfibre chassis and body, unlike other Ferraris such as the 458 and FF that use aluminium. It should be lighter than the original 1,255kg Enzo, guaranteeing that it's at the pinnacle of supercar performance. That means a 0-62mph time of less than three seconds and a top speed in excess of 220mph. However, Ferrari isn't immune from the quest for lower emissions and fuel consumption, so these are sure to be better than the Enzo's.

The new Ferrari Enzo is expected to make its public debut later this year. Only 399 examples of the previous-generation Enzo were ever sold, so expect a similar number to find their way into the hands of owners. A price tag of well over £500,000 is expected, too.For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2013 Opel/Vauxhall Insignia

A facelifted Vauxhall Insignia has been spotted testing. The masked Insignia in these images shows the current car – which was introduced in 2008 – with a taped up nose disguising the revisions.

There’s a new nose treatment, likely with a new grille and revised headlamps. A similar facelift will take place at the rear, with tail-lights and surrounding fascia tweaked to sharpen up the Insignia’s look.

Currently, the smallest diesel in the Insignia – the 128bhp 2.0 CDTi – trails the cleanest VW Passat and Ford Mondeo on fuel economy and emissions, so it’s likely to be joined by a 108bhp version of the 1.7-litre CDTi with stop-start, to attract more tax-conscious fleet buyers.

Inside, there will be more kit than at present, while the rear seats and boot will provide the same generous amount of space as the current car.  

The facelifted Vauxhall Insignia goes on sale in 2013. For more details click here.
Thanks to: Auto Express

Spied: 2014 Mercedes A25 AMG

The formula for building a modern Mercedes-Benz AMG model usually starts with a turbocharged engine sending all that tire-scorching power to the rear wheels. That’s why the upcoming Mercedes-Benz A25 AMG is such a departure for Affalterbach, as it’s its first front-drive based model in pretty much ever. Our European-based automotive paparazzo recently caught an A25 AMG mule wearing very little camouflage just outside of AMG’s German HQ.

These spy shots give us the closest look yet to the Mercedes A25 AMG hot hatch. Unlike the last tester we caught, this one is wearing very light camo on its front and rear bumpers, and its grille. Up front the A25 AMG appears to get a unique grille; the more pedestrian A-Class has a traditional Mercedes grille on base models and a diamond-look grille on AMG Sport models. The A25 AMG adds another grille to the mix, with mesh trim and a single horizontal bar.

Though the front bumper is cloaked in black plastic cladding, we can make out its larger air intakes that keep the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger cool as it sends its rumored 350 hp to all four wheels. Designed to go toe-to-toe with the Audi RS3 Sportback, the A25 AMG will likely come standard with Mercedes’ seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. A six-speed manual transmission has been rumored, though we wouldn’t count on it.

From its profile, the Mercedes-Benz A25 AMG only differs slightly from the standard A-Class. Unique to the A25 are larger brakes, new side sills, and a slightly lower suspension. The wheels look to be the same units found on the A-Class AMG Sport.

Out back the changes are again minor, with the only obvious change the being the addition of square-tipped exhaust pipes. We wouldn’t be surprised if the A25 AMG retained the aggressive-looking bumpers on the A-Class AMG Sport.

The Mercedes-Benz A25 AMG is slated to debut late this year.
Thanks to: Motor Trend

Spied: 2013 Audi R8

The facelifted and significantly re-engineered Audi R8 that goes on sale this autumn has been scooped for the first time.

Spotted testing at night in non-reflective paintwork, this otherwise undisguised R8 Spyder gives away the visual changes of the facelifted supercar, due to be revealed at the Moscow show this August.

But the substantial changes are under the skin. There’s a new seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission on the options list — and this has required a completely new rear structure.

Originally, the R8 was engineered with a six-speed transmission in mind, operated either by a conventional clutch and shift mechanism or an optional R-tronic clutchless sequential-change system.

However, Audi’s product planners and marketeers significantly underestimated the global demand for a self-shifting gearbox. The lack of one in the R8 is understood to have put off significant numbers of buyers from all over the globe, depressing sales of the R8.

So Audi has taken the expensive step of redesigning the whole of the rear tub, engine carrier and suspension to accept the much wider and heavier dual-clutch transmission, even though the current R8 has only two years further on sale.

As yet it’s unclear whether the S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox will be offered with both V8 and V10 powerplants.

The V10 is expected to get a mild hike from 525bhp to about 540bhp, although the 424bhp 4.2-litre V8 is tipped to stay largely unchanged.

The high cost of re-engineering an existing model is expected to be largely recouped when Audi launches a new R8 in late 2014 or early 2015. Although that car, codenamed AU724, will pioneer a new styling direction for Audi and feature a predominantly aluminium body, the driveline architecture will be carried over from this autumn’s facelifted model.

As these scoops show, the facelift features subtle visual changes, such as new exhaust outlet shapes and revised light clusters front and rear.

The exhausts will change to a circular shape, replacing the current oval graphic, while the rear lights appear to have lost their distinctive quad, square-shaped outline. The same goes for the front headlamps, where the LED running lights appear to have been repositioned at the top of the reflector.

Thanks to: Autocar

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