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VW’s Concept Tiguan makes debut at Los Angeles Auto Show

November 30, 2006 The launch looked more like a nighclub than an automotive debut but Volkswagen was intent on selling the sizzle as well as the sausage. The sausage in question was the Concept Tiguan compact 4x4, and the venue was the Los Angeles Auto Show, with the whole affair topped off by the announcement that the first examples of the SUV will be delivered to customers by the end of next year. The first news of the Tiguan’s development came with the debut of Concept A in Berlin earlier this year. This was followed by the naming of the model in July, the result of a poll of more than 350,000 readers of magazines of the AutoBild group. This latest development in Los Angeles takes the Tiguan one step closer to production and hints strongly at how the final version could look.  Read More

Heads Up Display (HUD) tested in Baja 1000

November 28, 2006 When the Wide Open Baja Challenge team put the SportVue GPS-enabled prototype heads up display to the test at last week's 39th Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the 1000 mile granddaddy of all desert races, the system proved as rugged as the treacherous desert course. Created by former Indy car racer Dominic Dobson, the SportVue Heads Up display technology gives riders and drivers a constant view of critical data in an easy-to-use display in the drivers' peripheral vision, focused at infinity. The technology frees the driver from distracting glances at dash-mounted GPS displays and allows them to focus on driving.  Read More

Volkswagen Neeza Concept Car

November 19, 2006 With the Chinese automotive market now the second largest in the world and growing like topsy, the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition is become one of the world’s premier automotive showcases in very short order. Few of the world’s non-Chinese automotive companies have debuted concept cars there for a variety of reasons that will no doubt change over the next year or two – one of the first to launch an entirely new concept car is Volkswagen which has just taken the wraps off the Neeza concept, a crossover between a sports coupe and an estate with an off-road appearance. Significantly, it was designed in China for China, combining Chinese and German design philosophies. The concept intentionally has neither a radio, navigation system nor other form of infotainment equipment. Instead a ‘Magic Box’ serves as an interface for radio and navigation systems, mobile phone, personal organiser and other devices. And the roof is entirely glass.  Read More

Maybach 62 S: World's most powerful chauffeur-driven saloon

November 18, 2006 Maybach, the luxury brand with a legendary past, re-established just four years ago, is adding a fourth variant to its line-up in the shape of the newly developed 62 S model. The new flagship model in the Maybach range premieres this week at the "Auto China 2006" international motor show in Beijing and is primarily designed to be chauffeur-driven and meets the very highest of standards in terms of spaciousness, smoothness, comfort and dynamism. The "S" stands for "Special" and the engineers at the Maybach workshops have incorporated a number of specially developed features, most notably the power output of the car which has been enhanced with a twelve-cylinder engine developing 450 kW/612 hp. The end-result is a new dimension in travelling comfort, particularly for the passengers in the generously proportioned rear compartment of the new high-end luxury saloon. Pricing starts at UKP260,535 (US$495,000)  Read More

The Fengying

November 17, 2006 The scarily large and growing Chinese automotive industry will impact everyone on the planet in more ways than just rising fuel prices and greenhouse gas emissions – it will also significantly influence design, so don’t be surprised to begin seeing new brand names you’ve never heard of on some pretty dashing automobiles … like Geely f’rinstance. The Chinese auto maker will introduce the Fengying concept car at the Beijing Auto show, complete with styling borrowed from the aero industry and scissor doors.  Read More

Aston Martin reveals the V8 Vantage Roadster

November 15, 2006 Aston Martin will unveil one of the most eagerly anticipated convertibles of the year when the V8 Vantage Roadster goes on show at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday 29th November. Aston Martin Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez said of the new car, “the V8 Vantage Roadster is a pure sports car, a car that heightens the senses and provides a dynamically thrilling driving experience. The Vantage Roadster adds to the unbeatable thrill of open air motoring and by combining engineering excellence, technological innovation and physical perfection, will ensure every journey is one to remember.”  Read More

New smart fortwo better in every way

UPDATED IMAGE LIBRARY November 12, 2006 The new smart fortwo has finally arrived: what began with the idealistic vision of a hybrid engined, cheap-to-manufacture, economical two seater with a low environmental footprint by Swatch CEO Nicolas Hayek in the early nineties, has finally seen its second edition. It’s our bet that Hayek will be judged as visionary, albeit naive, a century from now, as the automotive industry is a fraught with danger for the inexperienced, and by the time the car found a permanent home in the form of Daimler Chrysler, it was most of the things originally envisaged but cheap. As luck would have it, all of those strengths are becoming more important by the day, and the high tech, high cost intelligent decisions made a decade ago by a fledgling car company have now been reworked by masters of the art and the second generation smart fortwo is improved in every way. The smart fortwo coupe and smart fortwo cabrio were unveiled to more than 550 international journalists yesterday evening in Stuttgart for the very first time. The location was unusual, but nonetheless very fitting for the smart fortwo: in the middle of the city, on the roof of a multi-storey car park. In addition, there were presentations on comfort, agility, safety and environmental friendliness. After all, the new smart fortwo can do everything that its predecessor can do – but even better. This means that the new smart fortwo, despite looking almost identical to the untrained eye, is even more comfortable, even more agile, even safer and even more environmentally friendly than its predecessor.  Read More

The 1000 bhp Bristol Fighter T

November 9, 2006 In 1946, the Bristol Aeroplane Company, one of the world's most successful aviation manufacturers diversified into car manufacture. In 1960 it was persuaded to join with others to form the British Aircraft Corporation (later British Aerospace, and now BAE Systems), becoming a significant part of one of the most innovative companies on the planet. At that time the car division (Bristol Cars Ltd) passed into private hands and has continued building exclusive and exquisite luxury automobiles ever since. It does not have ANY dealers – if you wish to buy one, you must deal directly with the factory. The marque’s most recent design, the Bristol Fighter, was named after one of its successful WWII aircraft, and comes with a purpose-built 8-litre V-10 engine producing 525 bhp,comfort for a driver over 200cm tall, and room to do some intercontinental touring without having to scrimp on the luggage. Surprisingly, the company’s elite clientele began requesting more horsepower, so it produced a 660 bhp version – the Fighter S. The frightfully fast Fighter S kept them happy for a while, but the requests for even more horsepower kept coming. So, ladies and gentlemen, may we present the twin turbocharged, intercooled UKP351,931 (US$670,000)Bristol Fighter T producing 1012 bhp at 5600 rpm and 1036 lb.ft of torque at 4500 rpm. That ought to keep the blighters quiet for a while!  Read More

Jay Leno’s Turbine-Powered EcoJet Concept

IMAGE LIBRARY UPDATED November 8, 2006 What would keep a group of automotive designers up all night? "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, for starters, but not by his monologue or parade of Hollywood guests. This time it's because the late-night talk show host invited the General Motors Advanced Design Studio to help design a mid-engine, turbine-powered supercar called EcoJet. Leno and Ed Welburn, GM vice president of Global Design, introduced the car yesterday at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show. The 650-horsepower (400 lb.-ft. of torque) Leno original is powered by a Honeywell LT-101 turbine engine that runs on bio-diesel fuel. The engine sits in a modified Corvette Z06 hydroformed aluminum frame with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components. The vehicle's shell is an advanced construction of carbon fiber over Kevlar.  Read More

Rhino RTV now accessorized for work too

November 5, 2006 Somewhere between a monster truck and a lightweight high-spec, space-framed racing 4x4 with a liberal helping of mountain goat thrown in is the Rhino, which is not to be confused with the world’s toughest bus, the Rhino Runner. The Honda-powered 2.0 litre Rhino is a product of the deserts of Nevada and has evolved such remarkable go-anywhere capabilities that the company is now offering a fully accessorized “Search and Rescue” RTV, which was unveiled at the 2006 SEMA Show in Las Vegas last week. The Rhino RTV is a new type of off-road vehicle that with the addition of purpose-oriented accessories, offers unique capabilities to law enforcement agencies, park services, ranchers, and other businesses working in outdoor, off-highway environments. Though at heart we suspect it will always remain a primarily recreational vehicle for the adventurous at heart, add on equipment racks, trailers, winches, GPS systems, emergency lights, radios and canvas tops and the RTV can be transformed into workhorse utility vehicle.  Read More

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