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VW's 3-wheel sportcar

January 6, 2006 Volkswagen dropped a bombshell of significant magnitude in the automotive market overnight by showing a new three wheeled vehicle concept machine which it has billed as a crossover between sports car and motorcycle. That the mighty Volkswagen company should consider such a vehicle is surprising, but in an unprecedented move for any major manufacturer and a concept machine, the company has specified a price, indicating that the extreme performance and economy of the three wheeler could be delivered to market for under US$17,000 and inviting consumer response to the concept. Considering that the three wheel, two seater will deliver supercar performance while offering access to the carpool lane and delivering 46 mpg (5.2 l/100 km), we suspect the public response might be positive. We’ve reported on a number of three-wheel concepts recently, including the Aprilia Magnet , Mercedes-Benz Life-Jet , the Peugeot’s 20CUP, Toyota’s I-Swing and the Phiaro Eternity.  Read More

Corsa VXR Supermini - 140 mph and 44 mpg

January 5, 2006 The new Vauxhall Corsa has already caused quite a sensation with its bold styling and impressive road manners, but now the wraps have come off the long awaited performance flagship VXR version – the lightweight turbo 1.6-litre engine of the VXR produces 192PS (189.3 bhp) and more than 260Nm to give it a top speed of 140 mph (225 km/h) and acceleration of 0-60 in 6.8 seconds. Despite its wild performance, the Corsa VXR promises to be an affordable car to run, with surprising fuel economy on extra-urban routes of 44.1mpg (5.3 liters/100 km) according to official figures and the combined fuel economy figure is 35.8mpg (6.57 liters/100 km).  Read More

New design process results in Lincoln concept wheel

January 5, 2006 Blending the latest digital design technology and rapid prototyping with a method as simple as child’s play, Lincoln designers have developed an exquisite luxury wheel with high-performance attributes which will be one of the more interesting aspects of the company’s stand at next week’s 2006 North American International Auto Show. The substantial 20-inch wheel, with its five/five spoke configuration and multiple finishes, will turn heads whether the wheel is turning or not. Designers know because they decided on the ultimate design after attaching miniature models of their six favorites on a wall and spinning them to see which looked best in motion.  Read More

Mazda CX-7 Crossover SUV

January 7, 2006 EXTENSIVE IMAGE LIBRARY ADDED Mazda Motor Corporation (MC) today revealed the much awaited 2007 Mazda CX-7 crossover sport-utility vehicle (SUV) at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. This breakthrough model also will be displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. CX-7 is a clean break from the fleet of traditional SUVs currently offered. It is engineered with Mazda’s trademark, “Soul of a Sportscar” and built entirely on Mazda-derived platform architecture. Program manager Shunsuke Kawasaki shows his confidence by stating, “there is no doubt this SUV reflects Zoom-Zoom. CX-7 skillfully blends sports car verve with SUV practicality. It is a vehicle that brings together performance and design like never before and this deviation from the crossover norm is inviting to look at, entertaining to drive, and fun to use.” The CX-7 is just right for adventurous couples seeking a new challenge and driven by the urge for discovery.  Read More

Volvo's sporty C30 two-door concept

January 4, 2006 Volvo is revealing a sporty two-door concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on 9 January, which gives a strong indication of the design of an exciting, new smaller Volvo C30 model it will launch at the Paris Motor Show in September. The C30 Design Concept has a compact, sporty design with two doors, four individual seats and a distinctive glass tailgate. It is capable of 0-62mph in six seconds thanks to a high performance 260bhp, five-cylinder, 2.4-litre engine producing 350Nm of torque for plenty of flexibility from 2,100rpm.  Read More

Dakar Rally (Day 4): VW takes the lead

January 4, 2006 The Dakar Rally, from Lisbon to Dakar (Senegal), began on Saturday 31 December 2005 with a 370 kilometre stage from Lisbon to Portimao, followed on New Year’s Day with a further 567 kilometres to Malaga, Then followed a seven hour ferry crossing to Morocco for the entire rally contingent before racing got underway in Africa. There have been no surprises to date with Mitsubishi (questing for its sixth consecutive win) and the massive Volkswagen factory Touareg effort alternately holding the lead. In the bikes, the winning marque is already a foregone conclusion with KTM machinery holding the first six places. Yesterday Volkswagen hit back strongly with multiple WRC champion Carlos Sainz skipping out to a five minute lead and Volkswagen taking the first three places overall. Last year our extensive coverage of the Dakar Rally dubbed it the “Most Dangerous Sporting Event in the World” and compared it with the famous road races of 100 years ago. This year our coverage will be written separately for motorcycles and cars.  Read More

The 120th birthday of the automobile - we've come a long way, baby!

January 1, 2006 The automobile celebrates its 120th birthday on January 29, 2006, the anniversary of the date in 1886 on which Karl Benz applied for a patent for his motorized vehicle. With the German Reich Patent No. 37435a, granted in November of the same year, his Patent Motor Car, as this three-wheeled vehicle has since been known, received official recognition as the world’s first automobile. It was the individualized technology that secured the Benz Patent Motor Car this status. Unlike other inventors, Benz did not merely install an internal combustion engine into an existing coach chassis, thereby making it capable of autonomous motion (Greek/latin: auto/mobil). His design extended to the entire vehicle: It was quite clear to him that a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine was subject to engineering principles quite different from those applying to a horse-drawn carriage.  Read More

Nissan URGE: sports car for the video game generation

December 30, 2005 The “Echo Boomer” generation was born between roughly 1976 and 1996. The offspring of the “baby boomers”, the generation is a demographic echo of the post-war baby boom and will become the largest generation of young people since their famous trend-setting parents. Like their parents, they will have massive impact on entire segments of the economy as they age, and will become the next dominant generation. The “echo boomers” make up roughly a third of the US population, and numbers and mindset of this generation are currently being evaluated as they mature into full-blown consumers. It’s the first generation to have spent its entire life playing video games, and it is just about to take to the roads. By 2012, nearly all 87 million of them will be of driving age and they will be looking for much more from a car than simple transportation – entertainment, a social space, personalisation and flexibility. It seems fitting that one of the key sources of inspiration for the dramatic new Nissan URGE concept, a spare, technology-heavy, performance-oriented sports car design exercise, would be found online – in the results of an Internet survey of approximately 2,000 young car and gaming enthusiasts. Asked what they would ideally want in a car, the top responses were “performance” and “technology”.  Read More

The Phaeton Lounge - 6.8m 4WD ultra-luxury stretch limousine

December 23, 2005 Volkswagen showed a 6.8 metre luxury four-wheel-drive concept vehicle named the Phaeton Lounge at the luxury-conscious Dubai Motor Show last week. Based on a Phaeton and stretched an additional 1.8 metres, the 420 bhp, 600 Nm W12 was built up from three Phaeton bodies and strengthened accordingly. The luxury cabin has just four seats, each fully electronically adjustable including individual climate control and adjustable footrests. There’s a wine cooler between each set of seats, plus an extensive mini-bar, a Humidor cigar cabinet, two 17 monitors for the entertainment system, an iPod dock, and passengers can surf the internet while driving thanks to a computer and broadband access built into the trunk of the car. Each seat has a fold out wooden table for other activities .  Read More

Morgan to unveil four seater

December 21, 2005 Morgan is planning to unveil a new 4 seater version along classical lines at the Geneva Autoshow in early March. Final specifications and prices will not be published until March 2006, however we can confirm that it will be available as both a 2.0 145 Bhp +4 and a 3.0 V6 223 Bhp Roadster. Production of this new model will start shortly after the Geneva Autoshow, however the company has sold all its production capacity until Autumn 2006.  Read More

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