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New VW Touran has automatic parking

September 13, 2006 Volkswagen has revealed the first images of its new Touran compact MPV, ahead of its world public debut at the Paris Motor Show later this month. With a fresh new appearance and innovative technologies, yet still boasting all the practical features for which the Touran has become renowned, the revised seven-seater people carrier looks set to continue the model’s success. The new Touran will be the first Volkswagen available with ParkAssist, an optional parking guidance system developed by Volkswagen engineers. ParkAssist enables automatic parking, using front and rear ultrasonic sensors to detect available parking space and a control unit to calculate the ideal manoeuvring path. Acoustic and visual displays guide the driver to the correct parking start position, then once reverse gear is selected the car parks itself in under 15 seconds. All the driver has to do in this time is accelerate and brake – the Touran does all the steering. The system will be available in the from June 2007.  Read More

Fiat’s Oltre to debut in London at Viva Italia

September 13, 2006 As befitting a company whose development has coincided with that of Italy itself, Fiat has a major presence at London’s Viva Italia Show, a celebration of all things Italian, which opens on Friday 22 September at the National Hall, Olympia. Exhibits on the Fiat stand include the company’s highly successful new Grande Punto supermini, which became Europe’s best selling car soon after its international launch last autumn, the new Giugiaro-designed Sedici compact SUV, the Panda 4x4 and the Oltre, which dwarfs its brethren. Derived from the Iveco LMV, (Light Multirole Vehicle), a new military off-roader that embodies cutting edge technical features and has already won the FCLV (Future Command and Liaison Vehicle) contract for the British Army, Oltre Fiat was first exhibited at the Bologna Motor Show last year, and can perform a wide range of functions. It is powered by a turbocharged 3-litre common rail diesel engine producing 185bhp and driving through a six-speed automatic transmission. Despite weighing over seven tonnes, Oltre Fiat has a top speed of over 70mph, has a payload of around three tonnes and can seat up to five people while negotiating longitudinal gradients of 80%, and tackling rivers, lakes and streams up to a depth of 1.5 metres. We wrote up the Oltre in depth here.  Read More

BMW Hydrogen 7 - production-ready, hydrogen-gasoline V12 Saloon

September 12, 2006 BMW has become the first auto maker to present a hydrogen-drive car which has successfully completed the process of series development: The BMW Hydrogen 7 with its hydrogen combustion engine is the result of a consistent development strategy now rendering this trendsetting concept of sustained mobility fully suitable for regular use in today’s world. The Hydrogen 7 Saloon is powered by a 191 kW twelve-cylinder engine and accelerates from 0–100 km/h in 9.5 seconds with a top speed limited electronically to 230 km/h. Ingeniously, the dual-mode power unit switches quickly and conveniently to conventional premium gasoline providing an overall range of more than 700 kilometres. The integration of hydrogen drive in an existing vehicle concept which has already proven its merits in the market paves the way for an alternative to conventional drive concepts fully accepted in the market and with all the assets the customer is looking for in practice.  Read More

Porsche motorsport heritage on display

September 12, 2006 Porsche aficionados down under will be in for a rare treat this Southern Hemisphere summer when a priceless collection of iconic racing cars from the Porsche Museum tour the country and appear at two of the country’s glamour historic racing events - the Classic Adelaide and the Phillip Island Classic. Among the seven unique Porsche racing cars will be Formula One, Le Mans and Targa Florio winners, with each car having its own unique place in history. Heading the list is the 804 – Porsche’s first and only wholly-produced F1 car that won the 1962 French GP driven by Dan Gurney. Other vehicles to be seen at the Classic Adelaide and Phillip Island Classic include a 1954 Carrera Panamericana-winning 550 Spyder, a 1977 Le Mans-winning 936 and a Targa Florio-winning 908/03 Spyder.  Read More

Peugeot 207 EPURE fuel cell concept car tipped as future model

September 9, 2006 Peugeot is clearly talking up its latest Paris Motor Show concept car as a glimpse of a future 207 model and the prospect is very exciting – the 207 EPURE concept car uses an electric motor combined with PSA Peugeot Citroen Group’s new 20 kW GENEPAC experimental fuel cell which has been designed in partnership with the French AEC (Atomic Energy Commission). The electricity produced by the fuel cell is used to provide extra power and operating range to the lithium-ion battery and hence the 50kW electric motor. The combination fuel cell - electric powertrain gives the 207 EPURE a range of around 218 miles while still providing a maximum speed of 81 mph. The pearl white exterior of the 207 EPURE highlights the purity of the concept car’s lines while strengthening the ecological credentials of the technology that powers it.  Read More

Renault Nepta joins Citroen C-Metisse in the French Ballet of the doors

September 8, 2006 Paris is renowned for the beauty of its springtime, but in autumn the spectacular sites around the beautiful capital are enhanced by the French automotive industry showcase, the Paris Motor Show. And this year the French have debuted some spectacularly elegant egress solutions offering doors that open in new ways. Yesterday we ran news of Citroen’s C-Metisse Concept – a diesel-electric, 4-seater coupe with a spectacular four door ballet command performance when the doors open to present the passengers to the pavement - the front doors open gull-wing style while the rear doors spin round. Now comes Renault’s Nepta concept car, a four-seater cabriolet with an equally dramatic and elegant egress solution in the form of motor-driven gull wing doors that open to reveal the interior and the engine. The doors pivot so high that they are fitted with electronic obstacle detectors. As is befitting the current F1 championship status of Renault, the Nepta is seriously fast with a 3.5-liter V6 powering a seven-speed automatic gearbox via F1-style steering flick-shift. The 420hp direct injection petrol engine combines outstanding performance, with low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.  Read More

Nissan Qashqai Crossover to go into production

September 7, 2006 Nissan yesterday presented for the first time its new Compact Crossover for Europe, the QASHQAI at an event hosted in Paris by Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's President and CEO. Inspired by the concept car of the same name that was presented at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, the QASHQAI (pronounced "cash - kai") is a new vehicle for Nissan in Europe, with sales starting in February 2007. It will cater for those car buyers who want a more dynamic design than that offered by a traditional C-segment car, but who are not attracted to the large, aggressive nature of a compact SUV.  Read More

Chevrolet WTCC Ultra - a ready-to-drive race and road car study

September 7, 2006 Chevrolet Europe will be showing an exciting racecar study called the WTCC Ultra at the Paris Motor Show from September 30 to October 15, 2006. The ready-to-drive concept car was developed by a global GM team and illustrates Chevrolet’s commitment to using GM’s global resources. The vehicle was styled by 25-year old designer Ewan Kingsbury, who works for GM in Australia, while development work on the concept was carried out in the UK, Germany and Switzerland. The Ultra’s engine was built in Korea, and the prototype was assembled in Japan and will be presented as a fully working vehicle, that’s not just ready for the road, but raring to go on the racetrack. It’s equipped with a 190PS common rail turbodiesel engine, based on the 2.0-litre unit that will debut in the Captiva SUV and Lacetti models next year, and unlike most motor show styling studies is a fully-working vehicle, with performance to rival high performance petrol cars.  Read More

Citroen's spectacular C-Metisse Concept

September 7 2006 Citroen seems to save its best concept cars for its home Paris Show and this year it has unveiled a beauty. The C-Metisse Concept will be seen in the flesh for the first time at the 2006 Paris Motor Show. With its elegant proportions, flamboyant bodywork and spectacular door design, the C-Metisse is an elegant 4-seater 4-door coupe reminiscent of the most prestigious Grand Touring vehicles. The car has a high-performance diesel hybrid drivetrain, excellent aerodynamics and a weight of just 1400 kilograms complete with batteries. C-Metisse is based on the same future-oriented solution as the C4 HDi hybrid demonstration vehicle apart from one key difference: the electric motors are installed in the rear wheels. Looking at C-Metisse is a visual shock in itself. Long (4.74 m), wide (2 m) and low (1.24 m), the car is sculptural and almost intimidating.  Read More

Sebastien Loeb becomes the world’s most successful rally driver

September 6, 2006 When Sebastien Loeb narrowly held out Marcus Gronholm to win the Rally of Japan last Sunday, he became the most successful rally driver in history. His 27th career victory edged the double World Rally Champion past former Citroen driver Carlos Sainz and into the record books once again. Unbelievably Loeb only made his WRC debut in 2002 and has taken just four seasons to overtake the success of rally legend Sainz. Along the way, it’s been a tour de force, as he now holds the record for the most consecutive victories, and last year performed what many people consider to be his most astounding feat – winning every stage in a World Championship Rally. This year the Frenchman has demonstrated his versatility winning the Race of Champions (December) and finishing in second place in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race.  Read More

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