It only takes a glance at Lamborghini's Aventador to know it's a Lambo. In fact, it inherits from the long-toothed Murcielago
the mantle of top-bull in Italian marque's lineup. And with it, beneath the latest interpretation of Lambo's hallmark body origami – yes, the scissor doors remain – comes the technical shiz it needs to fill such a spot. Engine, transmission, suspension, bodywork – it's completely clean-sheet new. All up, they conspire to put the Aventador at the pointy end of the performance spectrum – the first anything-like-mainstream car to kiss 100 km/h in less than three seconds (we're not counting its step-sibling, the Bugatti Veyron
, in its class).
Electrifying the Rolls-Royce was no simple matter
. Luxury vehicle buyers in the EUR200,000 ++ segment know what they want – sumptuous comfort and effortless acceleration. Retaining Rolls Royce clientele is obviously paramount, so as the first pure electric car in the top-shelf segment, it's interesting to see what a brand with such stellar values has done. An aluminium space frame keeps weight down and the biggest automobile battery pack ever – 71 kWh – still only offers a range of 200 kilometers. Twin watercooled 145 kW electric motors offer a total 290 kW, which is less than the 338 kW Phantom 6.75-litre V12, but with even nicer power characteristics – a flat 800 Nm mid-range versus the peak 720Nm @3500 rpm of the V12. The range could be the limiting factor because everything else looks excellent.
Probably the vehicle with the most marketplace impact at next weeks Geneva Show will be the Renault Kangoo Van Maxi Z.E.. It's a viable electric commercial vehicle with orders being taken now
and will be available before year’s end in short and long (an extra 40 cm) wheelbase in two seat or a clever five seat crew van version offering four different interior layouts and a rear bench seat that folds into the floor for a completely flat deck. The 22kWh lithium-ion battery is located beneath the floor, is leased by the van owner at GBP59 per month regardless of whether you buy or lease the vehicle, and drives a 44kW electric motor for a range of 105 miles. A lot of emphasis has been placed on the Man Machine Interface and there's a range of connected services for the public and a connected Fleet Asset Management suite for fleet managers. Every option available for the established and vast Kangoo petrol model range is available in the electric version too.
Subaru will be showcasing a 'BOXER Sports Car Architecture' Concept concept vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show
next week and released a darkened image of the vehicle to the media earlier today. A bit of a play with Adobe Photoshop and … a great deal more about the shape of the forthcoming vehicle has been revealed.
A World War I issue flying cap and goggles might be standard equipment if smart
's latest concept offering ever makes it to the showroom floor. The smart forspeed dispenses with a roof, adds in a bunch of intelligent electricity-saving features and offers an open-air driving experience coupled with the silence of a not-so-modest electric drive souped up and borrowed from the smart fortwo electric drive
. Interestingly, it's essentially an electric version of the smart Crossblade Limited Edition, which singer Robbie Williams championed back in 2002 (top right).
While retractable hardtops have the edge on their softtop siblings by virtue of reduced road and wind noise, improved insulation and aerodynamics, they lack the typical cabriolet look. EDAG is set to show a completely new type of roof system at the Geneva Motor Show
which combines the advantages of a soft top and a retractable hardtop.
With the number of MINI
concept vehicles that have been rolled out in recent times, you’d be forgiven for thinking the company is overcompensating for the Mini's diminutive size. But MINI says the concept vehicles, many of which – such as the Paceman
– have made the transition from concept to production, are one of the keys to the brand’s success, with their creative use of space one of the driving principles of the vehicles. This principle is evident in the latest MINI Rocketman Concept that will be unveiled to the public at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show
, which kicks off next week.
Lexus' LFA supercar
is, or was, the most exclusive vehicle ever built by the world’s largest automobile manufacturer – only 500 of the exotic carbon fiber 200 mph V10s will be sold at US$375,000 apiece. Now the racetrack-focused “LFA Nürburgring Package” is set to be revealed. Only 50 such 562 bhp vehicles will be produced with revised aerodynamics and technical refinements designed to fine-tune the exotic two-seat sports coupe to be capable of lapping the fabled Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit under 7:20. Now the average Gomer needs more than just a wad of cash, industrial-sized gonads and a sweet handling, brutally powerful car to get around the “Green Hell” inside eight minutes, let alone seven twenty, so the price includes special instruction sessions on the circuit into the bargain. The car can be had in white, orange or black at US$445,000 or in and matte black for US$465,000, making it the most expensive Japanese road car ever.
Another high horsepower premium soft top will debut in Geneva in the form of the 331 kW (450 bhp) Maserati Grancabrio Sport. The hard-edged Grancabrio uses the same 4.7-litre V8, driving through a ZF six-speed automatic though the engine has benefited from Maserati’s Friction Reduction Program to achieve a 6% reduction in fuel consumption. The new six-speed 285 km/h automatic will debut at the upcoming Geneva Auto Show in a new colour (Rosso Trionfale) inspired by the Italian national colours used on 1950s racing Maseratis such as the Maserati 250F in which Juan Manuel Fangio won his fifth F1 World Title in 1957.
Rolls-Royce, one of the most enduring brands of automotive excellence, is developing a fully electric Phantom. The 102EX experimental vehicle will be shown in Geneva on March 1, and will tour Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America this year to evaluate the opinions of its key stakeholders. The brand is launching a special web site which will be used to deliver information about the vehicle, the tour and to elicit stakeholder response.