Jaguar: A Look Into The Leaping Cat’s Future – Part 1

Filed under: Jaguar

Jaguar the brand has probably had a little more in common with jaguar the big cat than it would like: too infrequently seen, too little understood, too much threatened. But both car and feline have endured, likely owing to two other common traits: tenacity wrapped in dangerously come-hither looks that inspire rescue impulses from others (after all, when’s the last time you heard of anyone clamoring to protect the just-as-threatened blue-billed duck?).

The automaker unsheathed three of its newly sharpened claws at the New York Auto Show in the forms of the 2012 XF, XJ and XK, but before that we spent a day at the company’s Whitley Engineering Center in the English midlands to learn what went into those cars and what will come after them.

In Part 1 of our Deep Dive we’ll look at the numbers, the future and the message of the new Jaguar, while in Part 2 we’ll check out the technology and powertrains and drive the 2.2-liter diesel (that, of course, won’t be coming to the U.S.). While we can’t speak for the cat, the future could be quite promising for this storied English concern. Continue reading…

Continue reading Jaguar: A Look Into The Leaping Cat’s Future – Part 1

Jaguar: A Look Into The Leaping Cat’s Future – Part 1 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 06 May 2011 11:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Future Chryslers to include Charger Super Bee, 40+ mpg Fiat 500

Filed under: Sedan, SUV, Hatchback, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat

2011 Dodge Charger

2011 Dodge Charger – Click above for high-res image gallery

Chrysler is fresh off the introduction of 16 new or refreshed models, but Team Pentastar isn’t out of breath just yet. According to Inside Line, CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters and analysts that there will be more changes throughout 2011.

For starters, the Dodge Charger will reportedly add a Super Bee variant. The familiar badge will likely be a mostly cosmetic upgrade, though Chrysler hasn’t yet announced any specifics. Meanwhile, the Jeep Wrangler will finally – finally – receive a new engine. The ancient 3.8-liter six will be replaced by the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which boasts 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque in most applications. The far more powerful 3.6-liter will also come with a reported 10 percent increase in fuel economy, though the Wrangler won’t get the eight-speed auto transmission that should arrive from Getrag later in the year.

One of the Chrysler brands will also receive a rebadged version of the Fiat 500 before the end of 2011. The efficient little runt, which could be badged as a Dodge, must hit at least 40 miles per gallon to satisfy a requirement necessary for Fiat to receive another five percent ownership of Chrysler. If and when that happens, Fiat will own a 51 percent majority of the American automaker.

Team Pentastar is also looking to add more diesel models to its lineup. The oil burners will reportedly make up 14 percent of the automaker’s model mix by 2014. We know that the Jeep Grand Cherokee is getting Chrysler’s 3.0-liter CRD V6 in the coming years, and we’re crossing our fingers for an oil-burning Wrangler, as well.

Gallery: 2011 Dodge Charger: First Drive

2011 Dodge Charger2011 Dodge Charger2011 Dodge Charger2011 Dodge Charger2011 Dodge Charger

Future Chryslers to include Charger Super Bee, 40+ mpg Fiat 500 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 May 2011 11:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: ‘Yesterday’s Cars of Tomorrow’ makes us nostalgic for a future that never was

Filed under: Concept Cars, Classics, Videos

Yesterday's Cars of Tomorrow

Going back to the future in automotive design – Click above to watch the video after the break

Think today’s concept cars – like the ones recently unveiled at the currently ongoing Geneva Motor Show – are off the wall? They ain’t got nothin’ on what American automakers and independent engineers alike were coming up with circa the 1950s.

With the jet age throttling up to full speed, the concept cars of yesteryear embodied the unbridled optimism of post-war America. Today, of course, they seem as kitschy as an old Disneyland ride, but you can take that step back into the future that never was in the brief video after the jump. Just don’t forget where you parked the DeLorean there, Marty.

[Source: Retro Thing]

Continue reading Video: ‘Yesterday’s Cars of Tomorrow’ makes us nostalgic for a future that never was

Video: ‘Yesterday’s Cars of Tomorrow’ makes us nostalgic for a future that never was originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Mar 2011 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Geneva 2011: IED Scorp-Ion design study electrifies Abarth’s future

Filed under: Concept Cars, Coupe, Geneva Motor Show, Fiat, Electric

IED Abarth Scorpion

IED Abarth Scorp-Ion – Click above for high-res image gallery

Every division in the sprawling Fiat empire had something new to unveil at the Geneva Motor Show this year. Starting at the top, Ferrari presented the new FF. Maserati had the GranCabrio Sport, Alfa Romeo wowed with the 4C Concept, Lancia debuted the new Ypsilon and the Fiat brand itself presented two new variations on the 500 theme with the Gucci edition and the stunning Zagato coupe. Even its transatlantic partners in Auburn Hills were represented. The only one that was left out, really, was the Abarth sub-brand. Or was it?

The marque’s own show stand showcased the existing range (plus a new junior formula racing program), but there was a new Abarth on display across the hall at the IED booth. Previously, the students at the Istituto Europeo di Design gave us the dramatic Maserati Chicane concept, and this year they teamed up with Abarth for the Scorp-Ion. Emphasizing the “ion” in the name, the design study calls for an all-electric drivetrain, decentralized to each wheel and leaving extra space for baggage and two seats. The styling, meanwhile, is pure F-Zero from our childhood Super Nintendo days.

Check it out for yourself in our gallery of live shots from the show floor below and find the full details in the press release after the jump.

Gallery: IED Abarth Scorpion: Geneva 2011

Photos copyright (C)2011 Noah Joseph / AOL

Continue reading Geneva 2011: IED Scorp-Ion design study electrifies Abarth’s future

Geneva 2011: IED Scorp-Ion design study electrifies Abarth’s future originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 02 Mar 2011 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Geneva 2011: Renault R-Space is near-term look at the future of MPVs

Filed under: Concept Cars, Minivan/Van, Geneva Motor Show, Europe, Renault

renault r-space

Renault R-Space concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Renault wants to design vehicles that fit into various cycles of its consumers’ lives, and to that end, the R-Space concept is the vehicle that you will need once you start a family.

The Cash Cab-like interior is designed to make transporting children an easy task. In what is perhaps its most interesting and showcar-like features, no fewer than 27 small motors control height-adjustable hexahedron-shaped platforms in the rear of the R-Space. Those motors can be can be modulated to produce a flat space, booster seat, table or a freestyle area for children to sit and play. From our vantage point, the rear area looks like a bar graph come to life (check our galleries below to see what we mean).

When the rear area is transformed back into a section for seating, the R-Space can get underway. Power is provided by a tiny 900-cubic centimeter three-cylinder engine (that’s .9 liters), which makes use of direct-injection and a turbocharger. The unit is good for 110-horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque, with that power being funneled to the wheels via a dual-clutch gearbox. The handsome MPV is also green – it also produces just 95 g/km of CO2 while achieving 64 miles per gallon.

Gallery: Renault R-Space concept: Geneva 2011

Gallery: Renault R-Space Concept

Live photos copyright (C)2011 Noah Joseph / AOL

Continue reading Geneva 2011: Renault R-Space is near-term look at the future of MPVs

Geneva 2011: Renault R-Space is near-term look at the future of MPVs originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 01 Mar 2011 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Volkswagen Giugiaro Go! Concept previews MPV of the future in Geneva

Filed under: Concept Cars, Minivan/Van, Geneva Motor Show, Hatchback, Volkswagen, Electric

Volkswagen Giugiaro Go! concept

Volkswagen Giugiaro Go! concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Says Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of Volkswagen Group, “Italdesign is a figurehead of Italian design and engineering creativity. We have been working together closely in a spirit of partnership for many decades.” In reality, that may be an understatement. After all, Giorgetto Giugiaro is credited with penning the original Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit and Scirocco – two classic shapes that went on to define the VW brand for the last few decades.

After a research study to determine what Volkswagen vehicles of the future may look like, Giugiaro (now owned by the Volkswagen Group) focused on two distinct concepts, one of which is the Go! that you see here (the other is the Tex, which we’ve already shown you). The design firm thinks of the Go! as a multi-purpose vehicle for urban areas, and as such, it measures just four-meters in length and runs solely on electricity using VW’s proprietary Blue-e-motion EV technology. According to the automaker, the Go! is capable of traveling about 150 miles on electric power alone.

Like the Tex, the Go! concept uses VW’s modular transverse architecture, which was designed to accomade a diverse range of powertrain options, including plug-ins, internal combustion engines and even hydrogen fuel cells. Despite the Go!’s relatively dimunitive exterior dimensions, its 106-inch wheelbase matches that of the larger Passat. The battery pack sits beneath the passenger compartment, covering the areas of both the front and rear-seat passengers.

VW and Giugiaro are keen to highlight the large glass area of the Go! concept. Such a configuration allows for plenty of natural light and offers maximum visibility. Interestingly, though, only the lower part of the glass is actually electrically lowered (have a look at the image gallery below to see what we mean), and the concept relies on video cameras to give the driver a view of his or her surroundings.

Other interesting design details include rear doors that push outwards and pull back parallel to the vehicle, a high seating position that caters to drivers who prefer the visibility of an SUV and the control panel that is placed at the base of the windshield, well back from its normal location behind the steering wheel. Want to know more? Feel free to click past the break to read VW’s rather exhaustive press release, and be sure to peruse our high-res image gallery below.

Gallery: Volkswagen Giugiaro Go Concept

[Source: Volkswagen]

Continue reading Volkswagen Giugiaro Go! Concept previews MPV of the future in Geneva

Volkswagen Giugiaro Go! Concept previews MPV of the future in Geneva originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Feb 2011 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: GMC Acadia’s future uncertain

Filed under: Crossover, GM, GMC, Rumormill

2011 GMC Acadia Denali

2011 GMC Acadia Denali – Click above for high-res image gallery

Word on the web is that the GMC Acadia is back on the chopping block. You may recall that the big crossover found itself in dire straits once before when the entire GMC brand underwent a strategic review during the General Motors bankruptcy proceedings. After that brush with death, the decisionmakers at the company decided to give the entire brand – and by association, the Acadia – a stay of execution. Now a new report suggests that the next-generation Acadia may be scrapped to reduce product overlap within the GM dealer network.

General Motors currently produces three Lambda-based crossovers – the Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and the GMC Acadia – and the company says that it wants to keep overlap to a minimum for its Buick-GMC dealers. The next-generation Lambdas are expected in 2014 as 2015 models, but even if the Acadia gets axed, it’s likely that GM will still keep a trio of models based off of the three-row platform, only with Cadillac getting the third model instead of GMC. Thanks for the tip, Ed!

Gallery: 2011 GMC Acadia Denali

[Source: GMInsideNews]

Rumormill: GMC Acadia’s future uncertain originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 16 Feb 2011 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chicago 2011: With two new models coming, “There is a future for Smart”

Filed under: Chicago Auto Show, Coupe, Hatchback, Smart

2011 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

2011 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive – Click above for high-res image gallery

Smart has delivered its first ForTwo Electric Drive and the 2011 ForTwo is equipped with a suite of first-time features such as cruise control, navigation and eight airbags. But no matter the advances heaped upon the brand’s sole ambasador now, the question many have is: does it have a future?

“There is a commitment to the Smart brand by Smart USA and Daimler’s also committed,” Rick Bourgoise, Smart’s Director of Communications, tells Autoblog. “There are two paths to product expansion: the Daimler alliance with Nissan-Renault to provide a small car platform as part of the next Smart ForTwo as well as a four-seat model to arrive mid-decade.” That car could be, or at least have something to do with, the scale model four-door ForTwo+2 spied recently in Europe. That car is being engineered by Mercedes-Benz and built by Daimler.

“That was good in the near term,” said Bourgoise, “but we needed additional product in the short term.” When he says “we,” he’s referring to Smart USA, which is Penske’s distributorship operation that has the U.S. and Puerto Rico territories for Smart.

“Smart USA agreed with Nissan of the Americas to get a five-door, five-seat hatch that will arrive sometime in Q4 of 2011.” That car refers to the Memorandum of Understanding that Smart signed with Nissan for a B-segment entrant last October. That means the car has officially been given the go-ahead. The platform is assumed to be that of the Micra, since it’s “a global vehicle for Nissan that’s not selling” here, and they’re putting it together in one year. The design of that car is a collaboration between Smart and Nissan, but “it will be a Smart, will have Smart styling cues and stay true to those brand attributes,” such as a tiny footprint and high efficiency and recyclability. Burgoise also confirmed “it will come in a standard manual and automatic transmissions.” Bourgoise tells AB the unnamed car will be revealed sometime in late Q1 or Q2.

Gallery: 2011 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive: First Drive

Photos copyright (C)2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

Chicago 2011: With two new models coming, “There is a future for Smart” originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Feb 2011 17:39:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Foresight 2020: F1 Racing projects the future grand prix racer

Filed under: Concept Cars, Motorsports, Racing

F1 Racing's 2020 projection

F1 Racing’s 2020 projection – Click above for high-res images

Think of what a future F1 race car might look like and you’re likely to conjure up images similar to the Red Bull X1 prototype. But the fact is, in all likelihood, an F1 car nine years from now will look pretty much like the ones we see today. After all, how radically different are contemporary F1 racers from the ones we saw a decade ago?

You can expect some significant changes to come into effect, though, over the coming decade, as the sport grapples with finding the sweet-spot in terms of spectacle, environmental friendliness and the like. Speaking with Renault F1 designer Pat Symonds, F1 Racing magazine came up with their projection. It takes into account such anticipated features as low-profile tires on larger wheels, ground-effect aerodynamics returning to replace the downforce reduced by the standardized rear wing and a beefier Kintetic Energy Recovery System good for a 250 horsepower boost.

Of course all these projections could prove way off by the time 2020 rolls around, but they could prove spot on. We’ll just have to keep watching to find out. In the meantime you can see the only two images which the publication has released, or head to the newsstand to see more.

Gallery: F1 Racing’s 2020 projection

[Source: F1 Racing]

Continue reading Foresight 2020: F1 Racing projects the future grand prix racer

Foresight 2020: F1 Racing projects the future grand prix racer originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 26 Jan 2011 18:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: BMW examining future of mobility in four-part documentary

Filed under: Technology, Videos, BMW

BMW documentary

Wherever You Want to Go documentary – Click above to watch video after the jump

We’ve spent lifetimes obsessing over the next stage in the human transportation saga. Constantly unsatisfied with the humble car, we’ve looked ever onward toward rocket ships, jet packs and personal flying contraptions of varying design to take care of ferrying us to work in greater comfort and speed than ever before imagined. BMW seems to be willing to wade into that universe with its new four-part documentary on the future of mobility called Wherever You Want to Go. The film delves into the various forms of what we think of as futuristic transportation by speaking with everyone from Buzz Aldrin to Syd Meade, Robin Chase and Marissa Mayer.

If you’re thinking this all sounds like an automaker rallying the troops against the internal combustion engine, don’t be so sure. The short trailer for the film features a ride in a Superbird clone, so it can’t be all bad. Hit the jump to soak up the trailer. BMW will release the films on February 1, 8, 15 and 22nd, so stay tuned.

[Sources: YouTube, Activate the Future]

Continue reading Video: BMW examining future of mobility in four-part documentary

Video: BMW examining future of mobility in four-part documentary originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Jan 2011 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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