Official: Ford S-Max Concept previews new look, technology for Euro seven-seater

Filed under: Minivan/Van, Technology, Ford

Ford S-Max Concept showcases sharp styling, a thoughtful interior and innovative technologies.

Ford unveiled today the S-Max Concept, which comes with a new, sleek look and loaded with innovative technology, such as a heart-rate monitoring seat. But if your heart is set on a minivan sports activity vehicle (SAV) and you live in the States, don’t wait for this one – it’s a Europe-only product, and we don’t expect that to change when the next-gen S-Max is released.

The styling follows Ford’s global design language, looking a bit like an overgrown Focus hatchback with the company’s signature grille, wraparound headlamps, steeply raked windshield and curved roof line. Ford also implemented details to make the S-Max look longer and faster, such as a feature line on each side of the vehicle and muscular-looking fenders. The engine isn’t Ford’s most powerful, but the new 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine should be potent enough with turbocharging and other efficiency related technologies.

Ford says the new interior, which seats up to seven people, features high-quality materials and fine detailing, such as an “ultra-soft” leather wrap for the instrument panel and leather and carbon-fiber details on the seats. Ford’s Sync connectivity system with MyFord Touch makes the car a wireless hotspot, and there’s a tablet docking station for second-row occupants.

But it’s the health-related systems that have our attention. The heart-rate sensing seat records the driver’s heart rate and has the potential to respond to medical emergencies via Sync. This can range from alerting medical experts to triggering active safety systems that can take over temporarily for an incapacitated driver. The car even has a glucose monitoring system that Ford claims can detect a sleeping child having a diabetic episode in the back seat.

Take a look at the press release below for a closer look into the sharply styled, tech-forward SAV.

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Ford S-Max Concept previews new look, technology for Euro seven-seater originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 28 Aug 2013 00:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Teased: Callaway previews supercharged C7 Corvette

Filed under: Aftermarket, Coupe, Performance, Chevrolet

Callaway Corvette Supercharger

If you dig the new Stingray but miss the old ZR1, then Callaway might have just the ticket. The Corvette tuner extraordinaire has teased that it’s got a supercharger kit on its way for the latest C7 that could make up the difference and then some.

While the 6.2-liter LS3 V8 in the previous-generation C6 Corvette packed 430 horsepower in base form, the new LT1 in the Stingray displaces the same but comes standard with 455 hp. So Callaway has got 25 fewer horses to make up in supercharging the C7 up to the ZR1’s 638 hp. That’s still a lot of power to get out of an aftermarket supercharger, so we’ll see how close Callaway can get it. We may find out as early as this weekend as Reeves and company head to Corvettes at Carlisle in Pennsylvania. But that hood image looks promising.

Of course this will be far from Callaway’s first Corvette tuning job – and it won’t even be its first stab at the new Stingray: it’s already working on a C7 GT3 race car, and previously revealed plans to turn the latest Vette into a shooting brake called the AeroWagon.

Callaway previews supercharged C7 Corvette originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 21 Aug 2013 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Opel previews production Astra GTC ahead of Frankfurt debut

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Europe, Hatchback, Opel, Vauxhall

2012 Opel Astra GTC

2012 Opel Astra GTC – Click above for high-res renderings

A staple product of General Motors’ overseas subsidiaries, the Opel Astra has been a long time in the making. The five-door hatchback was revealed back in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which was then followed by the GTC show car that previewed the three-door version in concept form (along with the production Sport Tourer wagon variant) a year later at the Paris Motor Show. Another year after that, Opel will unveil the production three-door GTC in Frankfurt this coming September. The final product is still undergoing development, but while GM’s German division irons out the kinks, they’ve released these preliminary images showing us what to expect from the production version.

Although still months away from its public debut, the order books for the Astra GTC will officially open on June 7, when full details will be revealed. The Astra range, you’ll recall, is also offered a Vauxhall in the UK, as the Buick Excelle XT in China, and as a Chevrolet in Latin America. But while Saturn had a version of the more angular previous-generation model, now that the brand is shut, we’ll likely have to do without. That’s a shame, because we recently saw a five-door model out on the road while overseas and were struck by its fluid design. So we’ll just have to do with admiring from afar. Follow the jump for the brief press release, and scope out the pair of images in the gallery below.

Gallery: 2012 Opel Astra GTC

[Source: Opel]

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Opel previews production Astra GTC ahead of Frankfurt debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 26 Apr 2011 19:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Volvo Concept Universe previews next range-topping sedan from Sweden

Filed under: Concept Cars, Sedan, Volvo, Shanghai Motor Show, Design/Style, Luxury

volvo concept universe shanghai motor show

Volvo Concept Universe – Click above for high-res image gallery

Volvo is looking to gain a foothold in the fast-growing Chinese auto market, and the Swedish automaker is hoping to pique interest in the brand with a range-topping luxury sedan concept. The design aims to incorporate the simplicity of Scandinavian design while also trying to discern what the modern luxury car buyer really wants.

The Concept Universe bows at the Shanghai Motor Show to show what Volvo can do near the top-end of the large luxury sedan market. And although this vehicle is definitely a design study, Volvo doesn’t seem interested in hiding its intention of going upscale. Volvo CEO Stafan Jacoby calls the concept “a sneak preview of what people can expect from our next top-of-the-line sedan.”

The large concept features a coupe-like roofline that combines with a modern interpretation of the boxy Volvos of the past. Another homage to older Volvo models includes convex style lines between the wheel wells. Up front, the Concept Universe appears to borrow some lines from the Ford Interceptor concept from the 2007 Detroit Auto Show with its bumper-less front end that is rounded off all around. The grille is totally new for Volvo, with a series of shrinking, rounded rectangles; each smaller than the next.

Volvo design boss Peter Horbury feels the vehicle looks hand-crafted and durable, adding, “We will compete with the best with our special kind of Scandinavian Design. It is unmatched in performance and technology, but without superficiality or complication.”

We’re not so sure what to think of the Concept Universe, but we’re sure you’ll tell us what you think in the Comments below. Hit the jump to read over the Volvo press release.

Gallery: Volvo Concept Universe

[Source: Volvo]

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Volvo Concept Universe previews next range-topping sedan from Sweden originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 19 Apr 2011 01:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chevrolet previews Z-Spec accessories for Sonic ahead of New York

Filed under: New York Auto Show, Budget, Sedan, Hatchback, Chevrolet, Design/Style

2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Z-Spec accessories

2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Z-Spec accessories – Click above for high-res image gallery

Chevrolet is hopping headlong into the dealer-as-aftermarketer business with its new Z-Spec upgrade line of parts and accessories. The new performance and visual trickery will begin with the much-anticipated 2012 Chevrolet Sonic subcompact shown here. Slated to debut at next week’s New York Auto Show, the range of custom bits will be available by the end of 2011, and will primarily consist of visual accessories – at least for now. The Z-Spec line is a build-out of the Z Spec Sonic Concept that debuted alongside the production car at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year.

At launch, Chevrolet is promising a ground effects package with unique front and rear fascias and side skirts, along with an exhaust tip finisher, spoiler and 16- and 17-inch painted alloys. Inside, Chevy dealers will also be able to fit your Sonic with look-faster bits like drilled sport pedals and aluminum sill plates. The biggest visual change will likely come from the “Color Out” contrasting trim packages that include accent-color painted grille ‘lipstick’, side mirror caps and rear spoiler. Buyers will also be able to have their vehicle outfitted with a number of wraps like the dot matrix pattern you see here.

Critically, Z-Spec parts will be able to be purchased either as a full-on package or piecemeal, and customers will be able to add the cost of the accessories into their monthly payments at purchase time.

Pricing has not yet been announced. Check out our high-res gallery below and click past the jump for the official press release.

Gallery: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Z-Spec accessories

2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Z-Spec accessories

[Source: Chevrolet]

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Chevrolet previews Z-Spec accessories for Sonic ahead of New York originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Apr 2011 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Audi previews next-generation A3 hatchback

Filed under: Geneva Motor Show, Hatchback, Audi, Luxury

2013 Audi A3 rendering

2013 Audi A3 preview rendering – Click above for image gallery

Audi has taken an interesting approach forecasting the next-generation A3 with a sedan concept at the Geneva Motor Show – even though the current model is principally a hatchback. When it does hit showrooms sometime next year, however, the next-gen A3 is expected to be offered first with a tailgate before a trunked version comes along – the three-door model leading the five-door, then the sedan and finally the soft-top convertible.

The news comes along with a trio of sketches released by Audi to the British motor press alongside those of the R8 GT Spyder. The renderings depict the three-door hatchback, the four-door sedan and the cabin of the next-gen A3 production model, which is tipped to be even more diverse in its engine offerings than it is in its bodystyles: expect gasoline, diesel, natural gas, hybrid and full electric versions to be rolled out in succession.

The cabin, meanwhile, is tipped to feature the latest technologies, including Audi’s MMI controller and a pop-up infotainment screen. Look for the production 2013 A3 – in one body form or another – to debut in Geneva next March, a year after the sedan concept we saw there last month.

Gallery: 2013 Audi A3 preview renderings

[Source: Audi via Autocar]

Audi previews next-generation A3 hatchback originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 11 Apr 2011 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BMW Brilliance Automotive previews 5 Series plug-in hybrid prototype

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, China, BMW, Shanghai Motor Show, Luxury

2013 BMW 5 Series Plug-In Hybrid

2013 BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid – Click above for high-res version

In the lead-in to the Shanghai Motor Show, BMW has teased an upcoming plug-in hybrid 5 Series that will be exclusive to the Chinese market. The prototype of this greener version of BMW’s midsize sedan is based on the China-only long-wheelbase 5 Series platform.

The car is part of a joint venture between BMW and Chinese automaker Brilliance. The car is the tip of an eco-friendly iceberg BMW has aimed squarely at China, a country with an increasing appetite for premium-segment cars and a serious need for green-focused, energy-efficient vehicles.

Despite its size, BMW says the plug-in 5 Series will manage nearly 250 miles on a single charge and tank of gas, with up to 47 miles of those on electric power only, provided you don’t creep past 37 miles per hour. Those numbers certainly aren’t what you’d call impressive, but they’re a step in the right direction and they’d likely be a major help in the thick traffic snarls that China’s major cities are famous for. As for the U.S. market, a full plug-in 5 Series is unlikely, but BMW is understood to be planning to bring a traditional mild hybrid version of the car to our shores. For now, check out the prototype in our gallery below and via the press release after the jump.

Gallery: 2013 BMW 5 Series Plug-In Hybrid

2013 BMW 5 Series Plug-In Hybrid

[Source: BMW]

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BMW Brilliance Automotive previews 5 Series plug-in hybrid prototype originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 07 Apr 2011 18:21:00 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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Honda officially previews Fit Shuttle, including hybrid model

Filed under: Budget, Hybrid, Geneva Motor Show, Japan, Hatchback, Honda

Honda Fit Shuttle Site

Honda has fired up a website for its new Fit Shuttle. The B-segment fighter’s larger twin is set to use the same center-tank design as the smaller of the duo, which means that buyers can look forward to a surprising amount of interior room. While the extended hatch will come with a gasoline drivetrain, the engineers have also cooked up a hybrid variant for squeezing the most out of every last whisper of fuel.

Word from Honda is that the Fit Shuttle will get an official unveil in March, which leads us to believe that the new creation will show its face at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show next month. That said, don’t expect to see the Fit Shuttle on our shores. This machine is likely to keep itself tucked away as a JDM-only model, though there is some chance that the car will show up in Europe as well. You can check out the Japanese site here.

[Source: Honda]

Honda officially previews Fit Shuttle, including hybrid model originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 04 Feb 2011 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Radical Sportscars previews SR3 SL ahead of Autosport debut

Filed under: Performance, Misc. Auto Shows, UK, MISC

Radical SR3 SL

If you’re looking for a bare-bones, no nonsense roadster, the upcoming Autosport International motorsport show in Birmigham, England, is the place to be. That’s where Caterham is set to unveil an all-new vehicle, and where Radical is also planning to debut its latest street-legal race car.

Now, that term is used to describe many performance automobiles, but if anyone can lay claim to it, it’s Radical. The company makes Le Mans Prototype-style cars that are nominally street legal, but every bit the purebred racers they look like. The SR8 holds the lap record at the Nürburgring, and is soon to be joined in the Radical lineup by the SR3 SL. Fully street legal, the SR3 SL is aimed at track-day enthusiasts looking for a car they can drive to the circuit, lap to their heart’s content and then drive back home… just like in the good old days.

The SR3 SL is powered by a 300-horsepower version of the Ford EcoBoost five found in the Focus ST, optimized in-house by Radical. It’s mated to a six-speed paddle-shift sequential gearbox that automatically blips the throttle on the downshift, and with a curb weight under 1,500 lbs, is sure to be a serious thrill ride.

[Source: Radical]

Continue reading Radical Sportscars previews SR3 SL ahead of Autosport debut

Radical Sportscars previews SR3 SL ahead of Autosport debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 19 Dec 2010 15:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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