Official: Peugeot reveals Le Mans-derived 208 Hybrid FE prototype

Filed under: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Motor Show, Hybrid, Europe, Hatchback, Peugeot

Peugeot 208 Hybrid FE - front three-quarter view, white

You can’t leave a team of racing engineers sitting still for too long. They need something to keep them busy. Just ask the guys at Toyota or Peugeot.

Toyota shut down its Formula One program in 2009 and didn’t get to Le Mans until last year, filling the vacuum left by Peugeot’s departure at the end of the previous season. In the meantime, the engineers at Toyota Motorsport GmbH developed the TMG Sports 650. Peugeot Sport had a similar lull after shuttering its LMP1 program before it launched Sebastien Loeb’s 208 T16 Pikes Peak challenger this summer. This is what they were working on in the meantime.

It’s called the Peugeot 208 Hybrid FE, and it’s set to debut next month at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Working in partnership with French oil company Total, the Peugeot racing team applied many of the lessons it learned from developing the 908 HDi FAP prototype to a base Peugeot 208 Access.

They bored out the 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine to 1.2 liters, gave it direct injection, replaced all the internal components and coated new ones in DLC (Diamond-Like Coating, a hardener used in motorsports engines and suspension components). All of this was done in order to increase torque by 25 percent (now up to 88 pound-feet) while keeping power steady at 68 horses. They then installed the 908’s electric motor for another 22 lb-ft of torque, along with its lightweight lithium-ion battery pack. They decreased aerodynamic drag by 25 percent (thanks in part to low-rolling-resistance rubber and a narrower track) and cut 20 percent off the structure’s curb weight to optimize efficiency.

The result is a prototype that sacrifices none of the donor car’s creature comforts (save for the air conditioning system) and can hit 62 mph from a standstill in 8 seconds flat, return 141.2 mpg (on Europe’s liberal efficiency cycle) and emit just 49 grams of CO2 per kilometer. All of which may not be as exciting as what Toyota’s racing team did with their down time, but as environmental impact becomes increasingly vital to global automakers, it could prove more important.

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Peugeot reveals Le Mans-derived 208 Hybrid FE prototype originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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First Drive: 2015 BMW i8 Prototype

Filed under: Coupe, Hybrid, Performance, BMW, First Drives, Electric, Luxury

M Meets Edison

2014 BMW i8 prototype

The real telling moment for the new BMW i division will be seeing how the recently tested 2014 i3 sells in its various markets, since that is the car that changes how we perceive our expectations of the brand. But this 2015 BMW i8 green supercar has all the earmarks of a slam-dunk project, we just needed to drive it and make sure for ourselves.

BMW has a spectacular test facility in southern France, called Miramas, and that’s where we just had our first brief go behind the wheel of the i8. There were three cars for us there and they were dressed up in exactly the same paisley camo that we’ve all seen in the spy photos published everywhere for the past year. The interiors, though swathed in masking to hide all the details, varied in their color.

As opposed to our realization that driving the stink out of the i3 was not the right attitude, with the i8 we were mostly encouraged to do exactly that by the entire BMW project team. Our essential takeaway from this event is that even BMW feels much more at ease splashing the i8 around with the media, because they’re certain we’re going to enjoy it. Even if the technology underneath is all new, this is the type of product BMW knows how to do in its blood and bones.

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2015 BMW i8 Prototype originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 07 Aug 2013 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Snapshots from Acura NSX prototype run at Mid-Ohio

Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Hybrid, Marketing/Advertising, Acura, Racing

Acura NSX Prototype lapping Mid-Ohio ahead of the Honda Indy 200.

Acura’s achingly slow showing of the new, hybrid NSX saw yet another step yesterday, as we reported late last week. A powder-blue prototype ran ahead of the open-wheelers at the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Why show the NSX Prototype at Mid-Ohio? Honda’s Ohio research and development center, which has taken the lead on NSX development, is just 60 miles from the track. And as race sponsor, Honda must have figured it would give the spectators a glimpse of the new supercar it’s been teasing for the better part of a decade.

With a planned launch in 2015 (special emphasis on the “planned” part, considering the NSX’s history), the NSX Prototype shown here sports graphics that “speak to Acura’s intention to go racing with the new NSX.” That’s great news for fans of endurance racing, although it remains to be seen when a motorsports program for the new NSX will get off the ground.

Take a look at the fresh gallery of images, and be sure to head over to our original Mid-Ohio post for the video footage of the NSX Prototype on track.

Continue reading Snapshots from Acura NSX prototype run at Mid-Ohio

Snapshots from Acura NSX prototype run at Mid-Ohio originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 05 Aug 2013 10:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Watch an Acura NSX prototype lap the track at Mid-Ohio

Filed under: Motorsports, Coupe, Hybrid, Performance, Videos, Acura

Acura NSX prototype at Mid-Ohio

As promised, Acura trotted its NSX prototype out to the mass of waiting fans ahead of today’s Honda Indy 200 IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio. The hybrid supercar took to the track for a fast lap, and Acura was kind enough to attach a score of cameras to the car in order to share the event with the rest of the world.

The blue-wrapped NSX looks pretty darn good on a race track, if we do say so ourselves, and its V6 engine, coupled with its three electric motors and lithium-ion battery pack, sounds awfully sweet at full song. The automaker is promising to release its new NSX in 2015, which is still quite a ways away, so we don’t expect this exhibition lap to be the last time we see a prototype in action ahead of a production debut.

Want to see the video? Of course you do. Scroll down to see the NSX take to the track like a fish takes to water.

Continue reading Watch an Acura NSX prototype lap the track at Mid-Ohio

Watch an Acura NSX prototype lap the track at Mid-Ohio originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 04 Aug 2013 11:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: 2015 Subaru Legacy prototype caught testing in Michigan

Filed under: Spy Photos, Sedan, Subaru

The current Subaru Legacy is only three years old, but compared to rival midsize sedans like the Mazda6 and Ford Fusion, which have recently received thorough redesigns, it might as well be a million. In other words, a reworking is in order. Caught in these spy shots, the 2015 Subaru Legacy appears to be about the same size as the current model, but it appears that Subaru is looking to push the sedan a little more upmarket in terms of styling and luxury.

Despite the heavy camouflage, some elements of the new Legacy’s design are still visible. The new headlights still have a scalloped shape but are much narrower, and we can also see the deep body creases that run the full length of the sedan. At the rear of the new Legacy, the taillights should get some added depth with a C-shaped brake light design similar to what we saw on the WRX Concept earlier in the year.

Showing that Subaru is aiming a little bit higher for this Legacy, this car is being benchmarked against all-wheel-drive luxury vehicles like the current Infiniti G37 and the Audi Allroad – the latter is likely for comparison with the Legacy’s wagon version, the Outback. Following the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, we expect the 2015 Legacy to be the next Subaru product to get a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, which we hear will be paired with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a CVT and, of course, all-wheel drive.

No word as to when the 2015 Legacy will debut, but the New York Auto Show is as good a guess as any.

2015 Subaru Legacy prototype caught testing in Michigan originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 17:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Acura to roll out NSX Prototype for Mid-Ohio IndyCar race

Filed under: Concept Cars, Motorsports, Performance, Acura

Acura NSX prototype lapping Mid Ohio

Acura will tease us yet again with its next-gen NSX when it makes an appearance at Mid-Ohio Raceway before the circuit’s IndyCar race early next month. To be fair, the car’s in-motion debut won’t take the form of a production model – that’s still a ways off – the vehicle will be a prototype. It’ll be sporting custom graphics and an eye-catching paint (wrap?) job to draw the attention of the spectators, but really, we just want to hear this thing rounding the legendary road course at full chat.

The NSX prototype doesn’t look to be much different from the various showcars we’ve seen over the last couple of years, with the same mid-engined, hybrid V6 power and all-wheel drive all present and accounted for.

The display will take place before the Honda Indy 200 IndyCar Series on August 4. The race itself starts at 3:00 pm and will be shown on NBC Sports Network.

Continue reading Acura to roll out NSX Prototype for Mid-Ohio IndyCar race

Acura to roll out NSX Prototype for Mid-Ohio IndyCar race originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Jul 2013 17:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Nissan shows off Le Mans Prototype, says it’s world’s fastest electric racer [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Nissan, Electric, Racing

Nissan ZEOD RC Le Mans prototype - front three-quarter dynamic view

Nissan has announced plans and details around its upcoming all-electric racing car, the ZEOD RC. The Zero Emission On Demand Racing car is said to be capable of a top speed in excess of 300 kilometers per hour (186.4 miles per hour), is shaped a bit like the closed-cockpit version of the DeltaWing (albeit, to our eyes, better looking) and will make its debut in 2014 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This weekend, visitors to the race will have the opportunity to view the prototype near the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Nissan’s ZEOD RC has been invited by Le Mans organizers to compete as the Garage 56 entry in next year’s race; that’s essentially a spot on the grid held for vehicles with new and/or cutting edge technology.

Short of announcing a partnership with Michelin to develop tires for the EV racecar, however, Nissan is mum on any kind of battery or motor specification for the ZEOD. The press release (below) offers a sense that the Nissan and Nismo teams have still got a lot of work to do before the 2014 race. Ben Bowlby, designer of the ZEOD RC, says “We have many options to consider and test. The test program is part of a longer term goal of developing a system and a set of rules for this type of technology in partnership with the ACO that would be best suited to competing at the highest level of this sport.”

The ultimate goal of the ZEOD RC program, in terms of racing at least, is to sort out the feasibility of a LM P1 all-electric class for future Le Mans racing. Continue on below for more information, as well as a video about the ZEOD RC project.

Continue reading Nissan shows off Le Mans Prototype, says it’s world’s fastest electric racer [w/video]

Nissan shows off Le Mans Prototype, says it’s world’s fastest electric racer [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Jun 2013 09:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom 10EX prototype up for auction

Filed under: Concept Cars, Classics, Auctions, Rolls-Royce

1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom 10EX

1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom 10EX – Click above for high-res image gallery

Times change and so do trends. These days, everyone’s clamoring for more environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient cars that even Rolls-Royce is tinkering with electric propulsion. The program is being carried out on the 102EX electric Phantom prototype. But go back nearly a century and speed was the cause célèbre du jour. And then just as now, Rolls-Royce was keen to prove its mettle. This was the car with which it did so.

As Rolls-Royce presented the first-generation Phantom to the world, it was eager to show what it could do, so the company’s managing director Claude Johnson had the crew at Crewe put this prototype together. Named in his honor, the “CJ Sports Car” featured a more aerodynamic “torpedo” coachwork by Barker. Although many experimental Phantoms followed (straight through to the aforementioned 102EX), this was the only one that the company held on to after it was done testing, and was even rumored to have been loaned out to Laurence of Arabia at one time.

10EX is expected to fetch around £400,000-£800,000 ($650k-$1.3m) when it goes up for auction on June 23 at RM’s inaugural Salon Privé auction at West London’s picturesque Syon Park estate. Joining it on the docket will be numerous other Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, Aston Martin classics (among others) representing the finest of historic British motoring. Follow the jump for the full press release.

Continue reading 1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom 10EX prototype up for auction

1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom 10EX prototype up for auction originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 18 May 2011 19:25:00 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]

Continue reading BMW Brilliance Automotive previews 5 Series plug-in hybrid prototype

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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Jaguar debuts new 2.2-liter diesel engine under hood of 2012 XF prototype

Filed under: Spy Photos, Sedan, Technology, Jaguar, Diesel

Jaguar XF Spy Photo

2012 Jaguar XF Spy Shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

Jaguar has announced a new 2.2-liter diesel engine capable of 187 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque that can also travel 52.3 miles per gallon in the combined European cycle as fitted to a prototype of its 2012 XF sedan. The engine will also have little trouble meeting Europe’s stringent CO2 regulations, as The Leaping Cat claims the engine only emits 149 g/km of CO2.

On the technology front, this new 16 valve common-rail diesel features a water-cooled turbocharger, low friction pistons, a fresh crankshaft and new injectors. Jaguar engineers also fitted a new oil pan and new electronic systems to allow for an intelligent Stop-Start system that operates more efficiently. The efficient little motor will work in concert with an also new eight-speed ZF transmission. Jaguar claims the diminutive diesel will propel the XF to 60 miles per hour in 8.5, while promising a top speed of 140 miles per hour.

As an added bonus, the folks at Jaguar were kind enough to pass us high-resolution photos of the refreshed XF undergoing testing. The camo is quite good, though we can see some alterations to the lower air dams, and we’re guessing tail lamps, headlamps and the grille have also been given a once-over.

Jaguar says in the post-jump press release that the 2.2 diesel will make its way under the bonnet of a future XF production car, with “an estimated on-sale date being announced at the New York Auto Show.” Keep in mind that the Big Apple show is international in scope, so assuming that a U.S. announcement means it will be sold here probably isn’t a good idea. Hit the jump to read over the Jaguar press release.

Gallery: Spy Shots: 2012 Jaguar XF

Spy Shots: 2012 Jaguar XF

[Source: Jaguar]

Continue reading Jaguar debuts new 2.2-liter diesel engine under hood of 2012 XF prototype

Jaguar debuts new 2.2-liter diesel engine under hood of 2012 XF prototype originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 30 Mar 2011 16:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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