Official: Lexus reveals LF-NX crossover concept for Frankfurt

Filed under: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Motor Show, Hybrid, Crossover, Lexus, Luxury

Lexus LF-NX

Compact luxury crossovers are becoming big business for upscale automakers. Mercedes is slotting the new GLA beneath the GLK, BMW has the X1 below the X3, Audi has downsized from the Q5 to the Q3, and Lexus is keen to get in on the game. And to that end, Toyota’s luxury division is coming to the Frankfurt Motor Show this year with the concept crossover you see here.

Previewed a couple of weeks ago with an enigmatic teaser, the LF-NX concept, in the company’s own words, “explores the potential for a compact crossover within the Lexus model range.” The latest adaptation of the “L-finesse” design language could be the sharpest and most stylistically Japanese we’ve seen yet, with the sharp creases of the signature spindle grille repeated all around for a razor-sharp look. Lexus only released one shot of the cabin, but it looks as sharp as the exterior and, while clearly stylized, looks essentially more production-ready than most show cars.

Lexus hasn’t revealed much about the powertrain, saying only that it incorporates “a new variant of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system tuned for SUV performance.” Whether it actually has an engine that Lexus will detail at the show remains to be seen, but you can delve into the press release below for more and scope out the five images released thus far in the gallery above for a closer look.

Continue reading Lexus reveals LF-NX crossover concept for Frankfurt

Lexus reveals LF-NX crossover concept for Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 05:11:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Lexus reveals LF-NX crossover concept for Frankfurt

Filed under: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Motor Show, Hybrid, Crossover, Lexus, Luxury

Lexus LF-NX

Compact luxury crossovers are becoming big business for upscale automakers. Mercedes is slotting the new GLA beneath the GLK, BMW has the X1 below the X3, Audi has downsized from the Q5 to the Q3, and Lexus is keen to get in on the game. And to that end, Toyota’s luxury division is coming to the Frankfurt Motor Show this year with the concept crossover you see here.

Previewed a couple of weeks ago with an enigmatic teaser, the LF-NX concept, in the company’s own words, “explores the potential for a compact crossover within the Lexus model range.” The latest adaptation of the “L-finesse” design language could be the sharpest and most stylistically Japanese we’ve seen yet, with the sharp creases of the signature spindle grille repeated all around for a razor-sharp look. Lexus only released one shot of the cabin, but it looks as sharp as the exterior and, while clearly stylized, looks essentially more production-ready than most show cars.

Lexus hasn’t revealed much about the powertrain, saying only that it incorporates “a new variant of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system tuned for SUV performance.” Whether it actually has an engine that Lexus will detail at the show remains to be seen, but you can delve into the press release below for more and scope out the five images released thus far in the gallery above for a closer look.

Continue reading Lexus reveals LF-NX crossover concept for Frankfurt

Lexus reveals LF-NX crossover concept for Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 05:11:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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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.

Continue reading Peugeot reveals Le Mans-derived 208 Hybrid FE prototype

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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Official: Opel reveals updated Insignia OPC sans power boost

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Sedan, Performance, Wagon, Europe

2014 Opel Insignia OPC Sports Tourer

We’ve got good news, friends, and we’ve got bad news. The good news is that Opel has revealed the new Insignia OPC that we spied recently on the street. The bad news is that it does not have the hike in power we were hoping for.

The new Insignia OPC, pictured here in Sports Tourer form, is set to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in a couple of weeks. Sitting atop the Opel Performance Center lineup, it’s got the same 325-horsepower 2.8-liter twin-turbo V6 and Haldex all-wheel-drive system as the model it replaces, but benefits from some minor enhancements. Those include subtly refreshed fascias front and rear, a reworked rear axle, revised software for the ESP and variable damper systems and a recalibrated suspension.

Equipped with a six-speed manual (there’s an automatic available as well), the Insignia OPC sedan will hit 62 mph in six seconds flat, or 6.3 for the wagon. Top speed is restricted to 155 mph, but without the limiter (as Opel previously offered), it’s said to hit 168 flat out. Which is still pretty impressive, even without the anticipated 400hp upgrade.

But that only brings us to the unfortunate reality that the Insignia OPC isn’t available Stateside, because with 259 horsepower from a turbo four, the Buick Regal GS just doesn’t feel the same.

Continue reading Opel reveals updated Insignia OPC sans power boost

Opel reveals updated Insignia OPC sans power boost originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 26 Aug 2013 13:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NADAguides reveals 2011 “Must Consider” list… do you agree?

Filed under: Car Buying

2011 audi q5

NADAguides presents the cars to consider for 2011 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Consumer vehicle valuation and information website NADAguides has prepared a list of cars you should be looking at in 2011. Called the “Must Consider” list, the analysts at NADAguides have chosen seven vehicles they feel represent the intersection of value, performance, design and fuel efficiency. The vehicles on this list are also reportedly chosen because NADAguides feels the average consumer might not be considering it amongst their new-car candidates.

The Germans, Japanese, Americans, Koreans and even an Italian have a representative vehicle on the list. For 2011, the NADAguides Must Consider list is comprised of the following vehicles:

  • 2011 Audi Q5
  • 2012 Fiat 500
  • 2011 Ford Taurus Limited
  • 2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring
  • 2011 Kia Soul
  • 2011 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition
  • 2011 Volkswagen Golf

Per Troy Snyder, NADAguides Director of Product Development:

“Every year our team is excited to announce the NADAguides Must Consider List. The data for these vehicles highlight them as a smart choice for consumers, but the industry buzz or consumer awareness just isn’t there for one reason or another. NADAguides recognizes why these vehicles are a great option for consumers and wants to ensure they do not go unnoticed.”

The reasoning behind each choice is provided in the full press release waiting after the jump. While the machines themselves are all fine vehicles for consumers to consider, we have to wonder whether or not they were really off the consideration lists for many consumers in the first place… feel free to agree or disagree yourselves in the ‘Comments.’

Gallery: NADAguides 2011 Must Consider List

2011 Audi Q52012 Fiat 5002011 Ford Taurus2011 Hyundai Elantra Touring2011 Kia Soul

[Source: NADAguides]

Continue reading NADAguides reveals 2011 “Must Consider” list… do you agree?

NADAguides reveals 2011 “Must Consider” list… do you agree? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 12 Apr 2011 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WikiLeaks reveals disturbing business practices of Buffett’s BYD

Filed under: Hybrid, China, Government/Legal, Earnings/Financials, Design/Style, Electric

BYD F3DM

2009 BYD F3DM – Click above for high-res image gallery

Are Chinese cars nothing more than cheap copies of other automaker’s products in other parts of the world? That’s a question that’s been asked rather widely for the last several years as the numbers of large Chinese automakers has risen dramatically, and even more so as they have shown their wares at major auto shows outside their home country.

There is certainly no doubt that many, if not most, cars rolling out of factories in China bear a striking exterior resemblance to popular models from Japan, Europe and the United States. But do those exterior facsimiles go more than skin deep, and if so, does it matter? What about the actual guts of the vehicles – are Chinese automakers creating their own important new technologies, especially in the burgeoning eco-friendly segment?

These are the questions bandied about in a special report from Reuters, targeted specifically in the direction of BYD, the Chinese automaker that has been buoyed by major investments and backed by Warren Buffett. The big draw for Buffett and his money was BYD’s proprietary battery technology, which it uses on its own branded electric cars, some of which are supposedly coming to America.

Reuters, though, citing documents it received by a third party from WikiLeaks, charges that BYD’s battery tech may not be all its cracked up to be, and that sales of its EVs are painfully slow. Further, officials such as Guanzhou Consul-General Brian Goldbeck reportedly said two years ago that BYD’s vehicles may pass China’s lax copyright laws, but aren’t likely to in other countries.

Just as damningly, unnamed consultants claim BYD’s vehicles are very unlikely to pass U.S. safety standards, saying of one of BYD’s models, “If you shut the doors too hard, they fall off.” Removable doors… not good. Some automakers polled by Reuters claim that BYD requests just enough parts from reputable suppliers to reverse engineer the designs and then assemble them itself using inferior materials.

What all of this means for BYD and for Warren Buffett’s billion-dollar investment into the company remains to be seen, but it can hardly bode well for the brand’s chances in such competitive markets as the United States.

Gallery: 2009 BYD F3DM plug-in hybrid

[Source: Reuters]

WikiLeaks reveals disturbing business practices of Buffett’s BYD originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Mar 2011 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ducati reveals Multistrada 1200S Pikes Peak Special Edition *UPDATE

Filed under: Europe, Motorcycle, Specialty

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak

2012 Ducati Multistrada Pikes Peak Edition (U.S.) – Click above for high-res image gallery

To celebrate Greg Tracy’s win at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb last year, Ducati is releasing a commemorative special edition of its Multistrada 1200S for the U.S. and U.K.

Pikes Peak Edition bikes will get a custom paint scheme based on the Ducati Corse livery, along with an anodized black engine and black wheels with red pinstriping. To make things a little louder and introduce more carbon fiber, the bike will be delivered across the pond with an EU-approved carbon fiber silencer from Termignoni and a low profile carbon fiber windscreen.

*Update: Sadly, we won’t be getting the exhaust system here in the States, but we will get a unique numbered engine crankcase cover. We’ve added a U.S.-specific image gallery below and included both U.S. and UK press releases after the break.

To top it off, Ducati is throwing on a carbon fiber front fender and a special seat with custom commemorative stitching(!). Ducati will start hawking the Pikes Peak Edition Multistradas here in the States in June for $21,995 and in the UK in May, with a starting price of just over $27k.

Gallery: Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak (U.S.)

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak (U.S.)Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak (U.S.)Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak (U.S.)Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak (U.S.)Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak (U.S.)

Gallery: Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak Special Edition

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak Special EditionDucati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak Special EditionDucati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak Special EditionDucati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak Special EditionDucati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak Special Edition

[Source: Ducati]

Continue reading Ducati reveals Multistrada 1200S Pikes Peak Special Edition *UPDATE

Ducati reveals Multistrada 1200S Pikes Peak Special Edition *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Mar 2011 17:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Consumer Reports reveals details of 2011 Auto Issue

Filed under: Car Buying, Etc.

consumer reports 2011The 2011 edition of Consumer Reports‘ annual Auto Issue will hit newstands on March 8, but we have a sneak peek at what you’ll find inside.

First up is are CR’s Automaker Report Cards, and Honda, Toyota and Subaru continue to enjoy their three-year run at the head of the class. General Motors and Ford, however, are playing catch up fast. In fact, the Blue Oval now has a Recommended rating for 71 percent of its fleet. Chrysler, however, is sitting near the bottom of the pack, though it’s kept company by former classmate Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

The Consumer Reports 2011 Auto Issue also examines the best and worst values across eight vehicle segments. Hyundai and Kia both earned a couple of “bests” while General Motors was given a few “worsts.” Beyond the value of a vehicle, CR also names its Top Picks for 2011. For the first time ever, the Ford Mustang has made this list thanks to its multitude of engine choices, fuel economy and price.

If used cars are more your speed, Consumer Reports has even compiled a list of its top choices for 2001-2010 model year vehicles. Awards for best-in-class were chosen based on the results of road tests when the vehicle was new combined with ongoing reliability data.

We have a hefty dose of information for you to digest. The Top Picks, Best and Worst Values and Best of the Best Used Cars are all waiting for you after the jump.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

Continue reading Consumer Reports reveals details of 2011 Auto Issue

Consumer Reports reveals details of 2011 Auto Issue originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Feb 2011 17:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Xenatec reveals Maybach Cruiserio Coupe ahead of Geneva debut

Filed under: Coupe, Geneva Motor Show, Maybach, Luxury

Xenatec Maybach Cruiserio Coupe

Xenatec Maybach Cruiserio Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

Xenatec is using the Geneva Motor Show to unveil its one-off Cruiserio Coupe, a customer-ordered hyper-luxury car based on the Maybach 57S. The coupe was designed by Fredrik Burchhardt to a customer’s exact specs, then hand-built by the Xenatec team.

Outside, the Xenatec Cruiserio Coupe is swathed in a two-tone matte finish that’s designed to give a brassy shimmer in the light. Xenatec says the paint was hand-applied in several stages to get the look just so.

The big coupe’s interior is another Xenatec one-off, featuring hand-stitched natural, undyed buffalo leather and espresso-colored Nappa hides. To take things to the next level of ludicrous opulence, Xenatec lined the footwells of the car with blackberry Alcantara.

Xenatec says the whole package is set off by the car’s panorama roof, which is accented with a Nappa leather headliner.

No word yet (or ever, we assume) on what this level of exclusivity costs, but we’re ok with that. If you have to ask… Hop the jump for a full press release.

Gallery: Xenatec Maybach Cruiserio Coupe

Xenatec Maybach Cruiserio Coupe front closeXenatec Maybach Cruiserio interiorXenatec Maybach Cruiserio rearXenatec Maybach Cruiserio sillXenatec Maybach Cruiserio door panel

[Source: Xenatec]

Continue reading Xenatec reveals Maybach Cruiserio Coupe ahead of Geneva debut

Xenatec reveals Maybach Cruiserio Coupe ahead of Geneva debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 27 Feb 2011 20:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Zero Motorcycles 2011 lineup reveals dramatic changes [w/video]

Filed under: Performance, Motorcycle, Electric, Off-Road

2011 Zero S pulls a stoppie on a pier

2011 Zero S pulls a stoppie on a pier – Click above to watch video after the jump

Zero Motorcycles has just unveiled its lineup for 2011, and while the model names remain the same, the changes in each are striking. The company seems to have done a good job of listening to customer feedback and have rethought and reengineered their entire range. The bikes that begin shipping in March will not only have upgraded brakes, wheels and other components, they will also all be capable of charging in half the time with an optional J1772 connecter that is now the public charging station standard. And that’s just for starters.

Both the 2011 trail-riding X and its more hardcore brother, the MX, are now available in fully-homolugated street versions with lights, mirrors and different gearing for higher speeds. The MX has been given a beefier Agni motor and is good for 57 miles per hour in full road-going dress. Both still retain the same quick acceleration as their dirt-bound brothers.

The dual-sport and street machines from Zero have their own surprises. Both the DS and S are now quieter and require less maintenance, having traded in their chains for a belt drive set up. As well, their batteries have gained 12.5 per cent more capacity and both have an EPA UDDS range of 43 miles with maximum distance listed as 58 miles. The S has also been lowered two inches to enhance its handling.

Don’t forget to hit the jump to watch each bike’s own (music-free, thank you) video along with three more high-res image galleries and the official press release. If that’s not enough to satisfy your curiosty, there is lots more info over at Zero’s website.

Gallery: 2011 Zero DS

[Source: Zero Motorcycles]

Continue reading Zero Motorcycles 2011 lineup reveals dramatic changes [w/video]

Zero Motorcycles 2011 lineup reveals dramatic changes [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Feb 2011 19:24:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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