Official: Mercedes bringing hot new CLA variants to Frankfurt

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Sedan, Performance, Mercedes-Benz, Racing

Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Racing Series

On any given weekend, you can expect to see the Three-Pointed Star racing somewhere. It could be in Formula One, DTM, V8 Supercars or any of the myriad sportscar racing series where customer teams compete in the SLS AMG GT3. But now it looks like Mercedes-Benz is gearing up to add one more.

This time, it’s based on one of its newest and smallest models: the CLA-Class. The concept racecar you see here, revealed on AMG’s Facebook page, is based on the CLA45 AMG but features such motorsports-minded upgrades as a competition-spec aero kit, rolling stock, carbon-fiber body panels and stripped-out interior. You can bet its oily bits have been tinkered with as well, but Mercedes is staying mum on the details, as the drivetrain will have to be adapted to whatever regulations with which it would need to comply.

Mercedes calls it the CLA45 AMG Racing Series, suggesting the car could be used as the basis for a spec series all its own. We hope to find out more next week when the car is unveiled in the flesh at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but in the meantime, you can scope out the images in the gallery above.

At the same time, Mercedes also revealed on Facebook its CLA250 Sport, a pseudo-performance version for the road that will likely slot in below the CLA45 AMG and may or may not be coming to the US.

Mercedes bringing hot new CLA variants to Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 10:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Mercedes bringing hot new CLA variants to Frankfurt

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Sedan, Performance, Mercedes-Benz, Racing

Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG Racing Series

On any given weekend, you can expect to see the Three-Pointed Star racing somewhere. It could be in Formula One, DTM, V8 Supercars or any of the myriad sportscar racing series where customer teams compete in the SLS AMG GT3. But now it looks like Mercedes-Benz is gearing up to add one more.

This time, it’s based on one of its newest and smallest models: the CLA-Class. The concept racecar you see here, revealed on AMG’s Facebook page, is based on the CLA45 AMG but features such motorsports-minded upgrades as a competition-spec aero kit, rolling stock, carbon-fiber body panels and stripped-out interior. You can bet its oily bits have been tinkered with as well, but Mercedes is staying mum on the details, as the drivetrain will have to be adapted to whatever regulations with which it would need to comply.

Mercedes calls it the CLA45 AMG Racing Series, suggesting the car could be used as the basis for a spec series all its own. We hope to find out more next week when the car is unveiled in the flesh at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but in the meantime, you can scope out the images in the gallery above.

At the same time, Mercedes also revealed on Facebook its CLA250 Sport, a pseudo-performance version for the road that will likely slot in below the CLA45 AMG and may or may not be coming to the US.

Mercedes bringing hot new CLA variants to Frankfurt originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Sep 2013 10:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Lotus to move immediately forward with new variants rather than new models

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Performance, Lotus, Earnings/Financials, UK

It took 1.5 years, but a DRB-Hicom managing director told Malaysia’s Business Times that the company has “cleaned up” the situation at Lotus from its finances to its marketing and image. The clean-up job we’re most interested in, the product portfolio, will be demonstrated by financial investment in a three-year program of “variants based on existing products – variants with improved technology, improved performance.”

You’ll notice mention of the word “variants” three times but no mention of the phrase “new models.” We knew that with the death of the five-new-model turnaround plan dreamed up by ex-Lotus CEO Dany Bahar DRB-Hicom said there’d only be three distinct lines – which is the current number – but during Lotus’ trouble-plagued 2012 it sold just 80 cars all year, and for a tense spell it really wasn’t clear if DRB-Hicom would commit to even keeping Lotus alive, much less investing in it.

It’s not clear how much is being put into in the three-year program of offshoot models like the 345-horsepower Exige S Roadster (pictured), but it might be fair to say this is where Lotus’ revival really begins, and does so with baby steps. Autocar reports that DRB-Hicom has already put 100 million pounds into the English carmaker, and as its issues were worked through Lotus has sold almost as many cars in the first five months of this year as it did all of last. That has not only convinced the Malaysian minders to throw more money its way, but the UK’s business secretary has also approved a 10-million-pound investment into Lotus through the Regional Growth Facility program.

However, with the Evora and Elise the only other models to earn the “Definites” tag this could put us another three years away from the return of the Esprit. Last we heard it was ready save for a management sign-off, but it goes into reverse – again – to an underground garage called “nebulosity.”

Lotus to move immediately forward with new variants rather than new models originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 22 Jul 2013 16:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: Alfa Romeo 4C to spawn Abarth, Maserati variants?

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Fiat

Alfa Romeo 4C Concept

Alfa Romeo 4C Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

If Alfa Romeo wanted to get people talking with the debut of its 4C concept in Geneva, they succeeded. The Internet is abuzz with rumors of its production potential. There have already been reports that the Alfa will spearhead the marque’s full-fledged return to North America, to be followed by both Spider and Abarth versions. Now, word is that Maserati could get a derivative, too.

If the reports prove accurate and the spinoffs come to fruition, that would mean three brands within the Fiat group will get their own versions of the lightweight, mid-engined, four-cylinder sports car. And that’s before any of the Chrysler brands get a crack at it, because a Dodge version to pick up where the Circuit concept left off could be most tempting. The Maserati version would naturally be positioned and appointed differently from the Alfa or Abarth models. The question is whether the market can bear more than one Elise rival from Fiat/Chrysler, let alone multiples.

Alfa Romeo 4C to spawn Abarth, Maserati variants? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 28 May 2011 11:08:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Mercedes-Benz planning three additional A-Class variants

Filed under: Convertible, Europe, Hatchback, Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz A-Class sketch

Mercedes-Benz has already announced big plans for its compact A-Class and B-Class vehicles. The platform that underpins these small cars will also form the base of a compact SUV and a four-door coupe, and according to a report from Automotive News’ European bureau, three more A-Class variants could be in the works.

During a phone interview with AN, Mercedes-Benz marketing chief Joachim Schmidt revealed that the luxury carmaker is mulling shooting brake, convertible and three-door versions of the next-gen A-Class. Such a move would no-doubt aid MB in its quest to win buyers in the budding luxury compact segment. At the same time, a comprehensive lineup of A- and B-Class variants could also help the German automaker reach ever-tightening European CO2 standards.

Schmidt stresses that the automaker hasn’t made any final decisions regarding these potential A-Class variants. The first B-Class is scheduled to be released to the European market by the end of 2011.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

Report: Mercedes-Benz planning three additional A-Class variants originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 15 Mar 2011 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: 2012 Honda Civic coming in April, all variants to launch in quick succession

Filed under: Coupe, Hybrid, Sedan, Honda

Honda Civic Si coupe concept

Honda Civic Si coupe concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

A Civic for everyone. That was Soichiro Honda’s motto when rolling out the original Civic, and it’s one to which his company intends to stick with the launch of the next-generation model. When the all-new 2012 Civic is launched in April, Honda will roll out a whole variety of body and propulsion configurations within mere weeks of each other, instead of letting months pass between the debut of one model to the next.

Among those variants, we can expect both a sedan and a coupe, with several conventional gasoline engines on offer – including natural gas and hybrid versions – as well as the sporty Civic Si.

The new Civic, previewed recently at the Detroit Auto Show, was slated to debut in 2009. But when the global economy started going south, Honda sent the design back to the drawing board for a nearly complete overhaul before it ever saw the light of day. The result is expected to be much roomier than the current model, though the exterior design hasn’t changed all that much.

Gallery: 2012 Honda Civic Coupe

2012 Honda Civic Coupe2012 Honda Civic Coupe2012 Honda Civic Coupe2012 Honda Civic Coupe2012 Honda Civic Coupe

Gallery: 2012 Honda Civic Sedan

2012 Honda Civic Sedan2012 Honda Civic Sedan2012 Honda Civic Sedan2012 Honda Civic Sedan2012 Honda Civic Sedan

[Source: AutoWeek]

Report: 2012 Honda Civic coming in April, all variants to launch in quick succession originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 19 Jan 2011 13:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lotus accidentally confirms Evora automatic and S variants for Paris through email snafu

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Paris Motor Show, Lotus

2010 Lotus Evora – Click above for high-res image gallery

Lotus seems to have quite a hit on its hands in the form of the Evora. We were quite taken with it ourselves when given the chance to put the car through its paces in Southern California, and we’ve yet to hear a nasty word uttered in its general direction. But that doesn’t mean Lotus can’t find a way to improve the breed yet further.

Apparently, a couple of those improvements are headed to the Paris Motor Show later this year. Buried within the automaker’s stand will be both a hotted-up S version of the Evora and one bestowed with an automatic transmission. How do we know? Well, an errant email recently went out to everyone on Lotus’ media list (ourselves included) that promised the two machines along with the other “new car(s) not yet announced.”

As if the thought of a Lotus Evora S (forced induction?) and an automatic for the clutch averse among you wasn’t enough, it seems the British specialists have plenty more up their well-tailored sleeves. There’s been plenty of postulation regarding what else we may see – most notably the rumored return of the Esprit – but we’re content to just take a wait-and-see attitude on this one. Paris just can’t come soon enough.

Gallery: First Drive: 2010 Lotus Evora

Photos by Michael Harley / Copyright (C)2010 AOL

[Source: Lotus via iCars Singapore]

Lotus accidentally confirms Evora automatic and S variants for Paris through email snafu originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 Aug 2010 13:34:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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