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Spy Shots: Audi A8 facelift on the way

05/24/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Frankfurt Auto Show, Spy Photos, Sedans/Saloons, Audi, Luxury

Refreshed Audi A8 caught testing under camouflage - front three-quarter view

The coming Audi A8 has already been spotted in camouflage on public roads at earthly elevations, and now our snappers have caught it at elevation in the Alps. The evolution will entail modified head- and taillights, different sculpting for the grille and a new bumper profile said to be more in line with the A6 S Line.

Inside, there might also be adjustments made to input controls like the gesture touchpad and the MMI infotainment system that include behind-the-scenes improvements like new Nvidia Tegra chips, but such revisions are expected to be minor. With the S8 and the TDI just having been launched, don't be surprised if engine outputs also remain the same. The prevailing sneaking suspicion is that we'll see the car unveiled at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show.

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Official: New Peugeot 308 looks to be a big improvement

05/14/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Frankfurt Auto Show, Euro, Hatchbacks, Peugeot

2013 Peugeot 308 - maroon - front three-quarter studio shot

As much as we applaud automakers for flexing their design muscles every now and then, we occasionally find ourselves raising our eyebrows at the "new family design language" that companies smatter across their products. For example: Have a look at pretty much everything Peugeot has put out in recent years. Funky stuff, to be sure, but not always the sort of vehicles that garner adjectives like "pretty" or "sleek." And the old 308 hatchback was perhaps one of the company's worst offenders.

But that changes, right now. Peugeot has taken the wraps off of the new 308 hatch, and from what we can see in these high-res images, it's decidedly better looking. The design follows in the footsteps of the recently launched 2008 crossover, boasting cleaner lines without that huge, gaping maw up front. Instead, there are slimmer, LED-capped headlamps and pronounced foglamps, topped off with a rakish hood. Strong body lines flow from front to back, where there's a clean rump and a thick, windowless C-pillar. Large, split-five-spoke wheels round out all four corners.

Peugeot has not released any technical data about this 308 just yet, only saying that the new generation is a full (and appropriate) 308 pounds lighter than its predecessor, thanks to the company's new modular EMP2 platform. Inside, the reworked interior features premium materials and a rather interesting design, with a 9.7-inch touchscreen interface in the center stack and an instrument panel that's set high on top of the dashboard. Pretty cool.

The 308 makes its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. For now, have a good glance at the much, much better-looking hatch in our gallery above, and be sure to glance below for all of the details in Pug's press blast.

Continue reading New Peugeot 308 looks to be a big improvement

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Spy Shots: 2015 Mazda3 interior spied for the first time

05/08/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Frankfurt Auto Show, Spy Photos, Hatchbacks, Mazda

2015 Mazda3 spy shot

In terms of exterior appearance, not much has changed from the last time we spotted the next-generation Mazda3 out testing. Oh, sure - we can see plenty of details that clearly show the new Kodo design influence (that front end reminds us a whole lot of the sleek new Mazda6), but these latest round of spy shots don't really show us anything we haven't seen before. Oh, wait, yes they do - the interior.

2015 Mazda3 interiorFeast your eyes on the Mazda3's insides, showing a vastly reworked interior that also takes cues from the automaker's most recently refreshed products. We can see that there's a simple, clean center stack with a slim row of heating and cooling functions, and up top there's a large, presumably touchscreen display, with redundant controls found just aft of the shifter.

We expect that the 2015 Mazda3 will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September, packing both petrol and diesel engines. A sedan variant is also in the works, and should debut shortly after the hatchback.

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Report: Range Rover Hybrid heading to Frankfurt

05/08/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Frankfurt Auto Show, Hybrids/Alternative, SUVs, Land Rover, Luxury, Off-Road

2013 Land Rover Range Rover

Two years after the Range_E concept debuted at the Geneva Motor Show, thus previewing the coming Range Rover hybrid drivetrain and beginning the succeeding speculation, a company executive has confirmed the arrival of a hybrid Range Rover and Range Rover Sport later this year. The first time we'll see them is at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but Stuart Frith, chief program engineer for Range Rover Sport told Australian site Car Sales that the vehicles will be in showrooms before the year is over, as well.

As we wrote in our deep dive previewing the 2013 Range Rover, the diesel hybrid system uses a 3.0-liter V6 engine mated to a ZF eight-speed transmission with an integrated electric motor. The 1.7-kWh battery pack sits in the chassis floor, protected by a boron steel cradle, so cabin space is not compromised. The numbers we were given at the time were 333 horsepower, a sub-seven second run to 60 miles per hour in the big Range Rover and 45 imperial miles per gallon. The 2014 Range Rover Sport is expected to post the same horsepower number and battery placement. Neither of these models will be coming to the US.

The Range Rover Sport will also get a traditional diesel, the SDV8 being slotted into the engine bay, bringing 516 pound-feet of torque with it when it goes on sale later this year. Eventually, Frith said it will also get Land Rover's version of the 2.0-liter, 240-hp EcoBoost engine that propels the Evoque and the LR2 - the weight savings of the new model has made the four-cylinder a viable option.

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Report: Kia to green-light GT and Provo for production?

03/12/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Auto Show, Coupes, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Geneva Motor Show, Hatchbacks, Kia

Kia GT Concept - front three-quarter view, live on auto show stand

Kia is looking to inject a bit more performance life into its brand, and according to Auto Express, the company is looking at creating sporty models based on two of its recent concept cars, the GT four-door from the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show (shown above) and the Provo hybrid hatchback that debuted in Geneva last week (inset, right).

"The GT is close to being approved and going into production, but, as with all our cars, they have to be developed on a sound financial footing," Benny Oeyen, Kia Europe's VP of marketing and product planning, told Auto Express. When it debuted, the GT four-door was powered by a turbocharged 3.3-liter V6, reportedly good for 389 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Kia Provo Concept - front three-quarter view at Geneva Motor Show revealThe Provo, on the other hand, could stand as a sort of halo car for the company's B-segment offerings. It would ride on the same front-wheel-drive platform as the Rio compact, though Kia says it's eager to keep the concept's gasoline-electric powertrain intact. "Our brand is currently rational, but there's space for a B-coupe," says Oeyen. Of course, the company would indeed have to look at different naming possibilities for its B-segment coupe, since the week-old Provo is already stirring up some controversy.

Kia has not disclosed any sort of timeline for when the cars may officially get the green light or when they would arrive in production form. From where we sit, some sporty Kias sound good to us, and if anything, the GT and Provo concepts certainly seem like promising building blocks for new products.

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Official: Rolls-Royce Wraith revealed, ready to battle Bentley

03/05/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Frankfurt Auto Show, Coupes, Rolls Royce, Luxury

Bentley may have rounded out the redesign of its Continental line of cars with the new Flying Spur four-door's debut at this week's Geneva Motor Show, but Rolls-Royce has shown up in Switzerland with the Wraith, a GT coupe version of the Ghost sedan that moves the brand one step closer to having an answer for everything that wears a Flying B.

The Wraith's natural combatant would be Bentley's Continental GT Coupe, though as all Rollers come in orders of magnitude more expensive than their already costly competitors from Crewe, the new coupe's €245,000 initial starting price will be $100k USD more than the base price of the most expensive Continental, a GT Speed coupe.

What your CEO bonus money will get you is a 624-bhp V12 engine cranking out 590 pound-feet of torque. The sprint to 60 miles per hour will pass by in 4.4 seconds, with a unique 8-speed ZF automatic transmission snapping off shifts using a new Satellite Aided Transmission technology that works with GPS to pre-select the right gear for not only the road you're on, but the road you'll be coming up on ahead.

Rolls-Royce is also pushing the bounds of technology inside the Wraith relying heavily on voice commands, what it calls an 'on-board valet,' to input instructions and data into the nav and infotainment systems. For those who prefer more tactile inputs, a Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller accepts inputs via a touchpad that offers pinch-to-zoom and character drawing functionality.

The Wraith wouldn't be allowed to wear the winged goddess if it didn't pamper its passengers, and that goal is achieved in typical Rolls fashion with herds of "Phantom-grade" cow-hide, expanses of new Canadel Panellng wood trim, and the first use of the brand's unique Starlight Headliner fiber optic headliner outside the Phantom range.

We'll have live images of the Wraith's debut in Geneva soon, but you can dine on this gallery of fine official images until then and have a servant read you the official press release below.

Continue reading Rolls-Royce Wraith revealed, ready to battle Bentley

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Geneva: Rolls-Royce Wraith revealed, ready to battle Bentley

03/05/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Frankfurt Auto Show, Coupes, Rolls Royce, Luxury

Bentley may have rounded out the redesign of its Continental line of cars with the new Flying Spur four-door's debut at this week's Geneva Motor Show, but Rolls-Royce has shown up in Switzerland with the Wraith, a GT coupe version of the Ghost sedan that moves the brand one step closer to having an answer for everything that wears a Flying B.

The Wraith's natural combatant would be Bentley's Continental GT Coupe, though as all Rollers come in orders of magnitude more expensive than their already costly competitors from Crewe, the new coupe's €245,000 initial starting price will be $100k USD more than the base price of the most expensive Continental, a GT Speed coupe.

What your CEO bonus money will get you is a 624-bhp V12 engine cranking out 590 pound-feet of torque. The sprint to 60 miles per hour will pass by in 4.4 seconds, with a unique 8-speed ZF automatic transmission snapping off shifts using a new Satellite Aided Transmission technology that works with GPS to pre-select the right gear for not only the road you're on, but the road you'll be coming up on ahead.

Rolls-Royce is also pushing the bounds of technology inside the Wraith relying heavily on voice commands, what it calls an 'on-board valet,' to input instructions and data into the nav and infotainment systems. For those who prefer more tactile inputs, a Spirit of Ecstasy Rotary Controller accepts inputs via a touchpad that offers pinch-to-zoom and character drawing functionality.

The Wraith wouldn't be allowed to wear the winged goddess if it didn't pamper its passengers, and that goal is achieved in typical Rolls fashion with herds of "Phantom-grade" cow-hide, expanses of new Canadel Panellng wood trim, and the first use of the brand's unique Starlight Headliner fiber optic headliner outside the Phantom range.

We'll have live images of the Wraith's debut in Geneva soon, but you can dine on this gallery of fine official images until then and have a servant read you the official press release below.

Continue reading Rolls-Royce Wraith revealed, ready to battle Bentley

Read more..

Spy Shots: Range Rover Sport spotted cold-weather testing

02/07/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Frankfurt Auto Show, Spy Photos, SUVs, Land Rover, Luxury

Next Land Rover Range Rover Sport undergoing winter testing - front three-quarter view, camouflaged

With the massively redesigned Range Rover out of the way, Land Rover is now working on getting its next-generation Range Rover Sport ready for the public eye. Wearing far less camouflage than the last time we saw this SUV, we're starting to get a better idea of what the Range Rover's brasher relative will look like.

Up front, it looks like the Sport will be getting a more pointed nose than the new Range Rover, and we can also see that the lower fascia has a sportier appearance and LED running lights similar to the smaller Evoque. Our spy shooters also added that this prototype appears to be wider and lower than the current model.

Since this vehicle was caught testing near the Arctic Circle, Land Rover benefited from a bit of extra camouflage courtesy of a thick layer of snow covering the rear, so we still don't have a good idea about what the back of the new generation will look like. Speaking of the rear end, there is still no confirmation as to whether the Range Rover Sport will be getting a seven-passenger version, so we'll likely have to wait for more information about this new Land Rover until closer to the Frankfurt Motor Show this fall where we expect it to debut.

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Report: Volkswagen to offer Fender edition Beetle

05/13/2012   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Frankfurt Auto Show, Hatchbacks, Volkswagen

Volkswagen worked with Fender, its stereo partner, to put together the concept Beetle shown at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show. The concept had an iPod dock set into amp-like mesh, a tube amp, sunburst-patterened wood trim and a trunk-mounted sub you could plug your guitar into.

Car and Driver reports that a production version is coming, perhaps before the end of the year, but it will be missing several of the components that made the concept that much cooler, like the mesh-decorated dock, the tube amp and the port in the sub. Oh, and the sunburst-pattern trim might not be made of wood.

There's plenty that could remain, though. The black concept featured special red and chrome trim, a leather roof, and sat on a lowered suspension with 19-inch wheels. Those could make it through the production transition, as well as the high-end Fender stereo system, naturally.

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Report: Eterniti Hemera to hit market in April

12/16/2011   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Frankfurt Auto Show, Sports/GTs, China, Crossovers/CUVs, Beijing Motor Show, Luxury, MISC

Even if Eterniti Motors hasn't exactly made its Hemera SUV beautiful, it has kept it on a consistently delivered timeline. The boutique British company showed off the Hemera, it's Cayenne-Turbo-S-based "SUV meets BMW M5" at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and now says the final version will rock up to the Beijing Motor Show in April before going on sale later this year.

According to Autocar, only a tiny amount of those sales, though, will take place outside of China: Eterniti plans a first-year run of 50 Hemeras, with 90 percent of them booked for China. The last five of them will be split between Russia, the Middle East and Europe. They could also be paying a little more than previously reported, with the Frankfurt price tag of £150,000 ($240,000 U.S.) now quoted as "above £150,000."

And that's before the bespoke options are arranged on top of the four climate-controlled seats, wireless iPad integration and drink chiller. The 23-inch lightweight wheels, however, won't be extra - shod in low-profile tires they're said to provide a sporting yet refined ride.

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