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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Oct 18 2011, 8:15 PM

It created a lot of buzz when it was unveiled at Frankfurt back in September, yet the F-125! concept, besides showcasing possible future technologies such as a hydrogen-fuel cell powertrain, exotic construction materials and onboard telemetry, might also point to the direction large, executive cars may actually go if increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions standards remain on the cards.

Further emphasizing the fact that the F-125! might actually hint at future Mercedes S-Class models, Dr. Thomas Weber, head of R&D at Daimler AG (pictured with it above), said, in reference to the F-125! “this research car was built with the perspective of what does a car in 2025 look like?”

That’s far beyond the projection of most modern concept cars, which tend to either be trial balloons for upcoming production models, or hint at vehicles five to 10 years down the road.

However, given that the European Union, in it’s infinite wisdom, seems almost hell bent on outlawing large, gasoline engined cars (proposed smog standards for 2020 include a limit of 95 grams per km (5.4 ounces per mile – contrasting with around 154 g/km today) the F-125! could represent what you might get when walking into a Mercedes showroom and purchasing a S-Class, some two decades from now.

There’s no question, that in order to meet these ultra tough smog standards, electric drive and fuel cells will be part of the equation, though to meet the demands of future S-Class customers, particularly those of range and performance, Mercedes understands that new, unproven technologies will have to be employed.

One of them includes using a new Kevlar like material to store hydrogen in the vehicle’s body cavities instead of a conventional cylindrical tank, improving onboard capacity and help boosting the car’s range.

Yet another is using a lithium-sulphur battery to increase energy density and also boost performance and range. However, at present such technologies are very much in the infant stage, though Weber says that lithium-sulphur batteries might become more prevalent toward the end of the decade, even thought at that point, they’ll probably be relegated for use in small items, like power tools.

However, Tim Urquhart, a London based analyst with the firm IHS Global Insight, says that the F-125! doesn’t as much showcase the future of big cars, but rather how uncertain automakers are about them.

“Sometimes when an OEM is talking about these things, you take it with a pinch of salt,” he said. “In this car [the F-125!], I think they are trying to imagine what a vehicle of this type would be like in the long-term future.”

He also went on to state  that for performance models and long legged GT cars, current  thinking regarding EV technology simply isn’t the solution. “You’re not going to get a lithium-ion powered EV with internal combustion engine power and range. The chemistry won’t allow it.”

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  Sep 28 2011, 12:45 PM

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We crowned it as the number one car in our Top 10 Frankfurt Motor Show list and apparently we weren’t alone, with the 2012 Porsche 911 generating more online buzz than any other vehicle unveiled.

According to a study by UK-based Kantar Media Precis, which tracked all news stories from the show, as well as the two weeks leading up to it, the new 911 generated the most articles, tweets and blog posts. The runner up was the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, while the BMW i3 Concept rounded out the top three. If the trend isn’t obvious, all of the top three spots belonged to German automakers, as did fourth, with the Audi Urban Concept. In fifth spot was Ford with the stunning Evos concept.

Giving a glimpse into what online outlets and readers are interested in, the study should be taken in context, with a German auto show certain to have a higher number of local German media covering their domestic auto industry. As well, it’s no coincidence that German automakers planned years in advance to debut major cars on their home turf.

GALLERY: 2012 Porsche 911

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[Source: AutoNews]

 |  Sep 19 2011, 2:00 PM

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Take care of business on the go. Busy executives will be able to multitask while being driven to their next meeting, thanks to the Bentley Mulsanne Executive Interior Concept.

Premiering last week at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, the Mulsanne Executive Interior is a multimedia connectivity concept that was showcased in the hand-crafted cabin of the Bentley Mulsanne. Boasting an impressive array of bespoke business, comfort and entertainment features, this interior took over 170 hours to create.

If you’re sitting in the back seat, you can take advantage of individual Apple iPad workstations with full internet access that sit on integrated retractable picnic tables. If you want to take a break from work, watch a movie on the large, drop-down LED screen.

Feeling a little thirsty? You’ll find a bespoke bottle cooler in rear center console that comes equipped with an illuminated, double-glazed frosted glass door. In the way of lighting, there are multi-directional reading lights for each rear passenger that can be operated with Apple devices, and mood lighting in the rear center console keeps stowage areas well lit. Even the  docking station and cupholders are illuminated for extra brightness.

As for the stylish interior, the Mulsanne showcases a distinctive Yachting-style veneer, blending light and dark contrasting tones. And for one of its many finishing touches, Bentley commissioned a Tibaldi fountain pen (found in the center armrest) that takes its cues from the Mulsanne’s knurled-metal rotary switchgear.

Although it’s just a concept, it’s amazing to see the next generation of conveniences that will hopefully be available in vehicles in the near future.

GALLERY: Bentley Mulsanne Executive Interior Concept

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See all the cars from the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show here

 |  Sep 17 2011, 12:30 PM

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It’s over for another two years, but in case you missed any of the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, check out our video coverage below. Plus, don’t forget about our even more extensive traditional coverage here. Major debuts for 2011 included the all-new 2012 Porsche 911, Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series, Mazda CX-5 and Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale, not to mention amazing concepts like the Jaguar C-X16 Concept, BMW i3 & i8 Concepts and the Kia GT Concept.

Watch all the videos from Frankfurt after the jump:

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 |  Sep 16 2011, 8:45 AM

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Unveiled for the first time in all its widebody glory at the Frankfurt Auto Show this week, the Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series Coupe is undeniably a car on steroids. Transformed on every level the car is 3-inches wider overall, with flared fenders and a wider track. Plus, it gains an upgraded AMG brake package and suspension setup, light weight wheels, some racing style seats and can even be ordered with an optional aerodynamics package (shown here). On top of all this, the Black Series model comes fitted with the same engine as found in the Mercedes SLS.

GALLERY: Mercedes C63 AMG Black Series Coupe

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Find out more about the car from AutoGuide’s first look at the Frankfurt Auto Show in the video after the jump:

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 |  Sep 15 2011, 10:00 AM

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Unlike American auto shows where where tuners are segregated off into some basement hall, at the Frankfurt Auto Show they’re invited to join in on the action. Sharing hall space with the likes of Land Rover, Lotus and Jaguar, tuners such as Brabus, Mansory and TechArt. Highlights include the new Brabus 800 ‘Rocket’, the TechArt GTStreet RS based on the new GT2RS and of course there’s always the selection of ridiculously modified Mansory machines. Check out all the modified luxury and exotic models in the gallery below.

GALLERY: Tuner Cars of the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show

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Click here to see all of AutoGuide’s 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show Coverage

 |  Sep 15 2011, 9:00 AM

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When it comes to bizarre concept cars, the Tokyo Auto Show might be the traditional winner, but when it comes to production time, often things end up looking like a Camry. Not so for those baguette-loving Frenchmen (and women). From Citroen, to Renault, to Peugeot, their production cars are plenty strange and the concepts that inspire them look straight out of science fiction.

Just back from the Frankfurt Auto Show, we’ve assembled a gallery of snap shots of some of the strange and very strange production and concept cars on display by French automakers there. Enjoy the originality, scratch your head or just have a good chuckle at the pictures below.

GALLERY: French Cars of the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

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 |  Sep 15 2011, 8:00 AM

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After having showcased numerous new concept cars at the past several auto shows, one might expect that Lotus had dried up its reserve of new car news. Not so. At the Frankfurt Auto Show the British manufacturer had on display six new or newish models. Many won’t make their way to North America, but some will – including one particularly exciting sports car.

GALLERY: Lotus Evora GTE

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To find out more, watch the video after the jump:

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 2:08 PM

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BMW has been teasing us with video clips and tidbits of information, now the latest F-10 M5 has been revealed in full production form. And it seems, most of the rumors were true. The car is indeed powered by a twin-turbo charged 4.4-liter V8 engine, rated at 560 horsepower and 506 lb-ft of torque, providing drive to the rear-wheels through a seven-speed double clutch transmission with BMW’s M drivelogic.

In order to help get the substantial amount of power and torque effectively to the monster rear tires, an active differential is standard; just as well really, for this two ton Autobahn burner will reportedly do the 0-62 mph (0-100 km) dash in 4.4 seconds. Although top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph, with the optional M Driver’s Package, up to 190 mph is reportedly possible!

BMW says that the 2012 M5 delivers 9.9 liters per 100 km (23.75 mpg US) in the EU combined fuel economy test cycle, a gain of some 30 percent over the old and much lamented E60 chassis, V10 powered version.

The new M5 will go on sale in Europe in Spring 2012, at press time, there was no word on when North American deliveries would begin nor feature content for stateside models. We’ll keep you posted of any developments.

GALLERY: 2012 BMW M5

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 12:00 PM

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The highlight of Volkswagen‘s press conference at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the Up! was designed as a spiritual successor to the original Beetle. Priced at 9,850 Euros (roughly $13,500) it is intended to be the new “people’s car”.

That is, if the people you’re referring to are numbered four or less. You see, the diminutive new Up! seats four and is intended as form of urban transportation, measuring just 11.6 feet in length (roughly three feet longer than a Smart Fortwo) and 5.4 feet wide.

Two gas engines are offered, both being tiny 1.0-liter 3-cylinder mills. The entry-level one makes just 59-hp, but get an impressive 56-mpg (on the Euro test cycle). The “more powerful” 74-hp model gives up little in terms of fuel economy, managing 55-mpg. VW is also offering a 67-hp natural gas version with 73-mpg!

Already available to order, deliveries will begin in December, with a possible Up! electric car available in 2013.

GALLERY: Volkswagen Up!

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 11:00 AM

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Making their world premiere at the Frankfurt Auto Show, the BMW i3 and i8 may just be concepts, but point to a major push by the German automaker into the realm of electrified vehicles. In fact, BMW is so serious that its working towards an entire range of “i” branded alternative vehicles, sporting both electric and hybrid-electric powertrains.

As a full-electric car, BMW obviously has high hopes for the i3, naming it in line with its much-loved and best-selling 3 Series. Making 170-hp and 184 lb-ft of torque it can hit 60 mph in roughly 8 seconds and on to a top speed of 100 mph, making it functional for more than just city driving. With a unique regeneration system similar to that found on the MINI-E, even just laying off the throttle acts as a brake. Recharging the car’s batteries takes just one hour for an 80 percent charge.

The i3 is also BMW’s fist foray into the world of carbon fiber platforms, using a carbon fiber reinforced plastic chassis to keep weight to a somewhat reasonable 2,755 lbs.

More exciting, both to look at and to drive (we imagine) is the i8. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, it makes use of a modified version of the i3′s electric motor mated to the front wheels, while a turbocharged 3-cylinder engine delivers 223-hp to the rear axle. While that might not sound like a lot for a car that looks this impressive, BMW claims a 0-60 time of roughly 5 seconds.

With an onboard battery pack, the i8 has a zero-emissions range of 22 miles and BMW claims a 78-mpg rating.

Headed to production, look for the biggest changes to happen not with the powertrains, but with the interior and exterior styling. Those looking to park an electric BMW in their driveway won’t have to wait too long either, with the i3 set to go on sale in 2013, while the i8 will arrive a year later.

GALLERY: BMW i3, i8 Concepts

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Watch video of the i3 and i8 concepts from their Frankfurt debut after the jump:

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 10:54 AM

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When I first laid eyes on the Chevrolet Miray concept, I thought: this is what the Batmobile would look like if it was small, silver, and Korean.

A product of GM Korea, the Miray (Korean for “future” first debuted at the Seoul Motor Show earlier this year but made its European debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Built to mark Chevrolet’s 100th anniversary, the Miray re-interprets design cues from throughout the company’s sports car heritage.

The Miray can run in either front or rear-wheel drive. A turbocharged 1.5 liter four-cylinder engine drives the rear wheels while a pair of 15 kWh electric motors can power the front wheels.

A carbon fiber shell surrounds the twin cockpit (for Batman AND Robin) which is inspired by Chevrolet’s iconic sports cars.

GALLERY: Chevrolet Miray Concept

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 10:21 AM

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There’s something really Chinese about the Volvo Concept You but I just can’t quite put my finger on it. And I’m actually Chinese.

That there is an oriental feel shouldn’t be a surprise. The Concept You is an evolution of the Concept Universe revealed earlier this year at Auto Shanghai earlier this year. Volvo sought the input of a number of potential Chinese customers at the Shanghai show, and a lot of those ideas were carried over into the You.

Volvo is, of course, now part of China’s Zheijiang Geely Motor Holdings, and part of the company’s focus is on capitalizing on the emerging luxury car market in the world’s most populous country.
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 |  Sep 14 2011, 10:15 AM

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Audi‘s original pint-size A2 was very much a city car. In fact, it’s been used as the basis for a number of electric vehicle experiments. Now, Ingolstadt has combined both aspects in its latest A2 Concept, unveiled this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Weighing in at just 2,535 lbs (200 hundred less than the BMW i3), it’s fairly light by EV standards and is said to deliver a 124-mile operating range and can accelerate from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 9.3 seconds, and is able to reach an electronically limited top speed of some 93 miles per hour.

In addition, using a 400 volt cycle, it reportedly takes just 1.5 hours to charge (at 230 volts the time is longer, approximately four hours). Still among current EVs, such statistics aren’t bad.

Part of the reason why the A2 Concept is a relative bantam comes down to its multi-material construction; the outer body and chassis is made largely from aluminum, while additional parts are fabricated in Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (CFRP).

Suspension design is utterly conventional, with the typical small car arrangements of front MacPherson struts and a rear I-beam axle; steering and braking are purely electric, operated by drive-by-wire assist.

As it has been largely designed for city and commuter driving, the new A2 Concept boasts a feature that most 9-to-5 road warriors will probably find appealing; a semi-autonomous cruising mode, whereby by touching two large pads, the vehicle takes control of all operating features bar the turn signals and windshield wipers. Simply tapping both pads at once disengages the system, allowing the driver to regain full control.

Much like the original A2, the new concept was designed from the outside to pack the most amount of space within a small, physical form. Consequently, despite its rather tiny dimensions (150-inches in length; 66.6-inches in width and 58.8 inches in height), it still boasts ample seating for four, plus their luggage.

Like many automakers, Audi is pushing the Electric Vehicle idea quite hard. Besides the A2 there were two additional EVs on display at Frankfurt; the much talked about Tandem-seat Urban Concept and the latest in a line of eTrons, this one based on the R8 Supercar, which will make series production.

As for the A2, it’s very likely something similar will find its way into dealer showrooms in a few years time. As to whether a second generation A2 will make it to American or not, that remains to be seen. The previous model was never officially sold here, yet, considering that small cars might finally be catching on stateside it might be foolish to rule out the possibility this time around.

GALLERY: Audi A2 Concept

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 9:30 AM

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Debuting alongside the new Focus ST, Ford‘s Focus ST-R hopes to give buyers of the hot hatch something else to brag about. There is, after all, not better way to instantly give a car some serious credibility than to know it shares its underpinnings with a race car. It does, however, help if the race car is successful.

Built by Ford Racing and powered by the same 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine found in the Focus ST hot hatch, the ST-R also gets a roll cage, upgraded brakes and a full race suspension. Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the car was designed to be used in North America as well and will be eligible to compete in the Grand-Am ST, World Challenge TC and Canadian Touring Car Series.

Unfortunately Ford didn’t announce a factory backed program, instead offering up the car to privateer teams.

GALLERY: Ford Focus ST-R Race Car

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 8:45 AM

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After showing it in concept form almost as many times as the FT-86, Toyota has finally unveiled the production version of its Prius Plug-in Hybrid at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Called “the world’s most sophisticated hybrid electric powertrain” by Toyota Europe boss Didier Leroy, the company is claiming an incredible 112-mpg rating for the car. Believable? Not really, and for good reason. The actual rating provided is 2.1 l/100 km in Europe and while that does translate to 112-mpg, the European test cycle is far more forgiving the in the U.S. Still, that number could reach as high as 70-mpg (or higher) on the U.S. EPA system.

On a full charge the Prius PHEV is capable of 23 km (14 miles) of emissions free driving, after which is operates like a conventional Prius hybrid, eliminating any range anxiety. During this post-emissions free stage, Toyota claims the Prius is still, “much more efficient than the backup powertrains in competitors,” says Leroy – a shot a the Volt (sold as the Opel Ampera in Europe).

On sale in the first half of 2012 in Europe, look for it to arrive in North America about the same time. European pricing is set at 37,000 Euros, or about $11,500 more than a conventional Prius. If that increase holds true, look for the Prius PHEV to be priced between $35,000 and $40,000 in North America.

GALLERY: Toyota Prius PHEV

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 6:03 AM

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At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, Mazda has revealed the production version of its new CX-5 compact crossover. Slated to go on sale in European and North America next year, it represents a new direction, in terms of styling and also engineering for the Hiroshima, Japan based automaker.

Boxier than Mazda’s current line of crossover utilities, the CX-5 features a rather prominent grille, one that faintly recalls the old 808 and RX-3 rotary sedan and coupe from the mid-1970s. Mazda dubs the CX-5′s design language as ‘KODO’ or ‘Soul in Motion,’ said to be inspired by the rapid pace and agility of animals like the Cheetah.

The CX-5 is the first Mazda to feature the company’s new generation ‘SKYACTIV’ engines, a 2.0-liter gas unit rated at 165 metric horsepower (PS) and (in Europe at least) a 2.2-liter diesel engines that sports a two-stage turbocharger, enabling 150 and 175 PS outputs. Rated at 280 lb-ft for the lower output version and 310 lb-ft for the more potent one, both engines can be teamed with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Front or all-wheel drive configurations are also available.

With the standard manual gearbox and front drive, Mazda says target fuel consumption for the CX-5; is 47.2 miles per gallon with the gas motor; some 68.1 mpg for the diesel, while both engines deliver some of the lowest emissions outputs in their class (139 g/km/119 g/km); in fact the diesel motor meets tough Euro 6 smog requirements without the need for direct exhaust injection. (Of note, these fuel economy numbers are for Europe). Stop/Start technology is also employed on Euro spec models to further aid emissions and fuel economy reduction.

With fairly generous passenger and cargo space, plus split folding second row seating with what Mazda describes as easy to use ‘Karakuri,’ technology; the CX-5 is also said to blend practicality with fun to drive characteristics, likely making it one of the sportier SUV offerings in the compact segment.

A North American version is planned for introduction sometime next year as a 2013 model, likely priced around the $20,000 mark, though as previous information has stated, don’t expect either the diesel or stop/start technology to make their way to our shores as soon.

Hit the jump to see our exclusive video of the 2012 Mazda CX-5

GALLERY: 2012 Mazda CX-5

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 4:40 AM

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It comes as little surprise that the reveal of an all-new Porsche 911 at the Frankfurt Auto Show proved to be one of the major highlights of the day, despite literally dozens of world premieres. With a new platform, engines and new technology (though in true Porsche fashion, only a slightly different look), the latest 911 delivers increasingly amazing performance. Plus, it even offers much-improved luxury.

GALLERY: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S

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To find out more about the new 2012 Porsche 911, watch the video after the jump:

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 4:18 AM

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Daimler and German chemical company BASF have teamed up to produce the electric Smart Forvision concept vehicle which premiered at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.  The result is a futuristic-looking Smart car with several innovations designed to maximize energy efficiency from the electric drivetrain.

The Smart Forvision concept uses five new technologies designed to conserve as well as generate energy: transparent organic solar cells, transparent organic light-emitting diodes, new lightweight components, plastic wheels and infrared-reflective materials.

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 3:35 AM

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There might not be much new about Toyota‘s FT-86 II Concept, but with the hype continuing to build around the production model it’s worth another look. After first debuting at the Geneva Auto Show back in March, it has received a new paint job and (we spied) some Brembo brakes!

Get more Toyota FT-86 news and info at fr-sforum.com

GALLERY: Toyota FT-86 II Concept

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To find out more, watch the video after the jump:

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 3:31 AM

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Mercedes-Benz revealed its hydrogen-powered gullwing F 125! luxury car concept, offering a glimpse at what the company’s vehicles will look like in the year 2025.

The F 125! – named for Mercedes-Benz’s 125th anniversary – illustrates the company’s styling direction for the next decade and beyond while also highlighting Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to developing hydrogen-powered technology. Mercedes foresees a range of 1,000 km (621 miles) for the F 125! thanks to the combination of the car’s fuel cell drive system and plug-in technology. Helping to increase the range is a new hydrogen storage unit which integrates the hydrogen tank with the floor assembly. In addition to the hydrogen storage unit, the F 125! uses a 10 kWh lithium-sulfur battery stored behind the rear seats. The battery can provide enough power for a range of 50 km (31 miles).

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 2:37 AM

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As the most successful Lamborghini model ever, the Gallardo is getting a solid send-off, with a new limited edition model titled the LP570-4 Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale. Unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show, it takes its styling and light-weight from the Gallardo Super Trofeo racing cars, the engine remains unchanged at 562-hp while the sub-3,000 lb. machine manages a 0-62 mph time of just 3.4 seconds.

GALLERY: Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale

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For more on the “final edition” Gallardo, watch the video after the jump:

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 |  Sep 13 2011, 6:31 PM

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Alfa Romeo debuted another version of its 4C sports car concept and announced it will be available worldwide, including North America. In 2013.

That’s a year later than we previous thought. We had previously reported Alfa Romeo would offer the 4C in North America in 2012 with other models to follow in 2013.

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 |  Sep 13 2011, 4:57 PM

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With details released just ahead of its world debut, Jaguar‘s C-X16 two-seater concept was already generating a great amount of buzz. Now, with the car officially unveiled, it’s so far more than lived up to expectation.

The first two-seater Jaguar since the XJ-220 super car of the early 1990s, the C-X16 explores a new market for the brand,  one where the company could possibly compete against cars like the Porsche Cayman S and 911.

Power comes from a 380 metric horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 that’s supplemented by a steering activated; Formula 1 inspired Hybrid Boost system that, via an electric motor integrated with the car’s eight-speed automatic transmission adds an additional 95 metric horsepower and 143 lb-ft of torque.

Jaguar claims the C-x16 concept can accelerate from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in just 4.4 seconds, will reach a top speed of 186 mph and thanks to a virtual 50:50 front/rear weight distribution (the Hybrid battery pack  is mounted behind the seats) reportedly delivers superb cornering ability.

During the unveiling, Global Brand Director of Jaguar Cars Ltd; Adrian Hallmark, declared that, “theC-X16 embodies the established Jaguar strengths of sensual design, animal-like agility and inspirational performance and combines these with attributes that set us on a course to create sustainable sports cars of the future.”

Ian Callum, Jaguar’s Director of Design, added; “Jaguars have always been dramatically different. With the C-X16 we have moved the current award-winning design language on to the next generation, creating a car that is the very essence of future Jaguar performance.”

Given the response it generated; if there was one concept car on display at this year’s Frankfurt show that deserves to be put into to production, the C-X16 is most certainly it.

GALLERY: Jaguar C-X16 Concept

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Watch video of the C-X16 Concept after the jump:

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