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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.
 |  Mar 06 2012, 3:45 PM

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Jaguar has just unveiled their XF Sportbrake wagon at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, but Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralph Speth is already speaking about the future of the British automaker.

According to the CEO, the rumors of a new, baby Jaguar will come to an end at the upcoming 2012 New York International Auto Show when a formal announcement will be made. In addition, Speth confirmed that the Jaguar C-X75 project is still on the plate. To debunk some rumors, Speth confirmed that the new coupe will not be called the “XE”, but wouldn’t reveal to Motor Trend what the name will be.

In the same interview, Speth elaborated that the C-X75 is still under development, but since it is a high-end, low-volume vehicle, it won’t be ready anytime soon. The C-X75 is expected to pack an all-new, high-tech drivetrain. The market will also see at least four more new products from Jaguar in the near future in addition to the new coupe and XF Sportbrake. The British automaker hinted at the Geneva Motor Show that they’ll be more variant models similar to the Sportbrake than actual all-new vehicles.

Lastly, Jaguar elaborated on its engine development hoping to build a new, dedicated factory just for small powerplants. Both Jaguar and Land Rover hope to bring engine production in-house rather than having to purchase engines from other automakers such as Ford. It appears that the British automakers are working on their own four- and six-cylinder engines in both gas and diesel versions. And of course, like all other automakers are right now, Jaguar will tap into hybrid powertrains, it’s just unsure how big of a role hybrids will play in Jaguar’s lineup.

GALLERY: Jaguar XF Sportbrake

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[Source: Motor Trend]

 |  Mar 06 2012, 2:13 PM

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And with talk of adding a new edition to the Nissan lineup of crossovers in Europe, namely the Juke, Murano and Qashqai, that means a production version of the Hi-Cross will pick up where the boxy X-Trail left off.

As for the US, well Nissan dealers said they didn’t want the X-Trail when it was first introduced in 2005, but given how fast things change in the auto business, what might have seemed like a good idea then, probably isn’t now or in the near future, so such a vehicle might have a fighting chance this time around.

Nissan says the Hi-Cross showcases the future direction of corporate vehicle design, though it does have an aura of Infiniti FX about it, thanks to its coke bottle contours. Although a compact, the Hi-Cross boasts three-row seating, giving it considerable interior flexibility as well as great potential sales appeal.

Utilizing a development of Nissan’s new Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) drivetrain, the Hi-CROSS combines a 2.0-liter gas four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and compact lithium ion battery system. The result is said to provide the performance of a 2.5-liter motor with the fuel economy and emissions of a much smaller engine.

As for the transmission, well it probably isn’t surprising that a version of Nissan’s XTRONIC CVT is employed, though smaller pulleys and a new belt have been incorporated to improve efficiency, while a “one motor, two clutch” system allows the gasoline engine to be engaged and uncoupled at will.

Although Nissan’s Deputy Division General Manager of Product Strategy François Bancon, says the Hi-CROSS is “purely a concept car, exploring potential ideas for the future,” it does seem rather advanced for such a machine, plus the segment it’s aimed at is currently one of the most lucrative of all, which begs the question; could a production model be announced in New York or Paris? Watch this space.

GALLERY: Nissan Hi-Cross Concept

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 11:11 AM

Mercedes-Benz revealed its refreshed 2013 A Class lineup today at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show to an enthusiastic mob of gawkers and dignitaries.

The scene was something you might normally expect around an outrageous car like the Lamborghini Aventador J, but it wasn’t. Instead, the Euro folk were jazzed about Mercedes’ new line of small cars that have yet to make it stateside despite repeated promises by the brand to do so.

Those fortunate enough to live in a part of the world where these baby-Benzes cruise the streets can look forward to choosing between a 1.6- and 1.8-liter gasoline engines ranging from 107 to 154 horsepower and a diesel option.

The new A Class is also 6.3 inches lower than the previous model and is available in an AMG-engineered 250 Sport package.

A Class buyers will also probably appreciate the significant advances in technology integration, including native iPhone support that offers Siri connectivity (Apple’s voice command software).

Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche said while addressing the crowd that the latest integration makes using your iPhone’s features safer while driving by offering use of the device via the car’s controls and a bigger screen.

Safety doesn’t stop there — the car can also have collision prevention and Mercedes’ “pre-safe” system.

While there still isn’t word on the fabled U.S. release, Zetsche said pricing wouldn’t increase on the new model.

Watch our A-Class first look video below.

GALLERY: 2013 Mercedes-Benz A Class

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GALLERY: 2013 Mercedes-Benz A Class

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 10:34 AM

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M Division BMWs make their mark on the performance segment — hands down, but often at the expense of style, some would argue.

Arguments be damned, BMW is doing its best to alleviate that concern with the 2013 M6 coupe, unveiled today at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show.

The long-bodied M coupe offers a sleek, flat design where an M3 or M5 would feel considerably more stout. Despite that sleek styling, the M6 coupe is still an agressive performance machine capable of running from 0 to 100 kmh (62 mph) in 4.2 seconds.

It achieves that time with the same high-revving 4.4-liter V8 as the M5, but with 20 extra horsepower for a total 560 hp.

Despite its considerable grunt, the car is actually supposed to be 30 percent more fuel efficient than its predecessor thanks to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, though those numbers are based on the European test cycle which is often unreliable.

Perhaps the most attractive feature is the optional 20-inch M wheels that come with the optional M carbon ceramic brakes and massive 15.6-inch rotors (larger than some cars wheels).

Governing those wheels, an active differential constantly adjusts the power distribution between the rear wheels to ensure maximum power delivery.

Check out AutoGuide’s first look video of the BMW M6 below.

GALLERY: 2013 BMW M6 coupe

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GALLERY: 2013 BMW M6 Coupe

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 9:54 AM

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The 2013 BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe made its public debut today at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

The four-door coupe is a first for the brand with a unique shape that features unusually flat proportions for a sedan, hence the “coupe” name.

Under the hood, BMW offers a range of powerful engine options starting with a twin-turbo inline six that makes 320 hp, an inline six-cylinder diesel engine that makes 313 hp and a range-topping, twin-turbo 450-hp V8.

All versions come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission that the company says reduces fuel consumption across the board. Engine start / stop technology also helps reduce consumption. For the most environmentally-friendly driving experience (which is a relative term with any of these engines) drivers can press the “ECO PRO” button to send the 6-Series Gran Coupe into its most efficient mode.

There’s plenty of storage space in the trunk, especially if the rear seats are folded down — more than 16 cubic feet with them up and more than 44.5 cubic feet with the rear seats sitting flat.

Aside from storage space, the interior gets typical BMW luxury treatment with dual-zone automatic air conditioning, a leather interior and a “professional” radio all come standard.

Interested parties can expect the product launch in June of this year with an M Sport available simultaneously.

GALLERY: 2013 BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe

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GALLERY: 2013 BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 9:41 AM

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When you’ve got a concept car and one that makes it’s world premiere at a European motor show, it’s sometimes difficult to gauge whether or not, A, a production version will materialize and B, if it will make it to other markets, like the US.

In North America, Nissan recently revamped the Versa sedan for 2012 into a car that, let’s be serious, is built to a price and considered by many to be a retrograde step compared with its predecessor. The Versa hatchback, however, continues on totally unchanged, leaving many to question what comes next for the 5-door.

And although there’s been no official word so far, during informal discussions with Nissan insiders, AutoGuide has learned that the idea of a subcompact hatchback for our market, a car that’s perhaps sportier and better equipped than the Versa sedan, is very much on the table. The question remains however, exactly what form it will take.

Nissan’s Invitation Concept, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show today could lead to that car, though as Andy Palmer, Nissan Executive Vice President stated, the Invitation was conceived very much with Europe in mind and will be built at the automaker’s facility in Sunderland, UK.

Nissan is in a somewhat unique position among Japanese automakers in Europe, as it is currently the most popular Asian brand and heavily invested in the region, with assembly plants and R&D facilities in Britain, Spain and Russia. The Invitation sports an interior that was designed to be “comfortable and practical,” featuring the first application of an Around View Monitoring System in a B-segment car, plus Nissan’s Safety Shield, to ensure the driver has a complete peripheral vision of what’s going on around the vehicle.

As for powertrains, not much information is being released at the moment, Nissan simply stating that the production version of the Invitation, which will be launched in 2013, will sport “class-leading levels of fuel efficiency and emissions.” Figure small displacement direct-injection gasoline and diesel engines to make the cut, along with a manual gearbox and CVT. Given Nissan’s current push toward zero emissions, don’t rule out the possibility of a Hybrid or even EV variant down the road either.

GALLERY: Nissan Invitation Concept

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Gallery: Nissan Invitation Concept

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 9:27 AM

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You don’t get much more extreme than a completely open top Lamborghini Aventador. And as far as cars go you don’t get much more expensive than $2.1 million.

Those are just a few of the features of the new Aventador J, Lambo’s newest and rarest supercar. Unveiled today at the Geneva Motor Show, get all the details in AutoGuide’s first look video below.

GALLERY: Lamborghini Aventador J

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 8:30 AM

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After seeing spy photos and leaked photos of the new Jaguar XF Sportbrake over the last few months, the real deal has finally been unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.

As expected, the station wagon variant of the Jaguar XF is as beautiful in the flesh as it is in photos. In fact, the XF Sportbrake looks surprisingly sporty with its aggressive front-end design while the traditional wagon rear is rather classy.

The stretched variant of the XF sedan is a mere 5-mm longer than the sedan, but also weighs 150 lbs less. But don’t let the overall length fool you, there’s almost two inches more of rear seat headroom thanks to all new sheetmetal from the B-pillar back.

Unfortunately this sporty and versatile XF wagon won’t be making its way to America, since it’s believed that Americans are very anti-wagon. The rear-wheel drive wagon will be available in Europe with Jaguar’s 2.2L four-cylinder, turbo-diesel powerplant and a pair of 3.0L twin-turbo, six-cylinder engine variants with either 237-hp or 271-hp. All engine choices will be mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

After seeing the XF Sportbrake on the show floor at Geneva, we’re saddened by the fact that it won’t make its way to America. But hopefully this could help persuade the market to be more acceptable toward wagon models in the future.

See the rest of our 2012 Geneva Motor Show coverage here.

GALLERY: Jaguar XF Sportbrake

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GALLERY: Jaguar XF Sportbrake

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 7:39 AM

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Show stopping. At a glamorous event like the Geneva Motor Show, it often takes a lot to really stand apart from the herd, yet in Ferrari’s case, the F12 Berlinetta does just that. With the stand mobbed by members of the press, Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo, officially announced the introduction of the latest in a long line of V12 engined hyper cars. 

The F12 Berlinetta replaces the 599 Fiorano and while it shares the same basic format, it’s significantly different, being smaller and lighter, with an all-new lightweight alloy space frame chassis and suspension. The V12, which di Montezemolo described as for “a new generation”, is an evolution of that first seen in the FF, but has been tuned to produce more power  - a walloping 730 hp, while helping the F12 deliver up to 30 percent better fuel economy.

With a 46/54 front/rear weight distribution, a lower center of gravity than the 599, plus what Ferrari calls AeroBridge technology (which directs air from the hood down the sides of the car to increase downforce), fully integrated stability and traction control, plus Active Brake Cooling (which adjusts the flow of air to the brakes depending on temperature), the F12, despite its somewhat conservative styling (which is already generating polarizing views), is a worthy successor to the 599 and a car that can trace its bloodline directly back to the much revered 275 and 365 GTB/4 models.

Watch our Ferrari F12 Berlinetta first look video below.

GALLERY: Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

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GALLERY: Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 7:02 AM

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The Audi TT RS plus made its public debut today at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, giving us our first look at the 360-hp sport coupe.

Offered with a 6-speed manual mated to a 2.5-liter TFSI inline four that also makes 343 lb-ft of torque, the TT RS plus takes Audi’s small sports car to the next level. Customers may also choose to power the wheels via a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic.

Paired with the automatic, the car runs from 0-100 kmh (62 mph) in 4.1 seconds as a coupe or 4.2 and a convertible, though stick-shift enthusiasts will lose 0.2 seconds in that race.

Drivers choosing to continue accelerating will find a top speed of 174 mph.

Even with Quattro all-wheel drive, the car weighs in at an impressively light 3,196 lbs with the manual transmission as a coupe. The convertible packs on a few more pounds to tip the scales at just under 3,334 lbs.

Finally, drivers can look forward to black and red 19-inch wheels and a large rear spoiler to complete the extra-sporty look.

It’s not clear if the especially-spicy little Audi will make it across the ocean to U.S. buyers, but even if it does it won’t be soon.

GALLERY: 2013 Audi TT RS Plus

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GALLERY: 2013 Audi TT RS Plus

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 6:26 AM

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Volkswagen debuted its GTI Cabriolet today at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, giving the world its first look at the transformed car.

Little is really different with the convertible GTI, aside from the market appeal it will garner with the topless shenanigans.

It’s still powered by the same 2.0-liter turbo four cylinder that makes 210 hp and 206 lb-ft of torque, though with a 0.4-second slower 0-60 at 7.3 seconds.

During the presentation the company highlighted the honeycomb grille and other changes made to the most recent GTI, giving it more of an aggressive look.

A sharply-defined side line runs from the hood all the way to the tail lights, complimenting the car’s shape where the top folds away.

The car comes with 17-inch aluminum wheels standard, though 18-inch wheels as shown above are an option.

Really, the only difference between the popular hot-hatch and the new cabrio is just that — the open-air cruising capability. If nothing else it will serve to broaden appeal for the GTI and help Volkswagen move closer to its growth goals.

GALLERY: 2013 Volkswagen GTI Cabriolet

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GALLERY: 2013 Volkswagen GTI Cabriolet

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 6:02 AM

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With the recent launch of the Prius c sub-compact hybrid in North America and its European counterpart, the Yaris Hybrid, Toyota is looking at bringing its gasoline-electric technology further down-market.

Looking like a tiny minivan that’s fading off in the distance, the FT-Bh (unveiled today at the Geneva Motor Show) takes Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive to the city car segment popular in Europe and Japan. No details have been released about the powertrain but Toyota has said that with the car’s ultra low 0.235 coefficient of drag it expects a 2.1 l/100 km fuel economy rating – which roughly translates to 112 mpg. Of note, Toyota is also considering a possible plug-in hybrid version with a nearly unbelievable 0.8 l/100 km rating or… wait for it… 294 mpg.

Perhaps most importantly, says Toyota, the FT-Bh is not an ultra high-tech or ultra pricey model and doesn’t use expensive composites. The idea behind the car is to make an ultra fuel efficient four-seater vehicle that will still be affordable.

A concept for now, even if Toyota does push ahead to move the FT-Bh into production, don’t expect to see it on the roads for several years.

GALLERY: Toyota FT-Bh

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 5:53 AM

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Hyundai‘s new i-oniq concept was officially unvieled today at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, shedding light on the brand’s future technology inside and out.

The i-oniq is best thought of as a canvas for Hyundai to show its future technologies off rather than a car with a chance of ever being built. At just over 14.4 feet long, the eye-catching scissor-door concept is a range-extended EV that can travel almost 75 miles purely on electric charge. Supplementally, a 1.0-liter gasoline engine is able to kick in some extra power and keep the car moving should the battery deplete.

Polished aluminum and wood accent the interior which serves as a showcase for the brand’s bold touch screen use and placement. The design features a floating instrument cluster and a motion-control touch screen mounted in the steering wheel.

The car also takes an unusual approach to making the rear seats accessible: the back support portion of the driver and passenger seats rotate inward instead of folding down.

“Two arched curves are the key theme behind i-oniq, creating a strong and playful contrast between sharp character lines and soft but muscular features.  The profile lines of the front fender run from front to back, emphasising i-oniq’s coupé appearance, while offering maximum visibility to occupants,”  Thomas Bürkle, chief designer at the Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Centre said.

GALLERY: Hyundai i-oniq Concept

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GALLERY: Hyundai i-oniq Concept

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 5:25 AM

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Audi unveiled the 2013 A3 hatchback at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show today, showcasing a lighter and more efficient version of the company’s small three-door car, despite remaining almost exactly the same size.

The car will be available with two TFSI engines or a turbo diesel. All three engines were newly developed for the car and bundle efficiency technologies including direct injection, thermal management and fuel shutoff to discourage fuel thirst.

The TFSI engines offer customers the choice between a more conservative 122-hp 1.4-liter engine or sportier 180-hp 1.8-liter engine. TDI fans sit squarely in the middle in term of power, getting 150 hp from a 2.0-liter turbo diesel.

Efficiency is further helped by a chassis that loses more than 176 lbs as well as a covered underbody and engine compartment that reduce drag.

Customers will also enjoy the use of Audi connect, the company’s modular infotainment system which makes its debut in the new A3.

Aside from entertainment, the A3 comes with safety technology features like adaptive cruise control, Audi side assist which monitors traffic behind the vehicle and active lane assist.

GALLERY: 2013 Audi A3

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 5:22 AM

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This year marks the fifth time that Infiniti has attended the Geneva Motor Show. Since then a lot of changes have been happening in the auto industry, not only in Europe but across the globe.

As it stretches its arms out further into new markets, Infiniti is also looking towards the future and from this year’s press conference in Geneva, that might just include a low emissions, mid-engined super sports car.

The stunning Emerg-E concept is Infiniti’s first ever exploration into the idea of a such a vehicle and incorporates a mid-mounted driveline with dual electric motors that enabled it to accelerate from 0-60 mph in around four seconds and from 0-130 mph in around 30. Infiniti says the EMERG-E can travel on pure electric power for a distance of up to 30 miles, after which a range extending, three-cylinder gasoline engine kicks in.

Measuring some 175 inches from nose to tail, the Emerg-E is currently just a concept. That said, two running vehicles are under construction at the Nissan corporate facility in Sunderland, UK, in an effort to provide a more hands-on experience of mid-engined sporty motoring.

All said, it’s shaping up to be nearly a direct rival to the new Acura NSX concept – itself a mid-engined hybrid.

Watch our Infiniti Emerg-E first look video below.

GALLERY: Infiniti Emerg-E

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GALLERY: Infiniti Emerg-E

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 5:20 AM

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With Tata behind the wheel, Land Rover appears to have a new lease on life, revamping existing products and venturing into markets where it hasn’t gone before.

The Range Rover Evoque, has proved quite the smash hit since its debut in 2010 and has brought new customers into the fold, people who before, probably wouldn’t have considered a Land Rover product. In fact, according to global brand chief John Edwards, some 80 percent of Evoque customers are buyers new to the marque.

So, speaking of niches, where do you go from here? Well, with three and five-door Evoque models currently available, perhaps the next logical step is a convertible. After all, Nissan markets a convertible Murano (the CrossCabriolet) in the US so why not Range Rover?

At present the convertible Evoque is merely a concept, a design study to gauge public response, though the way the automotive industry is these days, with more and more niche products appearing, especially in luxury segments, don’t be surprised if you see it showing up on Rodeo Drive or in South Beach a few years from now.

GALLERY: Range Rover Evoque Convertible Concept

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 3:54 AM

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America aside, Bentley’s new SUV concept is an ostentatious look at a future SUV from the prestigious British brand targeted specifically at “emerging markets.”

There’s an increasing demand for extra pricey SUVs from countries like China, Brazil and India, as well as some traditional SUV hot spots like Russia and the Middle East. That said, considering the outrageous success of the Porsche Cayenne, calling the EXP a concept is all but a formality.

With a 4+1 seating arrangement and plenty of stunning quilted leather, the EXP is certain to provide tremendous luxury even in countries where the roads aren’t the best. It will, however, take some serious Bentley comfort engineering to maintain a soft ride on those massive 23-inch wheels.

Powered by the brand’s impressive twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12 engine, Bentley says it could also use a plug-in hybrid engine mated to the new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8.

Watch our EXP 9 F first look video below.

GALLERY: Bentley EXP 9 F SUV Concept

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 |  Mar 06 2012, 1:41 AM

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Toyota may have a history in sports cars, but it’s not exactly the most impressive resume. So when the GT 86 (Scion FR-S) was announced and Toyota started explaining its heritage it was hard not to be a bit skeptical.

Seeing the GT 86 on stage next to the rear-drive hard-top 2000 GT, however, and there’s more than just a passing resemblance between the two. For the official debut of the GT 86 in Europe, Toyota has created an impressive display-within-a-display, with its new high profile sports car greeting guests to the Geneva Motor Show at one of the main entrances.

Toyota, for the record, also says inspiration for the GT 86 comes from the original AE 86, as well as the 2000GT’s predecessor, the Sports 800.

Check out all the angles below and see AutoGuide’s complete 2012 Geneva Motor Show coverage here.

GALLERY: Toyota GT 86 and 2000 GT

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Read AutoGuide’s Scion FR-S Review here

 |  Mar 05 2012, 8:31 PM

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Earlier today, we reported that Brabus introduced an all new Bullitt C-Class coupe. Packing 800-hp from a heavily retuned  V12, the Brabus Bullitt eclipses the output of the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series by nearly 300-hp.

Having made its name with “big-power” creations, Brabus is known to go “tiny-tunes” with the Smart Fortwo as well. Not only has Brabus released details of an electric Brabus Fortwo EV for the Geneva Show, but the German tuner has also announced another project based on the Fortwo Cabrio, known as the Ultimate 120. The Ultimate 120 is pretty straightforward, offering only 120 units, just as its name suggest. What’s more, its name is also derived from the round output of its 3-cylinder turbo engine, 120 PS (118 hp) at 6,000 rpm and 118 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,250 to 3,750 rpm.

Other hardware upgrades include a stainless-steel sport exhaust, height-adjustable coil over suspension, a high-performance brake system with cross-drilled discs and four-piston calipers at the front, new 18-inch wheels fitted with high performance tires.

In terms of its exterior, the Ultimate 120 receives a wide-body kit that includes a front spoiler, side sills, a rear apron, and wider fenders.

Brabus chose black mastik leather with red contrast stitching for its interior. In addition, the Ultimate 120 also gets Recaro Sportster seats, a Brabus steering wheel, body colored agent trims, stainless steel pedals and aluminum shifter and hand-brake lever.

With so much to offer, the limited production Ultimate 120 isn’t cheap. Prices are set at a steep 45,900 euros, or $61,600 USD. At that pricetag, even the Aston Martin Cygnet starts to look like a bargain.

GALLERY: Brabus Ultimate 120

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 |  Mar 05 2012, 6:16 PM

The Bentley Continental GTC V8 Convertible will make its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show tomorrow, and will be a drop top version of the GTC V8 we saw in Detroit two months ago.

The GTC is powered by a 4.0L twin turbocharged V8 which makes 500 hp and 487 lb. ft. of torque. Its combined with an eight speed automatic transmission, helping the GTC make the sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds. The GTC is rated at 25.9 mpg combined.

The Continental GTC will have new interior appointments as well, such as a new Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus veneer unique to the V8 models, four hide colors for the leather interior, three hood color options and a unique two-tone leather color split.

This V8 engine fulfills Bentley’s environmental commitments with a host of green engine initiatives. The V8 features variable displacement, low friction bearings, high-pressure direct injection, thermal management, and turbo charging.

Watch for more info on the Continental GTC on AutoGuide.com live from the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

GALLERY: Bentley Continental GTC V8

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 |  Mar 05 2012, 4:55 PM

Lexus leaked images of its updated RX 450h CUV ahead of the Geneva Auto Show this year, but we were there beforehand to catch some early photos.

Exact details on the new RX line aren’t clear yet, but we know from looking at the new crossover that, as is the same with other updated Lexus vehicles, it will sport the face-lifted front end first shown during the company’s first Superbowl Ad. That updated grille borrows heavily from the radically different front fascia originally seen in the LF-LC concept.

Opposing Lexus “L’s” form the new pinched and refreshed front-end look that other cars including the GS sedan have adopted.

Otherwise, the CUV still looks very much like its predecessor with the same body shape and recognizable styling that set it apart as a Lexus from other Japanese car-based platforms like the Acura MDX.

We’ll bring you more details with the official release, for now browse our gallery.

GALLERY: 2013 Lexus RX 450h

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 |  Mar 05 2012, 1:17 PM

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As these words are typed, the John Cooper Works (JCW) MINI Countryman has yet to be officially unveiled, though in an effort to bring you bang up-to-date, AutoGuide managed to capture these actual pictures (not press images) of it during set up day at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

MINI hasn’t exactly been coy on the vehicle’s specs and at this juncture we know the JCW Countryman will come exclusively with the ALL4 all-wheel drive system, which under normal conditions powers the front tires, but when needed can transfer up to 50 percent of power to the rear ones. Suspension settings are very similar to the Cooper S countryman, though the 1.6-liter turbo four under the hood has been tuned to deliver more power (211 hp) and a similar amount of torque.

As an enthusiast oriented vehicle, the option of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions and a traction control system that can be turned off completely, should make it quite a ball to drive. Special front and rear fascias, along with standard 18 and optional 19-inch wheels are among the cosmetic enhancements.

European sales are slated to begin in the first half of this year, with North American availability sometime after summer. As for pricing, MINI is currently shy on this aspect of the Countryman JCW, though given the Cooper S AWD version starts at $27,750 and JCW models tending to command up to a 30 percent premium over their S trim counterparts for other MINI models, don’t expect a price tag of around $35-$36,000 to be out of the question.

GALLERY: MINI Countryman JCW

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 |  Mar 05 2012, 11:55 AM

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Ahead of the official Geneva Auto Show unveil tomorrow, we managed to catch an example of Aston Martin‘s new “Q” bespoke service between polishings.

It offers Aston customers an unprecedented level of customization including this Virage Volante finished with a bespoke satin Mariana Blue with new diamond turned wheels. Until now, the special British sports car  had only appeared in press photos.

You can see the yellow leather headrest accents that match the car’s brake calipers and offer a striking contract to the exterior.

“This [service] could extend to colour matching a Brompton bicycle to their Aston Martin, supporting the customer’s architect to design their house, or creating colour themes and materials for the interior specification of a yacht,” the company said in a press release.

Pricing details aren’t available, but we don’t expect them to be beyond the closed doors in a salesman’s office. After all, this is a service aimed at making Aston Martins into one-off products, so it wouldn’t make sense to speculate — one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

GALLERY: 2012 Aston Martin Virage Volante by Q

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 |  Mar 05 2012, 11:29 AM

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It’s the first, but it most certainly won’t be the last. Known for its wild aero kits, Swiss-tuner Fab Design has unveiled an excessively-styled version of the new McLaren MP4-12C supercar.

Scheduled to make its official reveal tomorrow during the opening press day of the Geneva Motor Show, we’ve obtained a selection of shots prior to the big day.

We’ll be the first to admit the McLaren, while an amazing super sports car, is less than super in the looks department. Still, it’s hard not to think Fab Design has taken the styling a step too far.

Modified McLarens are set to become a theme of this year’s Geneva show with two other tuners set to reveal their renditions as well. And if you don’t like the Fab Design car, be warned, these two companies aren’t known for being tame: Mansory and Gemballa.

Click here for complete 2012 Geneva Motor Show coverage.

GALLERY: Fab Design McLaren MP4-12C

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