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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.
More than a month later, the luxury automaker is revealing engine details including possibilities that might come as a surprise. As might be expected, a 4.0-liter V8 version is being discusses, as is a 6.0-liter V12 to top the range, but the shocker here is that Bentley says it is considering a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
All three engine options are tentative to date, but the two traditional Bentley powerhouses are likely to live into production. If the automaker decides to roll out the third variant it would represent an entirely new direction for the company: an SUV, and a hybrid — both items that would be newcomers in the British marque’s line.
According to the company, the efficiency-minded powertrain would be based around a V6. We know that the V12 would offer 600 hp and 500 hp from the V8, but estimated horsepower figures for the hybrid system were absent. While there’s a chance the world could see such an EXP 9 F built, it seems more likely that the company is using its ostentatious and the attention it garners to signal possible future options across the board.
With tightening average fuel economy numbers becoming a greater issue for automakers like Bentley that have historically relied on gas-guzzling powerplants, it might make sense to start thinking of alternatives. Then again, it may very well be considering a hybrid SUV for China, it’s largest market.
The automotive industry is a global business that is constantly evolving and growing, and we here at AutoGuide know it can be hard to keep up sometimes. So here is a summary of the top stories you may have missed this week:
Toyota will be heading to this year’s Auto China Beijing show with a new concept car, releasing two teaser images prior to its debut.
The popular blue shade that Toyota normally associates to its hybrid vehicles hints that the upcoming concept will either be a hybrid or electric vehicle. In fact, it’s believed to be a hybrid created in China specifically for the Chinese market.
Recently, Toyota announced its new framework called Toyota New Global Architecture in hopes to develop multiple models simultaneously to boost the quantity of common parts used across its vehicles. The NS4 plug-in was our first hint at the Japanese automaker’s hopes on a new design and it’s clear that Toyota believes it in with another concept sharing a similar look.
The other teaser image points to a compact or even a sub-compact (perhaps Yaris-sized) concept.
GALLERY: Toyota Beijing Motor Show Concept Teasers
Back in 2009, Beijing Auto was able to purchase the rights to several Saab platforms, engines and transmissions. Now that buyout will result in the C70, set to debut at the upcoming Beijing Motor Show.
Alright, so it’s not actually a new Saab per se, but the C70 is one of three Saab-based models that Beijing Auto hopes to launch shortly. Despite having the rights to the Swedish automaker’s platform and some of its drivetrains, Beijing Auto had to come up with a new body for the car. Rumors have us to believe that Italy’s Pininfarina was tasked with the job.
Both vehicles look to sport custom accents catered to the Chinese market, with gold-themed graphics to celebrate the ‘Year of the Dragon.’ The 300C concept looks to feature a blacked-out exterior, a different front bumper, mesh grille, and new wheels.
The Wrangler is the concept with the black and gold exterior further accents by dragon graphics and unique lighting. The interior also features gold accents on the steering wheel, instrument cluster, and door handles.
Chances are both these concepts will be available strictly for the Chinese market if they make their way to a limited production.
GALLERY: Chrysler Beijing Auto Show Concepts
Heading to Auto China in Beijing next month will be the 2013 Subaru Legacy which the Japanese automaker has announced will sport “extensive modifications” compared to the typical yearly model updates.
The recently facelifted Subaru Legacy debuted at the New York Auto Show, but the one making an appearance at Beijing will be specifically made for the Chinese market. The interesting part about the teaser image however is that it hints that the Legacy may have a raised height version, pointing at the possibility of an Outback sedan.
“In the view of the market characteristics, the 2013 Legacy model for Chinese market was specially designed not only to enhance its great presence but also to embody the bold and dynamic design with its raised ground clearance,” Subaru said in a press release.
The automaker also announced that the BRZ will be displayed in China for the first time in addition to a Chinese rally car.
Since the majority of the more affluent Chinese prefer to be chauffeured around, the 3-Series LWB gives the German automaker a more affordable option for fleets or company vehicles.
The wheelbase on the 3-Series LWB has been extended a tad over 4.3 inches and will come with the choice of three different engines. The BMW 320Li is a 2.0L four-cylinder with 181-hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, while the 328Li features a 2.0L TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder with 241-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The ever-popular 335Li comes with the twin-turbo 3.0L inline-six making 302-hp.
GALLERY: BMW 3-Series LWB
There used to be a time when any car company hoping to succeed in business would open up shop in North America. While North America remains one of the key markets for car companies, the new focus is on emerging markets, with China as the number one choice.
Group Lotus is the latest to enter the Chinese market, with a showroom in the trendy Chaoyang district of Beijing. While this is the first official dealership for Lotus in China, a further 10 showrooms are expected to open in this country in 2012.
At the launch, many Group Lotus execs such as Clive Chapman (son of the late Colin Chapman, founder of the company) and Dany Bahar (Group Lotus CEO) were present, along with President and CEO of Lotus China, Li-Chen Zhang.
On this occasion, Zhang said: “This is the first showroom that the Lotus brand has set-up in China since entering the Chinese market on June 15 and it’s a very proud day for all of us who believe very strongly in the brand. We truly believe the Chinese market will completely embrace the Lotus philosophy of performance through lightweight and innovation through clever design. We sold around 300 units before we even opened the showroom so the initial interest and orders put forward indicate that our faith in the brand is well placed.”
At launch, Lotus will be selling six models in China, namely the Elise R, Elise SC, Evora, Evora IPS, Exige S240 and Exige S260. The Evora GTE road car and T125 race car will follow soon after.
GALLERY: Lotus China
The largest Volkswagen and Audi tuner in Europe has intelligently set their eyes on the young and rapidly growing automotive market in China. With China’s exponential growth in the auto industry for the past couple of years, the aftermarket is growing too, despite China trying very hard to restrict vehicle modification. As Audi and Volkswagen continue to focus on this market, ABT Sportsline will now have their presence known in Beijing with their largest showroom outside of their headquarters in Kempten.
In collaboration with their partner CATC and their largest dealer, ZRF, ABT Sportsline is poised to target the close to the 18 million people that live in the Beijing area. Showroom operator ZRF is a Beijing company that holds claim to the oldest Audi and Volkswagen dealer in China.
The showroom spans an impressive 21,500 square feet and will always house at least four complete vehicles. Sales staff will be more than happy to show customers ABT’s product range of accessories, such as sporty lightweight wheels. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out and how quickly the other major aftermarket manufacturers will follow ABT Sportsline into China.
GALLERY: ABT Sportsline China Grand Opening
Living in Los Angeles and being an automotive enthusiast sometimes doesn’t always mix well together. Some of us here at AutoGuide are based in LA and don’t often get great chances to truly “enjoy” our cars having to regularly sit in traffic staring at brake lights. But now we guess we have it easy since news has broke of a 60-mile long traffic jam in China between Beijing and Zhangjiakou. It’s being caused by road repairs and has been this way since middle of August with the light at the end of the tunnel sometime around September 13th.
Now for anyone that has ever been to Beijing and witnessed the driving there first hand, it’s not exactly what we’d call “by regulation.” In fact, it’s more of a free-for-all to get from point a to point b. Now sprinkle in some road work and a major traffic jam and we’re guessing it’s pure chaos out there. But not all is bad as some drivers have apparently taken up card and chess games while waiting for traffic to move again.
And clever little entrepreneurs have set up shop alongside the highway selling food and drinks at an inflated price. Even the local police has used an upward of 400 officers to get everyone to simmer down.