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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.
After famed styling house Italdesign was swallowed up by Volkswagen back in May 2010, we knew it was only a matter of time before the two came out with some kind of physical manifestation of their union. A little over 9 months later and their new bundle of joy, the Volkswagen Giugiaro Tex concept has burst forth at the Geneva Auto Show.
According to Italdesign, the Tex is an “interpretation of tomorrow’s sporty Volkswagen, and what else could power such a vehicle besides a hybrid drivetrain. The Tex uses VW’s proprietary plug-in hybrid system which apparently has a range of 21 miles on electric-only power.
Inside, the Tex eschews the outlandish cabins of most concepts for a pretty production ready interior. The VW flat-bottom steering wheel will be familiar to anyone who’s spent time in a GTI, and if the exterior is an indicator of the future design direction of a VW hot hatch, we’re all for it.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Giugiaro Tex Concept
In Germany, the Volkswagen Microbus was affectionately known as the “Bulli”, proving that terms of endearment and the German language aren’t always compatible. While Volkswagen had a false start with their Microbus concept in 2001, the same idea is back 10 years later, and it manages to be even more contemporary while still providing Baby Boomers with a hefty shot of nostalgia.
With an 85 kilowatt motor capable of returning 300 kilometers per charge, the Bulli may not be suitable for following Phish across the U.S.A, but its zero emissions drivetrain will definitely resonate with eco-conscious citizens who smell like bong water. VW is said to be investigating more conventional engines as well.
The usual super-modern infotainment systems, including iPad integration, an audio system designed by guitar maker Fender. One throwback is the front bench seat, a feature not seen since the days when kids could afford to buy a new Volkswagen, one that came with an air-cooled engine at that.
Gallery: Volkswagen Bulli
Mazda took the wraps off its Minagi concept crossover at the Geneva Auto Show today, showing the world what the upcoming CX-5 soft-roader will probably look like when it comes to market in the next couple years.
Powered by an unspecified SKYACTIV powerplant and featuring styling cues taken from the gorgeous Shinari concept car, the Minagi should be a promising entry into the crossover segment – assuming it holds up in the transition from concept to production.
Gallery: Mazda Minagi Concept
If you were one of the legions who lusted after an Alfa Romeo 8C but couldn’t afford the six-figure price tag – or get a spot on the waiting list – will have another shot at Milanese glory as Alfa debuted their 4C GTA concept.
Rather than a big Maserati V8, the 4C is powered by a turbochaged 4-cylinder engine displacing 1750cc, a legendary number in Alfa Romeo lore (all great Alfas of the 1960s were powered by an engine of identical displacement). Rather than the idiosyncratic dash-mounted manual shifter, power is transmitted via a dual-clutch gearbox to the rear wheels via a mid-engine configuration.
Alfa says they are considering production for the vehicle, but how could they not, in light of it being the perfect halo car for a return to North America?
Gallery: Alfa Romeo 4C GTA
Discuss this story at 4CForums.com
Before the official opening, we managed to get some live shots of the BMW VisionConnected Drive. Although BMW hasn’t announced any details beyond a cryptically worded statement, reading “The design and technology of this spectacular roadster are aimed at making the vehicle an integral part of a networked world,” the car looks absolutely awesome in the flesh.
Check back Tuesday for full details as the Geneva Auto Show gets underway.
GALLERY: BMW VisionConnected Drive
Mazda‘s Minagi concept, a vehicle that will doubtlessly be seen on the roads as the Mazda CX-5, got its first reveal today, even if only half the vehicle was visible. Check back tomorrow for more detailed pictures as the car gets official reveal at the Geneva Auto Show.
GALLERY: Mazda Minagi Concept
See video of the Minagi after the jump:
With a range of 150 miles and an estimated 0-60 time of 5 seconds, the ESFLOW is the kind of electric car we can support. Considering that much of the technology is based on the Nissan Leaf electric car, the ESFLOW is a plausible addition to the Nissan brand in the near future.
Gallery: Nissan ESFLOW Concept
Despite our initial reservations, we grew to adore the Nissan Juke, even though it’s styling could politely be described as “interesting”. Whether the Infiniti Etherea concept will do the same is a question only time can answer, but so far we’re not quite as enthusiastic about the concept car’s looks than Infiniti might like us to be.
Designed as a preview to the entry-level Infiniti set to debut by next year, the Etherea is about 4 inches longer than a Nissan Versa, but will obviously be targeting a much different market. With size-conscious Europe requiring any luxury player to field a compact, the Etherea is a crucial product for Infiniti, but evidently there’s still some work to be done for its production ready.
Gallery: Infiniti Etherea
While the Leaf is based on a traditional car chassis, the ESFLOW is a clean-sheet design, that uses two motors in the rear wheels to allow for sub-5 second sprints to 60 mph. Torque vectoring is also present, allowing for the kind of handling sports car enthusiasts can only dream of.
Although the ESFLOW does share the same battery system as the Leaf, these are strategically mounted along both axles as a means of optimizing weight distribution. Range is up to about 150 miles, boosted in part by a lightweight aluminum chassis.
Inside, the pedals and steering wheel adjusts, while the seats stay fixed. We’ll be on hand at Geneva to check out the ESFLOW in the flesh, so stay tuned at the very beginning of March as coverage gets underway.
GALLERY: Nissan Esflow Concept
Geneva Auto Show coverage starts March 1st. Until then, get more news on the show with AutoGuide’s complete 2011 Geneva Auto Show Preview here.
Following up on a supercar such as Ferrari’s Enzo is no easy task. The car is legend and its design is unmistakable. With a successor to the Enzo inevitable, many have envisioned what Ferrari may have in store as a follow up – including Hungarian artist Peter Simon. For our part, we hope he’s wrong.
Clearly Simon’s rendering carries much of the Enzo’s design characteristics, but we fear that his vision takes a turn for the wost beyond that point. The majority of the body looks completely out of proportion, with an excessively wide body that doesn’t fit with the Enzo’s sleek function-over-form design.
An Enzo successor is in the works and we just hope it stays sleek and sexy, not weird and gaudy.
Continue to be appalled by browsing through the gallery below.
GALLERY: Peter Simon Ferrari Enzo Successor
Although Volkswagen and their respective brands occupied a massive section of the Paris Auto Show’s main hall, they were a little light on new product. This won’t be the case at the upcoming Geneva Auto Show in early March, as the Volkswagen Group will debut 7 concept cars at Europe’s main auto show.
Details are slim at this point, but Volkswagen, Seat and Skoda plus “plus one – if not two – for Audi,” according to the Group’s design boss Walter de’ Silva, the man behind gorgeous designs like the Audi R8 and Volkswagen Scirocco. Guigiaro, the legendary design firm acquired by VW in 2010, will also display two concept vehicles.
Most concepts never see the light of day, but even if the models shown are a PR exercise, they should help further establish Volkswagen’s credibility in their quest to be the world’s number one automaker by 2018, a goal that they have spared no hesitation in promoting over the past year.
[Source: Automotive News]
Honda has a history of releasing “concepts” of their newest products that are barely disguised versions of what they’ll be selling to the public, and the Honda Civic Concept is no different.
Both sedan and coupe concepts resemble the current car quite strongly, but the styling is more aggressive, with swoopy lines and big 19″ wheels. The front profile resembles the current coupe, with its broad front end and rakish windsheild, while the Si trim designation gives Honda a good excuse to make the cars as eye-catching as possible.
Powertrains weren’t announced, but Honda reps mentioned that 40 mpg highway was the target for most gasoline engine models (but presumably not the Si itself), and that the Civic Hybrid would feature a lithium-ion battery pack. Honda will also roll out its Civic GX natural gas model beyond its current market of four states.
With 30 percent of Civic buyers under the age of 35, Honda needs a big homerun after the lacklustre response given to the CR-Z hybrid sports car, and the long product cycle of the current Civic. While the Civic Concept looks good, the production car, and the confirmed mechanical details will determine whether the Civic remains as beloved as previous generations have with the youth market.
Visit our 9th Gen Civic forum at www.9thgencivic.com for the latest news on the 9th Generation Honda Civic.
Gallery: Honda Civic Concept
We at Autoguide have a theory that the best race car liveries are all for products that aren’t so great; cigarettes, vermouth, oil companies and cramped airlines with good food – such as the New Stratos, decked out in Alitalia livery.
The original Stratos, known for its rally prowess, proudly wore the Alitalia livery during its competition heyday, competing in such storied races as the Monte Carlo rally. The chances of seeing one of these mega-buck limited editions tearing up a WRC course is almost certainly zero, but it’s not a bad homage to the car’s history.
Even though it’s spawned various stillborn re-incarnations, the VW Microbus may be returning thanks to executives within Volkswagen pushing for a concept that evokes the iconic utility vehicle.
Klaus Bischoff, head of design for Volkswagen, stated that the 2001 Microbus concept did not make it to production due to cost factors, but noted there was serious public support for the project.
Despite the goodwill expressed towards the project, Volkswagen remains unsure of what direction they will take with the Microbus. Bischoff told Auto Express that “the key question is ‘what sort of car should we build?’ It could be a traditional MPV, with a conventional interior, or we could be much bolder, designing a more flexible, versatile machine – perhaps one that is closer in spirit to the original model. It is not yet decided.”
A concept likely won’t be seen before 2012, but reports say that VW’s American and European design teams are working together to create something mutually acceptable for both markets.
[Source: Auto Express]
SEAT, Volkswagen‘s sporty, Spanish division, is known for taking old VW products, refreshing them, and selling them at firesale prices. SEAT’s newest concept, the IBE, shows what a SEAT coupe could look like. Perhaps the brand will get a version of VW’s Scirroco?
0-60 mph takes 9.7 seconds, which seems slow, until you consider that the car is all electric and powered by a 102 horsepower motor. “Connectivity” is stressed more than power, and that theme continues with an integrated smart phone interface. One neat feature though, is the option to play music from your device by “dragging” it from the player to the car’s stereo interface. Sure beats an iPod cable and a distracted driver.
Gallery: SEAT IBE Concept
Audi‘s Quattro Concept was revealed ahead of the Paris Auto Show today, ending speculation that this car was actually the long rumored R4 baby sports car.
Harkening back to the light-weight Ur-Quattro of the 1980′s, the Quattro concept weighs in at around 3,000 lbs and features a 5-cylinder turbo motor, pumping out 408 horsepower and 354 lb-ft through a 6-speed manual gearbox and a quattro all-wheel-drive system.
Sparco seats and an Audi MMI system modeled after a rally computer feature inside, as does the usual gorgeous Audi interior. Look for more content shortly as the Paris Auto Show gets underway.
GALLERY: Audi Quattro Concept
Let’s cut through the marketing fluff; the BMW 6-Series Concept is a concept car in name only. If this car doesn’t accurately preview BMW’s next large coupe, we will eat our collective hats.
Taking strong cues from the BMW Gran Coupe concept, the next 6 looks like an evolution of current BMW design themes, including the weird looking front ends designed to comply with European pedestrian safety standards. The interior looks like a warmer, more inviting place, with organic shapes and wood replacing the hard lines and aluminum trim of the current BMWs.
Expect the brand’s turbocharged six and eight cylinder engines to give the car some oomph, with a range topping 550 horsepower M V8 in the new M6. The production car will be in dealers in the 2012 calender year.
Check out AutoGuide’s coverage of the BMW 6-Series Concept at the Paris Auto Show
Gallery: BMW 6-Series Concept
Five Lincoln concept cars, as well as one Mercury concept will go up for auction at RM’s Sports & Classics of Monterey on August 12th. The six concepts are being sold by Ford Motor Co. through RM Auctions, a well known auction house that regularly handles ultra high end vehicles. All vehicles, except the Lincoln Navicross and Mercury Messenger, can be driven, although it is illegal to drive them on public roads. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and The Children’s Center.
Gallery: Lincoln & Mercury Concept Vehicles
The Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance is possibly the world’s most exclusive collector car show, attracting celebrities like Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld and Ralph Lauren. The venue is the perfect place for Porsche to show off its upcoming 918 Spyder, which has been all-but-confirmed for production.
Porsche is looking to find 1000 people to express interest in the 918 Spyder, and so far have garnered 900 on that list. Pebble Beach’s ultra-high-net worth patrons can surely yield that number, allowing Porsche to put their hybrid supercar flagship into a very limited production run. The 718 horsepower roadster will also be shown close to Silicon Valley, home of the Tesla roadster and many wealthy folks with environmentally conscious views.
Last week we reported about the Citroen Metropolis and its goals to rival German automotive manufacturers BMW and Mercedes-Benz, specifically in the China market. Low and behold a few days later, the first photos of the Citroen Metropolis in its full reality have surfaced.
Now that we’re able to admire every angle imaginable of the vehicle, we can tell that Citroen is fairly on point in terms of styling for the luxury sedan market, perhaps even setting a new standard in design. What is unique to the Metropolis, that is clearly evident in these photos, is its lower roof-line that is reminiscent of Citroen’s GT supercar concept circa 2008.
As we mentioned before, the Citroen Metropolis is eco-friendly with an electric motor powering it at low speeds but while on the freeway a 2.0L V6 contributes 272-hp. Citroen claims that with both the electric and V6 engines working harmoniously, they put out 460-hp combined.
We’ll be keeping our eyes tight on this concept and hopefully it will become a reality. One thing is for sure, competition is never a bad thing, with the Porsche Panamera and the Aston Martin Rapide paving the way, things are looking bright in this market. Make sure to check out the video of this beauty after the break.
Gallery: Citroen Metropolis Concept