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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 02 2011, 9:13 AM


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


 |  Mar 02 2011, 8:09 AM

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During Audi‘s presentation at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, a company spokesman praised the Audi Q5 Hybrid’s as a usable everyday car and not “…a complicated political statement. While this swipe at a well-known rival may be over the line to some observers, the fact is that they compete for two very different customer bases.

Audi claims that the Q5 Hybrid will best all segment rivals in terms of performance, practicality and efficiency. While we don’t have the numbers off-hand, we’re sure that for the kind of urban driving that crossovers tend to do, the Q5 Hybrid makes a lot of sense. Starting with Audi’s much loved 2.0T engine, the Q5 adds a 44-horsepower electric motor to the already potent 208 horsepower. Total torque output is 354 lb-ft, helping the car get to 60 mph in 7 seconds.

With an electric-only driving range of just under 2 miles, trips to the store could probably be done emissions free. Not that most buyers will care. The status of owning a hybrid is all they need to do their part for planet earth.

GALLERY: Audi Q5 Hybrid

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 |  Mar 02 2011, 7:49 AM


The Kia Rio used to have the ignominious honor of being a “penalty box”, a car you didn’t want to spend time in unless absolutely necessary. But with the upswing in quality from Kia, and shared underpinnings from the promising new Hyundai Accent, the all-new Rio, shown for the first time at the Geneva Auto Show, might just be a solid little car for entry level buyers.

On sale in the U.S. this fall, the Rio features Kia’s new corporate styling cues, but still maintains a very close resemblance to the Ford Fiesta – not a bad thing in this segment. While only European specifications were announced, the North American version will probably use the 1.6L 138-horsepower 4-cylinder engine that the Accent uses, which will also deliver about 30-mpg in town and 41 mpg on the highway. The Rio should also boast one of the lightest curb weights in its class, and may even undercut the Accent’s MSRP.

Gallery: Kia Rio


 |  Mar 02 2011, 6:10 AM


This may be the most boring post you will ever read about the Volkswagen Golf R. Even though it has an awesome 270 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder, all-wheel drive and a choice of 6-speed gearboxes, Volkswagen decided to milk the car for every last drop of “publicity” by launching 4 dubiously dubbed “concept” editions at the Geneva Auto Show.

The “concepts” are merely some Golf R models with unique interior and exterior combinations. The “Oryx White” model is available with a “St. Tropez” interior, while the “Carbon Steel Grey” model has the inside trimmed in “Almandine Red”. A third “Space Grey” model features a carbon fiber interior. The final model apes the “Space Grey” car’s exterior treatments but is finished in Aplomb Blue.

Frankly, we couldn’t care less. Just give us the damn car already. It could be painted in Pig Vomit Brown with an interior made of Hyena hides and we’d still drive it. Unfortunately, we won’t be getting those awesome bucket seats shown in the photos.

Gallery: Volkswagen Golf R Concepts


 |  Mar 02 2011, 4:34 AM


The Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet has always been a 4-wheeled shot of estrogen, and the new car, is no exception. While at first glance the Golf Cabrio looks identical identical to the Volkswagen Eos, the two cars have a couple key differences.

The Cabrio shuns the complex folding hardtop used on the Eos in favor of a traditional fabric roof. The soft top can be dropped in 9.5 seconds, and allows for greater trunk space. The two cars have an identical wheelbase and interior dimensions, but the Eos is longer overall.

Volkswagen hasn’t commented on whether we’ll see the Golf Cabriolet in America, but it seems to us that the Cabrio and Eos are a bit like the Scirocco and the Golf GTI – two cars that are too similar for their own good to be sold in a relatively small market like America. We can’t say we’re too choked up, and if VW was going to bring a low-volume specialty car, we’d much rather have the Scirocco than this sorority girl special.

Check out AutoGuide’s Geneva Auto Show coverage here

Gallery: Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet

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 |  Mar 02 2011, 3:32 AM


The long rumored Hyundai Sonata station wagon exists, and it bowed at the Geneva Auto Show, dubbed the Hyundai i40 Tourer, in keeping with the brand’s European nomenclature.

Although Hyundai PR bigwigs have denied that the i40 will come to America, we think that rising gas prices may provide an impetus for this kind of vehicle, rather than an SUV. The i40 Tourer was designed at Hyundai’s German R&D facility, and it shows in the high-quality interior, compact 1.7L diesel engine and distinct styling. While a choice of powertrains is available, Hyundai is pushing their 1.7L diesel hard, an engine that is much more aligned with European rather than North American tastes. Expect this car to do battle with the Euro-market Volkswagen Passat wagon when it goes on sale this year.

Gallery: Hyundai i40 Tourer


 |  Mar 01 2011, 1:44 PM


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


 |  Mar 01 2011, 1:15 PM

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While Volvo was apparently set to discontinue North American sales of all station wagons – arguably the vehicle they built their reputation on – in favor of crossovers. But that looks like it will change starting in 2012, with the launch of their V60 plug-in hybrid.

Unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, the V60 Plug-In uses a 215 horsepower 2.4L diesel 5-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels, with a 70 horsepower electric motor powering the rear axle. Three power modes are available (one pure electric, one for hybrid driving and one for an extra boost, appropriately named “Power”). All-wheel-drive can also be engaged, with both motors driving all 4 wheels when traction is limited.

In electric mode, the V60 can go as far as 30 miles without using any diesel, and can be charged in as little as 3 hours. 60 mph comes up in only 7 seconds. We can’t imagine this car not coming Stateside. With Volvo exces previously commenting on their customers affinity for eco-friendly products – and the lack of such offerings in Volvo’s lineup – this one looks like a no-brainer.

Gallery: Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

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 |  Mar 01 2011, 12:13 PM

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


 |  Mar 01 2011, 10:25 AM


One strange aspect about the Chevrolet Cruze hatchbackhas less cargo room than its sedan counterparty. While the Cruze sedan has 450 liters of cargo space, the hatchback has 50 fewer liters because of the model’s shorter rear overhang.

Nevertheless, 65 percent of vehicles sold in Europe are hatchbacks, and a Cruze hatch is a necessity to compete on the world stage. Unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, the Cruze hatch has the same 1.6L and 1.8L gas engines and 2.0L turbodiesels as other world markets. If it makes it to North America, expect the familiar 1.4L Turbo and 1.8L 4-cylinder engines instead.

Gallery: Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback

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 |  Mar 01 2011, 8:13 AM


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



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 |  Mar 01 2011, 6:59 AM


Although official pictures have been out for some time, the Geneva Auto Show gave us our first live look at the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, BMW’s answer to the 2 door version of the BMW 3-Series.

With a range of engines spanning a 1.8L turbocharged 4-cylinder making 201 horsepower, to a 3.5L V6 making 302 horsepower, with similar mechanicals to the rest of the Mercedes lineup. No word on whether the matte black paint will be available.

GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

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 |  Mar 01 2011, 5:08 AM

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If you’ve ever seen an original Mini (which may be unlikely if you live in North America) you might find it hard to wrap your head around just how small the car really is. The current MINI Cooper, while small by our standards, absolutely dwarfs the original car, but MINI’s new Rocketman concept should set things straight for the brand.

With a footprint that’s only slightly larger than the original Mini, the Rocketman also boasts a carbon fiber spaceframe to keep weight down, and a re-configurable interior to maximize passenger and cargo space. Unfortunately, MINI USA head Jim McDowell said that North America was unlikely to get any products that deviated from the current car’s size, so we’ll have to gaze at this one from afar – assuming it ever sees production.

Gallery: MINI Rocketman Concept

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 |  Mar 01 2011, 4:53 AM

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The Audi A3 might be a fancy Golf in its current form, but the Audi A3 Concept shown at the Geneva Auto Show is a complete 180 from that formula.

Packing a 408-horsepower 5-cylinder engine and a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox, the A3 sedan has more in common with the fearsome Audi Quattros of yesterday than the compact hatchback of this decade. The A3′s 4-door sedan bodystyle has grown to within half a foot of the bigger A4 in terms of length, perhaps a concession to North American tastes, or perhaps because so much power in a short wheelbase car would make an early Porsche 911 look like a docile handling tourer. Audi’s MMI media interface system also makes an appearance but please, don’t take your eyes off the road in a car this quick.

GALLERY: Audi A3 Sedan

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 |  Feb 28 2011, 12:57 PM

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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

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 |  Feb 28 2011, 10:38 AM

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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

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See video of the Minagi after the jump:

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 |  Feb 24 2011, 2:40 PM


Volvo fans can rejoice now that the famous station wagon variant, the V60, is back (in North America), but it couldn’t be further from the rugged, mechanically simple station wagons of the past.

The V60 Plug-In uses a 215 horsepower 2.4L diesel 5-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels, with a 70 horsepower electric motor powering the rear axle. Three power modes are available (one pure electric, one for hybrid driving and one for an extra boost, appropriately named “Power”). All-wheel-drive can also be engaged, with both motors driving all 4 wheels when traction is limited.

In electric mode, the V60 can go as far as 30 miles without using any diesel, and can be charged in as little as 3 hours. 60 mph comes up in only 7 seconds, but you’ll have to wait until 2012 to buy one for yourself.

[Source: Volvo]

Gallery: Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid


 |  Feb 13 2011, 10:13 AM

Saab is planning to show off four new models at the Geneva Auto Show, including an all-new hatchback concept that will help put the company back to its five-door (or three-door) roots.

The four-car range will feature the 9-5 SportCombi wagon, which was previously teased and will debut at Geneva. There will be the 2012 9-4x crossover, which will go on sale in May. The aging 9-3 range will get some special editions to keep the momentum going. And perhaps more importantly, the concept car will feature a hatchback and styling by newly-minted Saab Design director Jason Castriota.

This vehicle will no doubt be the rumored 9-2 or 9-1 that will be powered by the current turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engines found in the MINI Cooper.

For a company that, one year ago, was nearly swallowed into the bankruptcy abyss of GM bureaucracy, to come back and debut a concept car in such a short amount of time is great news for brand loyalists and the automaker’s future.

[Sources: Saab, Autoblog]

 |  Feb 08 2011, 4:18 PM

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Ford of Europe CEO Stephen T. Odell announced a “groundbreaking” new vehicle set to debut at the Geneva Auto Show at the beginning of March, but gave no details as to the nature of the car.

Some have speculated that the car could be an larger version of the Fiesta, dubbed the B-Max, that would take on cars like the Honda Fit. Presumably, an alternative powertrain would be part of the package, since a small compact hatch isn’t exactly what we’d call “groundbreaking”

[Source: AutoExpress]

 |  Feb 02 2011, 5:05 PM

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]