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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.
 |  Apr 07 2009, 10:35 PM

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While Ferrari doesn’t techniclly participate in the New York Auto Show, that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to grab some of the limelight, hosting a private event at the Italian automaker’s ritzy Park Avenue dealership. (As though there are any Ferrari dealerships that aren’t ritzy…)

Making their U.S-debuts were the 599 HGTE and the truly awesome 599XX. Both models were first unveiled in March at the Geneva Auto Show in Geneva, Switzerland, but this more intimate setting allowed us to get some additional details on the track-only 599XX. Besides… do we really need another reason to stare at the meanest-looking Ferrari since the Enzo first came out.

What we already know is that the 599XX is powered by the standard model’s V12 engine, but the internals have been reworked to produce 7o0hp at 9000 rpm. To achieve this Ferrari engineers significantly modified the engine with a new, lighter, crankshaft. Carbon fiber is also used for the intake plenums.

 

Due to the new aerodynamics of the 599XX it now gets 612 lbs of downforce at 124 mph and almost 1,400 lbs of downforce at 186 mph!

One particularly important innovation on the 599XX is Ferrari’s new “Actiflow” technology, that adjusts downforce and drag depending upon how the car is operating. This is achieved through the use of a porous materia in the diffuser and two fans in the trunk lid that work to channel air from under the car out through two grilles next to the tail lights. Rather noticeable winglets have also been added to the the are just behind the winds, where the buttresses are located.

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One of Ferrari’s top engineers was on hand discussing the Actiflow technology and commented that it was actually designed for use in Formula 1, but that the FIA wouldn’t allow it. 

One new bit of info that we learned about the 599XX is what Ferrari terms a “Virtual Race Engineer.” This system essentially uses all the onboard computers to calculate what the maximum level of performance the car can achieve on a race track. To do this it takes every bit of data available, including tire temperature, tire pressure, engine and coolant temperature (as well as many other variables) and determines what the maximum level of performance capable by the car under those conditions is.

Unfortunately, if you’re not Michael Schumacher, getting the car to go that fast is impossible… but here’s where the fun part comes in. The 599XX’s computer can then rate you (the driver) on your performance and tell you how close you are coming to the car’s maximum potential – a humbling experience no doubt.

 

GALLERY: Ferrari 599XX

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 |  Apr 02 2009, 9:32 AM

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We’re sorry to report that Infiniti’s breathtakingly beautiful Essence Concept will not see production, this according to a company spokesman.

The Essence Concept was unveiled at the 2009 Geneva Auto Show and took everyone by surprise as rumors had circled that the vehicle was to be yet another crossover. With a true grand touring look that had cars like the Aston Martin DBS and Ferrari 599 in its sights, the Essence also had the ponies to back it up with 600hp.

It was also a hybrid, with 440hp generated from the twin-turbo 3.7-liter V6 engine and an additional 160 ponies coming from an electric motor.

One part of the car is, however, certain to live on as Infiniti has already confirmed the direct-injection technology used in the Essence motor will make its way into the next M37 and the G37.

And with talk of a higher performance version of the GT-R coming out, there’s no reason it couldn’t get direct-injection technology too.

Still, we’ll miss never seeing this automotive work of art make it to the street.

[Source: AutoWeek.nl via AutoBlog]

GALLERY: Infiniti Essence Concept

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 |  Mar 17 2009, 11:06 AM

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As we have previously reported, Volkswagen will bring it’s sub-compact Polo to the U.S. but not until 2011. Even more surprising is that the vehicle won’t be the same one that was just unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show.

According to a Automotive News report (soured on AutoBlog) the 2011 Polo will come to the U.S. in two different versions: a sedan and hatchback. VW of America CEO Stefan Jacoby told Automotive News that the current Polo is still too small for the U.S. market – which is surprising because it looked pretty large to us in Geneva.

To resolve this issue, VW will build two new version of the car with a longer wheelbase and a slightly taller roof. The sedan model will be smaller than the Jetta and the four-door wagon/hatchback will be a competitor to the Honda Fit.

Jacoby did say that pricing for the sub-compact would have to be between $13,000 and $15,000 in order to compete in the segment, so expect the final products to have base prices in that range.  In order to achieve that price, the vehicle will likely have to be built in North America – potentially at VW’s Puebla, Mexico plant.

[Source: AutoBlog]

 |  Mar 09 2009, 12:27 PM

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While Suzuki’s Geneva Auto Show press conference concentrated on the launch of the new Alto model, we spotted another premiere that we’d much rather have.

It’s no supercar (this is Suzuki after all) but it’s one hot-hatch – the Swift Sport Anniversary Edition.

Made to celebrate the company’s 100 years in existence, the Swift Sport is a little 125hp four-cylinder model that may not have all the power you want but it certainly has the looks.

The Swift Sport gets a complete aero kit with an aggressive front end, side skirts, an intricate rear bumper with two exhaust pipes and a roof spoiler. The most obvious feature, however, are the 18-inch wheels, coated in 215/35/18 Yokohama rubber.

The inside is also as surprisingly nice as the outside, with dark black plastic, some nice faux-aluminum trim and even black and red cloth seats with some nice red stitching.

It is available only with a five-speed manual transmission and comes standard with ABS and stability control.

This specific model is only offered in Switzerland, with a rather significant asking price of 33,925 Swiss Francs (roughly $29,000… that’s almost double the price of a standard Swift).

Now if only Suzuki would bring cars like this to the U.S.

GALLERY: Suzuki Swift Sport Anniversary Edition

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 |  Mar 05 2009, 8:48 AM

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After recently launching the new Mégane model, Renault brought its powerful sibling, the Mégane R.S. (Renault Sport) to the Geneva Auto Show. 

Powered by a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the R.S. makes 250hp at 5500 rpm and 251 ft-lbs of torque at 3000 rpm. This is an increase of 20hp and 29.5 ft-lbs of torque over the highly acclaimed R26.R. As well as being a great performer, the car is also good around town with plenty of immediate torque – Renault says that 80 of peak torque is available at just 1800 rpm.

As expected, the new R.S. will be offered with only a six-speed manual transmission. Two trim levels can be ordered, the Sport and the Cup, which features a limited-slip differential. The R.S. is equipped with a stability control system, however, it can be shut completely off.

From the outside, the car is immediately distinguishable by its 18-inch wheels, rear diffuser and Lambo LP640-style central exhaust pipe.

Inside, the car gets aluminum pedal covers, a sport steering wheel, Renault Sport lettering on the headrests, gauges and dashboard. It also comes with a gear-shift indicator that is both visual and audible.

GALLERY: Mégane R.S. 

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More on the Mégane R.S. after the jump:

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 |  Mar 05 2009, 7:13 AM

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If only this car were available? Who wouldn’t cancel their Panamera order to get one?

At the Geneva Auto Show, French carmaker Peugeot unveiled what might just be the best looking hybrid ever. The RC HYbrid4 Concept is a grand touring sedan, with the engine located at the rear of the car and the electric motor up front. Out back is a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 216hp. Additional power comes from the electric motor, which makes 95hp for a total of 313hp. Torque is distributed between the front and rear wheels of this four-wheel drive beauty with 131 ft-lbs of torque going to the front wheels and 207 ft-lbs going to the rear.

As for the heavy lithium-ion battery packs, they are located in the center of the car for ideal weight distribution and a low center of gravity.

Better yet, this concept comes with a six-speed manual transmission!

As tough all that good stuff weren’t enough, the RC HYbrid4 comes with 19-inch wheels, a complete carbon fiber body and a drag coefficient of just 0.24 cd.

Oh, and if that 313hp number doesn’t seem all that impressive, Peugeot says the car is still capable of a sprint to 62 mph in an alarmingly fast 4.4 seconds!

GALLERY: Peugeot RC HYbrid4 Concept

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 |  Mar 05 2009, 7:03 AM

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Kia is a brand that is looking to distinguish itself. When the company recently unveiled the Soul, it made functionality fun and now with the debut of the No. 3 Concept at the Geneva Auto Show, the Korean manufacturer intends to make basic transportation sporty and aggressive.

Created at Kia’s Design Centre Europe, under Chief Designer Gregory Guillaume, the project involved input from all of Kia’s worldwide design departments, from Korea to California. The focus of this model, however, is on the European market.

The No. 3 MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) Concept features a long wheelbase for improved driving dynamics with massive 19-inch wheels. The body of the car has been sprayed in “RockStar Titanium Grey” paint, with white detailing. 

While the interior is a bit much with the gold seats, it looks close to what a production model might be like; and that’s the whole point. Kia plans to release a production model based on this car in Europe before the end of the year.

The most important feature of the No. 3 Concept, however, is the front fascia design. Kia says that this new design, including the grille, headlights and brand logo, will be featured across all vehicles in the Kia family in the future.

GALLERY: Kia No. 3 Concept

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More on the Kia No. 3 after the jump:

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 |  Mar 05 2009, 6:22 AM

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The Geneva Auto Show, due to its prominence on the international auto scene as well as the high net worth of the citizens of Switzerland, is always filled with all sorts of rare exotic car manufacturers. One such manufacturer is the Dutch company Spyker.

The name Spyker isn’t exactly a household one, but the company is highly involved in motorsports, running race cars at Le Mans as well as a Formula 1 team for a single season, and has produced several exotic vehicles before. The company is looking to expand in the retail automotive market with it’s automotive-inspired sportscars. To do this the company unveiled a new model, the C8 Aileron, at the Geneva Auto Show. 

The C8 is the next generation exotic from Spyker and while the old C8 Laviolette and C8 Spyder models took their inspiration from propeller planes, the new vehicle gets its styling from the turbine engine – a marked improvement indeed. Gone are many of the more ornate details, giving the car a more clean and smooth sppearance. The 19-inch Rotorblade wheels, while not exactly great looking, are a marked improvement over the old design. Tires measure 235/35/19 up front and 295/30/19 in the rear.

The car doesn’t just look new either, as the entire aluminum spaceframe chassis has been redesigned. The wheelbase of the C8 Aileron is 5.9-inches longer than the old model, providing not only better driving dynamics but also better comfort and stability at high spedes. The front track is also much wider – 6.1-inches wider.

Aluminum has been used for much of the all-new suspension, to help keep the curb weight down to just 3,142 lbs.

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Spyker decided to continue using the Audi-sourced 4.2-liter V8 engine, that makes 400hp and 354 ft-lbs of torque. Spyker says the Aileron can rocket to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 187 mph.

The car will continue to be offered wit a 6-speed Getrag manual transmission, however, Spyker also plans to offer the vehicle with a ZF 6-speed automatic gearbox, with paddle shifters. The trademark Spyker exposed gear-shifter will appear regardless of transmission choice.

“When we unveiled the C8 Aileron prototype here last year, we wanted to make a clear statement to the industry that Spyker was about to take the next step in its short but intense history, by introducing its second-generation sports cars, developed from scratch,” said Victor R. Muller, Spyker CEO. “Witin a year we transformed that prototype into the production-ready car we show here today. The first cars are being built now with customer prodction and deliveries starting in May 2009.”

A Spyder version of the car is expected to be unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Eegance.

GALLERY: Spyker C8 Aileron

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 |  Mar 05 2009, 5:49 AM

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Ferrari chose the Geneva Auto Show to not only unveil the track oriented 599xx but also to debut a more performance-oriented version of the 599 GTB for the street. The 599 Handling GTE (or HGTE) 599 takes the standard 599 to a new level with several small tweaks that will make it a more invigorating driving experience.

For starters, the ride height of the 599 has been lowered, and the new springs are stiffer than before. The magnetorheological shocks have also been recalibrated to new settings when the manettino is at its sportier settings. And in the rear, a larger anti-roll bar has been installed. Combined with the lower center of gravity and the stiffer suspension, the HGTE should deliver a noticeable improvement over the already outstanding 599.

Ferrari hasn’t revealed any specifics on the new transmission electronics of the HGTE but will say that shift times have been reduced. It’s pretty safe to assume that the 100 millisecond shift times are now 60 milliseconds – like those in the F430 Scuderia. The HGTE also features a slightly modified ECU with a more responsive throttle.

No power has been added to the 611hp V12 engine but the HGTE does feature a new set of mufflers for a more race-car-like sound.

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While the rumors about a more aggressively-styled front fascia turned out to be false, the exterior of the HGTE is marked by new 20-inch five-spoke wheels, a matte-black diffuser and chrome tail pipes. Inside there is plenty of carbon fiber, including the entire seat-backs, as well as a mixture of black leather and Alcantara. The headrests also feature the Ferrari Prancing Horse logo and the words “Handling GTE.”

GALLERY: Ferrari 599 HGTE

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 |  Mar 04 2009, 11:17 AM

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True to their word, the folks at Maserati unveiled the new Gran Turismo  S Automatic at the Geneva Auto Show. The Italian luxury brand did, after all, say that it would unveil one new model at each international auto show.

While adding an automatic transmission may not seem like much, until now those who opted for the auto-box could only get one in the standard GranTurismo, which while an exceptional car, comes with the 4.2-liter V8 and not the 4.7-liter V8 in the “S” model.

The transmission itself is a six-speed ZF unit. Maserati has also eliminated the “kick-down” that happens when downshifting when in manual mode so as to keep the drive as smooth as possible.

The Gran Turismo S makes 440hp at 7000 rpm and 361 ft-lbs of torque at 4750 rpm.

Maserati is a brand obsessed with personalization and with those all-important finishing touches. That being said, the Automatic model gets new side skirts with a slightly different design to help accentuate the look of the Trident wheels.

Other highlights include a new passenger air bag with “low risk deployment,” which will become standard equipment on all new GranTurismos. Bluetooth will also be standard equipment and an iPod interface will be offered as an option.

GALLERY: Maserati GranTurismo S Automatic

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 |  Mar 04 2009, 10:48 AM

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RUF is arguably the best-known tuner of Porsches and is even listed as a vehicle manufacturer in Germany. And yet the company has steered clear of the high-volume Cayenne SUV. Until now.

Perhaps its the downturn in the economy that has RUF looking for new ways to solidify its bottom line, because it’s not like they have come up with anything particularly new here.

OK, we’ll admit that the redesigned front end, made to look like a 911, is a new idea and RUF pulled it off excellently. The Dakara is also a wide body with flared fenders and other aerodynamic enhancements, like side skirts, a new rear bumper and a spoiler.

Other than that, the Dakara is just more of what we have already seen from TechArt, Rinspeed, Speedart, etc.

The twin-turbo V8 engine has been massaged to create 600hp at 6000 rpm and 656 ft-lbs of torque at 3000 rpm. RUF says this is enough for the big SUV to hustle to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds.

Other highlights include an upgraded suspension, a big set of RUF’s signature style wheels, a more powerful braking system (with ceramic brakes optional) and a high-end multimedia system, complete with a TV receiver, internet access and a CD/DVD player.

It may not be terribly new, but RUF is a company that is more about quality than about being the first to market.

GALLERY: RUF Dakara

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 |  Mar 04 2009, 10:09 AM

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Back in October, German Porsche tuner RUF took a new direction by unveiling an electric car concept based on the Porsche 911. Today at the Geneva Auto Show RUF took this project a step further, displaying the eRUF Greenster, on which the company will base a small series of cars set to go on sale in 2010.

The project is a combined effort with Siemens, which supplied the motor, electronics and interface.

The eRUF Greenster is powered by a single electric motor, however, the production model will use two motors. Currently it makes 270kW and 701 ft-lbs of torque. With a weight of 3,737 lbs, the Greenster can accelerate to 62 mph in just five seconds. It also has a top speed of 155mph.

The model shown is a Cabriolet, however, RUF says that the production model will be offered as both a coupe and convertible. Alois Ruf said the decision to include a drop-top model was made after many potential customers expressed interest in a green car where you are also able to experience the out-doors.

GALLERY: eRUF Greenster Concept

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 |  Mar 04 2009, 9:32 AM

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Tata Motors Chairman Ratan N. Tata announced that the company has created a model that will be exported to European markets – including Europe. The Indian car company unveiled this new model, the Tata Nano Europa at the Geneva Auto Show yesterday.

“In India,  the Nano will be launched on March 23, and the cars will be on display at company dealerships from the first week of April,” said Mr. Tata. “The  Nano has also generated wide interest in developed countries, since its unveiling in Delhi and its presentation here last year. We are delighted to present the Nano Europa for future launch in such markets.”

The Nano Europa is just 3.29 meters long (roughly 10.8 feet) and is 1.58 meters wide (roughly 5.2-feet). It features a slightly longer wheelbase than the standard model, for better handling as well as better interior space.

A more refined interior is also a part of the package.

The Nano Europa will be powered by a 3-cylinder aluminum engine mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. No output numbers are available but Tata says the engine will be class-leading – in terms of fuel-economy anyway.

Tata did say that the Europa already meets all European safety regulations, due to its energy absorbing design, air bags and use the of both ABS and stability control.

GALLERY: Tata Nano Europa

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More after the jump:

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 |  Mar 04 2009, 9:11 AM

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Earlier this year Toyota launched the iQ micro-car in Europe and now the Japanese automaker has unveiled  a more “performance-oriented” version of the cute and trendy iQ.

The new engine is a 99hp VVT-i 1.33-liter four-cylinder that makes 92 ft-lbs of torque at 4400 rpm. It comes standard with Toyota’s six-speed manual transmission, which features Toyota’s Stop & Start function, allowing the engine to be shut off at stop lights (or when stuck in traffic).

As soon as the operator puts the shifter in neutral and releases the clutch pedal, the engine shuts off. The engine will then restart when the clutch pedal is depressed within half a second. This is made possible by a permanently engaged gear mechanism that links the starter and flywheel.

Toyota says that its Stop & Start technology is good for a fuel-savings of 3 percent. As for the fuel-economy numbers, the iQ boasts a combined city/highway rating of 51 mpg (or 4.8 liters/100km).

The two iQ models currently offered are the 68hp 1.0-liter gasoline model and the 90hp 1.4-liter turbodiesel.

The iQ is just three meters long and Toyota claims it is the world’s smallest four-seater at just 3 meters (roughly 9.8 feet). You’d need to be an amputee from the waist-down to use the back seats though. And while the car is a hatchback, there’s about enough room behind the second row for a single sheet of paper.

The new 1.33-liter iQ will be offered in an iQ3 model, which comes with 16-inch wheels and a special Ash Grey paint.

GALLERY: Toyota iQ 1.33

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More on the Toyota iQ after the jump:

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 |  Mar 04 2009, 8:31 AM

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Mansory might be a little late to the Porsche Cayenne tuning game, but they certainly make up for it with creativity. The Mansory Chopster is 80 mm (3.2-inches) wider than the factory SUV and, as the Chopster name suggests, has a lowered roofline – by 60mm (2.4-inches).

With a wider stance and, therefore, better handling, Mansory set about to add power to the Cayenne Turbo S’s engine. Thanks to larger turbos, a new exhaust system and a reworked ECU, the Chopster lays down 710hp and 664 ft-lbs of torque. The vehicle’s new top speed is 188 mph!

The Chopster sits on a set of 23×11-inch wheels with 315/25/23 Dunlop tires. The brake system is equally enormous with eight-piston calipers up front that grab 16.5-inch rotors. In the rear is a four-piston brake system with 14.8-inch rotors.

In usual Mansory fashion, the interior of the Chopster is completely changed. In the rear sit just two captain’s chairs, as well as a fridge and headrest-mounted LCD screens.

GALLERY: Mansory Chopster

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Official release after the jump:

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 |  Mar 04 2009, 6:21 AM

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After teasing us with just one image a few weeks before the Geneva Auto Show, Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg has revealed the Quant Concept car. Shaped like a sedan with the design of a Koenigsegg, the Quant is a a solar-powered electric car with 512hp and 527 ft-lbs of torque.

This is enough to propel the Quant to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 171 mph.

To build this new vehicle Keonigsegg worked with NLV Solar AG to use new solar technology. The body of the Quant is actually coated in a thin layer of solar “film.” 

The main power for the vehicle, however, comes from two electric motors that can be recharged in just 15 to 20 minutes. The electric motors give the car a range of 500km (311 miles), which is extended by the solar generated film.

The car itself is exotic not only in its design but also in its makeup, with a carbon fiber body and a carbon/aluminum body. In total the projected curb weight is 3,924 lbs, due in part to the 309 lb electric motors. The car also features regenerative brakes.

The Quant is also a safe vehicle with ABS and stability control standard.

Koenigsegg says that they will begin tests on the car with the possibility of production at least three years off.

GALLERY: Koenigsegg Quant

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 |  Mar 04 2009, 5:22 AM

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The Mansory booth at the Geneva Auto Show was a showcase for four of the tuner’s creations. We already brought you news about the Lineo Vincero Bugatti Veyron, and while that vehicle might be the most obvious, the best looking of the cars is arguably the matte-black Bentley Continental GT.

That deep coat of paint covers the massive body of the Bentley Coupe, which has been modified by Mansory with a modified front fascia, wider front and rear fenders, side skirts, a new rear diffuser and a modified trunk lid with a lip spoiler. The aero kit helps reduce lift on the front of the car and increase downforce on the rear.

Mansory has modified the GT Speed with a retuned ECU and a new air intake system, bumping p0wer to 685hp. As for torque, it is now an impressive 656 ft-lbs at a surprisingly high 6100 rpm. Top speed for the Speed is now rated at 216 mph!

Handling has also been improved thanks to a height-adjustable suspension and new light-weight 21×10.5-inch wheels.

GALLERY: Mansory Bentley Continental GT Speed:

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More on the Mansory Continental GT Speed after the jump:

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 |  Mar 04 2009, 3:08 AM

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Today Aston Martin revived the Lagonda brand by unveiling a Lagonda concept car at the Geneva Auto Show. The only thing is, it’s more of a crossover.

Actually, it’s more of a truck. You see, crossovers are generally SUVs built on car platforms; the Lagonda Concept is based on the Mercedes-Benz GL truck platform.

“An Aston Martin is an authentic, pure sports car,” says Dr Ulrich Bez, “but Lagonda is something else, a new brand that will reach into new markets. Lagonda will create a new kind of customer relationship, instilling the spirit of travel, adventure and style into a single, formidable package.”

“An Aston Martin demands to be driven. A Lagonda demands a destination.”

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The vehicle also represents Aston Martin’s desire to expand and grow… in a big way. The Lagonda Concept is more than just a design study that is soon to be relegated to an automotive museum. Aston Martin has bold ambitions for the brand.

Currently Aston Martin vehicles are sold in just 32 countries worldwide. The Lagonda, said Dr. Bez, will be sold in 100 countries. That being said, production numbers are sure to far exceed anything Aston Martin currently produces.

The crossover design makes the Lagonda Concept able to be marketed around the world because it is more useable and unlike an Aston, doesn’t have any ground clearance issues. It also features four-wheel drive and seats four inside.

Once Lagondas go into production, the vehicles will be sold in the usual territories, as well as Russia, the Middle East, South America, India and China.

“The Lagonda is the luxury car of the future,” said Dr. Bez, “a combination of total usability, a new form and innovative new technology and materials.”

Aston is also going to use the Lagonda brand to explore alternative energy sources. There is no word on what can be found under the hood of the concept vehicle but future Lagondas could be powered by anything from a low emission diesel, a flexfuel engine or even a hybrid powerplant.

GALLERY: Lagonda Concept Car

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More on the Lagonda Concept after the jump:

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 |  Mar 03 2009, 4:57 PM

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We normally rag on the dozes of different SLR models that the Mercedes/McLaren partnership has come out with but this Brabus model is something else.

Based on a SLR roadster, Brabus has done just some mild work under the hood with new camshafts that bring the power output to 650hp at 6500 rpm. This is enough, says Brabus, to let the SLR accelerate to 62 mph in just 3.6 seconds. In true Brabus style the SLR has an outrageous top speed – 213 mph to be exact.

Other performance modifications include a self-locking differential.

As for that matte-black body, well, it’s more than just a paint job. This SLR actually features Brabus’s  new front lip, which reduces lift on the front axle.

Also shown on this model are a mean set of black Brabus Monoblock IV wheels, measuring 20×9.5-inches up front and 20×11.5-inches in the rear. The tires are 255/30/20 front and 305/25/20 rear.

Brabus might be most famous for it’s high performance engines, but the company is equally qualified at outfitting a car’s interior. This SLR features a quilted stitched leather floor… yes, floor! The interior also features Brabus’s sport steering wheel and plenty of carbon fiber goodies.

GALLERY: Brabus Mercedes/McLaren SLR

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 |  Mar 03 2009, 4:22 PM

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Nissan’s Qazana Concept vehicle may look like a far-from-reality idea, but Nissan has promised that this design study will in some way be a step towards a new crossover vehicle that will be built in the UK in the near future.

To stoke those flames, Alfonso Albaisa, Vice President, Nissan Design Europe, said that, “Qazana is a concept car and was created specifically for the Geneva Motor Show… but it should not be dismissed as a just a design study. It gives a clear direction of how a future small car from Nissan could look.

Albaisa continued saying, “When it comes to design, Nissan has developed a reputation for constantly delivering something different. The global success of Qashqai has proven that the car buying public is fed up with the conventional… but we are not prepared to sit on our laurels. Qazana might seem a radical solution but important elements of the concept do point to a future Nissan production vehicle.”

The Qazana is in many ways the evolution of the idea that was launched when Nissan first showed the Qashqai SUV. With the popularity of that model, Nissan followed-up with the Qashqai+2. And now the Qazana.

The exterior of the crossover was created by mixing design elements from SUVs and sports cars. It has a tall stance like any SUV would, but it also features short front and rear overhangs and a low roof-line. As for the rear lights, they mimic a design found on the 370Z.

The notably SUV-like wheel arches work to make the car both masculine but also friendly, as they lend a bubbly and fun feel to the SUV. Those wheel arches are a carryover from the Qashqai design concept and also take inspiration from the Murano SUV.

There is no word from Nissan on if the upcoming crossover will be offered in North America.

GALLERY: Nissan Qazana Concept

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Official release after the jump:

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 |  Mar 03 2009, 3:50 PM

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Not only did Aston Martin use the Geneva Auto Show to show-off, for the first time, its One-77 supercar; the company also brought along a cut-away model that shows the entire carbon-fiber chassis. And is it ever impressive.

It’s an amazing thing to see a carbon-fiber monocoque on a road car, with the carbon stretching from the roof to the pillars to the cockpit and throughout.

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We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves but we do have some new One-77 info to report.

At the press conference it was announced that not only will the Aston Martin supercar make more than 700hp (as previously reported), it will boast 750hp.

It will also weigh just 3,300 lbs., making it a serious performer in every way.

GALLERY: Aston Martin One-77

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GALLERY: Aston Martin One-77 Cut-Away

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 |  Mar 03 2009, 3:24 PM

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With Mitsubishi all set to launch a production version of the i MieV, the company is already looking to the future. According to the i MieV Sport Air Concept, that future might include mini electric sportscars.

This little teardrop shaped coupe is rear-wheel drive and features a perfect 50/50 weight distribution. And weighing just 2,161 lbs, with the heavy lithium-ion battery back located under the floor, the car is not only light  but has excellent stability due to a low center of gravity.

Also, an electric engine is conducive to a performance car because of the immediate availability of power. Total output is 81hp and 170 ft-lbs of torque. The concept car is also fitted with 17-inch wheels with somewhat low-profile 175/50/17 tires. The wheels are also pushed to the outer limits of the car for optimum stability.

Mitsubishi says that the car is more sporty and aggressively styled than the “cheeky” i MieV. It still looks cute to us though. And by cute, we mean ugly.

GALLERY: Mitsubishi i MieV Sport Air Concept:

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Official release after the jump:

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 |  Mar 03 2009, 12:57 PM

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Known as the DISI, the direct-injection turbocharged 2.3-liter engine found in the MazdaSpeed3 is back in the all-new 2010 MazdaSpeed3, but very little has changed. One might even say it’s a DISI-ppointment.

You see, the new MazdaSpeed3 makes exactly the same amount of power with 260 ps (263hp) and 280 ft-lbs of torque.  We were hoping that the new model would see a noticeable increase. It’s not like the MazdaSpeed3 needs it though.

This is enough for a 0-62 mph run of 6.1 seconds, so the run to 60 might be able to get under the 6.0-second mark.

The engine does get some advancements though. For starters, emissions are reduced thanks to a new single-nanotechnology catalytic converter. As well, the 2.3-liter engine gets 0.5 liters/100km (0.1 mpg) better fuel economy. 

In terms of technological advancements, the MAzdaSpeed3 starts to sound less like a disappointment. For starters the new engine geatures an advanced boost controller that reduces peaks for a more linear power delivery. The left and right drive shafts have been modified to reduce torque steer. The six-speed manual transmission now has wider ratios than before and the tranny uses a low-viscosity fluid to reduce shift effort.

With the new body and chassis, the 2010 MazdaSpeed3 is naturally better, however, it also gets large stabilizer bars, stiffer springs and shocks. As well, it now features 18-inch wheels with big brakes – 12.6-inches up front and 11-inches in the rear.

For more on the all-new Mazdaspeed3, keep reading after the jump:

GALLERY: MazdaSpeed3

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 |  Mar 03 2009, 9:36 AM

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Citing the current economic client Dr. Dieter Z, CEO of Mercedes-Benz, said that the upcoming vehicles from Mercedes are “anti-depressants on wheels.”

The stunning new E-Class Coupe is just one of these vehicles.

This new vehicle does away with the B-pillar and also features frameless windows. Incredibly, this new design is the most aerodynamic shape of any production vehicle with a coefficient of drag of just 0.24.

Mercedes intends to make the E-Class Coupe efficient in many other ways with steering and fuel pumps that only operate when necessary and an alternator that varies depending upon the driving situation and the on-board voltage. Mercedes has also equipped the E-Class Coupe with low rolling resistance tires.

Offered in The U.S. in June, the vehicle will be available as both an E350 and E550 – however five different engines will be offered in Europe. The E350 will make use of Mercedes’ V6 engine with 268hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque and the E550 will use the V8 engine which boasts 382hp and 391 ft-lbs of torque. Two four-cylinder engines will also be available in Europe.

Much like its sedan counterpart the E-Class Coupe will feature plenty of state-of-the-art performance and safety equipment, including Agility Control adaptive shock absorbers and Attention Assist drowsiness detection. High beam assist, which adjusts the vehicle’s headlights based on the distance to a vehicle ahead or one in the oncoming lane, is also standard.

In Europe the E-Class Coupe will also come equipped with an Active Hood that will raise two two inches during an impact to reduce injury to a pedestrian.

Standard equipment includes a leather interior with sport seats, a Panorama Sunroof, Mercedes’s Command System and automatic dual-zone climate control.

GALLERY 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe:

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Official release after the jump:

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