AutoGuide News Blog
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.
What’s the one car Michael Schumacher cannot pass? The official Formula One Safety Car, of course! That’s the riddle Mercedes-Benz’ Dr. Dieter Zetsche asked before introducing the SLS AMG F1 Safety Car at the Geneva Auto Show.
The SLS AMG Safety Car then drove to the stage and its gullwing doors opened up to reveal the driver, Michael Schumacher and his passenger, Grand Prix teammate Nico Rosberg.
The SLS AMG at every round of the 2010 F1 season, ready to deploy whenever accidents or bad weather make it too dangerous to race.
The official safety car needs to be fast enough to lead the F1 grid at a high enough speed to prevent the race cars’ tires and brakes from cooling down or their engines from overheating. With a 6.3L v8 engine claiming 571 hp and 479.4 ft-lb. of torque, the SLS AMG should be up to the task.
As impressive as the standard-production SLS AMG is, the Safety Car receives a number of updates to fit its role. Apart from the F1 logos and integrated television camera, the Safety Car is distinguishable by its carbon-fiber mirrors and a new carbon-fiber hood. The rear aerofoil pops up when the car reaches 93 mph, and together with the rear diffuser, provides added downforce.
Inside, the Safety Car is equipped with monitors and a radio system to help driver Bernd Maylander and co-driver Pete Tibbetts see and hear what’s going on in the race. A second interior mirror is installed so Tibbetts can keep an eye on the F1 cars following the Safety Car. The central display on the instrument cluster and on the glove compartment provide the same marshalling signals the F1 drivers see in their cockpits.
The SLS AMG Safety Car will be joined by another Mercedes-Benz at F1 races. The C63 AMG Estate returns in 2010 as the official F1 Medical Car, ready to respond to race emergencies.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Formula One Safety Car
Ferrari is reportedly taking pre-orders for an ultra-high-performance version of the already impressive 599 GTB. The vehicle, referred to as the 599 GTO on Ferrari’s ordering information, is rumored to be inspired by the 599XX track-only model that launched earlier this year at the Geneva Auto Show.
Not only would the 599 GTO get a more powerful V12 engine with anywhere from 680 to 700-hp (up from the standard car’s 611-hp rating), but it would also weigh anywhere from 100 to 150-lbs less. We expect a more light-weight race-inspired interior as well as carbon fiber body parts to help reduce the weight.
With just 500 models set for production the asking price would be closer to the $400,000 mark.
Expect to see the production version debuted at next year’s Geneva Auto Show in March.
GALLERY: Ferrari 599XX
[Source: Autogespot via WorldCarFans]
Audi’s upcoming A1 small car is set to arrive in Europe in 2010, but unlike the rest of the Audi lineup, the car won’t be offered with the German automaker’s impressive quattro all-wheel drive system. Instead the car will be front-drive only – even the high-performance S1 and RS1 (hypothetical at this point) will stay front-drive.
The decision does make sense, as the AWD setup is heavy, which automatically makes for a less fuel-efficient package. Fuel economy is also harmed by the necessity to use a larger engine or add more horsepower in order to have an AWD car keep up with front or rear drive competitors.
According to a report in German auto-pub AutoBild, the A1 will debut in coupe form at the Geneva Auto Show this coming march and go on sale in Europe later that year. An S1 model will follow, as well an A1 Sportback and A1 Cabrio.
Little is known about the car’s powerplant but the performance-oriented S1 is expected to be powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with a 7-seed s-tronic tranmission. It will make 180-hp and be able to hit 62 mph in 6.9 seconds.
[Source: Autobild via GermanCarBlog]
Volvo will use the Geneva Auto Show next March as the platform to debut its new S60 luxury sedan. The Swedish automaker has even released two images of what the upcoming vehicle will look like and we’re happy to report that much of the more dynamic styling from the concept car has been carried over. Volvo is making a big push to update its image as of late, with vehicles like the XC60, as well as the refreshed V70 and C30.
“The all-new Volvo S60 is sculpted to move you. It looks and drives like no other Volvo before and the car’s technology will help you to be safer and more confident behind the wheel,” says Volvo CEO Stephen Odell. “Customers in this segment want emotional appeal, sporty design and dynamic driving properties. The S60 has it all. We are convinced that it will be one of the strongest contenders around.”
Volvo is keeping tight-lipped about the new vehicle but it will get the company’s new Pedestrian Detection system, which can not only “see” if there is a person in front of the car, but will actually bring the car to a complete stop of the driver doesn’t react.
GALLERY: 2010 Volvo S60
Official release after the jump:
American supercar to get Lotus underpinnings, Corvette engine
Initially thought to be a far-fetched fantasy, Hennessey Performance Engineering has announced that it will debut its Venom GT supercar at the Geneva Auto Show next year and AutoGuide has learned some important chassis and powertrain info about the vehicle. In a chat with company founder and CEO John Hennessy at the SEMA Show last week, he informed us that rather than a more obvious twin-turbo Viper V10 powerplant, the Venom GT will be powered by a version of the supercharged Chevrolet LS9 motor – the same one found under the hood of the Corvette ZR1. This also happens to be the very same engine used in Hennessey’s new HPE700 Camaro where it makes 725-hp.
As for the chassis, as the photos suggest, the Venom is very much a Lotus underneath. The car will be based on a modified Lotus Exige S platform. Hennessey says that his company has always worked with existing platforms and so they chose to do the same with the Venom GT. This project will be far more involved than “just” building a high-performance engine, however, Hennessey says that by using an existing chassis with many existing parts, licensing the vehicle will be much easier and without a donor platform the project would take much longer.
Hennessey also told us that this “all-American” supercar won’t be built in the U.S. Instead, Hennessey has chosen to create the vehicle in the U.K., near Lotus and surrounded by the “cottage-industry” of specialized high-performance shops that exist there as a part of the U.K.’s Formula 1 hub.
In the past, Hennessey has said the Venom GT would make as much as 1,200-hp, weigh just 2,400 lbs, have a 0-60 mph time of 2.4 seconds and a top speed of 272 mph!
We’ll have to wait for the Geneva Auto Show in March to find out more.
GALLERY: Hennessey Venom GT
Next MINI vehicle likely not due out until Geneva Auto Show in March
Originally expected to debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show, it appears as though those waiting to get their hands on MINI’s new Countryman crossover will have to wait a little longer… again. After the Frankfurt delay it was expected the CUV would appear at the next major auto show: Detroit. Now word comes that instead of being unveiled on U.S. soil in January, the Countryman won’t appear until the Geneva Auto Show in March.
The reason for the holdup has to do with MINI’s parent company. BMW has contracted Magna Steyr to build the Countryman in Austria, but that plant is currently the location where the BMW X3 is built. As an incredibly profitable vehicle for BMW (and apparently still a reasonably high volume seller) BMW is loathe to hault production before it starts building the new X3 in the U.S.
So in order to squeeze ever last cent out of the original X3, BMW is delaying the Countryman.
Word of this development comes from the MINI-freaks at MotoringFile, who have also learned that the Countryman will come with a banded AWD line, much like BMW’s xDrive, which will be called All4.
While the 2011 Hyundai Tucson isn’t set to officially debut until the Geneva Auto Show in March, the Korean automaker has released some details and a few photos of the new model for the Korean market.
In Korea two engines will be offered, a diesel and a gasoline motor, both of which will have a displacement of 2.0-liters. The diesel will make 184hp and get 36 mpg, while the gasoline motor will make 166hp and get 27.5 mpg. Both engines will be paired with a new six-speed automatic transmission. The diesel powerplant will be available with either front-drive or AWD, while the gasoline will be offered only as FWD.
When it makes its way to North America, expect AWD to be available with the gasoline motor and we’re still expecting to hear news of a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Notable features on the new model include stability control, downhill brake control and hill-start assist, a backup camera and a panoramic sunroof.
Called the ix35 in some markets, the Tucson is expected to keep its traditional Arizona name when it arrives in the U.S.
GALLERY: 2011 Hyundai Tucson
Official release after the jump:
Viper tuner to build 1,200hp ground-up supercar with 272 mph top speed
We had all but relegated Hennessey’s Venom GT supercar to the concept car history books but it appears as though the 1,200hp monster is anything but a piece of fiction. Hennessey Performance Engineering, known best for tuning Dodge Vipers, has announced that it will build the car and unveil it at the Geneva Auto Show this winter.
Aiming to take on vehicles like the Bugatti Veyron and Koenigsegg CCX, the Venom GT will be powered by a V8 engine (likely twin-turbocharged) and capable of as much as 1,200hp. With a cub weight of just 2,400 lbs, Hennessey expects a 0-60 mph time of just 2.4 seconds and a top speed of 272 mph!
GALLERY: Hennessey Venom GT Concept
Full specifications after the jump:
A post on one of TopGear’s blogs last week had everyone chatting about a new Lexus hybrid designed to take on the BMW 1-Series and Audi A3 in Europe. Now word comes from Lexus enthusiast site My.IS that the rumored Lexus C-Premium concept, which will debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show this fall, will arrive as the CT200h at the Geneva Auto Show in early 2010.
Better yet, CT300h and CT400h versions of the car are expected to follow. Lexus filed for trademarks on all three of the names in the U.S. recently, although the company only filed for the CT200h name in Canada.
The name would seem to coincide with the vehicle itself. The “C” standing for the European C-Premium segment of compact luxury cars. The “T” would seem to suggest (as has already been rumored) that the car would be a hatchback or, as the European’s say, “touring” model. The car will be based on the new Prius platform and as such be front-wheel drive.
The folks over at My.IS put on their thinking caps and came up with just what these new names will mean in terms of powerplants. Unlike Toyotas, where the hybrid system works primarily to save fuel, with Lexus models it works to deliver the performance of a larger engine, while getting the fuel economy of a smaller one. For example, the Lexus RX450h uses a 3.5-liter V6, but according to Lexus it has the power of a 4.5-liter V8.
The CT200h, therefore, is likely to use Toyota’s 1.8-liter four-cylinder but make power equivalent to a 2.0-liter engine. The CT300h will use a hybrid setup mated to the company’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder to make the power of a 3.0-liter V6 with 2.4-liter fuel-economy. And finally the CT400h would get a hybridized version of the 3.5-liter V6, making the power of a 4.0-liter V8 – although we’ll believe that when we see it.
Still, it looks like Lexus has quite a lineup of exciting hybrid hatchbacks headed for Europe.