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.
Reborn from the ashes of a crumbling auto industry last year, Saab‘s latest concept is appropriately named PhoeniX.
The creation of Saab’s new design boss Jason Castriota, the PhoeniX is anything but beautiful. It is, however, an interesting look at what the Swedish automaker will bring to market in the near future. Perhaps the most exciting bit of news is a 200-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine that is mated to a 34-hp hybrid system to drive the rear wheels as well. Under normal operation, the eXDW system powers the front wheels, but can deliver power to the rear when added grip is necessary. Both start-stop technology and regenerative braking are included in the drivetrain. With it, Saab claims a 50-mpg rating.
For the techies out there, another important feature is the Saab iQon telematics system that uses Google’s Android operating system to deliver navigation, music storage and smart-phone connectivity.
These technologies, as well as the design of the PhoeniX, will find their way into the next generation of Saab products. “This is not a promise or a flight of fancy,” said Castriota at the car’s unveiling in Geneva, “but where the future of Saab is going.”
GALLERY: Saab PhoeniX Concept Debut
GALLERY: Saab PhoeniX Concept
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.
Earlier this week, we were all giddy with the idea that Shelby Supercars is producing the Ultimate Aero II in order to claim back its fastest production car world record. Now they’ve given Top Gear (of course) a first look at the entire vehicle from bumper to bumper, and teased the world with a fine shot of the Ultimate Aero II’s rear end.
And what a fine and futuristic-looking rear end it is. Clearly the styling designed by Jason Castriota (currently designing for Saab) is cutting edge and its menacingly low stance screams supercar. We’re definitely bigger fans of the front than the rear, but we also can understand the direction they’re going with the vehicle. Our only major complaint is the funky taillight design that vaguely reminds us of a Dodge Challenger. Oh, and we keep thinking that a blinking LED will just strip across the center ala KITT.
We just can’t wait to see this thing in action, and we’re going to have to (gulp) get ourselves a copy of that Top Gear!
When Bugatti unveiled the new Veyron Super Sport by announcing it had reclaimed the record as the world’s fastest production vehicle, the former record holder, Shelby Supercars (SSC), welcomed the challenge. Announcing that it would seek to top that record, SSC has also announced it will debut a new car (or at lest a new design) in order to do so.
SSC has now released the first teaser image of the upcoming successor to the Ultimate Aero, designed by none other than Jason Castriota who is known for having penned the famous Pininfarina P4/5 for James Glickenhaus.
Accompanying the photo are the words “The next generation is coming soon…” and, “Because life begins at 250.”
Set to debut in September, we expect the record setting attempt won’t be for quite a while after that, but we’ll be sure to keep on top of this story to see how long the Veyron Super Sport’s record stays intact.
The Lancia Stratos prototype seen scurrying around an unknown European test track has been the subject of much speculation in the automotive blogosphere, and the non-stop rumors can finally come to a close as official word leaks out about this wonderful creation.
It turns out that the Stratos will be a one-off after all, with the much-rumored “wealthy industrialist” commission coming from German auto parts magnate Michale Stoschek. Taking roughly two years to build at Pininfarina’s design studio, with an eight-cylinder engine rumored to be coming from a Ferrari F430 Scuderia. The Stratos is rumored to be getting an official reveal in November at the Paul Ricard circuit in France.
[Source: World Car Fans]
The recently spied Lancia Stratos is apparently heading for production, and not just a one-off creating intended for a wealthy collector. Car and Driver magazine reports that Jason Castriota, the man responsible for the Bertone Mantide and Ferrari 599, has penned the project. Castriota is now Saab’s new design chief, indicating that the Stratos was under development for some time prior to his departure.
Technical details are scarce, but expect something wild, as this will almost certainly be a halo car for the FIAT group as a whole, and not just the Lancia brand. Initial rumors that the Stratos is the private plaything of a wealthy customer were only half-true. While outside investment was courted to make the Stratos a reality, the car will be produced in limited numbers ala the Alfa Romeo 8C.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but if you haven’t already been invited to buy the car, you likely will never be able to.
[Source: Car and Driver]
While the real stars of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance are the vintage autos, the Concept Lawn is a special place where future show-stoppers are put on display. While some of the models are actually concepts, many are rare coachbuilt models and a few are full-production cars.
In the concept category there was the luxury convertible plug-in hybrid, the Fisker Sunset, as well as the absolutely stunning Infiniti Essence Concept - a hybrid in it’s own right, making 600hp thanks to a 440hp twin-turbo direct-injection 3.7-liter V6 and a 160hp electric motor.
Included in the list of Coachbuilt creations was the edgy Corvette ZR1-based Stile Bertone Mantide. This is no kit car, however, as the vehicle was designed by Jason Castriota, the man who also penned the Pininfarina P4/5. Plus, it weights 220 lbs less than the ZR1 for even more performance.
Also on display was the Devon GTX (pictured above), arguably the arch-nemesis of the Mantide, as it is based on the Dodge Viper. With a more shapely body than the Mantide, the 650hp GTX is scheduled to attempt to set a new fastest lap time at the Nürburgring. No doubt there’s some ego involved in this announcement as Devon attempted to buy Viper from Chrysler but the deal was never completed.
In the production category cars ranged from the reasonably well priced (Lotus Evora) to the ridiculous (Bugatti Sang Bleu). The four-seater Lotus is scheduled to be released early next year, while the ultra-limited edition Bugatti is based on the convertible Grand Sport model. Other production or near production models included the Spyker C8 Aileron Spyder, V-10 powered Audi R8, the 750hp carbon-chassis Aston Martin One-77, a Morgan, the all-new 510hp 2010 Jaguar XJL Supersport, the Mercedes-McLaren SLR Stirling Moss and the Rolls-Royce EX200, aka, the Ghost. And who could forget the misplaced SMS 570X Dodge Challenger.