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.
Ralph Lauren’s prestigious sports car collection is on show for the first time at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Lauren is normally reluctant to publicly display his vehicles, although he last let publications such as Road & Track and Vanity Fair get a glimpse of various vehicles in his stable. Cars from manufacturers like Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Porsche and Ferrari will be on display. The show is on from April 28 to August 28.
[Source: The Snob Magazine]
It’s often referred to as the ‘City of Lights,’ but it seems that France’s capital is taking a somewhat less enlightened approach when it comes to motorists.
Government officials in Paris are proposing a series of regulations that would try to ban, or at least, heavily inconvenience owners of said vehicles and what is termed older, high polluting diesel cars and trucks that enter the city center.
However, actual details of the plan, including the specific types of targeting, the areas and hours of zone enforcement, along with fees and charges, have still yet to be determined.
Given the current high profile the issue of pollution enjoys, relative to perceived environmental concerns, vehicle emissions and cars with large engines or physically larger dimensions have been a frequent political target for law makers in Europe.
However, trying to enforce such laws can prove highly complex, if not impossible, since vehicle usage is generally a more accurate purveyor of true emissions output, rather than the type or size of vehicle.
However, during a broadcast with French Radio Station RTL last year, the deputy mayor of Paris, Denis Beaupain, went as far as stating; “I’m sorry, but in a city, having a sport utility vehicle makes no sense. Sell it and buy a vehicle more compatible with city life.”
Others are taking a more balanced view. Francois Roudier, vice president for communications at the Paris based CCFA (Comite des Constructeurs Francais) said, in reference to banning certain types of vehicles, especially old diesels; categorizing what constitutes such vehicles is “very hard to define.” M. Roudier also says such programs are inherently politically motivated and often unfair; they simply end up hurting poorer members of society who can’t afford to purchase new cars.
French automakers have stated they are willing to discuss the proposals with lawmakers though admit that at present, specifics are still to vague for serious comment.
Paris currently has some of the worst traffic jams in Europe, with drivers losing up to 70 hours of time a year in gridlock, but in France as a whole, small diesel cars predominate the auto market by a wide margin, whereas genuine SUVs represent a very small fraction of total vehicles sales (largely because of existing tax regulations and high MSRP costs).
Therefore, such a ban as proposed by the city government, even if it does materialize, is likely to have very little effect on reducing pollution.
[Source: The New York Times]
Owning any Ferrari is something special. Owning a rare Ferrari like the Enzo is even more impressive. But a one-off special, built specifically for you, takes it to a level that can’t be measured.
James Glickenhaus should know, since he owns the only Ferrari P4/5 in the world, a car with the underpinnings of the Enzo and a body designed by Pininfarina on his request. The end result is both beautiful and functional.
Thankfully Mr. Glickenhaus did not turn it into a garage queen or a museum piece. He enjoys driving it and shares the videos with the rest of the world. His latest video has him high speed testing at a track in France, followed by a trip to the center of Paris. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and best sounding supercars of all time. Watch the video below to see what we mean:
Citroen’s Survolt electric car is pretty single-minded. While the Tesla Roadster is an electric sports car for the road, the Survolt is meant to be an outright race car.
With two electric motors making 300 horsepower, the Survolt has muscle, and can hit over 160 miles per hour. 0-60 comes in just under 5 seconds, and the best part is the 124 miles means that you can put a fair number of laps in before it needs more juice. Inside, full bucket seats and a roll cage keep you safe, while the rest of the interior matches the funky styling.
Gallery: Citroen Survolt
Most of you are familiar with the Chevrolet Orlando, the minivan touted by Chevrolet as a game-changer that was canned at the last minute for the United States.
We were lucky enough to get our first glimpse of the Orlando during its unveiling here in Paris, and it’s actually a bit larger than expected.
The Orlando gets a choice of 4-cylinder engines, ranging in displacement from a 1.8L four-cylinder to a pair of 2.0L diesels, with a max output of 163 horsepower. Inside, the Orlando is pretty similar to its Cruze stablemate, but with a couple extra seats. Ford’s C-Max, which is going to be sold over here, is the more interesting American minivan if you ask us.
Check out the press release after the jump
Gallery: Chevrolet Orlando
Abarth, Fiat’s in-house tuner, launched two new vehicles at the 2010 Paris Auto Show, both which feature the optional “esseesse” kits that give the cars a modest power boost.
The Abarth 500C Esseesse is the most powerful version of Fiat’s 500 hatchback, and Abarth introduced a convertible version based on the 500C as a companion to the fixed roof model. Specs remain the same, with 160 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque from its 1.4L turbo engine. 0-60 time is 7.6 seconds, with a top speed of 129 mph.
The larger Punto Evo esseessse gets 180 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque, but most move a bit more metal, giving it nearly identical performance figures. The Punto hits 60 in 7.5 seconds and tops out at 134 mph.
The esseesse kits feature some neat enhancements, beyond the tuned air filter and muffler systems. Seatbelts are now made by renowned racing equipment manufacturer Sabelt, and the GPS system has a built in telemetry system by Magnetti Marelli, the same company that makes data loggers and electronic equipment for Ferrari.
Gallery: Abarth Punto Evo
Gallery: Abarth 500C
Lotus CEO Dany Bahar noted that the current Elise has been on sale for nearly 15 years, and we couldn’t but help wonder if it really needs replacing. In our minds, the Elise could go for another 15 and still look timeless, like the Citroen DS or Acura NSX.
According to Bahar, the current Elise must evolve into something more in line with Lotus’ anticipated customer base. The bare-bones roadster thrills are out, and the new geometric styling regime is in, along with a 320 horsepower 2.0L Toyota four-cylinder engine. A 6 speed manual and a (gasp) paddle shift automatic are available, with the car tipping the scales at 2,409 pounds – light by today’s standards, but nearly 500 lbs more than a current Elise, for the hefty price of $55,000.
If this car will help save Lotus, then so be it, but deep in our hearts, the one true Elise will always be the one that made you trip and fall whenever you tried to enter or exit the car.
Gallery: Lotus Elise Concept
The original Lotus Elan was an icon, a two-seat, four-cylinder roadster that weighed 1,400 pounds and was the inspiration for the Mazda Miata. The new one couldn’t be more different.
Styled in the same vein as the new Esprit, the supercharged 4.0L V6 makes 450 horsepower and an optional hybrid system help rocket the Elan to a 193 mph top speed and a mid-3 second 0-60 time.
The 2+2 configuration suggests that this car might replace the Evora, which seats 4, although the $118,500 price tag is quite a bit more than the current Evora’s sticker.
Gallery: Lotus Elan
In the long line of hot hatchbacks we wont get comes another enticing product, the Audi A1 1.4TFSI. Based on the more accesible Volkswgaen Polo GTI, the A1 gets the same 1.4TFSI twincharged engine and DSG gearbox, in a much more upscale package.
An S-Line bodykit and bigger wheels help set it apart from lesser A1s, and the car’s estimated $31,000 puts it in the rareified world of more expensive sports cars, making it unlikely that we’ll ever see it on our shores. But boy, does it ever look good.
Gallery: Audi A1 1.4TFSI
Audi‘s E-Tron Spyder debuted at the Paris Auto Show today, and surprised observers by departing from the purely electric setup seen in previous E-Tron concepts.
The Spyder will use a 3.0L TDI V6 and a DSG transmission to power the rear wheels, while the fronts get a pair of twin electric motors. An aluminum space frame chassis helps keep weight low, as does carbon-fiber re-enforced plastic bodywork. With the E-Tron coupe set to go on sale in 2012, it’s possible that it could be joined by the Spyder shown here.
Gallery: Audi E-Tron Spyder
Audi‘s R8 GT, the most hardcore version of its R8 sports car, got its first public premiere at the Paris Auto Show. Sporting a 40 horsepower bump from its 5.2L V10 engine (up to 560 horsepower) and a host of weight reductions thanks to the use of carbon fiber, polycarbonate windows and thinner glass, the R8 GT should satisfy the most hardcore sports car addicts.
Only 333 examples will be made, and if you haven’t already been invited to buy one, you probably will never have the chance to own one. That and the $256,000 price tag.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
Gallery: Audi R8 GT
Volkswagen‘s Passat had its official unveiling today in Paris, and while the car boasts sharp, Phaeton-inspired lines, it won’t be coming to North America.
Our side of the Atlantic will get a market-specific sedan, but the Passat soldiers on in Eurpoe and the rest of the world. With a whole new range of engines, both diesel and gasoline and features like a start-stop system and Park Assist, which can parallel park the car on its own, the Passat looks like yet another great car we won’t get.
Hit the jump for more information
Gallery: 2011 Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen‘s Passat was unvieled in advance of the Paris Auto Show today, and for the first time in years, North America won’t be getting it. Instead, we’ll be receiving a an all new car designed to compete with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. The rest of the world gets the Passat seen here.
Underneath the non-descript bodywork, the Passat gets a whole range of engines, from a 105 horsepower gasoline engine to a 3.6L 6-cylinder making 300 horsepower. Diesels, of course, will be on offer for Europe’s taxi drivers.
Details are still scarce, but if you’re interested in a cut-rate Phaeton and live outside North America, you could scarcely do better. Check back for our Paris Auto Show coverage and the launch of the new VW Passat.
Gallery: 2011 Volkswagen Passat
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
Lamborghini has released yet another teaser of their so-called “technology concept”, with this photo showcasing the carbon fiber technology that’s said to feature prominently in future Lamborghinis.
Previous photos have highlighted things like smaller engines (a relative term, of course, when you go from a V12 to a V10) and discussed the importance of light weight. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the supercar maker from Sant’Agata wants to cut weight as environmental regulations get increasingly tougher. The use of carbon fiber, as seen above, is going to be an integral part of future Lamborghinis, and other supercar makers will almost certainly have to follow suit, or risk a demise at the hands of environmental legislation.
With the Paris Auto Show just days away, we’ll finally get a look at the new Lamborghini, whatever it may be. Stay tuned to our Paris Auto Show page for more coverage.
Judging by the hubcap-looking pieces attached to the front wheels, our guess is two electric motors providing motivation to the MINI-resembling two-wheeler.
Volvo unceremoniously killed off their S60R and V70R some years ago, but they still kept their R-design appearance packages around, for those who wanted a more aggressive looking Volvo.
With the new S60 and V60 R-Design, the cosmetic upgrades are back, but a few mechanical changes are taking place as well. A strut tower brace, firmer springs and bushings make up most of the upgrades, but the real treat is a torque-vectoring traction control system that will appear on S60 AWD models. The new package will debut at the Paris Auto Show next week.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
Gallery: Volvo R-Design