Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Suzuki Swift

Suzuki has unveiled the third generation of its Swift supermini. Measuring 3850mm in length, 1695mm in width and 1510mm high, the Swift is 90mm longer than the previous version, while the wheelbase has grown from 2380mm to 2430mm.

Extensive use of higher-strength steel has resulted in the bodyshell being both lighter and stiffer than before. Suzuki claims that the intention with the new Swift's styling was to make the car appear more dynamic and energetic, athletic and elegant, sporty and emotional.

Clearly an evolutionary design, the exterior features a softer, more expressive DRG that features larger swept-back headlights and a prominent feature line, which better integrates the more rounded upper and lower grille apertures.

Suzuki say that the interior design features black keynote colors with silver accenting - but has not yet released photos of the interior, or rear of the car. European launch is scheduled for autumn this year. We expect the Swift to make its motor show debut in Paris in September.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Luxgen Luxgen7

After revealing the Luxgen7 MPV, Luxgen has now revealed the Luxgen7 SUV, the second vehicle to be launched by the new Taiwanese brand.

Like its MPV stablemate, the SUV has been created under the direction of James Shyr, former Director of Design of GM's Global Design Leadership Team at PATAC. According to its maker, the Luxgen7 SUV expresses both power and confidence through its front face, which employs a wing-shaped chrome trim and cascading grille, while its coupe-like profile and upward sweeping beltline is meant to convey a sense of forward motion. At 4800mm long, 1930mm wide and 1760mm tall, the SUV is amongst the largest vehicles in its segment.

The interior design emphasizes the luxury aspect of the automaker's name - Luxgen is a blend of 'luxury' and 'genius' - and features an exclusive 'anti-theft sport seat' that slides forward and against the steering wheel at the push of a button, preventing unauthorized access to the vehicle.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Honda Odyssey

Honda has unveiled its fourth generation North American market Odyssey mini van, set to go on sale this Fall. Previewed by the concept vehicle first show at this year's Chicago auto show and again at the New York auto show, the production model retains the design language and many of the features seen in the concept.

Most notable of these is what Honda refers to as the 'lightning-bolt' beltline - which kinks aft of the C-pillar - adding a degree of visual entertainment to an otherwise traditionally flat mini-van side profile and - so Honda claims - making it easier for third row passengers (who are likely to be children) to see out.

Measuring 5133mm in length, 1958mm wide and 1778mm high, the new Odyssey is 40mm lower than the outgoing model, which its makers claim combine with its 35mm wider track to make it look it look sleeker and more dynamic.

Inside, Honda has worked hard to improve the level of perceived quality and increased the amount of space for oddment stowage, along with increasing provision for multi-media and communications equipment to every seat passenger.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Nissan Sentra 2.0 SL

Nissan gave the Sentra a light refresh for 2010 with new front fascia, grille, front and rear light housings and body-side molding with chrome inserts. The changes on the outside would be hard for me to pick up on unless I had the updated model and the previous model side by side, to be honest. The current-generation Sentra has never stood out to me from a design standpoint and still looks a bit dull to my eye.

However, I did pick up on the new stereo head unit in the interior, which looks sleeker and is user-friendly.

The good news for your pocketbook is that Nissan dropped the base price across the entire Sentra lineup for 2010. In the case of our 2.0 SL model, the base price was reduced by $1,100 compared with the 2009 model year--not too shabby.

The car also stacks up well against the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla. With a solid platform, the Sentra handles and changes directions quick. I was pleasantly surprised by the steering, which had nice weight and steering feel, unlike most regular Nissan vehicles. The suspension is competent to tackle daily road problems such as bumps and holes fine with some lean through turns.

Performance from the 2.0-liter is sufficient, and the CVT wasn't bad. I still prefer the operation of a good old-fashion torque-converter automatic instead of the drone CVT-equipped vehicles have under hard acceleration. Brake performance is also strong with a solid pedal feel.

The interior is straight-forward with good quality materials and plastics trim finishes throughout. As with the exterior, it's on the dull side, but is a comfortable enough place to be.

The thing is, simple and bland styling with competent driving performance and good fuel economy reigns supreme in this category. For that, the Sentra has it all down pat.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Luxury Bugatti Supercarmaker

Recently, there are some rumor that Bugatti, the luxury supercarmaker is trying to build something similar of its sister company Audi with the E-tron. As the Bugatti that always expect for high horsepower. Thus, they will be looking for the range of 800 horses in this new model and they will need help from the VW Group’s repertoire of electric drive train units.

So far the unit already been built but it is only for showcase of technology and no plan to make it into production yet. The prototype is designed based on the chassis of a Bentley Continental GT, with the electric motor, which powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery, created 2,200 Nm of torque deom just 0 rpm. However, this also made a problem of discharging the battery power after a simple bout of power.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

BMW Mega City Vehicle at 2013

BMW has announce that it will have its much-talked-about Megacity electric car on the market by 2013. Previously, the German automaker had only hinted that it would produce the urban runabout in the first half of the decade. Also of note is that the Megacity EV will be launched under a new sub-brand, much in the same way that the automaker has used its Mini branch to enter into lower-market segments without taking the chance of tarnishing the well-earned reputation of its corporate roundel.

Autocar is reporting that the Megacity will have a range of roughly 160 miles per charge, and about 20 percent of that range will be due to an aggressive regenerative braking system (yet another similarity to the Mini E). Further, BMW does not plan to lease its battery packs separately, as some automakers have hinted is a possibility. Instead, BMW believes that its packs will still have 85 percent of their stated capacity after the car’s lifespan is complete, making the power sources valuable on the used market to power companies.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 Saab 9-5 Aero XWD

It's the first new 9-5 since 1997 and a key to Saab's planned resurgence as an independent automaker.

The next-generation Saab 9-5 will compete with a host of midsize luxury sedans, most prominently the Audi A6. Its 111.7-inch wheelbase is nearly identical to the A6's. With a length of 197.2 inches, the 9-5 is longer than just about all its potential competitors, including the A6, the BMW 5-series, the Mercedes-Benz E-class and the Lexus GS.

The 9-5 was ready for launch when a bankrupt General Motors began negotiations to cut loose the Saab brand. The car is based on GM's Epsilon platform, which also provides the foundation for sedans such as the Opel Insignia and the Buick Regal, and its engines and transmissions and are drawn from GM's inventory.

The 9-5 Aero XWD debuts in the United States as a 2010 model, powered by a 2.8-liter VVT V6 with a six-speed automatic and a new all-wheel-drive system developed with Swedish supplier Haldex. The V6 uses a single, dual-scroll turbocharger and generates 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

In the current fashion, the Aero also features a driver-adjustable electronics package called DriveSense. DriveSense alters steering weight, shock-absorber rates, shift points, throttle map and front-rear power distribution with a single three-option switch. The choices include comfort, sport and intelligent, which automatically adjusts electronic controls according to the driver's inputs.

When it reaches showrooms this July, the 9-5 Aero is expected to retail at a tick less than $50,000. The 2011 9-5 will follow by September, at which point Saab North America will add a four-cylinder, front-drive model starting at less than $40,000.

The base 9-5 gets a 2.0-liter direct-injection turbo four delivering 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, with a standard six-speed manual. All-wheel drive will be optional with the four-cylinder.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X

It's a turn-key race car straight from the factory which distills the Viper ACR down to the performance essentials, while adding in some of the features found on the tube chassis Viper Competition Coupe. Anything remotely close to being considered a luxury amenity is out, such as air conditioning, interior trim panels and a passenger seat. In place of those items are the race seat from the Competition Coupe, aero upgrades, a fire-suppression system, Michelin race slicks, a Momo steering wheel, a roll cage, a stiffer KW suspension, upgraded brakes, a transmission cooler and more power.

The heart remains the 8.4-liter V10, which gains forged pistons, a new PCV system, headers and freer flowing exhaust. It loses its catalytic converters to produce an additional 40 hp and 45 lb-ft of torque for a total of 640 hp and 605 lb-ft of torque. That, along with the 160 pounds of weight lost compared with standard production Vipers, aero improvements and tires, make for thoroughbred track beast.

With current-generation Viper production ending this summer, the ACR-X is the most hard-core limited-edition version that Viper Nation will be able to get their hands on. It's so hard-core that it's not street-legal. Twenty-five people have spoken for the first batch, with a second batch of 25 cars being considered for production if demand warrants.

The cars are eligible for the STO category in the SCCA with a restrictor and in a newly developed Dodge Viper Cup spec series that will be sanctioned by the Viper Racing League. The season kicks off the weekend of July 9 at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va., and will be followed by four more events, each consisting of two races. Dodge Motorsports and Mopar plan to put up more than $200,000 in prize money and Mopar parts vouchers for the season.

Friday, June 4, 2010

BMW, Brilliance break ground on second plant

100,000 BMWs annually before ramping up to around 200,000 units by 2012. BMW says that the plant’s maximum capacity is around 300,000 new cars – a figure nearly seven times the automaker’s current Chinese production capacity.

BMW’s year-to-date sales are up nearly 77 percent in China to around 22,000 units; combined with its MINI division, sales have climbed more than 100 percent over last year’s numbers. The automaker says that the new plant will significantly increase its available inventory.

BMW has struggled in China against Volkswagen’s Audi luxury brand, which has had the capability to build more cars in China.