Peugeot 208 images hit the internet

Peugeot's new Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo chasing 208 has been revealed in a series of official photographs published on the internet today.

Peugeot 208 (click to enlarge)

Youngman (owner of Saab) and Proton finalising new SUV

TheAutoInsider: Youngman, the fledgling Chinese car maker that together with Chinese car dealer giant Pang Da purchased Saab last week for the sume of 100 million Euros, is putting the finishing touches to a new SUV.

Pictured here wearing disguise as it undergoes testing in and around Beijing, the new car has been developed by Malaysian car maker Proton, parent company of Lotus, with which Youngman has close links. Youngman sells Proton models in China under the Youngman-Lotus name.

The new SUV, which may get an airing in concept car guise at the upcoming Guangzhou auto show, is rumoured to draw on the Lotus APX concept first wheeled out at the 2006 Geneva auto show.

Mercedes-Benz and BYD to deubt new joint venture electric car in April

TheAutoInsider: Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler and its Chinese based joint venture partner BYD plan to unveil their new electric car at next year's Beijing auto show shortly before the new car goes on sale in China.

Computer generated renderings of the five door hatchback, which is based on the underpinnings of the old first generation B-class, were first made public in a patent application earlier this year.

Mercedes-Benz and BYD's joint venture electric car

Saab: Big investment promised by new Chinese owners

TheAutoInsider: The company handling Saab's bankrupcy proceedings, Guy Lofalk, has announced the new owners of the troubled Swedish car maker,  China based Youngman and Pang Da, have promised investments totalling 610 million Euros through 2012.

The much needed cash injection will be used in the development of new Saab models, including the long awaited replacement for today's 9-3 pictured below for the first time.

The investment comes on top of the 50 million Euros Youngman and Pang Da have promised to once again get production at Saab's Trollhatten plant up and running. Saab has also secured 63 million Euros in loans from the European Investment Bank. 

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series: It's German for "move over . . . "

TheAutoInsider: Standard Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG coupe just not powerful enough for you? Then clasp your eyes on the upcoming Black Series version of the thundering two seater. Expected launch: late 2012.

Mini Roadster revealed

Mini Roadster (click to enlarge)

TheAutoInsider: Mini has pulled the wraps off its new Roadster, two years after it made its debut as a concept at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show.
The two seat open offers the same range of 1.6-litre four-cylinder gasoline engines as the recent introduced Coupe, with which it shares its styling.

They include a naturally aspirated 121bhp unit in the Cooper along with twin-scroll turbocharged versions kicking out 181bhp in the Cooper S and 208bhp in the range topping John Cooper Works models. 

Mini quotes 0-62mph and top speed figures of 9.2sec and 124mph, 7.0sec and 141mph and 6.5sec and 147mph respectively in manual form. 
European buyers will also get a 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail diesel unit that endows the Cooper SD with 141bhp. It takes 8.1sec for the 0-62mph sprint, has a 131mph top speed and boasts an impressive 52.2mpg in manual form.
Alongside the standard six-speed manual 'box, the Mini Roadster also comes with an optional six-speed auto.

BMW turning its back on Germany

TheAutoInsider: BMW has indicated it is loosing interest in Germany as a prime production base. In an interview with Automotive News Europe, key BMW officials confirmed the company is planning to move more production outside its homeland. At present 56 per cent of BMW's total production hails from Germany - down from 70 per cent in 2002. With plans to further ramp up production in both China and North America, BMW could soon produce more cars outside Germany than it does at home - 31 Oct, 2001.   

Official pictures: Opel Zafira Tourer concept

After Opel first revealed the Zafira Tourer as a hologram in a picture also featuring its design boss Mark Adams, the German arm of General Motors has now released these series of real pictures of the new concept.

Lamborghini Aventador leaks ahead of Geneva reveal

Pictures of the Lamborghini Aventador, replacement for the Murcielago, have found their way onto the internet, five days before an official unveiling in Geneva.

Volkswagen's Geneva concepts revealed by Italdesign patent applications

Two concept cars set to make their world debut on the Volkswagen stand at the Geneva auto show have been revealed by a patent applicaton lodged by Italdesign.

Official hi-res pictures: Smart Forspeed

Mercedes-Benz's city car division, Smart, has whipped the wraps off an electric powered concept car called the Forspeed.

The new two seater, prematurely revealed in a series of patent images last month, recalls the look of the company's earlier Crossblade, complete with a cut down windscreen and domes behind the cabin.

Unlike that car, however, Smart says the Forspeed is not intended for production. Instead it is said to provide a glimpse at the sort of styling Mercedes-Benz design team is considering for the third-generation of the Fortwo coupe and its open top sibling, the Fortwo convertible, due in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Power for the ForSpeed comes from an upgraded version of the Fortwo ED's plug-in electric system that uses a 40bhp motor in combination with a lithium ion battery pack. It's claimed to hit 37mph (60km/h) in 5.5sec and boasts a range of 84miles (135km) between recharges.


Bertone's Jaguar concept leaks out ahead of Geneva show

AutoBild, the perennial embargo busting weekly magazine from Germany, has disregarded Bertone's conditions on pictures of its new Jaguar concept by publishing them ahead of tomorrow’s deadline.

See story below for details.


Official pictures: Hyundai i40

Hyundai has lifted the veil on its new i40 in a series of official pictures prior to it making its world debut at the Geneva auto show. More info soon . . .

Bertone concept to preview new small Jaguar

Bertone is planning to pull the covers off a contemporary styled Jaguar sedan concept at the Geneva auto show.

The new car, called the B99 and previewed in this early teaser picture released by Bertone today, sets the scene for a new entry level Jaguar model recently referred to by Jaguar boss, Carl-Peter Forster, in an interview with European media.

Known internally under the codename X760, the new small Jaguar has been conceived to take on the Audi A4, BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class with a unique rear-wheel drive platform and the choice of both four- and six-cylinder engines.

More info as it comes to hand . .

Electric Boxster! Porsche testing zero emission roadster

Porsche has revealed the first of what it says will be up to three plug in electric Boxster prototypes.

Created as part of an electric mobility program being overseen by the city of Stuttgart in Germany, the zero emission roadster is powered by a pair of electric motors mounted in the space usually taken up the Boxster’s horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine.
Together they produce a total of 241bhp.
Electric energy is provided by a bank of lithium-ion batteries boasting a combined capacity of 29kWh.
Further details as they come to hand . . .

Official hi-res pictures: Porsche Panamera S Hybrid

Porsche’s strong selling Panamera has been given the hybrid treatment in a move that official figures indicate makes it the most fuel efficient production model to ever wear the company’s illustrious badge bearing the coat of arms of Stuttgart.

Set to make its public premiere at the Geneva auto show prior to going on sale in North America later this year, the new gasoline-electric Panamera S Hybrid receives the same driveline architecture as the Cayenne Hybrid and its sister model, the Volkswagen Touareg.

At the heart of the new car is a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 engine delivering 333bhp.

Sourced from Audi, it is much removed from the in-house developed 300bhp naturally aspirated 3.6-litre V6 unit Porsche uses in the entry level Panamera and comes combined with a 47bhp brushless electric motor mounted in the forward section of the gearbox to provide the Panamera S Hybrid with a total of 380bhp.

Electric energy for the electric motor is provided by a nickel metal-hydride battery pack sited in the truck, while drive is sent through an eight speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddles to the rear wheels.

As a full hybrid, the new Porsche is capable of running exclusively on either electric propulsion or a combination of gasoline and electric power. In electric mode the Panamera S Hybrid is claimed to achieve a range of up to 1.2 miles (2.0 km) at a maximum speed of 53mph (85 km/h).

Porsche puts its latest model’s 0-62mph time at 6.0secs and top speed at 168mph (270km/h). With optional low rolling resistance tires it is also claimed to return 34.6mpg (6.8L/100km) on the combined European consumption cycle. By comparison, Mercedes-Benz’s S400 Hybrid is rated at 29.4mpg.

The question is: do low rolling resistance tires have a place on a Porsche? Fuel efficiency or not, surely dynamics should be the top priority, even on a Panamera.

Official pictures: Infiniti Etherea

Official pictures of Infiniti's old bnew Etherea concept have dropped. The new crossover is set to underpin Nissan's upmarket brand's Geneva auto show spread. More details to follow . . .

Official pictures: Lancia Ypsilon

Lancia has issued official pictures of its new Ypsilon. The new Fiat Punto based supermini is planned to make its public debut at the upcoming Geneva auto show. More details to follow . . .

Smart ditches plans to rebadge Nissan Micra for US market

Mercedes-Benz has ditched plans to re-badge the Nissan Micra for the US market to create a new four-seat model for its struggling Smart brand.

The decision comes after the German car maker announced it will take over the distribution and marketing of Smart in North America from the Penske Group.

Rumors doing the rounds of Mercedes-Benz’s Stuttgart headquarters for some time now suggest Smart and Nissan are working on a broader co-operation that could see various new Smart models based on Nissan platforms.

Among the models under discussion at parent company Mercedes-Benz is a successor to the still born

ForMore based on the same underpinnings as the Nissan Juke.
Unlike Smart’s plans to simply re-badge the Micra for the US market, the new ForMore has been conceived to receive its own unique body and interior, although suggestions are it will run Nissan engines and gearbox combinations.

Gumpert Tornante sketched ahead of Geneva reveal

German supercar maker Gumpert has issued this sketch of its new Tornante ahead of a planned unveiling at the Geneva auto show.

Set to join the Apollo in an expanded line-up of Gumpert models, the Tornante has been developed in partnership with Italy's Superleggera, which was brought in to work on the styling.

Described as being more comfort orientated than the Apollo, the Tornante is also said to boast improved packaging thanks to extended length, width and height.

The new two seater runs a detuned version of the Apollo's twin turbocharged 4.2-litre V8 producing 700bhp. Further details as they come to hand . . .

Build yourself a Lamborghini Aventador . . . piece by piece . . .

Lamborghini has been busy revealing teaser pictures of its new Aventador in recent weeks.
First the boys and gals from Sant’Agata spilt the beans on the Murcielago replacement’s new 700bhp 6.5-litre V12 engine and sequential six-speed gearbox.
Then they showed us the Aventador’s trick new pushrod suspension. Now they’ve come clean on its lightweight carbon fibre monocque.
 At this rate we’ll be able to build the new Lamborghini ourselves before it makes its public premiere at the Geneva auto show.
Click to enlarge