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

Volkswagen headed back to the 'Ring with Golf24

Volkswagen has announced it will contest this year’s Nurburgring 24 hour race in a specially prepared four-wheel drive Golf.

Dubbed the Golf24, the new racer runs a tuned version of daughter company Audi’s turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine developing a heady 440bhp.

Drive is run through a sequential six-speed gearbox and a beefed up version of the standard Golf 4Motion’s multi-plate clutch four-wheel drive system to all four wheels.

In recent years Volkswagen has run its front-wheel drive Scirocco GT24 in the around-the-clock Nurburgring race. With a 300bhp version of the German car maker’s turbocharged 2.0-litre, it has regularly marched off with class honours.

The Golf24 aims to go one better by matching it with more serious machinery further up the performance ladder. On looks alone it’s already there!

Hit the "read me" link for more hi-res pictures of the Volkswagen Golf24

Official pictures: BMW 1-series ActiveE

BMW has revealed the production version of the 1-series ActiveE – a plug-in electric version of its entry level coupe to be produced in a limited run of around 1000 units and offered on a lease deal similar to that of the Mini E.

Another Geneva auto show debutant, it previews the driveline set to appear in BMW’s upcoming MegaCity vehicle; the new two door has been conceived to act as a prototype for the German car maker’s eagerly awaited carbon fibre electric car due out in 2013.

Drive comes via a brushless electric motor. It’s mounted up back within a modified rear axle together with the electronic management system that controls its operation. It puts out a peak 170bhp together with 184lb ft (250Nm) of torque. That’s enough, says BMW, to propel the 1-series ActiveE to 62mph from standstill in 9.0sec, while pushing it to a limited 90mph (145km/h) top speed.

Electrical energy is supplied by three lithium-ion battery packs – one up in the nose, another running down the centre line of the floorpan within the transmission tunnel and a third under the rear seat.

BMW claims a range of 150 miles on the US cycle. Charge time, meanwhile, is put at around eight hours, or just four using a 380 volt high amp charger that will be delivered with the new car.

Official pictures: Kia Rio

Kia’s transformation from a maker of cheap and cheerful runabouts to that of a producer of genuinely desirable and stylish cars looks set to be further enforced at the Geneva auto show with the unveiling of the company’s new Rio hatchback – the second all-new model for Kia in Geneva, following on from the recently revealed Picanto.

Sitting on the same front-wheel drive platform as the Hyundai i20, the new Rio departs radically in appearance from its generic looking predecessor, sporting a cleaner and more contemporary look created at Kia’s European design studio under the guise of the Korean car maker’s design boss, Peter Schreyer.

While full details are yet to be released, the new hatch is said to be 55mm longer and 25mm wider but 15mm lower than before. It also rides on a 70mm longer wheelbase that, according to Kia, provides the new model greater interior accommodation and a larger trunk.

At launch, the ne Rio will be available as a five-door hatchback; a more sporting three door hatchback is planned to follow before the end of 2011. Also under development is a four-door sedan

The smartening up of the exterior design is mirrored inside, with a much more stylish dashboard and higher quality trims. The new interior was designed at the company’s US based design studio in California.

The third-generation Rio’s engine line-up will be revealed at Geneva. Already confirmed is a base 1.2-litre four-cylinder gasoline unit. It will be joined by larger 1.4- and 1.6-litre gasoline engines. Also planned are 1.1-, 1.4- and 1.6-litre common rail diesels. Gearboxes will include five and six speed manuals, along with an optional five-speed automatic.

Official hi-res pictures, full details: Mercedes C-class coupe

The internet floodgates have opened on the Mercedes-Benz C-class coupe following its premature unveiling in the latest issue of Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, a scan of which appears below.

* codename C204
* same length and wheelbase as the C-class sedan
* 1.6 inches (40mm) lower than C-class sedan
* unlike the E-class coupe, the C-class coupe retains B-pillars
* convertible version was considered
but won't be built in this generation

C180 CGI Coupe BlueEfficiency
156bhp at 5000rpm
0-62mph (100km/h): 9.0sec
Top speed: 140mph (225km/h)
Consumption: 35.1mpg (US), 42.2mpg (UK), 6.7L/100km
CO2 emissions: 97.5g/mile (157g/km)

C250 CGI Coupe BlueEfficiency
204bhp at 5500rpm
0-62mph (100km/h): 7.2sec
Top speed: 149mph (240km/h)
Consumption: 36.2mpg (US), 43.5mpg (UK), 6.5L/100km
CO2 emissions: 94.5g/mile (152g/km)

C220 CDI Coupe BlueEfficiency
170bhp at 3000rpm
0-62mph (100km/h): 8.4sec
Top speed: 144mph (232km/h)
Consumption: 53.5mpg (US), 64.2mpg (UK), 4.4L/100km
CO2 emissions: 72.7g/mile (117g/km)

C250 CDI Coupe BlueEfficiency
204bhp at 4200rpm
0-62mph (100km/h): 7.0sec
Top speed: 149mph (240km/h)
Consumption: 48.0mpg (US), 57.6mpg (UK), 4.9L/100km
CO2 emissions: 79.6g/mile (128g/km)

C350 CGI Coupe BlueEfficiency
306bhp at 6500rpm
0-62mph (100km/h): 6.0sec
Top speed: 155mph (250km/h) limited
Consumption: 34.5mpg (US), 6.8L/100km
CO2 emissions: 98g/mile (159g/km)