No, Renault won’t officially unveil its long-awaited conceptual tribute to the fabled Alpine-Renault A110 until later this week – but a Web site in Europe claims it has the first leaked photo of the Alpine reincarnate.
French publication MotorSport Magazine, which first broke the images, says what you’re looking at is the real concept deal, much, as does fabled BBC publication Top Gear. If true, it looks quite a bit like Renault’s 2010 DeZir concept – which, ironically, we noted bore a vague resemblance to vintage Alpine-Renault sports coupes. This new image appears much like a DeZir, albeit one cranked to eleven. Dramatic wheel flares, preposterously large wings, and gaping air intakes trigger flashbacks to Group 4-prepped A110s. Incroyable.
What lurks beneath the skin of la nouvelle Alpine, however, is allegedly wildly different from the original concept. Don’t look for the DeZir’s fancy electric powertrain; according to TopGear, the Alpine concept is built atop the mechanicals of the wild Renaultsport Megane Trophy race car. As such, a 3.5-liter V-6, placed aft of the cabin in keeping with Alpine tradition, could provide about 450 hp to the rear wheels.
We’re anxious to learn more about the concept itself – but we’re even more interested in learning exactly what plans Renault has in store for its Alpine brand, which has essentially laid dormant since the discontinuation of the A610 in 1995. Over the past several months, we’ve heard Renault officials insist they’re serious about resurrecting the brand. Rumor has it they’re certainly planning on launching a new sports coupe – perhaps atop a platform shared with Nissan and Daimler – that, could pack a 300-hp punch. Executives have also mulled selling the vehicle in both China and North America to amortize costs. If so, and if it continues to wear the Alpine name, it would be the first Alpine-Renault to be officially sold in North America, since plans to sell the GTA in our market in the late 1980s were ultimately scrapped.
For now, it’s a wait-and-see process. The first step, we’re told, is to wait until Friday, when more images and details are expected to emerge from Renault.
More Pictures of Renault Alpine
Remember the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari, the hyper-expensive hot hatch fettled with some help from Maranello? Well now Fiat has tuned up its baby 500C convertible pocket rocket with assistance from Maserati.
The new limited-edition Abarth 695 Maserati Edition will carry a similarly eye-watering price tag – just 499 of the convertible hot hatch will be built and it tops a heady 32,000.
Like the Ferrari version launched three years ago, the Maser 500 uses a 180bhp 1.4 engine breathed upon by a Garrett turbocharger to liberate 184lb ft at 3000rpm when Sport mode is selected.
Abarth’s Competizione transmission is standard, its five speeds slotting up and down via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts. A sports exhaust is claimed to improve the acoustics above 3000rpm.
Brembo monobloc brake callipers are fitted to stop this minuscule missile effectively, while Koni shock absorbers give a sportier, lower ride. Not too sporty, we hope; the Tributo Ferrari was a pogoing mess on British country roads.
Fiat swears its sporting brand has had input – and if you look hard enough, you can spot the influences. The 17in alloys have a Maserati-inspired Neptune design, apparently, and the paint is straight from the Maser colour charts – Pontevecchio Bordeaux. The foldback canvas roof is contrasting grey.
It all starts to get a bit more confusing inside, where Jaeger helped design the instrument pack, but there’s the usual smattering of carbonfibre (kickplates), leather (wheel and seats) and a rather more surprising UV treatment on the door panels whose surface is described as ‘flocking’.
UK sales of the Abarth 695 Maserati Edition start in late 2012. And if you’re fretting over that sky-high price for a tarted-up Fiat 500, remember some of the extras thrown in ‘for free’. There’s a set of Tramontano leather luggage, xenon headlamps, climate control, sat-nav, a JBL hi-fi and limited-edition plaque numbering each edition from 1 to 499.
It’s easy to scoff at absurdities such as the Maser 500, but dealers report that these cars do sell – sometimes to customers coming out of supercars or Merc SLs, who want something smaller and more discrete but without losing the exclusivity they crave.
The 695 Maserati Edition certainly has lower running costs than most supercars, with its 151g/km CO2 rating and 46.3mpg average economy figure. Yet Abarth claims a top speed in excess of 140mph and a 0-62mph time nudging just the right side of seven seconds.
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VW first unveiled the VW Beetle Fender Edition as a concept car last year at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, but now the production version has debuted at the Leipzig International Auto Show. As the name states, the VW Beetle Fender Edition packs a 9-speaker, 400-watt Fender sound system and a few other interior and exterior styling tweaks.
On the outside all Beetle Fender Edition models comes painted in Deep Black Metallic with brushed chrome exterior mirrors, 18-inch “Disc” aluminum-alloy wheels, Bi-Xenon headlights, and the Fender logo. Inside the painted dashboard features the quintessential sunburst color of Fender guitars, and the vehicle’s interior is accented with color-contrasting seams that complement the dash’s colors. Beetle Fender Edition vehicles equipped with the 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine will receive seats with exclusive fabric inserts.
The VW Beetle Fender Edition will first go on sale in Europe and will be available in America in the fall of 2012. Pricing will be announced at a later date.
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The new MX-5 Senshu Edition wasn’t the only Miatato debut at Mazda’s stand at the 2012 Auto Mobil International Show (AMI) in Leipzig, Germany, on Friday.
Mazda surprised show-goers with a far more intriguing proposal in the form of the MX-5 Yusho prototype, named after the Japanese word for “Victory”.
The matte white paint together with the 17-inch anthracite gray alloy wheels wrapped around in semi-click Toyo Proxes R888 tires size 215/45 R17, lowered suspension, boot lid spoiler and the carbon-fiber rear diffuser housing the centrally mounted twin tailpipes tell only part of the story.
The real magic occurs under the bonnet with the heavily fettled 2.0-liter MZR four cylinder petrol engine gaining a supercharger system, an intercooler, special Cosworth pistons and connecting rods, a custom exhaust system and reprogrammed software.
Other upgrades include the new fuel injectors and metal sport catalysts along with a beefed up transmission with a sports clutch.
All these modifications bump the four-banger’s output from 158hp (160PS) at 6,700rpm to 237hp (241PS) at 6,800 rpm and peak torque from 188Nm (138 lb-ft) at 5,000rpm to 274Nm (202 lb-ft) 5,400rpm.
Mazda did not provide any information on the car’s weight or 0-100km/h (62mph) acceleration time but did say that the MX-5 Yusho can reach a top speed of 240km/h (149mph).
There are more changes to be found under the body including the uprated suspension with Bilstein absorbers, larger stabilizer bars and lowering springs from Eibach.
Inside, the MX-5 Yusho study is enhanced with a suede-trimmed steering wheel and Recaro sport seats in leather and Alcantara.
More Pictures of Mazda MX 5 Senshu Special Edition
After its previous appearance in a Super Bowl spot with a Motley-Crue-inspired theme, the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited made its official launch at the Chicago auto show as a range-topping model included on this year’s mid-sized Optima line-up.
Upon its debut, a lot of car experts, automotive journalists, and observers at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show noticed that the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited is not just an ordinary Optima. In fact, these individuals have suspected that the Limited is fully loaded with a lot of features not found on its siblings. As time goes by, these suspicions were eventually proven to be true.
Compared to the other Kia Optima trims, the Limited flaunts a unique look and more intimidating stance. These characteristics were highlighted by the Limited’s new fascias in front and rear. In addition to this, the LED running lights located on top of its fog lamps, the lower door sills, and the rear spoiler tipped with chrome further suggest that the Optima SX Limited is very much different from its siblings.
Under the hood, the Limited is powered by a 2.0-liter Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine sourced from the Kia Optima SX. This engine is capable of producing 274 horses and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission as well as the sport-tuned suspension used on the Limited was also sourced from the SX. Due to this, the Limited’s fuel economy ratings of 22 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway are similar to that of the Optima SX.
When viewed inside, the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited looks more upscale compared to the other Optima models included on the line-up. The Limited’s cabin provides a more elegant and prestigious feel. Its door trim, shift knob, and steering wheel are adorned by genuine would trim and this layout further improves the overall appearance of the Optima SX Limited. In addition to this, the door panels, center console and seats were embellished by Nappa leather.
On top of these, the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited is offered with the standard equipments such as the paddle shifters on the steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, and heated and cooled front seats. Aside from those, the SX Limited is also equipped with metal pedals, Infinity audio system with speakers, and a navigation system with a built-in back-up camera.
Due to the abundance of standard features included on the vehicle, the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited became one of the most admired vehicles that were presented at the 2012 Chicago auto show. In addition to this, a lot of individuals that were able to take a closer look at the vehicle agree that this was probably the best vehicle that Kia has produced.
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Honda has finally delivered the first unit of the Honda Fit EV in the US and this was sent to the city of Torrance in California. This event is considered by a lot of car experts as the earliest start of Honda’s plan of increasing the number of electric vehicles that they would be selling in North America and in the US as well.
In addition to this, the policy that Honda is planning to implement simply proves that the company is very much committed in doing its part in preserving the natural environment through reduced greenhouse gas emissions. To push this commitment through, Honda became involved in the development of more hybrid cars since this type of vehicle is more environment-friendly. In addition to this, Honda has also explored the possibilities of using compressed natural gas in some of their car models for greener output. This was then complimented by the production of EVs that the company is currently promoting in most of the markets where they operate.
According to Honda, the delivery of the first unit of the 2013 Honda Fit EV is also a part of the company’s Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program and not only as a mere indication that they would be selling more of this vehicle model in some parts of the US particularly in Oregon and California this summer.
The so-called Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program is actually a joint effort that the city of Torrance in California and Honda has been working on for a few years now. This program aims to allow the residents of the city of Torrance to provide inputs that would help the Honda identify the best places where the company could set up their EV charging stations in the near future.
Aside from gathering the inputs from the residents of Torrance, the delivery of the first unit of the 2013 Honda Fit EV would also enable Honda to conduct a careful study that focuses on evaluating the local government’s fleet usage of the electric vehicle models that they have. Through these collective undertakings, Honda is given the chance to improve the features of the Honda Fit EV and this will surely provide a lot of benefits to the company’s electric vehicle technology.
Honda is also confident that they would obtain positive results from these undertakings since the 2013 Honda Fit EV is a reliable model. This car was unveiled in 2011 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Fit EV is equipped with an all-electric drivetrain. The drivetrain is composed of a coaxial electric motor that could produce up to 92kW and a 20 kWh lithium-ion battery.
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The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Turbo is one of the most talked-about models in the subcompact segment right now. This is because a lot of car experts and famous vehicle enthusiasts have expected so much from the LTZ as well as from the other Chevrolet Sonic trims.
No one could actually blame them since the Sonic was produced as the replacement for the unpopular Chevrolet Aveo that was discontinued and these experts have hoped for a more desirable vehicle. Unfortunately, they have found a lot of downsides on the vehicle instead of strengths. Due to these downsides many car buyers are currently wondering as to what the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Turbo sedan could offer.
The Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Turbo sedan actually offers a relatively exciting ride. The turbocharged 1.4-liter in-line 4-cylinder engine used on the LTZ pumps out a maximum power output of up to 138 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft of torque. These figures were actually impressive knowing that the LTZ Turbo is a subcompact car.
In fact, the engine used on the LTZ Turbo is regarded as the most powerful in the segment. However, the noise generated by the vehicle’s tires when running and its buzzy nature when it is accelerating somehow ruined the overall quality of the ride provided by this subcompact sedan. Although this particular problem is usually ironed-out by the car manufacturer to make their vehicles more comfortable, Chevrolet has failed to deal with the excessive amount of road noise that reaches the vehicle’s cabin.
In addition to this, the abundance of hard plastic on the vehicle’s interior is also considered as one of its disappointing features. This could be a major downside on the part of the Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Turbo since most of its closest competitors have well-designed interiors and the materials that were used by them are quite upscale. This condition actually suggests that General Motors somehow committed an error in cutting the expenses allocated in making the interior of the Sonic.
Finally, The sedan’s exterior design was also criticized for its lack of physical appeal that a lot of buyers would usually use as their primary basis when buying a subcompact car. The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Turbo looks like a shrunk version of the Chevy Cruze minus the dominating looks and design. Due to these, many car experts believe that the Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Turbo sedan will have a hard time in dealing with the competition within the subcompact segment.
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What we used to now as the A25 AMG is actually called Mercedes A45, and it’s set to be the baddest hot hatch when it goes on sale next year. Mercedes is going to put the most powerful four-cylinder engine they’re ever built in this, so the A45 can eat Audi RS3 and BMW M135i for breakfast. AMG openly admits this car’s sole goal is to wipe that smug smile off RS3 s face.
The four-pot engine in this car is the same 2.0 liter turbocharged you’ve probably come across in one of the many regular Mercedes models that use it. But it’s been tuned, heavily, by AMG and their British partners to give no less than 330bhp and more than 300 lb-ft of torque. So AMG’s engine is half a liter smaller than Audi’s, but makes roughly the same amount of power.
Another feature the A45 is equipped with against the RS3 is an all-wheel-drive system that works in tandem with a sophisticated seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. All these will enable Merc’s new hot hatchbck to go from 0 to 62 mph in slightly over 5 seconds. Official figures are yet to be confirmed.
Once AMG is done making a beast out of that engine, Mercedes steps in and gives it features like automatic stop/start and brake energy recuperation to make sure the car remains highly usable for day to day driving. While they’re doing this, AMG gets busy with the suspension, using MacPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) and all sort of fancy stuff to give the car class leading dynamic, and inevitably, the best-in-class Nurburgring time.
In terms of styling, the A45 gets the typical AMG body kit on the outside with oversized wheels, and an sporty interior with bucket seats and fancy trims.
More Pictures of Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG
When you are shopping for a car, you may think about just giving money to someone to get a car. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be like this! In this article, you’ll find a ton of useful, practical advice to help you find your next new or used vehicle. Heed this advice and be prepared to experience the joy of painless car shopping.
If you don’t attempt to negotiate, you’ll end up spending more than you have to. You should never have to pay the advertised price for a car. Those prices are inflated on purpose to leave room to negotiate with the customer, so take advantage of that.
Don’t ever pay full price. This number is not an accurate reflection of what each dealer believes it can get from you. If you aren’t comfortable negotiating, bring someone who is. Have a ballpark figure in mind before you go.
Speak with knowledgeable people before you go car shopping. This individual can be another pair of eyes and ears, and they just might save you from a bad deal by nudging you to walk away when you should. This person can be a friend, relative or spouse.
If you plan to purchase a new vehicle, you should speak with your bank to verify that you qualify for a loan. This is vital for your security. Usually the dealership’s finance department can find a better rate for you than a bank, but it can help if you find what interest rate you’re looking at prior to shopping.
Rent a car in order to test it out. If you need to know what a car really feels like, go to a rental place so you can test drive it extensively. Take your family on a road trip. You will get to know whether or not that make and model works well for you and yours. You’ll know the car inside and out before you buy it this way.
Take the time to inspect the vehicles you are interested in. Scan the exterior of the car for dings, scratches and chipped paint. Check over the interior to see if there are stains or tears. You are stuck with this car once you buy it. So any rips, tears, scratches or dents are your to keep.
Save yourself the stress and hassle of buying a car by finding the right one quickly and without incident. You won’t have this happen with the above tips in mind. Now you just need to go down to the dealership and do it. Don’t waste time and start shopping!
Given the plethora of available choices, car shopping can be quite daunting. You may not know what is an extra and what is a necessity. Using this article can help you see what needs consideration when you go to get your car.
Before visiting a dealership, spend time shopping online. Do not visit a dealership until you know which car you are interested in purchasing. You should look online and research the makes and models that are most suitable for you, the safety records and other information that a dealer will not discuss.
You should find a way of financing your new car before shopping. Visit your local bank or credit union to do this. Doing so will cause you to get a much better rate of interest.
Know what you need in your vehicle before you go to the lot. Read up online ahead of time to make an informed decision. You will also learn what price range to expect, making it less likely that a smooth salesperson will catch you unawares.
Get a third-party mechanic involved in your analysis of the car. When a dealership refuses, they are usually hiding something. Mechanics provide you with a neutral opinion on the quality of the vehicle.
Have some company escort you when shopping for a new car. It is important to have objective observers during the process. This person can be anyone, from a family member to a close friend.
Car shopping will take many hours. You should not purchase a vehicle if you feel rushed and do not have time to think about your decision. Making time for a whole afternoon may be the best. If you have other obligations, plan on coming back the next day.
Get the advice from trusted family and friends. Are they pleased with their own vehicles? Are they regretting their vehicle purchase? Do they know of a car that’s really good? Talking with friends and acquaintances is a thing to do when shopping for a new car.
When you look for a car, check out the ones that offer you a lot of good features in the safety category. This includes a great braking system. Check for air bags too, in the event of an accident. You are going to spend a lot of time in this vehicle, so safety is paramount.
Now, you should know more about what you’re looking for when purchasing a vehicle. You just need to conduct some research and get going. Buy when you’re comfortable to ensure a great purchase.