Of all the brands under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, Škoda is not the one we'd most associate with cutting-edge design. Its hatchbacks and sedans tend to be styled rather conservatively to cater to tastes that would be turned off by the flash of a Seat or even a VW. But that changes here and now at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show with the reveal of the VisionC.
Looking like a Czech take on an Audi A7, the VisionC concept rides on the same MQB platform as the Octavia, the Golf, the Leon and the A3. But where those vehicles all adopt rather conventional forms (or rooflines, anyway), the VisionC cuts a more dashing profile, rendered in the same shade of Metallic Kermit you might see on a Škoda rally car.
Despite the rakish good looks, punctuated by hyper-modern angular lighting, the VisionC packs a 1.4-liter turbo four with only 109 horsepower to offer, but offers flex-fuel capabilities to burn either gasoline or compressed natural gas. In other words, it's green in more ways than one, and if this foreshadows the future of Škoda design, you just might find us standing on the shore gazing longingly across the Atlantic and hoping for its arrival.
Škoda VisionC concept makes us want to cash this foreign Czech [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 06 Mar 2014 10:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Florentine sports car builder Ermini is making its grand return to the public eye with the Seiottosei Barchetta at the Geneva Motor Show, after about 50 years of being gone. Its latest model blends an old-school philosophy with modern styling.
Barchetta means "little boat" in Italian and describes a whole niche of convertibles, popular in the 1950s and 1960s, that generally combined low weight and a small engine to give drivers great dynamics in a tiny package. The Seiottosei follows these attributes perfectly with a steel trellis chassis and carbon fiber panels that weigh just 1,512-pounds (686kg) total. Power is provided by a Renault-sourced turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder pumping out 315 horsepower, and six-speed sequential gearbox. Ermini claims it is enough to push the little roadster to 62 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds and to an electronically limited top speed of 168 mph.
Ermini went out of business the first time in 1962, but in its era it took class wins in major races like the Targa Florio in 1950 and 1953. It reopened in 2007, and now hopes to find its place in the crowded boutique car segment.
Ermini Seiottosei Barchetta looks into the past to relaunch a brand originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 06 Mar 2014 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Fiat 500 has proved to be a huge success since first being introduced in 2007. In that time, Fiat claims that it has sold over 1.2 million units worldwide. For the 2014 model, the Italians are celebrating with a new top-spec version called the 500 Cult at the Geneva Motor Show, but it likely will be limited to the European market.
The Cult is available as both a hatchback and convertible and each receive their own, unique color. The coupe is available in a light mint green called Lattementa Green that recalls the 500s from the 1960s, and the convertible is offered in Three-layer White. Both models get gloss black trim around the taillights, and the bumperettes and tailgate handles are finished in chrome. Buyers can choose between black or chrome trim for the door mirrors, both presenting a very retro look.
Inside, the Cult gets standard leather and a dashboard painted the same color as the body. A new 7-inch TFT display sits in the middle of the instrument cluster, which manages the media player, telephone, trip computer and displays warning messages. Automatic climate control and rear parking sensors are standard, and coupes get a sunroof.
These top 500s are available with a full range of engines, including a 95 horsepower 1.3-liter MultiJet II turbodiesel, a 69 hp 1.2-liter petrol engine and 85 hp or 105 hp tunes of the 900cc TwinAir Turbo.
The Fiat 500 Cult celebrates the little car's success with a new top model originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 06 Mar 2014 09:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Škoda is, by our estimation, to Volkswagen what Mercury was to Ford, Oldsmobile was to General Motors or Lancia was (and technically still is) to Fiat: not quite a luxury brand, but appealing to conservative tastes just the same. (Only where those brands have all faltered, VW still seems to be making a go of Škoda.)
To offer a bit more luxury - if not to quite take it up to Audi levels - Škoda offers the Laurin & Klement editions. Named for Škoda's founders, the L&K editions add a touch of elegance to otherwise ordinary Škoda. We've seen it offered on models like the Yeti and Superb, but now the Czech automaker has rolled it out on the Jetta-sized Octavia here in Geneva.
Available to European buyers on both the Octavia sedan and the Octavia Combi wagon pictured here, the L&K edition upgrades with such special touches as 18-inch alloys, bi-xenon headlamps with LED auxiliary lighting, and an interior done up in brown leather and Alcantara. Motivation comes from a variety of powertrain configurations including manuals and DSGs, diesels and petrols, front-drive or all-wheel drive, giving those overseas buyers with a penchant for luxury but not for flash a range of choices.
Škoda classes up the Octavia with Laurin & Klement edition originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 06 Mar 2014 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
At the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, Lexus rolled out a concept crossover called the LF-NX. It then brought it back, with a new paint job and a turbocharged engine, at the Tokyo Motor Show a few months later. We got another glimpse a couple of months after that during a presentation from Jim Lentz. But now Toyota has confirmed that the finalized production version is just around the corner.
While all the attention is affixed on the Geneva Motor Show, Toyota released a statement (which you can read below) announcing that the NX (as it will officially be known) will debut next month at the Beijing Motor Show. Set to be positioned below the RX, the new NX will tackle what Lexus terms as "the growing segment of premium compact crossovers," taking on the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLK.
Lexus to reveal production NX crossover at Beijing in April originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 06 Mar 2014 08:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Korean automaker SsangYong used to have a reputation of building some of the least attractive cars in the world, but if its new XLV concept at the Geneva Motor Show is any indication, it may be putting that reputation behind it. That isn't saying that the crossover is a beauty, but it certainly shows progress.
SsangYong says that XLV stands for "eXciting smart Lifestyle Vehicle," and the styling is covered in vast expanses of relatively flat, monolithic panels. The front features a tall grille with LED headlights. The blacked-out roof appears almost invisible because it sits on a super-skinny black A-pillar and no B-pillar. All the visual support comes from the thick rear pillar. The suicide doors open wide and make it easy to peer inside, but it probably wouldn't work on a production model. The roof is mostly made from a piece of glass that can be switched from transparent to opaque electronically. Inside, the XLV seats seven in three rows, but the rear center seat can slide forward and back between the second and third rows depending on what is needed.
The concept is propelled by a 1.6-liter diesel engine with a 13-horsepower (10-kW) electric motor and 500-Watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The company did not say how much power the full system produces but claims the hybrid system reduces emissions by 10 percent.
The XLV is just a concept for now, but SsangYong says a vehicle like it will "underpin its future growth." The Korean company has an eye towards eventually launching in the US, and it could do worse than a model like this to kick off.
The SsangYong XLV Concept shows a new look for the Korean brand originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 06 Mar 2014 08:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Sometimes you just have to take joy in the little wins in life. It's not always about getting the big promotion at work or winning the lottery, sometimes it's just enough to hit a green light at the perfect time. And sometimes that turns into two lights, then three, and if you are the guy in the video below, it turns into 55 consecutive green signals.
There are mitigating circumstances of course. The driver is in Manhattan, NY, at around 3:00AM, and the traffic is made almost entirely of taxis. He also definitely has some close calls and is braking for the red light several times as it turns green. But good luck, 55 times in a row, starts to look an awful lot like skill. Scroll down to watch a master at work.
Watch this driver hit 55 consecutive green lights in Manhattan originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
I've been attending the Geneva Motor Show for the better part of a decade, and it's become my favorite stop on the entire show circuit, in large part because of all the exotic automakers, coachbuilders and green startups. I also love the Palexpo's consistently mind-bending displays of tuners, who typically work exclusively on six-figure automobiles. Some offer subtle improvements and personalization programs, but most seem hellbent on being more outlandish and bizarre than the next, a room full of millionaire class clowns. More often than not, I spy something and think to myself "What kind of Nimrod would do that to a perfectly good ____ ?" This year, that rhetorical question is in fact a self-answering one.
The jokes, they write themselves.
But seriously, if you're wondering who would take a perfectly lovely Ferrari 458 Italia or a Lamborghini Aventador and affix a wild body kit of dubious aerodynamic and aesthetic merit at great extra cost (both to the car's MSRP and to its assuredly grenaded resale value), the answer could very well be Nimrod Elite Tuning, a newer high-end restyling house out of Slovakia. That last locational tidbit might also explain the company's unusual name, which is likely a nod to a mighty Biblical hunter (descendant of Ham and a king of Shinar, Nimrod is mentioned in Genesis and Chronicles) and not meant to be taken as a synonym for "idiot" or "moron."
In any case, not much information is available on these two Nimrods, but the white and red-trimmed 458 is the Katyusha, and it appears to be an homage to the ultra-rare Ferrari FXX track car. The Aventador-based model, dubbed Avanti Rosso, channels a bit of Lamborghini's own Sesto Elemento. Sadly, there were no Nimrod representatives on hand who were able to offer further details, and the company's official website descriptions are of little help. We've got an inquiry in and will let you know if/when we learn more. In the meantime, check out our galleries and let us know what you think of these aftermarket specials in Comments.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Ruf has 37 years of experience of turning Porsches into even higher performance machines. For the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, it's unveiling the RCT, or Ruf Carrera Turbo, which offers power to split the difference between Porsche's 911 Turbo and Turbo S models.
The RCT starts with a unique body kit with a new front air dam and drastically changed rear deck that combines both a small spoiler and air intake. Power is provided by a twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter flat-six with 525 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque paired to either a seven-speed manual or seven-speed dual clutch transmission. That gives the Ruf a 5-hp and 15-lb-ft advantage over Porsche's own Turbo but is still less powerful than the full Turbo S. The RCT sprints to 62 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds and to a top speed of 196 mph.
However, the Ruf's big advantage is that it offers buyers the choice of either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, while Stuttgart's turbo models are only available spinning all four wheels. The RCT can also offers upgrades like an integrated roll cage and custom suspension packages, should the buyer be so inclined to splash out on racing kit.
The 2014 Ruf RCT offers rear-drive action with 911 Turbo fun originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 19:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Quant e-Sportlimousine that you see here is just the kind of fascinating concept car that the Geneva Motor Show is known for offering up. The product of an energy company called nanoFLOWCELL AG based in Liechtenstein - with help at various points along the way from Koenigsegg and Bosch - the Quant promises a very advanced battery pack to power the electric drivetrain inside of this unmissable bodywork.
Details from the company website regarding the e-Sportslimousine are sparse and indecipherable in equal part, but the basics are nevertheless intriguing. The car is powered by a "flow battery" - specifically the nanoFlOWCELL from the eponymous parent company - which uses tanks of negatively and positively charged electrolyte solutions, pumped into and through a central cell stack. We've embedded a video after the jump to explain the processes behind the flow battery in greater detail, but the long and short of it is a system that is said to produce a nominal voltage of 600 volts, and a nominal current of 50 amps. Fed to four, three-phase induction motors, that juice nets a peak power output of 680 kW (912 horsepower) to all four wheels, with an "operating power" of 480 kW (643 hp).
Predicted performance is just 2.8 seconds to go from 0 to 62 mph, with a top speed approaching 236 mph.Predicted performance from the e-Sportslimousine concept is impressive in turn, with the company calling out sprint of just 2.8 seconds from 0 to 62 miles per hour, with a top speed approaching 236 mph. All that, and the range is said to be between about 250 to 370 miles between charges. The company makes note that all of these figures have been simulated in a laboratory, so we wouldn't recommend selling off your Model S just yet. NanoFLOWCELL does say that the vehicle "is neither a show car, nor a concept car" and has been "designed from the ground up to meet all homologation requirements."
As for the rest of the car, it's clear by the name that Quant would like onlookers to be impressed by the roomy seating accommodation made for four passengers, with what appears to be some high-zoot trimming. Acres of bent-wood trim can be seen, along with yard after yard of leather and Alcantara, and enough LEDs to make an Audi blush. Have a closer look for your self in our galleries, or dip into the slightly sketchy press materials we've assembled and nanoFLOWCELL press release, below.
Quant e-Sportlimousine shows promising tech with a confusing backstory [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 18:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The tuners at Hamann have gotten their hands on the Lamborghini Aventador and are offering a suite of stealthy upgrades and a boost in power for buyers who don't think Lambo's top model is already enough. The company wants to create a special model with "uniqueness in every way."
The Limited wears a two-tone body kit in Stealth Grey matte paint with Poison Green trim. Hamann adds carbon fiber pieces with new air vent inserts at the front, a two-piece front spoiler and side skirts. The rear receives carbon fiber replacements for the diffuser, engine air intake, spoiler and apron. It is also offering two different sport exhausts - a standard version and a race version... complete with backfire baked in. Finally, the custom Lamborghini is shod with forged, aluminum wheels that are 20 inches in the front and 21 inches in the rear. The interior remains basically stock except for being covered in green leather and contrasting black with green stitching.
Hamann isn't just about style. It is also giving the Limited a boost in performance to 760 horsepower and 542 pound-feet thanks to a few tweaks of the Aventador's software. It seems that if Lamborghini isn't giving buyers enough, then Hamann is happy to take things to the extreme at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Feel free to read more below.
Hamann gets stealthy with its more powerful Lamborghini Aventador Limited originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 18:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
You might think that bombing around in a V12, 800-horsepower, 1,047-pound-feet of torque, triple-black German mega-SUV - both on paved roads and over broken ground - would be more than enough entertainment for your average gazillionare. As it turns out, or at least as the Brabus G800 iBusiness would suggest, even all of that gets a little dry if you can't also check your email or play a spot of Minecraft.
Well known for tuning Mercedes-Benz vehicles within an inch of their proverbial lives, Brabus has set about waving its bonkers wand on the M-B G65; this time with a notion to add full connectivity to the mix. While other Brabus versions have offered similar power and torque outputs, none that we recall have also come with a baked-in Apple Mini computer, a 15.6-inch LCD monitor, charging ports for your iPad and your iPod and a keyboard and mouse.
Connected up to the vehicle's onboard electronics system, an iPad Mini can be used to control vehicle functions while also surfing the web via an integrated high-speed modem and WLAN. Brabus has even spliced an Apple TV in with the more common DVD player, meaning occupants can watch Internet television while moving from 0 to 62 miles per hour in just 4.2 seconds. We're not certain how well car-based WiFi works at 155 mph, but we're more than willing to accept a test drive to find out.
Beyond all the Apple gear - and, oh yeah, there's a refrigerator back there too - the iBusiness offers your run-of-the-mill Brabus insanity: 23-inch wheels, a massively pumped-up body kit, a Bilstein ride-controlled suspension and carbon fiber as far as the eye can see. The combination of tech and grunt is powerful enough that Brabus tells us in the press release below that the car "literally knows no limits," which we suppose is technically true, unless the computers have made the truck self aware... you've all seen Lawnmower Man.
Brabus G800 iBusiness 'literally knows no limits' and has WiFi originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 18:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
If BMW has shown us anything, it's a knack for creating niches and expanding its product portfolio. Go back to the early '90s and it had essentially four models: the 3 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series and 7 Series. End of list. Since then, the Bavarian automaker has not only taken on Mini and Rolls-Royce, but has expanded its own range of models exponentially. You can chalk a big part of that up to crossovers, and another sizable chunk to giving existing models a different roofline and calling it something new. What we have here is a prime example of both.
Previewed in concept form the better part of a year ago at the Shanghai Motor Show, the slantback version of the X3 (and the baby brother to the X6) is now here in full production guise. Mechanically it's essentially the same as the new X3 on which it's based, but amps up the "sport" at the expense of the "utility" part of the SUV equation.
BMW will undoubtedly offer a wide range of powertrain configurations in markets around the world, but back in the United States it'll be offered in two specs: the X4 xDrive28i, packing a 2.0-liter inline-four with 240 horsepower and a $45,625 sticker price (including destination), or the X4 xDrive35i with the 300hp 3.0-liter six and a $48,925 MSRP. Either way, you're getting an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.
Though announced here at the Geneva Motor Show, the X4 won't debut in the metal until next month at the New York Auto Show. It'll begin production shortly thereafter at BMW's assembly plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. There's plenty more to see in the high-resolution image gallery above and the press release below, so climb on in. Just watch your head if you're getting in the back.
2015 BMW X4 slides in on the diagonal starting at $45,625 in the US originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Volkswagen unveiled a parade of new and upgraded Polo models at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, including the Polo TSI BlueMotion, Polo TDI BlueMotion, Polo BlueGT and CrossPolo (pictured above). While they will likely never make an appearance this side of the pond, it is fun to see what European subcompact drivers will be driving later this year.
The new BlueMotion models represent the most efficient petrol and diesel options in their class, according to VW. The BlueMotion TDI offers just 73 horsepower from its diesel engine but gives the equivalent of 76 miles per gallon (US) in the EU test. The BlueMotion TSI brings a little more power with its 88-hp petrol engine and has a combined rating of 57 mpg (US) in the EU cycle.
The Polo BlueGT provides a balance of performance and economy, and for the 2014 model, it gains a 9-horsepower boost to its 1.4-liter turbocharged to give drivers 147 hp at the press of the accelerator. This year's car also has an optional Sport Select suspension with electronically controlled dampers to improve handling a bit. It's still fitted with active cylinder management to use as little gas as possible when cruising.
Finally, the 2014 CrossPolo is receiving some very mild updates with new colors, interior fabrics, wheels and smoked taillights.
All four models now come standard with an electrically power-assisted steering system and VW's Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically brakes after a collision. New options for the subcompacts include adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera and Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, which slows the car automatically if it detects an impending crash. Sadly, unless you are abroad, you might never get to drive these little Veedubs, but you're still welcome to read more about them in the press release below.
Volkswagen throws a Polo-palooza with four new or upgraded models originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 17:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
European tuners show up at the Geneva Motor Show in spades to display their very expensive wares in hopes of finding a handful of buyers. The only way to set your company apart is to make cars that are increasingly extreme. Mansory is no different, and to keep up with competitors it has brought the 1,600-horsepower Carbonado GT to Switzerland.
The GT starts life as a Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, but practically every body panel is replaced with new carbon fiber pieces. It doesn't hide it either with the entire center portion of the car finished in clear-coated carbon. The biggest changes include fenders that are 1.6-inches wider at the front and 2.0-inches wider in the rear, and even the wheels have carbon inlays.
To make sure the Carbonado GT has the power to back up its hardcore looks, Mansory has fitted the Aventador's 6.5-liter V12 with two turbochargers to produce the aforementioned 1,600 hp and torque electronically limited to 855 pound-feet. The powertrain is upgraded to take the boost with pistons, connecting rods, rod bearings, crankshaft and cylinder head being replaced with high-performance units. Mansory claims the highly modified engine gets the GT to 62 miles per hour in 2.1 seconds and to a top speed of 230 mph.
The power certainly lives up to the looks, we think. Read more about it in the press release below.
Mansory unveils 1,600-hp Carbonado GT under a carbon fiber panda body originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 17:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments