Volkswagen first hinted at a new high-performance version of the Scirocco coupe when it revealed the GT24 race concept back at the Austrian Wörthersee Tour tuning show in May, but in what form the car will finally come to production is still up in the air. The most likely scenario will see it come to market with a beefed up version of the current 2.0L TFSI engine. This engine is also used in the recently introduced Audi S3, where it develops a peak output of 265hp (195kW) and 258lb-ft (350Nm) of torque.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) today released its annual list of vehicles that had earned the agency's coveted 'Top Safety Pick' award, revealing that some major milestones had been achieved. According to the president of the IIHS, Adrian Lund, "Top Safety Pick winners are the top performers in tough front, side, and rear crash tests, and they have electronic stability control, a crucial technology that can help drivers avoid many crashes altogether." While Ford topped the list with 16 of its vehicles being included, the real celebrations would have been taking place over at Acura.
If Jaguar is serious about pitting its XF saloon against the BMW 5-series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, it will have to expand its lineup beyond the current handful of models. Jaguar currently has two gaping holes in its XF range, an entry-level model to rival the 2.0L diesel BMW 5-series and Audi A6 in Europe, and a performance flagship to compete with the likes of the RS6, E63 and M5. Officials are yet to green-light the launch of a new base model but we do know there's a range-topping XF-R in the works.
Mazda will hold the world premiere of the new Mazda3 five-door Hatchback at the Bologna Motor Show in Italy on the third of next month. The second-generation Mazda3 Hatchback follows on the heels of the four-door sedan, which was revealed less than a week ago at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The new Hatchback is expected to feature the same engines as those planned for the sedan variant. This means it will likely be launched with two new engines, a 148hp (110kW) 2.0L four-cylinder with 135lb-ft (183Nm) of torque and a 167hp (124kW) 2.5L unit with 168lb-ft (227Nm) of torque.
The Essen Motor Show, Germany's equivalent to the SEMA show, is getting underway, and ABT's contribution to the pack of tuned Volkswagens sure to make the event starts with the all-new Golf VI. A mild package by ABT's standards, the Golf VI nevertheless gains about 30% in power and also gets an upgraded appearance. Boosting output of the 1.4L TSI petrol engine from 122hp (91kW) to 160hp (119kW) in base form and from 160hp to 200hp (149kW) in up-spec guise, the ABT kit adds considerably to the Golf's sportiness without pushing it into the realm of the inefficient or undriveable.
There seems to be no end to the number of ecological concept cars being developed across the globe. Tough governmental standards and popular demand for clean cars are driving innovation in ever-greener directions, and the Swiss designer behind the Mindset E-Motion is tapping into that movement with his concept car, intended for production sometime in 2009. The lines of the hybrid concept were penned by former Volkswagen designer Murat Guenak and its key features include a pair of gullwing doors, semi-open wheels, a long hood and a steeply sloped windshield.
Barack Obama has backed Congress' decision to delay a decision on additional auto industry loans, urging the carmakers to have a clear plan when they return to Capitol Hill in December, and the carmakers are already reportedly planning to show up in dramatic style, forming a caravan of Detroit's most efficient cars as exemplars of the work the industry's been doing to make strides forward in recent years. Another angle for the parade of parsimonious people-movers is the humanizing aspect - putting a face and a sense of perspective to the issue of the auto industry's importance to the U.S.
The world economy, and especially the automotive industry, is amidst one of the toughest times in several decades or more. Rebuilding confidence in that economy and boosting sales back to profitable levels will be a difficult task - one Jaguar-Land Rover CEO David Smith doesn't want to tackle alone, so he's asking the UK government for help. The latest reports indicate that secret talks between the carmaker and the British government are already underway. Jaguar-Land Rover refused to confirm or speculate on any meetings with the government, reports Automotive News Europe, but the company has previously backed a government bid to aid manufacturing in the UK, in addition to its own calls last month to improve the financial situation for the industry as a whole.
The current financial woes of General Motors are no secret these days, with the Detroit 3 carmaker admitting recently that it will run out of cash early next year without the help of a federal loan. Despite the seriousness of the situation, as well as new polls that show the public is in favor of an automotive bailout, there still remains the distinct possibility that the government will reject these loan applications - in which case GM must be prepared with a backup plan to keep its head above water until President-elect Barack Obama enters the White House in January. Currently, GM is undertaking a number of measures to keep its cash flows at an acceptable rate, however with around $12.5 billion required at any time to keep the company operational these measures may have to be stepped up to avoid going bankrupt, reports Automotive News. GM has already declared that it won't be selling any more brand assets apart from Hummer, however this doesn't mean the company can't sell other physical or financial assets such as inefficient manufacturing plants and stakes in other companies.
Coming off record sales of 10,014 vehicles last year, Bentley's performance in 2008 hasn't been going so well, with the current economic crisis starting to take its toll. This is especially the case in the United States, traditionally the strongest market for Bentley. The changing market conditions have forced Bentley to reduce production levels by up to 15%, but the news isn't all bad as growth in emerging markets such as China is still going strong. Though still far below levels in the U.S., Bentley is achieving remarkable sales growth in China, selling just 36 cars when it debuted in the market back in 2002, with the numbers approaching nearly 500 units for this year. Bentley expects the luxury car market in China to grow stably in the coming years.
Volvo has confirmed plans to unveil a concept vehicle for its next-generation S60 saloon at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, releasing today the second teaser image in as many months. The carmaker has also confirmed that it has postponed the redesign of the S60 and the XC90 due to limited development resources, although design work for both models is near the final stages. The new image reveals that the next S60 will feature definite coupe-like proportions, accompanied by strong shoulders, which together give it a look that is very similar to the design of the recent Jaguar C-XF concept vehicle.
Purists may scoff at the idea of a diesel powered Bentley but officials say the idea has merit. Bentley's parent company Volkswagen, after all, has some of the most refined diesel powerplants on the planet, and it also has a number of high-performance oil-burners including V10 and V12 units. There's no reason why diesel can't be an option for future models, but Bentley says there's still not enough demand to warrant engineering them for its cars. Speaking with Auto Motor und Sport this week, Volkswagen Group boss, Martin Winterkorn, said: "With Bentley we will react to the changing market conditions.
General Motors directors are reportedly considering a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and seeking court protection in an attempt to cope with the ailing carmaker's dwindling cash reserves. According to people familiar with situation, the plans go directly against CEO Rick Wagoner's claims that bankruptcy is not an option as it would turn away more customers from buying GM products. The information was first reported in the Wall Street Journal, which also claimed that GM has provided a statement saying the board had discussed bankruptcy but didn't view it as a "viable solution to the company's liquidity problems.'' GM spokesman Tony Cervone also told the paper that management is considering everything possible to avoid a filing, including Chapter 11 as this is a legal duty.
Mazda took the covers off the sedan version of the 2010 Mazda3 at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show, and now it has released some official 'spy shots' of the upcoming five-door hatchback model. Despite being clad in some heavy camouflage gear, we can see that the general shape of the car is a little sleeker than the outgoing model and the front appears to have picked up the recent revealed sedan's slightly strange 'smiling' appearance. It is expected that the Mazda3 hatchback will be offered with the same engines as those planned for the Mazda3 sedan.
Just this week Porsche unveiled its updated Boxster and Cayman range and there are still several other models based on the same Boxster/Cayman platform in the works. One of these is a high-performance RS model, recently seen testing at Germany's Nurburgring, and another is an chopped 'Speedster' model based on the Boxster. However, development work for the next-generation model is well underway and images of the first prototype for the car have now appeared after the test vehicle was spotted in Germany.
The current 997 generation Porsche 911 is still being updated for its mid-cycle refresh, with only the standard Carrera, Carrera 4, and Targa variants receiving the update. Still in the works are the new Turbo and the GT3 models, though they too are drawing near to their expected unveiling. Recently a test mule was spotted in Germany by our spy photographers, suggesting that Porsche engineers may have already begun testing the next-generation 998 model, and now a new prototype for the next-generation Turbo model has been spied. Clear differences between the 998 and the current 911 model are a pair of more upright headlights, and the side mirrors are now positioned at the side of the doors and not at the window. It's still too early to determine what changes Porsche has in store for the engine lineup, but expect to see the recently revised flat-six engine range carry over with only minimal updates – possibly for emissions and economy standards.