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Friday, 3 October 2008

Pininfarina B0 is officially presented in homage to Andrea Pininfarina

2008 will be marked both as a bad year and as a good year to Pininfarina. In the same period, Andrea Pininfarina has died in a senseless accident and B0, may one of the most important cars in the studio's history, has been officially revealed as a mass-production electric car. And it is not only revolutionary due to its source of energy, which uses lithium metal polymer (LMP) batteries, a technology developed by Bolloré, but also because it has been drawn and receives a Pininfarina badge.

Pininfarina will mass-produce the car in Turin by the end of 2009 and will sell it as a vehicle of its own. The small car, which carries four people and has four doors, is able to run up to 250 km with one charge and to reach 130 km/h of top speed, electronically limited to preserve the batteries. Acceleration from 0 to 60 km/h is accomplished in 6.3 s.

Pininfarina was struggling to get better financial results when Andrea died. We hope B0 sells a lot in order to help save this major design studio from closing its doors.

Source: Pininfarina

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Venturi Volage presents how future vehicles will be

You must have read dozens of times about electric cars, but most of you must conceive them as almost regular vehicles, with an engine under the hood, wheels that turn and suspension arms. What if this all is about to change? You may doubt it, but Venturi and Michelin have joined forces to present what automobiles must look like in the future. Not only in appearance, an item in which Venturi Volage has nothing to worry about, but mainly in conception.

Just to get started, Volage does not have an electric engine, but eight, two in each of its wheels. Of these two engines per wheel, one takes care of traction and the other one controls the suspension system, which is also housed inside the wheel! This system, called Active Wheel, has been created by Michelin.

In the image above, used only to illustrate the system, it is possible to see each one of the pieces that compose the Active Wheel. Anyway, Volage uses stronger engines, each of them able to produce 55 kW, or else, multiply that by 4 and you will have 220 kW. This power is equivalent to 75 bhp and 300 bhp, respectively. Considering the car weighs only 1,075 kg, Volage has enough power to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 5 s and to reach a limited top speed of 150 km/h with its lithium polymer batteries. At a constant speed of 90 km/h, Volage has a 320 km range.

Let's get back to Active Wheel. It incorporates traction, braking and suspension. With all this so concentrated, there is no room (or need) of mechanical links to these systems. In other words, there are no brake lines, no gas pedal cable or a steering box. Everything is "by wire", electronically controlled. Airplanes are like this for a long time and they are the safest means of transportation in the world. The wheels of the car do not turn. They are fixed to the carbon fibre monocoque, which holds inside the car's batteries.

Volage is 3.97 m long, 1.95 m wide, 1.24 m tall and a wheelbase similar to the ones in bigger cars (2.70 m), although there is room for only two people. As it is becoming increasingly common with concept cars, this one will soon reach production lines by 2012. Each one of its units will be made by hand. Considering the technology applied to it, and the craftsmanship involved, expect prices to be reasonably high. But how much is too much when it relates to driving the future? Maybe well beyond what we imagine.

Source: Venturi

Renault Mégane Coupé makes its first appearance in Paris

Renault had already shown pictures and information on Mégane III five-door, but the only images we had seen of the three-door version, called Coupé, were the ones taken by spy photographers. In Paris, Renault has decided to show the new version and it has caused a great impression.

Although pictures have emerged, we can't say all the necessary info has been disclosed (a good table containing all technical specs would be more than welcome). But we know the Coupé and the five-door hatchback share their sizes and wheelbases, respectively at 4.30 m and 2.64 m. There must be a difference on height, due to the sportier profile of the three-door version, but one difference is for sure: while the five-door has a luggage compartment of 405 l, the Coupé can carry a little less, but a lot for such a vehicle, with 377 l.

The engine offer is, once again, focused on diesel. There will be seven diesel engines for Mégane: dCi 85, dCi 105, dCi 90, dCi 110, dCi 130 and, in the near future, dCi 160 BVM (manual transmission) and dCi 150 BVA (automatic gearbox). On what relates to petrol, there will be a 1.6-litre 16V and a 2-litre 16V which can also be flexible (use petrol or E85), TCe 180 and TCe 130 (both turbocharged). All of them offer very low CO2 emissions.

For the disappointment of emerging markets, the new Mégane family has been created with a focus on European clients, according to Renault. Let's hope other markets with tastes similar to those of European customers also have the chance to drive these cars. The sooner, the better.

Source: Renault

GTbyCitroën, the car that came out of a video game

Gran Turismo has always been praised by car fans. That't because it allows anyone to drive dream cars in a virtual environment. But what if the opposite was possible? What if you could drive a car that was only seen in a TV set? Well, that happened when Citroën decided to bring GTbyCitroën to life, a concept car that has first appeared on Gran Turismo 5 and was designed with the help of Polyphony Digital Inc., the company that has created the game.

GTbyCitroën is 4.96 m long, 2.08 m wide and only 1.09 m tall and it uses fuel cells on Gran Turismo 5 to feed its powerful electric engine and helps it face hot cars like Nissan GT-R with no emissions but water. In real life, no word has been said about the car engine (or even if it has one or if it is just a 1:1 model), but we hope it to have a heart, even if it is an old-fashioned combustion engine. We like it as well!

Source: Citroën

LEAKED! - Nissan Nuvu appears before official presentation

Nissan will only present its Nuvu concept car tomorrow, but we already have images of the new vehicle, which leaked in the internet, as well as some information about it.

The small vehicle (only 3 m long, 1.70 m tall and 1.55 m wide, with a wheelbase of 1.98 m) is a 2+1 automobile that runs solely on electricity. Its lithium-ion batteries give it a range of 125 km on a single charge, with a top speed of 120 km/h, enough for most roads all over the world. Anyway, Nuvu would be a city car, only, if it went into mass production. Some say it will inspire Micra's next generation, but we will have to wait to confirm.

Nissan intends to produce and sell an electric vehicle by next year's Tokyo Motor Show, but appparently Nuvu has nothing to do with it apart from its drivetrain and batteries. The production-ready vehicle tends to be more conventional.

Source: Nissan via MotorAuthority

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Audi reveals five-door version of its future A1 in Paris

Audi will reveal today in Paris the five-door version of its future A1, but as a concept. The new car, officially called A1 Sportback Concept, is the luxury version of the new small platform in Volkswagen group, called PQ25. Skoda Fabia and Seat Ibiza already use it, while the future VW Polo will present it very soon, possibly in March 2009, at the Geneva Motor Show.

As for the new A1, the concept presents the already widely known 1.4 TFSI engine mated to an electric engine, what makes it be a hybrid vehicle. Its transmission is a dual clutch S-Tronic, which helps the small car (only 4 m long) hit 100 km/h, from 0, in 7.9 s and to reach a fuel consumption as low as 25.6 km/l. CO2 emissions are low as well: only 92 g/km.

Source: Audi via World Car Fans

Lamborghini Estoque finally reveals itself

After so many teaser images, finally we see the new Lamborghini Estoque (not Urus, as previously mentioned). The new four-door coupé has been revealed today and it really looks as good as we thought it would.

Lamborghini said Estoque would be a new world and it really will be, when its sales start, by 2010. The current "concept" model uses the same engine applied to Gallardo LP 560-4, a 5.2-litre V10 that produces 560 bhp.

As in all other current Lamborghini models, all wheel drive is standard in this 5.15 m long coupe. Besides the V10, Lamborghini can adopt other engines, smaller ones, mainly, such as a turbocharged V8. As soon as we get more information and better pictures, we'll get back to you.

Source: Lamborghini via L'Auto Journal

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

BMW releases first images of X1 Concept

Some people really manage to keep secrets. If BMW was a person, it would be exactly of this kind, as it has proven with the X1 Concept. Official pictures have been just released and they reveal what will become the smallest SUV from the German automaker, although it will surely call it something else, such as SAV, SAC... whatever. According to Car Magazine, it will be called SAW, or Sport Activity Wagon.

Codenamed E84, the X1 is expected to hit dealers' showrooms next year. Although Car Magazine says its platform is the same one used by the current 3 Series, or else, E90, we believe it must be the same one used by the 1 Series, E87. Anyway, X1 is 4.46 m long and has a wheelbase of 2.76 m, what makes it only 11 cm smaller than X3, which a 3.5 cm shorter wheelbase.

Engines will very likely be the same ones used by the 1 Series. Besides the X1, BMW is also preparing the X2, the "coupe" version of the small SUV.

Source: Car Magazine

Another piece of the new Lamborghini hits the WWW

Lamborghini is showing its future car by pieces. Although they may not seem enough to figure the car out, they have already shown us the new vehicle will not be an ordinary supercar (if we may ever call a supercar ordinary at all). The sometimes called Urus, sometimes Estoque has a long hood, what makes us think it will have a front-mounted engine, instead of the more common central engines used in supercars. If it is not in the centre of the car, this must be due to seats, or else, the car will have more room and possibly four doors. These drawings, which leaked yesterday, may be official ones. If they really are, they only give us early ideas for the car.

Just check out the latest piece of this puzzle to see how the front end of the car has nothing to do with the drawing images.

There are other differences, such as the position of the exhaust pipes, central, in the final version, and in each side of the car, in the sketches. The fact is we will not need to way much more. This piece of the puzzle is the last before the official unveiling of the car, which will happen tomorrow. Let's see which is the big surprise Lamborghini reserves for us all.

Source: via World Car Fans and Lamborghini