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Audi Unveils 2012 Audi A6 Avant

May 27, 2011 Leave a comment
Audi took the wraps off its all-new A6 sedan earlier this year at the
North American International Auto Show, and now it has unveiled the
station wagon version of this car, the 2012 Audi A6 Avant. Even though the current A6 is offered with an Avant body style here in the United States, it doesn’t appear this new Audi
wagon will ever be offered over here despite the fact that Acura and
Cadillac have both introduced new mid-sized station wagons to the
market.
Building on the look of the 2012 A6 sedan, the all-new A6 Avant has a
more practical, yet sporty, look thanks to its two-box design and
sleeker styling. This updated look starts with the front end which now
features a more aggressive appearance thanks to the scalloped headlights
with LED daytime running lights, an edgier grille and sporty front
fascia. The new A6 design still has some of the old model’s soft edges,
but the reshaped hood and broad shoulder lines help add a much more
athletic stance. Aside from this distinguishable new front-end styling,
the new Avant’s overall shape doesn’t change too much compared to the
current body style, but a steeper rake in the greenhouse and the
wraparound liftgate glass add to the sportier appearance while the
rectangular LED taillights complement the eye-catching new face.
The Avant lives on, despite the booming crossover trend
The new Audi A6 will receive a stylish cabin that shares some
similarities with the A8’s interior including the pop-out navigation
screen and the innovative Touchpad Controller. In addition to this touch
pad, the A6 cabin will also offer high-tech options such as heads-up
display, wireless Internet and a powerful Bang & Olufsen audio
system. For the driver, the cabin will offer an elegant, wrap-around
cockpit with a sporty three-spoke steering wheel. New technology also
includes what Audi refers to as a “gesture-controlled” automatic rear
liftgate which allows drivers to open the liftgate hands free by waving
their foot under the rear bumper when in possession of the proximity
key. Once open, the cargo area holds almost 20 cubic feet of cargo
volume with the rear seats in place and almost 60 cubic feet with the
rear seat backs folded down.
Under the hood of the new A6 Avant, Audi will continue to provide the
mid-size station wagon with a plethora of engine choices which includes
four diesel and two gasoline options. The base engine will be a
fuel-efficient 2.0-liter TDI inline-four while the top options will be a
3.0-liter V-6 as either a turbocharged diesel or a supercharged
gasoline engine. Audi says that the 3.0 TDI model will be able to
accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in only 5.4 seconds. Four
transmissions will be available in the 2012 A6 Avant starting with a
base six-speed manual up to the eight-speed tiptronic available only in
the 3.0 TDI. Even more depressing for North American drivers is the fact
that the new A6 will likely continue be offered in the high-performance
S6 model, but no word yet as to whether an RS6 model will be available.
One thing that should help make the new A6 Avant more exciting to
drive is the fact that it uses more lightweight aluminum to lower the
car’s curb weight. With 20 percent of the new car comprised of aluminum,
Audi says its 2012 A6 Avant weighs almost 155 pounds lighter than the
current model, and the base A6 Avant 2.0 TDI weighs in at just 3,616
pounds. Along with lighter curb weight comes improved fuel economy as
Audi states fuel consumption that is 18 percent better for 2012 over the
2011 model.
While there has been no definitive word on the availability of the A6
Avant in the U.S., the car will go on sale in Europe later this summer
with a starting price of €40,850 (the equivalent of around $60,000 USD).
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Categories: Autos, Technology

Volvo Concept Universe unveiled

May 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Old is apparently the new new at Volvo.
Its Concept Universe, unveiled at the Shanghai motor show today by the
now Chinese-owned company, ‘honours the beautiful lines of classic Volvo
models’. It also ‘reflects the serenity in light when the sun is rising
or setting’, according to exterior designer Jonathon Disley.

Design hooey aside, it’s an interesting-looking car, a first preview of a new design language for Volvo’s luxury sedan.

On his inspiration, Disley says: ‘Classic models were soft and voluptuous but also offered a sense of protection.’ The Universe is certainly soft, but we’d say it’s pleasingly bulbous
rather than voluptuous. You can definitely see the classic inspiration,
though. The set-back bonnet bulge has been half-inched from the late-50s
PV range and the grille’s a modernised version of a 1960s 1800 (that’s
the one Roger Moore drove in The Saint). The rest – namely saggy Audi
rear lights and a very Jaguar-like profile – is more par for the
exec-car course.

Inside, it’s typically concepty and exciting.
Massive slabs of wood on the doors curve into the centre console, which
juts through the cabin to the split rear seats, where an iPad-like
thing dangles for back-seat passengers.

Touchscreen monitors replace buttons, and a dash-mounted screen
erupts automatically when the driver reaches for it. And in the most
obvious Chinese touch, there’s blue and white porcelain adorning the
gear-shift.

No word on any chassis and engine platform, which are yet to be finalised.

After Shanghai, the Concept Universe is getting trawled around Europe
and America to see how would-be buyers take to the design. How do you
think they’ll react? 

Categories: Autos, Technology

Chevrolet Malibu (2012) first official pictures

May 8, 2011 Leave a comment
This is the new 2012 Chevrolet Malibu – an executive-sized four-door
saloon aimed at the US. But this one could come to Europe and the UK, as
a halo car for the Chevrolet brand, CAR understands.
 The Chevy Malibu is a US market car. Why release it in Shanghai, not New York?
Previous generations of the Malibu have indeed been primarily for US
market consumption. However, as GM seeks to create a global Chevrolet
product line out of its mixture of Korean- and America-developed models,
the Malibu will now be sold globally.
The new Malibu will replace the Chevrolet Epica model in most
markets. And it’ll be engineered for right-hand drive, making UK sales
possible.

What do we know about the new Chevrolet Malibu?

The Malibu has energy regeneration.

Styling-wise, the Malibu resembles an evolution of the current car,
with elements of the Epica around the headlights. At the rear, a complex
tail-light cluster is inspired by the Chevrolet Camaro.
Inside we get a glimpse of the centre console in spy shots – that LCD
display is the central part of Chevrolet’s touchscreen MyLink
infotainment system.
Categories: Autos, Technology

Citroen DS5 Hybrid – Overview

April 30, 2011 Leave a comment
What exactly is the DS5?

The DS5 is the third model in Citroiën’s new DS family line after the
DS4 five-door and DS3 three-door hatchbacks. Although the DS5 and DS4
share the same body style, the former boasts more interior space and
versatility than its smaller, style-focused brother.
The DS5 measures 4.52m in overall length _ the size of a Honda CR-V _
while the DS4 and DS3 tallies at 4.27m and 3.95m accordingly. The DS5
is based on the Citroiën C4 Picasso mini-MPV, while the DS4 and DS3 are
built on the conventional hatchback bodies of the C4 and C3.



The cabin has a distinctive look



 – Is the DS5’s hybrid tech shared with Peugeot?

In principle, yes, and it’s the 200hp diesel/electric (163hp/37hp)
combination of the PSA Group we’re talking about; the diesel drives the
front wheels and electricity the rear ones.
But while the 3008 Hybrid uses a 2.0-litre four-pot diesel as the
basis, the DS5 goes for a downsized 1.6-litre variation albeit a turbo.
Citroiën hasn’t revealed any economy figures for the DS5. But if
Peugeot’s 26kpl average is any indication, then it’s safe to say that
the DS5 beats the Toyota Prius _ just like the 3008 Hybrid.



The DS5 is as long as a Honda CR-V




 – Will the DS5 come to Thailand?

Let’s see. The DS3 came to Thailand last December at 1.59 million
baht in 1.6-litre petrol form. The DS4 is slated to arrive at the end of
this year with either a 2.0-litre petrol or 1.6-litre petrol-turbo unit
at some 2 million. In theory, this means that the DS5 could come by
late 2012.

The better news is that the DS5 can attract 10% excise duty given to
cars with hybrid engines, as opposed to the 30% rate the DS3 and DS4
will be subject to. This means the DS5 could comfortably cost less than
2.5 million.

Okay, that price doesn’t sound cool against the 1.3 million Prius,
which is assembled in Thailand. But as an import, the DS5 easily puts
the Mini Countryman (in 184hp Cooper S guise priced at 3.2 million) to
shame.

Categories: Autos, Technology

All-New GS Preview

April 23, 2011 Leave a comment
At 4,890mm in length, the GS would be the longest car in-class.
Oh boy, that face really looks aggressive …Yeah, and it’s so imposing that current Lexus owners could be scared
away from it, should it be made in concept form as seen here. By the
way, the LF-Gh concept is a design preview of the all-new GS executive
saloon that will premiere in New York next week.
That aforementioned grille is what Lexus calls the shape of a
spindle. But since this isn’t the actual car for the showroom (unlike
BMW’s concept teasers), some design cues could be changed if customer
reaction warrant for it.
The LED lights form part of Lexus’s L-Finesse design philosophy and
should make it to production (every luxury carmaker now boasts such
tech). Expect the front and rear bumpers, side sills and 20-inch wheels
to be toned down.
The remaining bits that haven’t been formed yet for the fourth-generation GS are side-view windows and door handles.
– What about the interior?
No image of the cabin has been released. The only things Lexus has
mentioned are a new analogue 3D clock inside and comfort for four
people, although it isn’t clear whether that means there will be a
Mercedes-Benz CLS-style 2+2 seat layout.
The LF-Gh is quite a long car in length, measuring 4,890mm. That
makes it the longest car in its class in which the GS traditionally
competes with rear-drive rivals like the BMW 5-series, Jaguar XF and
Mercedes-Benz E-class. However, the LF-Gh’s wheelbase length of 2,850mm
is 38mm shy of the 5-series.
– No problem. And the engines?
Again, Lexus only says the LF-Gh is powered by Lexus Synergy Drive.
Today’s GS450h comes with a 3.5-litre V6 petrol and two electric
motors, so that makes it an obvious choice.
But what we’ve learned from sources that a smaller variation is in
the pipeline, possibly using a 2.5-litre V6 combination which could be
badged GS300h (or GS350h to comply with the GS450h).
This would serve Lexus as an alternative to the European
competitors, that still adore diesel technology. Of course,
conventional petrol engines may still be offered ranging from GS250 up
to the eight-pot GS460.
– Nah, the GS350h sounds better …
Yes, because it can attract the 10% excise tax for hybrids whose
basic engine doesn’t exceed 3,000cc. Today’s GS300 already needs to be
priced at over 5 million baht due to 50% maximum excise tax (aside the
80% import duty).
This should be great news for GS fans because if such an engine
proves to be real, its price can fall at under 4 million baht to
compete with the locally assembled 5-series and E-class.
Lastly, one source has told us that GS punters can expect to see the
new saloon in Thai showrooms early next year after it debuts in
market-ready form at either the year-ending Tokyo or Los Angeles motor
shows.

Categories: Autos, Technology

New BMW Concept M5

April 16, 2011 Leave a comment
Forget the ‘concept’ moniker, this is 99.9% the all-new M5 saloon.
– And which bit comprises the remaining 0.1%?
It’s probably the name on the car: the word Concept. What you see
here are official pictures of the next-generation M5 from BMW which
will make its world premiere in Shanghai later this month.
In years past, BMW has loved to preview new cars by labelling them
with the word Concept. And judging by history, the fifth-gen M5 should
hit showrooms in less than six months _ practically in the same form as
pictured here.
– It’s a very imposing high-performance saloon …
Yeah. Note how the front bumper is elaborated with big, angular air
vents. The rear end sees the classic four tailpipe design, although our
eyes think they should be a little bigger in size to really give the
car a machismo look, together with those massive 20-inch black alloys.
You may argue that the M5 lacks distinction from the regular
5-series, but that’s the whole idea of BMW’s M cars: understatement.
The same should be applied to the interior. Although BMW hasn’t
released a picture of the cabin, it should be very 5-series, except for
some M appointments like the seats, steering wheel and short gear
joystick.

– What’s its power like?

BMW has only mentioned twin turbo technology with high-revving
ability. But as many people may already know, that equates to the
4.4-litre bi-turbo V8 used in the X5 M and X6 M.
But instead of getting just 555hp like in the M sport-utes, the M5
should be getting power in the region of 580-600hp _ competitive enough
against the Audi RS6 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.
Since the new decade is all about going green, BMW is talking about a 25% reduction in CO
inf2 emissions. So aside the downsized motor, there are the
efficient seven-speed dual-clutcher and probably auto stop/start tech.


An indication of massive power.

– Looks like the M5 will be an easy and comfy car to drive …

That’s the path of evolution for sports cars these days: they must
be easy to drive in the real world, so no more manual gearsticks or
jerky automated manuals.
Aston Martin and Lamborghini may still smirch dual-clutchers for
their heavier weight, so it remains to be seen whether both of them
will want to be the only remaining players left behind in the
transmission race.
And while the M5 should offer more refinement and driver comfort,
its engine and chassis limits will continue to be higher than ever
(judging from the evolution of today’s M3).
Categories: Autos, Technology

Audi’s ambitious plan

April 12, 2011 Leave a comment
Will Audi really build this A3 saloon?
Most likely, and that will make Audi the first auto brand to offer a
saloon in the premium compact car segment complementing the three- and
five-door hatchbacks and cabriolet bodies. The BMW 1-series, Lexus CT
and Mercedes-Benz A/B-class have yet to go four-door.
The booted A3 will bring the total number of Audi saloons to four,
the other three being the A4, A6 and A8. The concept you see here is a
very close indicator of what the A3 saloon would look like in less than
a year.
The interior looks modern and simple …
Uh-huh. It would really be nice for Audi to make simple interior
designs as the one you see here. For years, the Ingolstadt boys have
always built concept cars with minimalist cabins, but never made them
the way they looked like.
But that could change because we’re talking about a cost-effective
car aimed at emerging markets like those in Asia (particularly China)
and Russia. In addition, modern streamlined interior electronics and
iPhone compatibility should make way for simple interiors.
The show car had a 400hp-plus motor, right?

Yes. The A3 concept was also meant to showcase a storming RS3
range-topper. The 406hp 2.5-litre inline-five petrol-turbo and
seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox isn’t an out-of-reach
possibility.
This A3 concept truly shows the potential of Audi in world markets.
And it won’t stop here; a Q3 SUV variation is also in the works, with a
likely debut at next month’s Shanghai auto show.
In contrast, Audi’s performance in Thailand is on the appalling side, with low annual sales and a very limited product line-up.
Let’s hope that will change because we hear that Audi (and
Volkswagen) should be making an announcement in Thailand about a
renewed presence very soon this year. They have already made new forays
in Malaysia and Indonesia recently.
The interior stresses on simplicity.
Categories: Autos, Technology