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Mini JCW GP to be hatchback only

Posted by GearUp on November 15, 2012 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The 2013 Mini John Cooper Works GP is dropping weight and lowering its lap times, but one thing it won't be losing is its flat roof. Like the original JCW GP package, Evo says that despite the fact that sportier Mini Coupes have been caught testing, the new GP will only be offered in the three-door Cooper hatchback body style. And that's perfectly fine with us.

Evo spoke with GP development chief Jorg Weidinger who said that as a part of the car's history, "It was a hatch, it is a hatch and it should stay a hatch." Weidinger also said that Mini is not planning to set any Nürburgring records with the new JCW GP even though earlier reports indicate that the car is a full 20 seconds faster around the 'Ring than its 2006 predecessor.



Lamborghini Insecta Concept

Posted by GearUp on November 14, 2012 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The Lamborghini Insecta Concept is a design study of a 2-seater mid-engined supercar created by Romanian Iulian Bumbu. The design combines the brand’s styling cues with elements inspired by insect exoskeletons.

As Iulian Bumbu explains "The idea was to create an extreme race-oriented supercar with a style that introduces softer and more organic lines and integrate them into the geometrical style of Lamborghini."

The main inspiration came from nature, and in particular from the exoskeletons found in insects (bugs). This kind of "armour" appearance is particularly visible in the back and top views."I tried to apply this tipe of organic movements and translate them into Lamborghini’s style so that when you see the car, you can immediately recognize it as a Lambo."

The dimensions af the car are a length of 4,300 mm (the same as the Gallardo), a height of 1,000 mm and a width of 2,000 mm, with a wheelbase of 2,650 mm. The body structure and panels are made of carbon-fiber and the powertrain is the same adopted on the Gallardo.

About the Designer

Iulian Bumbu was born on 21 July 1981 in Bechet (Romania).

He received a Master Diploma in Car Design from Scuola Politecnica di Design Milano (2007-2008), and a degree from National University of Art Bucharest –

Product Design Department (2004).

Among his professional experience are a three-months internship at Centro Stile Alfa Romeo (2008)


BMW M offers steering with intergrated computer & readout

Posted by GearUp on November 14, 2012 at 5:40 AM Comments comments (0)

We see quite a few factory performance parts come through our inbox, but few warrant more than a cursory glance. That said, BMW grabbed our eye with its new M Performance steering wheel. Trimmed in carbon fiber and alcantara, the tiller is slick enough, but it also features two readouts to convey all sorts of vehicle information. Two color LED strips at 11 and 1 o'clock swing from green to red with engine rpm to serve as a shift light, and they can also be reconfigured to act as a drag-strip Christmas tree for timing your quarter-mile mile runs.

A small LCD display sits at 12 o'clock, and can be set up to convey everything from vehicle speed and g-load to oil and coolant temperature. We're a little less smitten with the notion of shoving yet another display in our faces, but the gadgetry is slick. Of course, the wheel isn't free. BMW offers the wheels on 1 Series, 3 Series and M cars built since 2006, and the upgrade will set you back $1,700. That's a lot of coin for something that won't make you any quicker around your favorite track. Check it out in action in the video below. You can also head over to the BMW site for more information.

Koenigsegg claims records, says Agera R goes 0-200 mph in 17.68 sec.

Posted by GearUp on November 14, 2012 at 5:05 AM Comments comments (0)

We all know Koenigsegg makes blisteringly fast exotic cars. The latest hyper machine from Sweden is the Agera R, and Koenigsegg wanted to see just how fast its two-door toy could go. With the help of an (unnamed) third party to verify the results and a Racelogic VBox, the Koenigsegg team set out to make some high-speed passes at its Sweden-based proving ground.

The results... are amazing:

0-300 km/h (186 mph) = 14.53 sec

0-200 mp/h = 17.68 sec


300-0 km/h = 6.66 sec

200-0 mp/h = 7.28 sec


0-300-0 km/h = 21.19 sec

0-200-0 mp/h = 24.96 sec

The Koenigsegg Agera R has impressive acceleration numbers, but we're equally stunned by how quickly the car can come to a stop. Koenigsegg says it has video of the runs, which will be released soon. For now, all you can do is stare at the photo above and make vroom vroom noises while imagining the G-forces at play.

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Jaguar Land Rover to share platform

Posted by GearUp on November 12, 2012 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Jaguar and Land Rover are planning to share platforms. The two companies aim to rationalise seven largely unrelated platforms to just two or three.


The shared platforms will serve around 70 to 80 per cent of the marque’s core models by volume.


Land Rover currently offer models based on four distinct platforms: Defender, Freelander/Evoque, Discovery/Range Rover Sport and Range Rover. Jaguar currently has bespoke platforms for its XF, XJ and XK ranges.


It is looking to Volkswagen’s fully scalable MQB platform as a case study. But Jaguar’s global brand director, Adrian Hallmark said: “it won’t happen overnight. VW’s MQB platform will take seven years to roll out across the models it will underpin”.


The Volkswagen Group has begun sales of MQB-based cars, including the Golf and A3, but the recently introduced second-generation new Beetle is still based on the PQ35 platform which formed the basis of the Mk5 Golf, launched in 2003.


Jaguar and Land Rover already share a number of costly parts, including infotainment systems, seats and drivetrains.

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Mercedes -Benz SLS Black

Posted by GearUp on November 12, 2012 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Sporting a series of aerodynamic and mechanical developments brought over from the SLS AMG GT3 race car, the headlining AMG model is the fifth in a series of limited production Black Series models.


As tradition dictates, the SLS AMG Black Series is outwardly distinguished by series of exterior styling changes that serve to provide it with a distinctly brawnier appearance than the standard SLS AMG – all in keeping with its circuit bred lineage. Carbonfibre is used extensively for the more aggressive bodywork, including the deep front spoiler, bonnet and rear diffuser. An aerodynamic package is optional, which includes a lathe fixed rear wing.


The rear bulkhead and centre tunnel are also fashioned from carbonfibre, changes which help shed the Black Series' kerb weight by 70kg over the standard SLS AMG to 1550kg.


At the new car's heart is a heavily tuned version 6.2 V8 developing 59bhp than the standard SLS AMG and 41bhp more than the recently introduced SLS AMG GT, with 622bhp delivered at 7400rpm. Torque, on the other hand, has dropped by 11lb ft over both existing gullwing models, with 468lb ft arriving at 5500rpm.


Carryovers from the GT3 racer to the Black Series road car include a larger inlet manifold, high lift camshaft, revised valve tappets, revised oil system, lighter bearings and stiffer conrods. The rev limit is raised from 7200rpm to 8000rpm.


Further engine changes centre around the exhaust system which switches from steel to titanium construction – a move AMG claims not only provides a 13kg reduction in weight and reduced back pressure but an even more striking exhaust note.


Channeling drive to the rear wheels is a modified six-speed double clutch transaxle, set 10mm lower than in the standard SLS to reduce its centre of gravity. Shifts are now faster and more aggressive and torque loading is increased.


Additional driveline developments include the adoption of an electronically controlled differential lock in place of the existing mechanical arrangement. The ESP and race start systems are also revised.


The Black Series can crack 0-62mph in 3.6sec and reach a 196mph top speed, 0.1sec quicker than an SLS AMG GT to 62mph but 3mph slower at the top end due to its increased downforce.


Chassis developments include wider front and rear tracks and a firmed up coil-over suspension system, which also includes greater manual adjustment for the dampers.


Also new are its lightweight 19in front and 20in rear alloy wheels and the adoption of carbon ceramic brakes.


Lambo unveils roudster Aventador LP 700-4

Posted by GearUp on November 12, 2012 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)

This morning, Lamborghini has announced the newest member of its supercar family, the stunningly sexy Aventador LP700-4 Roadster. With more than 1,300 Aventador coupes sold to date, Lamborghini believes it will find strong demand for the convertible version.

The Roadster's roof is a two-piece affair, made from carbon fiber and weighing in at just over 13 pounds. The roof pieces must be removed by hand, though the process is said to be fairly simple, and there's room to store both in the front luggage compartment. The topless Aventador also employs a powered rear window and a front-mounted wind deflector (which can also be removed and stowed) to allow drivers the freedom to choose how exposed to the elements they'd like to be.

Naturally, Lamborghini has done everything it could to keep performance unchanged from that of the fixed-roof sibling. Like the coupe, the Aventador Roadster makes use of a 6.5-liter, 700-horsepower V12 modulated by a seven-speed single-clutch paddleshift gearbox. 0-62 miles per hour comes up in 3.0 seconds, while top speed is a massive 217 mph (350 kilometers per hour).

In its press release about the car (below) Lamborghini tells us that the Aventador Roadster will be offered for sale at 300,000 euro plus tax ($381,000 at current exchange rates – expect official US pricing to be revealed soon, though), and will be available for order worldwide. Phone-number-sized bank account holders should get their checkbooks ready.

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Vw on new Taigun

Posted by GearUp on November 8, 2012 at 5:20 AM Comments comments (0)

We didn't have to wait very long for recent reports of a new small Volkswagen crossover to come true... well, sort of. In a side note to our report on a seven-passenger VW CUV last week, we also mentioned the possibility of a new sub-Tiguan crossover, and we may have gotten our first look at such a vehicle courtesy of this Volkswagen Taigun Concept that is debuting at the São Paulo motor show.

Although the Taigun Concept suggests that VW has all but given up on imbuing its new vehicles with comprehensible names, this new softroader also looks to balance practicality and fuel economy. With a slightly smaller footprint than the current Golf, the Taigun actually has more interior space (including more front headroom), but it's the powertrain that could really make this B-segment CUV standout if it sees production. Using a small gasoline 1.0-liter direct-injected and turbocharged three-cylinder under the hood, the Taigun Concept still has pretty respectable small car numbers, generating 108 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. However, the true beauty of this engine is that VW puts its fuel economy numbers at 4.7 liters per 100 kilometers – around 50 miles per gallon on the EU cycle.

Even the styling of the Taigun shows that VW's current design language looks good on just about any size, with its boxy shape and short overhangs, but the automaker says that it is using Brazil's emerging auto show to gauge interest for such a vehicle before making any decisions as to whether or not to put it into production.



Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept

Posted by GearUp on August 2, 2012 at 3:45 AM Comments comments (0)

When we saw the Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept earlier this year at the Detroit auto show, we looked closely at its hardtop and figured it was a not-so-subtle hint that a convertible Beetle was coming.

When the E-Bugster appeared roofless at the Beijing auto show a few months later, we were sure of it. But as it turns out, we were only half right: the E-Bugster Concept isn't just a preview of the Beetle Convertible (which goes on sale this fall), but the low-roofed, two-seat roadster is actually being considered for production.

If it happens, the E-Bugster will be sold in the two markets it was shown (the U.S. and China), leaving Europe to make do with just the Golf Cabriolet. VW says the E-Bugster fills a void in its product lineup where a two-seat sporty roadster belongs. That's a position we would rather see occupied by, say, a mid-engine roadster like the stillborn Blue Motion concepts -- or even a convertible Scirocco. But at least the E-Bugster's design works well, unlike a certain wacky Mini.

Volkswagen boasts that the E-Bugster Concept shares 90 percent of its parts with the regular production Beetle Cabriolet, the biggest changes being the flared fenders, chopped and laid-back windshield, and the bulkhead that replaces the back seats. That parts commonality means the E-Bugster wouldn't have to sell in big numbers to be profitable -- and thanks to the modularity of VW's platforms, it could receive any of the off-the-shelf powertrains that fit the MQB components set -- gasoline, diesel or electric. The concept uses the 114-hp electric powertrain from the forthcoming 2014 Golf Blue-e-Motion.

VW invited us to drive the E-Bugster, but since the one-off concept (and its strictly show-car twenty-inch wheels) are limited to 20 mph, there's not much to report other than an open cockpit with great visibility and a windshield that -- unlike many modern cars -- doesn't reside uncomfortably close to your forehead. The electric powertrain works brilliantly, as it does in the eGolf -- if a bit slowly. (VW predicts a 0-62 mph time of 10.8 seconds.) The E-Bugster Concept doesn't include the eGolf's steering-wheel-mounted shifter paddles, which allow driver-selectable levels of regen -- but if this convertible finds itself in production as an EV, you can be sure that it will include the helpful feature.

It's doubtful that the E-Bugster's show-car interior would make it to production, but the large TFT screens and novel interior lighting definitely show some fantasy. Then again, as we've seen, the line between fantasy and reality isn't always as clear as we think.



News Source:automobilemag


VW announces record profits

Posted by GearUp on March 16, 2012 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Volkswagen has revealed the goal of becoming the world's most ecological car maker, off the back of record results for 2011. At a press conference in Wolfsburg, Germany this morning it announced an operating profit of £9.4 billion, up more than 50 per cent year-on-year.

The profits were achieved against eight million car sales, which resulted in sales revenue that rose 25.6 per cent to £133bn.

"The VW Group has extended its string of unbroken successes in 2011. We are making steady progress on our way to pole position in the automotive industry," said Professor Dr Martin Winterkorn, chairman of VW's Board of Management, referring to its goal of being sustainably the biggest car maker from 2018. It is currently behind GM and vying with Toyota in the battle to be the world's biggest car maker.

To achieve its ecological goals, Winterkorn announced a restructuring programme to hit the goal of having fleet average emissions of 120g/km of CO2 by 2015. Winterkorn said that to achieve this every new generation VW will have to cut emissions by between 10 and 15 per cent. As part of this programme, stop-start will be fitted as standard to all new models. In addition, Winterkorn outlined plans to lower emissions from the group's 94 plants by 25 per cent by 2018, which will require an investment of £250m.

Total sales were up by more than 1m vehicles year-on-year.

Sales were split between VW passenger cars (5.1 million cars, up 13.1 per cent year-on-year), Audi (1.3 million from 1.1 million), Skoda (879,000, up 15.3 per cent), Seat (350,000, up 3.1 per cent), Bentley (7003, up 36.9 per cent), Lamborghini (1600, up 23 per cent), VW Commercial Vehicles (529,000, up 21.4 per cent), Scania (80,100, up 25.7 per cent) and MAN, in which VW has recently taken a 57.33 per cent stake (24,750 sales).

Despite the sales growth, Seat was the only VW Group brand to make an operating loss. Volkswagen's chief financial officer Hans Dieter-Potsche said this was put down to a shrinking home market and heavy investment in new products.

In 2010 Bentley had also made a loss, which was attributed to the global economic situation. Bentley made a profit in 2011.

Winterkorn also signalled his optimism for 2012, despite the Eurozone's economic uncertainties. He said sales in January and February were up 7.7 per cent year-on-year.

"This year we will again be launching 40 new models, successors and product enhancements across the group," he said. "As a result we expect to increase deliveries year-on-year.

Winterkorn also reiterated that work to integrate Porsche into the VW Group is ongoing. "I can say today this will happen, but there are still hurdles to cross in our path towards that goal," said Winterkorn.

Winterkorn also announced each of the VW Group's 500,000 employees would enjoy a profit-share bonus of £6277 off the back of the record results, a figure up 90% year-on-year.

Winterkorn himself will receive £14.2m as part of his profit-sharing related bonus and salary.