Saturday, June 30, 2007

Facelifted Sonata feels the heat

Spy photographers captured a restyled Hyundai Sonata during hot-weather testing in Death Valley earlier this week. Engineers got up nice and early to catch the test vehicle. While this prototype maintains the current Sonata's styling between the A- and C-pillars, the front and rear fascias have been modified.
Redesigned headlights flank a new grille with horizontal chrome bars, and the front bumper has a larger, trapezoidal-shaped lower intake that widens at the bottom for a more stout expression. The new grille brings the styling more in line with the upcoming Genesis luxury car.Heavily camouflaged, changes to the Sonata's rear are less obvious, but it appears that restyled tail lamps with prominent white strips are part of the plan. Judging from the quick drive-by shot of the interior, the Sonata will receive a revised center console and redesigned stereo akin to the Hyundai Veracruz.

New Lexus mid-sized SUV rumours

We have reports that the Toyota owned Lexus is planning a new mid-sized SUV dubbed as "JX". At the moment its not clear whether this will replace the RX Series but it is scheduled for a 2009 release. There are no pictures yet but a gasoline powered V8 is expected.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tourist Action

Lancia Musa Caught Undisguised!

Well nearly except from the cardboard which is covering the radiator grille and the few pieces of tape around the back otherwise its an undisguised prototype.
Because the mini-MPV is shedding the thick black disguise it could mean the Fiat Idea's sister could be unveiled soon. Numerous prototypes have been sighted in Turin and Torino in Italy.
Lancia is set to return to the UK later on this year or next year with the new Delta but Lancia says that they don't want the Delta to be the only car in the UK line-up which is why we could be getting the Musa, Ylipson and possibly the Phedra. Lancia is a well established premium brand in mainland Europe which is why the Delta could be rivalling with the Audi A3, Alfa Romeo 148, Lexus "BS", BMW 1 Series etc.

2008 Volvo V50 Sighted

Here we have in flesh is the new Volvo V50. It sedan brother has also been facelifted but that has yet to be sighted.
Obvious changes to the rear of the wagon are rectangular reversing/indictor lights and light reflectors which are on the lower part of the rear bumper. On the front the bloated cheeks is the main front feature.
These photos were taken in Spain in a car park.

New Car: 2008 BMW 6 Series Facelift

BMW is finally making a diesel-powered 6-series and, as you�d expect, it�s no 618d but a 282bhp, 155mph 635d.

The 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder diesel engine will be available in both the cabrio and coupe, where it promises 0-62mph in 6.3sec and 40.9mpg.

It�ll come with a six-speed auto �box as standard, with steering wheel-mounted paddles for manual changes.

The 635d isn�t the only way to get a more fuel-efficient 6-series, either; the entire range is getting a makeover, with more equipment and more technology, including regenerative brake technology and, in the 630i, a more efficient engine.

BMW says that fuel economy is improved by 15 per cent in the 630i, and by five per cent in the 4.8-litre 650i.

The 6-series can also now be specified with even more electronic gizmos. Along with iDrive there�s the option of radar cruise control, a night vision camera and adaptive headlights. The latter can even automatically switch between high and low beam lights for you.
If radar cruise control isn�t enough to keep you on the straight and narrow, you can get a lane departure warning system that vibrates the steering wheel as you veer across white lines. Assuming you�re actually still holding the wheel at that point, of course, and not deep within a sub-menu in the iDrive system.

You see, you might be distracted by BMW Online�s Convertible Weather Service (we�re not making this up, honest), which lets you know weather or not it looks like rain. Never let it be said that the Germans don�t have a sense of humour.

Petrol engines will stay the same.

More Hyundai Genesis/BH

This is a fresh spy photo of the new Hyundai flagship. According to sources there will be two models; one for North America (pictured here) and another for South Korea but which one will Europe get?

Its still not clear whether it will come to Europe but if it does its likely to be badged as i80 but sources claim that the new Hyundai will be making a world debut at this years Frankfurt Motorshow in September.

The car has been sighted all over North America, South Korea and Northern Scandinavia.

Various Cars


Fabia Estate on the way...

Skoda is currently working on their Fabia estate. The mini load-lugger will rival against the Peugeot 207 SW.

Engines will be taken from the Fabia hatchback and prices could be the same as the hatchback.

Don't be fooled by the large tail lamps on the bootlid they are fake and its suppose to confuse car enthusiasts.

The vehicle should be launched next year along side with the Fabia sedan and maybe the cabriolet too.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mini Clubman Caught Naked

Thats right, a spy photographer caught up with the new Clubman during a commercial shoot and caught it in full production trim. The C-pillars are the same colour as the roof but that seemed to surprise car fanatics.
There is a backwards opening door (suicide door) on the passengers side but this will affect British drivers as the steering wheel is on the right hand side. Apparently Mini wanted to lower costs of producing this vehicle.
The car should be revealed in a few weeks time.

Ford Flexes Some Muscle...

One of our spy photographers spotted a Ford Flex driving on public roads - with a license plate! Seen last a few months ago at the New York International Auto Show - as a concept - the production debut of the Flex is still some time away.

But from look of it, the production Flex will look very much like the New York concept. In fact, we're hard pressed to spot any changes, save for some minor badge relocating. This particular car doesn't have the show car's projector-beam headlights, body-colored bumpers or chrome trim, but the wheels match those seen on the show car, as do the body panels and trim pieces.

With the test mule seen in these pictures virtually undisguised and looking production-ready, chances are that what you see here is what will show up in Ford showrooms early next year when the Flex goes on sale as a 2009 model.

Honda Accord Exposed (US)

As the all-new 2008 Honda Accord nears its official launch as spy photographers stumble upon a group of 2008 Honda Accords in the middle of a brochure photo shoot in the forest of Canada.
As we've seen before, the Accord coupe gets a honeycomb grille, while the sedan's face is trimmed with horizontal bars. Based on the alloy wheels and dual exhaust pipes, both the coupe and sedan pictured are V6 models. Honda has publicly talked about increased horsepower, improved fuel economy, cylinder deactivation and lower emissions for the V6-powered Accord. Although official specifications have not yet been released, a 3.5-liter V6 with approximately 270 horsepower is expected, as well as the base 180-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine.

NASCAR tightens noose on erring teams

Five NASCAR teams stand at the receiving end of penalties and points deductions, but teams are still bent on tweaking their cars in preparation for what promises to be a close run Nextel Cup series once the Car of Tomorrow goes flat out in 2008.

NASCAR suspended the respective crew chiefs of the teams working for drivers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson for six races, while both drivers and their owners were penalized with a 100-point deduction from their season totals. NASCAR cited the altered front fenders of the cars, which failed inspection Friday at the Infineon Raceway in Northern California. Both Johnson and Gordon flagged off at the tail of the field due to the penalty.

�We feel like we need to issue penalties and they need to be severe enough to display to the entire industry that we�re serious about the new car and the components of it that we don�t want altered or modified or messed with,� said John Darby, director of the Nextel Cup series.

�We believe the penalties that we did issue are adequate enough to deliver that message. If, going forward, we find more and more violations and they become more frequent, then we will upscale the penalties until we get the result we�re looking for.�

With the test runs of the Car of Tomorrow races this season, NASCAR does not have a set rules just yet and officials have come down hard on teams that make changes to the new cars. The close finish of the test runs indicate the CoT will be highly competitive and race officials are keeping an eye on teams that can get unfair advantage from body modifications.

Hendrick denied of No.8 ownership

Fill 'er up: The No.8 Earnhardt car in DEI

Dale Earnhardt Jr., formerly of the DEI Team, now drives for Rick Hendrick and both parties to the deal is well and happy about the trade until Junior finds out he won't be driving on a No.8 car.

NASCAR denied on Monday Hendrick's move to get the No.8 for the latest addition to his stable of ace drivers, which is likely to part Junior with the car number that his grandfather have used his own NASCAR stint.

NASCAR official Ramsey Poston told the Charlotte Observer on Monday that teams couldn't sell their numbers to other teams. The race body typically handles each number and approves whether a team can or can't run them.

A change of numbers from one team to another has been done before, although in not as high-profile as the DEI-Hendrick trade.

Talking Points

In the past the road racing guys had the advantage, I don't think that's so anymore. In a road racing car you have to go right and left, accelerate and brake and downshift, [while] dirt track racers have good car control skills, they know how to manage the vehicle, they have a good sense of when it's going out of control and how to keep it right on the edge.�

--Mike McGovern, head instructor at the Bob Bondurant Racing School in Arizona, on the Toyota/Save Mart 350 this weekend at the Infineon Raceway, one of the two road courses of the Nextel Cup race this season. Some NASCAR teams hire "road course ringers" to replace regular drivers during the often pivotal road course events to help the team accumulate points.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Subaru Outbacking the Impreza?

This seems to be the first ever spy shot of what looks like the 2008 Subaru Impreza Outback "Sport". The current model didn't receive an Outback model in the Impreza line-up but the first generation did.

For the first time it looks like it will be available in a hatchback rather than the conventional station wagon.

Not much is actually known about this at the moment but the engines will be shared with the Subaru Impreza hatchback.

More Mercedes C63 AMG Sedan...

This will rival aganist the Lexus IS-F, Audi RS4 and BMW M3 sedan.

UK sedan prices could start from around �53,000.

Its now undergoing final shakedown testing on the Nurburgring in Germany.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Talladega puts Cars of Tomorrow to test

Expect not a few changes at the start of next year's NASCAR Cup Series. As the reported shift of Cup sponsorship from Nextel to Sprint creates bum steers around the motorsports world, the much anticipated debut of the Cars of Tomorrow is set to reshape the way stock cars compete.

This early the race body has been using its chief resources to give teams a chance to test the new CoT at different tracks before the 2008 season begins. Reports say the CoT lineup will be faced with their first real test as they take on the restrictor plate beast at the Talladega Superspeedway on September 11, two days after �The Chase for the Championship� from Richmond begins.

Brett Bodine, a former NASCAR driver and current cost research director of the CoT project, remains optimistic as the car continues to be presented at different tracks across the country. �The original design of the car of tomorrow has many characteristics of the current road course car,� Bodine said, �particularly in the fact that both are more symmetrical than the current (standard) oval track cars.�

There had been complaints, though, from drivers and crews who said the car has a high center of gravity that makes the setup tough for teams to find. Apart from the test run at the Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR also hopes to run its CoT at a 1.5-mile facility before 2007 is over. The itineraries of the test remains undetermined just yet.

Even More Hyundai Genesis....

No new information just yet but there will be 2 models; a regular sedan and a sporty version of the sedan. If the new Genesis comes to Europe its most likely to be called the i80.

More Renault Koleos

Its still unknown what this prototype is but spy photographers say the steering wheel had a Renault badge on it but the badge on the front radiator belongs to Samsung (Korean Renault's). We definitely know it will rival with the Nissan Qashqai (which sold 60,000 units since its launch in December 2006). These pictures were taken a day after the first batch were published onto the internet.
Whilst the UK is under water, South Europe has experienced a heatwave and thats why Renault are in South Spain testing the new hatchback cum SUV. For the first time we can see clearly there will be a split opening tailgate as this engineer reveals.
We published an article earlier on this month so check it out.

GT-R in the UK

Nissan is currently testing the new Skyline GT-R in the UK. The GT-R has been turning heads ever since its first sighting at a gas station in New Mexico and now it has made a sneak appearance in the UK at the Goodwood Festival of Speedwhich took place last saturday.

The test car is still wearing a bra and is expected to have a world debut at the Tokyo Motorshow in October.

BMW Offers More "Six" Appeal

A new front bumper, revised taillights and a tiny spoiler lip at the rear edge of the boot lid � that�s what distances the facelifted BMW 6-series from today�s model. We gather that the interior will be refined, too!

Engines, on the other hand, will not change, and so customers will still have the choice between the 258-bhp 630i, the 367-bhp 4.8-litre V8 called 650i and the M6. We expect the facelifted model to debut at the Frankfurt Show later this year

The new 6 Series should be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motorshow in September.

Maserati Quattroporte Facelift Spied....

Maserati appears to be working on a facelift for the Quattroporte. The car has been on the market since 2004 and we spied this prototype in Germany as it tested on, and around the N�rburgring race circuit.

The changes appear to be focused on the front fascia with a small alteration to the rear bumper. The camouflage suggests that in addition to changes to the front bumper air-intakes, Maserati stylists may have made some changes to the Maserati�s overall grille shape, and to the headlights. The rear end will stay the same. The changes amount to the normal mid-cycle facelift, which should go public late this year, perhaps at either the LA or Detroit auto shows.

New Car: 2008 Chevrolet Matiz Facelift

The Chevrolet Matiz has been among the most attractive and best-selling city cars on the European car market since its introduction in 2005. The exterior changes for MY 2008 will give the Matiz a fresh, sporty and more modern look. All modifications will be available for the SX and SE models.

The exterior changes are most noticeable at the front end. The new two-tone bumper (black and body color) integrates the air intake in a sporty, more aggressive fashion, compared to the current design. The upper part of the bumper, which is noticeably larger, includes the Chevrolet logo. The lower part features a honeycomb design and extends into the black area where the number plate is mounted.

The theme is continued by black rails that run across the doors and the entire side of the vehicle. The sharp edges of the rear bumper take up the design and the lower black portion of the bumper complements the sporty character of the new Matiz.

The three-tone interior will be available for all Matiz models. The small Chevrolet can now also be ordered with orange, green and blue interior trims. While the current trim is only available in grey with colored patterns, the new interior offers colorful fabrics with grey patterns, giving the car a fresh and young look.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Next Generation Mercedes E-Class Spied

The next Mercedes E-Class is already underway with numerous prototypes been sighted all over Mainland & Northern Europe.

This is the latest spy photo of the new mid-sized sedan. The most obvious thing is the vehicle will grow in size. Its considerably wider and longer than the current model.

Despite the heavy disguise the next model caught feature twin headlamps on each side just like the current car but CGI's suggest they will be more boxier.

Just like the current generation there will be only 2 body styles; sedan and station wagon.

The new E-Class will be launched in 2009 along with the BMw 5 Series and Audi A6.

Engines are still unknown but diesel engines are expected to be cleaner and more fuel efficient.

Honda Ridgeline Facelift or Hybrid?

SANTA MONICA, Calif. � Honda's Ridgeline pickup truck is due for an update, and spy photos prove that an overhaul is on the way. A new front-end design consists of a new grille and a revised front bumper, which looks similar to an early prototype of the next-generation Honda Pilot.

No major modifications are revealed yet for the Ridgeline's rear end, but that could change closer to production.

Technical details have not yet been released. Hybrid power was rumored as a possibility in 2009, but it's unlikely before the second-generation Ridgeline debuts in 2011.

What this means to you: The truck business is highly competitive, and Honda knows it needs to keep the Ridgeline fresh in order to play with the big boys.
Extracted from Edmunds Insideline

Friday, June 22, 2007

Nextel out of NASCAR logo

The popular motorsports will be known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next year, ESPN reports, quoting unnamed sources from the industry.

Sprint's marketing director at NASCAR Dean Kessel denied the claims and said the company, together with Nextel, is still sorting out a proposition with the race body. He added that many details must first be finalized before a decision can be made.

In December 2004, Sprint and Nextel agreed to a $36 billion merger. The then go-to-market brand name of the combined Sprint Nextel was Sprint, with the Nextel name continuing as a key product brand.

The reported shift in NASCAR Cup sponsorship would give the race series its third name. From 1972 to 2003, the Cup Series was sponsored by R.J. Reynolds tobacco through its Winston cigarette brand. Then, starting in 2004, Nextel assumed the naming rights to the most popular racing series in the United States.

Talking Points

I don't want to take his father's place, but I think we offer something that both of us are missing. It's not that he's looking for me to be his dad, or I'm looking for him to be my son [but] we have a common bond that we both lost somebody... so there's something there.�

--Rick Hendrick, speaking to reporters on the acquisition of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick, who lost family members and employees in an October 2004 plane crash, signed up Junior following a falling out with the DEI, a team Earnhardt Sr. had built.

[F1c] Prototype-C 4 F1c by Virtua LM