• Beijing LIVE: 2015 MINI Paceman

    April 21, 2014
    The 2015 MINI Paceman has made its formal debut at the Beijing Motor Show.

    Visually, an extremely well-trained eye will notice the 2015 Paceman features a minutely-revised radiator grille, available LED fog lights and LED daytime running lights. A host of new alloy wheel designs and two new exterior colors called Jungle Green metallic and Midnight Grey metallic, respectively, wrap up the changes on the outside.

    Inside, the crossover features equally inconsequential modifications such as a different instrument cluster and new available trim pieces around the air vents. MINI says cabin noise has been reduced thanks to additional sound deadening material installed in the engine bay and under the carpets.

    The mid-level Paceman S’ turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine gains six extra ponies under the hood, bumping its output to 190 horsepower and 177 lb-ft. of torque. The upgraded mill propels the crossover from zero to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds, and on to a top speed of 135 mph.

    The other engine options carry on unchanged, meaning the Cooper model is powered by a 121-horsepower naturally-aspirated version of the aforementioned 1.6-liter four and the range-topping John Cooper Works model packs 208 horses and 207 lb-ft. of twist. All of the Paceman’s engines now comply with the strict Euro 6 emissions regulations that will come into effect across Europe in the near future.

    The 2015 MINI Paceman is scheduled to go on sale in Germany next summer, meaning U.S. sales will likely begin shortly after. Pricing information will be available closer to the crossover’s on-sale date.

    Live images by Ronan Glon.

  • Beijing LIVE: Bugatti Veyron Vitesse ‘Black Bess’ Legends Edition

    April 21, 2014
    Buggati has revealed its fifth model in the Legends Edition collection, the Veyron Vitesse ‘Black Bess,” at the Beijing Motor Show.

    The package celebrates the company’s legendary Type 18, one of the fastest road vehicles of the pre-war era. Powered by a four-cylinder five-liter engine, it was capable of topping out at 100 mph when it was raced by company founder Ettore Bugatti.

    One particular Type 18, named after the English racing horse ‘Black Bess,’ was delivered to famous French aviator Roland Garros after he successfully crossed the Mediterranean in an airplane.

    The name has been revived by a Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, with a glossy all-black finish accented by thin gold stripes and genuine 24-karat gold inlay on the horseshoe and other exterior and interior accents.

    The beige and brown leather interior features hand-painted motifs on the rear storage compartment and door panels. Both the Type 18 ‘Black Bess’ and Garros’ Morane Saulnier Type H airplane are visible.

    Bugatti also brought the original Type 18 to Beijing, presented alongside one of three ‘Black Bess’ Legends Edition cars.

    Live images by Ronan Glon.

  • Beijing LIVE: Honda Spirior concept

    April 21, 2014
    Presented at the Beijing Motor Show, the thinly-veiled Honda Spirior concept previews an upcoming performance-oriented sedan that will join the automaker’s Chinese lineup in the near future.

    The current Spirior is essentially a last-generation Acura TL with a Honda emblem on the grille. Honda’s show car reveals the next version of the nameplate will boast a bespoke front end heavily inspired by the automaker’s latest design language, a sporty rear end with a small spoiler integrated into the deck lid and a sloping roof line that can almost be called coupe-like.

    Honda has not revealed the Spirior concept’s interior but it promises the production version will feature a futuristic-looking cockpit built with high-quality materials. A touch screen-based infotainment system will be available as an option on entry-level models, and the system will come standard on more expensive trim levels.

    Mechanically, the next-gen Spirior will come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that will send power to the front wheels via an automatic transmission. Buyers after more grunt will be able to order a more potent 2.4-liter unit at an extra cost, but precise power figures have not been published yet.

    Honda and Chinese partner Dongfeng say the production version of the Spirior will be unveiled before the end of the year and go on sale across China shortly after. The sedan might be sold in select neighboring countries but it will not be sold in Europe or in the United States.

    Live images by Ronan Glon.

  • Beijing LIVE: Honda Concept B

    April 21, 2014
    The Concept B is one of the two concept cars that Honda has unveiled at this year’s edition of the Beijing Motor Show.

    Aimed at a relatively young target audience, the Concept B takes the form of a five-door hatchback with a sleek, futuristic look and an eye-catching purple paint job. The concept’s defining styling cues are an oversized version of Honda’s Exciting H grille, elongated daytime running lights, pronounced wheel arches and large tail lamps linked by a light bar.

    Interior pictures are not available, and Honda has not revealed what the Concept B is powered by.

    Unlike many concepts shown in Beijing, the Concept B is not merely a prototype designed for the auto show circuit and Honda says its Chinese arm is busily developing a production version of the hatchback. Details are scarce because the project is still at the embryonic stage of development but yet-unnamed production car will keep the concept’s overall silhouette.

    When launched, the regular-production version of the Concept B will be offered with several four-cylinder gasoline-burning engines borrowed from the Honda parts bin. Power will be sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.

    Honda’s upcoming China-only hatchback is scheduled to enter production in one of its Chinese factories in 2016 at the latest. At the time of writing the Japanese automaker is not planning on selling the hatchback outside China.

    Live images by Ronan Glon.

  • Beijing LIVE: Citroen C-XR Concept

    April 21, 2014
    After spreading to Europe, crossover fever has contaminated the Beijing Motor Show. Automakers positioned all over the market are racing to add a compact soft-roader to their lineup.

    France’s Citroën is previewing its upcoming compact crossover with a close-to-production concept named C-XR. It stretches approximately 163 inches long and 68 inches wide, dimensions that place it at the smaller end of the compact crossover segment.

    The C-XR wears a bold exterior design with sharp headlights, a rippled hood and Citroën’s trademarked twin-slat grille. Plastic trim on the wheel arches and on the rocker panels add a rugged touch to the C-XR’s overall appearance, while futuristic headlights remind show-goers that the crossover is still at the concept stage.

    When launched, the C-XR will be offered with the automaker’s usual array of three- and four-cylinder gasoline- and diesel-burning engines linked to either a manual or an automatic gearbox. The crossover will be offered exclusively with front-wheel drive.

    The production version of Citroën’s crossover concept will bow next October at the Paris Motor Show and go on sale in Europe, Latin America and China in early 2015. It will fight head to head against the Nissan Juke and the MINI Countryman.

    Citroën is taking soft-roaders seriously and it also unveiled a premium crossover dubbed DS 6WR at the Beijing Motor Show. The DS 6WR will be sold in standalone DS showrooms in China in a bid to take on the Audi Q3 and the BMQ X1, but it will not be distributed in Europe.

    Live images by Ronan Glon.