• Chinese startup previews Genesis Coupe-based EV

    July 22, 2015
    A Chinese startup named Youxia has published early design sketches that preview an upcoming EV based on the Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

    Dubbed One, Youxia’s first model shares virtually no styling cues with the Genesis Coupe that it shares its platform with. It wears a sharp, muscular-looking design with a twin-slat radiator grille, a deep front bumper and Aston Martin-like vents on both sides.

    Surprisingly, the components that make up the One’s electric drivetrain are all off-the-shelf parts that Youxia purchased from Taobao, a popular website that many describe as China’s home-brewed version of Amazon. Full technical details have not been published yet but Youxia promises the One will be able to reach 60 mph from a stop in five seconds and go on to a top speed of over 186 mph. When driven with a light right foot, it is expected to offer a maximum driving range of 155 miles.

    Limited to just five examples, the Youxia One will be presented next week and it is scheduled to go on sale across China next year. When the first prototype is unveiled, Youxia will start a crowd-funding campaign in a order to raise the three million yuan (about $483,000) it needs to build the five coupes.

    The ambitious company isn’t stopping there. Once the five coupe have been built and spoken for, it will turn to investors in a bid to gather the 10 million yuan (approximately $1.6 million) it needs to develop its own platform from scratch.

  • Subaru previews Australia-bound WRX STI NR4 Spec

    July 22, 2015

    Subaru’s Australian division has introduced a more hardcore version of the WRX STI dubbed NR4 Spec that’s ready to go racing.

    Fully homologated by the FIA, the NR4 Spec was designed exclusively for motorsport events and it is not street-legal. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four engine tweaked with input from STI, but Subaru of Australia has not published full technical and performance specifications.

    In the United Kingdom, the NR4′s turbo four makes 280 horsepower at 4,250 rpm and 413 lb-ft. of torque at 3,000 rpm. A five-speed dog gear transmission sends power to all four wheels via front and rear limited-slip differentials.

    FIA regulations dictate that NR4-spec cars can’t weigh less than 3,071 pounds so the interior hasn’t been completely stripped out. The carpet has been removed and replaced by a set of rubber floor mats, and the STI gains a three-spoke steering wheel, a Sparco bucket seat for the driver as well as carbon fiber trim on the dashboard and on the center console.

    The NR4 Spec is billed as a turn-key racer. Buyers only need to choose whether they prefer to have it painted blue or white and they need to install a roll cage, which they can either order directly from Subaru or weld in themselves.

    In Australia, the Subaru WRX STI NR4 Spec costs $38,000 (about $28,000) before options are factored in. Buyers looking to hit the track in Subaru’s road rocket should act fast, because only a handful of cars will be sent Down Under.

  • Porsche Pajun concept to debut in Frankfurt?

    July 22, 2015
    Porsche may be preparing to finally unveil its rumored ‘Pajun‘ EV later this year at the Frankfurt auto show, according to a report by french outlet L’Automobile.

    The company has allegedly been sitting on the idea for a few years, after making a handful of prototypes based on the previous-generation Boxster in 2011. Previous reports suggest the Panamera Junior will take a form closely resembling the Sport Turismo concept (pictured) that surfaced in 2012.

    The company so far has rejected persistent rumors, citing performance and range concerns, however the latest report claims Porsche sees enough potential in the Audi Q6 EV‘s platform to consider the Pajun for production in the not-too-distant future.

    Audi’s upcoming electrified crossover is expected to borrow powertrain technology from the R8 e-tron, with a driving range of at least 300 miles. Sources claim the Pajun, if and when it makes its way to showrooms, will also be available as a hybrid or in traditional gasoline-powered guise.

    The R8 e-tron’s electric drivetrain delivers 455 horsepower and 678 lb-ft of twist, good for a zero-to-62 mph sprint in 3.9 seconds. The Pajun will presumably be a bit heavier and not quite as quick, but a formidable performer nonetheless.

    If the recent claims prove accurate, the Pajun will be on display as a design study at Frankfurt. Separate reports suggest Audi’s Q6 EV will make its debut at the same venue.

    Image by Ronan Glon.

  • Evoque copy to go on sale next month

    July 22, 2015

    The LandWind X7, better known as the Chinese knock-off of the Land Rover Ranger Rover Evoque, is set to go on sale next month despite complaints from Jaguar Land Rover that it’s a blatant copy of its compact utility vehicle.

    Following its unveiling at the Guangzhou Motor Show later last year, JLR execs were up in arms over the design of the X7, and rightfully so. The X7 presented in Guangzhou was a near carbon copy of the Evoque, including its interior and exterior designs.

    JLR attempted to block the LandWind X7 from going on sale in China, where the Evoque is already for sale, but Chinese authorities dismissed the case. With no further recourse, the X7 will go on sale next month.

    “We can’t do anything. I hope the Chinese customer at the end of the day sees the difference and selects the real product and not a copied one. We hope they generate a self-regulation process so that they can get rid of this kind of copy-paste way of working,” JLR boss Ralf Speth told Autocar India.

    Although it might be difficult to tell which vehicle is which from looks alone, there is plenty to differentiate the two vehicles when it comes to price. Whereas the actual Evoque lists from about $62,000 in China, the LandWind X7 will carry an asking price of just $22,000.

  • Senate shoots down criminal penalties for defect-hiding auto execs

    July 22, 2015
    A US Senate committee has rejected a few of the most strict provisions in a transportation-funding bill aimed at improving automotive safety.

    Democrats had pushed for the biggest changes, including a clause that would have implemented criminal penalties and potential jail time for auto executives who are found guilty of failing to report known safety defects. The safety hardliners also wanted a requirement forcing used-car dealers to fix recalled vehicles before sale.

    All of the most significant safety measures were shot down by Republican senators, with a few Democrats joining in the nay votes, according to The New York Times.

    “Hiding these deadly defects with near impunity is what the industry has succeeded in doing,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn).

    The legislators did approve a few modest changes to current regulations, including a $70 million fine cap — double the current limit — and a requirement for rental-car companies to fix defective vehicles among their fleets. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will also receive additional funding.

    There is a chance that some of the more serious reforms will be reintroduced as the bill moves through the legislative process.