• Honda UK showcases Type R, NSX in new "Ignition" ad

    August 30, 2015

    While we in the United States get dweebs in blue polo shirts in our Honda commercials, Honda UK continues its streak of stirring adverts.

    The latest spot, titled “Ignition,” begins with Honda’s ASIMO robot. As it stares off into the sunset, it’s soon revealed that it’s backed up by the company’s broad range of products, including a pair of sportbikes, the new HR-V, a Civic Type R, the upcoming NSX, the HondaJet and a pair of Formula 1 racers.

    The grouping, all finished in Honda’s trademark white, of course, forms a rocketship of sorts. Each driver engages his or her vehicle successively, creating a wave of thrust from smoking tires and jet engines. It’s all quite beautifully filmed, and even contains an easter egg or two — including a NSX driver looking forlornly at a dogeared photo before takeoff, a well-worn sci-fi movie trope, that turns out to be a picture of the classic NSX.

    Honda UK says the film was inspired by “Honda’s daring spirit” and pays homage to “one of the boldest expressions of human curiosity and engineering endeavor: space flight,” adding, “no other company has the heritage of engineering across as many categories: cars, motorbikes, robotics, aviation and racing.”

    The short film follows other well-received Honda ads such as 2006′s “Impossible Dream” and 2003′s “Cog,” which was one of the most-awarded commercials in UK history.

  • 2016 Volvo S90 leaked in model car form

    August 30, 2015

    The 2017 Volvo S90 has been leaked far ahead of its actual reveal, in the form of a die-cast car.

    Previously, our best spy shots of the upcoming flagship have seen the large sedan heavily covered in shape-distorting camouflage. The 1:43 scale cars were posted to a Chinese website –each affixed to a plastic base clearly labeled “S90″ in the Volvo typeface — and have apparently been confirmed by Swedish website Teknikens Varld as accurate portrayals of the real car.

    The models show a nose very similar to those of the 2013 Concept Coupe and 2014 Concept Estate show cars. The cars show a prominent vertical-slat grille flanked by two T-shaped daytime running light elements which the automaker has dubbed “Thor’s Hammer.”

    Slim pillars provide a “four-door coupe” look that is so popular amongst European manufacturers these days. The “C” taillights also take their shape from the Concept Coupe, but appear to have grown larger in size and thickness.

    Engine options will include a forced induction four-cylinder and a hybrid option, said to generate the power output of a traditional V6 and V8, respectively.

    This is, of course, not the first time a model car has leaked the form of a production vehicle. It happened a year ago with the Land Rover Discovery, a year before that with the Dodge Viper. This tradition dates all the way back to 1968, when Hot Wheels leaked the C3 Corvette before GM’s official reveal.

  • Facelifted DS 4 leaked ahead of Frankfurt debut

    August 30, 2015
    Leaked images published by Czech website AutoForum have prematurely revealed the facelifted DS 4 ahead of its debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

    The low-resolution pictures show the 4 adopts an entirely new front end that falls in line with the recently-emancipated DS brand’s current design language. It gets a much sharper look characterized by a hexagonal radiator grille with a thick chrome frame, a new front bumper with a wide air dam and swept-back headlights.

    The interior modifications are more minor and largely limited to rearranged HVAC controls, a redesigned center stack and the latest generation of DS’ touch screen-based infotainment system. Whether Citroën-owned DS has finally fitted the 4 with opening rear windows is anyone’s guess.

    The leaked images also reveal that DS will expand the 4 lineup with a more rugged-looking model called 4 Crossback. The Crossback stands out from the standard 4 thanks to a slightly raised ground clearance, model-specific bumpers on both ends, blacked-out tail lamps, black plastic trim over the wheel arches and a pair of roof rails.

    The facelifted DS 4 will be officially unveiled in the days leading up to the Frankfurt Motor Show. It will go on sale across Europe – and, most likely, in China – in the next few months.

  • Frankfurt preview: Peugeot 308 Racing Cup

    August 30, 2015
    Paris-based Peugeot has announced that it will display a new race car called 308 Racing Cup at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

    As its name implies, the Racing Cup is based on the regular 308, a Volkswagen Golf-sized hatchback that’s one of Peugeot’s best-selling models in Europe. Designed and built by Peugeot Sport, the hatchback is powered by an evolution of the 308 GTi‘s turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes over 308 horsepower thanks to a large turbocharger borrowed from the 208 T16 race car.

    Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox controlled by steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, and six-piston brake calipers keep the power in check. Although Peugeot has not published performance specifications, 308 horsepower should be plenty in a stripped-out hatchback that tips the scale at roughly 2,300 pounds.

    Outside, the Racing Cup gets bigger bumpers on both ends, flared wheel arches and an oversized WTCC-spec rear wing. It rides on model-specific 18-inch alloy wheels, while the cockpit is equipped with a full roll cage and Sparco bucket seats.

    Far from a simple design study, the Peugeot 308 Racing Cup will go on sale across Europe late next year. It will gradually replace the RCZ Racing Cup in one-make series and in international series like the VLN in Germany, the CER in Spain, and the BGDC in Belgium.

  • Frankfurt Preview: 2016 Renault Talisman Estate

    August 29, 2015

    Renault has released images of a wagon version of its 2016 Talisman sedan. Both will be seen in the sheetmetal for the first time at the Frankfurt Motor show next month.

    It is set to take on other D-segment cars such as the Mazda 6, VW Passat, and Ford Mondeo (aka Ford Fusion), all of which have longroof counterparts not available in the United States. Like its competitors, Renault is banking on design as a prime selling point as they seek to entice buyers away from entry-level luxury cars.

    Like its sedan counterpart revealed last month, the Talisman Estate will replace the outgoing Laguna Estate. The front end is identical to the sedan, with sculpted wheel arches, a Mazda-like graphic that blends headlights and grille, and the best execution yet of the new corporate nose.

    From the rear, an attractive D-pillar treatment flows into a flared rear quarter panels and handsome crease on the tailgate. The taillights are shaped similarly to the sedan, and recall that of recent Audis, but that span nearly the entire width of the car, broken only by an oversized Renault emblem.

    Under the hood, the same mills that power the sedan are expected: a choice of two petrol inline-fours that produce either 150 or 200 horsepower, or three turbodiesels that pump out 110, 130 or 160 horsepower to the front wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

    The Frankfurt Motor Show begins September 15.

  • 2016 Toyota Prius caught completely undisguised

    August 29, 2015

    The 2016 Toyota Prius has been photographed in its entirety ahead of its official reveal next month.

    Hot on the heels of another leak, which took place as the Toyota was being filmed for a commercial or promotional video of some sort, the fourth-generation of the iconic hybrid nameplate has been caught undisguised once again. This time, it appears they have been snapped while in transit in a cargo vessel.

    The photos show a radically new exterior shape, with inspiration taken from other groundbreaking cars from the Toyota family. The front end features fishhook headlights and sculpted air intakes that are reminiscent of the Lexus LFA supercar. A protruding snout displaying the Toyota emblem, on the other hand, may have been inspired by the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel vehicle.

    Speaking of the Mirai, the side profile of the Prius is also quite similar, perhaps a concession to fuel-saving aerodynamics. Up-swept lines continue into a styling feature not seen on the Prius since the first-generation — a rear deck and the C-pillars have been blacked out for a floating roof design that is all the rage these days.

    Out back, the Prius’ rear appears to be a hybrid (no pun intended) of the LF-LC concept‘s downward sweeping taillights and a split glass rear that recalls the Mirai’s car-wide red reflector.

    More details about the next generation Prius will be revealed September 8.

  • Hyundai launches i20 N in South Africa

    August 29, 2015

    Hyundai’s South African division has earned the honor of launching the first member of the car maker’s long-awaited N sub-brand.

    The N sub-brand was created to build sport-focused cars and crossovers but the i20 N is a warm hatch at best. In its most powerful configuration, it uses a 1.4-liter Kappa engine that has been tweaked to make 114 horsepower and 118 lb-ft. of torque. The N boasts 15 additional ponies over the stock i20, but it’s still down on power compared to the similarly-sized, 190-horsepower Volkswagen Polo GTI.

    The turbo four is bolted to a six-speed manual transmission that spins the front wheels. The minor bump in power is complemented by a free-flow exhaust line and a model-specific suspension setup that is stiffer and lower.

    Outside, the N gets a body kit that includes deeper bumpers on both ends, side skirts, and a roof-mounted spoiler. A large exhaust outlet and 17-inch alloy wheels wrap up the sporty look while emphasizing the lower stance.

    The Hyundai i20 N will go on sale across South Africa in the coming weeks with a base price of 235,500 Rand, a sum that converts to roughly $18,000. At the time of writing Hyundai has not revealed if the hatchback will be sold in other markets around the globe, but we expect to learn more about what the future holds for the N sub-brand next month in Frankfurt.

  • JE MotorWorks introduces 475-hp Land Rover Defender

    August 29, 2015
    Production of the Land Rover Defender is scheduled to end in the coming months, but the iconic off-roader continues to inspire independent tuners from all over the world.

    The latest super-Defender comes from England-based JE MotorWorks. Called Zulu², it stands out as the most (and, arguably, the only) track-capable Defender ever built thanks to a long list of serious performance-focused upgrades.

    JE has tossed out the Defender’s stock 130-horsepower 2.2-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine and replaced it with a Jaguar-sourced 4.7-liter V8 that uses a large supercharger to make 475 horsepower and 479 lb-ft. of torque. The eight-cylinder is bolted to a custom-built six-speed tiptronic automatic transmission, though the Zulu² surprisingly retains the Defender’s stock four-wheel drive system.

    Performance figures have not been published yet. However, JE promises the Defender has been further upgraded with sway bars on both ends, stiffer shock absorbers sourced from Fox Racing and shorter springs. AP Racing brakes all around keep the additional ponies in check.

    Visually, the Zulu² stands out from a regular Defender thanks to LED lights, 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped by performance tires, side vents cut into both fenders, and a machined aluminum grille. A pair of extra air vents up front feed additional air into the V8 engine.

    Inside, JE has done its best to mask the Defender’s utilitarian roots by adding a three-spoke steering wheel, an electronic parking brake, full carpeting, leather upholstery on the doors, the dashboard and the door panels as well as additional sound-proofing material. Every Zulu² comes with a numbered plaque on the dash.

    If a stock Zulu² isn’t unique enough, buyers can choose additional features from a list of options that includes Recaro bucket seats, a soft top conversion, real carbon fiber trim and side exhaust pipes.

    Just 25 examples of the Zulu² will be hand-built in England. Pricing information hasn’t been announced.

  • Gewindefahrwerk, Sportfedern und Spurverbreiterungen von H&R für den neuen Ford Mustang

    August 29, 2015

    H&R bringt neue Fahrwerkskomponenten für den Ford Mustang auf den Markt

    Das uramerikanische Musclecar profitiert ab sofort von einem optionalen Gewindefahrwerk, Sportfedern oder Spurverbreiterungen

    Der Sportfedersatz kostet 344 Euro. Zusammen mit den optionalen H&R-Dämpfern sind 701 Euro fällig. Der Preis für das Gewindefahrwerk ist noch nicht bekannt

    Lennestadt, 28. August 2015
    Der Ford Mustang ist wieder da – sogar in Europa. Seit Juli 2015 ist die sechste Generation des uramerikanischen Musclecars nun auch offiziell in Deutschland erhältlich. Nur zwei Monate später haben die Tuningspezialisten von H&R neue Fahrwerkskomponenten für das Wildpferd im Programm.

    In der stärksten der neuen Mustang-Versionen arbeitet ein 5,0-Liter-V8 mit 500 PS. Damit galoppiert das Pony in 4,8 Sekunden auf Tempo 100 und rennt bis zu 250 km/h schnell. Doch selbst die Einstiegsversion mit 2,3-Liter-Vierzylinder-Benziner und 317 PS ist alles andere als untermotorisiert. Um die Power besser auf die Straße zu bringen, bietet H&R ab sofort ein Monotube-Gewindefahrwerk inklusive Vorderachs-Alustützlagern und Pendelstützen an. Der Einstellbereich erlaubt eine Tieferlegung um bis zu 50 Millimeter an der Vorder- und bis zu 30 Millimeter an der Hinterachse.

    Sportfedern mit oder ohne H&R-Dämpfer
    Etwas dezenter fällt die Absenkung des Fahrzeugschwerpunktes durch die ebenfalls neu entwickelten Sportfedern aus. Sie kosten 344 Euro, bewirken eine Tieferlegung von etwa 25 Millimetern an beiden Achsen und lassen sich mit den Seriendämpfern kombinieren. Wer es wünscht, hat für insgesamt 701 Euro die Möglichkeit, den Sportfedersatz durch H&R-Dämpfer zu ergänzen.

    Spurverbreiterungen und Stabilisatoren
    Abgerundet wird das Tuning-Programm durch “Trak+”-Spurverbreiterungen in verschiedenen Dimensionen. Darüber hinaus plant das Unternehmen aus dem Sauerland neue Sport-Stabilisatoren, die dem Mustang zu einem noch direkteren Einlenkverhalten sowie zu mehr Kurvenstabilität verhelfen sollen.

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  • Schauspieler fahren Oldtimer: Start der 8. Hamburg-Berlin-Klassik Rallye

    August 29, 2015