• 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.