• Geneva: Abarth 124 Spider [Video]

    March 1, 2016

    The Abarth 124 Spider has made its debut in Geneva, offering a first glimpse of the hopped-up variant of the Mazda-based Fiat 124.

    We first saw the new Fiat 124 Spider in Los Angeles, where it was announced that the Italian roadster would be offered with a 160-horsepower variant of the 1.4L MultiAir turbo engine available elsewhere in the FCA lineup. Paired with the 124′s 2,400lb curb weight, we expected performance similar to that of the Miata on which it is based.

    Featuring a 170-horsepower version of that same MultiAir engine, the Abarth 124 also incorporates other performance features to make it the enthusiast’s 124 of choice. A mechanical limited-slip differential is standard, for starters, along with Brembo brakes and Bilstein dampers made specifically for Abarth. There’s good news on the transmission front, too. The Abarth 124 will be offered both with a six-speed manual gearbox and a sequential automatic.

    170 horsepower may sound soft when you consider that the base car for the U.S. already produces 160, but bear in mind that this is a European annaouncement. Abarth models sold overseas are not as potent as those we see. (For example, the 500 Abarth that we get in the U.S. is equivalent to the Abarth 500 “esse esse” model sold in the home market.) Fiat stressed in the announcement that the powertrain specified in the technical data is only for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) markets.

    The exterior is all Abarth, with a prominent scorpion badge up front and red and black accents from nose to tail. That theme continues inside too, where the otherwise very obviously Mazda-derived cabin shows off red seating surfaces with quilted ribs, an Abarth-branded wheel with a red leather centering stripe and Abarth-specific dash and console trim materials.

    We expect to learn more about the American-market version of the Abarth 124 in the coming months. In the meantime, to see (and hear) the new Abarth 124 in action, check out the video below.

  • Geneva LIVE: Honda Civic hatchback

    March 1, 2016

    The Honda Civic hatchback prototype has made its global debut in Geneva.

    The current five-door Civic was unabashedly designed with the European market in mind. However, that’s set to change soon because the next-gen model will be exported from Swindon, England, to the United States for the first time ever. Whether there’s a market for it here remains to be seen, but every example sold abroad brings Honda one step closer to turning around its struggling European division.

    The leaked images confirm the five-door hatchback borrows styling cues such as C-shaped tail lamps and a discreet spoiler from the Civic Coupe that was shown in Los Angeles last November. It also indicates the hatchback features a raked roof line, which means it won’t look as boxy as the Volkswagen Golf and the Chevrolet Cruze Hatch. Its front end is all but identical to the four-door sedan’s, though the concept gains a splitter and large air dams.

    Honda revealed last month that the hatchback, like all new Civic models, will feature a six-speed manual transmission on at least some of its trims.

    Honda will show the Civic hatchback to American media for the first time in New York next month. The production model is widely expected to make its global debut at the Paris Auto Show in the fall, and Honda has confirmed it will join the sedan and the coupe in showrooms early next year.

    Live photos by Ronan Glon.

  • Geneva LIVE: 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster, 718 Boxster S

    March 1, 2016

    The Porsche Boxster has been renamed 718 Boxster as part of a mid-cycle update. It also gets a minor facelift, and it receives Porsche’s first flat-four engine in decades.

    The base 718 swaps the Boxster’s naturally-aspirated 2.7-liter flat-six for a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four that makes 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft. of torque. Moving up, the 718 Boxster S uses a 2.5-liter turbo four rated at 350 ponies and 309 lb-ft. of twist. Both engines offer 35 more horses than the six they replace.

    A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic controlled by shift paddles is available as an option. The extra power allows the base Boxster to reach 60 mph from a stop in 4.5 seconds when it’s equipped with the optional Sport Chrono package and the aforementioned dual-clutch gearbox. The similarly-equipped Boxster S performs the same task in four seconds flat, half a second faster than the outgoing model. Porsche has completely redesigned the suspension and the brakes.

    Visually, the 718 nameplate is accompanied by sharper headlights, larger front air dams, bigger air inlets behind the doors, and thinner LED tail lamps that emphasize the roadster’s width. 19-inch alloy wheels come standard, and 20-inch units are available at an extra cost.

    The cabin is fitted with the latest generation of Porsche’s touch screen-based infotainment system and a three-spoke steering wheel whose design is loosely inspired by the one found in the sold-out 918 Spyder. Navigation is available at an extra cost. The cloth soft top carries over from the Boxster to the 718 with no major modifications.

    The 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster will go on sale in June with a base price of $56,000, excluding a mandatory $1,050 destination charge. To put that figure into perspective, the 2015 Boxster starts at $52,100.

    The Cayman will become the 718 Cayman, and it will receive the same mechanical and visual updates as the Boxster. Porsche admits the two cars will share more visual similarities than ever before. In short, the Stuttgart-based car maker is combining its two smallest models into a single model line offered as a coupe and as a convertible. The Porsche 718 Cayman will likely make its official debut in April at the New York show, and both models will go on sale in time for the 2017 model year. Interestingly, Porsche has confirmed the coupe will cost less than the convertible.

    What’s in a name?
    The heritage-laced 718 nameplate was first applied to a successful race car that Porsche introduced in 1957. Powered by a flat-four engine, the original 718 took first place twice in the Targa Florio that was held in Sicily, and it won first in its class during the 1958 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

    Live photos by Ronan Glon.

  • Geneva LIVE: Lamborghini Centenario

    March 1, 2016

    We now have live photos to go along with the teaser video of Lamborghini’s forthcoming mystery model, expected to be named the Centenario.

    The 20-second video includes a few shots of company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini. The ultra-exclusive model celebrates 100 years since his birth in April 1916.

    The darkened silhouette of a car can be seen around the nine-second mark, though it is too vague to confirm if the recent patent drawings are representative of the Centenario.

    Outgoing chief executive Stephan Winkelmann recently told LeftLane the car will be based on the Aventador chassis. It will share the same mid-mounted V12 engine, potentially tuned to deliver more than the Aventador‘s 691 horsepower and 509 lb-ft of torque.

    The Raging Bull will only produce 40 examples, an even split between coupes and roadsters. Every example has already been called for, each with an asking price around $2.4 million USD.

    More details could surface later this week as the Geneva Motor Show carries on.

    Live Photos by Ronan Glon.

  • Geneva LIVE: NanoFlowcell Quantino

    March 1, 2016

    NanoFlowcell has revealed a revised Quantino concept, claimed to represent the first production-ready low-voltage electric vehicle.

    The accompanying image of a yellow Quantino does not look much different from the blue concept that was revealed early last year, aside from a few tweaks to the front fascia. The company promises the new Geneva-bound build will be presented in a “near standard” configuration.

    NanoFlowcell’s unique powertrain employs oppositely-charged electrolyte solutions and fuel-cell stacks rather than traditional batteries. The system is claimed to provide the Quantino with 621 miles between charges. Despite running at low voltage, the tech is said to provide enough power to reach 124 mph.

    “Rated at just 48 volts and with an output of [107 horsepower] split between four electric motors, the all-wheel drive Quantino represents a significant improvement on the one-fill, one-charge range achievable with electric vehicles,” the company notes.

    The Quantino is said to be ‘essentially’ ready for a small-batch production run. The car will not begin rolling off the assembly line until the company completes a feasibility study later this year, however.

    Live images by Ronan Glon.