Auto 2014
Auto 2014

Volkswagen Pickup Concept Revealed

Volkswagen Amarok, Company’s First Pick-up Truck

2010 Chevrolet Volt Price Depend on Gas Price

Volt price will depend on gas price, GM says.

Although the conference call was supposed to be all about the progress on designing batteries for the Chevrolet Volt, the issue of the car's price loomed large in observer's minds.

With a potential asking price that's risen from an estimated $30,000 (U.S.) to a loftier $40,000 for the compact four-seater, Bob Kruse, executive director of the program, gave no specifics on its estimated MSRP, but said the price will depend in part on the cost of gas.

"We're not wishing for higher petroleum costs, but the economic viability of what we're doing only gets greater with higher fuel prices," he said. The plan to launch the car in November, 2010, is on schedule. "$1.50 gallon gas is not helping our business case."

The average price of regular gas in the United States was actually $1.96 a gallon earlier this week, according to American government figures.

GM is not sure what the price of the Volt will be, Kruse said, nor has the company established whether it will lease the battery separately from the vehicle itself, as Nissan plans to do with its all-electric vehicle, which is to go on limited sale next year.

"Part of the price will be dependent on fuel costs at the time, which will impact the value equation the Volt provides."

The focus of the update was on the progress of the lithium-ion battery design — as GM has said, once the battery is ready, the Volt will be ready.

It is the advanced battery technology that allows the Volt to promise up to 64 km (40 miles) of electric-only driving; the small internal combustion engine works only to recharge the batteries, instead of stranding the driver, as would have occurred with GM's ill-fated EV1 all-electric vehicle at the end of its range.

"As we've seen with computers, the technology has progressed to the point where they have morphed from large desktop models, down to the size of your Blackberry," said Denise Gray, director of battery systems engineering, while confirming that design work on generations two and three of the Voltec system is happening alongside the production Volt.

"We're looking for the same types of advancements (and cost reductions) in our electronics."

In a Q&A session afterwards with various media, one astute questioner asked at what temperature those promised 64 kilometres of electric-only driving were verified. Turns out, it was the figure achieved in the normal city cycle testing, said Kruse, which is done at 20 degrees Celsius.

So if your winter commute involves regular sub-zero starts and highway driving, the question isn't whether its electric range will decrease, but by how much?

GM was obviously very sensitive about the fact that the battery cells for the first-generation Volt will come from South Korea, courtesy of LG Chem, especially when it is receiving extra money from both state and federal U.S. governments to produce environmentally advanced vehicles in and around Detroit, on top of the federal bailout money it has and will receive to keep it afloat.

The first batch of pre-production prototypes will be produced later this summer, about 80 of them, soon after the world's largest auto battery facility will open near Detroit, said GM.

Overhyped Nano on sale in India

In yet another media-frenzy-generating launch event, Tata Motor officials confirmed that orders will begin being taken in April in India for the Nano, whose super-low starting price of around $2,900 has media outlets around the world breathlessly reporting on the debut of the "world's cheapest car."

Except it's not the world's cheapest car, it's the world's cheapest new car.

Option it up with various luxuries like a right-side rear view mirror, heating and air conditioning, and a cup holder, and that price moves to 172,360 Indian rupees, according to figures available at, or the equivalent of $4,152.

Still, offering any new vehicle at such a low price is a remarkable achievement, even if the lack of airbags and emissions controls would not allow the Nano as is to be sold in most developed markets, and certainly not in regulation-heavy North America.

"The Nano represents the spirit of breaking conventional barriers," said Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata. "It will provide safe, affordable, four-wheel transportation to families who till now have not been able to own a car." Or at least a new car.

The Nano offers a 35-hp. two-cylinder engine, coupled to a four-speed manual transmission, with a top speed of 105 km/h, for a published estimate of 33 seconds for the small four-seat hatchback to reach 100 km/h.

Plans are in the works to sell an upgraded version of this car to parts of Europe by 2011, the company said; it would a larger 90-hp, three-cylinder engine, available five-speed automatic, dual airbags, ABS and stability control, with a target starting price still under $5,000 (U.S.).

"Driven mainly by the change in demand that we see elsewhere in the world, we suddenly felt we had a product that could be of considerable interest as a low-cost product in western Europe, eastern Europe, the U.K. and even the U.S.," Tata told Reuters at this week's event.

Women's Car of the Year award launched

Female automotive journalists are a relative rarity in this business, but a group of 10 women auto writers from around the world will launch the first Women's Car of the Year award.

The initial group includes two journalists from Canada, as well as India, South Africa, the U.K., Australia and Europe.

"Most awards are chosen by a huge majority of men who tend to view cars differently to women," said Sandy Myhre, the New Zealand-based journalist who initiated the award.

"This award reflects changing times when you consider that today women make the final decision in as much as 85 per cent of all cars sold," according to Myhre.

After noticing that the 2007 World Car of the Year award's 43-member jury of international auto journalists did not contain one woman, Myhre helped organize a Women's COTY program in New Zealand last year, an award which went to the Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion (diesel) wagon.

"Newton-metres [or lb-ft] of torque weren't even considered, but we did look at drivability and sexiness," for those awards, as well as its carbon footprint, family friendliness, value, and, "of course," the range of colours, said Myhre.
Infiniti M to become brand's first hybrid

Playing some serious catch-up to arch-rival Lexus, Infiniti plans to start selling its own hybrid designs in North America next year, starting with its mid-size M sedans, Japan's Nikkei business daily reports.

While the Altima now offers a hybrid option, the hybrid uses leased Toyota hybrid technology, while Nissan, Japan's third-largest auto maker, struggles to come out with its own hybrid designs to rival those of Toyota and Honda.

Other luxury players are starting to jump into the hybrid market as well, with BMW and Mercedes-Benz both planning hybrid SUVs for North America and Europe this year, as well as the Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHybrid that will compete with Lexus' top-line LS600hl.

Toyota Yaris sedan Pictures

Toyota Yaris sedan
Toyota Yaris sedan
Toyota Yaris sedan
Toyota Yaris sedan photos
Toyota Yaris sedan
Toyota Yaris sedan Pictures

Renault Bajaj ULC

Bajaj ULC is still under development by Bajaj Auto, Nissan and Renault. The idea is to turn it into a world project, more remarkable by its fuel consumption (about 35 km/l) than by its price. We just hope development to be quicker.

2010 Audi R8 5.2 V10 FSI Quattro Road Test

A bigger stick for the soft-spoken supercar, and a price to match.

By making available an R8 with a monster 525-hp V-10 engine—complementing the 420-hp V-8 model that was introduced two years ago—Audi has elevated its exotic-looking two-seater from “almost-a-supercar” status to a true competitor in the high-performance realm above mere sports cars.

The 105-hp increase comes from a 5.2-liter, direct-injection V-10 that is virtually identical to the engine found in the Lambor ghini Gallardo LP560-4.

Unique engine programming and intake and exhaust systems are the chief differences in the Audi engine over the Italian job, although both engines are made in the same plant in Hungary.

We’re told that the V-10 weighs just 68 pounds more than the V-8, and that fuel economy with the bigger engine will worsen by only 1 mpg.

Output is listed by Audi at 525 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque, 27 horses and seven pound-feet fewer than in the Lambo, but we suspect some of that difference is simply marketing.

With the help of launch control, a first for the R8’s manual transmission, we managed the 0-to-60 dash in 3.7 seconds and a quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds at 121 mph.

That’s a full second quicker in the quarter-mile than we recorded in a manual-transmission V-8 R8 and dead even with a Porsche 911 GT2. This was measured in a down-and-dirty test run during a preview drive in Spain.

Lamborghini owners need not fret that this R8 will steal the Gallardo’s thunder, as the V-10 R8’s numbers are quite a few ticks behind those of the automated-manual LP560-4 we tested in February.

A more formal test with the paddle-shifted transmission should improve our times, but still, we don’t see a lot of cross-shopping between these corporate cousins.

The Lamborghini is a car for extroverts—loud, brash, in your face. The Audi is more of a speak-softly-and-carry-a-big-stick car. The exhaust—quiet during relaxed driving and escalating in volume above 4000 rpm—never fully intrudes on the serenity in the cockpit until you approach the 8700-rpm redline (700 more than the V-8’s and 200 higher than the Lambo’s).

The extra oomph is obvious as soon as the R8 5.2 starts moving, but the power increase hasn’t upset the R8’s user-friendliness and neutral handling. Easy driving is still the name of the game; both models have graceful manners even when driven hard around a track.

Visual differences between V-8 and V-10 R8s are slight. The V-10 model has wider intakes behind the doors, which sit atop wider body sills. In front and back, the black accents are glossy instead of flat, and there are two crossbraces to the air intake rather than three.

The V-10 R8’s exhaust tips are larger and oval-shaped, and this model also sports standard LED lighting, previously an option. The seats, a carry-over from the V-8 model, had us at times wishing for more lateral support.

We’re pleased the R8’s optional ceramic brakes might make it to North America. They’re strong, completely free of fade, and—unlike the on-off brakes in the Gallardo—can actually be modulated for smooth driving.

Audi won’t pinpoint when the V-10 R8 will go on sale or what it will cost. We’ll bet on late this year at the earliest, with a premium of maybe $45,000 over the V-8 R8’s $117,500 base price.

2010 Pontiac G8 Sport Truck: It’s Sexy!

So let’s have a chat about the latest and greatest 2010 Pontiac G8 Sport Truck. This truck is by far one of the sexiest tucks in the world. Not only is it a sport truck, but it is a vehicle that blends a sports car feel with the ability to cargo things like a truck. The 2010 Pontiac G8 Sport Truck is based on the Pontiac G8 performance sedan and it is actually the newest member of the G8 family, incase you didn’t know.

The design of this particular truck is all around incredible. It has 18-inch wheels, which gives it a very wide and extremely confident stand. The roofline is going to be coupe-like and it actually looks sort of like a car, until you take a peek into the back.

This sport truck has an incredible V8 engine and puts out 361 HP of power. So if you are looking for a new truck, you should absolutely check out the sexy 2010 Pontiac G8 Sport Truck!

Feature: Best of 2009 Shanghai Auto Show

Detroit may be in the doldrums, but Shanghai is swinging: the Chinese motor industry is growing rapidly, investing in design expertise and preparing to have a significant global impact in coming years.

And besides the domestic manufacturers, who are producing ever-more interesting concepts, the established European and Western car-makers are finding that they can't afford to ignore China, where new-car sales are rising exponentially. Here's the low-down on the most important cars of this year's Shanghai Auto Show.

Bertone Mantide

Based on the 620bhp Corvette ZR1, the insectile Mantide (Italian for 'praying mantis') is a one-off, road-legal creation from the Stile Bertone studio for a private client.

Designer Jason Castriota - the man behind the one-off Pininfarina P4/5 - says it's inspired by jet-fighter aircraft, and its fuselage-type body, butterfly-opening doors and canopy certainly make it look ready to fly away.

Though the underpinnings are Corvette, the extra-aerodynamic Mantide is some 100kg lighter, thanks to its carbon fibre bodyshell and interior - which help it to 217mph and 0-60mph in less than 3.5 seconds. Downforce is 30% better than that of the Corvette, thankfully.

Buick Business Concept

Chinese buyers love GM's Buick brand - they see it as the epitome of American luxury - and the Business Concept MPV is suitably kitted out with armchair-type seats, plush burgundy and cream suede upholstery and carpets, and high-tech LED displays.

The work of the GM-SAIC Pan-Asia joint research and development facility, it incorporates traditional Chinese patterns in its trim, and evokes Chinese crystal sculptures in its headlight design. It shares its hardware with the Chevrolet Orlando and thus also the upcoming new Vauxhall Zafira, and also previews a next-generation GM hybrid powertrain.

2010 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Sports Sedan Debut

AMG is kicking-off the 2009 driving season with a new superstar: shortly after the launch of the new E-Class, the AMG high-performance brand of Mercedes-Benz Cars presents the new 2010 E63 AMG.

This dynamic sports sedan impresses with outstanding performance, thrilling handling characteristics and advanced technology transferred from its sibling, the SL63 AMG high-performance Roadster. The E63 AMG makes its U.S. sales debut in November 2009.

The new E63 AMG distinguishes itself from the standard Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans with a newly developed AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with electronically controlled damping, revised front suspension and unique exterior and interior design.

At the same time, Mercedes-AMG has achieved a significant reduction in fuel consumption of almost twelve percent for the new E63 AMG, thanks to the precise application of several fuel efficiency improvements. With its unique combination of pioneering driver assistance systems, the E63 AMG further consolidates the brand's leading position in the field of automotive safety.

The AMG 6.3-liter V8-engine in the new E63 AMG develops an output of 518 hp and a 465 lb-ft of torque, matching the outstanding figures for the SL63 AMG. The high-performance Roadster has also transferred its AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission to the new model. This transmission replaces the conventional torque converter through the use of a multi-disc wet start-up clutch. In conjunction with the four individual driving modes, rev-matched shifts and RACE START function, the resulting, direct connection to the powertrain delivers an extremely emotional and high-performance driving experience.

The AMG MCT drive unit is unique in this segment, and provides dramatic performance figures: the E63 AMG accelerates from standstill to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph (electronically limited). The fast-revving, naturally aspirated engine with a displacement of 6208 cc impresses with its agile responsiveness, muscular power delivery and high redline. The AMG V8 sound is a thrilling partner for mile after mile, while the smooth-running engine guarantees renowned Mercedes long-distance comfort. A newly designed water cooling system ensures maximum endurance even under the enormous dynamic stresses of the racetrack.

Fuel consumption cut by almost twelve percent
Despite 11 hp of additional output versus the preceding model, the E63 AMG showcases several advancements designed to improve fuel efficiency, including on-demand delivery of fuel and alternator management with recuperation of engine power during overrun. In-engine friction is also reduced by the AMG-exclusive twin-wire arc spray coating process used to coat cylinder walls.

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission also makes a decisive contribution to fuel economy: a multi-disc wet clutch running in an oil bath replaces the previous torque converter. This unit responds extremely rapidly, directly and without the losses typical of a torque converter transmission thanks to its low rotational inertia.

The transmission is equipped with four driving modes: "C" (Controlled Efficiency), "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport plus) and "M" (Manual), which can be selected using a rotary electronic switch in the AMG DRIVE UNIT. Partial suppression of individual cylinders by interrupting ignition and injection during gearshifts under full load contributes to considerably faster shift times. In M mode the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission allows gearshifts to be performed in 100 milliseconds.

In the even more fuel-efficient driving mode Controlled Efficiency, the transmission shifts the gears with deliberate smoothness, and the transmission control unit is programmed to perform early upshifts to keep engine speeds as low as possible.

At the same time, the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission met the most demanding requirements where driving dynamics are concerned: fast and precise multiple downshifts ensure first-class agility in conjunction with the automatic rev-matching and RACE START function: this enables the E63 AMG driver to call on the maximum acceleration potential automatically.

Electronically controlled damping system and a new front axle
Sporty or more comfort-oriented? The driver of the new Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG is not obliged to accept any compromises in this respect. The AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension copes equally well with the dynamic cornering of the racetrack and more comfortable, sedate driving. High performance and typical Mercedes long-distance comfort go together as an extraordinary synthesis in the E63 AMG.

This is made possible by the newly developed AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension. While new steel spring struts are used on the front axle, the rear suspension features AMG-specific air springs. The advantage of this solution, which is exclusive to AMG, is that the front spring struts ensure more sensitive responses while the rear air struts with their automatic level control system keep the vehicle at a constant height, irrespective of the load.

A new, electronically controlled damping system automatically varies the damping characteristics according to the driving situation, reducing the roll angle of the body. The result is instant adjustment to provide the best possible ride comfort together with the greatest possible agility. In addition, the driver is able to choose between the three suspension modes of Comfort, Sport and Sport plus at the touch of a button.

The E63 AMG is also equipped with a newly developed, unique front axle with a 2.2 inch (56 millimeter) wider track, a tubular stabilizer bar, new control arms, new wheel bearings, newly-designed bushing geometry and kinematics and new wheel location for more negative camber – thereby providing more grip when taking turns at speed.

The AMG-specific kinematics also ensures significantly more precision. This is a highly sophisticated axle design whose principle has already proved its worth in the C63 AMG. The rear axle likewise has more negative camber, optimized elastokinematics and a new subframe mounting for greater stability at the physical limits.

Newly developed power steering and individual 3-stage ESP®

For more direct responsiveness, the speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering is also a new development. The steering ratio of 14 : 1 is 22 percent more direct (quicker) than in the standard production models, while a more rigid steering column plus the reconfigured characteristic mapping of the speed-sensitive servo assistance ensure better steering precision and improved road contact.

The 3-stage ESP® familiar from the SL63 AMG and C63 AMG enables individual settings to be selected – with clear benefits in terms of driving pleasure combined with the same high level of handling safety. The ESP® key in the AMG DRIVE UNIT allows the driver to choose between "ESP ON", "ESP SPORT" and "ESP OFF" – with the currently active mode shown in the central display of the AMG instrument cluster.

Perfect deceleration even during performance driving is ensured by the AMG high-performance braking system with 14.2 inch, internally ventilated and perforated brake discs all-round. Particularly resistant, motorsports-tested compound (two-piece) construction technology is used at the front axle. Outstanding grip is ensured by the 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels with a width of 9 and 9.5 inches and mixed tire sizes of 255/40 R 18 at the front and 285/35 R 18 at the rear.

Decidedly dynamic interior and exterior
The purposefully dynamic design of the E63 AMG is fully in keeping with the vehicle's impressive technology. The front aspect is characterized by 17-millimeter wider fenders bearing "6.3 AMG" lettering, the new AMG front apron with large intake air apertures and the AMG-specific daytime driving lights in LED technology. In conjunction with the optional Bi-Xenon Headlamps with Active Curve Illumination, the E63 AMG is equipped with tinted main headlamps.

The striking visual presence is further enhanced by the AMG side skirts and AMG rear apron with a black diffuser insert. As a hallmark of the brand, the AMG sports exhaust system has two newly designed, chrome-plated twin tailpipes.

The new interior of the E63 AMG is an exciting blend of high-grade materials and functional sportiness. Exclusive features include electrically adjustable AMG sports seats with improved lateral support and the AMG sports steering wheel in a four-spoke design with AMG shift paddles.

As a completely new feature exclusive to the E63 AMG, the AMG selector lever has one-touch logic. Directly adjacent to it in the center console is the AMG DRIVE UNIT, which provides adjustments for the MCT sports transmission, the ESP functions, the suspension setup and the AMG driving modes. Standard equipment also includes high-grade leather upholstery in three different colors, the AMG instrument cluster with an AMG main menu, door entry sills with AMG lettering and a sports pedal cluster – both in brushed stainless steel.

Even more individuality with tailor-made AMG extras
Customers can select the optional AMG Performance Package, which includes the following:
• Lightweight, forged 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels with size 255/35 R 19 tires at the front and 285/30 R 19 at the rear
• AMG Performance suspension with stiffer spring rates
• AMG rear axle locking differential with 40 percent locking action
• AMG Performance steering wheel in a three-spoke design
• Top speed raised to 186 mph

Active and passive safety at a new level
The E63 AMG traditionally meets the very highest expectations with respect to active and passive safety. Standard features include the new drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST, the unique preventive occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®, Brake Assist PLUS, eleven airbags and crash-responsive NECK-PRO head restraints. Optional safety features can bring the vehicle to a level unprecedented in this class with Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist systems, the PRE-SAFE® Brake with an automatic emergency braking function, Adaptive High Beam Assist and Night View Assist PLUS.

Porsche Carrera GT Paris, France

Most Expensive Cars In The World