BMW is clearly on a rampage at the moment, as are a number of other manufacturers, to fill every possible niche market. And the BMW X4 is just the latest proof of their intent.
It’s smaller and cheaper than the similarly shaped X6, more expensive and less practical than the X3 on which it is based, and it doesn’t really have much in common with the X3′s larger clone, the X5. The X4 is aimed at buyers who… Oh forget it. Who knows anymore? Customers walking into the showroom will either like it or they won’t. BMW is just making sure they have every base covered.
In terms of size, the X4 is 0.6 inches (14 mm) longer than the X3, and 1.5 inches (37 mm) lower. The coupe-like roof line means it looks a little more sporty, but that comes at the expense of space and practicality. Rear seat passengers will notice the difference more than those in the front, and cargo space – with the rear seats upright – is reduced by about a third when compared to the X3.
Continue reading ‘BMW X4 – designed to fill yet another niche’ »
Jeep’s all-new small SUV, the Renegade, has just made its world debut in Geneva. It will be sold in more than 100 markets across the globe, and is the latest result of the Chrysler/Fiat hook-up. It was designed in the US, but will be built in Italy using a Fiat platform. The same one used in the upcoming Fiat 500X.
The Renegade will be available with a broad range of small displacement gasoline and diesel engines, although the range on offer will depend on your location. For example out of the seven engines the car will be sold with across the world, the US will only get two. There will also be a variety of transmissions for the new Renegade, including both manuals and automatics. And of course it will be available in either 2 or 4 wheel-drive versions. A top spec Trailhawk model will get additional off-road goodies.
The Jeep Renegade is designed to be more efficient, affordable and cheaper to run than your average SUV. Jeep is hoping to attract younger buyers with its new offering, and also increase their market share with a more entry-level vehicle.
Continue reading ‘2015 Jeep Renegade – Small SUV offers Big Choice’ »
At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, Nissan pulled the covers off the new flagship of the Juke range. Called the Nissan Juke NISMO RS, the new model features improvements in power, handling and styling.
The Nismo RS’s 1.6-litre DIG-T engine has been tuned to boost power to 218 horsepower from 200 horsepower, while torque in two-wheel drive/manual transmission versions is increased from an already healthy 250Nm to 280Nm. To ensure the chassis can successfully transfer the extra torque to the road, 2WD models also benefit from the addition of a mechanical Limited Slip Differential on the driven front wheels. An LSD is not required in four-wheel drive versions which have Torque Vectoring, Nissan’s Xtronic transmission and 250Nm of torque.
The Juke Nismo RS’s exterior now features lower front and rear bumpers, wider wings and sill side skirts, plus a dark chrome V-motion grille and a tailgate spoiler.
Continue reading ‘Nissan Juke NISMO RS – better all round’ »
The Mazda Hazumi concept, which the company is debuting at the Geneva Motor Show this week, is a fairly accurate preview of the production version of the new Mazda2.
Sure it’s got bigger wheels than the car which will turn up in the showrooms, plus those mirrors won’t be fitted to a production car anytime soon, and there might be some other minor changes to the trim, but more or less, this is the new Mazda2.
Powering the Mazda Hazumi is a new small capacity diesel engine. This SKYACTIV-D 1.5-litre unit is designed to achieve ultra-efficient internal combustion, just like the larger SKYACTIV engines. In the HAZUMI it manages to produce CO2 emissions under 90 g/km and it will also comply with stringent Euro 6 requirements without after-treatment systems such as a NOX trap or selective catalytic reduction.
Continue reading ‘Mazda Hazumi concept previews next Mazda2’ »
Gumpert’s first car, the Apollo was devastatingly quick. Hard to drive, but stupidly fast. One thing it wasn’t was pretty. It looked good in a functional, no-nonsense sort of way, and you could forgive its aesthetic failings due to its sheer performance. Their second car might not have that luxury…
Now that Gumpert have stepped back from the abyss of bankruptcy, they’ve decided that the best way forward is to attend the Geneva Motor Show with a brand-new prototype which they’ll be producing later this year. unfortunately it’s one of the ugliest prototypes outside of a Chinese auto show.
Called the Gumpert Explosion, the new car is a two-seat coupe with awkward proportions, a fussy front end, a droopy back end and a soggy-looking middle.
Continue reading ‘Gumpert Explosion – Ugly has a new champion’ »
The Audi TT is one of the most iconic modern sports cars. The first generation car was the real headline grabber. It won numerous design awards across the globe, and despite being 16 years-old this year (although design work began on the car a surprising 20 years ago) it still looks the part.
Audi are hoping that the 3rd generation TT will be as big a design hit as the first car. The initial signs are promising. Obviously everybody kinda knew what to expect, and Audi weren’t going to play too risky with the styling – the TT is too important a model for that. But I think what they’ve come up with is a car which wear’s the company’s currently rather clinical and sterile design language rather well. The TTS looks particularly appealing with its more aggressive bodywork and superior trim.
The front of the new TT is dominated by the large single frame grille which is much broader and flatter than that of the previous model. The narrow headlights are intended to give the car a serious appearance. Xenon units are fitted as standard, with LED headlight available as optional extras.
Continue reading ‘All-new third-generation Audi TT arrives’ »
On the Honda stand at the Geneva Motor Show, the company is displaying a concept version of next year’s production Civic Type R.
It’s a steriod-infused little hot hatch with a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder producing 280 horsepower. It’s definitely not subtle on the outside, with spoilers and vents all over the place. In fact it’s the most extreme Type R the company has ever built. It’s more of a road legal version of the Civic race car than a mildly worked over version of the standard Civic.
The concept was put together by a team of just three guys at the company’s Swindon design center in the UK. It took six months to build.
Continue reading ‘Honda Civic Type R concept – 280HP pocket rocket previews production car’ »
Koenigsegg, the other Swedish auto manufacturer, have just dropped the first round of information on their latest completely insane hypercar.
Called the Koenigsegg One:1, the car stands a very good chance of claiming the title of the world’s fastest production car. That’s because of it’s truly ridiculous power-to-weight ratio. It weighs in at 1,360 kgs (2,998 lbs) wet, which is very, very light. Add to that the fact its turbocharged 5.0 litre V8 produces an earth shattering 1,360 horsepower, and you don’t need to be a maths genius to figure out that means each horsepower only has to propel 1 kg. You also don’t need to be a wordsmith to work out the meaning of the One:1 name.
1,360 horsepower also has another significance. It’s equal to 1 Megawatt. Amazingly Koenigsegg say they could have got more power out of the engine by turning up the boost. But instead they chose to make the car more drivable and with a flatter torque curve. That’s probably a good call.
Continue reading ‘Koenigsegg One:1 – probably the new World’s Fastest Production Car’ »
At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the star of the MINI stand will be the MINI Clubman concept, a vehicle which provides a taster of the next-generation Clubman, which is due to appear within the year.
The MINI Clubman concept is longer and wider than the current car. It also has a more conventional door arrangement than the current Clubman – which used an odd 2+1 layout. In fact the whole car looks a bit more grown-up and sensible.
MINI say this more mature and sophisticated iteration of the Clubman is made even more upmarket by the use of high-quality details and a more elegant cabin. Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design, said of the car: “The MINI Clubman Concept shows how the MINI Clubman could be taken a step further: more interior space, a greater sense of high-end quality and yet still clever, bold and distinctive. In short: more car, more MINI.”
Continue reading ‘2014 MINI Clubman Concept – longer, wider more refined than current car’ »
Jaguar has just revealed all the details regarding their all-new XFR-S Sporbrake. It’s the first high-performance estate car (wagon) the company has ever produced, and it utilizes the exact same drivetrain as the impressive XFR-S saloon. That means that mounted up front is a 5.0 litre V8 engine which produces 550 horsepower and 501 lb-ft (680 Nm) of torque. It also means the XFR-S Sportbrake can hit 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, and continue on to an electronically limited top speed of 186 mph (300km/h). Now that’s supercar territory.
The transmission is an 8-speed unit with something Jaguar calls ‘Quickshift’ functionality – enabling it to provide optimal acceleration throughout the speed and rev ranges. When downshifting (either manually or when in Sport mode) the engine management system automatically blips the throttle too, to keep the car balanced, while simultaneously sounding amazing.
To cope with the extra weight over the rear axle, the XFR-S Sportbrake’s rear suspension has been specifically calibrated for the car, with different spring rates and damper settings. The active electronic differential and Dynamic Stability Control settings have also been tuned to work with the XFR-S Sportbrake’s redesigned rear suspension.
Continue reading ‘Jaguar XFR-S Sportbrake – fast, practical, stunning, expensive’ »