At the upcoming Paris Motor Show, which opens its doors early next month, Honda will unveil a prototype version of their all-new compact SUV destined for the European market. The Honda HR-V is more about substance than style. Which is a good thing considering it’s lacking any real design flair. Despite its compact size Honda have engineered the HR-V to be as practical, versatile and spacious as possible.
The vehicle features a centrally mounted fuel tank which Honda says frees up space inside. The “Honda Magic Seats”, yes that’s a thing now, can be configured in a variety of ways to carry either people or cargo.
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One of the most anticipated supercar reveals of the year has just taken place at a private event hosted by Mercedes-Benz. The all-new Mercedes-AMG GT might have to wait until the Paris Motor Show for its official public debut, but all the details of the car are now out in the open.
The Mercedes-AMG GT and the hotter GT S model are both based around a lightweight aluminium chassis into which a 4.0 litre V8 has been shoehorned. It’s a great looking car, well balanced with a classic long hood and a cab-rearward layout. Many will see a good deal of Porsche 911 in the rump of the car, but as there are so many makes and models out there now it’s getting increasingly difficult to create a car which doesn’t look in some way or another like a different vehicle from certain angles. Overall the new GT ranks up there with some of the finest looking automobiles Mercedes-Benz has ever created.
Mercedes say the new GT and GT S have both been developed to be capable on the track and civilized enough for every day use. Both cars feature numerous motorsport inspired elements and benefit from things like double wishbone front and rear suspension systems, a 47/53 front/rear weight distribution, active and passive safety features as well as a well equipped and luxurious cabin. The GT S, aside from receiving a more powerful version of the 4.0 litre V8 turbocharged engine, also receives larger brakes as standard, electronically controlled suspension damping, an electronic rear-axle locking differential, a sound-variable sports exhaust, larger wheels and tires and an optional AMG dynamic Plus package which features dynamic engine and transmission mounts, tighter suspension a recalibrated speed-sensitive steering system.
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The BMW 2 Series Convertible is the soft-top alter-ego of the BMW 2 Series Coupe which was revealed earlier in 2014. It’ll be available in a range of tune, although the models available will depend on your location. The US will get the 228i and M235i models, with optional xDrive all-wheel drive available on the 228i. European buyers will most likely get a couple more options, including both diesel and smaller displacement 4-cylinder gasoline engines.
The folding fabric roof of the 2 Series Convertible is just about the only thing that separates the car from the coupe version of the car. It raises and lowers in 20 seconds at the touch of a button at speeds of up to 30 mph. BMW’s engineers have worked hard to make sure the noise levels inside the car are as low as possible. In fact the cockpit of the car is up to 7 decibels quieter than that of the previous 1 Series Convertible. The top can be ordered in one of three different colors; black, anthracite with silver effect, and brown with silver effect.
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Jaguar has made no secret of the XE. In fact they’ve been shouting about if for many months now. But at a Jaguar-hosted, star-studded event in London the car was finally unveiled.
At first glance it looks like Jaguar made a mistake and accidentally pulled the covers off an updated XF. But if you take out a tape measure and a magnifying glass then it becomes clearer this is in fact a new model. The Jaguar XE is a sports orientated saloon designed to do battle with the likes of the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4. It’s a rear-driver, which is a huge plus point, and from launch a high performance XE S model will be available powered by a supercharged 3.0 litre V6 developing 340 horsepower.
Like the slightly larger XF, the new XE is a handsome car. Not exciting, dramatic or eye-catching, just quietly confident in its own solid proportions. The XE S gets a slightly more sporty appearance, including larger front intakes, chrome side vents, a small rear spoiler and optional 20-inch wheels.
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If you like the idea of owning a helicopter, but are afraid of heights and happen to live near a lake or the sea, then this really should be on your shopping list. The Helicat 22 is a catamaran which has been styled to look like a helicopter. Don’t ask why, there doesn’t seem to be any particular reason. The Helicat 22 has been desiged with speed and stability in mind. It’s particularly good on rough waters with the widely spaced twin hulls providing a stable platform with minimal drag when zooming along at speed.
Aside from its unique appearance, the Helicat 22 also offers a good degree of practicality. Obvioulsy the cabin is fairly compact, limiting the number of people who can be carried at any one time, but it can cope with waves which would have boats of comparable size scooting for the nearest safe harbor. It has an impressive top speed of 43 mph when fitted with the optional 90 horsepower motors. It also has a range of over 100 miles with the standard twin 45 litre (12 gallon) fuel tanks.
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Zagato have been creating special limited edition and one-off Aston Martins since the 1960s. They always tend to go down well with both wealthy collectors and the average automotive enthusiast. Part of the popularity of the Zagato modified Astons might come from the mere fact it’s a fusion of two world-class brands. Or it could be because they’re usually pretty crazy.
The Aston Martin Virage Shooting Brake by Zagato is no exception. It’s based on the same styling ideas introduced on the DBS Coupe Centennial and the DB9 Spyder by Zagato, both introduced last summer. The underlying platform is an Aston Martin Virage – a model which was discontinued in 2012 – and powering the car is a 6.0 litre V12 with 490 horsepower.
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The paintwork on the all-new fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata is still curing. But already intrigue is building over what sort of drivetrains will be offered, and what, if any, higher performance models might be developed in the future.
The three previous generations all benefit from a massive and active fan base, as well as numerous companies who cater solely for MX-5 owners and sell just about every conceivable aftermarket accessory and performance upgrade. It’s fairly obvious that the new car will soon have its own range of aftermarket parts on sale almost as soon as it hits the dealerships, if not before.
But some owners might want their ND MX-5 Miata will a little extra oomph straight out of the showroom. Something which might require the input of Mazdaspeed. From 2004 to 2005 Mazda offered the Mazdaspeed MX-5 in limited markets. This was a turbocharged version of the MX-5 which also benefited from a revised suspension setup, lighter wheels, wider tires, an uprated transmission and a subtle exterior makeover.
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When Citroen setup the DS division of the company in 2010 it was seen as an offshoot intended to produce a limited volume of slightly more upmarket cars which were a little off-beat, dramatic and stylish. But now, four years after DS was launched, the outfit has sold over half a million vehicles worldwide, and the Citroen connection, although just as strong behind the scenes, is being increasingly muted in public.
The Divine DS concept is a vehicle which will be making its public debut shortly at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. It’s intended to represent the future of the DS brand, and show the sorts of vehicle they’ll be producing in the near future, as well as the high-fashion interiors they’ll be packing.
Designed and built in Paris, the Divine DS concept is a compact 4-door vehicle. It’s overall shape is pretty standard for a hatchback, but the details are striking. It has laser headlights, a glittering front grille filled with floating diamond shapes of different sizes and finished in varying shades of chrome, a chrome highlighted character line running nearly the full length of the car and an unusual diamond patterned roof. At the rear the Divine DS concept features jewel-like LED tail lights.
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Audi has given the entire A6 range a slight makeover for 2015. The changes include minor revisions to the exterior styling, some miniscule updates to the interior and a few engine upgrades. The A6 sedan and Avant, as well as the Allroad quattro and the higher performance S6 and RS 6 models are all affected by the changes.
The 2015 upgrades are all pretty small, and if you weren’t a fan of the A6 before, then nothing here is going to change your mind. Likewise, if you were a fan of the A6, then there’s nothing to put you off.
The principle exterior changes include new headlights and tail lights and almost imperceptible revisions to the front grille and bumpers. On the inside new colors are available, including Flint Gray for the A6 and Salsa Red for the S6. The front seats now come with optional ventilation and massage. There are also upgrades and improvements to the infotainment system, air conditioning system (which is now four-zone instead of dual-zone), and safety systems – like adaptive cruise control, Audi side assist and Audi active lane assist.
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Mazda’s iconic lightweight two-seat sports car might go by several different names; Roadster in its native Japan, MX-5 in Europe and other markets, and MX-5 Miata in North America, but one thing it has in common worldwide is popularity. Mazda has shifted over 940,000 MX-5s since it was debuted in 1989, and picked up over 200 industry awards along the way.
To say the arrival of the 4th generation Mazda MX-5 Miata is important for the company would be an epic understatement. Because while the car might only represent 1 percent of the company’s sales, it’s the company’s most iconic model, and currently its the closest thing Mazda has to a halo model.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata also has a massive fanbase, and those fans should be rejoicing right now, because it looks like Mazda has done exactly what it should, and keep the MX-5 simple, light and fun to drive. It’s just a bonus that it happens to look gorgeous at the same time.
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