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Zenvo ST1


Zenvo_ST1  Danish company Zenvo Automotive has revealed its first hand-built creation, the ST1 supercar. Powered by a V8 engine - fitted with both a supercharger and turbo - producing 1104bhp and 1430Nm of torque, the ST1 measures 4665mm long, 2041mm wide, 1198mm tall, and has a wheelbase of 3055mm. It weighs in at 1376kg, thanks to a light steel frame structure clad with carbonfiber body panels.

 Claimed to be the first Danish-designed supercar, the ST1's sharp aesthetic features a jagged shoulder and pronounced feature line leading to the rear air intake. Its aggressive DRG includes honeycomb inserts around the three-piece headlamps, grille aperture and fog lamps, as well as around the rear diffuser. This graphic is also repeated around the taillamps.

 Inside, the ST1 features seating surfaces trimmed in leather and Alcantara and instruments with a head-up display and a G-force meter. Interior headroom is 1002mm, front seat legroom at 1104mm, and shoulder room at 1398mm. Options include a custom-colored leather interior and fitted luggage set.

 Having spent the last four years developing the prototype, the company will build only 15 examples of the car, which will be sold to specially approved customers starting this year.

Chevrolet Equinox


Chevrolet Equinox  GM has released photos of the next generation Chevrolet Equinox, which will make its debut at the NAIAS next week. Scheduled to hit showrooms in May, the new Equinox will use the updated Theta platform, which also underpins the GMC Terrain.

 The revised exterior design displays a solid stance and sturdy profile, with robust wheelarches anchoring the vehicle's large surface volumes. At the front, the face is defined by the definitive single-bar Chevrolet grille, with the headlamp graphic boundaries reminiscent of the Opel Antara.

 Interior renderings show a simple and clean design, with detailing that appears sporty and futuristic. The array of options will include a Bluetooth application, USB ports, and a DVD navigation system.

 Two engine choices will be offered: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder generating 180hp (which will power the standard model) and a 3.0-liter 255hp V6.

Aston Martin Rapide


Aston Martin Rapide Aston Martin Rapide
 These are the first images of the production version of the forthcoming Aston Martin Rapide, leaked months ahead of its anticipated debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The Rapide, set to join the ranks of imminent and illustrious sport sedans like the Lamborghini Estoque and Porsche Panamera, retains the design attributes of its concept precursor and adds additional details that will begin to trickle down to other models in the range.

 The concept's proportions and dynamic attributes are exemplified in its characteristic Aston aesthetic: two-piece grille and stretched headlamp units with integrated LED strips. But the most unique attributes of the production design is the addition of a bold bone line, stretching from the front fender air vent through to the rear door, and the sweeping glass roof panel. At the rear, the production example is also instantly recognized by its bold and purposeful haunches, familiar taillamp design and integrated decklid spoiler.

 Like the exterior, the interior is also expected to retain much of the concept's design details, which appeared very near production when we saw the vehicle at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2006. Speculation surrounding the new car's powerplant exposes further similarities to the concept car, which sourced power from a 6.0-liter V12 engine. It is expected to create 500bhp and 420 lb-ft of torque.

Ford Mustang


Ford Mustang  After teasing the public for months, Ford has finally revealed the first photos of the hotly-anticipated Mustang, leading up to this week's LA Auto Show.With the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger reentering the muscle car segment, Ford is now having to compete in what has suddenly become a congested field. As such, the company has improved the latest offering both inside and out.

 The revised exterior design gives the new Mustang a lower visual center of gravity and a more aggressive DRG than its predecessor. Along the flanks, the dropping fender line continues into the kick-up in the beltline, accentuating the rear haunch. Surfaces are more refined and the more muscular feel evident, especially around the rear fender.

 Improvements have also been made to the interior, which Ford claims is much higher in terms of quality and refinement, yet still resonates with the Mustang heritage. As before, the 2010 Mustang will be available with either a V6 or a V8 powerplant, with the V8 receiving an additional 15bhp over the current car thanks to a new cold-air induction system.

 For more on the Mustang read our LA Auto Show Highlights, coming soon...

Honda FC Sport concept


Honda FC Sport concept  Honda unveiled its vision for the future of transport at the LA Auto Show today with the FC Sport concept. The three-seat, hydrogen fuel cell-powered design study was created at the Japanese manufacturer's Advanced Design Studio in Pasadena, CA.

 The low-profile body is designed to convey a high-technology appearance and has been finished in white to communicate the car's environmental aspirations. Sculpting that combines angular shapes in the front of the vehicle taper into geometric hex forms in the rear. The rear hex forms house cooling radiators for the fuel cell, while Formula 1-style barge boards behind the front wheels enhance high-speed aerodynamics and convey the vehicle's racing pedigree.

 The hydrogen storage tanks, visible from the rear deck, showcase the FC Sport's fuel cell technology in much the same way that a 'naked bike' motorcycle showcases its engineering.

 Read our review of the design and see photos of the concept in our upcoming LA Auto Show Highlights.

Nissan NV2500 concept


Nissan NV2500 concept  Nissan has released a sketch of the full-size NV2500 van concept the North American division of the company will unveil at the NAIAS in Detroit in January. Billed as one of the largest concept vehicles ever created by the company, the latest NV2500 has been 'designed to highlight multi-purpose utility solutions in the real world'.

 The new vehicle follows the NV200 van concept designed at Nissan's European studio in London under the direction of Stephane Schwartz. But while that vehicle featured an innovative storage pod that extended from the van's load area, Nissan is not divulging any additional information on the new vehicle; stating only that it previews the company's entry into the North American commercial vehicle market in 2010. We'll keep you posted.

Ferrari Scuderia Spider 16M


Ferrari Scuderia Spider 16M  Ferrari has chosen to unveil a limited-edition F430 Spider in celebration of its recent victory in the Formula 1 World Championship. Called the Scuderia Spider 16M, the car is available in black livery with grey trim, while a tricolor livery can be specified as part of the Carrozzeria Scaglietti Personalization Program. A plaque on the rear grille also commemorates Ferrari’s 16th World title.

 The exclusivity of the interior is underscored by the silver ‘limited series’ plaque just above the air vents at the center of the dashboard. Other exclusive features include a roll-bar with carbon-fiber outer shell and a specific audio system that can be combined with a customized removable Ferrari iPod Touch.

 Benefitting from Ferrari’s latest mid-rear-engined 8-cylinder technology - with 510hp - the Scuderia Spider 16M is claimed to be the fastest open-top Ferrari road car. It tips the scales at 1340kg (80kg lighter than the F430 Spider), achieves 62mph from a standstill in just 3.7 seconds, and has a top speed of 195mph.

Mazda Kazamai concept to premiere at Moscow


Mazda Kazamai concept to premiere at Moscow  The first official look at Mazda's forthcoming concept

 These are the first official pictures from Mazda of its all-new concept. The car will be a sporty, 4x4 crossover, and the Japanese firm have confirmed it will take its first bow at the Moscow Motor Show in late August.

 As you can see in these first-glimpse images, the new concept, named Kazamai (Japanese for “swirling crosswinds’), will be styled in line with its name, with flowing panel lines down its sides, a boldly styled five-point grille, accentuated front wheel-arches and impressive 22-inch diameter wheels.

 The 4x4 will be based on Mazda’s long-term vision for technology development, which aims to provide a balance between an enjoyable driving experience and environmentally friendly performance.

 The Mazda power-train will be made up of a next-generation, direct-injection engine and a newly-developed transmission. It will also be aerodynamically efficient, with a lightweight and robust chassis - improving the vehicle’s dynamics and safety. It also plans to deliver efficient fuel consumption and greatly reduced CO2 emissions.

 The concept has been designed specifically for the Moscow International Show, and gives a good indication of where Mazda is going with a possible future compact crossover.

 Mazda have also announced plans to debut its CX-9 SUV at the Moscow Motor Show a result of the growing sales in the compact SUV sector.

 Keep checking back for all the latest details on this exciting concept.

Storming Jaguar XFR blasts off


Storming Jaguar XFR blasts off  Fastest XF bares its claws as it gets ready to take on BMW M5.

 Our spy photographers snapped the hot XF as it underwent final high-speed testing in Germany, and they follow on from the images we published in Issue 990.

 When it reaches showrooms here early next year, the newcomer will be equipped with a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine – delivering 500bhp – as well as uprated suspension and bigger brakes. It’s set to cost around L60,000, and will target formidable rivals in the shape of Audi’s S6, the BMW M5 and Mercedes E63 AMG.

 At first glance, this prototype does not look much like a machine with performance to match a supercar. But study these images more closely, and you’ll spot all the tell-tale signs that this is one of the fastest Jaguars ever.

 At the rear, the XFR features quad exhausts instead of the twin set-up seen on the existing flagship SV8 variant. In addition, Jaguar engineers have also added a neat boot spoiler to enhance stability at high speeds, while there are larger openings in the deep front bumper for improved cooling of the brakes and powerplant.

 Further clues to the XFR’s performance potential are provided by the lowered ride height, flared wheel-arches and massive alloys, which are mis-matched on this pre-production prototype. The XFR will run on huge 20-inch rubber at the rear, with super- wide tyres and an increased track too.

 It gets retuned adaptive dampers and suspension components from the SV8 – themselves derived from those on the XK coupé. And as test drivers have racked up thousands of miles honing the chassis at the Nürburgring circuit in Germany – as well as at this secret track – the XFR will be among the best-handling cars in its class.

 Engineers will ensure it delivers lots of steering feel and driver involvement. Yet even though it will be the sportiest model in the XF line-up, the car will still provide a comfortable ride in keep-ing with Jaguar’s reputation.

 As with the SV8, the XFR will have a wide range of settings for the transmission, including a Dynamic Mode that allows more slippage from the rear wheels under acceleration and snappier changes from the six-speed auto. It also improves throttle response.

 Huge ventilated disc brakes ensure supreme stopping power. That’s just as well because of the power output delivered by the blown V8 engine. It promises to propel the car from 0-60mph in well under five seconds. The XFR’s maximum speed will be electronic-ally limited to 155mph, but it will eclipse its sister model by some margin in terms of in-gear performance and overtaking response. Sour-ces within Jaguar have even suggested that the model is being developed to run on green E85 bioethanol as well – although whatever the fuel source, the XFR is sure to offer a soundtrack as spectacular as its pace.

 Thanks to an acoustic exhaust sys-tem, which opens up special baffles when the revs rise beyond 3,500rpm, owners will benefit from a wonderful offbeat V8 rumble under acceleration. Yet when the throttle is treated more gently, the big engine will be whisper quiet, allowing refined cruising.

 Expect a whole host of equipment to be fitted as standard, ranging from sat-nav and Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity to figure-hugging sports seats with electric adjustment. Deliveries of the first standard XFs will be made next month, but the R isn’t due on sale until spring next year.

Peugeot 504


Peugeot 504  Beautiful coupé marks bold return to Lion’s styling heritage.

 The renaissance starts here! That’s the dramatic promise from Peugeot’s new design boss, Jerome Gallix.

 In an interview with Auto Express’s German sister title, Auto Bild, Gallix said he’d use the firm’s heritage to create a fresh family of cars. And he’s starting with the luxurious 504 coupé.

 This exclusive Gallix sketch shows exactly how such a model could look. Although technical details are scarce at the moment, it’s thought the newcomer is similar in size to the current 407, and has a bold nose and curving waistline inspired by its predecessor.

 Mechanicals are likely to be shared with Citroen’s C5, so the car could get a powerful 2.7-litre V6 diesel and air-suspension.

 But Gallix’s plans for making the most of Peugeot’s past won’t stop there. He also admitted he is a fan of the original 204 and the 205. Successors to both these models could be essential to Peugeot’s future as it strives to become one of the leading manufacturers of low-CO2 cars.

 The first Peugeot designed under the influence of Gallix was the sleek 308 RC Z concept, which was widely acclaimed on its debut at 2006’s Paris Motor Show. The two-seater will be seen in production form at the Frankfurt exhibition in 2009, and will arrive in showrooms here the following year.

Volkswagen Polo


Volkswagen Polo  VW supermini set to get a lot more stylish thanks to Scirocco inspired design.

 The Polo is getting a ‘fresher’ flavour! VW’s fifth-generation supermini will go on sale next year with a more upmarket look – and a front end which has been given ‘the Scirocco treatment’.

 The car’s nose reflects the styling of VW’s sleek coupé – and inside, there is a classier cabin. A range of new engines includes hi-tech, low-emission diesels and super-turbo petrol powerplants.

 As you can see from our pictures, produced using insider information, the Polo draws on the next Golf and Scirocco, dropping the large chrome grille seen on recent VWs for a simpler design with twin horizontal air intakes and angled headlights. It’s a cleaner look all-round, with uncluttered flanks, neat tail-lamps and a purposeful stance.

 Under the skin, the Polo gets the new PQ25 small car platform – first used by the latest SEAT Ibiza. This means a bigger cabin, even though the dimensions are similar to the current model’s.

 Quality will improve, as VW bids to address criticism over falling standards. It promises the Polo will be the best-built car in its class, with a Scirocco-style dash and soft-touch materials.

 The generous kit tally will include an MP3 player input and Bluetooth connectivity on most models. Plus, the Polo could get the same sat-nav docking port as the Ibiza – this allows portable, hand-held units to be plugged into the dash.

 While the car is unlikely to match the likes of Ford’s next Fiesta for driver fun, the steering will be improved and the ride made more compliant. Engine highlights will include 1.4 and 1.6-litre FSI direct-injection petrol units, plus new TDI turbodiesels.

 The Polo will also make use of VW’s 1.4-litre supercharged and turbocharged TSI motor, available in a 138bhp ‘warm hatch’ and a 168bhp GTI variant. There will be a new Bluemotion model, too – this promises to emit less than 100g/km of CO2 and return 75mpg economy.

 The firm’s seven-speed DSG twin-clutch box should appear as an option throughout the range. As well as three and five-doors, there will be a coupé-cabrio, inspired by the Karmann-built drop-top seen at 2007’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

 In addition, buyers get the option of a four-wheel-drive SUV variant to replace the Dune – as we revealed in Issue 1,018 – and a compact MPV. These models won’t appear until at least 2010, while the hatch arrives next year, starting from around L9,000.

 In a related story, VW has revealed more about its future by unveiling its first-ever plug-in hybrid. The Golf-based Twin Drive can run for up to 30 miles solely on battery power thanks to an 82bhp electric motor. When it runs out of energy, a 122bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel takes over.

 It gets stop-start technology, regenerative braking and hits a top speed of about 75mph. Energy comes from lithium-ion batteries that can be plugged into a household socket.

 While there are currently no plans to put the Twin Drive into production, some of its features are set to debut on VW models within the next two years.

A1 Cabriolet is out in the open


A1 Cabriolet is out in the open  Audi bosses ready a stunning new competitor to smash-hit MINI convertible.

 It’s mid-summer, and Audi is celebrating in style with this: the new A1 Cabriolet.

 The German supermini first broke cover last October as the Metroproject Quattro – a concept designed to showcase both the A1 and Audi’s clever electric-hybrid powertrain.

 Auto Express revealed sketches of the model in Issue 981, and ever since then, the baby Audi has been casting a shadow over the car that’s set to be its main rival: the MINI.

 Audi has never been one to hold back its engineers when it comes to new challenges, and it sees the premium supermini class dominated by the baby BMW as a lucrative market.

 So, with an eye on the biggest possible slice of the cake, the A1 will aim to steal sales from the popular Mini Convertible. Our exclusive pictures reveal exactly how the drop-top will look when it debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009, before hitting dealers the following year.

 The roof mechanism is more sophisticated than that of the MINI. It’s a powered hood which folds down electrically and is swallowed into the boot, rather than sitting on top of the car behind the rear bulkhead.

 Audi bosses have put form over function with the two-seater, although as there is no rear bench the car should offer enough load space to take the weekly shopping.

 This approach means it’s vital that the drop-top looks the part – and as you can see, it doesn’t disappoint. It gets a strong family shape, throwing in few surprises but oozing class thanks to clean lines and the trademark Audi grille. A sharp crease which runs from the shoulder line and around the rim of the bonnet emphasises the shape of the nose, while the flared wheelarches are reminiscent of the firm’s TT Cabriolet.

 At the rear, twin integrated exhaust pipes straddle a trapezoidal bumper insert, and a strong line splits the tailgate above the lights.

 Expect the cabin to be Audi’s usual array of well damped, orderly switchgear, although details such as unique interior colour and trim combinations will distinguish the A1 from the brand’s other small models. The latest Multi Media Interface (MMI) will appear, too.

 A heavy quattro four-wheel-drive system was deemed unnecessary, particularly as the cabrio has extra torsional rigidity to make up for losing the roof. Under the bonnet, the cabrio will more than match the Mini, as it will be able to take its pick from the VW Group’s engine line-up. Most intriguing is the inclusion of both 140bhp and 170bhp 1.4 TSI turbo and supercharged units currently found in the Golf GT Sport. These will use a six-speed double-clutch gearbox powering the front wheels.

 TSI versions are set to be sales leaders, due to their appealing combination of refinement, performance and economy. A 150bhp 1.8 turbo engine will line up alongside the clever TSI unit, and the range will also include an entry-level 1.6 with 102bhp. Two 2.0-litre TDI oil-burners will feature, rated at 140bhp and 170bhp.

 Even though some of these motors creep close to MINI Cooper S territory, Audi’s trump card will be a hot S1. This gets the same engine as the 261bhp S3 when it arrives in 2011.

Chassis
 Borrowing heavily from construction techniques mastered on the A2 – the car the A1 hatch replaces – the Cabriolet will be produced using steel and aluminium. This method has already been used in the TT, and helps to keep weight down.

Engines
 Much is being made of the new 1.4-litre TSI unit that debuted in the VW Golf. It’s fitted with a supercharger and turbo, and also features in the Scirocco. But the A1 could get a petrol-electric motor, too – making it the world’s first hybrid cabriolet.

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