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Jenson Button Wins Australian Grand Prix, Ends Red Bull Dominance

Last weekend marked the beginning of the 2012 F1 season and on Saturday the qualifying session was dominated by McLaren Mercedes as both pilots grabbed the first two positions on Sunday’s grid. Lewis Hamilton won the pole position with a time in Q3 of 1:24.922, followed by his teammate Jenson Button who did his fastest lap in Q3 in 1:25.074. The surprise of the qualifying session was the Lotus-Renault pilot Romain Grosjean who obtained the third place on the starting grid, with a time of 1:25.302 in Q3.

A very nice surprise was the veteran and seven times world champion Michael Schumacher who achieved the fourth fastest time of the qualifying session with his Mercedes, finishing his fastest lap in 1:25.336. Places fifth and sixth were occupied by Red Bull Racing-Renault with Mark Webber on 5th and current world champion Sebastian Vettel on 6th, followed by Schumi’s teammate Nico Rosberg on 7th. Pastor Maldonado had a great Saturday, obtaining the 8th on the starting grid, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo.

Ferrari had a disappointing qualifying session,  as Fernando Alonso only managed the 12th place on the grid with a Q2 time of 1:26.494, while Felipe Massa started yesterday’s race from the 16th place, managing his fastest lap in Q2 in 1:27.497. Kimi Raikkonen made a comeback this year in F1 and he started Sunday’s race from the 18th spot, with a Q2 time of 1:27.758.

Here are the full results for the qualifying session of the 2012 Austrlian Grand Prix organized in Melbourne:

1. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 24.922s
2. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 25.074s
3. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault 1m 25.302s
4. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 25.336s
5. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 25.651s
6. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 25.668s
7. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 25.686s
8. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault 1m 25.908s
9. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 26.451s
10. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari no time Q3

11. Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 26.429s
12. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 26.494s
13. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 1m 26.590s
14. Bruno Senna Brazil Williams-Renault 1m 26.663s
15. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 1m 27.086s
16. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 27.497s
17. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari no time Q2*

18. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Lotus-Renault 1m 27.758s
19. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Caterham-Renault 1m 28.679s
20. Vitaly Petrov Russia Caterham-Renault 1m 29.018s
21. Timo Glock Germany Marussia-Cosworth 1m 30.923s
22. Charles Pic France Marussia-Cosworth 1m 31.670s

DNQ. Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth 1m 33.495s#
DNQ. Narain Karthikeyan India HRT-Cosworth 1m 33.643s#

As far as the race is concerned, Jenson Button managed to win yesterday, in a race which he dominated right from the beginning when he successfully passed his pole-sitting teammate from McLaren Mercedes at the first corner after the race started. Red Bull’s Vettel grabbed the second place at the end of the race while in third place came Hamilton.

On the fourth place at the finish line came Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber, followed by Ferrari’s Alonso who had a very good race, finishing in 5th after starting on the 12th place on the grid. Behind the Spaniard came Kobayashi in his Sauber Ferrari, while Kimi Raikkonen obtained an excellent result, finishing the Australian GP on the seventh place in his Lotus-Renault. On the eight spot came Sergio Perez in his Sauber, followed by local pilot Daniel Ricciardo from Toro Rosso-Ferrari and Paul di Resta in his Force India-Mercedes.

On lap 11th of the race Michael Schumacher went wide into the first corner of the track and damages his gearbox and soon after that he retired from the race.

These are the results of yesterday’s Australian GP:

1. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 58 laps 1hr 34m 09.565s
2. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +00m 02.1s
3. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes +00m 04.0s
4. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault +00m 04.5s
5. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 21.5s
6. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari +00m 36.7s
7. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Lotus-Renault +00m 38.0s
8. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari +00m 39.4s
9. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari +00m 39.5s
10. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes +00m 39.7s

11. Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari +00m 39.8s
12. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes +00m 57.6s
13. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault +1 lap
14. Timo Glock Germany Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap
15. Charles Pic France Marussia-Cosworth +5 laps
16. Bruno Senna Brazil Williams-Renault +6 laps

Rtd. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 46 laps completed
Rtd. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Caterham-Renault 38 laps completed
Rtd. Vitaly Petrov Russia Caterham-Renault 34 laps completed
Rtd. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 10 laps completed
Rtd. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault 1 lap completed
Rtd. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes 0 laps compelted

DNS. Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth Did not qualify
DNS. Narain Karthikeyan India HRT-Cosworth Did not qualify

The next race of the season is scheduled for this upcoming weekend in Malaysia on the Sepang International Circuit. The length of this circuit is 5.543 km while the race distance is 310.408 km as there will be 56 laps. The current lap record belongs to Juan Pablo Montoya who in 2004 managed to do a lap of the track in 1:34.223.
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Hyundai i-oniq goes official at Geneva Motor Show

Hyundai i-oniq

The Korean automaker Hyundai has introduced this month at the Geneva Motor Show the i-oniq concept which is an electric sports hatchback that comes with a range-extending gasoline engine and has been developed in order to showcase the company’s new design thinking and technology.

The vehicle is motivated by a 3-cylinder, 1.0-liter gasoline engine linked via a generator to a lithium-ion electric motor that pumps out 108 hp. When driving the car in electric mode, it should be able offer a range of up to 75 miles (120 km) while with the gasoline engine this range is extended up to 435 miles (700 km). This Hyundai i-oniq has CO2 emissions standing at 45 g/km.

Hyundai i-oniq

The concept measures 4.4 meters long and it is an evolution of the company’s fluidic sculpture design, featuring LED headlights and a “penthouse roof”. The vehicle is able to seat four people in a driver-focused cabin where there are high-tech controls and a modern interface. The car’s passengers can take advantage of the lounge-style space that has sculpted surfaces which have been inspired by musical instruments.

The Hyundai i-oniq has been designed and developed at the company’s European research & development center located in Russelsheim, Germany.

Source: Hyundai

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Opel Astra OPC priced from 34,250 euro

Opel Astra OPC

A few days ago on Opel’s German website the pricing and performance details have been published, along with a new video that showcases the Astra OPC. As you probably know this by now, the hot hatch will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that is capable of delivering 277 hp (280 PS / 206 kW) and a maximum torque of 295 lb.-ft (400 Nm), enough for a 0-62 mph sprint in 6 seconds and a maximum speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).

Opel Astra OPC

For soaking up some of the torque steer since all that power is sent to the wheels in the front, Opel’s engineers have fitted the new Astra OPC with a mechanical limited slip differential as well as High Performance Struts (also known as HiPerStruts). The car benefits from the FlexRide chassis that comes with dedicated Sport and OPC driving modes.

Opel Astra OPC

The new generation of the Opel Astra OPC is scheduled to go on sale this spring and the prices start at 34,250 euro (in Germany, including VAT). As standard, the hot hatch comes with tinted rear windows, LED rear lamps, on-board computer with selected performance data, 19-inch lightweight alloy OPC wheels, rear park assistant, two-zone automatic air conditioning system, Navi 600 navigation system, along with AFL+ adaptive forward lightning.

Opel Astra OPC

Inside the cabin we notice the high-performance race seats that benefit from weight-saving material. The weight of these seats has been reduced by 45% thanks to the use of organic injection sheets with composite material. These new seats have up to 18 different settings, offering an enhanced side support and a lower seating position.

Source: Opel via WCF

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Jaguar XF Sportbrake debuts in Geneva

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

At this year’s edition of the Geneva Motor Show, the British carmaker Jaguar has introduced the XF Sportbrake which is scheduled to go on sale this November. The car is entirely new starting from the B-pillars back and the company that it is as torsionally stiff as the XF sedan. The C-pillar detail has been borrowed from the XJ sedan, while the roof has a new design.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

The car’s rear door frames have been modified along with the windows, releasing an additional 48mm of headroom for the passengers sitting in the back of the car. The rear seats of the XF Sportbrake have a new design and they feature a 60/40 split along with a built-in sky hatch. You can drop the seat backs while you access the cargo area through the tailgate opening thanks to the levers in the load bay.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

The boot volume of the car when the seats are down is of 550 liters, which although might sound impressive, it is less than what other cars in this segment have to offer. For example, the BMW 5-Series Touring and the Audi A6 Avant provide 560 liters to store your stuff while the E-Class from Mercedes-Benz can hold up to 696 liters. If you fold the seats down, the cargo room offered by the Jaguar XF Sportbrake increases to 1675 liters, which is a bit more than the 5-Series and the A6, as these two offer 1760 liters. However, the king in this segment is the E-Class which offers no less than 1765 liters.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

When the seats are down, the load bay measures 1.97 meters long and 1.06 meters wide, this should be enough to store your bags of golf clubs sideways, according to the automaker. We should mention that under the floor there’s a storage space, and you can also attach nets and retaining bars to the two full-length aluminum floor rails.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

When the car will come out, customers will be able to select from four diesel engines, as follows: a 4-cylinder 2.2-liter power unit with 161 hp and 187 hp, along with a beefier V6 3.0-liter twin-turbo with 237 hp and 271 hp. In addition, there are going to be two exterior design packages for the XF Sportbrake, the Aero pack and the Black pack. The first one comes as standard on the S model and brings new side sills, a deeper front bumper and rear valance. The second pack comes with dark-colored wheels and it also replaces exterior brightwork with a glossy black trim.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

No official details concerning the price tag of the Jaguar XF Sportbrake, but the cheapest model that comes with the entry-level 2.2-liter diesel will cost somewhere around 32,500 pounds, while the top-spec 3.0D S will carry a price tag of approximately 44,300 pounds.

Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Source: Jaguar via Autocar

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2012 Geneva Motor Show – memoR McLaren MP4-12C by Hamann

memoR McLaren MP4-12C by Hamann

Hamann has brought to the 82nd edition of the Geneva Motor Show the memoR McLaren MP4-12C which is essentially a styling exercise applied on a car that was already astonishing. They did not mess around with the engine of the car but it does come with a new aerodynamic package that brings a big front splitter, a new rear diffuser, modified wheel arches and updated side skirts.

memoR McLaren MP4-12C by Hamann

According to the tuner, this new bodykit manages to increase the downforce on both front and rear axles of the car. The car features a red and black two-tone exterior finish which looks great with those black rims. Most likely, Hamann will soon start working on a performance upgrade for the McLaren MP4-12C.

No word yet about the price tag of this aerodynamic package.

Source: Hamann via ZerCustoms

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2012 Geneva Motor Show – BMW X6 facelift

BMW X6

BMW has introduced this month at the 82nd edition of the Geneva Motor Show the facelift for the X6 which brings several modifications to the front where the fog lights have been relocated as they now sit high up in the outer air inlets, along with optional adaptive LED headlamps and a more pronounced kidney grille. The hotter X6 M gets those LED headlamps as standard, as well as blue aluminum brake calipers.

The back of the SUV has also been revised, featuring new horizontally-mounted twin LED light banks. Also new are a bunch of paint finishes, such as Midnight Blue metallic, Orion Silver metallic and Marrakech Brown metallic. The BMW X6 xDrive 50i comes with double-spoke, bi-color 19-inch alloy wheels.

The BMW X6 facelift comes with a choice of five engines: xDrive30d, xDrive40d, xDriver35i, V8 xDrive50i and the powerful 555 hp engine in the X6 M. the xDrive 30d will be available from spring with the company’s nitrogen oxide-reducing BluePerformance Technology.

BMW X6

Moving inside the cabin of the SUV, as standard it comes with a Vermilion Red leather, while for more money clients can choose the Ebony White or Black. The car is scheduled to go on sale this June at a base price of 46,725 pounds for the entry-level xDrive30d which is 340 pounds more than the outgoing model. The X6 M is going to have a starting price of 85,680 pounds which means that it will be 3,500 pounds more expensive than the current version. As for the M Performance tri-turbo diesel variant of the X6, this is going to cost from 62,260.

BMW X6

Source: BMW

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Geneva Motor Show – Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification

Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification

At the 82nd edition of the Geneva Motor Show, the British automaker Bentley has introduced a special version of the Mulsanne model. The Mulliner Driving Specification brings a sport-tuned suspension, sport-tuned steering wheel, along with a bunch of bespoke features which make this model special.

Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification

The car comes with the Drive Dynamics Control system that is now offered with a Sport setting. This system is capable of allowing the steering and air suspension systems to be tuned to a desired driving style. This system is operated by a rotary switch which has been mounted next to the car’s gearshift selector. Selecting Sport increases grip, steering accuracy and body control, without having to lower the ride comfort.

Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification

This new edition of the big 4-door sedan rides on a new set of lightweight aluminum 21-inch alloy wheels that have race-derived titanium fasteners and are wrapped around in 265/40 ZR21 tires. Drilled alloy was used for making the brake and accelerator pedals.

Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification

Moving inside, the cabin has a more driver-focused feel and look, featuring tactile knurled finishes on most of the controls, along with diamond quilted leather seats and door casings. On the outside we notice the polished stainless steel sweeping wing vents, along with a black matrix grille.

Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification

Nothing has changed under that long hood of the Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification as it comes with the same V8 6.75-liter engine that is capable of delivering no less than 505 hp, allowing the car to do the 0-62 mph sprint in 5.1 seconds, en route to a maximum speed of 184 mph.

Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification

Source: Bentley

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BMW M135i arrives at Geneva Motor Show

BMW M135i

A new entry in BMW’s 1-Series lineup is this M135 model that has made its debut this month at the 82nd edition of the Geneva Motor Show. The car is scheduled to rival the Audi RS3 and it is the first 3-door version of the second-gen 1-Series which will get the same lineup of 4-cylinder gasoline and diesel power units like its 5-door sibling.

BMW M135i

Even though this isn’t really an M car, the BMW M135i borrows a lot of things from 2011’s M135i Coupe, especially since both cars have the same engine and transmission. We don’t have full details at the moment, but according to BMW insiders this 6-cylinder, 3.0-liter twin turbocharged engine is capable of developing somewhere around 320 hp and a maximum torque of 332 lb.-ft.

BMW M135i

According to the British car magazine Autocar, the M135i hatchback will be offered as standard with a rear-wheel drive setup while for more money clients will be able to opt for four-wheel drive system, as opposed to the M135i Coupe that only has a four-wheel drive setup. Most likely, the car will be available only in a left-hand drive, just like other non-SUV xDrive models launched by BMW.

BMW M135i

The M135i has a rumored curb weight of 1500kg and can offer a power-to-weight ratio of more than 220hp/ton in a RWD configuration, allowing the car to complete the 0-62 mph sprint in 4.9 seconds, the 0-124mph sprint in 17.3 seconds, on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

BMW M135i

The BMW M135i comes with an updated suspension that brings wider tracks, a lower ride height and 18-inch alloys. In addition, the German automaker has also upgraded the brakes and it now has 360mm rotors at the front and 350mm rotors at the back of the car. We should also note the new bodykit that the car comes with, a bodykit that includes a new front bumper which adopts the regular M styling cues, bespoke mirror housings, LED imbued headlamps, a big rear bumper that has a black lower section and the twin tail pipes, along with wider sills under the doors.

BMW M135i

Source: BMW via Autocar

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Seat Leon FR+ Supercopa launched in UK

Seat Leon FR+ Supercopa

Seat’s UK division has launched a top-spec version of the Leon model which will be known as the Leon FR+ Supercopa. The car features a Seat Sport-designed body kit which includes new front and rear bumpers, a new tailgate spoiler, redesigned side skirts, bespoke chrome-tipped dual exhausts, “Supercopa” badges and exclusive 18-inch BBS alloys. Exterior color options include Speed Blue (pictured), Emocion Red and Nevada White.

Seat Leon FR+ Supercopa

Inside the cabin of the Seat Leon FR+ Supercopa we find the company’s Media System 2.2 satellite navigation system that comes with a generous 5.5-inch color touchscreen display, DAB radio, dynamic route guidance, an SD card slot and also Bluetooth audio streaming. In addition, the car features Bluetooth phone connection, rear parking sensors and bi-xenon headlights with adaptive front-lightning system (AFS).

Seat Leon FR+ Supercopa

Customers will be able to get the car with either a 2.0-liter TSI engine that pumps out 211 hp (208 hp / 155 kW) or a 2.0-liter TDI CR power unit that delivers 170 hp (125 kW).

Seat Leon FR+ Supercopa

The car brings 3,000 pounds-worth of Seat Sport body kit for only 750 pounds more in comparison to the regular Leon FR+ model and has a base price of 22,530 pounds for the model fitted with the diesel engine and a 6-speed manual transmission.

Source: Seat UK via WCF

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Ford Tourneo Custom concept launched in Geneva

Ford Tourneo Custom

This month at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, Ford has introduced the Tourneo Custom concept which comes with a bunch of new features that we haven’t seen from Ford in this segment, like the voice-activated SYNC in-car connectivity system, multi-adjustable and removable rear seating, along with systems like driver alert, lane departure and a rear-view camera.

Under the hood of this concept is a 2.2-liter Duratorq TDCi diesel engine that pumps out 153 hp. That power is sent to the front wheels, and the vehicle is based on the company’s new global platform which will be used for the new generation of the Transit which is scheduled to be revealed next month.

Ford Tourneo Custom

The engines of the new model will include a 2.2-liter Duratorq TDCi diesel that as standard will benefit from the stop/start technology. This engine is going to be available in three configurations: with 99 hp, 124 hp and a more powerful 153 hp configuration. All these three engines will be mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox which will send the power to the front axle.

The new generation of the Ford Transit is going to be offered with two wheelbases. The Transit and Tourneo panel vans are going to be manufactured in Turkey, while the units which will have a bare rear chassis are going to be produced at Southampton.

Source: Ford

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2013 Ford Kuga launched at Geneva Motor Show

2013 Ford Kuga

Scheduled to go on sale in the first part of 2013, the all-new Ford Kuga has made its official debut this month at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. Ford promises that the new model is capable of offering a better driving experience and it will also come with more technology, while being more practical at the same time.

2013 Ford Kuga

One of the highlights of the new model would have to be the company’s Torque Vectoring Control system that we saw for the first time on the new Focus, a car that the Kuga shares its platform with. This system is capable of encouraging power to the front wheel that has the most grip by braking the slipping one. Also available is the Blue Oval’s latest development of the all-wheel drive system that can adjust the power split front-to-back more than 100x / second.

2013 Ford Kuga

Customers will be able to choose from one of the following power units. Two 2.0-liter diesels that produce 138 and 161 hp, along with a 1.6-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine that is capable of delivering 148 hp. If you opt for one of those two diesels, the Kuga can be fitted with the company’s PowerShift automatic transmission.

2013 Ford Kuga

As you can see, the new Kuga looks just about the same as its U.S.-market Escape sibling, but the European version has been mildly restyled. The new model is approximately 100m longer than the model it replaces and as a consequence it offers more passenger space in the back, while the cargo room has also been improved by 82 liters compared to the current model to a grand total of 442 liters.

2013 Ford Kuga

One of the cool technologies implemented in the new generation of the Ford Kuga would have to be that you will be able to open and close the boot of the car by waving your foot under the rear bumper. In addition, at the simple touch of a button you can fold flat the seats in the back. Other goodies include Active Park Assist and Blind Spot Information System. The first one can aid steer the vehicle into an available parking space, while the latter can indicate if there’s a vehicle in the blind spot of the driver with the help of a light that has been mounted in the door mirror.

2013 Ford Kuga

Another optional feature which the Ford Kuga can have is the company’s recently developed SYNC system which offers mobile device integration, voice control and also emergency assistance that can detect if the fuel cut-off system or an airbag are activated. It can also use the Bluetooth paired device or the on-board GPS system for calling the emergency services when necessary.

Source: Ford

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2013 GMC Terrain Denali announced

2013 GMC Terrain Denali

Earlier this week, GMC has unveiled the 2013 Terrain Denali which was developed in order to be the most luxurious crossover in its segment. It comes with body color accents, a chrome grille, chrome exhaust system, restyled lighting units, along with 18-inch alloys or 19-inch alloy wheels for the V6-powered versions.

2013 GMC Terrain Denali

Inside the cabin it gets a mahogany wood trim, leather seats and a touchscreen infotainment system. Also on board are the illuminated front sill plates and a soft-touch instrument panel.

2013 GMC Terrain Denali

Customers will be able to choose from two engines. The first one is a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter unit that is capable of developing 182 hp (185 PS / 136 KW) and a maximum torque of 172 lb.-ft (233 Nm), while the other engine is a considerably more powerful V6 3.6-liter unit that pumps out 301 hp (310 PS / 224 kW) and a peak torque of 272 lb.-ft (369 Nm).

2013 GMC Terrain Denali

Regardless of the chosen engine, the 2013 GMC Terrain Denali comes with a 6-speed automatic gearbox. For more money the crossover can be fitted to an all-wheel drive system.

2013 GMC Terrain Denali

No word about the price tag of this model but we do know that it is scheduled to go on sale in the third quarter of this year.

Source: General Motors via WCF

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Hyundai Veloster Turbo arrives at Geneva show

Hyundai Veloster Turbo

The Korean automaker Hyundai has brought to the 2012 Geneva Motor Show its Veloster Turbo model that is powered by the company’s new 1.6-liter T-GDI engine. This engine benefits from a twin-scroll turbocharger and in its European specification produces 183 hp and a peak torque of 199 lb.-ft.

The Hyundai Veloster Turbo is capable of doing the 0-62 mph sprint in only 8.4 seconds, whereas the standard version the car will need 9.7 seconds to hit 62 mph from start. We don’t have any details concerning the CO2 emissions and the fuel consumption of the vehicle.

What we do know is that the car has been fitted with a faster steering rack with updated calibration, while both the front and rear suspension have been revised in order to “enhance driver enjoyment”. For a “more robust sound”, Hyundai has equipped the Veloster Turbo with a larger diameter exhaust. As standard, the aforementioned T-GDI engine is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox.

As far as the design is concerned, the Turbo version of the Veloster comes with new front & rear bumpers, new grille and rear spoiler, projection headlights with built-in LED DRLs, bespoke LED taillights and a new set of 18-inch alloys that have chrome inserts.

As most of you know, back in January at the Detroit Motor Show, Hyundai introduced the North American-specification of the Veloster Turbo.

Source: Hyundai

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Geneva Show – EXP 9 F concept is Bentley’s first SUV

Bentley EXP 9 F

This is it, Bentley’s very first SUV. The oddly named (and looking) EXP 9 F concept has been introduced this month at the Geneva Motor Show and as you can see it’s not quite a looker, to say the least. This concept is motivated by a reworked version of the current W12 6.0-liter gasoline engine which will be the flagship model, but if the car will get the green light for production it will also get smaller V8 and V6 engines for the more affordable versions.

Bentley EXP 9 F

Wolfgang Durheimer who is the company’s CEO believes that the EXP 9 F has a big potential in emerging markets like Russia and China, but also mentions that the automaker’s most important market continues to be the United States which as we all know is where the full-size SUV is praised.

Bentley EXP 9 F

If the production model will be launched it will have a different name, and estimates show that this could turn out to be the bestselling model in the company’s prolific history. The initial production is estimated at approximately 3,500 units and as the markets will develop, it could be increased up to 5,000 cars.

Bentley EXP 9 F

In 2011, the Continental and the Mulsanne were sold in a total of 7,000 units, and Durheimer says that an increase of production will be possible at the company’s modern factory in Crewe without any efforts. The current production at this Bentley plant is done in just one shift, while with a possible two-shift program the British automaker could roll out 15,000 cars each year.

Bentley EXP 9 F

The idea behind this SUV belongs to Durheimer who was also the person who pushed the introduction of the Porsche Cayenne a decade ago, even though there was some strong opposition. Soon after the car it was launched, the Cayenne became the company’s bestselling vehicle.

Bentley EXP 9 F

It seems that if the production version will be launched, this SUV from Bentley will be equipped with an 8-speed automatic gearbox from ZF and a group-derived permanent 4WD system. The interior cabin promises to be not only luxurious but stylish as well, with an emphasis of high quality leather and wood, as well as more equipment than any other sport utility vehicle, at least that’s what Bentley is saying.

Bentley EXP 9 F

Hopefully, if there will be indeed a production model, they will do something about that front styling of the car as the concept version looks hideous in our opinion. The car hasn’t managed up until now to win the full approval of the board so it’s not certain that there will be a production model SUV from Bentley.

Bentley EXP 9 F

Source: Bentley via Autocar

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Mazda Takeri unveiled in Geneva

Mazda Takeri

We’ve seen this car in 2011 at the Tokyo Motor Show but now the Takeri has been unveiled on European territory at the Geneva Motor Show. The Japanese automaker Mazda developed this sleek and gorgeous concept as a preview for the new generation of the 6 model which is scheduled to go on sale in 2013. The production version will have different wheels, door handles and wing mirrors; other than that it will be the same as the one you see in these photos.

This superb concept features the company’s Kodo – Soul of Motion design language that we already seen on another attractive vehicle, the CX-5. The new Mazda6 is going to have a considerably bolder look in comparison to the current generation, featuring crisper lines, technical headlights, a more distinctive finish of the front grille and also a more coupe-like profile.

Mazda Takeri

The new model is going to benefit from the entire suite of SkyActiv technologies that consists of efficient gasoline and diesel power units, compact & lightweight manual and automatic gearboxes, a new modular steel platform and also new suspension systems. When the production version will come out, it will be the first model from Mazda which will come with its own regenerative braking system called Intelligent Energy Loop. This system is capable of using a unique solution that is able to convert the kinetic energy to electricity when the car is decelerating and this energy is stored in an electric double-layer capacitor.

Mazda Takeri

The power which will be stored thanks to this process is going to be used in order to run the electric components of the Mazda6, which means that the load on the power unit will be considerably reduced, while the fuel economy will be raised by approximately 10%. Inside it will adopt a minimalistic look with a four-seat driver-focused cabin. Instead of the usual controls it comes with a rotary controller which looks like the BMW i-Drive.

Mazda Takeri

The concept shown at the Geneva Motor Show has an all-new SkyActiv-D 2.2-liter turbodiesel engine that produces 173 hp and a maximum torque of 310 lb.-ft. This is a low-friction, lightweight power unit that has the lowest compression ratio of all diesel engines produced so far and benefits from the regenerative braking and stop/start systems, allowing to provide an “excellent” fuel economy and CO2 emissions of only 104 g/km. This clean and frugal engine is linked to Mazda’s new convertor automatic gearbox that manages to be just as efficient as a manual transmission.

Source: Mazda

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