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Production Version VW Up! Unveiled

VW Up!

More and more car manufacturers have decided to reveal the first official photos of the models that will get their official debut at Frankfurt Motor Show next month in Germany. VW is one of them and now we get to see the first photos of the production version Up! which has been previewed for a bunch of times in the last few years. It is indeed a small city car that looks excellent in my opinion, probably one of the best designs in the segment.

VW Up!

A major difference between those concepts and this production version is that the latter will come with a front-engine, FWD configuration, unlike the concepts which were rear-engined and with a rear-wheel drive setup.

VW Up!

When it will hit the market, the Volkswagen Up! is going to be available with an all-new tiny 3-cylinder 1.0-liter gasoline engine, which will have two output variants: 60 hp and 75 hp. Those who will get the car with the optional BlueMotion Technology will benefit from a combined fuel consumption of only 55.6 mpg (67.2 mpg UK or 4.2 liters / 100 km) for the 60 hp model while the more powerful one will do 54.7 mpg (65.7 mpg UK or 4.3 liters / 100 km). The German automaker mentioned that both these engines will have CO2 emissions of less than 100 g/km.

VW Up!

Later on, VW will offer the Up! with a natural gas power unit that will generate 68 hp (50 kW) and will have a fuel consumption of 3.2 kg / 100 km and CO2 emissions of only 86 g/km. Aside from this, an electric variant is also in the works but we don’t have any further information about it.

VW Up!

The car measures 3.54 m long and 1.64 m wide but thanks to its 2.42 m long wheelbase it should be able to accommodate four adults. It also will have a rather generous 251-liter trunk which is considerably more than what other cars in this segment have to offer. Folding the rear seats will increase the cargo room to 951 liters.

VW Up!

According to Volkswagen, the Up! is going to be the only car in its segment which will come with City Emergency Braking System which is in fact an active safety system that is activated when the car is doing less than 18 mph and uses a laser sensor in order to assess the risk of a possible accident. If the person behind the wheel has no reactions, the system will kick in, breaking the car in order to lower the force of the impact.

VW Up!

Aside from this, the city car will get a maps + more system which the automaker describes as being a mobile PID – Personal Infotainment Device. This system has been designed in collaboration with Navigon and is located above the center console. It is in fact a touchscreen display that can manage all of the Up!’s infotainment systems, like audio and navigation, along with displaying the car’s parking sensors.

VW Up!

We don’t have any details regarding the availability of the Volkswagen Up! or any info about the price tag, but we’re sure that the car manufacturer will release them next month at Frankfurt. Stay tuned for additional details.

Source: Volkswagen

MiraQua, City Car Of The Future?

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If you live in a big city you probably waste a couple of hours every week driving to and from work. One solution to this problem comes from Chaoyi Li, who is the designer of the MiraQua. He thinks that these small electric cars are exactly what we need to get rid of the congestion. He designed the car as a solution for the excessive traffic congestion in China.

As you can see, this compact-looking EV is pretty different from what we’ve seen before. It has an in-wheel motor and drive-by-wire technology. It features a specially designed front wing that kind of rises up and acts as an entrance from the front. The foldable front seats allow the passengers to get to the rear seats.

Thanks to the fact that front portion of the car opens up entirely and the front passenger side seat is foldable, it is very easy to access the rear seats through the front entrance. In addition, you can easily store luggage there as the entire passenger side leg area is available for storing stuff.

Unfortunately, we don’t know if there is going to be a production version based on this concept, but the future for city cars looks very promising if you ask me.

Source: alternative-energy-news.info

Mitsubishi i-MiEV will get upgraded before it reaches the US in late 2011

The head of marketing and product planning for Mitsubishi North America, Gregory Adams, has revealed that when the i-MiEV electric city car will arrive on US shores, it will be thoroughly overhauled and enlarged to cater to American regulations and preferences.

The executive revealed that the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Japanese carmaker’s big bet in terms of electric vehicles, will be in for quite a lot of changes before it will reach North America, in late 2011.

The US-spec i-MiEV will be larger, in order to accommodate more safety features, and have a revised interior with more options to make people see what they will spend more money on. According to previous reports, Mitsubishi wants a price of under $30,000, without the $7,500 federal tax credit. This will make it one of the cheapest all-electric models on the market, undercutting the upcoming Nissan Leaf.

Until the Mitsubishi i-MiEV hits the US market, the Japanese carmaker is focused on successfully launching it in Europe at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.


Fiat plans on selling 50,000 500 city cars in 165 dealerships across the USA

Fiat has some huge plans for the USA later this year, when it will officially launch the diminutive 500 city car onto US soil.

According to a report from the Associated Press, the Italian company wants to sell around 50,000 500 models in 2011, matching the sales of its nearest rival, Mini.

How will it do that? First it will use the capacity of Chrysler’s Toluca plant in Mexico to the fullest, in order to ensure a steady stream of models coming into US dealerships.

Speaking of dealers, Fiat has already announced that it has secured over 165 locations all over the USA, most of them already having Chrysler franchises.

Without a doubt the Fiat 500 will be a best seller, especially in urban environments, but we’re not so sure it can match up to Mini sales in its first full year. What do you think? Is the 500 going to be welcomed with open arms by Americans?



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Audi A1 will be sold globally but the US needs to wait until the next generation

Audi A1 will be sold globally but the US needs to wait until the next generation

Back when the new Audi A1 compact was first announced, officials revealed that it will be sold just in Europe, given the territory’s fondness of premium city cars.

Now, things have changed. According to Audi’s sales boss, Peter Schwarzenbauer, the global interest in the A1 has gone past all expectations, and as such, we will get to see the A1 reach other continents in the future.

Production is already being increased, given the already high popularity of the A1, and Audi is set to focus on the Asian markets in the next few years. China will be the main focus, but the German company wants to seriously ramp up production before it will launch the A1 there. This means that Chinese customers will be able to get their hands on the attractive compact around 2012.

The US market, on the other hand, will still be deprived of the A1, seeing as how customers are still reluctant to pay a premium for a city car. The model will eventually appear on North American shores, but probably with the second generation model.


Scion iQ city car confirmed for US launch in March 2011

It’s been a long time coming, but US customers will finally be able to indulge in a brand new Japanese city car, the Scion iQ, next year.

After being revealed at the New York Auto Show this year, the model has been confirmed by Toyota for a US launch in March 2011.

The car is already being sold in Asia and Europe, badged as a Toyota iQ, and has become pretty successful, thanks to its decent cargo spaces plus the adequate interior space.

No other details were revealed, but you can expect the Scion iQ to be priced around the level of the its direct rival, the Smart ForTwo. A frugal 1.3-liter gasoline engine should be included, but don’t expect a hybrid powertrain, at least according to previous statements.



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2010 Smart ForTwo gets refreshed with new looks and options

The Smart ForTwo hasn’t exactly been the city car sales phenomenon Mercedes-Benz had been hoping for.

Still, the company is confident in the compact model, and has revealed the 2010 refresh to the ForTwo range.

As you can see above, the outside hasn’t seen any dramatic changes, with the new, optional LED daytime running lights being the biggest addition. A set of 15-inch alloy wheels can also be ordered, alongside an even wider array of colors, that can decorate anything from the body to specific components of the car. Also, for the open top version of the ForTwo, customers will be able to order either a red or blue cloth top.

The interior of the 2010 Smart ForTwo has seen some much needed improvements though. The instrument panel has been redesigned, while an optional three-spoke leather steering wheel can be ordered. Another new addition is a touchscreen infotainment system, letting drivers control the navigation, bluetooth connectivity or the audio system.

In terms of engines, the units haven’t changed, but their CO2 emissions have been lowered. The top-of-the-range Brabus version is now capable of emitting just 119 g/km of CO2. The most frugal in the range is still a CDI diesel unit, which puts out just 86 g/km of CO2.

Expect the 2010 Smart ForTwo to debut in dealerships this fall, across the world.


McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray presents the T.25 city car

Gordon Murray is one of the most popular designers in the automotive world, penning the iconic McLaren F1 hypercar.

Now, after splitting with the British sportscar manufacturer and opening his own design studio, Murray has finally revealed a big project: the T.25 city car.

As you can see, this ultra compact model is definitely something else. It weighs just 1,212 pounds and is just four feet wide. Believe it or not, it has seating for three people on the inside, retaining the F1′s 1+2 arrangement, with the driver in front and passengers in the back. In case you’re wondering how you can get into the T.25, it has a hinged front end, similar to BMW’s iconic Isetta model.

Power for the compact model comes from a 51 HP three-cylinder engine, capable of pushing the T.25 to 62 mph in 16.2 seconds. The projected fuel average is a mighty impressive 61.9 mpg US.

As you can imagine, its diminutive size makes it perfect for city environments. You will be able to park the T.25 perpendicular to the curb, and three such models can occupy one regular parking space.

No word yet on when or if we will see the T.25 on the market, but you can be sure that competitors like Smart are going to face a tough challenge with this British car.


Video: BMW 0 Series sketches leaked in new video?

We already know BMW is planning a big offensive onto the entry-level premium segment, aiming to expand its 1 Series and Mini lineups.

The expansion will be so great, that a 0 Series is all but confirmed by BMW executives to slot in below the current 1 Series.

Now, in a new corporate video which showcases the Asian Innovation Days events, a series of sketches are showcased in the background.

As you can see above, the drawings depict a compact model, with the trademark kidney grille and a hatchback similar to the 5 Series Gran Turismo. The aggressive appearance is augmented by the headlights in the sketches.

Hit the jump to see the full video and the possible sketches of the future BMW 0 Series.

Mini to develop a compact city car

Mini sources have confirmed that the brand is now researching a compact city car model, in the vein of the Smart ForTwo, even though officials have said that such a vehicle isn’t profitable.

Why the sudden 180 degree turn? BMW is planning an all-out assault on the entry-level premium segment, with front-wheel drive cars smaller than the current 1 Series, but also on the city car market, with the Megacity electric vehicle project.

As such, the money is already set to be spent, on research and on a new three-cylinder engine. This means that in order to get its investment back, the Mini brand will also develops its own compact city car project.

No word on the exact specifications, like three/five doors or front/rear engine, but one thing’s for sure, it will be much shorter than the current Mini models. It won’t have Smart ForTwo dimensions, but it’s going to be easier to handle around the city, according to officials.

Don’t expect anything concrete in the near future, as those same sources revealed that a concept will be revealed around mid-2011.


Saab’s future 92 going ahead as planned, will target Mini

Even though it dropped out of the media spotlight after being rescued in the nick of time by Spyker from GM, Swedish carmaker Saab is still going ahead full steam with its revival plans.

A big part of the Saab renaissance will be a completely new 92 successor, a compact hatch designed to take on other premium city car rivals like the Mini or the newly revealed Audi A1.

According to Victor Muller, the company’s CEO, the new 92 will be reminiscent of the teardrop-shaped Saabs of yesteryear and the brand is already in talks with quite a few carmakers to share the future platform of the 92. This would achieve a much needed reduction in developments costs, given Saab’s still rocky financial situation.

Muller revealed that he is checking in with designers every day for updates on the future 92, and that when he’s not talking with his team, he’s reaching out to manufacturers for the platform development.

Given the already popular Mini, the Fiat 500 or the new Audi A1, plus other premium city cars from the likes of Mercedes-Benz or BMW, is Saab making the right choice to dive into this segment? Pitch in your two cents below.


Video: Fourth movie in Audi’s ‘The Next Big Thing’ series appears

Audi has just revealed the fourth movie in its ‘The Next Big Thing‘ series where it promotes the new A1 city car through pop singer Justin Timberlake and lovely actress Dania Ramirez.

You can check out the first, the second and the third movies (out of a total of six) before this one. The last video left the protagonists in a cliffhanger situation, but now we’re treated to an interesting chase between the A1 and a Ford Crown Victoria.

Check out the fourth movie after the jump.

Audi A1 flips during marketing stunt

As we said time and time again, Audi is pulling out all the stops in order to ensure its newest model, the tiny A1 gets remembered by its target audience.

From the constant teasers before its official release to the ‘Next Big Thing’ short film series, we were treated to quite a few marketing stunts. Sadly, at least for Audi PR people, a stunt that took place in Brussels, Belgium, went awfully wrong.

The German company set up a big skateboard-like half pipe ramp and showcased the maneuverability of the compact city car. Sadly, during one of those tests, the stunt driver approached the half pipe head on, resulting in the A1 flipping on its side.

The incident was immediately covered up by Audi, but a few photos (seen above) were taken during the incident.

So, do you think quattro all-wheel drive would’ve saved the A1 from flipping over? Share your thoughts below.


Audi A1 demand surpasses scheduled production

Audi A1 demand surpasses scheduled production

We’ve been teasing Audi for its extended marketing campaign for the A1 city car, but it seems that the gamble paid off in full, as the Ingolstadt company has just announced that orders for the new compact might surpass the scheduled production of 50,000 units this year.

Peter Schwarzenbauer, Audi’s head of sales and marketing, revealed that if the trend continues, all models might soon be accounted for and new customers will be put on a waiting list.

The plant in Brussels, Belgium, has already started production, with 500 A1 units being rolled off the assembly line each day. The manufacturing target for 2010 is 50,000, and will grow to 80,000 in 2011 and 100,000 in 2012.

According to Audi, almost 90% of people interested in the A1 are first-time Audi buyers. As was revealed at the beginning of the year, the carmaker hopes that the city car will lead their interest to bigger models in the Audi range.

All in all, Audi will definitely get back its development money plus the cash it dropped for marketing efforts like ‘The Next Big Thing’ short movie series with Justin Timberlake.


Audi A2 set to be revived in 2012

Even though Audi is pulling out all the stops to promote the A1 city car, rumors are also flying around about the revival of the other city model the Ingolstadt company had on the road, but quickly terminated its production: the A2.

The guys at Autocar have now revealed that a 2012 release date for the new A2 is almost certain, and that it will contend with future front-wheel drive offers from rivals BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

In order to not occupy the A3′s price segment, the future A2 will use conventional manufacturing processes, taken from the A1, and not the pricey spaceframe tech, as the first generation. In terms of style, nothing concrete is known, but expect a taller and boxier variant of the A1′s design.

Given that BMW is planning its Megacity EV and Mercedes-Benz is pushing forward with electric versions in its Smart lineup, the new A2 might also receive this means of propulsion around its launch date, besides the internal combustion engines from the A1 lineup.

Do you think that this new entry-level segment will be the ultimate decider between luxury carmakers? Share your thoughts below.


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