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2013 Volvo V40 makes its official debut at Geneva

2013 Volvo V40

Set to rival five-door, five-seat hatchbacks like the BMW 1-Series and the Audi A3 Sportback, the all-new 2013 Volvo V40 has made its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show, following a rather ruined teaser campaign by the numerous leaks that have surfaced the Internet.

2013 Volvo V40

When it will reach the dealerships, the new generation of the V40 is going to be available with a bunch of gasoline and diesel engines. The most powerful gasoline unit will be a turbocharged 5-cylinder 2.5-liter T5 engine that is capable of generating 251 hp (254 PS / 187 kW) and a peak torque of 295 lb.-ft (400 Nm). This engine is linked to an automatic gearbox and offers a 40 Nm overboost when you accelerate. Speaking of acceleration, it reaches 62 mph from start in 6.7 seconds and manages to return 35.8 mpg on the European combined cycle.

2013 Volvo V40

Moving down the lineup of engines we find the 1.6-liter GTDi T4 that can be ordered in one of the two following configurations: T4 that has 177 hp (180 PS / 132 kW) and the less powerful T3 with 148 hp (150 PS / 110 kW). The more powerful engine has a peak torque of 199 lb.-ft (270 Nm) with a 30 Nm overboost included whereas the T3 can offer 177 lb.-ft (240 Nm) of torque. It has a 48.7 mpg rating and CO2 emissions of 134 g/km. The beefier T5 is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission while the T4 can be ordered with a 6-speed manual or an automatic 6-speed double clutch Powershift gearbox.

2013 Volvo V40

As far as diesels are concerned, the 2013 Volvo V40 can be ordered with either a 5-cylinder, 2.0-liter D4 turbodiesel that pumps out 175 hp (177 PS / 130 kW) and 295 lb.-ft (400 Nm) of torque or with a less powerful 2.0-liter D3 turbodiesel that offers 148 hp (150 PS / 110 kW) and has a maximum torque of 258 lb.-ft (350 Nm).

2013 Volvo V40

The beefier D4 turbodiesel can do the 0-62 mph sprint in 8.3 seconds when fitted with the automatic gearbox while with the manual it will do it in 8.6 seconds. It has a fuel consumption of 62.8 mpg and CO2 emissions of 119 g/km when equipped with the manual while with the automatic transmission it can return 53.3 mpg and has CO2 emissions of 139 g/km.

2013 Volvo V40

The 2013 Volvo V40 will get at an official price tag at the end of the month and you will be able to place an order starting with April. The Swedish automaker will begin the production in May and you’ll get your car in September.

2013 Volvo V40

Source: Volvo

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Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid on sale next year in Europe for 57,000 Euros

2012 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

Proclaimed as the very first diesel plug-in hybrid in the world, the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid will make its first public appearance next year at the Geneva Motor Show, before going on sale in Europe for a starting price of 57,000 Euros. In the United Kingdom, the prices for this model will start between 45,000 and 50,000 pounds, before the government subsidies for EVs kick in. The car is going to be sold in Pure Limited specifications, including here the top-spec Summum trim level which in the UK is known as the SE Lux.

2012 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

The car promises to offer one touch functionality as you will just have to press one of the Pure, Hybrid or Power modes and the driving mode will change. When in Pure mode, the vehicle is powered only by the electric motor and can be driven for distances of up to 31 miles (50 km) when the battery pack is charged from an external source.

2012 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

When the car is in Hybrid mode, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is running in standard settings and uses both the diesel engine and the electric motor. When driven in this mode, the fuel consumption is a remarkable 1.9 liters / 100 km (124 mpg or 149 mpg UK) while CO2 emissions are as low as 49 g/km.

2012 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

As for Power mode, the diesel engine and the electric motor are optimized in order to generate a total output of 212 hp (215 PS / 158 kW) + 69 hp (70 PS / 51 kW) and a torque of 324 lb.-ft (440 Nm) + 149 lb.-ft (200 Nm) respectively, enough for a 0-62 mph sprint in a respectable 6.2 seconds.

2012 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid is motivated by a 2.4-liter, 5-cylinder turbocharged engine that drives the front wheels while the electric motor powers the rear wheels. The latter is powered by 11.2 kWh lithium-ion compact battery pack which is water cooled and it has been installed by the Swedish engineers from Volvo under the car’s floor of the loading compartment.  It has a 6-speed automatic gearbox and when the driver presses the AWD button, both power plants engage in electronically-controlled four-wheel drive.

2012 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

We should mention that taken into consideration the fact that the wheels in the back are powered only by the electric motor, this all-wheel-drive system should be used only occasionally when it is necessary so we shouldn’t compare it with a regular AWD system. This type of system can be activated up to a speed of 74 mph (120 km/h).

2012 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

According to Volvo, this would have to be the most technically advanced car that they have ever made, and we should believe them since the V60 Plug-in Hybrid features a digital DIM – Driver Information Manager that has a one-piece LED display which replaces the traditional analogue gauges. The driver of the car has the possibility to select a bunch of information screens through the vehicle’s menu setup, while a smartphone application is available for allowing the owner to communicate with his car. The app can be used for controlling the air conditioning system, pre- and after-cooling, and also as a reminder to connect the charger cable if it hasn’t been done by a predetermined time.

2012 Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

The car will go on sale in the beginning of next year and the first 1,000 units that Volvo will make will wear an Electric Silver finish. When the 2014 model year will arrive, production will be increased to approximately 4,000 – 6,000 units. 30% of sales are destined to the local market as well as other Nordic countries. A share of 5-15% each will be for countries like United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Switzerland.

We will have more information about the car at next year’s Geneva Motor Show. Stay tuned.

Source: Volvo

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Volvo C70 Inscription debuts at L.A. Auto Show

Volvo C70 Inscription Edition

Volvo is not one of those automakers that keep launching one special edition after another so it’s very interesting to hear when they do launch a limited-run model. This week at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Swedish carmaker has introduced the C70 Inscription which they say it’s the world’s first four-seat convertible that comes as standard with a three-piece folding top. It rides on gorgeous 18-inch wheels, while the inside features exquisite Sovereign Hide upholstery and a dashboard wrapped around in fine leather.

Volvo C70 Inscription Edition

Embroidered on the front headrests of this model is the “Inscription” logo, and this logo can also be found on the center stack, gear lever, handbrake lever, carpets as well as in the aluminum inlays in the steering wheel. Other features of the car include the elegant chrome-rimmed LED daytime running lights and the high-gloss paint for the grille.

Volvo C70 Inscription Edition

The Volvo C70 Inscription will be offered in three color choices: Black Stone, Ice White and Black Sapphire. It will be available with the company’s 2.0-liter, 5-cylinder 175 hp D4 engine or with the 1480 hp D3 diesel.

Volvo C70 Inscription Edition

The first deliveries are expected to commence in February 2012 and the base price for the D3 SE Inscription will be of 33,855 pounds. Volvo has mentioned that they will roll out only 2,000 units of this special edition.

Source: Volvo via Autocar

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Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid On Sale Next Year

Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

The Swedish automaker Volvo announced yesterday that the plug-in hybrid variant of the V60 estate will go on sale in select markets next year. The car was developed in collaboration with Vattenfall which is an energy supplier from Sweden.

Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

The plug-in hybrid utilizes a 5-cylinder 2.4-liter turbodiesel engine that develops 215 hp with a 70 hp electric motor that gets its energy from a 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The front wheels are motivated by the diesel engine while the rear ones are powered by the electric motor.

Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

The driver of the car has the possibility to select between one of the three driving modes available: Pure, Hybrid and Power. The first one is for driving the car in electric mode for distances of up to 31 miles (50 km), while the other two modes use both motors: Hybrid for a lower consumption and Power for maximum performance. Charging the batteries from a regular household outlet takes five hours.

Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

The 2012 Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid offers a range of up to 746 miles (1,200 km) and the car maker says that it returns 123.8 mpg (1.9 liters / 100 km). Volvo also mentioned that the cost of running on electric mode in Sweden is approximately 25 kronor ($3.7) / 62 miles (100 km).

Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid

The company did not mention the price list for the plug-in hybrid or more details about when and where it will be available. Taking into consideration that it comes with a battery pack, the green variant of the V60 will be considerably more expensive than the regular model.

Source: Volvo via Carscoop

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Spy Shots – Volvo V30

Volvo V30

The Swedish car manufacturer Volvo is working on a bigger and more practical brother for the C30 in the form of a five-door hatchback V30 model which will go head-to head with cars like the Ford Focus and the VW Golf, along with more expensive models like the Audi A3 Sportback, Mercedes A-Class and the BMW 1-Series.

The guys from Auto Express took a few spy shots with a prototype undergoing some tests in Sweden and although as you can see it has a lot of camouflage on it, you can clearly make out the Volvo badge on the front grille while the entire front end seems to have borrowed a few design cues from the S60. Out in the back we notice a practical tall roofline so we should expect to see a decent amount of headroom for the passengers sitting in the back. The car is expected to get LED rear taillights as the ones seen in this prototype.

Volvo V30

The car is most likely based on a modified version of the S60 front-wheel drive platform which means that the upcoming V30 will be a little bit bigger than the C30, featuring a longer wheelbase for additional rear space. Most likely, the car will borrow the engines from the aforementioned C30 and the S60 so expect to see a bunch of diesels as well as a 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine. Probably Volvo will offer a low-emission start/stop DRIVe model that will have CO2 emissions of less than 100 g/km.

Volvo V30

The brand new Volvo V30 is scheduled to make its official debut in March 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show and will go on sale that summer with a starting price of somewhere around 18,000 pounds. Being a Volvo, it will probably come loaded with a lot of safety equipment, including blind spot warning and low-speed crash mitigation systems.

Although the model is known within the company as the V30, we don’t know for sure if the official model will be this one. Volvo will continue to sell the 3-door C30 that received a facelift about 18 months ago. The Swedish car manufacturer will launch in 2012 the V60 Plug-in Hybrid.

Source: Auto Express

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Volvo Plans On Closing A Swedish Factory In 2013

2012 Volvo C70

It seems that Volvo is having some major problems at its plant in Uddevalla, Sweden because there aren’t enough orders for the C70 folding hardtop convertible and for this reason they’ve decided that they are going to close it in 2013.

This factory is co-owned by Volvo with the famous Italian car design firm Pininfarina and in 2010 they rolled out only 10,000 cars and now they’re working at 65% of the plant’s total capacity. If you didn’t know, a car company usually needs at least 80% of utilization in order for a plant to be considered profitable.

By 2020, the Swedish automaker Volvo plans on doubling its annual sales to 80,000 units and to do so they are going to invest $11 billion in the next five years. One of the reasons for this major investment is to meet the increasing demand in markets like China where they plan on opening two new factories.

In 2010, Volvo was sold by Ford to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. from China for approximately $1.5 billion. The 600 workers that are now at the Uddevalla plant won’t lose their jobs as Volvo said that they will be transferred to other plants owned by the company, including the main one in Gothenburg. Back in March, Volvo and Pininfarina agreed to end their joint venture and the Swedish company will buy out Pininfarina in 2013 and after that they’ll close the factory.

Source: Volvo via Automotive News

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Drag between a Ferarri and a Volvo Truck. Guess Who Won

Have you ever heard of Boije Ovebrink? What about the Mean Green?

The custom made for drag racing Volvo Truck Mean Green challenged a Ferrari 360 Modena to a quarter mile.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cVtzt_bbhM[/youtube]

 

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The “Stay Connected” Side of Volvo Concept You

The 2011 edition of Frankfurt Motor Show is full of surprises, especially related to technology. Volvo Concept You doesn’t make an exception and come with an interesting tablet-like interface. So, it features a hands-up display, a large touchscreen display (with a 10 inches diagonal), one between the rear passenger seats and two more intergarted into the steering controls.

“Smartphones and smart pads have brought mobile infotainment into a new era. Here, we use a number of touchscreens to replace buttons and controls in order to make the driver totally connected, totally in control,” explains Peter Horbury, vice president Design at Volvo Car Corporation.

But, let’s talk about the main screen, the one which is claimed to be in standby until someone looks at it. Yes, a little time ago this was science fiction. Now, it became possible. How is this technically realized? By using an IR sensor which to detect the eye movement. Apparently, everything is sensor-based, as another sensor then detects the hand movement and uses its sensibility to identify whether the passenger or the driver has touched the display to provide the appropriated content. The entire content can be moved to the hands-up display or shred with the screen in the rear of the car.

Besides all these screens and displays, the Concept You is equipped with an high-performance Alpine sound system. Although this is only a concept, its technological suggestions are quite interesting, despite the little problems that remain unanswered(such as: could the feature of this concept still be properly used when the weather is sunny, streaming in through the back window?).

What do you think about this concept?

[Source: Pocket-lint]

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2012 Volvo XC90 Gets Various Updates

2012 Volvo XC90

If you were waiting for an all-new generation of the Volvo XC90, you’re going to have to wait for at least one more year as this one is only a mild update to a car launched almost 10 years ago that needs a new generation badly as it looks really outdated.

2012 Volvo XC90

Anyway, with the 2012MY the company has decided to install a three-spoke steering wheel and as standard the SUV will come with an aluminum trim as well as a watch dial-like instrument panel design that has white lightning. In addition, the rear tailgate of the XC90 is now divided into an upper and lower section and there is also a new design for the load cover along with a new color-schemed leather grab handle. The more premium R-Design variant features a bespoke chassis with revised upholstery, new door panels, new inlays and 19-inch alloys.

2012 Volvo XC90

On the outside, the front of the car benefits from daytime running lights, a new design for the silver metallic bumper bar plus silver roof rails as standard on all variants of the car. Other than that, Volvo also added a new lower door moulding and all of the models are now entirely color-coordinated.

2012 Volvo XC90

Looking at the back of the car, we notice the dual light guides, a silver turn indicator bulb and LED brake lights. Lastly, the 2012 Volvo XC90 now rides on a new set of 18-inch, six-spoke wheels that have a silver matte finish.

Source: Volvo

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Volvo City Safety System is really useful – NHTSA and IIHS support it

Apparently, investing in all the new technologies which to increase driving safety are not a waste of time and resources for car manufacturers. They really work, they are useful and they succeed in protecting drivers and passengers while being in the car.

This is also the case of Volvo City Safety System: National Highway Traffic Safety Institute and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have stated that Volvo’s technology not only that helps, but also prevents accidents that happen at low speed. As about the numbers, City Safety users fill almost 30% less at-fault claims.

For the moment, this safety system is installed only on the Volvo XC60. The system monitors the traffic in front of the vehicle and at a speed of between two and 19 miles per hour the car can apply the brakes. In case the distance between your car and the one in front is nine mph or less, the system will activate the brakes quick enough to avoid the crash. Although sometimes the crash cannot be avoided, at least the damage will be consistently reduced compared to accidents involving cars not featuring this City Safety System.

This is a presentation video:

So, so much noise is not for nothing.

Do you have a safety system installed on your car? Does it help you while being behind the wheel?

[Source: Autoblog]

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Keep in Touch with Your Volvo using a Mobile app

From now on, your friends aren’t the only with whom you can stay in touch. Your Volvo car has recently announced to become a kind of a fellow that you can check on from time to time. How is this possible? By using Volvo’s mobile application: after downloading to the smartphone, the owner of the car can start communicate with its vehicle, control some of its functions and features and even download some trip information.

This is what this application does:
- it locates your car and uses a digital compass to point the driver in the right direction, and, if wanted, can activate the car horn or indicators.
- it remotely locks and unlocks the car, and it displays the status of the doors and windows.
- it gives full access to car dashboard, which means that the driver can check the fuel level, remaining range to empty tank, the average fuel consumption, the average speed, odometer and trip meter reading.
- it quick checks the car: bulbs, brake fluid level, coolant level, engine oil level, engine oil pressure.
- it registers each trip from the last 40 days, which can be then downloaded as an Excel file.
- it provides basic information about the car, such as model, registration number and VIN number.
- it alerts the driver via smartphone whenever the car alarm is triggered.

Actually, this application is an extension of Volvo On Call which offers assistance in case of accidents and emergencies. Unfortunately, the free download will be available only for the owners of 2012 model year Volvos.

What do you think about Volvo’s mobile app?

[Source: Whatcar, Photo]

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Volvo Plans To Hire 1,200 Workers And Increase Production Capacity

2012 Volvo S60 T5 FWD

As most of you already know,the China-based Geely company is the owner of the Volvo brand, and they have big plans for the car manufacturer for the years to come. They want to reach 800,000 global sales annually by 2020 (or sooner). In order to make this happen, Volvo must increase the capacity of its factories and hire new employees.
(more…)

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Volvo Plans On Building New Factory In China

You probably know by now that China has one of the fastest growing automotive markets in the world and more manufacturers are either building new factories or forming alliances with other companies that are already established in the country, in their search of grabbing more and more customers.

Volvo is about to do the same thing as at a press conference held yesterday in Beijing, the Chinese-owned Volvo Cars revealed its plans to construct a new factory in Chengdu and will continue investigations for a second plant in Daqing, located in NE China. The automaker said that the deal is still pending approval from the local government.

The aforementioned Chengdu factory will manufacture only Volvo cars and will have an initial output of about 100,000 cars per year and the production is estimated to start sometime in 2013. The automaker said that this decision to expand in the Chinese market will not have consequences for the operations and the employment in Europe.

If you don’t remember, Volvo was bought from Ford by China-based Geely in 2010. The Swedish automaker said that the city of Shanghai will be the Volvo Car China’s HQ and centre for product development, design and sourcing.

The officials at Volvo affirmed that they plan on increasing the company’s presence in China and they want to sell approximately 200,000 units / year in the country by 2015. In 2010, Volvo’s global retail sales reached 373,525 units and only 30,000 were commercialized in China. In comparison to 2009, they’ve sold 11.2% more cars.

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Preview – 2011 Chicago Auto Show PART 3

Welcome back to the third and final part of our extensive article about the most important cars that will delight us at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Let’s start with Land Rover and their Range Rover Evoque.

2012 Land Rover Evoque

The car will be available in 2-door and 4-door variants, both of them featuring the same engine, which will be a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged that outputs 240 hp, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The Evoque will come with an all-wheel drive system as well as the company’s new Terrain Response System.

2011 Lexus CT 200h

One of my personal favorites, Lexus, will bring the CT 200h which is a 4-door / 5-passenger hybrid hatchback, featuring a conventional 4-cylinder 1.8-liter gasoline engine and a battery-powered electric motor, both of them offering a combined power of 134 hp. The new C200h will use a CVT – Continuously Variable Transmission and can run on one or both of the power sources (without having to charge it).

2012 Mercedes SLK

Mercedes will be heading out to Chicago where they will have three new production models: the beautiful 2012 SLK, the 2012 CLS and the 2012 C-Class. We’ve talked about the SLK on rpmGO.com before; it will be available in two variants: the SLK250 and the SLK350. The entry-level model will be fitted with a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter that outputs 201 hp, linked to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic gearbox. The SLK350 is going to have a more powerful V6 3.5-liter engine, good for 302 hp. This model will be available with a 7-speed automatic transmission.

The CLS will be available in two models: CLS550 and the AMG CLS63. The first one has a V8 4.7-liter turbocharged engine that outputs 402 hp while the other comes with a V8 5.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces 518 hp. The CLS550 has a 7-speed automatic gearbox while the CLS630 AMG will get a 7-speed automated manual gearbox.

The 2012 C250 will be offered in two trim levels: Luxury and Sport, both of them featuring a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter unit that churns 201 hp. The C300 will have the same trim levels, but it will be equipped with a V6 3.0-liter engine, good for 228 hp. The C350 will have the same engine, but this time it will output 302 hp. The high-end model will be the AMG version C63 which will most likely come with a V8 6.2-liter that outputs 451 hp.

2011 Mini Countryman

Mini will be bringing their 2011 Countryman, which will be the first four full-sized doors Mini model sold in the United States. The car will be available in two trim levels: Base and S. The entry-level will get a 4-cylinder 1.6-engine that churns 120 hp while the high-end variant will feature a 4-cylinder 1.6-liter that produces 180 hp. Both of the models will get front-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Mitsubishi will show us their Outlander Sport model which will be available in two trim levels: ES and SE. Both of the versions will pack a front-wheel drive system and a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter that outputs 148 hp. The ES will come with a 5-speed manual gearbox while the SE will get a CVT transmission and steering-wheel paddles for manual changing.

2011 Nissan Juke

Another Japanese automaker that will be heading out to Chicago this year will be Nissan with three models: the award-winning Leaf, the funky Juke and the sporty 2012 GT-R. We talked about the Leaf thousands of times, but here is a small presentation. The car will be available with two trims levels – SV and SL. Both of them will have the same lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor that outputs 107 hp. It can be charged at either a 110-volt or a 220-volt outlet. For the first type it will need 20 hours while for the second type it will need only 8 hours.

Porsche Cayman R

The guys over at Porsche will be bringing their 2012 Cayman R. This two-seater sports coupe will come with the third and newest trim, dubbed “R”. Unlike the entry-level trim or the S mode, the R has a 6-cylinder 3.4-liter power unit that outputs 330 hp, linked to a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard. It is also available with an optional 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.

2011 Scion iQ

If you can’t afford the Aston Martin Cygnet, the next best thing is the Scion iQ. Featuring a 4-cylinder 1.3-liter engine that outputs 90 hp, this certainly won’t be the most powerful car at the Chicago Auto Show.

Scion will also be bringing the 2011 tC 2-door hatchback coupe which will be fitted with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder power unit that cranks up 180 hp, mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Toyota Prius v

Scion will not be going to Chicago without its parent company Toyota. Despite the fact that the Japanese automaker is the largest manufacturer in the world, they will be bringing only one model here (one that they already took to Detroit) – 2012 Prius v. The heart of the car will be a conventional 1.8-liter gasoline engine which will be paired with a battery-powered electric motor. The combined power will be 134 hp.

2012 Volkswagen Passat

The German automaker Volkswagen will be heading out to Chicago with the recently-launched 2012 Passat and the 2012 Eos. Presented first at Detroit, the Passat will be available in three different trim levels: S, SE and SEL. Engine options include the 4-cylinder 2.0-liter unit with 140 hp, 5-cylinder 2.5-liter with 170 hp and the high-end V6 3.6-liter with 280 ponies. The diesels will be available with either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual gearbox. The 5-cylinder 2.5-liter will get either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The V6 engine will be fitted with a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.

The EOS will come with a power-retractable hardtop with an integrated sunroof. Under the hood it will feature a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter that produces 200 hp, mated to a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission.

2011 Volvo S60

Sweden will be represented at Chicago by Volvo with their sexy 2011 S60 model. This premium-midsize car will benefit from a 6-cylinder 3.0-liter turbocharged engine that will produce 300 hp and will be mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. At first, the car will be available in one single trim level, the T6. Later on this year, the Swedish automaker will be introducing the T6 R-Design which should be a real looker.

These are the most important cars that will be presented at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Some of them you might have already seen while others are a premiere (not many unfortunately).  From February 9th to February 20th, the automotive capital of the world will be Chicago. Next month we will have another important auto show to review at Geneva. Stay tuned for a comprehensive coverage.

PS: Part 1 and 2 of the article are here and here. Enjoy the reading.

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Volvo Is Testing Almost-Autonomous ‘Road Train’

The guy you see in these pictures is not one of those distracted drivers that cause accidents. Although he isn’t steering the car with his knees and his foot is nowhere near the brakes, he isn’t in any trouble as he is behind the wheel of the first successful “road train”, a very clever setup in which vehicles are programmed in order to automatically follow professionally-driven lead vehicles to reduce the number of accidents and congestion.

These road trains which are also known as “platooning” feature cars that automatically monitor the speed, distance and the direction of the vehicle immediately in front and imitate its actions during long drives or pre-planned routes. The cars have the possibility to leave this platoon at any given moment, but with the ability to focus on a newspaper and eat a good breakfast, who would want that?

Tom Robinson is the road-train project coordinator for Ricardo U.K. which is one of the seven firms that is working on the SARTE – Safe Road Trains for the Environment project that is partly funded by the European Commission. He said that “this is a major milestone for this important European research program.”

The gathered SATRE statistics approximate that these road trains could increase safety by reducing rear-end car impacts, lower the emissions by 20% and permit cars to safely travel closer together which will ease the congestion. In addition, these autonomous vehicles will allow the drivers to make the most out of their commutes. This advanced technology will be ready in the next few years, but it will take some time before general public acceptance and local laws catch up to the technology. Regardless to say, this innovation is certainly very promising and will bring many good things in the years to come.

Source: Wired.com

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