Rpmgo.com – Read the latest auto news and opinions, see the coolest cars – Part 168

A day after we reported that Toyota, one of the leaders in terms of hybrid cars, dismissed the possibility of releasing diesel-based hybrid models, South Korean company Kia revealed to Autocar that it will be developing hybrid cars running on both an electric engine and a diesel one, targeting 2012 for the release of its first model.

Kia did reveal a Sorento concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and a source confirmed that the powertrain featured will be adapted into a production-ready version in the near future. The 1.6-liter diesel engine implemented in the concept was outfitted with twin turbochargers, so that it could produce 161 HP. It was then coupled with an electric motor and both were able to assure front wheel drive thanks to a new dual-clutch gearbox, offering both fully-automatic or manual sequential gear changes. It was reportedly able to output 119 g of CO2/km.

“Diesel hybrids are certainly the way we’d like to go with our alternatively powered vehicles in the future,” said the source. “The powertrain seen in the Sorento has a strong chance of making production, be it in that model or others such as the Cee’d. All manufacturers have to work to get their emissions down and we think this is one our best chances of getting there.”

The same source also revealed that Kia also will plan to launch electric vehicles in the near future. The 2011 Picanto might actually see a fully-electric model, which will borrow the technology from partner company Hyundai, which revealed an all-electric i10 city cat in Frankfurt.“Obviously we’re the same company and share R&D,” said the source. “So the i10 electric shows a way we’re going to go as well. When we show the new Picanto, there should be an electric version as well.”

Overall, it seems that Kia is bent on pursuing this type of technology in the future. Hopefully we will see some advancements soon enough.

Read More: “Kia wants diesel hybrids and electric models by 2012”

It’s safe to say that the launch of the new Mercedes SLS AMG Gullwing at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show was a successful one, with almost all of the automotive media trying to get pictures and new details on Mercedes-Benz’s newest supercar.

But the team at Lorinser saw this new model as an opportunity and immediately started developing two new tuning kits for the high end model. The two are still in the design stage, but will soon enter production and we will be able to see them on an actual SLS AMG.

The first one, pictured above, is the more aggressive of the two, with new front spoiler featuring a carbon fiber lip, material which is abundant both on the hood and on the sides of the new model, according to Lorinser. Sportier side skirts and wider air intakes are also featured in this first bodykit for the SLS AMG.

The second one is slightly gentler, and offers a more traditional take on the new supercar from Mercedes Benz. The front grille is more decent, and even the side skirts don’t stand out as much, making this a great choice for people who don’t want their new SLS to stand out, but not to be lost in the crowd.

No launch or price details were given by Lorinser, but it’s safe to say that at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2010, we might see a new SLS AMG donning one of these two bodykits.

Read More: “Lorinser sketches out first Mercedes SLS AMG tuning kits”

As much as an electric ghost would make a great enemy in Hollywood movies, Rolls Royce’s spokesperson, Richard Carter, is referring to the Phantom model from the luxurious UK automaker.

He revealed during the Goodwood Revival festival that for a limousine like the Phantom, an electric engine would be great, as most of its owners use it to drive around the city, to meetings, events or to the airport, and rarely go on long journeys. This means that the problem of autonomy would be skipped altogether in case of an electric Rolls Royce.

He also revealed that because of the big size of a Phantom, a pack of lithium-ion batteries would certainly go unnoticed by almost everyone. Carter outlined that even if an electric version would jack up the price even higher for a Phantom, plenty of people would still be interested in it, as Rolls Royce fans gladly pay more for exclusive options.

Don’t get your hopes too high though, as plans for an electric Rolls Royce Phantom still need to get the approval of the bosses at BMW, which own the British brand. Would such an option attract your attention, or do you think that this is just Rolls Royce trying to get on the “electricity is cool” bandwagon? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Read More: ““An electric Phantom would be great,” Rolls Royce says”

In today’s world, one of the most important features for almost any car is its fuel efficiency and how much CO2 it outputs, so that the driver won’t pay an arm and a leg at the fuel stop and won’t be picketed by Greenpeace for destroying the planet.

In order to further appeal to this new audience, Audi has just announced that it will be equipping the A3, both the normal and the Sportback version, with a new and improved 1.6-liter TDI engine, which can average 3.8 litres/100 km or 61.9 US mpg. Its CO2 emissions are pegged at 99 g/km, which is very good considering that the new motor will develop a respectable 105 HP and a torque of 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft).

In order to make the engine so efficient, Audi threw in almost every piece of technology it had, including a special five-speed manual gearbox in which the final drive ratio in longer, a start-stop system which will turn off the engine if you leave it in neutral and take your foot off the clutch, a KERS-like system which will take the strain off the alternator when the car is braking and even a special Efficiency Platform chassis, which stands closer to the ground.

Don’t expect the new engine to deliver blistering performance, as the 1.6 TDI will take you from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 11.4 seconds, and up to 190 km/h (118 mph). The new motor will enter the European market in the first half of 2010, joining the other powerplants available for the A3 model.

Read More: “Audi A3 gets new 1.6 TDI engine which averages 3.8 litres/100 km (61.9 mpg)”

Chrysler is one of the companies which was really affected by the economic recession, with former owners Daimler selling it to the Italians at Fiat. Although many of its workers frowned upon this decision, it seems that Fiat has some big plans for Chrysler in the future, as it revealed that it wants the American brand to rival other big names like Cadillac or Lincoln.

This initiative is confirmed by Peter Fong, the current president of Chrysler, which revealed that the future models which will be made in partnership with Fiat are going to blow the competition away. Currently though, the only real success is the 300, as the other two big models from Chrysler, the Pacifica and Sebring haven’t really achieved that big of a success.

Either way, it’s nice to hear that Fiat has big plans with Chrysler, as many people feared that the Italians would just use the manufacturing power of the plants in North America to push more of their models in that territory.

Read More: “Chrysler will rival Cadillac, Fiat says”

Mercedes-Benz’s newest supercar, the SLS AMG Gullwing is certainly a monster of a car, with its 6.2-liter V8 engine developing 563 HP (420 kW) with a torque of 650 Nm (480 lb-ft). But although this version will deliver some unforgettable thrills for anyone who buys it, it seems that the German manufacturer will launch a lot of new versions based on the model.

According to AMG boss Volker Mornhinweg, who talked with 4WheelsNews, it seems that in the next few years we will see a Black Series version of the SLS AMG, which will shed about 300 kg (660 pounds) and have an upgraded engine. Besides this track-oriented iteration of the SLS AMG, a convertible in 2011 and a fully electric version, named eDrive, in 2013 might also enrich the SLS family.

While this hasn’t been officially confirmed by Mercedes-Benz, judging by the past of the previous supercar, the SLR McLaren, a more performance-oriented and a convertible version will definitely appear in the next few years. Until then, you’ll have to make due with the regular Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Gullwing.

Read More: “Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG to get Black Series, convertible and electric versions in the future”

Gaming enthusiasts are well aware that the Tokyo Game Show is in full swing, and it seems that the first day has already brought a big announcement for racing fans, as the highly anticipated Gran Turismo 5 from Polyphony Digital will be hitting the PlayStation 3 console in March 2010. There’s a catch though, as the release date is only for Japan, meaning that we might expect the game to hit North America and Europe in fall of next year.

Until then though, the development team released a video with a render of the beautiful Koenigsegg CCX supercar. Marvel at the stunning lines and the attention to detail that the team offered to the Scandinavian model. You might also want to check out the Ferrari 458 Italia tribute the team also make a few days ago.

Yes car fans, you read right, one of the most iconic North American muscle cars of all time, the Chevrolet Corvette might go hybrid in order to survive the stricter and stricter fuel average regulations, which were recently passed by the Obama administration and aim at a US-wide maximum minimum of 35.5 mpg (6.6 liters/100 km) by 2016.

But according to General Motors’ vice chairman of global product development, Tom Stephens, you can be sure that the company will struggle to do anything but turning the iconic car into a hybrid. He also revealed that the corporation won’t put a smaller six-cylinder engine in the car, instead opting for a more updated V8 engine, which combined with things like low rolling resistance tires or electric power steering should meet the stricter fuel efficiency rules.

Said engine would feature direct injection, variable valve timing and even cylinder deactivation, all to boost the fuel average, which currently half the 2016-required number of 35.5 mph. Until then though, you can enjoy the new 2010 Chevrolet Corvette, which boasts 430 HP and new features, including a Grand Sport model, pictured above.

Read More: “Future Corvette might go hybrid in order to survive strict fuel average limit”

We’ve been literally assaulted by hybrids these days, with the main attack being led by Toyota and its Prius model. But if you taken the time to think about these new types of cars, almost all of them feature a gasoline engine, running in tandem with an electric one. Some journalists asked Toyota’s sales manager, Andrea Formica, at the Frankfurt Motor Show about diesel engines and why they aren’t arriving in hybrids.

The representative revealed that placing diesel engines into hybrids would be a waste of money on behalf of Toyota and on behalf of the customers, which would need to pay more for the diesel engine, then they would for a normal gasoline one.

Don’t forget that Toyota isn’t in the best situation, as manufacturing over a third of its models in Japan made it loose plenty of money over the bad exchange rates the yen has with the American dollar and the Euro. Perhaps the future Prius models and versions might see some revamps in terms of engine options. Until then though, the regular gasoline engines on the Prius are here to stay

Read More: “Toyota says no diesel engines will appear in hybrid lineup”

The Internet is part of our daily lives and being away from a stable connection can cause many problems for a lot of people. Up until now, if you wanted to be connected when you were driving or driven by someone, you had to bring your own laptop, complete with a modem which enabled the connection to be established. This meant that only your computer had an Internet connection and other people in the car were unable to use it.

With the new Peugeot 5008 people carrier, this is only a part of the past, as the French automaker will add to the feature list a wireless router, through which everyone in the large car can connect to the Internet.

The router in question will work thanks to a modem in which a regular phone SIM card can be introduced with a data transfer plan. This modem will be plugged into a classic USB slot in the dashboard.

Overall, this is yet another step taken towards a non stop connection, no matter where we need to go. Perhaps other automakers will implement this technology in the future.

Read More: “Peugeot 5008 to offer wireless Internet in the car”

While some of you might consider making a car is as simple as screwing some nuts and bolts together so that the body will stay together, think again, as the whole technological process of building a new car is a very tough one.

Further testimony to this fact are some statements from the Volkswagen group’s design boss, Walter de’Silva, known for the Seat Altea and Leon, Alfa Romeo 156, Audi A5, A6 and many more. He revealed that the biggest challenge in his lifetime is currently represented by design of the future Golf 7 model. He says that after taking over the design department of VAG, the new version literally kept him from sleeping.

de’Silva revealed that he can’t sleep at night when he thinks of the new Golf. The model will be redesigned from head to toe, and might arrive around 2012. Work is already underway so de’Silva must repay the confidence that has been invested in him.

Another interesting statement from the Italian designer is in regards to the personal time, as it seems that de’Silva spent more time with the Volkswagen group boss, Dr. Winterkorn, than he spent with his wife.

Hopefully though Walter de’Silva will pull through and honor one of the most famous models in automotive history. Until then, may we see great improvements in the future spyshots of the new Golf 7.

Read More: “VW design boss Walter de’Silva can’t sleep because of the new Golf 7”

Continuing its trend of going green, with more fuel efficient and economical cars, Volkswagen has just unveiled that it will unveil the new Touareg Hybrid SUV at the Detroit Motor Show, which will happen in January, 2010.

The first hybrid 4×4 from the German automaker will be unveiled and launched in the North American market, where it will take on rivals like the ML450 Hybrid, Lexus RX450h or BMW X6 hybrid. The new model will be powered by a TSI V6 engine, capable of delivering 333 HP, running in tandem with an electric one, which will output 52 HP. According the estimates, the average fuel consumption will be around 9 liters/100 km (26 mpg).

No further details were given, but either way, considering how popular hybrids are these days, the new Touareg might see quite a big success in the countries where it will be launched next year.

Read More: “Volkswagen will unveil the Touareg Hybrid in Detroit”

While we have certainly grown accustom to everyday cars, motorbikes and other means of transportation, this doesn’t mean that they can’t be improved. This is just the thinking that Japanese company Honda is following, as it has just present its new personal mobility device, the U3-X, which is very similar to a unicycle, but offers a lot of features.

The device, which is still in the experimental stage, will fit between the legs of its ride and provide movement into any direction he or she is leaning. While a production-ready concept has been made, and demoed in the video below, there are still plenty of tests in real world environment that it needs to pass.

Many of the features incorporated in the new device, like the balance control technology, were brought from the robotics research of Honda’s bipedal robot, ASIMO. Another key system, which is essential to the new device is the omni-directional driving wheel, called Honda Omni Traction (HOT) Drive System.

The size of the device plays a key role, as its rider will be almost on the same eye level as other people or pedestrians which are not using the device. Either way, the new gadget seems quite nifty, and I can’t wait to see something actually go into production stage. We might be zipping around the city in our own motorized unicycles in no time. Until then, enjoy the video.

Read More: “Honda unveils new personal mobility device, photos and video included”

When you hear of German tuning company Brabus, you usually think of high powered Mercedes-Benz cars or machines pushed to their limits, like yesterday’s Smart ForTwo Ultimate R, but it seems that the company wants to try out new things, as it has just unveiled its production ready all electric version of the Smart ForTwo city car, dubbed Ultimate High Voltage.

Powered by an electric engine developed in partnership with Tesla, which can develop 82 HP with a torque of 280 Nm, which is available right from 0 rpm, this new city car will deliver unparalleled performance for its class. It will sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.8 seconds, but the more impressive number is the time from 0 to 60 km/h (37 mph), of just 3.7 seconds.

But even though you won’t be the fastest, Brabus made sure that your car will be the noisiest, as the team fitted a sound generator under the car, which can output anything from an American V8 to a Formula 1 racing car or an Aston Martin.

The car also looks rather special from the outside, with a Tridionzelle paint finish, which I can’t say I really like, LED daylight running lights, wider air vents and 18-inch allow wheels. On the inside, drivers will be greeted by white leather upholstery with yellow stiches and a new dashboard set in the center console.

Overall, when this small city car will enter production, it will definitely have plenty of potential buyers. Hopefully until then we can find out some performance figures and battery charging times, to see if the car is any good.

Read More: “Brabus unveils the Smart ForTwo Ultimate High Voltage, its first electric city car”

Yet another case has surfaced recently that just goes to prove that money plus fast cars do not make racing drivers out of their owners. Two brothers, one owning a Ferrari and another owning a Mercedes McLaren SLR, both recently bought, decided to race their two supercars in the middle of the day in the capital of Poland, Warsaw.

As you may have figured out, the conditions weren’t fit for such a race, and the SLR driver lost control and headed into oncoming traffic, hitting multiple cars among which was a Mitsubishi Outlander SUV car. What’s worse is that a small child was in the SLR car, which was drive by his 23-year-old father.

Escaping with a few injuries, the man and the child quickly hopped into the Ferrari and fled the scene, but eventually turned themselves in to the Police. I wish I was making these things up but the pure recklessness that this man showed is unconceivable. Here’s a video of the aftermath.

Read More: “Mercedes McLaren SLR crashes in Poland after illegally racing with a Ferrari”