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Officially unveiled today, the Mini Crossover Concept will be making its world debut at next month’s Paris Motor Show. The concept follows the styling from the other models in the MINI range, the Cooper and the Clubman, and will be starting point for the British company’s upcoming crossover, the Crossman. It actually looks like a Cooper on steroids, but still, that doesn’t mean it’s ugly, on the contrary, it’s quite interesting.

The concept also comes with some new features, such as the asymmetrical door arrangement (regular doors on the passenger’s side, while on the driver’s side we have a regular front door and a sliding back door, which allow easier access for people, dogs, luggage or whatever you want to transport), the folding roof cover extending throughout the entire length of the roof, which can be opened both from the front and from the rear, the new MINI Center Globe (the round Central Display allows you to control all entertainment, telecommunication and navigation functions, plus the speedometer function around its outer circumference) or the MINI Centre Rail, a fastening rail that extends from the dashboard all the way to the tailgate of the car. You can read more about the car in the official press release.

So, what do you think about the car? To be honest, I was quite skeptical about Mini building a crossover, but after seeing this concept (can’t wait to see it live at the French show), I think they really have a winner here.

Check out the full photo gallery after the jump. Read More: “Mini Crossover Concept unveiled before Paris debut”

The compact city car market is growing by leaps and bounds, Mini was the first to trully capitalise on this new market and surely enough, rivals will seek to challenge the former english brand now owned by BMW. One of the most talked about rivals is Audi’s new A1, which premiered as concept at the Tokyo Motor Show, and now is set to make an appearence at the Paris Motor Show in 5 door concept stage, a version which is more akin to the actual production model which is set to hit the markets in late 2009, early 2010.

Rumours are also reporting that we will see front wheel drive versions, as well as all wheel drive ones, probably using Audi’s proprietary Quattro technology. Also we should expect a top of the range model, S1, which will be powered by one of the latest TSI engines from the VW Group, which holds the Audi brand. Until Paris, we must wait and see what other goodies Audi has in store for us.

Read More: “Watch out Mini, here comes the Audi A1”

A recent study by IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) showed that licensing teens at later ages could significantly decrease car fatality rate. In the US, New Jersey is the only state that holds off licensure until age 17 and, according to the study, the 16 year old death rate per 100,000 population is almost 5 times lower than in other states (4.4, comparing to Connecticut’s 20.7). Ironically, New Jersey’s problem is not with 16 year old teens, but with 17 yo ones, which have a slightly higher rate than Connecticut (32.3 comparing to 31.1), but the average still is much lower in Jersey. Of course, the most important issue, which actually prevents the minimum driving age to be raised in most states, is whether car crashes are caused by youth or by the lack of experience and, considering the 17 year old stats, we’d say that experience is really the most important.

The IIHS compares the US situation with countries like Great Britain or Australia where teenagers can get their driving license at 17, while in most European countries the minimum driving age is 18. In the United States, several states, including Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Georgia, tried to raise the legal driving age, but failed.

Read More: “IIHS wants legal driving age to be raised”

Audi has announced that the 2009 Audi A3 will go on sale in the US later this month. The revised A3 features restyled front bumper and hood, large single-frame radiator grille, revised headlights with LED daytime running lights, side mirrors with integrated turn signals and new door handles, while under the hood there have been some minor engine upgrades and the 2.0 liter TFSI is now available with quattro AWD and a ‘S tronic’ double clutch transmission. Customers will also be able to choose Audi’s magnetic ride suspension control. The engine range also include the 2.0 liter TFSI engine (200hp (147kW) and 207lb-ft (280Nm) of torque), the 3.2 liter engine (250hp (186kW) and 236lb-ft (320Nm) of torque).

Prices for the 2009 Audi A4 will start at $27,745 for the A3 FrontTrak 2.0L TFSI model and up to $37,800 for the A3 Quattro 3.2L V6. Like we said, US customers will be able to place their orders starting later this month.

After last week a set of photos leaked on the internet, today we have the official announcement of the new Renault Megane. We can see that the car’s design follows the Laguna III’s styling and, though the car is larger than the current generation Megane, it’s 8 kgs lighter. Under the hood, Renault will offer the new Megane with a range of petrol and diesel engines. Diesel powerplants range from 85 to 150 hp, while the petrol engine offer will include the 1.6 16V engine (available with 100 and 110 hp power output), the 140 hp 2.0 liter and the 180 hp TCe. Depending on the market, Renault will offer five or six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Also, Renault tried to make the Megane more environmental friendly, by adding biofuel-compatible engines (bioethanol and biodiesel) and by making 12 percent of the plastics (about 22kg) sourced from recycling.

The interior comes equipped with a lot of new features, such as combined analogue/digital instruments incorporating a new, easier to read colour-coded cruise control/speed limiter interface, hands-free
entry and ignition, automatic locking as the driver walks away from the car, a Carminat Bluetooth® DVD navigation system and a custom-developed audio system (3D Sound by Arkamys).

The new Renault Megane will go on sale in November 2008 and Renault says that by 2010, the Mégane family will include six different models, each one with a distinct personality.

Check out a full photo gallery and a video after the jump. Read More: “The new Renault Megane officially unveiled”

We already knew that Fiat was working on a convertible version for the Fiat 500, and now we have the first spy shots of the car. However, from what we can see, it seems that the car won’t be a full convertible, but more of a semi-convertible, something like the Citroen C3 Pluriel, keeping B- and C-Pillars and with a retractable textile cover replacing the regular rooftop. This solution was probably chosen by Fiat to minimize development costs, but we don’t mind, because we’re sure the small Italian car will still look great. That’s about all the info we’ve got so far, but rumors say that we might get a surprise unveiling at the Paris show, though a Geneva debut is more likely.

Read More: “Fiat 500 Cabrio spy photos”

This year, the legendary Citroen 2CV will celebrate its 60th anniversary and, some time ago, we were wondering how Citroen will mark this moment. Not as impressive as we would’ve expected, but who knows, maybe that’s not all. We’re talking about the Citroen C3 Pluriel Charleston, a special edition of the French cabrio finished in a two-tone color scheme of black and bordeaux red. Other extras include new 15” alloy wheels, and a special interior with gloss-black fittings, leather upholstery and chrome trim.

More photos after the jump. Read More: “Citroen C3 Pluriel Charleston special edition to be unveiled in Paris”

Fox Marketing/Artisan is working on a tuning program for the Lexus IS-F, which will be on display at this year SEMA Show. The most impressive part of the program are, no doubt about that, the mechanical upgrades. Powered by a 5.0 liter V8 engine that delivers over 600 hp, the IS-F is also equipped with JE pistons, Crower rods, Mishimoto radiator and Artisan exhaust. Of course, the bodykit also looks good, with its custom front and rear bumpers, new side-skirts that with blistered rear fenders integrated and 20 inch special wheels, wrapped in Toyo T1R tires. And, to make it even more eye-catching, Fox IS-F will be available in a Glasurit Sunset Orange paint finish, with blacked-out headlamps, grille and emblems.

Check out more photos after the jump. Read More: “600 hp Lexus IS-F tuning by Fox Marketing/Artisan”

Yesterday we wrote about the Fiat 500 Tender Two, created by Castagna and now we have a full set of pictures of the modern beach buggy interpretation. As a quick reminder, the Tender Two is powered be a zero-emissions electric engine and it has no doors or rear seats and a cool canvas roof-top replaced the production one.

Photo Gallery: Fiat 500 Tender Two by Castagna

Read More: “Photo Update: Fiat 500 Tender Two by Castagna”

General Motors announced today that one of their premieres for the upcoming Paris Motor Show will be the Chevrolet Orlando, a “seven-seat multi-purpose vehicle with sport utility-like design”. Based on the recently announced Cruze, the Orlando is powered by Chevrolet’s 2.0 liter turbo diesel engine that delivers 150 hp and 320 Nm of torqure. GM says that the crossover will offer dynamic ride and handling and excellent fuel efficiency. More details will probably be available after the Paris debut. Meanwhile, check out more pictures after the jump. Read More: “Chevrolet Orlando concept car to be unveiled at Paris”

Scheduled to make its world debut at the Paris Motor Show, the new Volkswagen Golf VI was unveiled last month, with more photos released yesterday. Now we’ve got the first video of the car, which includes 5 minutes of driving scenes. Enjoy!

Read More: “Video: Volkswagen Golf VI driving scenes”

We’ve seen the teaser photos, we’ve even seen the video of the car from the Transformers 2 set and now, after several months of mistery, the Chevrolet Volt finally shows up, but definitely not how GM planned. Because what you see here is a set of official photos that broke loose on the net and were published by the guys from The Car Connection. The car looks good, but, to be honest, thought we’ve got nothing against Lutz and co, we definitely would’ve loved some more attractive models standing by the Volt. So, what do you think of the car? Read More: “Chevrolet Volt official images break loose”

We’ve seen the new Ford Fiesta live at the Geneva Motor Show and we really think it will be a hit for Ford. Recently, some rumors showed up about Ford planning on revealing a Ford Fiesta Panel Van model, which will be aimed at small business owners. Because cargo space will be increased to 1,000 liters and separated from the passenger compartment by a bulkhead, the car could really prove to be a good solution, especially with its starting price of €11,070 in Germany. Word on the street is that the engines will range from 60 to 90 hp, and that’s all the info we’ve got so far, but stay tuned, because we’ll be there at the Paris show and give you more details after the official launch.

Read More: “Ford Fiesta Panel Van to debut at Paris?”

Smaller emission of CO2 are something which every car producer wants to brag about to attract eco-friendly customers, and the people car manufacturer, VW is no exception, having announced a special BlueMotion version of their highly anticipated sixth generation Golf. Target for a lot of attention, one of the most popular brand from VW, the Golf really has been a popular subject for the press’ attention, and the hype around it is going to keep on rising until it’s official debut at the Paris Motor Show.

This new BlueMotion version is sure to be a high point in VW’s presentation, fitted with a 1.6 litre TDI engine, capable of delivering 105 PS and a torque of 184 lbs-ft, it will achieve a pretty nice 74,3 mpg in a combined environment, and emitting only 99 g/km of CO2, a number which not a lot of manufacturers can compete with. These specs remind of the economy achived by the smaller Polo BlueMotion version, but this Golf is capable of going to 100 km/h or 62 mph from a standstill in only 11,3 seconds, who said economy equals power, and manages to get to a top speed of 117 mph.

Other features aimed to help improve the fuel economy are low resistance tires, an improved aerodynamics pack and a specially tuned gearbox ratios. This version is slated for a January release date in the UK and mid-2009 for other countries. Check out more photos after the jump. Read More: “BlueMotion version for the VW Golf VI”

After unveiling the Golf VI last month, Volkswagen has now released a new set of high resolution photos of the next generation Golf. Soon after it will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show in early October, the Golf will be available for sale in Europe, with pricing starting at €16,500 (around $23,300) and then it will be available in Africa, Asia, Australia and North America also.

Photo Gallery: New Volkswagen Golf VI Photos