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September 30, 2005

Aston Martin Vantage (DB5)

This is Aston's 911 rival: the Vantage or 'baby' Aston, and a model which is expected to account for 40-50 percent of Aston sales in 2005, when it goes into production at the former Rover factory at Gaydon. Revealed as the AMV8 Vantage concept at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2003, the Vantage is, like the new DB9, built on the 'VH' advanced aluminium platform, with modularity that allows engineers and designers to develop multiple power and drivetrain configurations without long development times and huge cost impacts. Composed of a mix of pressed, cast and extruded alloy components bonded together, it has a structure even stiffer than that of the latest Jaguar XJ. Aston boss Ulrich Bez told 4car in Detroit that "this is a dedicated and flexible production system that only Aston will have. This new platform is simpler than that used in the Vanquish - we have learned from that - and this simplicity means we can look at V8 and V12 engines, as well as hard- and soft-top options." This underscores the fact that the so-called AM305 project has diverged from the stalled Jaguar F-Type programme, although originally, the two models were intended to share much of their underpinnings.


06:11 AM in Aston Martin | Permalink

September 29, 2005

Alfa Romeo 159

Since the V6 is clearly the engine that is U.S.-bound, we'll concentrate on that. It is a brand-new unit of 3.2 liters and 260 hp, and features advanced direct gasoline injection. It sounds as sonorous as an Italian baritone, revs to heaven, and gives the 159 real vivace (0-60 in 6.8 seconds, top speed 150 mph). Six-speed manual, automatic and Selespeed sequential gearboxes are all offered.

06:09 AM in Alfa Romeo Brera | Permalink

September 28, 2005

2007 Acura RDX

Acura is keeping the SUV's engine a secret for now, but it did say the RD-X will have over 200 hp, the high-tech SH-AWD system from the company's RL flagship sedan and four-wheel independent suspension. Sadly, its huge Brembo disc brakes and 19-inch wheels and tires will not.

06:07 AM in Acura | Permalink

September 15, 2005

2006 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 & 4S

Ask Walter Röhrl to describe the driving dynamics of the new Carrera 4, and he'll tell you, "It's like a train," cornering as if on rails. For sure, Röhrl knows a bit about handling. A two-time World Rally champion and four-time Monte Carlo Rally winner, Röhrl is also a proponent of all-wheel drive, making him the perfect spokesman for the new Porsche Carrera 4, which was introduced to the automotive press in Monaco, just a few switchbacks away from the infamous Col de Turini (Stage 12 of the Monte Carlo Rally), where we got to evaluate the new models.


06:27 AM in Porsche | Permalink

September 14, 2005

How Much Insurance Do You Really Need?

Poring over the minutiae of a car insurance policy is about as appealing as preparing a tax return. But you know you need to do it, even if it is tedious and sometimes financially painful. Most people never bother to scrutinize their policies before whipping out the checkbook at renewal time each year. Consequently, some could end up paying for coverage they may not actually need, while others go with the cheapest coverage possible, perhaps leaving themselves financially exposed if the worst happens.

By better understanding the various components of auto insurance policies—and, more importantly, how they relate to your own financial situation—you can save money while getting the protection you need.


06:15 AM in Insurance | Permalink

September 13, 2005

Word for the week: hybrid

The word for this week seems to be hybrid. I can think of several hybrid news items off the top of my head: (1) BMW going in with DaimlerChrysler and GM; (2) Suzuki looking at selling a hybrid version of the Grand Vitara in the US; and (3) Volkswagen saying that it won't tie-up with anyone in Europe on hybrid technology, but is happy to work with SAIC on a hybrid vehicles for China.

One thing that is a little puzzling re Volkswagen is that it seemed to be on course to work with Porsche on hybrids - something which would also make sense if the idea is to perhaps utilise the technology on Touareg/Cayenne. Maybe the VW-Porsche discussions are still going on and the two companies cooperate so closely (they always have done) that working with Porsche still constitutes 'go-it-alone'. Or has Porsche simply decided not to bother with hybrids? Or even, whisper it, cut to the quick and work with hybrid market-leading Toyota?

Anyway, that's me done for the week. Beer o'clock and we're still enjoying a very pleasant 'Indian summer' in England, so I'm outta here for some fresh early evening air. I'll be at The Oval in London tomorrow (with some old friends, not a corporate do) to watch the rather big cricket match that is on here (football? what's that?). Should be good.

GERMANY: Volkswagen and Porsche to team up on hybrids - reports

06:13 AM in Hybrid | Permalink

September 02, 2005

Peugeot’s 3-wheel 20Cup concept

Expressing Peugeot’s new alignment with sport, the 20Cup is an innovative concept, both « fun » and dynamic: suggesting an elegant synthesis between two worlds – that of the motor car by its front aspect and that of the motorcycle by its single rear wheel. This sporty, three-wheel roadster, shown in two examples, differentiated only by colour, promises real driving pleasure through the strong sensations it evokes. Confirming its presence in high-level motor sport, Peugeot recently announced its new commitment to competition via the LMES Championship.


06:06 AM in Peugeot | Permalink

September 01, 2005

Jaguar Takes the Cover off the 2007 XK

Ever since the debut of the Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe (ALC) concept at the 2005 Detroit auto show in January, we’ve been eagerly awaiting its production version, the new XK to appear. During the past months, we’ve seen various spyshots and now, finally, Jaguar has announced the arrival of its most stunning car in recent memory. Designed by Ian Callum, who also worked on the gorgeous Aston Martin DB9 and Vanquish, the new XK bares a striking resemblance to its Aston cousins. The all-aluminum 2007 XK is stiffer and lighter than its predecessor and is powered by a 4.2L V8 that produces 300 bhp. 0-60 comes just under 6 seconds and top speed is limited to 155mph. The new XK will hit showrooms next spring, with plans for the convertible to be announced later this year.

06:03 AM in Jaguar | Permalink