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  1. "A New Era Begins November 2018" is the title of video that Mazda has uploaded to their YouTube channel. The sixteen-second video provides brief glimpses of two vehicles. One is a close up of the rear with a sharply raked c-pillar, while the other is a side profile shot. A number of people believe this is our first glimpse of the next-generation Mazda3 - mostly due to elements of the Kai Concept showing up. That title also hints at a big change coming with the next-generation 3. The Skyactiv-X powertrain with homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) will be available. HCCI allows a gas engine to use compression to ignite the fuel. This allows for better efficiency and more power. We're expecting Mazda to show off the new 3 at the LA Auto Show next month. Stay tuned. Source: Mazda
  2. The past decade has seen BMW exploring new niches in the marketplace with such models as the X6 and 5-Series GT. Some of them had paid off, while others haven't. The 3-Series GT falls into the latter. Following in the footsteps of the 5-Series GT (now 6-Series GT), the 3-Series offered a higher seating position and extra space for those who didn't want and SUV. But it never found an audience and BMW has decided to kill it off. “When we did the GT we saw that in demographic change people want to sit a little more upright. But then you saw X1 and X3 you can sit upright and you feel younger. So this segment is under pressure from SUVs, which are having no disadvantage in fuel consumption or in ride and handling,” said Klaus Fröhlich, BMW's r&d chief to Motoring. Last May, we reported that the next 3-Series GT would have moved over to the 4-Series lineup - similar to what BMW did to the 5-Series GT. But it seems those plans are off the table. Its unclear at the moment when BMW could end production of the 3-Series GT. Source: Motoring
  3. There have been some rumors floating around for the past couple of years that BMW was planning to offer a 3-Series with a fully electric powertrain. Some new spy shots reveal that may come to fruition. At first glance, this looks like a normal 3-Series sedan. But on the front doors, there is a label that reads "Electric Test Vehicle". BMW has also tried to disguise the fact this is an electric by attaching tailpipes, but the spy photographer says its a pure EV. Not much is known about the electric powertrain or batteries. This mule was seen testing with a Tesla Model 3, suggesting that BMW sees it a direct competitor to the 3-Series EV. To do that, the model would need a range of over 200 miles. But sources at BMW tell Motor Trend that the range could be as close to 300 miles. We do know the next 3-Series will transition the CLAR platform that uses a combination of steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber. It also looks like that the design will not change that much from the current model. The next 3-Series is expected to debut at the Paris Motor Show in October. Whether we see the EV version is unclear. Source: Motor Trend
  4. The next-generation Volvo XC90, due out in 2021 as a 2022 model will follow in the S60's footsteps by not offering any sort of diesel option. Instead, Volvo will be offering a range of hybrids and electric-only powertrains. “We have to prioritise – we cannot do everything. So if we want to be faster in electrification we can’t say yes to everything. That’s why [the S60] has no diesel alternative and we are not planning to have a diesel alternative in any new cars. The XC90 will follow this,” said Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson to Auto Express. Volvo's next-generation SPA2 platform will underpin the XC90, which is designed to accept both electric and hybrid powertrains. Don't expect a major change in terms of the design. Auto Express reports that Volvo will undertake an evolutionary approach. Source: Auto Express
  5. The flagship luxury SUV class is becoming more crowded with the Audi Q8, Bentley Bentayga, and Rolls-Royce Cullinan entering the fray. Land Rover is feeling the pressure and has big plans for the next-generation Range Rover to fight them off. Expected to launch in 2021, the fifth-generation Range Rover will move from the D7u platform to the new Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA). It will be lighter than D7u thanks to the extensive use of aluminum. MLA will also allow Land Rover to install fully-electric powertrains into the model, alongside gas, diesel, and plug-in hybrid variants. But don't expect one at launch as Land Rover reportedly has plans for stand-alone electric model that will have more car-like qualities - Road Rover anyone? A Range Rover EV will launch sometime after the launch, primarily for Asian markets like China. The current engine lineup, primarily sourced from other automakers will be scrapped. V6 engines will be replaced by inline-six engines from Jaguar Land Rover's Ingenium family. Its unclear whether or not there will be replacements for the V8 engines. Certain engines will come paired with a 48V mild-hybrid system. Don't expect any dramatic changes to the Range Rover's exterior as there are plans to do an evolution of the current shape. The interior will get new technologies such as an updated version of JLR's Touch Pro Duo infotainment system and connected car technology that will allow you to perform various tasks such as locking/unlocking your front door at home. There is also talk of some talk of autonomous driving features making an appearance. Source: Autocar
  6. Let us wind the clock back to November 2016. We wrote a piece in the rumorpile saying that the next-generation Dodge Challenger and Charger had been pushed back to 2021. It was unclear as to why the models were being pushed back, but there was the interesting tidbit that they would be using the new Giorgio platform - what underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio. But there may be a chance that the next-generation models could use a heavily upgraded version of the current platform which can trace its roots back to the 1990s from Mercedes-Benz. "We may not necessarily have to go as far as the Giorgio architecture for Dodge as long as we are willing to commit to a significant upgrade to the current architecture to make it competitive. That's something that's already started," said FCA Sergio Marchionne during last Friday's five-year presentation. "Certainly by the time we finish with that architecture, you will not recognize its origins. We may maintain its bare-bones structure." Obvious question: Why not Giorgio? "The problem with Giorgio is from size and capability standpoint it reflects much more of a European performance requirement than it does the American heritage of Dodge," said Marchionne. We read this one of two ways. Either the current incarnation of Giorgio cannot fit a HEMI V8 or is unable to handle the power output of high-performance versions like the Hellcat. As for the Chrysler 300, Marchionne hinted that it might not make a return. Source: Motor Authority
  7. Volkswagen has made their plans clear of introducing a number of full electric vehicles beginning with the I.D. next year. But the company is also planning to electrify a number of models beginning with the next-generation Golf. This week at the International Vienna Motor Symposium, Volkswagen unveiled a 48-volt mild hybrid system currently under development for the Mk. 8 Golf. The system is comprised of a 48-volt belt-integrated starter generator and a 48-volt battery. This will allow for an enhanced stop-start system, brake regeneration, and engine-off coasting. Volkswagen made specific mention of the last feature as it would save 0.3 liters of gas over 100 kilometers - not a lot, but every little bit helps. “Electrifying conventional drives will enable us to further reduce consumption and emissions while also increasing dynamics and convenience. We are starting this extensive electrification campaign with Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle to date – the Golf. Our newly developed, cost-effective 48-V mild hybrid will pave the way for introducing this type of technology to the mainstream,” said Volkswagen's Member of the Board of Management for VW Passenger Cars, Dr. Frank Welsch. It is expected that Volkswagen will reveal the Mk.8 Golf sometime next year. Source: Volkswagen Volkswagen to offer electrified versions of its models Extensive hybrid programme for the next Golf is the starting point for the comprehensive electrification of conventional drives New 48-V mild hybrid is the first step into the world of efficient electrified models 48-V starter generator is a versatile all-rounder Volkswagen is to launch an electric version of its globally best-selling vehicle – the Volkswagen Golf, offering a sustainable, efficient and powerful alternative. The introduction of innovative, new hybrid systems in the eighth generation of Golf vehicles marks a new era for the brand with regard to drive technology. In the future, Volkswagen will gradually electrify almost every vehicle in its range of models. The company is offering a first look at the future of electrified drive systems as part of the International Vienna Motor Symposium – one of the world’s most important congresses on the automotive technology of today and the future. “Electrifying conventional drives will enable us to further reduce consumption and emissions while also increasing dynamics and convenience”, says Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management for Volkswagen Passenger Cars with responsibility for Technical Development. Welsch continues: “We are starting this extensive electrification campaign with Volkswagen’s best-selling vehicle to date – the Golf. Our newly developed, cost-effective 48-V mild hybrid will pave the way for introducing this type of technology to the mainstream”. Volkswagen will combine the combustion engine with a 48-V belt-integrated starter generator and a 48-V battery. This sustainable combination represents the gateway to the future of Volkswagen hybrid models. The 48-V mild hybrid makes it possible to “coast” with the combustion engine completely switched off, thereby saving up to 0.3 litres of fuel over 100 kilometres. Moreover, this mild-hybrid solution offers much improved dynamics and convenience as a result of providing an electric boost upon start-up. The science behind 48-V technology 48-V technology represents a new chapter in engine design, enabling drives to be electrified in a cost-efficient manner. The 48-V system will be used in vehicles in addition to the well-known 12-V system. In the case of very small wire cross-sections and a lightweight wiring harness, the 48-V system enables a considerably higher amount of energy to be saved than the 12-V system, e.g. via recuperation when the vehicle brakes. This high level of voltage enables a number of operations, including the actuation of the 48-V belt-integrated starter generator. The starter-generator is a true all-rounder. On the one hand, the generator performs the role of alternator and starter. At the same time, it functions as a small, lightweight electric motor that immediately increases drive torque upon start-up by means of an electric boost. The power of the generator is transferred via a belt. The generator also starts the combustion engine – which is switched off as much as possible while the vehicle is moving – in a barely perceptible way. Another versatile element is the 48-V lithium-ion battery. The battery is supplied with energy during a number of operations, including recuperation – i.e. when the vehicle slows down. The starter generator receives the necessary voltage via the battery and the 12-V power supply receives the required voltage via the “DC/DC converter”. Welsch continues: “The basic interaction of different energy sources – electricity, petrol, diesel and natural gas – represents a paradigm shift at Volkswagen. For the first time, the company will simultaneously offer product lines such as the Golf with conventional, electrically assisted drives as well as product lines such as the I.D. with purely electrical drives in the future”. This will result in the product lines diverging into two branches which are nevertheless equal. This new product strategy will come into play for the first time from 2019 onwards with the launch of the next generation of the Golf and the first I.D. – two compact Volkswagen vehicles with completely separate technical concepts as well as clearly different design make-ups. With these two product lines, Volkswagen is seizing the opportunity to democratise the electrification of vehicles.
  8. Back in December, Jaguar's head of Design, Ian Callum revealed that work had begun on the next-generation XJ. Not many details were given except that the new XJ would be "something quite special." This week at the Geneva Motor show, Callum let loose a few more details. A key complaint about the current XJ is a cramped interior. Callum said the new model would address this issue. “It’ll be different. And it will have more room inside it. One of the biggest criticisms XJ has had is that a lot of people think the room inside the car is not big enough. I don’t believe in segmentation like this — I don’t believe in an F Segment as such,” explained Callum. “I think we should just do a luxury vehicle that matches people well. That’s what we’ve done for XJ, which is what the first one was all about. A lot of our market is far-eastern and people are using these big cars to be driven in, so we must accommodate that better.” The next XJ will about the size of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but Callum said the XJ will be focused more as a driver’s car. “I never saw XJ as an S-Class competitor. Mercedes-Benz have created that place — the three-box limo sedan,” said Callum. “I just don’t think that’s a Jaguar. A Jaguar is a sportier entity and it should reflect that. Yes it will take four [people] to market in comfort and luxury, but that’s where the similarities stop. It will still be a driver’s car. I don’t think many Mercedes-Benz S-Classes are driver’s cars, with the exception of AMGs or something. If you drive an XJR575, it’s a driver’s car. It just happens to be able to take three people in comfort. I don’t buy this segmentation.” CarAdvice expects we'll see the next XJ at the end of this year. But as we reported previously, Callum said the new XJ wouldn't debut in 2018. We're expecting to see it sometime next year at the earliest. Source: CarAdvice
  9. As Ford wraps up European production of the Focus RS next month, rumors are beginning to swirl about the next-generation. Dutch publication Auto International reports the next-generation Focus RS will be packing 400 horsepower via a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. The report alleges that the turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder used in the current model will carry over, but will feature a larger starter motor for the hybrid system. Torque will rise to 394 pound-feet. A six-speed manual will be the standard transmission, but Auto International reports a dual-clutch transmission is in the cards for certain markets. There is some credence to this rumor as Ford is planning to electrify a number of models in the coming years, including the F-150 and Mustang. No time frame was given as to when the next Focus RS will debut, but considering the new Focus will debut next month, we're expecting it will be sometime after 2020. Source: Auto International
  10. We cannot fault anyone who forgets Kia sells a flagship sedan. No, we're not talking about the Stinger. We're referring to the K900 which sounds like the name of a knock-off Doctor Who character. Later this year, Kia will be launching the second-generation K900 in select markets like the U.S.. Today, Kia dropped a teaser photo of the new model. Compared to the current K900, the new model looks much leaner and the A-Pillar has been pushed back slightly. The headlights feature LED accents. We think the new K900 will use the underpinnings of the Genesis G90, which would allow it to have rear and all-wheel drive. Engines are expected to be the twin-turbo 3.3L V6 and 5.0L V8. As for when we'll see it, some believe it will debut at Geneva while others have it at New York. Our money is on New York. (Author's Note: I actually reviewed the K900 back in 2015 and thought it was a nice sedan for the money. You can check out the review here. -WM) Source: Kia Press Release is on Page 2 Kia previews second-generation K900 Kia Motors has previewed its flagship luxury sedan, the K900, ahead of its world debut later in the year. The new model combines sophisticated exterior design, effortless performance and a spacious cabin distinguished by luxurious materials and elegant styling. New technologies protect occupants, enhance interior comfort and give the driver greater confidence at the wheel. Created through joint efforts by Kia’s designers in Korea and in the U.S., the new K900 will be manufactured at the company’s production facility in Korea. The new flagship sedan will go on sale in selected global markets from the second quarter of 2018.
  11. Mazda hasn't even put their Skyactiv-X technologies into production and already they are talking about the next-generation known as Skyactiv-3. Automotive News reports that Mazda's powertrain chief Mitsuo Hitomi said the gasoline version of Skyactiv-3 will have the same emission levels as an electric vehicle. Hitomi told attendees of automotive technical conference in Toyko that Mazda will be working on improving the thermal efficiency of its engines. This reduces the "amount of combustion energy lost to heat while increasing the amount harnessed to power the wheels." If Mazda can improve the thermal efficiency by 27 percent, to 56 percent, Hitomi said it could achieve emissions similar to an EV. How does he come this conclusion? There is a bit of fuzzy math to reach this. It is based Mazda's measurement of wheel-to-wheel emission for electric vehicles and internal combustion engines. For electric vehicles, Mazda includes the carbon dioxide emitted in the production of electricity for the vehicle. The emissions from oil extraction and refining are included in the measurement for internal combustion engines. Mazda's calculations say that some EVs are dirtier than fuel efficient gas-powered models. Mazda also believes that it cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent with the next-generation of Skyactiv, giving them "real world well-to-wheel fuel economy comparable to EVs deriving their electricity through the burning of liquefied natural gas," according to Hitomi. No timeframe was given as to when Skyactiv-3 would debut. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  12. Last month, we reported that work had begun on the next-generation Jaguar XJ. The company's director of design Ian Callum said it would be "something quite special." What that may mean is the next XJ transition to being an electric-only model. Autocar has learned that Jaguar is planning to reinvent the XJ into being a fully-electric model to take on the like of the Tesla Model S, and provide an interesting alternative to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Design-wise, the XJ will morph into a 5-door model - something akin to an Audi A7 we're guessing. It will also debut a new design language that will be used on future models. In terms of platform, the new XJ will use an all-new platform that will be shared with an upcoming model from Land Rover - the Road Rover we reported in the Rumorpile back in September. The platform will be capable of being equipped with internal-combustion or electric powertrains. For the XJ, it is believed that twin electric motors will be used to power and provide AWD. Autocar expects the car launch in 2019. Source: Autocar
  13. When the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra begin rolling off the assembly line sometime later this year, there will be a larger number of crew cabs. GM's vice president of global product development, Mark Reuss tells Automotive News that the company has been "constrained' when it comes to the output of their crew cab pickups, a segment that has seen its popularity increase in recent years. Reuss said the company is planning to increase capacity for crew cabs with their next-generation pickups. A Chevrolet spokesman said that crew cabs have grown from more than 50 percent of GM's truck sales in 2013 to more than 60 percent. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  14. Porsche seems to be going ahead on electrifying their iconic 911 sports car. Speaking with Automotive News, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume revealed that the company is working on a plug-in hybrid variant of the next-generation 911. "It will be very important for the 911 to have a plug-in hybrid," said Blume. The decision on whether to move forward with the project hasn't received final approval, but Blume said it's "my opinion that we will go for it." Blume's comments help clear the confusing mess of rumors from the past few years which said one minute that they were considering it and the next minute being taken off the table. Earlier this year, plans were dropped due to weight concerns of the batteries. The next-generation 911's platform has been designed to accommodate the batteries needed for the plug-in hybrid system. Currently, Porsche is planning to launch the plug-in hybrid 911 during midcycle refresh of the next-generation 911. With the launch of the next-generation 911 expected to take place in 2019, this could mean the 911 plug-in hybrid will debut in 2023. Why is Porsche waiting until the midcycle refresh? Blume said this would allow the company to get batteries that deliver more power and range. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  15. General Motors had a field day when Ford switched from metal to aluminum for their truck beds. The company ran a series of ads showing how their metal beds could stand up to the rigors of a pickup truck's life compared to the Ford's. So it seems slightly ironic that GM is planning to use a lightweight material for their next-generation truck beds. The Wall Street Journal and Automotive News have learned from sources that GM is planning to use carbon fiber in their full-size pickup beds. According to one source, carbon fiber will be part of a mix of different materials, including aluminum. The move makes sense as stricter fuel economy regulations come into effect. Finding ways to cut down on weight is a good way to boost fuel economy. There is a big issue with carbon fiber, price. The material is very expensive to produce due to the long, labor-intensive process. The Journal reports that at first, the beds would be used on the premium versions of the trucks (High Country and Denali). It would trickle down to lower trims as "more efficient production processes" come online. The new beds are expected to debut within the next two years. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)
  16. A few years ago, reports popped up about a patent filed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. It was a tailgate that could be folded down or split open into two swing-out halves. That patent has now become reality as a new set of spy photos reveals a next-generation Ram 1500 sporting one. Compared to the original patent filing which showed a 50/50 split, the one shown in the spy photos appears to be a 70/30 split. We're assuming this to allow Ram to use the same handle mechanism on this and a standard tailgate. The one item the spy photos don't tell us is how you open the split tailgate. There might be handle on the top of the tailgate, but we're speculating here. There were some other Ram 1500 mules capture who had their tailgates covered up. But they did reveal that the RamBox storage system would be making a return. Source: Autoblog, AutoGuide
  17. The Volkswagen Jetta is an important model for the North American market and a new model is just over the horizon. Volkswagen North America CEO Hinrich Woebcken recently spoke with journalists at the Redbull Global Rallycross Championship in Los Angeles and dropped some interesting details about the next-generation Jetta. The new Jetta will make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Design-wise, Woebcken said it would have coupe-like form and promises to be "great-looking". Dealers were shown the vehicle back in April and were “extremely excited” about it. Woebcken also said the new Jetta will be given the "North American touch, not always in terms of lower costs or less content, but in specific needs for the market.” A few other bits of information about the next Jetta An R-Line model will be available within three months of the launch - possibly spring A manual transmission will be available at launch. Concerns about the manual going away stem from the 2018 GLI not having this option. As for the GLI itself, the new version will launch a year after the regular Jetta The next-generation Passat was also briefly mentioned. Woebcken said the model would launch sometime in 2019 and described the design as “not evolutionary, but really exciting exterior design.” Source: Motor Trend Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears
  18. Those who were hoping for a return performance of the Ford Fiesta ST will be disappointed to hear this news. According to CarBuzz, the director of Ford Performance of Europe, Leo Roeks said there isn't enough interest to bring the new model over. “It’s simply a matter of a lack of interest in the B-segment in America. It doesn’t make sense, nor is it possible financially speaking, to import a single trim level, and a niche one at that,” Roeks said. This news isn't that all surprising. Subcompacts have been seeing their sales drop for the past two years, and 2017 isn't looking much better. The Fiesta was one of the hardest hit models, seeing a decline of 24.3 percent in 2016. As we reported in the rumorpile back in July , Ford was considering cutting the Fiesta in either late 2018 or 2019. This was further bolstered by comments made Fiesta program manager Robert Stiller. When reached for comment by Autoblog, Ford issued this statement, "We have introduced the next-generation Fiesta for Europe and Middle East & Africa. We'll have more to say about other markets at a later date. Customer demand for small vehicles continues to grow globally, and Fiesta is an important part of our portfolio." We have two things to say. One, Ford STOP BEING SO CAGEY AND JUST TELL US IF THE FIESTA IS COMING OR GOING! Two, if you have been considering a Fiesta ST, you might want to consider picking one up ASAP. Source: CarBuzz, Autoblog
  19. If there is one thing that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is consistent on, it is their ability to change their future plans on a whim and cause us to scratch our heads. Case in point, Automotive News has learned that FCA has ditched plans on moving the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger/Challenger to the Giorgio platform - what underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Instead, all of the models will get will one more refresh in 2019 that will cut weight and boost fuel economy. There is also talk about the 300 getting the option of the Hellcat V8 because FCA thinks we don't have enough vehicles with it?! In 2021, the Charger and Challenger will be (finally) redesigned. They'll be based on the platform the underpins the Maserati Ghibli. There is no mention about the 300 moving to this platform, possibly hinting that the 300 will be shown the door - something we reported on back in November. Will there be any Chrysler or Dodge model that will use the Giorgio platform? Yes and that will be the next-generation Journey that is possibly arriving in 2019. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), 2
  20. This week, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles held a private meeting with a small number of Jeep dealers to talk about the next-generation Wrangler. The folks at JL Wrangler Forums were able to get some information about what was talked about at the meeting thanks to an anonymous source. Jeep is planning to debut the 2018 Wrangler at the LA Auto Show towards the end of November. Surprisingly, dealers are expected to have production models sitting on their lots a month later. Other details from this report include, 3.6L Pentastar V6 will have the option of automatic and manual 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder (Codenamed Hurricane) will only have an automatic transmission Diesel option will not be arriving until the end of 2019 model year A power-sliding hardtop will become available in late 2018 Unlimited models will come with a longer wheelbase than the outgoing model, meaning more rear legroom Source: JL Wrangler Forums
  21. Rolls-Royce has released a teaser picture of the upcoming 2018 Phantom before its official debut on July 27. It seems evolution is the order of the day as there appear to be no major changes. The only changes we can pick out are headlights sporting full LEDs and a new grille shape. This picture comes a day after a trio of leaked Phantom images made their way on to a Chinese automotive site. The pictures reveal certain details such as a new grille, revised bumper, and a side profile similar to the smaller Ghost sedan. The interior looks to come with a digital instrument cluster, new vent locations, and possibly a larger infotainment system hidden by a panel. The next Phantom will debut an all-new aluminum architecture that will underpin future models including the upcoming Cullinan crossover. Source: Rolls-Royce, AutoHome.com.cn Press Release is on Page 2 ROLLS-ROYCE TEASES NEW PHANTOM AS IT ANNOUNCES THE FINAL ICONS TO JOIN ‘THE GREAT EIGHT PHANTOMS’ EXHIBITION Today, as excitement builds towards the premiere of ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ Exhibition at Bonhams in Mayfair, London next week, Rolls-Royce has announced the final three great Phantoms that will join the event. In addition it has released one teaser image of New Phantom – the eighth Great Phantom which will debut at the Exhibition and will be streamed online at 21.00hrs British Summer Time on 27 July 2017 at www.greatphantoms.com. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has graciously assented to her Phantom VI State Limousine being present for the public to see. Also joining the Exhibition are the Phantom IV that belonged to the Aga Khan III –one of 18 such Phantoms built only for Royalty and Heads of State; and the First Goodwood Phantom VII, which began the renaissance of Rolls-Royce on 1 January 2003. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Phantom VI State Limousine Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has graciously assented to her Phantom VI State Limousine being present at ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ – A Rolls-Royce Exhibition for the British public to see. In 1977, to mark her Silver Jubilee, the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders gifted Her Majesty a new official State Limousine, a custom-built Phantom VI. The most striking aspect of this Park Ward-bodied Phantom VI is its raised roofline, supporting an enormous expanse of toughened glass. It enables Her Majesty, and indeed other members of the Royal family who use the vehicle to see and (more importantly) be seen. This Phantom, like others in the Royal Fleet, had the 'Royal mascot' of St. George slaying the dragon put in place of the Spirit of Ecstasy when Her Majesty was on board, apart from when she visited Scotland, when a silver lion is used instead. It also had a fitment to hold the Queen's Shield and the Royal Standard. As with all the fleet it was finished in Royal Claret and Black Livery and being a state car, it had no need for a number plate. The Phantom VI was present at another milestone in The Queen's long reign in 2011. On April 29 of that year Prince William, her grandson, married Kate Middleton. The Duchess of Cambridge and her father were driven to the Abbey in the Phantom VI, taking full advantage of the panoramic glass to give the delighted crowds the best possible view of her last few minutes as Kate Middleton before she transformed into a Princess; a happy ending for both Kate and the splendid Silver Jubilee Phantom VI. ‘The Aga Khan Phantom IV’ The second Royal Phantom to be present at the Exhibition will be that of the Aga Khan III. The Aga Khan III is famous for combining a jetset lifestyle as thoroughbred horse owner with his role as leader of the Nizari Ismaili Muslim community. The Aga Khan was among just 18 heads of state and members of royal families to commission a Rolls-Royce Phantom IV. Aga Khan III was President of The League of Nations from 1937 to 1938, but also owned five Derby winners and won British flat racing’s Champion Owner title 13 times. He liked the finest things in life and so his choice of a Rolls-Royce Phantom IV was no surprise. The Hooper coachwork of the Aga Khan's Phantom IV has remarkable flowing lines, the rear wheels are enclosed and the body is in the Sedanca de Ville style, whilst the interior features sumptuous red leather, using Connolly hides. It took two years to build, from 1950 to 1952, thanks to its many bespoke additions; an adjustable mirror, concealed silver brush, comb and compact – all engraved with the Aga Khan's royal crest which was also to be seen on the doors – as well as a built-in Dictaphone and a full picnic set. ‘The Aga Khan Phantom IV’ has been kindly loaned to ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ by Mr Ion Tiriac. The First Goodwood Phantom – Phantom VII The First Goodwood Phantom is the motor car that began the renaissance of Rolls-Royce in 2003. Known at the time as “the last great adventure in automotive history”, this renaissance has seen Rolls-Royce retake its rightful place as the world’s leading luxury brand with highly progressive models beginning with Phantom, then Ghost, Wraith and Dawn, and the only true luxury approach to satisfying the desires of every individual customer – Bespoke. Three months after its debut at 00.01 on 1 January 2003, the First Goodwood Phantom was shipped from Southampton, England to Perth, Western Australia for its Australian debut in April 2003. Following that debut, the Phantom was to undertake its first big adventure in the hands of its owner – a 4,500-mile epic drive across Australia. The route left Perth, heading down the coast of Western Australia, across the Nullarbor Plain to Adelaide in South Australia, then into Victoria and along the Great Ocean Road until finally arriving at the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, New South Wales. The owner provided daily updates of ‘driver impressions’ to the team back at Goodwood, declaring the new Phantom to be “a Grand Tourer in the truest sense of the words”. The car performed faultlessly, its only issue some sand that had entered the Spirit of Ecstasy retraction mechanism during a dust storm in the Australian desert. 14 years after its creation, this First Goodwood Phantom remains in exceptional condition. It is loaned to ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ – A Rolls-Royce Exhibition by its owner, the same gentleman who originally commissioned it. ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ – A Rolls-Royce Exhibition will take place at Bonhams, 101 New Bond Street, London, from 29 July to the 2 August. The Exhibition is held in support of The Princes’ Trust to which voluntary donations are invited.
  22. The current Audi A8 was one of the oldest models in the flagship class, but this changes as the German automaker revealed the all-new A8 at an event in Barcelona, Spain. We have to give Audi some credit for at least trying to make the new A8 look slightly different than the outgoing one. Elements of the 2014 Prologue Concept are present with similar styling in the rear - slightly angled trunk lid and LED taillights with a light bar. The front end features the largest version of Audi's Singleframe grille and headlights equipped with lasers that double the range of the high beams at speeds above 43 MPH. But the big story about the new A8 is the smorgasbord of technology available. The virtual cockpit system now comes with a 720P HD screen Audi's updated MMI system doesn't feature any knobs or buttons. Instead, various functions are accessed through the 10.5-inch touchscreen or voice controls. Sound and tactile feedback tells a driver the function is being executed. Audi claims the A8 is "the first production automobile in the world to have been developed for highly automated driving." (We're sure some competitors will be balking at this exclamation.) Audi AI is an artificial intelligence-based software system that controls the self-driving aspects of the A8. This system is the first production vehicle with SAE Level 3 self-driving tech - a vehicle can take full control of driving the vehicle, but only in specific situations. In this case, Audi AI can take care of accelerating, steering, and braking at speeds below 37.3 MPH. Audi AI can also maneuver the vehicle into a parking spot or garage space without the driver in the vehicle. All A8s will come with a 48-Volt electrical system - first shown on the SQ7 TDI. This means the A8 will come with an active suspension system that uses an electric motor and various components for each wheel to adjust suspension load. Audi claims this gives the A8 a comfortable ride and sharp handling characteristics. The 48-Volt system also means all A8s will have a mild hybrid system to improve fuel economy. For the European market, the Audi A8 will launch with two turbocharged 3.0L V6 engines (gas and diesel). Down the road, Audi will add 4.0L V8 (gas and diesel), W12, and a e-tron plug-in hybrid to the A8's powertrain lineup. An eight-speed automatic routes power to all four wheels. Audi will launch the A8 in Germany this fall with other markets to follow. Pricing will begin at €90,600 (about $103,318) for the standard wheelbase and €94,100 (about $107,310) for the long-wheelbase A8 L. Source: Audi Press Release is on Page 2 The new Audi A8: future of the luxury class World debut for flagship model at Audi Summit in Barcelona New design language and a pioneering touch operating concept Piloted driving functions to be rolled out in production Audi A8 versions from 2018 Today is where the future begins in the luxury class: The new Audi A8 makes its world debut at the Audi Summit in Barcelona. In its fourth generation, the flagship model again provides the benchmark for Vorsprung durch Technik – with a new design language, an innovative touchscreen operating concept and a systematically electrified drive. The Audi A8 is also the first production automobile in the world to have been developed for highly automated driving. From 2018, Audi will gradually be taking piloted driving functions such as parking pilot, garage pilot and traffic jam pilot into production. Doyen of style: the exterior design The Audi A8 is stylistically defining – it signals the dawning of a new design era for the entire brand. The front end with the wide, upright Singleframe grille and the fluid, muscular body symbolize sporty elegance, sophistication and progressive status. The new A8 delivers on the promise made by the Audi prologue design study. The luxury sedan possesses a powerful presence – whether in the 5.17 meter (17.0 ft) standard version or the A8 L, which has a 13 centimeter (5.1 in) longer wheelbase. The Audi brand is renowned worldwide for sports appeal, lightweight construction and quattro permanent all-wheel drive – and the design of the new A8 conveys these values. The balanced proportions emphasize all four wheels in equal measure. Muscular shapes above the wheel arches give visual expression to the quattro drive. Viewed side-on, the upright front end combined with the gently inclined rear create visual tension. The flagship model proclaims its identity both day and night, drawing on both the striking HD Matrix LED headlights with Audi laser lighting, and the LED light strip combined with OLED technology rear lights. These produce unique light animations as the driver approaches and leaves the car. Luxury lounge: the interior Freedom is the defining design feature with a new luxury slant. This explains the A8’s resemblance to a lavish, spacious lounge. Compared to the predecessor model, it has grown substantially in length in both body versions. The range of equipment and materials is extensive, with every detail radiating superlative bespoke quality – from the perforation in the seat upholstery to the electrically opened and closed shutters on the air vents. The classiest seat in the new Audi flagship model is in the rear right – the optional relaxation seat in the A8 L that comes with four different adjustment options and a footrest. In this seat, the passenger can warm and massage the soles of their feet on a unit with multiple settings incorporated into the back of the front-passenger seat. The new comfort head restraints complete the experience. The rear passengers can also control an array of functions such as ambient lighting, the new HD Matrix reading lights and seat massage, plus make private phone calls, via a separate operating unit. The rear seat remote, with its OLED display as large as a smartphone, is a removable unit housed in the center armrest. Fingertip response: the controls The luxury sedan’s interior deliberately adopts a reductive design; the interior architecture is clear and with a strictly horizontal orientation. Audi carries its high quality standards into the digital age with a radically new operating concept. It does away with the familiar rotary pushbutton and touchpad of the predecessor model. The instrument panel is kept largely clear of buttons and switches. At its center is a 10.1-inch touchscreen display which, when off, blends almost invisibly into the high-gloss black surround thanks to its black-panel look. The user interface appears as soon as the car is opened. The driver controls the Infotainment system with fingertip control on the large display. They can use a second touchscreen display on the center tunnel console to access the air conditioning and comfort functions as well as make text inputs. When the driver activates a function in the upper or lower display, they hear and feel a click by way of confirmation. The glass-look operating buttons respond in the same way. The combination of acoustic and tactile feedback along with the use of common touch gestures such as swiping make the new MMI touch response especially safe, intuitive and quick to use. The A8 can also engage in intelligent conversation. The driver can activate an array of functions in the automobile using a new, natural form of voice control. Information on destinations and media is either available on board or is delivered from the cloud at LTE speed. The extensive Audi connect range also includes traffic sign recognition and hazard information – innovative car-to-X services that draw on the swarm intelligence of the Audi fleet. The extensively optimized navigation is another new feature: It is self-learning, based on the route just driven. This provides the driver with intelligent search suggestions. The map also incorporates highly detailed 3D models of major European cities. World premiere: the pilot-driving Audi A8 The new A8 is the first production automobile to have been developed specially for highly automated driving. The Audi AI traffic jam pilot takes charge of driving in slow-moving traffic at up to 60 km/h (37.3 mph) on freeways and highways where a physical barrier separates the two carriageways. The system is activated using the AI button on the center console. The traffic jam pilot manages starting, accelerating, steering and braking. The driver no longer needs to monitor the car permanently. They can take their hands off the steering wheel permanently and, depending on the national laws, focus on a different activity that is supported by the car, such as watching the on-board TV. As soon as the system reaches its limits, it calls on the driver to take back control of the task of driving. From a technical perspective the traffic jam pilot is revolutionary. During piloted driving, a central driver assistance controller (zFAS) now permanently computes an image of the surroundings by merging the sensor data. As well as the radar sensors, a front camera and the ultrasonic sensors, Audi is the first car manufacturer also to use a laser scanner. The introduction of the Audi AI traffic jam pilot means the statutory framework will need to be clarified in each individual market, along with the country-specific definition of the application and testing of the system. The brand’s high quality standards are equally applicable in the realm of highly automated driving. In addition, a range of approval procedures and their corresponding timescales will need to be observed worldwide. Audi will therefore be adopting a step-by-step approach to the introduction of the traffic jam pilot in production models. The Audi AI remote parking pilot and the Audi AI remote garage pilot autonomously steer the A8 into and out of a parking space or a garage, while the maneuver is monitored by the driver. The driver need not be sitting in the car. They start the appropriate system from their smartphone using the new myAudi app. To monitor the parking maneuver, they hold the Audi AI button pressed to watch a live display from the car’s 360 degree cameras on their device. New dimension: the suspension With a whole package of innovations, the suspension revisits the very limits of what is physically possible. One such innovation is dynamic all-wheel steering, which combines direct, sporty steering with unshakable stability. The steering ratio for the front wheels varies as a function of speed; the rear wheels are turned in or against the direction of steering depending on the speed range. The car’s handling becomes even more dynamic and precise with the sport differential. This actively distributes the drive torque between the rear wheels, complementing the quattro permanent all-wheel drive that is now standard in the new A8. The second new technology, Audi AI active suspension, is a fully active suspension system. Depending on the driver’s wishes and the driving situation, it is capable of raising or lowering each wheel separately with electric actuators. This flexibility imparts the driving characteristic with huge latitude – ranging from the smooth ride comfort of a classic luxury sedan to the dynamism of a sports car. In combination with pre sense 360°, the car is raised with lighting speed if there is an impending lateral collision, reducing the potential consequences of the accident for all occupants. This highly innovative suspension system obtains the energy it requires from a 48-volt electrical system. Audi now for the first time fits it as the primary electrical system in all model versions of the A8. In conjunction with the advanced air suspension for the A8, the innovative suspension concept delivers an utterly new driving experience. Mild hybrid and e-tron: the drives The new A8 starts out in the German market with two extensively reengineered V6 turbo engines: a 3.0 TDI and a 3.0 TFSI. The diesel develops 210 kW (286 hp), and the gasoline version 250 kW (340 hp). Two eight-cylinder versions – a 4.0 TDI with 320 kW (435 hp) and a 4.0 TFSI with 338 kW (460 hp) – will follow slightly later. The exclusive top engine version is the W12 with a displacement of 6.0 liters. (These vehicles are not yet on sale. They do not yet have type approval and are therefore not subject to Directive 1999/94/EC.) All five engines operate in conjunction with a belt alternator starter (BAS), which is the nerve center of the 48-volt electrical system. This mild hybrid technology (MHEV, mild hybrid electric vehicle) enables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to restart smoothly. It also has an extended start/stop function and an energy recovery output of up to 12 kW. The combined effect of these measures is to bring down the fuel consumption of the already efficient engines even further – by as much as 0.7 liters (0.2 US gal) per 100 kilometers (62.1 mi) in real driving conditions. The A8 L e-tron quattro with its powerful plug-in hybrid drive will follow at a later date (This vehicle is not yet on sale. It does not yet have type approval and is therefore not subject to Directive 1999/94/EC.): Its 3.0 TFSI and the powerful electric motor achieve 330 kW (449 hp) of system power and 700 Nm (516.3 lb-ft) of system torque. The lithium-ion battery stores enough power for about 50 kilometers (31.1 mi) of electric driving. It can optionally be charged by Audi Wireless Charging. A pad in the garage floor transfers the power inductively to a receiver coil in the automobile with a power output of 3.6 kW. The new Audi A8 and A8 L are being built at the Neckarsulm site and will appear on the German market in late fall 2017. The starting price for the A8 is EUR 90,600, with the A8 L starting at EUR 94,100.
  23. If you want a six-cylinder engine in your midsize sedan, the selection of models has been steadily declining. At the moment, you can only get a six from Ford, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen. Come the 2018 model year, there will be one less automaker. Honda announced today that next-generation Accord, due later this year, will feature two turbocharged four-cylinders. The base will be a 1.5L four-cylinder (most likely from the Civic with 174 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque) and a 2.0L four-cylinder with i-VTEC valvetrain - derived from the Civic Type R. Offical power figures are not out, but Honda says both engines will have the option of a six-speed manual. The 1.5L will also feature a CVT, while the 2.0L will get an all-new 10-speed automatic. "With these three advanced new powertrains, the tenth-generation Accord will be the most fun-to-drive, refined and fuel-efficient Accord yet. Just as the new Honda Civic injected new energy into the compact car segment, we expect this all-new 2018 Accord will make people rethink the midsize sedan," said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of America Honda Motor Co., Inc. The Accord Hybrid will also be returning for the next-generation model. Not many details are known, but Honda says it will feature a new two-motor hybrid system that is more refined. Source: Honda Press Release is on Page 2 All-New 10th Generation Honda Accord Launching This Year with Advanced New Powertrain Lineup Jun 9, 2017 - TORRANCE, CA Two high-performance, high-efficiency turbocharged engines First-ever 10-speed automatic transmission for a front-wheel drive car Available 6-speed manual transmission for both turbo engines Next-generation Honda two-motor hybrid powertrain technology New, more aggressive design direction complements powertrain lineup Honda will launch the most stylish and fun-to-drive Accord ever later this year. The all-new, completely redesigned and reengineered 2018 Honda Accord is the tenth generation of America's best-selling midsize sedan, the number one choice of individual American car buyers cumulatively since 20101. A new-from-the-ground-up design that features a more aggressive stance and proportion than any previous Accord complements the lineup of advanced new powertrains. The three powerful and fuel-efficient powertrains in the 2018 Accord will include two direct-injected and turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, a new Honda-developed 10-speed automatic transmission and a sporty 6-speed manual transmission that will be available on both turbo engines, as well as the next-generation of Honda's two-motor hybrid powertrain technology. The new Accord design will have a dramatically lower and wider appearance that creates a more aggressive and athletic stance. Additional details on the all-new 2018 Accord design, technology and performance will be released in the weeks ahead. "With these three advanced new powertrains, the tenth-generation Accord will be the most fun-to-drive, refined and fuel-efficient Accord yet,"said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of America Honda Motor Co., Inc. "Just as the new Honda Civic injected new energy into the compact car segment, we expect this all-new 2018 Accord will make people rethink the midsize sedan." The 2018 Accord will feature two available high-torque, high-efficiency turbocharged powerplants, a 1.5-liter direct-injected DOHC Turbo with dual variable cam timing (dual VTC), mated to either a Honda continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) or 6-speed manual transmission; and a 2.0-liter direct-injected DOHC Turbo with i-VTEC® valvetrain, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission – the industry's first 10AT for a front-wheel-drive passenger car – or a 6-speed manual. An all-new, even more refined Accord Hybrid will be powered by the next-generation of Honda's innovative two-motor hybrid technology, which uniquely operates without the use of a conventional automatic transmission. A perennial best-seller with American car buyers, the Accord has been the U.S. retail sales leader in the midsize sedan segment for four straight years (2013-2016). For the first five months of 2017, based on retail sales data, Accord is the top selling midsize sedan in America and the second best-selling passenger car overall, surpassed only by the new Honda Civic2. Accord also is an unprecedented 31-time recipient of Car and Driver magazine's coveted 10Best award. Since its launch in 1976, American car buyers have purchased more than 13 million Accords. Accord is the first vehicle from a Japanese automaker to be made in America and has been in continuous production at Honda's Marysville, Ohio auto plant since November 1982, with cumulative U.S. production exceeding 11 million units over 35 years of U.S. manufacturing3. The new 2018 Accord's 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbo engines will be produced at Honda's Anna, Ohio engine plant. The Accord's CVT transmission will be manufactured at the company's Russells Point, Ohio plant, and its new 10-speed automatic transmission will be produced in the company's Tallapoosa, Georgia plant. Honda recently announced a $149 million investment in the Russells Point and Tallapoosa plants to facilitate production of the new 10AT and its components in America. Additional investments related to manufacturing of the new Accord will be announced closer to its fall 2017 launch.
  24. We know a fair amount of what's in store for the next-generation Jeep Wrangler, Use aluminum for various body panels Turbocharged four-cylinder Eight-Speed Automatic Pickup Variant Another piece of the Wrangler puzzle has been revealed thanks to a spy photographer who got pictures of the interior, minus the camouflage. The pictures reveal that next-generation Wrangler will retain the shallow, vertical dashboard that has been a key part of the model since the early days of Jeep. FCA's UConnect system is here, along with a dual-zone climate control system - leading us to believe this mule is one of the higher trim models. Other details to take note is a “sway bar” button (most likely for a disconnecting sway bar system seen on the Ram 2500 Power Wagon), window switches on the center stack (removable doors are still a go), and a manual transmission. Source: Autoblog, Road & Track
  25. We have been wondering what the next-generation Buick Enclave would look like and now we have a general idea. Automotive News got their hands on some new spy shots showing an Enclave test mule sitting at a gas station. It appears Buick has made the Enclave less bulbous than the current model. The front end features Buick's new waterfall grille that debuted on the LaCrosse and a set of slim headlights. For the back, there's a new set of taillights and dual-exhaust system. If the Chevrolet Traverse is anything to go by, the Enclave will get the current 3.6L V6 producing 305 horsepower hooked up to a nine-speed automatic. There is the possibility of a 2.0L turbo-four with 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The next-generation Buick Enclave is expected to debut at the New York Auto Show. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears

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