Archive for August, 2007|Monthly archive page

Frankfurt Preview: Peugeot’s 69 MPG 308 Hybride HDi Concept

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“HYBRID!” “DIESEL!” Arguments about which one’s the better everyday fuel economy solution sound like old Miller Lite commercials sometimes. Next month in Frankfurt, Peugeot’s going to show off its latest stab at mashing them together with the 308 Hybride HDi show car, and if there was ever a happy medium, this might be it. Due as a production vehicle in 2010, the 308 Hybrid combines a stingy-to-begin-with 110 HP 1.6L diesel with an electric motor that produces an additional 22 horsepower. Power’s channeled to the front wheels through a 6-speed gearbox that can be operated in full automatic or sequential manual modes. The net result places the hybrid on essentially equal footing with the standard-production 308 2.0L diesel.

Performance numbers are basically the same, with the Hybrid delivering better in-gear acceleration than the regular diesel car. Naturally, it also boasts big-time fuel economy numbers. In the combined-cycle, it gets 69 miles to the gallon (yes, the US gallon). In urban driving, the number goes up to 78 MPG. All the usual hybrid traits are found here. At startup and at low speeds, the electric motor provides motivation, and when the diesel kicks in, the car will call upon the electric powerplant to help with acceleration when necessary. Stop-start tech is standard, of course. The 308 Hybrid concept also has a Zero Emissions mode that’s designed to let the car operate freely in “heavily regulated urban centres” (hello, London!). And even when it’s not running as a ZEV, its emissions output complies with the Euro 5 standards coming in 2009. The 308 hybrid emits just 90 g/km of CO2 vs the 308 2.0 diesel’s 146 g/km.

All of that in a package that is nicely equipped, including a panoramic roof. If Peugeot can keep the production vehicle’s pricing generally in line with the rest of the 308 range, they might find Europeans lining up, checkbooks in hand in a couple of years.

[Source: Peugeot]

Gallery: Peugeot 308 Hybride HDi Concept

Continue reading Frankfurt Preview: Peugeot’s 69 MPG 308 Hybride HDi Concept

 

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2008 Honda Fit Shows Big Things Do Come In Small Packages

As the newest addition to the Honda lineup, the Fit subcompact five-door hatchback epitomizes the Honda legacy of quality, innovative packaging and a fun-to-drive character.

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Europeans won’t get Dodge Challenger

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Although DaimlerChrysler had originally planned to bring the upcoming retro-rod Dodge Challenger to Europe, it seems Cerberus has had a change of heart. They apparently see the Challenger as a limited production model that will only be available in the States, and as such they have made the decision not to sell the car in Europe, according to reports on AutoTelegraaf.

We’ll finally see the production version of the Challenger in Chicago next February, and production should start at Chrysler’s Brampton plant later in 2008. It seems like an eternity since we first glimpsed this Mustang challenger (Har dee har), but fortunately for us in America, at least we’ll eventually get a chance to purchase one. Well, Europeans might be able to through brokers, but nothing officially from Dodge. But hey, at least they have the Avenger and upcoming Journey to look forward to!

[Source: AutoTelegraaf via MotorAuthority]

 

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“Indestructible” speed camera coming to the UK

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As Americans are well aware, angry drivers are a dedicated, relentless, and unpredictable bunch. Angry drivers in Britain, fed up with the scourge of Gatso speed cameras, have destroyed them in all manner of ways. How are the authorities (or rather, capitalism) fighting back? A Dutch company has created a camera it wants to sell in Britain that could actually survive a day on the corner of a Baghdad street, let alone whatever purturbed British motorists can throw at it.

The camera is 13-feet tall, sits on a steel base placed in the ground, has cameras hidden behind strengthened glass, and has a fire-resistant body. It can monitor four lanes of traffic moving in both directions and doesn’t use flashes so you don’t know when you’ve been caught. And due to new regulations, it can be painted to blend in with its surroundings. Not only is it practically indestructible, but if it senses a threat via onboard smoke and vibration detectors, it will alert the nearest police station and upload all of its data to a central database so that no scofflaw gets away. Pending Home Office approval in England, it will be one giant leap for law enforcement, and one step closer to Robocop. We can think of only one achilles heel for this indestructible speed camera… a setp ladder and some spray paint.

Thanks for the tip, Spluch!

[Source: This London]

 

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Pebble Beach Week 2007: Meta-gallery from the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

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For some of you, seeing massive galleries of collector vehicles is a diversion from the daily automotive news you expect from Autoblog, and you lament the space devoted to them. To others, seeing massive galleries of collector vehicles is a a diversion from the daily automotive news you expect from Autoblog, and you love the space devoted to them. Personally we love seeing them and sharing them with those interested in glimpsing some of the greatest models from some of the most storied marques throughout automotive history.

Between the auctions, races, parties, tours and concours, there are literally thousands of fascinating vehicles in Pebble Beach and the surrounding area during that week in August, and it is considered a must-attend event for anyone with a love for the classics. As always, some of the comments tend to conflict with the massive traffic on these posts and so we try to strike a delicate balance between adequate coverage and overdoing it. We think we found that balance this year, and although there were approximately 20,000 photos available to us between the photographers we had on hand and those who offered to contribute to the cause, we managed to keep it under a thousand amongst a dozen or so posts.

Gallery: Pebble Beach Week 2007: Meta-gallery from the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

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Spy Shots: BMW M X5 spotted

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BMW X5 BMW has consistently argued that a vehicle like the X5 is not fitting with the whole ‘M’ philosophy of increased performance through reduced weight but despite this spy-photographers have recently come across a new X5 prototype rolling around the streets of Munich with some very distinct M styling cues. The test-mule was seen sporting a new front bumper with much larger intakes than usual, while the back of the car was adorned with a quad-tailpipe arrangement sitting lower than the usual V8 models.

A further clue to this mule being a high-performance version was the sound of the engine. The photographer claimed it sounded very different to any of the X5’s current powerplants, suggesting that it could be a new V10 version or possibly a twin-turbo V8 set-up. The final giveaway is the prototype’s performance tires, signalling that we may have a new M car on the way.

We can picture the purists around the world shedding a tear at the thought of BMW adding an M badge to an SUV but if Porsche can get away with selling a sports off-roader, and AMG can pump up the Mercedes M-Class than we suppose BMW could too.

[Source: World Car Fans]

 

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John Edwards hears it from Jason Vines

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Jason Vines, Chrysler’s VP of Communications, read about John Edward’s comments about SUV buying and just couldn’t hold his tongue. Democratic presidential hopeful Edwards let slip during a speech to a labor group that Americans should sacrifice their SUVs in favor of more fuel efficient vehicles. While there are undoubtedly many people out there who have SUVs for their trendiness and perceived indestructibility, many SUVs are owned by people who truly need them. And those are the people Vines is defending. He blasts Edward’s hypocrisy for asking civilians to give up their freedom of choice, when the presidential hopeful must realize that Secret Service motorcades are full of large SUVs.

And what does the presidential hopeful and his family use for personal transport? Jalopnik reports that Edwards drives a Cadillac SRX, and while his spokespeople claim the senator drives a hybrid SUV (they’re all the rage on Capital Hill) around his home state of North Carolina, the family also reportedly has another SUV and a small truck.

[Source: Chrysler]

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Rendered Speculation: 2008 Ford Falcon Orion XR6

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Development mules for the upcoming redesign of the Ford Falcon in Australia are not that hard to come by in the land of Oz. CarAdvice has hosted plenty, and decided to let loose an artist on them to create an accurate rendering of what the 2008 Ford Falcon will look like. Shown here is a rendering of the 2008 Ford Falcon XR6 model, one of the many high-performance versions of Ford Australia’s rear-wheel drive sedan. After examining all the spy shots that we’ve seen, it’s clear to us that this is the most accurate guesstimate of the Falcon’s new look that you’re likely to find.

[Source: CarAdvice.com.au]

 

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Lexus announces Chinese pricing for LF-A already

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In early 2008, the Lexus LF-A will go on sale on China. The price: $264,700. That’s a lot of yuan, even with the expected markup for the Chinese market. Zeng Lintang, vice president of Toyota Motor (China) Investment Co, said that the car will sell “for more than 2 million yuan.” By comparison, in China, a Porsche 911 GT3 RS sells for about 1.9 million yuan, and a Ferrari F430 sells for about 2.6 million yuan. ThePassionatePursuit actually compared the price ratio of a Lexus LS600hL sold in China and the U.S. and guesses the car could cost $129,703 USD when it goes on sale here. Lexus has talked about creating a car that can compete with Ferrari performance-wise. We’ll soon see if it can also compete price-wise.

[Source: Gasgoo via The Passionate Pursuit]

 

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Glitch idles four Chrysler plants until next week

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For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost. It looks like a slight glitch in the delivery of powertrain components has led Chrysler to idle one of its plants for the rest of next week. Actually, four separate plants will be stopped as a result of this problem – Jefferson North in Detroit, Warren Truck (Michigan), Newark Assembly (New Jersey) and St. Louis North (Missouri).

The problem involves powertrain components for certain Dodge and Chrysler trucks and SUVs, as well as the Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee. Chrysler was quick to point out that Labor Day and previously scheduled shutdowns were partially responsible for the idlings and that no vehicles had left the factory without the necessary parts. No, really, they felt they needed to point that out.

[Source: just-autos, sub. req.]

 

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