Tag Archives: Audi

Alfa Romeo, Plans for the Future

I have news that will make the world sing! Or at least make Alfisti everywhere sing. Alfa Romeo, a brand with an impressive racing pedigree, is hard at work developing two new rear-drive cars to tackle the default German manufacturers.

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First up is the long awaited, Mazda MX-5 based Spider. This has been confirmed by insiders that it will make use of a rear-drive platform. Probably Alfa’s most iconic car, the Spider is something that many would love to own. Open top, manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive, a great revving, frisky petrol engine and a chassis developed by Mazda boffins. What more could one ask for?

Next up is the car I have been looking forward to since the demise of the 166 in 2007. This car, known internally as the 6C, will make use of the Maserati Ghibli platform as a base. Insiders claim that the 6C will be a sportier alternative to the Ghibli, which presents a interesting problem. The Ghibli is a sportier saloon than the Quattroporte. Fine, but the 6C is a sportier version, of a sportier version of an already rather sporty car. Right. I will have to reserve judgement when I see the new car in the flesh.

The 6C will make use of of two six-cylinder engines (hence the name), a petrol V6 and a diesel V6, the latter being for those who looks at Sistine Chapel and think “This place definitely needs a new look. Lets paint the entire thing magnolia and add a few vending machines.”. Just no. If you buy an Alfa, you buy a petrol Alfa. One does not buy a Rembrandt painting, open up a tin of orange paint and chuck the whole tin on to the painting to make it look modern. If you want diesel, look elsewhere.

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The 6C will not use the same gearbox as the Maserati, but will make use of its own TCT gearbox. Insiders also claim that along with a four-door saloon 6C, there will also be a two-door coupe version to rival the BMW 6 Series. Oh I want that. I have no idea what that will look like but I just want it. I will sell many many organs just to own a 6C Coupe.

So there you have it. Hopefully by 2016, Alfa will have three rear-wheel drive cars in their line up. The world will surely be a better place after that. Personally, besides looking forward to seeing Alfa heading back to their sporting heritage, I look forward to seeing them back on the map, as a true alternative to BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

The New Honda NSX; An R8 I’d actually like to own

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I am going to start this article by saying that I have nothing against the Audi R8 in any way, shape or form. In many aspects the R8 is a very nice car. Well designed, well engineered and very well respected in its own right. However, and this is a purely personal opinion mind you, as something to stir the soul, the R8 is quite flat.
If I may liken the supercar world to the female gender in general, the R8, to my eyes is that girl who on paper has everything, pretty, smart, funny, nice to chat with… But lacking a certain joie de vivre. In every sense of the word there is nothing wrong with her, but you couldn’t get yourself to ask her out. She seems to have everything, but not that undefinable something which you are looking for. The R8 is the same. Design is great, powertrain is wonderful, cabin is second to none, and yet I don’t want one. However, this is where the new NSX comes in.
The NSX, when it eventually arrives in a couple of years time, will hit the same sort of market as the R8, that of an everyday supercar. I can tell you from the offset that the NSX will be built as well as, if not better than the Audi, because Japanese cars are bulletproof by their very nature. Its powertrain, judging by what I have read obviously, will be more high tech than the Audi, although in fairness to the Audi, a new R8 is on the horizon. Then there is the NSX’s design. My oh my. It certainly looks futuristic. Its got hints of other European cars, like the rear lights, which have a whiff of One-77, and certain details remind me of the R8,yet these details are more angular, more… Japanese. I don’t usually like Japanese, but this one, just looks cool. It makes the eight year old inside me scream and shout like its Christmas morning. Then there is the interior. It seems to be inspired by the Lexus LF-A, very driver focused but in the NSX, it looks more simplified, which is what you want from a supercar really. Supercars do not need radar guided cupholders and infrared headlamp washers. Sure you want aircon, satnav, and electric windows, but thats it. Keep the weight down. Supercars are all about the driving, and the wow-factor when its seen on the roads.
The last thing I like about the NSX is the name. NSX. Yes that 90s supercar which Rowan Atkinson owns or owned… I am not entirely sure if he still has it. The 90s NSX was a bit of a sales flop, for reasons that are still unknown to me. Maybe it was the badge? The original NSX had all the elements to be a huge success, great engineering, well built and usable. It wasn’t exactly cheap, it was cheap by supercar standards. I even liked the design. It was different. Maybe that’s what ruined it. It was too different. Typically Japanese cars are strong on the engineering front but a little weak in the design department (I am looking at you Subaru Imprezas, Mitsubishi Evos and Nissan Skylines). They were boys racers going for function over form, with huge wings on the back, fins everywhere and huge swollen bumpers. No real style. They were designed for people to go fast and thats it. The NSX promised more back then than its Japanese siblings. It promised an everyday supercar. A car to challenge the 911 on a track and a car to take your children to school in. It wasn’t designed to look or go like a Ferrari or an Aston. It was designed with an almost fetish-like obsession to simplicity. The NSX was its own design, nothing else looked like it. Unashamedly Japanese, and all the better for it. It is because of this, why I always looked at it with a certain admiration.
The same goes for the new boy here. I doubt Honda are aiming the new car at such a high bar as that of the 911. The 911 is too accomplished. Those who want a 911, will not want an NSX. It will be more like our afformentioned friend, the Audi R8. The brands halo car. A culmination of what the brand can do, given a pen, paper and heaps of cash. In other words, an engineer’s unashamed ideas put together into one harmonious whole. In a way this idea carries over from the original NSX. Maybe that is why I like it. When engineers come together to create something that they are passionate about, the results can be truly amazing.

(Image Source: www.acura.com)

The Practical Side Of The Geneva Motor Show 2011

Besides powerful supercars, there were also a lot of everyday cars for those of us who are far less financially well off, and need a new, safe and well built car.

Chevrolet revealed its Cruze hatchback, a car based on the General Motor’s Delta platform that is used on the Opel/Vauxhall Astra. The idea behind this car is to provide a more practical vehicle for the current Cruze line-up. Luggage space is said to be about 400 litres. With the launch of this new car, Chevrolet has also revealed that they will offer a variety of new engines for the Cruze, like a 161bhp 2.0litre diesel motor, that could potentially make it a competitive rival to the equivalently sized VW Golf.

Audi showed off its new RS3 hot hatchback, a car packing 335bhp, derived from a 2.5 litre five cylinder engine producing a meaty 450Nm of torque via a seven speed DSG gearbox. At the moment this is the current ruling King of hot hatchback due to its immense power and performance figures. The only car that rivals it in terms of performance is the BMW 1-series M.

Nothing new to report from Honda. They revealed a revised version of the Accord saloon and estate version, where improvements in CO2 figures are promised.

Hyundai revealed its new Veloster, a 3-door coupe to rival the VW Scirocco and the Renault Megane Coupe. I say 3-door because it has the same door arrangement as the Mini Clubman with a suicide door on one side of the car. It will be powered by either one of two 1.6 litre engines with 138bhp or 130bhp. Hyundai also revealed the i40, a car to rival the Ford Mondeo. The car will first reach showrooms in estate form, promising a high quality interior. The styling incorporates the new company nose, which is a bold,sculpted look, easily distinguishable from the Mondeo.

Mercedes showed off its 3rd generation SLK, which still incorporates a metal folding roof. The design is influenced by the SLS AMG supercar,with its new, bold grill and an overall less aggressive look. There will be a variety of engines on offer, such as a 184bhp 1.8litre and a 3.5litre V6 engine producing 306bhp. There is also the facelifted C-Class and the new C-Class Coupe that is rivalling the popular 3-series Coupe and the stylish Audi A5. The new coupe is also available with a variety of engines where even the naturally aspirated 5.5litre V8 is available.

Not much news from Peugeot. They revealed some special editions for the RCZ and the diesel-hybrid 3008. They also revealed the facelifted 308 which has lost 25kg in its overall weight.

Saab reveals an estate version of the 9-5 and a facelifted version of the 9-3.

Those were the range of family cars on show at the Geneva Motor Show. The cars written about in this column will be on sale within the coming months.

Mercedes SLK

Hyundai Veloster

Hyundai i40

Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback

Audi RS3

Saab 9-5 Estate

Peugeot 308