The 2010 installment of the Race of Champions proved to be a very closely fought affair that threw up a surprise winner in debutant Filipe Albuquerque. The 25-year-old Portuguese driver currently pilots an Audi RS4 in the Italian Superstars V8 series and qualified for the RoC 2010 by winning the South Europe contest held this past August.
Relatively unknown in comparison to the star-studded lineup, Albuquerque out drove the likes of seven-time F1 Champion Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost. The rookie found himself in the Grand Final up against veteran WRC Champion and three-time RoC winner, Sebastian Loeb, where he eclipsed the rally ace 2-1 in a tooth and nail head-to-head battle.
The parallel track at the ESPRIT Arena in Dusseldorf provided hot and heavy action over the weekends’ events including a quarterfinal that saw a “too cautious” Michael Schumacher losing out to younger compatriot and newly crowned F1 Champion Sebastian Vettel. F1 driver Heikki Kovalainen was involved in a bad crash, but luckily he and his girlfriend - a passenger at the time - are both fine.
Hit the jump for the top drivers’ comments & the Highlights video
After six teaser images, Lamborghini has finally unwrapped the Sesto Elemento. The concept comes with an overall curb weight of just 2,202 lbs, a V10 power unit, and permanent all-wheel drive, as well as innovative carbon-fiber technologies. The concept is the only vehicle manufactured in the world to have mastered the complete CFRP process across a range of technologies, from 3D design through simulation, validation, production, and testing
The V10 engine delivers an amazing 570 HP and has a power-to-weight ratio of only 1.75 kilograms per hp. This allows the concept to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a sensational 2.5 seconds, while top speed will be higher than 186 mph.
The Sesto Elemento features a lightweight carbon-fiber structure with the entire front frame, exterior panels, and crash boxes also made of CFRP. The major suspension components and the rims are also made from carbon fiber and the tailpipes are made from Pyrosic, which is an advanced glass-ceramic matrix composite. Carbon fiber is also present in the interior on the floor and roof of the monocoque, on the doors, and on the cockpit and center console.
Updated 11/10/2010: In a recent report, Automotive News says that Lamborghini will put the Sesto Elemento concept into limited production. There will be 5 to 10 units built, and like usual the exclusivity has a big price: 2.5 million Euro (almost $3,500,000 at the current exchange rates). Now that the Murcielago is out of production, Lamborghini’s sales will have to suffer, and this decision was made in an attempt to improve the company’s profit that has been hit hard by the global economic crisis.
Updated 11/22/2010: Lamborghini has officially confirmed that the Sesto Elements concept will indeed go into production, but as a track-only special. In an interview with AutoCar, company boss Stephan Winkelmann said: "We are testing the Sesto Elemento at the moment and if it all goes well then we could look at a limited production run. But it would not be homologated because there are complications with things like airbags. It would be for track use only."
Press release and full details on the concept after the jump.
Mercedes chose to bring the CLS 63 AMG to the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show where they also chose to announce some other plans currently cooking in the Mercedes kitchen.
Ola Kallenius, head of AMG at Mercedes-Benz, announced that the company plans to develop new models that will be placed under the current C-Class. However, they are not talking about models like the A- and B-Class because these models do not exactly fit in the AMG portfolio. One thing is for sure, Mercedes is bringing in a smaller model, and it will be coming in three to four years and will be powered by a smaller engine than the current 5.5 liter V8.
Kallenius didn’t stop there either as the AMG top dog also revealed that the company is planning to incorporate hybrid technology into its product mix. There will also be two Black Series model set to be revealed in the near future, one of which will probably be the Black Series version of the C-Class that was recently caught testing.
Wait, there’s more. Kallenius also confirmed that there will be several SLS AMG versions launched in the next years. These guys really can’t keep any secrets, can they?
Honda has unveiled the Fit EV Concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The concept features an all-new plug-in hybrid platform that will be used in Honda’s next-generation, two-motor hybrid technology set to debut in 2012.
The new Fit EV concept is powered by a high-density motor that combines a lithium-ion battery and coaxial electric motor, derived from the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle. This powertrain uses an innovative 3-mode electric drive system which allows the driver to select between Econ, Normal, and Sport to instantly and seamlessly change the driving experience to maximize efficiency or improve acceleration.
The new Honda Fit EV provides an autonomy of 100 miles when fully charged. Battery recharging can be accomplished in less than 12 hours when using a conventional 120-volt outlet, and less than six hours when using a 240-volt outlet.
The EV version is distinguished by unique LED headlights, a chrome front fascia, aerodynamic bumper, clear LED taillights and EV decals. And of course an exclusive Deep Clear Blue Pearl exterior color.
After the leaked brochure from the other days, Mercedes has decided to uncover the new generation CLS-Class before its official debut at the Paris Auto Show. And as everyone expected, the new CLS keeps the same proportions as the old model, but has adopted a completely new look inspired by the Shooting Break Concept.
The CLS’s design combines elements from the concept with the new SLS AMG: there is a long, sporty bonnet, a grille dominated by the large central star, large, elongated dark air inlets with black grilles, full LED headlamps, flared wheel arches and wide wrap-around tail lights featuring LED technology.
The interior also combines innovative details and handcrafted perfection: a high line sweeps from the driver’s door over the instrument panel support and across to the front passenger door. The central display has also been integrated harmoniously into the upper part of the instrument panel. At the same time, the downward sweeping side line on the doors continues the dynamic dropping line of the exterior.
Mercedes said nothing about the car’s specifications, but we expect a new 3.5-liter direct-injection V6, as well as a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V8. That last motor will put out around 430 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. There will be an AMG version with the new 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 as well.
Hit the jump to read more about the Mercedes CLS-Class.
Subaru came to the Los Angeles Auto Show packed with a concept version of the next generation Impreza. The concept looks to be leaner and meaner than the current Impreza and rides along with Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive.
The exterior features a hexagonal grille with spread wings in the center and hawk eye-style headlights. The hood, grille, and headlights were designed to project three-dimensional character. The rear gets a garnish that radiates outward from the center, sharp-edged rear lights, and new taillamp.
The interior is defined by a theme of "Dynamic, Enticing, Secure." The smooth integration of the instrument panel with the door trim and armrests suggests sporty yet comfortable driving. The roomy platinum-leather four-seat layout envelops occupants. Dark blue piping and double stitching accent the leather. A "layered" approach to color, with the upper part light platinum and the lower part a shade darker, gives the interior a feeling of spaciousness and sophistication.
The concept is powered by a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated Boxer engine mated to a Lineartronic™ Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
Updated 11/19/2010: Subaru has just unveiled a pretty cool video of their Impreza Concept, as well as a new series of images. Check them out in our picture gallery. Enjoy!
Acura has brought a facelift version of the TSX sedan to the Los Angeles Auto Show. The new model will be available in two versions that will be differentiated by their engines. The TSX with a 2.4L I-4 engine is priced at $29,610. Add the Technology package and you’re looking at $32,710. The TSX with the 3.5L V-6 engine is priced at $35,150, or at $38,250 when equipped with the Technology Package.
Compared to the 2010 model, the 2011 TSX gets a new front fascia, revised chin spoiler, new fog light garnish assembly, and an updated grill. At the rear, revised taillights and an updated rear license plate garnish add more visual appeal for the TSX. The interior gets revised styling for the center console, darker trim pieces, brightly finished door handles, an updated parking brake handle, and new garnishes for the steering wheel.
The engine line-up includes: a 2.4 liter inline-four engine and a 3.6 liter V6, with both of them receiving numerous improvements to reduce internal operating friction which help improve fuel economy, lower carbon dioxide (CO2) output and increase engine life.
Fiat is making a come-back to the US market with the smallest model in their line-up: the 500. Making its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the 500 has been heavily adapted for the U.S. customer. It will be offered in three versions: Pop, Sport, and Lounge and prices start from $15,500, but a Fiat 500 with a few options added and a 6-speed automatic transmission will easily take you to $20K.
Compared to the European model, the 500 US version receives a redesigned body structure for increased strength, exclusively tailored suspension, new four-wheel anti-lock disc brake system (ABS) with redesigned front calipers for optimum brake performance, larger fuel tank, redesigned driver and front-passenger seats, new steering wheel controls and revised steering effort calibration and a new BOSE® Energy Efficient Series premium audio system. It also gets an all-new air bag system created to meet all U.S. regulatory requirements.
Under the hood there is an all-new 1.4-liter, in-line four-cylinder engine with state-of-the-art MultiAir technology that delivers 101 HP at 6,500 rpm and 98 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. Also, exclusive for the US market there is an all-new six-speed automatic transmission.
Updated 08/03/2010: Fiat USA has launched a new ad campaign in the United States to promote the tiny 500. There are two commercials promoting the model: "Simply More" and "Drive In." Enjoy!
After a series of teaser images unveiled this past summer, Nissan has finally brought out the new generation Quest at the Los Angels Auto Show. It will be offered in four well-equipped models: S, SV, SL and LE, with prices starting from $27,750.
The new generation Quest gets a new exterior design with a bold bumper, horizontal grille, and headlights. Take a look at the back of the vehicle and you’ll see rear “boomerang” taillights and tailgate finisher. Other features include full surround privacy glass, black sash molding, and chrome trim accents. The wheels spin round in a standard 16-inch or 18-inch size. The Quest exterior design is also one of the most wind-efficient, with a 0.32 Cd for the Quest S model.
The interior gets a theater-style interior layout with raised 2nd and 3rd rows. The front seating features a special “trilaminar” structure, which uses three types of cushions to distribute body pressure more evenly than traditional padding.
Under the hood there is a 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine with 253 HP and 236 lb-ft of torque. The engine incorporates a twin Nissan Variable Induction Control System (NICS), micro finished camshaft and crankshaft surfaces, DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coated valve lifters, resin intake manifold, forged crankshaft, digital knock control system, high capacity muffler, and lightweight aluminum block and cylinder heads.
The Japanese automaker, Infiniti, has confirmed that the finer line of Nissan automobiles will indeed produce the M35 hybrid luxury sedan. The hybrid will join the rest of the conventional internal combustion only vehicles when the 2012 M arrives in showrooms. The revised fuel efficient lineup will also be available with a new high performance diesel V6 model for the Western European market where the less refined fueled automobiles are preferred due to their incredible range and the high price of petrol. The next generation hybrid powered Infiniti M will become the most fuel efficient model in the entire automakers history.
The M35 Hybrid is powered by a gas/electric power train system that combines a naturally aspirated 3.5 Liter V6 and an efficient electric motor. The electric motor acts as both a propulsion unit, boosting the V6 with a “power assist” mode when the pedal is pushed to the metal and also as a generator to power the vehicle’s accessories and improve the engine’s efficiency. However, the combination of electrically charged wound wires and powerful magnets is not the only item that charges the hybrid’s next generation Lithium ion battery pack, but it is also recharged by the luxury sedans deceleration and braking.
The M Hybrid also features an electric vehicle mode that runs solely on the motors, drastically improving fuel efficiency and allowing it to operate as a zero emissions vehicle as well. This optimizes the Inifiniti’s energy consumption across the widest array of driving conditions. The luxury automaker Inifiniti has promised to release further details about the hybrid’s range, performance, and transmission soon. No mater what they have to say about the new green Japanese sedan it will definitely be a hot item.
Updated 11/18/2010: Infiniti’s first production hybrid performance luxury sedan made its debut today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. A unique feature for the new model is a standard audible pedestrian warning system, called Approaching Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP). This system uses a range of distinctive sounds to help ensure the safety of other road users. VSP automatically works from start-up to approximately 20 miles per hour, cutting back in at approximately 15 miles per hour as the vehicle slows. Sales will begin in early 2011.
Updated 02/23/2011: Infiniti has announced that the new M Hybrid will go on sale starting March 16th, 2011 at a starting price of $53,700. The list of standard equipment includes: leather-appointed seats, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, Active Noise Control, Infiniti Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, XM Satellite Radio (XM subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System and power sliding glass tinted moonroof.