Europe

Europe

The BMW i8 has become a sales hit in the UK. Actually, it’s become more than a hit if you consider reports that it’s already sold out and that there’s already a 10-month waiting list to get your hands on the hybrid sports car . British newspaper Telegraph is reporting that the demand for the i8 has become so incredible that customers are even willing to pay "any price" for the display car in BMW’s i showroom on Park Lane in London.

It’s a dramatic turn of fortune for BMW , which initially expressed fears that the i8 wouldn’t command the same amount of attention as it had hoped. It was a gamble to build it in the very beginning, especially when the German automaker made it clear that the i8 would only feature a rather petite, 1.5-liter, turbocharged, three-cylinder engine and an electric motor, combining to produce a total output of 362 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.

But even the £95,000 ($135,925 here in the U.S. as of 8/12/2014) price tag of the i8 couldn’t dissuade buyers from putting in deposits for the car as early as 2012, even before BMW announced that production for the hybrid would ensue. BMW Park Lane sales manager even told the Telegraph that the i8 has become the "biggest conquest car I’ve known as a BMW salesman."

Something tells me that BMW enjoyed hearing those words. At least more so now that the decision and subsequent risk it took in producing the i8 is turning out to be a stroke of genius at this point.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW i8.

Source: Telegraph

The Skoda Octavia vRS , a high-performance version of the company’s notchback sedan and estate, was launched in 2001, five years after the Octavia nameplate was revived. The first-generation model was powered by a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivered 178 ponies. The unit was later upgraded to displace 2.0 liters and churn out 220 horsepower. Going into the 2015 model year, Skoda is rolling out an even more powerful version of the Octavia, taking its output into the 280-horsepower territory.

Developed to mark the 40th anniversary of the RS brand, the fastest Octavia ever built joins the lineup to take over the range-topping model crown from the already powerful vRS. Dubbed Octavia RS+, the new member of the Octavia range also comes with a host of visual improvements meant to raise the bar in terms of sportiness and aggressiveness. A number of exclusive features set it apart from the regular Octavia and even the vRS, but we’ll talk more about that after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the Skoda Octavia RS+.

Posted on by Simona  

Volkswagen ’s dream of developing a 235-mpg car (1 liter per 100 kilometers) has finally been realized, as the new XL1 will be making its world debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. To make things even better, the first details have been released today. Volkswagen describes it as "a spectacular appearance – a car of the future, built for today."

On the exterior, the model remains pretty much identical to the concept unveiled at the 2011 Qatar Motor Show, including those cool gullwing doors. Still, the car is a little bit better than VW hoped, because its fuel consumption goes down to an impressive 0.9 liters per 100 kilometers, or 261 U.S. mpg.

The model will be unveiled next month at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and the first production batch will consist of just 50 units, with any other unit being developed on demand.

Updated 6/27/2014: Volkswagen has announced that the XL1 is ready for launch, and the first car was delivered to a German buyer in May 2014. It is also now available in the UK at £98,515 ($167,736 as of 6/27/2014) on the road.

Hit the jump to read more about the new Volkswagen XL1.

The 2015 Ford Mustang is arguably one of the most anticipated vehicles to go on sale this year, and with the pony reaching Europe on a legal basis for the very first time, Mustang fans living across the Old Continent are more than excited to jump in its brand-new cabin.

They’re so anxious to get behind that stallion-badged steering wheel that the first 500 units scheduled to reach European shores have been reserved in just 30 seconds. It all happened during Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final, when more than 9,000 people battled online to reserve a pony.

The 500 Mustangs will go to 20 different countries, but only after the owners complete their orders at a Ford dealership later this year. Although the first 500 models are limited to Race Red fastbacks and Magnetic Silver convertibles, customers are allowed to choose between 2.3-liter EcoBoost and the 5.0-liter, V-8 engines. We’re no fortune tellers, but we have a feeling most buyers will go for the EcoBoost option.

Each of these vehicles will be equipped with SYNC 2 connectivity and navigation, Park Assist, heated and ventilated seats, black leather trim, and 19-inch alloy wheels, all part of a special package offered on the preliminary batch.

Unlike the U.S. version, the Euro-spec 2015 Mustang will get a stiffer suspension, specifically tuned for European roads. Also, the pony won’t feature the entry-level 3.7-liter, V-6 engine, which will remain as a base offering only in the United States.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Ford Mustang.

The hot hatch segment has become increasingly competitive these days with so many automakers fielding competitive models. Mazda has seen all the action taking place and has yet to release a performance version of the Mazda3 since unveiling its new design. Now it’s looking like a new Mazda3 MPS — closely related to the Mazdasoeed3 here in the U.S. — is near and it’s going to be powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine that may have 325 horsepower.

The news comes from CarsGuide, which reported the Japanese automaker is pushing ahead with plans for a Mazda3 MPS to join the growing hot hatch battle featuring the Ford Focus ST , the Volkswagen Golf GTI, and the Honda Civic Type-R , among other models.

A separate report from Japanese magazine Holiday Auto also suggested that despite repeated denials from Mazda, the automaker will turbocharge the new Mazda3 MPS, meaning that it stands to get an extra dose of power to be able to compete with its rivals.

The challenge for this new model is how Mazda can pair its SkyActiv engine range with a turbocharger, something it has had problems doing in the past. But a source in Japan told Holiday Auto the problem has "already been solved," clearing a hurdle in developing a turbocharged, new-generation Mazda3 MPS.

With that issue reportedly out of the way, Mazda has an easier developmental road in equipping its newly redesigned hatch with a drivetrain to compete with other hot hatchbacks currently on the market. The timetable for the car’s release is still anyone’s guess at this point, but there are those who believe the car should be ready to arrive in 2016. This gives Mazda two years to cover the entire development and production phase of the Mazda 3 MPS.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mazda3 MPS.

*Image Note: 2012 Mazda3 MPS shown here.

Source: CarsGuide
Toyota GT 86

For all the good press the GT 86 /FR-S /BRZ triplets are getting — not from me though — sales of the GT 86 are surprisingly slow. The FR-S and BRZ are doing pretty well, but Toyota Europe’s Vice President of R&D, Gerald Killmann, claims that the GT 86 is selling well below target in its major markets.

This puts Toyota in a tough spot because the lagging sales are clearly an indicator that European consumers simply are not satisfied with the GT 86 the way it is. Adding in more special editions or even bumping its performance would likely bring the sales numbers up. On the other hand, that would be a huge gamble, as the slow base-level sales makes it economically tough for Toyota to invest more money in building an open-top or turbocharged variant.

So what should Toyota do? Should it leave the GT 86 as is and allow it to fizzle away into nothingness a la the MR2 of the 2000s, or should it give enthusiasts what they want by chopping the top and dropping in some forced induction?

I say take the bull by the horns and drop limited-run turbo and drop-top models to get a feel for the demand — say 1,000 of each. Given those are gobbled up quickly, then start rolling out more the following year. Chances are that Toyota will stay right where it is, and we’ll witness the great collapse of the Toyobaru triplets within a decade.

Let me know what you think by sounding off in the comments below.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota GT-86.

Source: AutoExpress
Posted on by Simona  

Back in 2009, TopGear took a trip to Romania and tested the "Transfagarasan" road. In the end, the guys were so impressed by the road, that Jeremy called it: "the best road in the world!" I’ve personally traveled that road and generally agree, but that’s only because TopGear never tested the other great road in Romania: Transalpina.

Transfagarasan climbs to 2,034 meters (1,263 miles) above sea level and is 90 km (60 miles) of hard hairpin turns, long S-curves and sharp descents top allow you to really test your driving skills. The only problem is that the speed limit is 40 km/h (about 25 mph), but I doubt that some folks resisted the urge to push their car to its limits. Not to mention that the scenery is simply amazing here.

But, no matter how wild the Trasfagarasan is, it is not as scary as Transalpina, or the "King’s Road" as it is also called. It climbs to 2,145 meters (1,332 miles) and is a little bit longer than the other road at 148 km (91 miles). While it may not offer the same hairpin bends as the Trasfagarasan, driving it is a little bit scarier, given the road is built on the edge of the mountain and when you look down, all you see is large precipice with no end. Also, this road requires you to drive a more powerful car, because at higher altitudes, it climbs really fast and a small engine has no chance of making it.

Of course this is our opinion on the roads, now check out what the guys over Evo have to say about the two Romania roads. They have the advantage of driving a Jaguar F-Type Roadster , so next to some great scenery you will also enjoy an amazing car!

Diesels seem to be breaking their oil-burning, noisy, smokey stigmas that have haunted them for decades as more and more automakers are now offering clean diesels in their lineups. The latest huge influx of diesel models hails from Audi .

The German automaker, which is owned by Volkswagen Group, has announced a huge diesel push with 11 new TDI “Ultra” models, including the new A6 TDI Ultra detailed here. For starters, the "Ultra" in the TDI Ultra name is Audi’s designation for sustainable mobility that is fully available for everyday use — a long explanation for a TDI A6 that gets darn good fuel mileage while not hindering its common usability.

The heart of the matter is a 2.0-liter, four cylinder diesel that produces 190 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque that pushes the A6 from 0 to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds while achieving 53 mpg highway. With stats like that, we don’t mind hugging trees and filing up next to big rigs. Keeping all those trees happy, however, is Audi’s high efficiency SCR system that removes nitrogen oxides from the exhaust. The new system also lets the A6 pass the stringent Euro 6 emission standards with ease.

Backing the 2.0-liter TDI are two optional transmissions: a six-speed manual transmission is standard, followed by the optional seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic automatic. However, opting for the slap-paddle gearbox shoots the A6’s price up €2,250 — roughly $3,000 at the current exchange rates — making rowing your own gears sound evermore attractive.

Furthering the A6 ’s efficiency is the standard start-stop system and driver information center that helps keep track of good driving behavior.

Pricing for the A6 Avant TDI Ultra starts at €42,250 (about$57,000 at today’s exchange rates) and the A6 sedan TDI Ultra starts a little lower at €39,900 (around $54,000). Sales will begin sometime in the first quarter of 2014 and there are no plans yet to release any Ultra models in the U.S.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard Audi A6.

Posted on by Simona  

In the past year, we’ve seen cars coming from nearly every corner of the globe and 2014 is kicking off with yet another performance car hailing from a part of the world we typically wouldn’t expect: Netherlands. Meet the Silvermine 11SR, which happens to be the first car to come from the Netherlands.

The 11SR was created from scratch by Frank van Rouendal — a marine engineer and machine constructor — who wanted to design his ideal track-day racer . In his imagination, this car needed to be a two-seat sports car, powered by a mid engine, with a very low weight and built from high-quality materials.

The Silvermine 11SR was built on an unique chassis that was specially developed just for this little racer, and it features an F1 -style safety cell for added safety. The first prototype tested by Silvermine is powered by a Subaru-sourced, 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine with an output of 225 horsepower, but the final car will deliver up to 325 horsepower.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Silvermine 11SR.

Looks like Gymkhana isn’t the only viral phenomena we can expect from Ford these days.

This time a year ago, Ford of Europe released its own version of Ken Block’s now famous Gymkhana race-stunt series. Only that time, the role of Block was played by his inanimate cousin, Mental Block, and the Ford Fiesta rally car used in the stunts measured about four inches long.

So with Christmas once again upon us, the Blue Oval is back at it again with the second installment of Snowkhana, appropriately titled "Snowkhana Two." This time around, the Mental Block and his trusty steed find themselves in the always treacherous jungle called "under and around the Christmas tree."

Like a true savant drifter, Block and the Fiesta navigate around a pile of presents, other toy cars, a dinosaur, and even an excavator truck. And he did it all that while trying not to get too distracted by the cameo appearances of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Darth Vader, and Miley Cyrus riding on a wrecking ball...err...a Christmas ornament.

It’s all in good fun and a reminder to all of us that the holiday season still has the power to bring out the kids in all of us.

Click past the jump to watch Snowkhana One


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