Paris Motor Show

Paris Motor Show

Even though it is not slated to come to the U.S., nor are any Peugeots , we have kept a watchful eye on the new Peugeot 301 four-door hatchback. Behind the scenes and obviously out of our prying eyes’ range, Peugeot has been working on a different version of the 301, a sedan, or saloon for you U.K. folks.

Yup, this new 301 looks just like the 301 hatchback that we have seen frolicking around, but has the hatch hacked off and a trunk put in its place. This new 301, which is set to debut at the Paris Motor Show in September 2012, is positioned in the automaker’s developing market lineup – Turkey, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Greece, Middle East, Gulf and African States, and certain Latin America markets.

Even though its release is not scheduled for a few more months, Peugeot has decided to give us a sneak peak at this new model and a short press release to let us now about some of its key features.

UPDATE 07/23/12: French automaker Peugeot has just come out with a fresh batch of photos for the 301 Sedan. Check out the car in action on the road in the gallery!
Click past the jump to rear our full review on the upcoming Peugeot 301 Sedan.

Chevrolet has announced it will unveil a new global SUV in September at the 2012 Paris Auto Show. The new model, called Trax, will be offered in more than 140 markets, with Mexico and Canada being the first ones privy to it. As of right now, there are no plans to introduce it in the U.S. market.

The future Trax will feature the same pioneering spirit and expressive design that defines each new Chevrolet, but it will be distinguished by a muscular exterior design and wide athletic stance. Chevrolet states that the interior will come with standards usually found in more expensive vehicles.

"The Trax provides Chevrolet an entry into a growing small SUV segment and delivers the flexibility, great fuel economy and car-like handling that urban explorers around the world require," said Mary Barra, GM senior vice president of Product Devel Devel opment. "After a record sales year in 2011 and a record first quarter, Chevrolet continues to meet customer needs by expanding its portfolio with strong new entries."

Mazda6

We all watched as Mazda rolled out the sexy Mazda Takeri concept car in New York. At that same time we learned that the 2014 Mazda6, which we will see at the 2012 Paris Auto Show, will be “strongly influenced” by the Takeri concept and we became rather excited by its potential. With those “look at me” body lines we assumed that there would be some hot V-6 option for this new stylish body. Unfortunately, Mazda went in a completely different direction, according to Mazda spokesperson Jeremy Barnes, via Automotive News.

Barnes made it quite clear that there are no plans to place a V-6 option or any other performance engine option under the 2014 Mazda6’s new hood. Actually, Mazda is even axing the somewhat impressive 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The likely replacement for both engines is the Skyactiv 2.0-liter four-banger that cranks out a respectable-for-its-size 155 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. However, if you have to add “for its size” in front of something, that’s typically not a good thing.

The goal of this freshly revised Mazda6 is obviously fuel economy, which we can respect Mazda for doing. In all honesty though, they could produce a turbo-charged four-cylinder or even borrow an EcoBoost engine from Ford , who still owns a small share of Mazda. A possible performance engine would be the 250-horsepower, 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine slated for the upcoming Focus ST .

Having said all of that, Mazda did not completely rule out a future optional Skyactiv V-6 option for the Mazda6, but for now we will only see a four-cylinder engine.

We just hope that Mazda isn’t cutting its own throat by offering an under-powered four-cylinder for this hot-looking model. Then again, the automotive world tends to change with the wind, so you never know what may actually happen between now and the 2014 Mazda6’s release in the first quarter of 2013.

Renault cancels plans to revive the Alpine brand

With sister company Nissan digging into the depths of its history to revive the old Datsun nameplate, Renault felt a little out in the cold. Well, the constructeur automobile Français, err, French automaker has decided yet again to revive its long lost sports car, the Alpine A110, sort of.

Renault has announced that a 50th anniversary Alpine A110 model will make an appearance at the 2012 Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l’Automobile 2012), which opens on September 29th and runs through October 14th. Keep in mind, Renault once explored this topic before, but axed it in 2009.

The original Alpine A110 debuted in 1961 and lasted through the 1977 model year. It had a rather Porsche-like design and had a number of engines ranging from a 66-horsepower 1,108 cc engine to an impressive 140-horsepower 1,605 cc engine.

There is no word as of yet what engine this retro revival will feature, nor what it will look like. Chances are, however, it will be very similar to the original. Given the fact that Renault also owns a large portion of Nissan, this tribute car will likely bear a few Nissan components.

An actual production model is unlikely, as Renault already features a compact sports car, the Wind , and having two similar cars in an already massive lineup could be harmful. Then there’s the fact that Renault Renault -Nissan’s marketing head said “...for an Alpine to make sense financially, it would have to sell in North America and China.” We haven’t seen a Renault in the U.S. since 1989, so it’s a real stretch for it to ever see production.

There have been rumors afloat that the Alpine would be based off of the Nissan GT-R, but that would be a far different car than the original, which defeats the purpose of a tribute car.

Ultimately, Renault left us pretty much empty handed on details, so we all just have to wait patiently until September. Unless Renault decides to play nice and give us at least a glimpse.

UPDATE 07/01/2012: According to comments made by Renault chief of design, Laurens van den Acker, the French automaker is trying to develop a car that is more similar to the A110Berlinette from the `60s and `70s and that it is trying to do with Alpine what BMW BMW has done with MINI. Now, before you go getting all excited about seeing a production model of the A110 concept, you can scratch that, as Renault wanting a design similar to the `60s and `70s Alpine A110 nixes that possibility.

To add some validity to the reports, Jean-Pascal Dauce, Renault’s motorsports department head, was reported saying that they anticipate producing 5,000 to 10,000 Alpines per year. Rumors also point to this limited lineup of sports cars running between €35,000 and €40,000 ($44,000 to $50,000), which makes them relatively attainable.

The final tidbit of info leaked is that Renault is anticipating its release to occur sometime in 2015. Unfortunately, there is no information on whether the new Alpine lineup will be available in the U.S. or not. We are certainly hoping that it does, given what we have seen from the A110 concept.

2012 will be a pretty busy year for Ferrari . After the F12berlinetta and the new Enzo replacement, the company will take a little break from developing V12 supercars and will focus on offering the long rumored successor for the legendary Dino instead.

In the past few years, Ferrari has been up and down when asked about a new Dino, but now Ferrari sources have confirmed to us that a new Dino is currently being developed and that it will be unveiled this fall at the Paris Auto Show, with the production to follow in early 2013 - as a celebration of the car’s 45th anniversary.

The new Dino will be the smallest model in Ferrari’s line-up and will be powered by a detuned version of the V8 engine used in the 458 Italia. This means we’ll see a total output somewhere in the 450 HP area. As for its exterior design, expect to see the classic Dino brought to our modern days: it will combine elements from the latest 458 Italia , FF , and F12berlinetta and will still offer a 2+2 seats configuration. The best part is that the car’s legendary nose will remain, but will look a bit modernized.

As for the car’s price, our sources have confirmed that the new Dino will be the cheapest model in the line-up, but you’ll still have to dish out about $200K if you want to own one.

UPDATE 04/02/2012: In case you hadn’t realized it yet, April Fool’s!! This information is 100% false and was created for our amusement on this wonderful day!

Lotus Evora by Mansory

Partnerships and collaborations have become an increasing trend in the auto industry these days, and we need to look no further than the agreement struck up between Lotus and Mansory to know that the trend is on the upward tick.

The British automaker and the Swiss tuner recently announced that the two companies will be working hand-in-hand with each other for a number of future projects.

While details are still slim pickings at this point, the partnership between the two will make Mansory the "official customization studio" of Lotus with the former working hand-in-hand to build and contribute "bodywork, trim, and special finishes" for some of the latter’s vehicle offerings, including the Evora , Exige , and Elise .

According to Wolf Zimmerman, Lotus’ Chief Technical Officer, the partnership between Lotus and Mansory was sealed to further bolster the profiles of both companies, giving the tuner an opportunity to build programs for the automaker, similar to what they did last year when they debuted a program for the Lotus Evora at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show .

"Mansory are leaders in their field, and having worked closely with them on the Evora GTE and the special editions we’ve unveiled recently, we now wish to take the partnership to an official level," he said. "Together, I am confident we will continue to produce outstanding sports cars, with the bespoke qualities that many of our discerning customers look for."

The official timetable for the first tuning program under this new partnership will be unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show this coming September. Be on the look out for that bad boy because something tells us it’s going to wickedly out-of-this-world.

A lot of us might not be familiar with the Facel Vega name, but there once was a point in time when the French automaker was a pretty big deal. That was back in the 50’s and 60’s when Facel Vegas was considered the French version of Rolls-Royce .

Since then, Facel Vega has faded into oblivion, but now there are rumors going around that the company might return from the grave after recent teaser photos revealed a new Vega concept could make its debut at the Paris Motor Show. Some folks are speculating that the released images are nothing more than just design studies from an enterprising young designer, but considering there are a few teasers showing a car draped in a cloth cover, there’s a pretty good chance that these images are legit.

Apparently called the HK Coupe, the concept appears to be a sleek coupe with a fancy LED headlight configuration, a rather curious grille set-up that harkens back to the old Facel Vegas, and an interior that features a full-length center console, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and a 2+2 seating configuration.

No mention on what kind of powertrain this new Vega concept will carry, but since the old Facel Vegas ran with HEMI V8 engines, we won’t be surprised if the concept taps into the Chrysler engine once more.

More details are definitely to follow as soon as they become available, so stay tuned!

UPDATE 12/10/12: Details have been scarce on the Facel Vega HK Coupe Concept but new leads seem to have come to light after Facel Vega revealed a new batch of renderings on their Facebook page. Check them out in the gallery below.

Two years ago,Audi began to work on something very special indeed. It was called the Anniversario, a coupe concept that was suppose to show off the company’s excellence and it would debut at the Pebble Beach Concours Weekend. Yet, it was around this time that the world’s market collapsed and this sort of show car fell to the bottom of the priority list.

Now, with the economy back on track, Audi is on the verge of having another record sales year. For years and years, Audi has been in the third German automaker in the minds of many, with BMW BMW and Mercedes Mercedes -Benz leading the way, but those times have changes. They have grown through the years with technological innovations and it just so happens that one of those innovations, Quattro four-wheel drive, is celebrating a birthday. To us, and to Audi in fact, this historical moment seems like the perfect inspiration for the new Quattro.

UPDATE 03/12/2012: During an interview at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Quattro GmbH Product Boss, Stefan Reil, confirmed that Audi has finally made a decision about the production version of the quattro concept. Unfortunately it’s not a desirable one as they have decided there won’t be a production version of the car. The reason behind this decision is that production will require the intense use of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber body panels and many components from aluminum and magnesium, and these elements would jack up the price. (Fourtitude)

Hit the jump to read on.

Volkswagen Golf Mk VII

If you want a break from all the news about the upcoming Geneva Motor Show then we have something for you: fresh spy shots of the seventh generation Volkswagen Golf set to be released this Fall at the 2012 Paris Auto Show. The model was caught testing in its three-door version, but as you can see, it wears the same camouflage as the previous mule spied.

The future Golf VII will be built on Volkswagen ’s new "Modularer Querbaukasten" MQB platform - that will be seen for the first time next month in the new generation Audi A3 when it debuts in Geneva. This new platform will make the model longer and wider, as well as about 100 lbs lighter than the current generation. Volkswagen Volkswagen will try to keep the Golf formula intact, but there will be changes made to the car’s design, on both the exterior and interior.

It has been rumored that the new Golf VII will be offered with a new range of engines, more powerful and more fuel efficient. Volkswagen will also be offering a plug-in hybrid with 246 HP capable of more than 50 mpg.


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