small family cars

small family cars

With so many Mercedes-Benz AMG models floating around the market at the moment, it would have been easy to forget that the German giant doesn’t have a direct competitor to the Audi RS3 hatch or the BMW M135i . That’s where the new A45 AMG is said to step in.

Pinned to be the most affordable AMG on sale, the A45 AMG aims to not only compete with the aforementioned BMW and Audi models, but to completely annihilate them with its performance capabilities.

The A45 AMG has actually been in development for the better part of two years, and, after spying it in many times, the first official details on the car are finally here. It is the first high-performance vehicle Mercedes has ever offered in the compact class, and according to officials it will target the age range from 30 to mid-40.

The new Mercedes A45 AMG will be making its world debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and will be put on sale in April.

UPDATE 05/21/2013: Mercedes unveiled a new commercial for the new A45 AMG. Called "Apparition" the new ad is featuring features Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg riding the car. the ad is oddly similar to Toyota’s RAV4 ad, sans the high-performance hatchback, of course. Enjoy!

Updated 01/29/2014: Mercedes unveiled a new video featuring the new A45 AMG playing in the Sahara desert. Enjoy!

Volkswagen is already offering a Convertible and a GTI Convertible for their Golf line, so it would be ridiculous not to apply the same treatment to the most powerful model in the Golf line-up: the R version . The model is expected to make its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month, but Volkswagen already offered the first details on the model.

The new Golf R Convertible has been described as "the first-ever open-top R model and the fastest-ever production open-top Golf," and it pretty much offers the same features as the hatchback version. The difference will be of course its fully electric insulated hood that can be lowered in 9.5 seconds and raised in 11 seconds at speed up to 18 mph.

Updated 02/07/2013: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs. Hit the jump to read more about the new Volkswagen Golf R Convertible.

At the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen unveiled the Cross Up concept as a preview for the 5-door version of the Up . One year later, Vee-Dub-Ya is testing the production version of the Cross Up and our spy photographers managed to catch one in action without camouflage. To make things even more official, the prototype even has the Cross Up stickers on the rear doors – at least VW didn’t try to put pasties on a prototype this time around. This will be the fourth model in the Cross lineup, which includes the CrossPolo, CrossGolf and CrossTouran.

From these spy shots it looks like the production version will stay faithful to the concept car, with just the door strip being changed. Also, when compared to the standard Up, the Cross Up version will receive different bumpers, wider fenders, underbody protection and alloy wheels. Under the hood, we will most likely see the same engine lineup found in the Up.

We expect to see the Cross Up unveiled during the first half of 2013.

Skoda has begun testing the next generation Octavia months ago, and today the company finally decided to release the official information of its best sold model ever. The model arrives just two months after the official unveiling of the new Rapid and will be put on sale early in 2013.

The new Skoda Octavia will replace the second generation unveiled back in 2004 and will move from the current A5 (PQ35) platform to the new MQB platform. This is also the platform used for the seventh generation Golf , which means that the next Skoda will share most of its technical parts with the Golf.

The new generation Octavia will be offering a new exterior design language - also seen on the Rapid sedan - and will deliver "lots of room, quality, precise workmanship, modern, mature technology, timeless design, high functionality and the best price-value ratio."

Update 12/11/2012: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs. Hit the jump to read more about the new generation Octavia.

We have already seen the standard Volkswagen Golf VII and now Volkswagen is further expanding the lineup with the addition of the new generation Golf Variant. The station wagon version is enjoying a great success on the European market so is no wonder why the seventh generation brings significant updates.

When compared to the model it replaces, the new Golf Variant is about 105 kg (232 lbs) lighter, but in the same time it has grown in sizes and offers increased cargo area.

Also, as a first for the station wagon model, the seventh generation Golf Variant is being offered in an extremely fuel-efficient TDI BlueMotion version that delivers a combined fuel consumption of just 3.3 l/100 km (71.3 mpg). All the other engines and transmissions have been carried over from the hatchback version.

Updated 03/05/2013: This review has been updated with the official details, images and specs.

Hit the jump to read more about the seventh generation Golf Variant.

Before the 2013 model year, the top trim level of the Passat in the UK was the SE trim, which was relatively decked out, but lacked some of the extras that most premium sedans came with. In 2013, VW plans to change that by offering up a replacement for the outgoing SE trim level, the Passat Highline. Not only does the “Highline” name sound more luxurious than “SE,” but it also boasts an array of standard features that the SE did not.

This new addition affects both the Passat Saloon and the Passat Estate, which are a sedan and wagon, respectively. This gives the Passat lineup three trim levels in each body style, starting with the base-level S, the mid-grade BlueMotion, and capping off with the Highline. The real test is whether the additions to the top-level trim on the Passat really warrant the price the VW will place on it.

Click past the jump to read the full list of features and more.

BMW 1-Series Gran Turismo

Last week we brought you the first spy shots of the BMW 1-Series GT in its production form. Today we are doing that one better by bringing you our own rendering of the future Bimmer 1-Series Gran Turismo, which is set to hit the market in 2014.

As previously reported, the 1-Series GT was previewed by the Concept Active Hybrid and this is where our rendering began. We spiced it up a little by adding some extra goodies to it, including: a chrome-outlined front grille, lower-grille-mounted fog lamps and gloss-black side-view mirror stalks. In another words we made it cooler – well, at least we think it is.

For those of you who do not know just yet, the 1-Series GT will be built on BMW’s new UKL platform and will be offered with a choice of three engines: a standard 3-cylinder engine, a 4-cylinder petrol engine and a 3-cylinder hybrid powertrain that will combined a 1.5-liter petrol engine driving the front wheels with an electric motor for the rear axle.

The new 1-Series GT will make its official debut in the summer of 2013 with sales to beginning later in 2014.

Brabus is likely one of the most famous and successful Mercedes-Benz tuners on the planet, and there is really no questioning that. They likely play No. 2 fiddle only to AMG , in building kits that make relatively timid Mercedes into extreme machines.

One of the latest Mercedes-Benz cars to roll out with a new look and feel is the 2013 A-Class , which we have yet to see in the U.S. This hot hatchback comes in eight trim levels with small variances between each one. The engines in this lineup range from the timid and fuel-sipping 1.8-liter CDI engine to the wilder 2.0-liter 4-cylinder unit.

With the newly redesigned A-Class just rolling off of the showroom floor, it was only a matter of time before Brabus got its expert hands on it. And at the 2012 Essen Motor Show, which kicks off on December 1st, Brabus plans to unveil its modifications for the A-Class. However, in preparation for this launch, Brabus has issued a soft release of just some of the upgrades that it will offer for this new compact Benz.

Click past the jump to read all about the Mercedes-Benz A-Class by Brabus.

Hyundai has certainly tossed plenty of examples into the ring at the 2012 SEMA show and it has just unveiled another concept car. This new custom car sits on the base of a 2013 Hyundai Veloster , but Hyundai brought in famed car tuner, John Pangilinan, to help tweak it just a little bit.

The majority of the work done to this Veloster was to the body, interior, and sound system, which is pretty standard for SEMA. However, this is not to say that John P. and Hyundai just left the Veloster bone stock in the performance realm. This compact 4-door hatchback (three man doors and one hatch) received just enough engine modification to make it stand out and a tiny bit of suspension work to sure of the often-complained-about handling of the otherwise sporty Veloster.

At SEMA, the Veloster is up against the best of the best, however, so let’s have a look to see how Hyundai did with this project.

Click past the jump to read all about the Veloster JP Edition.

Wow, VW hit SEMA really hard this year, especially with the Beetle. Pretty much every model of Beetle that was heading to SEMA – Rotiform Beetle, Beach-Battle Cruiser Beetle , and the Super Beetle – were all readily available with images, but the Chopped Beetle by Gaplin Auto Sports was not, for some reason.

Well, GAS has just released an image of this chop-top Beetle and some extra information. It is based on the 2013 VW Beetle Turbo , which means it features a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a 6-speed transmission. There’s no mention of any additions to the engine, so we assume that it remains bone stock.

On the outside, GAS doused it with an Onyx Black base coat and accented the sides with Candy Apple Red metal-flake paint, giving it an awesome look. GAS then took to the top of the Beetle, hacking 5.5 inches off of the A-pillar and 2.5 inches off of the B-pillar, giving it that classic chop-top look, while retaining the classic humped roofline.

Adding to its bespoke look, GAS deleted the rear windows and added in rear air scoops in their place. If you have seen rodded beetles that retain their rear-mounted engines, this is a very common modification to get a little more airflow to the engine. Given this is a front-mounted engine, it’s just there for show.

Adding to its style is a set of 20-inch, 3-piece Forgiattos handmade rims. GAS them topped off the outside by adding tint to the headlights and taillights, giving this already sinister- and vintage-looking Beetle a little more darkness.

On the inside, the vintage treatment continued, as GAS tossed in vintage-style black leather that features red accent stitching. The headliner is dyed to match the vintage cow hide on the rest of the interior. Wrapping the inside and outside together, GAS painted the interior trim panels and dashboard with the same Candy Apple Red metal flake that sets off the exterior. We are still awaiting images of the interior and we will get them to you ASAP.

Overall, we think this was well worth the delay in getting the images, we just wish it had a little something extra under the hood.


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