Thursday, February 17, 2011

2012 Honda Civic coupe



The new coupe at least looks quite a bit different than the model it replaces.

But still...

It seems to be sitting just a bit on the wrong side of odd.
At least on these pictures.

2012 Honda Civic sedan





No surprises here.
Just like we thought, this all new design looks a lot like the previous one.

And the interior, at least to me, looks older than the current car.
A blockier version of the previous one.
And they're also keeping the rather depressing 80's looking beige interior. No tan here. Old fashion beige will do...

It still has a 5 speed auto. Engine is a 1.8 Liter with 140hp.
Except the Si which uses a larger 2.4 Liter with 200hp.

The smaller engine should return 39MPG on the freeway. While the 2.4 Liter is rated at 31.

Nothing breathtaking....

Jaguar B99 Concept by Bertone



This Italian designed concept is a smaller car than the XF. By about 18 inches.
Which seems strange. It does look quite large on these pictures.

Somehow, it seems to achieve the presence of a larger car.
Which is exactly what a small Jaguar should do.

Although this seems to be a complete departure from their current "new" designs, it does look much more like a Jaguar than the XF.
A little bit retro.

But I don't think they'll end up using Bertone's ideas in their final design...

Too bad...

All new Hyundai i40





Basically, a Sonata for Europe.
Although it does look different. Even inside.
it's not just a Sonata wagon somehow.

I hope they offer it over here as well.

Engines in Europe will include a 1.7 Diesel with 136hp, and a 2.0 Liter with 177.

2012 Mazda3



Mazda is slightly revising the Mazda3 for the 2012 model year.
But the big news are under the hood.
Where we will see, for the 1st time, what their new Skyactive technology is all about.
No word yet about how big or how powerful the new engine is.
We'll know more in a few days.

But I was never a big fan of the 2.5 Liter in the current model.
Although I love everything else about the car.
So a smoohter engine with better MPG can only be good news.

Here is the current model.
As you can see, they didn't go crazy with the changes....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What am I driving this week?

2012 Chevrolet Malibu illustrations



These are the most realistic illustrations I have seen of the next Malibu.
I guess we should be seeing the real thing very soon.

I still like the current design very much, and I am not sure the next one might be such an improvement. Although spy pictures have shown a very modern looking interior.
The 2012 will replace the V6 with a 2.4 Liter Turbo option.

2012 Return of the Audi A2?


The Audi A2 was produced from 1999 to 2005. But never sold in over here.

There is now a rumor about an all new A2, based on a stretched A1 platform coming up.
Audi is still saying we won't be getting the A1 in the US, so who knows if a larger version could be sold here or not.

It's really too bad about the A1. Especially considering the success of the Mini here. And the arrival of the Fiat 500.

MG6 Sedan introduced in Europe



This car was already introduced in China a few months ago.
But this is the version that will be built and sold in England later this year.
It was engineered in England but 80% of the part will come from China.

Power comes from a 1.8 Liter Turbo with 147hp.

Later, a British version of the small MG3 will also be introduced.

They are planing sales in the rest of Europe for 2012, once the new Diesel engine is ready.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Infiniti M56 S test Drive.



-OUTSIDE.

I think the new Infiniti M is one of these cars that some people hate. And others, maybe not love, but really like.
When I first saw pictures of it, I thought it had a melted look that wasn't very attractive.
But things are much better in person. At least for me.
I think the car is attractive, and quite impressive in person.
Especially with the 20 inch fitted to my test car.

It sure is a million times better looking than the new E class from Mercedes. And has more personality than the new A6.
But I sure like the new BMW 5 series's "quiet, modern yet expensive look".
A more subtle approach to luxury...

_INSIDE.

The interior of my test car did not have the weird an tacky airbrushed looking wood trim.
I guess it is only in the V6 version. Or the stunning dark wood trim I had was maybe part of the $2000 sport package.

Either way, the interior impressed me very much.
Everything feels ultra solid, And the attention to detail is amazing.
I have to say, this is one of the most impressive interior I have experienced.

Although there were still a few details missing.

Like an auto up feature for the windows. Which is weird at this pricepoint.
Or an adjustable center armrest. Another thing I would expect.
And the headrests don't adjust forward, they do in most European cars.









The stereo sounded great. Although I am still not sure it needs 16 speakers.

Everything you touch feels amazing. Every nob has a special texture.
The shapes whitin the doors match the design of the interior dome lights, etc...

It is quite a wonderful place to be....



-THE DRIVE.

-Ride.
The ride is very stiff. Maybe too much for most.
Although the platform is very solid and there is never a rattle or a squeak, you feel everything. Every ripple and bumps.
I was fine with it.
I think most people spending close to $70 000 in a luxury sedan might want something a bit smoother.

-Steering.
Same thing for the steering.
It is quite firm. Which is great.

This is a car that gives you plenty of feedback when you drive.



-Engine.
This 5.6 Liter V8 produces an amazing 420hp.
And you feel them all the time.
It is really like driving a muscle car. Except you barely hear anything.

It felt like a quiet Camaro SS at some times.
Quite an amazing feeling.

It is rated at 16MPG in the City and 25 on the HWY.
I got about 14 in the city.
But the transmission has an "Eco" mode. Which in effect, zaps all power from the car. Turning it into a giant Prius .
But I did get 17MPG around town on the Eco mode.

Although I would never use it it this was my car.
There is just no power left, like if the car started in 3rd gear, and shifted to 7th right away...

But. I did use it on the freeway. Where it's OK to just cruise around at around the speed limit. And I did get a quite amazing 31MPG there.
So I think the Eco mode does has some value, and there is a benefit to it, at least on the freeway.





-SO???

The Infiniti M56 is quite an amazing car.
But pricey.
It starts at $57 500, and my test model, including a few packages, was almost $68 000.
Which is in line with the V8 competition.

But the V6 version already has 330hp, which is plenty.
And should be much more attractive for most.
A hybrid version is coming soon as well. Getting more power than the V6, and rated at 24/32 MPG.

But if you want a luxury car that drives like a true muscle car. This is it....

Infiniti M56 S from Vince Burlapp on Vimeo.

More pictures of the new Kia Picanto






This is pretty nice considering it is 2 size smaller, and cheaper, than the Kia Forte.
Bellow the $12 500 Rio.

Of course, overseas models get options like leather, sunroof and GPS.
Things we can't even get on a Mazda2 over here.

The all new Rio is coming over here later this year. But I hope they can import this little guy over here as well.

New Fiat Freemont interior



As you can see, the interior is as similar to the Dodge Journey as the exterior.
Fiat chose to do the minimum amount of modifications for the European model.

Except, of course, using their own engines, including diesels, and a manual transmission.

Maybe it'll work... Who knows....

Monday, February 14, 2011

All new Lancia Ypsilon





It's finally here. After years of spy shots all around the web.

And the real thing does look like a Mini Delta, which is good.

This has a good chance to end up over here as a small Chrysler.

Infiniti Etherea Concept.




Inifiniti claims we'll a production version of this pretty soon.
It would compete with the Audi A3, BMW 1 and the new Lexus CT 200h.

The C pillar does look a little weird, at least on these 80's looking press pictures.

But otherwise, it could turn out really nice.

We'll see...