200 km/h rollercoaster at Ferrari World theme park!

Abu Dhabi is slowly but surely catching up with its showy sister emirate Dubai. It’s already a Formula 1 host, and later this year we’ll see the world’s largest indoor theme park and the first ever Ferrari theme park open its gates at Yas Island. The mega development covers the already in use racetrack, shops, hotels, thrill rides and everything else that will make it a “Disneyland” for the car enthusiast.

Unsurprisingly, everything here is the biggest or the fastest. The theme park’s red roof, which is supposed to be inspired by the side profile of the Ferrari car, shades over 2.15 million square feet and is imprinted with the largest Prancing Horse emblem ever made (66-metre diameter).

The star ride at Ferrari World will be the world’s fastest rollercoaster. Travelling at speeds “in excess of 200 km/h”, one doesn’t need to be in Alonso’s car to feel extreme G-force and wind on the face at 200 km/h. Passengers can expect to be launched over 62 m through the roof and back down again to replicate the F1 G-force experience. Another rollercoaster ride is the GT Racing Coaster which will have two “competing” cars racing along parallel tracks to the “finish line”. As you can see here, the car is a replica of a Ferrari F430 Spider with a cabin for four – another world’s first?

Supercharged Ferrari California

The Ferrari California does very well for an “entry-level” model, with its front-mid mounted 460 bhp/485 Nm 4.3-litre V8 paired to a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox for 0-100 km/h in four seconds and a top speed of 310 km/h. German based tuner Novitec Rosso aims to put the California’s performance beyond doubt by plonking in a supercharger for the V8.

The result is 606 bhp at 7,900 rpm and 603 Nm of twist. Now the 2+2 GT can complete the century sprint in under 3.8 seconds and reach maximum velocity of 325 km/h. The cogged belt driven mechanical charger’s boost pressure is at 0.4 bars. New components include a water-to-air intercooler, custom intake manifold and larger injectors. The Cali is also equipped with a Novitec stainless-steel exhaust system with sport catalysts. An integrated flap mechanism activated by the steering wheel manettino switch controls the intensity of the exhaust note.

I must say that the white example seen here isn’t too over the top (can’t always say that for tuned cars), and the add-ons blend in nicely without looking like add-ons. Novitec says that its front spoiler was wind tunnel developed and reduce front axle lift at high speeds. New rocker panels with integrated airfoils and black side markers are the changes to the side profile. For the rear, of course there’s a diffuser and a spoiler lip, but also here is a carbon-fibre strip surrounding the number plate.

Novitec’s springs lower ride height by 35 mm, but what’s cool here is a hydraulic lift system for the front axle that can raise the Ferrari’s chin by 40 mm at the push of a button. This will make it easier to navigate speed bumps or car park ramps. The front reverts to its original position at a second button push or automatically upon reaching 80 km/h.

Lastly, those pretty three-piece star spoke Novitec NF3 wheels of 21 inches up front and 22 inches at the back are wrapped with special order Pirellis measuring 255/30 and 315/25, respectively.

First Ferrari 458 Italia in US raises $530,000 for Haiti

Ferrari has raised $601,000 for relief efforts in Haiti by the CMMB (Catholic Medical Mission Board) and the William J. Clinton Foundation. At the star studded gala event, the first Ferrari 458 to arrive in America was auctioned off for $530,000. US prices for Maranello’s latest isn’t out yet, but it’s priced close to £170,000 in the UK, which translates to nearly $255,000, so the unnamed buyer “gave away” quite a bit for charity.

Hosted by Piero Ferrari, Deputy Chairman, Amedeo Felisa, worldwide CEO of Ferrari, and Marco Mattiacci, the newly appointed North America CEO, the party was attended by over 500 guests and Ferrari aficionados, including John Mayer, Jeremy Renner, Patrick Dempsey, Aaron Eckhart, Joel McHale, Malin Ackerman, Mollie Simms and Katie Cassidy.

Other things to go under the hammer was Fernando Alonso’s original racing suit (which raised $31,000) and two “experiences as a Scuderia Ferrari team member” at the Canadian Grand Prix in June, which went for $20,000 and $21,000.

It was also announced that the Department of Orthopedics and Hand Surgery of the University of Modena will make its knowledge and resources available to help CMMB in Haiti. A team of hand and microsurgery specialists, whose studies have been financed by Ferrari, will help out in the earthquake wrecked Caribbean nation.

Ferrari 458 Italia

Naza Italia, the distributor of Ferrari and Maserati in Malaysia, has unveiled the Prancing Horse’s latest supercar – the 458 Italia – at a Ferrari party with some 400 guests, including the Scuderia’s two Formula 1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. The glitzy party was held at the company’s facility in Petaling Jaya.

Ownership of the 458 Italia starts from RM2 million, and Naza Italia already has 14 names in its order book for the car. That’s a big number, considering that the company has only sold about 23 Ferraris since it was given local rights to the brand back in March 2008.

The 458 Italia, which made its world debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, is powered by a mid-rear mounted direct injection 4.5-litre V8 producing 570 bhp (at a screaming 9,000 rpm!) and 540Nm of torque (80% available from 3,250 rpm). With the F1 dual-clutch gearbox and a low weight of 1,380 kg, it completes the 0-100 km/h sprint in under 3.4 seconds on to a top speed of over 325 km/h.

Ferrari 599 GTO is Maranello’s fastest ever road car

Reviving the Gran Turismo Omologata moniker that recalls the 1962 250 GTO and the iconic 1984 GTO, only 599 examples of the 599 GTO will be made. Ferrari will debut its latest at the Beijing Motor Show later this month.

The 599 GTO’s engine is lifted from the 599XX but with necessary modifications for road-going homologation. With that, the engine complies with Euro 5 and LEV 2 standards. The 6.0-litre V12 makes 661 bhp at 8,250 rpm with maximum torque of 620 Nm at 6,500 rpm. This is good for a 3.35 second run from 0-100 km/h and a top speed of “over 335 km/h”. It uses a 6–speed F1 gearbox with 60 ms shift times and the ability to make multiple downshifts. The 1,495 kg 599 GTO lapped Fiorano at 1′24″, faster than the Enzo.

Apart from new springs and a stiffer rear anti-roll bar, the 599 GTO also features a second generation magnetorheological suspension control system. It works in tandem with VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) and latest-generation F1-Trac traction control. These combine to make the car extremely responsive to driver inputs – thanks in part to the “very direct steering ratio” – highly stable under braking, sharper on turn-in, more precise in cornering and quicker out of corners, says Ferrari.

It also comes with second-generation carbon-ceramic brakes (100-0 km/h in just 32.5 metres), new aerodynamic innovations such as wheel doughnuts that improve aerodynamic efficiency and brake cooling, and Supersport tyres developed by Michelin. The driver-car interface is also new with the adoption of the Virtual Race Engineer (VRE) which provides the driver with instantaneous information on performance. We wonder if Mr. VRE will give the 599 GTO driver hurry ups like how Rob Smedley does with Felipe Massa.

Subaru Justy: Rebadged Daihatsu Sirion/Perodua Myvi gets racy upgrades!

Subaru has revealed a newly improved Justy 1.0R which is basically a re-badged version of the Daihatsu Sirion

This newly “improved” version, designated as the Justy 1.0 Twin Cam Special Edition carries a limited production run of 100 units only, with 50 finished in Black Mica and another 50 in Shinning Red.

With a base price of £9,995 which is about £700 more than the standard 1.0R, the Twin Cam Special Edition is powered by the same 68HP 3 cylinder engine found in the 1.0R, and is treated to a rear roof spoiler, twin exhaust system, over roof ‘viper stripes’ and side decals, leather and alloy gear knob and rear privacy glass.

As standard, just like the 1.0R model, it features ABS with EBD, radio/CD player with AUX input, four electric windows and remote central-locking. There are also driver, passenger, front side and curtain airbags. Potential buyers can also opt for 15-inch Monza R alloy wheels wrapped with Toyo 185/55R15 tires for an extra £ 600.

Just the Myvi we have back at home, it is also one of the cheapest vehicles to run in Europe with a 64.2 miles to the gallon fuel consumption figure based on the Extra Urban Cycle and an annual £ 35 Road Fund License fee. Subaru also further revealed that “The new Justy 1.0 Twin Cam now offers even more, and offers a racy alternative for the younger, and the young-at-heart, motorist”.

Daihatsu Luxio MPV launched in Indonesia

Daihatsu Luxio

Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd has launched the new Daihatsu Luxio in Indonesia. While the Toyota Passo Sette/Daihatsu Boon Luminas could be considered a baby Wish of sorts, the Luxio is a baby Alphard, and unlike the Passo Sette offers dual sliding rear doors. This vehicle used to go by the “Daihatu Stylo” codename while still under development, but later the Luxio name was picked and finalised.

Under the hood is the often-used 3SZ-VE 1.5 liter DOHC VVT-i cast-iron block engine producing 109 PS at 6,000rpm and 141Nm of torque at 4,400rpm, available with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. While offering similiar power outputs to the 1NZ-FE in the Vios, does not have the NZ-series engine’s aluminium block. The Luxio uses a MacPherson strut suspension at the front and a 5-link rigid axle at the rear. The body is said to be built on a monocoque chassis. It is 4,165mm long, 1,665mm wide, 1,915mm tall, has 180mm ground clearance and a turning circle of 5.2 meters.

Astra Daihatsu Motor targets sales of 1,000 units a month at a price tag of between 136 to 165 million rupiah, which is approximately between RM42k to RM51k for 4 spec levels ranging from the D, M, X, and X automatic.

Daihatsu wants you to have a nice warm cup of…

Daihatsu Mira Cocoa

Daihatsu has launched yet another body variation of the Mira in Japan, this time called the Mira Cocoa.

In Daihatsu’s own words, the use of the name Cocoa was chosen because the car intends to give the driver and passengers that comfortable and relaxed feeling of drinking a hot cup of cocoa on a cold day.

The Mira Cocoa measures 1,530mm in height, 1,930mm long and 1,345mm wide. Only one engine option is available in Japan – the 660cc KF-VE with DVVT variable valve timing, producing 58 PS at 7,200rpm and 65Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. There are two different transmissions available – a 4-speed auto or a CVT transmission, with the latter being more fuel efficient.

For the 2WD car, the CVT can provide up to 23.5 km per liter on the Japan 10-15 test cycle while the 4-speeder can only do 19.4km per liter. 4WD versions can do 20km and 18.6km per liter respectively for the CVT and 4-speed cars.

Daihatsu is shouting about the funky new rear view mirror that they’re using in the Mira Cocoa, claiming its the first of its kind installed in a vehicle in Japan. It integrates a back view monitor into the rear view mirror, which is also equipped with an auto anti-glare function. Now I wonder why there’s no mention of aerodynamics values…

Tokyo 2009: Daihatsu e:S compact car

This is the new Daihatsu e:S. It weighs just 700kg and is powered by a 660cc engine, typical of K-cars in Japan. The car looks like it’s in the same class as the Ford Ka and it uses a current Daihatsu production platform but with its wheelbase shortened to 2,175mm. That’s even shorter than the Viva’s 2,390mm. The light weight and the fuel efficient engine with features such as Idling Stop System results in an estimated fuel efficiency of 30km per liter under the Japan 10-15 test! In case you were wondering what the name meant – e:S stands for ‘eco and smart’.

Daihatsu e:S Concept

More Daihatsu K-Car Concepts for Tokyo 2009


Want a cheap “landaulet”? Get a Daihatsu Basket Concept when it goes into production. Right now it’s just a concept little lifestyle “K-truck” with a removable soft top over the rear seats. There’s even a little boot deck behind the rear seats for tools and stuff in case the Basket is used to carry stuff, like another tool commonly used by people with the same name, the common basket.


And then we also have this fridge on wheels that’s called the Daihatsu DecaDeca. There is no B-pillar and both the front and rear doors swing outwards towards the front and rear of the van respectively. And like most K-vehicles in Japan, it is powered by a 660cc engine. And it’s nice that both the DecaDeca and the Basket do have a certain family resemblance about them.

Advertisement 2nd generation Daihatsu Boon gallery February 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm By Paul Tan Filed Under Cars, Daihatsu, International News Here’s so

Looking at photos are one thing but seeing a concept car in real life is another. The e:S has some really small rear seats though making it somewhat like a 2+2, but you’re better off using that space as a boot instead.

To give you an idea, the e:S Concept’s 2,175mm wheelbase is actually even shorter than the now-”extinct” Kancil’s 2,280mm wheelbase. It’s based on an existing platform but had its wheelbase shortened so it should mean the development cost for a production car would not be excessively high.

Weight loss techniques such as slim and lightweight seats and light materials give the e:S a total weight of 700 kg. As a result, its 660cc engine with auto-start stop can take it as far as 30km on a liter of fuel under the Japan 10-15 drive mode.

Daihatsu  e:S Concept

2nd generation Daihatsu Boon gallery

Here’s some shots of the Daihatsu version of the new 2nd generation Toyota Passo. If you want to know more about what’s changed with the 2nd generation car. The platform is most likely similiar to the 1st generation but there are new Dual VVT-i engines. Look after the jump for the gallery of the Daihatsu-badged car. Perodua’s version will come soon I suppose!

Citroen teases the DS4 concept?

What you see above is believed to be a teaser image of the Citroen DS4 and many are saying that it is a concept instead of a production-ready version. This vehicle, concept or not is said to be based on the company’s C-SportLounge concept that was shown back in 2005. Unfortunately we have nothing more to share with you at this moment but we know that Citroen will unveil the DS4 at the Geneva Motor Show which will take place next month. Stay tuned!

Citroën DS High Rider info and images released

More information and images released by the French carmaker of its Geneva showstar. Called the DS High Rider, it’s supposed to “represent a bold and radical vision of the future, combining compact dimensions with generous internal volumes, dynamic performance, sophisticated style and consummate quality,” according to Citroën.

Typically Citroën, the DS High Rider’s windscreen soars over the heads of its front occupants. The muscular appearance is also brought by the high waistline and 19-inch alloys, while the bold front end features gaping air intakes, long headlights and defined ridges along the bonnet. Citroën says that the roof is covered with a “coated textile material”, whatever that is. Dimensions are 4.26m long, 1.82m wide and 1.48m high. To get a mental picture, that’s the same width as a Honda CR-V, but 20cm lower and 26cm shorter than the Honda.

Under the skin lies a ‘Full Hybrid’ drivetrain that combines PSA’s acclaimed HDi diesel engine with an electric motor located on the rear axle. Citroën says that the DS High Rider has fuel efficiency and power of an HDi diesel engine with the ecological benefits of an electric vehicle.

Citroen DS3 Racing

The first ad I noticed once touching down at the Geneva airport was one for the citroen DS3 which had the headline “anti-retro”. We all know that the DS3 is pitched as a rival to BMW’s Mini, and the ad is clearly a jibe in the direction of the bug-eyed car. I understand the DS3’s appeal for those who either don’t “get” the Mini’s retro looks or simply look at it as a fashion fad. With creative design typical of Citroen and a modern, classy cabin, we reckon that it will do very well in Europe.

At the Geneva show, Citroen Racing (Citroen’s STi/RalliArt) paraded the DS3 Racing that’s set to go on sale in the second half of 2010. Limited to 1,000 units, the DS3R comes with plenty of carbon trim – on the front bumper, lower body trim, wing extensions, door side mouldings and spoiler, to be exact. The grey showcar was nicely contrasted with orange on the roof, wing mirrors, grille and rims (18-inch, looks really wicked) and wore some funky decals. Orange and carbon are also repeated in the cabin, which has a high-quality feel to it.

Citroen took the 1.6 THP engine (as found in our Peugeot 308 Turbo) and boosted output to 200 bhp, while torque is up from 240 Nm to 275 Nm. The gains were achieved by “optimising powertrain components”, modifying the turbo, remapping the ECU and adding a sports exhaust system. With these figures, the DS3R will outpace a Mini Cooper S, but will it outpoint the Brit in the bends?

For starters, the standard front and rear tracks have been widened by 30 mm and the DS3R sits lower by 15 mm. Stiffer springs, retuned shock absorbers and “specific steering mapping” for a more precise helm have been added as well. To cope with the added grunt, Racing spec brakes have been installed – four-piston calipers up front and drilled discs for the back. Also, the switchable ESP system has been tuned for “extra vitality, sportiness and driving pleasure” – in other words, it’s less restrictive.

We’re bound to see more of the DS3 in the sports pages, as it will replace the C4 as Citroen’s WRC machine – the French brand is a five-time WRC champion and is defending both driver and constructor crowns with rally king Sebastien Loeb.


The GQbyCitroen concept is a concept car styled by GQ magazine’s editorial team and executed by Citroen’s design team, including Mark Lloyd, the man who was responsible for the new Citroen DS3’s design. If this is the case shouldn’t it be more like a CitroenbyGQ rather than a GQbyCitroen?

In any case, the car looks like a 2-seater to me. It’s just a concept so Citroen can probably say whatever they want in terms of what’s powering it but in this case they’ve chosen a plug-in hybrid system based around a 1.6 liter direct injection turbocharged inline-4 – probably the same 1.6 liter Prince engine found in nearly all of their cars now. 0 to 100km/h is quoted to be 4.5 seconds while CO2 emissions are just 80 g/km of CO2.

Despite the car being released somewhere around the Geneva Motorshow, the car was never shown at the show.

Mitsubishi sells 100,000 i-MiEVs to a single buyer?

Yes, that’s true, and the buyer in question is PSA Peugeot Citroën. Mitsubishi has announced the signing of a “Final Cooperative Agreement” that will see the French giant purchase 100,000 units of the i-MiEV electric car. PSA will market the rebadged i-MiEV as the Peugeot iOn and Citroen C-Zero. Both French badged cars will go on sale in Europe by the end of this year, starting with their domestic market.

This sealed deal comes just after both parties failed to agree terms for a capital alliance in the style of Renault and Nissan. Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko and PSA chief Philippe Varin met at Geneva and jointly released a statement that a capital tie-up would not be realistic although both companies would continue to expand business ties.

Besides this latest deal, which would help Mitsubishi achieve better economies of scale for an expensive project, PSA also bases its Peugeot 4007 and Citroen C-Crosser on the Japanese maker’s Outlander SUV.

Citroën pays homage to China with Metropolis concept

Citroën should be one of the few remaining carmakers who believe that concept cars must deliver shock and awe above all – their recent creations like the GTbyCitroen, Revolte and the Survolt from Geneva look like beings from another planet. Their latest concept, Metropolis, takes all that wackiness and puts it in a limo body.

The French carmaker says that the Metropolis “pays homage to China’s extraordinary development” and reflects China’s “avantgarde status, grandeur and vitality”. What? Created by Citroën’s international design team – based in Shanghai since 2008 – the Metropolis will be on show in the French Pavilion at the 2010 Expo in Shanghai from 1st May to 31st October this year.

The Metropolis’ silhouette is imposing (5.3m long, 2m wide, 1.4m high), blending taut lines with smooth surfaces. Up front, the sculpted wings and kite-shaped grille hint at recent Citroen concepts. The headlamps have an “imperious and steely look” according to its maker. At the rear, there’s an active spoiler and Citroën’s signature concave rear window. Wrapping up is a ‘Pearl Silk’ body colour that changes under different light conditions.

This car is a plug in hybrid which consists of a 2.0-litre V6 petrol and a 7-speed, dual-clutch gearbox. At low speeds, the limo runs in zero emissions mode, its electric motor developing a continuous 55 bhp, peaking at 95bhp. At steady speeds, the engine provides 272 bhp and 375 Nm. When additional performance is required, both sources combine for 460 bhp and 430 Nm of torque channeled to all wheels. The Metropolis sits on Citroën’s Hydractive suspension, of course.

PSA Peugeot Citroen to rebadge Mitsubishi ASX

PSA Peugeot Citroen and Mitsubishi have announced that the Mitsubishi ASX (called RVR in Japan) will be built for PSA Peugeot Citroen. This comes as no surprise considering how many other “rebadge” deals PSA and Mitsubishi have been having in the past – the Outlander rebadged as the 4007 and C-Crosser as well as the i-MiEV rebadged as the Peugeot iOn and the Citroen C-zero.

The Peugeot and Citroen versions of the Mitsubishi ASX will have their own styling, much like what they did for the Outlander project. PSA Peugeot Citroen will be using its own 1.6 liter HDi turbodiesel for its versions of the ASX. They are targetting a fuel consumption of 4.7 liters per 100km for the two wheel drive version. An all-wheel drive version will also be available.

Fiat-Chrysler now interested in GM Europe

GM Europe’s Insignia has been getting good reviews

Well, the conditions for Fiat to take up a stake with the now bankrupt Chrysler has been fulfilled, and Fiat has been quick to look to something else in order to hasten the move towards consolidation of the auto companies during this recession.

Many have predicted that there will only be a few automakers left after this slump, with the rest either eliminated or merged. Datuk Syed Zainal’s suggestion for Proton to merge with Perodua a couple of weeks back would put Proton under the Toyota umbrella via Perodua’s Daihatsu shareholding, which is in turn owned by Toyota.

Lancia Delta Hardblack

Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Vauxhall and Opel could share B and C platforms

Anyway back to Fiat and the New Chrysler – a third piece of the puzzle that Fiat is said to be interested in acquiring is GM Europe, which covers Opel, Vauxhall, and other GM European operations. The resulting company would be a giant with annual sales of 6 to 7 million cars, which is claimed to be similiar to how much the Volkswagen Group puts out. Saab is pretty much a separate thing, and at least 10 parties are interested in acquiring them at the moment, according to Saab spokersman Eric Geers.

The new company is temporarily given the codename Fiat/Opel and is described by Fiat head Sergio Marchionne to be a “marriage made in heaven” as Fiat and Opel could consolidate their B and C segment cars to use the same platforms, while Fiat continued with its small A-segment platform and Opel’s D-segment platform. Apparently Fiat offered 1 billion Euros for Opel, but GM considers the amount too small for the moment. No updates if any other follow-up offers were made.

Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen’s platform-sharing success is an inspiration to all

But of course whenever there’s any news to do with GM you have to listen to what their unions have to say. Opel senior labor leader Klaus Franz says if the Fiat and GM Europe merger does happen, between 9k to 10k jobs may be lost via factory closures and other restructuring. He then accused Marchionne of trying to build a global carmaker financed with German and American taxpayer money.

Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn also warned that achieving and maintaining real synergies between multiple brands while increasing volumes and lowering costs is a very difficult thing to do. He added that Volkswagen’s platform-sharing strategy started all the way back in 1992 and it was alot of hard work and planning for it to be the success that it is today.

And Fiat and GM have already been in some sort of alliance from the year 2000 to 2005, which ended in GM paying over US$2 billion to get out of the arrangement because it was not going very well. At that time Fiat was burning cash at a rate of nearly US$2 billion a year, accumulating $14 billion in net losses during the 5 year period. It was the time of the Fiat Stilo which went nowhere, and a Fiat Punto that shared components with an Opel Corsa.

Whatever happens, it’s really one thing to build a huge empire that could be the second largest carmaker in the world and perhaps the largest in the future, but another to structure and manage it properly once formed. Just look at GM and its mess of brands. You could end up flourishing like the Volkswagen Group or just another GM or DaimlerChrysler.

Vauxhall Insignia

Marchionne spins off Dodge Ram business as RAM

Dodge Ram

Chrysler has decided to grab the axe and split Dodge right in half, severing the ties between Dodge’s Ram truck business and the rest of the company that makes passenger vehicles. Apparently this will allow Dodge to “protect and develop the unique nature of the product offerings within the Dodge brand”, according to Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne, who is also the CEO of Fiat.

The Dodge Ram truck business will be renamed simply RAM, and will be headed by Fred Diaz. “Dodge Car”’s new head will be Ralph Gilles. Chrysler’s new CEO and marketing head will be Olivier Francois, another man from Fiat where he plays a double role as Fiat marketing chief and the head of the Lancia brand.

Chrysler now has two predominantly truck-based brands – RAM and Jeep. The Dodge Ram is currently in its fourth generation called the Dodge Ram 1500, and is available in various 2-door and 4-door cab bodies.

It’s powered by a choice of a 5.7 liter Hemi V8 producing 390 horsepower and 552Nm of torque, a 4.7 liter Magnum V8 making 310 horses and 447Nm of torque, or a 3.7 liter Magnum V6 making 215 horses and 319Nm of torque.

Dodge also has the smaller Dodge Dakota and the Dodge Durango based on the Dakota. I guess it would make sense for these to follow the Ram to the new RAM brand.

Ferrari to share Detroit show stand with Chrysler

Glamour brands Ferrari and Maserati will be present at the 2010 Detroit Motor Show – Maranello was absent last year – but will share the same floor space with the Chrysler Group! High-end marques normally set up shop at the show’s luxury row, so imagine seeing the Ferrari 458 Italia next to a Dodge Ram and a Jeep Wrangler!

But that’s where the Italians will be, sandwiched between Dodge and Jeep brands. Both are part of the Chrysler Group, now part of the greater Fiat Group, which has Ferrari and Maserati under its umbrella. One big happy family indeed!

Chrysler is reportedly not hosting a press conference at this year’s show, so its new neighbours will do the job of drawing in the crowd. The Lancia Delta rebadged as a Chrysler is set to be one of the few “new” offerings on display.

The North American International Auto Show 2010 press preview starts on January 11, and we will bring you the best Detroit has to offer so keep your eyes peeled!

Chrysler upgrades powertrain tech, courtesy of Fiat

American manufacturers have been lagging behind in powertrain development compared to their European counterparts, US automakers realise that they need to deliver more efficient and economical drivetrains, or face seeing customers looking to Japan and Korea for their new cars.

The Chrysler Group is also on the same boat, but doesn’t need to self-develop thanks to its alliance with Fiat. The Pentastar has announced a powertrain revamp that will see overall fuel-efficiency improvement of over 25% from now till 2014. “Chrysler will attain leadership by rapidly applying Fiat Powertrain tech, such as Multiair, direct injection, turbocharging and transmission systems to its powertrain portfolio,” said Paolo Ferrero, Senior VP, Chrysler Powertrain.

Fiat will donate its 1.4-litre FIRE engine with Multiair, available in naturally aspirated and turbo form. Multiair emplys electro-hydraulic variable-valve actuation to deliver increase in power of up to 10%, improvement in low rpm torque of up to 15% and reduction in fuel consumption and emissions by 10%. The system has full control of the lift and timing of engine valves, independently on each cylinder and during each single engine stroke. The N/A engine has 100 bhp and 129 Nm while the turbo comes with 170 bhp/231 Nm.

Chrysler has also integrated Multiair into its 2.4-litre GEMA World Engine, boosting figures to 190 bhp and 237 Nm from the previous 172 bhp/223 Nm. A turbo version is under development.

Beginning with its D-segment cars, Chrysler will use Fiat’s six-speed Dual Dry Clutch Transmission, which delivers 10% better fuel efficiency. The ‘box can handle up to 350 Nm of torque.

Lancia Delta appears at Detroit 2010 as a Chrysler

This third generation Lancia Delta was the sole Lancia car at the 2010 Detroit show’s Fiat-Chrysler stand which consisted of all the Chrysler and Fiat brands including Ferrari and Maserati.

The only thing is, this sole Lancia wasn’t exactly a Lancia. Instead it had Chrysler badges on it. It didn’t even have its own nameplate – it was simply called a Chrysler.

The Lancia Delta is essentially built on a long wheelbase (+100mm) Fiat C platform, the same base as the Fiat Bravo. In American terms that makes it somewhat of a CD car like the Ford Fusion and the Chrysler Sebring.

Look after the jump for a full hi-res gallery of the Delta.

Chevrolet Cruze for North America

GM has revealed that the American market version of the Chevrolet Cruze will get refinement upgrades for it to be ‘good enough’ for the American consumer. “We have a different set of competitive vehicles here in North America than what exists in Europe. We needed to make a number of adjustments,” said Chuck Russell, GM’s vehicle line director for compact cars in North America.

Here are a list of the changes:

  • The windshield has been replaced with an acoustic laminated version.
  • Doors get more insulation and sealters were added to some of the door headers.
  • Airbag count tops at 10 including knee airbags and rear seat side airbags.
  • The Cruze gets a different rear suspension design – an Opel Astra-like Watt’s Z-link as opposed to the regular torsion beam suspension on the world market Cruze.

Chevrolet Cruze SS for Singaporean market

In case you’re in the market for a C-segment car in a few months time, here’s a piece of news to remind you that you might have one more option soon!

Chevrolet Singapore is now offering a “Cruze SS” bodykit for Cruze customers, consisting of a front, rear and side skirts, a rear spoiler, 17 inch alloy wheels wrapped with Falken tyres, and illuminated skuff plates.

The Cruze SS kit is priced at SG$4,980 which translates to about RM12,075. The yellow stripes are of course quite clearly milking the appearance of the Camaro in the Transformers franchise, though in the movie Bumblebee is yellow with black stripes.

We’re still waiting for our Cruze. There were plans to launch it here in Malaysia last year but the GM and DRB-HICOM partnership fell through. Things should pick up again once new distributors Naza start operations and it’s only logical that they’ll start their distributorship with the introduction of Chevrolet’s C-segment ‘world car’.

We’ll likely see it with a 1.8 liter normally aspirated engine mated to a 6-speed auto but one can still harbor some hope for a juicy1.4 liter ecotecs turbo instead?

Chevrolet Camaro Convertible production confirmed

GM reassigned the contract to Magna when a rival supplier, Germany’s Edscha AG, filed for insolvency, according to sources close to the project. Magna is slated to build the Camaro top at its Bowling Green, Kentucky plant, with fabric from its Mexican operations.

GM put first-year Camaro convertible production at about 20,000 units, which makes it one of the largest North American ragtop contracts alongside the open top Ford Mustang. North American convertible system production is at its lowest point in years. Only 41,380 were built through late November of last year, down from 200,000 four years ago, say industry sources.

Drastic sales declines last year and GM’s bankruptcy forced the automaker to kill several convertible programs, including the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky and Cadillac XLR roadster, so it’s good to hear that the al fresco Camaro is going ahead. Last May, GM spokesman Terry Rhadigan told Automotive News that the Camaro convertible would be ready for production in the first quarter of 2011.

Chevrolet Sail compact sedan

Not too long ago; it has just been officially introduced in China by Shanghai GM. The Sail differs from previous Chevys sold in China (and the Aveo Sedan/Lova) in that it’s the first passenger car created in China from scratch by a Sino-foreign joint venture. The Sail was developed by Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), both GM-SAIC joint ventures. GM also announced that the Sail will be exported to other emerging markets.

Five variants are available, with the base model priced around RMB 60,000 (US$8,800). This marks a breakthrough in the under-RMB 70,000 (US$10,300) small car segment, where Chinese brands have traditionally been dominant. Dual air bags, a retractable steering column and ABS with EBD are standard. The higher spec models come with a sunroof and power retractable side mirrors.

Detroit 2010: US-market Chevy Cruze loaded with kit

The Chevrolet Cruze is GM’s global C-segment car that will serve markets as diverse as North America and China.which can be had with a 115 bhp/150 Nm 1.6-litre or a 140 bhp/177 Nm 1.8-litre. The latter is the base engine for the US market, whch will get GM’s 1.4-litre Ecotec turbo engine with 138 bhp and 200 Nm of torque. Besides better performance, this variant has a range of over 800 km. Both manual and auto ‘boxes are six speeders.

The North American Cruze will be built in Lordstown, Ohio. It comes with an equipment list that’s alien to Cruze buyers in Asia. Heated leather seats, ten airbags (including knee airbags), electronic stability control with rollover sensing, Bluetooth, USB, navigation system, XM Satellite Radio and OnStar are all standard.

Chevy focuses a lot on quality and refinement in its press documents. It claims that the Cruze’s panel gap tolerances are among the best in the class. Hydraulic ride bushings and an isolated engine cradle reduce vibration, while 18 distinctive acoustical treatments reduce noise.

Detroit 2010: Chevrolet Aveo RS Show Car

Damn, this Aveo RS destined for the Detroit floors when it opens in the USA our time tonight is pretty good looking, and its has a suitably equipped powertrain as well.

The Aveo usually has to make do with mundane engines putting out just over a 100 horses but for this Aveo RS, it gets a turbocharged 1.4 liter Ecotec engine making 138 horses and 200Nm of torque, the equivalent of a 2.0 liter normally aspirated engine. It’s mated to a 6-speed manual transmission in this car.

The reason GM developed the Aveo RS is so that it could show that it’s possible for B-segment cars to look good and convey excitement. Americans do not historically touch (relatively) tiny cars like these unless they absolutely have to, but these days even Detroit are pushing small cars, like this new Aveo and the new Ford Fiesta which was just launched in the US not too long ago.

Chevrolet Beat unveiled ahead of Delhi show

GM has launched the Chevrolet Beat in India ahead of the Delhi Motor Show. Production started mid-December 2009 at GM’s Talegaon plant, which will export 20% of its output by the end of this year. India is one of the first few markets to get the Beat; it’s not yet launched in Europe and North America, where it will replace the Daewoo Matiz based Spark and take over that nameplate. The Beat will be sold alongside the old Spark in India.

The Beat is powered by a 1.2-litre S-TEC II twin-cam with 79 bhp, capable of 18.6 km/l fuel consumption. The engine features what GM calls PDA (Port De-Activation) which ensures high exhaust gas recirculation for combustion stability at low speeds, improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. The sole transmission is a five-speed manual, but an auto ‘box and diesel engine is on the way.

GM says that the Beat’s body is the stiffest and toughest in its segment with 66.5% high-strength steel and over 16% ultra-high-strength steel. With this, it expects a good EuroNCAP rating. Two airbags, ABS and EBD are options in the top LT spec, but climate control, integrated audio with USB and AUX-in, steering column mounted LED back-lit speedo and LCD digital rev counter are standard. Roof rails are also included.

The Beat carries Chevrolet’s design language which appeared in the Cruze. It’s a five-door hatch, but looks like a three-door because the rear door handles are hidden in the C-pillars. Looks familiar? The Beat, in concept form, starred as Skidz in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

2009 Cadillac CTS-V gives you 556hp to play with!

2009 Cadillac CTS-V

Thanks to its 6.2 liter supercharged V8 engine, the Cadillac CTS-V clocks in at just under 556 horsepower on the power scale, placing it right under the 580hp Audi RS6 in the race for the most powerful factory D-segment sedan. That’s of course if you discount the Brabus E V12 based on the W211 E-Class, producing 640 horsepower from its S-Class-sourced V12 engine.

You may wonder how Cadillac ended up with names like the CTS and DTS when it used to have proper wordy names such as the Deville, Seville and Eldorado. Well, those names are still alive today actually. DTS stands for DeVille Touring Sedan while the CTS you see here actually replaces the Catera, so CTS actually stands for Catera Touring Sedan. The STS is the Seville Touring Sedan.

This is based off the second generation CTS, and the V at the end of its name denotes it belongs to the V-Series of high performance Cadillacs, which also include the STS-V sedan and the XLR-V hard top convertible.

0 to 100km/h only takes 3.9 seconds with this car, and Cadillac claims a sub-8 minute lap time around the Nurburgring circuit. Manual shifting via steering wheel shift buttons is available via a hardy 6-speed automatic transmission that has to handle 748Nm of torque, but for the full manual experience complete with clutch and all a 6-speed manual is also available.

The CTS-V also features what it calls the world’s fastest reacting suspension – Magnetic Ride Control shocks sourced from Delphi, who also supplies its MagnaRide adjustable magnetic suspensions to Audi.

2010 Cadillac SRX: with 3.0L V6 or 2.8L turbo V6

Cadillac has updated its SRX crossover SUV and it is now in its second generation since first introduced in 2004. The mid-sized Caddy SUV now looks more dynamic and in tune with current design trends, unlike the first gen which had a slightly boxy look that reminds you of a Dodge.

Two engines are available – a normally aspirated direct injected V6 and a more powerful turbocharged 2.8 liter V6. No SRX-V yet, but looking at how BMW is rushing to make M versions of their SUVs, I won’t be surprised if we see the introduction of a SRX-V, perhaps with the CTS-V’s 550+ hp LS V8 engine under the hood?

The 3.0 liter V6 is a downsized version of the 3.6 liter unit in the Cadillac CTS, which was named one of the world’s 10 best engines for 2009 according to Ward’s Auto. It’s equipped with the latest fuel-sipping technology such as variable valve timing and direct injection, and is paired to a 6-speed Hydra-Matic 6T70 6-speed automatic transmission. The more powerful engine is the 2.8 liter turbocharged V6 that puts out 300 horsepower and 400Nm of torque, similiar figures to BMW’s turbo inline-6.

To help with fuel economy, all-wheel drive is not a standard feature so customers who do not want or need it can opt for a two wheel drive version that sheds the AWD system’s heavy equipment. But for those who opt for all-wheel drive power, it is also equipped with an eLSD at the rear, which helps with torque distribution for maximum traction. There is also a real-time adjustable damping system which can vary the suspension’s parameters on the fly in response to road conditions.

Please check out a full high res gallery after the jump. Personally to me this is just another SUV from an American company, but I’m glad this article is coming to an end because the vehicle’s name is pretty hard to type, considering how R and E are next to each other on the keyboard! :P

2010  Cadillac SRX

Detroit 2010: Cadillac CTS Coupe

Other than the XTS concept, the usual fare of Cadillacs were there including the CTS Coupe, which has just had its CTS-V debut. Alot of North American media seem to like how the CTS Coupe looks like but I don’t know, blame regional tastebuds but despite the sharp clean lines it still just looks like a boxy hunk of metal with doors cut into the sides to me. Too much chrome and too much blank sheetmetal.

Cadillac CTS-V Coupe previewed ahead of Detroit

Following the trend of releasing images of a car before its motor show debut, Cadillac shows us the CTS-V Coupe ahead of the 2010 Detroit Motor Show, which starts in five days time. We will bring you live coverage from the first major motor show of 2010, but for now let’s turn our attention to this sharp looking Caddy.

As its name suggests, the CTS-V Coupe is a two-door version of America’s BMW M5 fighter. It shares the sedan’s 6.2-litre supercharged V8 with 556 bhp and 747 Nm of torque, which propels it from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds – the sort of figure that was reserved purely for high-end exotica not too long ago. Choose between a manual or automatic with paddle shifters, both with six speeds. Power goes to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential

The CTS-V Coupe has a Magnetic Ride Control system with two modes (Tour and Sport) and big Brembos (6-pistons up front and 4-pistons at the back). Inside, desirable options include 14-way adjustable Recaro seats fitted with pneumatic bolster controls. More information to come when we see it in the metal at Motor City!

Detroit 2010: Cadillac XTS Platinum concept

Cadillac has of late been quite successful in ditching its old man’s car image, spearheaded by hip-hop’s favourite SUV, the Escalade, and the sharply styled CTS sports sedan. But some remnants of its conservative past remains in the range, such as the DTS, which looks stuck in the 90s and totally out of sync with Caddy’s new image.

For Detroit, GM’s luxury brand shows off the XTS Platinum concept, a big car application of Cadillac’s “Art & Science” design language which would complete the brand transformation should it replace the STS/DTS. It’s pretty much the big brother of the CTS – carrying the same sharp, angular lines, but with more restraint.

The XTS is powered by a 3.6-litre direct injection V6 paired with a plug-in hybrid system, which is estimated to produce 350 bhp and 400 Nm. The concept uses an AWD chassis. The XTS’ Magnetic Ride Control uses shocks controlled by magneto-rheological tech, rather than mechanical valves, to govern body control and ride comfort.

Like current Platinum Edition Caddys, the concept’s interior is full of hand cut-and-sewn materials. The XTS injects more contemporary forms and themes into the cabin, including the use of Organic LED displays in place of traditional gauges and screens, which contrasts the warm wood trim. “We envisioned this concept as an automotive personal headquarters, using advanced technology to enable new levels of connectivity and luxury,” said Bryan Nesbitt, Cadillac’s GM.

Barack Obama wants hybrid limo.

Contrary to what many people think, the President of the United States of America doesn’t always get what he wants. ABC News reports that Barack Obama wants to go green by having hybrid power in his motorcade, but his wish is being denied with a sharp NO by the Secret Service.

The US President said that security reasons was why his presidential limousine could not be a hybrid vehicle. “I asked can we make these cars hybrids,” Obama said at a town hall in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Secret Service said no. Now, the reason is not because Secret Service are bad guys. It’s because the cars that I’m in are like tanks.”

Obama explained that his Cadillac, nicknamed “the beast” for being big and black, is reinforced with armour plating and a host of protection gear, causing it weighs over two times the normal weight of cars. “They just couldn’t get the performance in terms of acceleration using a hybrid engine.”

The US Government recently announced that they have purchased more than 5,000 hybrid cars and trucks. “We are using our purchasing power to help encourage the clean car industry,” the Commander-in-Chief said.