Is Citroen's new DS3 ready to take on the Mini? Lately, Citroen has been making a good job of impressing us with their new designs of Car. They really seem to have been getting the design and engine power spot on and producing really fun car cars to drive. It started with the magnificent 2003 C-Airdream coupe, the 2005 C-Sportlounge, and the extraordinary low-slung luxury C-Métisse sedan of 2007.
The DS3, DS4 and DS5 will be companion models to the C3, C4 and C5. Each will have their own sheet metal and their own USP. They won't have to appeal to the masses and won't be built down to a price. Well, not such a low price.
DS stood and continues to stand for a new approach to automobiles and the future. CITROËN is taking inspiration from its design DNA to strengthen the positioning of its new product line. The range instills the different spirit, that the name DS inspires. Hence the distinctive model lineup will be called DS3, DS4 and DS5. DS: Different Spirit. Expect the GT version to take it a step further with an even stiffer set-up.
What you see here is more than just a styling exercise. According to early reports, the concept, which is officially called the DS3 Inside. "The Mini is our benchmark for fashion and design," says Budar, "but for handling, we want to go our own way with the DS3. A Mini is a toy but it's a bit tiring for every day. We will still have some comfort with our car. OK, for comfort the DS3 won't be as good as the new C3, but the sportiness will be at a much higher level. All the springs, dampers, anti-roll bars and bushes are different. It even has a smaller steering wheel."
Inside the DS3 features leather and climate and has a sort of modern twist on a traditional interior (they couldn't have picked up some ideas from the Fiat 500 and the MINI - surely?!).There are a set of decent looking seats with a sort of bracelet-link sectioning. The steering wheel is small and the seats are set quite low. The dash flows right across the cabin and features a lot of gloss black (the 'in' thing for design this year, it would seem). The onboard navigation system is roumoured to be maps that will offer aerial photographic images, something that's impossible for DVD-based sat-navs to provide because it takes up too much disc space.
The Citroen DS3 GT has a tough track to follow with the Mini Cooper. On looks the DS3 is holding its own with its massive wide arches, rear wing spoiler and pumped up bonnet vent and body kit it certainly looks the business but what about its engine and chassis? Under the vented bonnet it looks likely that Citroen will install the 1.6 liter turbo from the Peugeot 207 GTi and Mini Cooper S. Performance should be similar on paper, with 0-60mph in around seven seconds and a top speed approaching 135mph.
Citroen's focus isn't only on opulence, though. Eco-friendly stop-start technology will be offered as standard across the range, while Peugeot-Citroen's diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain is set to debut in a DS model.
It has a chance of reviving some of Citroen's quirkiness, which stood it in good stead for many a year, and it will doubtless offer a more supple ride than either the MINI or the Alfa.
As for pricing, the DS3 illustrates the positioning; it will cost more than the replacement C3, obviously, but will undercut the Mini, its main rival. The DS3 doesn't hit the dealers until spring 2010, so Stay Tuned!
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Prepare to be amazed as Aston Martin reveals its latest creation - the Cygnet. A city-car that's smaller than a Ford Fiesta. So why has Aston Martin gone from supercars to a super-mini? It will instantly become the world's smallest super-luxury saloon and represents Aston's most radical model departure in its 90-year history.
The company has identified that around 30 per cent of owners have small cars such as the MINI or Smart ForTwo in their garages, using them for short journeys to and from city-based offices. There has never been a wider range of hot hatchbacks on sale from frantic city cars to 300bhp, rally inspired models. Aston martin aim to offer their customers a very luxurious Hot Hatch which is less than three meters in length, its flexible package can accommodate up to four people, providing owners with a new dimension of versatility.
Aston Martin is preparing a small car concept of its own based on of all things the Toyota iQ. Word is it will still be powered by the Toyota engine, a 998cc 3-cylinder that makes all of 67 horsepower. The luxury commuter concept, which Aston Martin claims will 'offer customers a distinctive, intelligent and exclusive solution for urban travel in style and luxury' is actually based on the diminutive urban runabout and was created in collaboration with the Japanese automaker.
Aston won't be drawn into revealing details of the Cygnet's interior, but promises the changes inside will be even more extreme that the tweaks outside. So we can probably expect the same attention to detail as you'd get on the DBS, with a leather-clad cabin featuring the very best materials, along with an ECU (Emotion Control Unit) that plugs into the centre console, replacing a traditional key. According to Aston Martin, the cygnet will offer great fuel efficiency, a compact size, Euro NCAP 5-star safety rating and the prestige of the company's luxury brand.
Unfortunately being produced in small numbers has put them out of reach for most people in fact the Aston Martin Cygnet will only be offered for sale to existing Aston customers or to those who place an order for of the company's better-known and more expensive wagons. The New Cygnet car is specifically aimed at the one-third of existing Aston owners who already own a Mini-sized car. So the Cygnet is intended to act rather like a yacht tender, doing the school run or nipping down to the shops, saving the real McCoy for those weekend dashes down to Zermatt or St Maxime.
So squash those dreams of owning a cheap luxury city car because it's just not going to happen as you do need a parent in order to obtain a wee cygnet.
Although it's still in the concept stage, the green light for production of the Aston Martin Cygnet is expected to be given before the end of the year. Aston Martin expects to build between 1000 and 2000 cars a year, with earliest cars earmarked for sale in the UK and Europe where the iQ has won a five-star NCAP safety rating. Cars will be sold exclusively through Aston dealers.
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For those Lotus enthusiasts who can't wait for the replacement Esprit, or just want a harder, faster more focussed track-biased version of the Elise then Lotus has released the second generation Exige; with a maximum power output of 260bhp and 0-60mph can be achieved in less than four seconds.
Four high capacity injectors and an up-rated fuel pump add additional fuel under hard acceleration or continuous high speed driving. A lightweight flywheel is fitted (giving even greater flexibility and response to the gear change), a sports-type clutch plate and heavy duty clutch cover transfer the engine power and torque to the lightweight C64 six-speed gearbox (with an aluminium casing) - with the same perfectly spaced ratios as the Lotus Exige S.
Lotus has had plenty of experience with small capacity turbos with the Vauxhall VXR220 Turbo. Like many blown cars it makes rapid progress but in a series of surges. Lotus, long time masters of emerging technologies, sees no such conflict between the need to clean up its exhausts and the desire of its customers to enjoy themselves. In fact, it sees these aims as entirely complementary, and it has even built a car to prove this. Lotus has adopted this standard engine for the Elise and standard Exige, and it can work as it should.
Fuel economy, at 24 mpg city/29 mpg highway, is quite respectable. Fuel economy is rated at 12.4 and 6.5 liters/100 km (city/highway) - which works out to 19/36 mpg. The combined rating is 8.7 liters/100 km or 27 mpg.
Gear change shift lights similarly remain hidden until required.
Additionally, the Exige runs on Yokohama A048 rubber-pretty much racing slicks with a few grooves-and their grip even on public roads is immense. On dry roads, at least.
You can even specify such niceties as air-conditioning, electric windows, carpets and a digital sound system, not to mention colours such as Chrome Orange or Krypton Green.
Warning symbols are secret until lit, keeping the instrumentation free from visual clutter and distraction until necessary.
On the racing track is where the lightweight, supercharged 09 Exige shines. From the driver's seat the track orientated launch control allows you to determine the engine revs you wish to use during a standing start on the track. Having programmed that limit, it will not be exceeded when you then hold down the throttle and sidestep the clutch at departure from the line.
Lotus says the Exige's aerodynamics and conservative rear spoiler offers a whopping 45kg of down force at 100mph - a figure that rivals thoroughbred racing machines. The fastest Exige S dismisses 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds and reaches 100mph from standstill in 12.8 seconds.
Few vehicles, aside from racing cars, motorbikes and extreme theme-park rides, can pull this amount of g-force under acceleration, braking and cornering. This gives a safe, but fun (even exhilarating) experience that you can only get from such a finely honed sports car. Exige models are in a league of their own being instruments of pure driving bliss.
9 July 2009 - Jaguar Cars tonight officially unveiled the all-new XJ car at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London.
Hosted by Jay Leno, one of the world's best-known chat show hosts and a renowned car enthusiast, the launch of the new Jaguar flagship was attended by an invited audience that included public figures, business leaders, celebrities and media.
Jaguar Cars Managing Director, Mike O'Driscoll, commented: "These are truly exciting times for us at Jaguar. The new XJ is truly beautiful, exhilarating to drive, and with its bold, enlightened approach to design, it meets the challenges of our fast-changing world. It re-imagines the ultimate sporting luxury car."
The all-new XJ is available to order now (dependent on market), with the first customers due to receive their cars in early 2010. Prices start at £52,500 for the standard wheelbase 3.0-litre V6 diesel luxury.
Sleek, sporting and sophisticated, the all-new Jaguar XJ brings a daring new spirit to automotive luxury - it offers a seductive mix of striking design, breathtaking performance and engineering without compromise.
Building on the success of the new XK and XF models, the introduction of the all-new XJ is a landmark for the revitalised Jaguar brand. Clearly positioned as the company's four-door flagship, it extends the appeal of the XJ to a new generation of customers.
"The new XJ is a thoroughly modern interpretation of the quintessential Jaguar. Its visual impact stems from the elongated teardrop shape of the car's side windows, that powerful stance and its wide track. It is the most emphatic statement yet of Jaguar's new design direction", said Ian Callum, Design Director, Jaguar Cars.
An innovative new panoramic glass roof is an integral part of the all-new XJ's design concept, enabling the car to have a lower, more streamlined roofline, while dramatically enhancing the feeling of light and space inside.
Standard- and long-wheelbase models are available from launch. The long-wheelbase offers an even more sumptuous and refined environment for rear-seat passengers with an additional 125mm of legroom. Whichever the wheelbase, the XJ's 520-litre boot can swallow two large suitcases side-by-side.
The all-new XJ's cabin is a marvel in its own right, blending elegant, contemporary design with the comfort, luxury and unmistakable sporting style of a Jaguar. Chrome and piano black detailing provide an eye-catching contrast to the beautifully-crafted leather and veneer surfaces.
To complement the all-new cabin design is a level of choice in colours, veneers and leathers not seen before in a Jaguar. Three specification levels - Luxury, Premium Luxury and Portfolio - allow the customer to tailor the car to suit their tastes. Beyond this are the Supercharged and the top-of-the-range Supersport, the latter providing the ultimate expression of performance and luxury, with a specification that includes a leather roof-lining, semi-aniline leather seats and veneers with laser inlays.
All of Jaguar's acclaimed new ultra-efficient Gen III petrol and diesel engines will be available in the XJ. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel, 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 and 5.0-litre supercharged V8 have already proved their breadth of ability, and they are joined by a 470 horsepower version of the supercharged engine. Fuel economy and emissions are also outstanding, with the diesel-powered XJ returning combined economy figures of 40.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 184g/km.
Proven Jaguar dynamic technologies are taken to new levels in the all-new XJ. Features such as air suspension, Adaptive Dynamics (continuously variable damping), Active Differential Control and quick-ratio power steering deliver the blend of responsive, dynamic handling and refined, supple ride expected from a Jaguar.
Inside the car, advanced new technologies have allowed Jaguar's designers to create an environment more akin to a state-of-the-art living space than a simple car cabin.
Stunning, 12.3-inch high-definition Virtual Instruments complement an innovative, Dual-View technology 8-inch Touch-screen that can project DVD movies or television programmes to the passenger while the driver views vehicle functions or follows satellite navigation.
Premium surround sound options include the top-of-the-range 1200W Bowers & Wilkins system, which is comparable in audio quality to the best in-home entertainment. Advanced infotainment features also include hard drive-based audio and navigation systems, and comprehensive connectivity for portable audio and video devices via the powerful Media Hub.
The all-new XJ also takes a new approach to sustainable motoring. Constructed using Jaguar's aerospace-inspired aluminium body technology, the XJ is lighter than its rivals by at least 150kg which significantly improves performance, handling and economy, while delivering increased strength, refinement and safety.
The lightweight aluminium structure - with 50 percent recycled material - underpinned by a lifecycle approach to vehicle design and manufacture, enables the new XJ to minimise its carbon footprint. This alone creates a potential saving of three tonnes of CO2 per vehicle, compared to a bodyshell made from new aluminium.
The all-new XJ offers extremely attractive cost of ownership with impressive fuel economy and emissions performance across the range; high predicted residual values and 15,000-mile service intervals. These benefits are just some of the results of Jaguar's obsessive attention to detail during product development. Processes such as the use of the latest 'virtual' technologies to implement 40,000 quality-specific assessments are one of the reasons that the Jaguar brand has received numerous recognitions for vehicle quality.
To register interest in the all-new XJ, customers should Call or Email (please see contact details at the top of the page).