Out with the old in with the new! Aston Martin says that James Bond’s next car also previews the brand’s new look.
The DB10 two-door coupe, built exclusively for the next installment in the Bond film franchise, “Spectre,” overhauls a design language first used by the V12 Vanquish in 2001.
“The DB10 gives a glimpse to the future design direction for the next generation of Aston Martins,” the company said in a statement.
Aston Martin chose not to sit the DB10 on the new platform it is developing for future generations of cars. Instead it will sits on the VH (vertical/horizontal) platform and will be powered by a 4.7-liter V-8 engine, a company spokeswoman told Automotive News Europe.
The engine is sourced by Ford and also used in the V8 Vantage.
All 10 units of the DB10 will be used in filming the movie, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer tweeted Thursday.
The DB10 is fully driveable, according to Aston, and has already been tested by actor Daniel Craig, who plays James Bond.
Aston Martin announced earlier this year it is developing a new architecture to update the range but hasn’t said when it will appear on a new car. IHS Automotive recently told Automotive News Europe that it didn’t expect to see cars built on the platform until 2016 at the earliest. In addition, Aston Martin has an agreement with Daimler’s performance arm, AMG, to buy 4.0-liter turbocharged V-8s for its new models.
Aston is struggling financially as it announced a pre-tax loss of 25.4 million pounds (32.3 million euros) for 2013, according to a Reuters report. Investment firm InvestIndustrial bought a 37.5 percent stake in Aston Martin in 2012.
The reveal of the James Bond DB10 is the first big event at the firm since Palmer, a former top executive at Nissan, joined as CEO in September. Palmer tweeted a picture of himself unveiling the car at a UK event on Thursday to announce the film title, saying, “I challenge anyone to tell me I don’t have the best job in the car industry.” “Spectre” will be in theaters starting Nov. 6, 2015. With all of the success this partnership had had, will it continue with this newest installment?
Toyota unveils new sports car. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Toyota Motor Corp. are moving closer to putting jointly developed sports cars on the road.
Co-operation on the underpinnings of the vehicles “has moved on to the concept phase and is running according to plan,” Munich-based BMW said in a statement to Bloomberg News. A technical feasibility study that began in January 2013 has been “successfully completed.”
The mid-size model is the most visible project within a broader partnership the manufacturers have said will last until at least 2020. The two companies have been tight-lipped about details, including the targeted introduction date, after announcing the plan early last year. Toyota confirmed Thursday that the project has moved beyond the feasibility stage, which was initially due to be completed by the end of 2013.
Toyota, the world’s largest auto maker, needs sports cars “to put that energy back into the brand,” Europe executive vice-president Karl Schlicht said last month at the Paris Motor Show when asked about the co-operation with BMW, which this year started selling the racy i8 plug-in hybrid.
In January, Toyota showed the FT-1 coupe concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The company said the rear-wheel-drive sports car’s design drew from past models including the Supra, 2000GT and Celica.
In addition to the sports car, Toyota and the world’s biggest maker of luxury vehicles are co-operating on research into fuel cells, lightweight technology and lithium-air batteries. The two companies agreed to work together on lithium-ion batteries in 2012. Both companies declined to comment further on the new sports cars. The new sports car should be released in the new few years.
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The long awaited Audi Roadster has finally made its first appearance. Audi released the first images of its third-generation TT Roadster softtop cabriolet on Wednesday, teasing buyers ahead of the two-seat model’s debut at the Paris auto show next week.
Much of the new TT Roadster’s technical specifications are similar to the already-shown new TT Coupe. The cars have the same engine range and many of the same chassis components, but there are a few important differences.
The TT Roadster’s fabric roof is equipped with two electric motors that can open or close the top in 10 seconds, down from 12 second for the previous-generation model. The roof can be opened or closed at speeds of up to about 50kph (about 30 mph), Audi said in a statement. Thanks to parts made from magnesium, aluminum, steel and plastic, the roof weights 39kg, making it 3kg lighter than its predecessor.
The car also boasts improved crash safety, although the additional reinforcements to stiffen the body and compensate for the loss of the B- and C-pillar pack on 90kg of additional weight for the base 2.0-liter TFSI version compared with the coupe.
More rigid, slightly slower
To improve torsional rigidity, for example, aluminum A‑pillars each conceal a second steel pillar in their interior, which in turn houses a solid steel tube. As a result, the top-of-the-line 2.0-liter TFSI Quattro S tronic with 310 hp goes from 0 to 100kph in 4.9 seconds as a roadster, which is 0.3 seconds slower than the equivalent coupe.
“The concept of designing a compact roadster following clear geometrical rules formed the original idea for the Audi TT in autumn 1994,” Audi development chief Ulrich Hackenberg said in a statement on Wednesday.
In Germany, customers can begin ordering the new TT Roadster in October with prices starting at 37,900 euros for the 2.0 TFSI. The model will arrive in showrooms in spring 2015 while the higher-power TTS cabrio will follow shortly afterwards. How will this roadster compete with the massive market?
The best cars are here, and they are ready to be bought! 2015 model-year cars and trucks are starting to filter into dealers in earnest, and with that, the newly expanded jury from the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards is getting serious about assessing this year’s talented new crop with an eye toward doling out the awards in January.
Back in the beginning of August, the NACTOY jury released this year’s long list of around 60 new vehicles that it would consider for the awards. While that list basically included everything slated to go on sale in the 2015 model year, this tighter list of 10 cars and 12 truck/utility/crossover vehicles highlights the products that the self-funded, independent and non-profit jury of North American auto writers have determined to be worthy of closer inspection and consideration.
This year, no one automaker dominates the short list, but Ford, General Motors and Toyota have tied with three nominees apiece. The Blue Oval’s contenders include Mustang, F-150 and the Lincoln MKC, while Toyota has its redesigned Camry, Highlander and Lexus NX crossover. Finally, GM’s slate is made up of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins and the Tahoe SUV. Audi, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz have scored a pair of nominations each.
2015 North American Car of the Year Short List
2015 North American Truck/Utility of the Year Short List
At this still-early stage in the yearly judging, most jurors have not driven every nominee due to late vehicle availability (e.g., Nissan Murano), but the panel has been encouraged to give vehicles the benefit of the doubt in voting when culling the nominees down from long list to short list in order to ensure they get their just consideration. How will next years car lot compete!
Ferrari announced today that Luca Cordero di Montezemolo will step down as chairman of Ferrari as of Oct. 13 and will be replaced by Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, Fiat said in a statement today.
The departure of Montezemolo, 67, was widely expected after escalating clashes between the two executives over strategy and the role of Ferrari within the Fiat group.
Ferrari is a key component of Marchionne’s plans to expand in luxury cars to better compete with Volkswagen, which owns Lamborghini among its stable of high-end nameplates.
Montezemolo wanted to maintain Ferrari’s autonomous status and limit sales to about 7,000 cars a year to preserve the brand’s exclusive allure. That clashed with Marchionne’s goal of having Ferrari bolster a shift by Fiat into upscale cars as part of its merger with Chrysler Group.
Marchionne told reporters today that Ferrari will continue to limit annual sales but may gradually raise the cap to cater for rising demand. The cap could undergo “small changes” in some markets to prevent rivals getting an advantage by letting waiting lists get too long, he said. A Ferrari spokesman said the U.S. is one of the markets where demand for Ferrari cars is strong.
Ferrari will continue to provide engineering assistance to Fiat Group’s Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands to improve the quality of their cars. “Ferrari is a good school. Its importance within the group should not be underestimated,” Marchionne said.
Marchionne added that his new role as Ferrari chairman was not temporary and that bringing in a new chief executive for the brand was not on the agenda. He said there is no plan to fold Ferrari into the rest of Fiat Chrysler. “The success of Ferrari is mainly due to its unique brand,” he said.
Montezemolo’s Oct. 13 resignation date coincides with the day when Fiat plans to list Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in New York after completing a merger with its U.S. business and cementing a shift of the Italian group from its home for the past 115 years.
“Ferrari will have an important role to play within the FCA Group in the upcoming flotation on Wall Street. This will open up a new and different phase, which I feel should be spearheaded by the CEO of the Group,” Montezemolo said in a statement.
Marchionne said that he and Montezemolo had discussed the future of Ferrari at length and that “our mutual desire to see Ferrari achieve its true potential on the [Formula One] track has led to misunderstandings, which became clearly visible over the last weekend.” Marchionne said on Sunday that the recent disappointing performance of Ferrari’s F1 team was “unacceptable” and that it was “absolutely non-negotiable” that Ferrari should win F1 races. He also took issue with comments from Montezemolo offering to continue running the brand for three more years, saying that “nobody is indispensable.”
Under Montezemolo’s tenure, Ferrari raced to the top of the F1 standings, increased revenues tenfold and tripled sales volumes as the Italian family business grew into one of the world’s most powerful brands. Will this move benefit the auto giant?
Subaru wants to expand their market with their new WRX with is greener then any of their other vehicles. Subaru hopes the redesigned WRX line will capture a wider customer base with better fuel economy and safety features after spinning off the nameplate from its Impreza stablemate.
The longer, roomier and sportier looking WRX went on sale in the U.S. in the spring and was released in Japan on Monday.
The performance car, long a staple of the rally circuits, already has a dedicated motor-fan following. But Subaru wants to cast a wider net with better fuel consumption and safety features, Takeshi Tachimori, executive vice president in charge of global marketing, said at the car’s home market debut.
“So far, the WRX was a very narrow, polarizing category, but we want to make it appeal to a wider customer base,” he said.
That’s one reason Subaru brand parent Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd., decided to make the WRX and tuner STI variant a standalone entry after long offering it as a sub-brand of the Impreza.
That, and the goal of strengthening Subaru’s sporty lineup.
The Japan and U.S. versions of the base WRX chug less gasoline thanks to a new 2.0-liter direct-injection engine mated to a continuously variable transmission or 6-speed manual.
And both variants get a more rigid bodies and chassis set-ups, replete with more use of high-tensile steel plating, to enhance control and crash-worthiness. It gets the same reinforced frame structure used in other models that passed the new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small overlap crash test.
The Japan spec car also offers the latest version of Subaru’s trademark Eyesight camera-actuated pre-crash safety system, which delivers automatic braking and active lane keep assist.
Subaru hopes adding Eyesight will attract older customers. Will this be enough to change the way the market views their brand?
Cadillac announced that they will be releasing a new luxury Sedan. General Motors global product chief Mark Reuss said that a large luxury sedan being developed for Cadillac will “define its brand” and is a prerequisite to competing against rivals BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus.
“If we’re a serious luxury carmaker, it’s really important to us,” Reuss said at an event here Tuesday.
“This is a car that Cadillac needs, that will define its brand in terms of innovation and excellence,” Reuss told reporters. “That’s the mission.”
Cadillac’s chief engineer, Dave Leone, told Bloomberg last week that the rear-wheel drive sedan would arrive sometime in late 2015. It was the first time a GM official has publicly given a timeframe for the long-rumored sedan, codenamed LTS for now.
Reuss declined to discuss specifics but said Cadillac’s entry in the large luxury sedan segment “has got to be a symbol of excellence.”
Engineering mules of the sedan have been spotted recently being put through the paces at GM’s proving ground in Milford, Mich. It’s expected to ride on a new rwd platform and compete against the Mercedes-Benz S class, BMW 7 series and Audi A8.
Reuss downplayed Cadillac’s sluggish U.S. sales, which have fallen 2 percent this year through July, vs. 6 percent for the luxury market and 5 percent for all light vehicle. How will this luxury Sedan change the brand of Cadillac and stop this decline in sales?
There is nothing more iconic then a Lamborghini with its doors open. Finding a good Lamborghini Countach in British Columbia isn’t easy. Even in supercar-crazy Vancouver there’s maybe a half-dozen total, and most for-sale examples are in the southern U.S, says Jeff Dow. With so few available, when Dow found a red ’84 up for grabs in Calgary seven years ago, he had to have it. “For me, it was the first car that fit the definition of ‘exotic,’” he says.
Wherever Dow drives, people comment on it—and smile when its ‘scissor doors’ flip up. “When it came out, I don’t think any other car had anything besides regular doors, other than maybe the ‘gullwing’ and the Kaiser-Darrin,” Dow says. “Not only was the Countach a big wedge with a huge V12 engine right behind your ear, but on top of that, you flip the latch and the door scissors up. It’s a defining feature.”
The scissor doors: then
In October 1968 stylist Marcello Gandini of design studio Bertone introduced the world to a new way to open car doors: upward and forward.
His Tipo 33 Carabo stole the spotlight at the Paris Motor Show that year with its scissor-style doors, which Gandini incorporated to help clear the wide door sills of the Alfa Romeo racecar the Carabo concept car was based on.
The scissor doors: now
Though they’re universally referred to as “Lambo doors,” today you can find aftermarket-fitted scissor doors on everything from Plymouth Prowlers to Volvo station wagons to Geo Metro hatchbacks.
Several supercar rivals have adopted similar “vertical lift system” or “jack-knife” doors, too, but still nobody does it like Lamborghini.
“For us, the [scissor] door is something very important, very unique; in other cars, it works in a different way. We have a tradition with it,” says Filippo Perini, Lamborghini’s chief of design since 2004.
On the brand’s new Aventador, the doors open not just upward, but also outward slightly, to allow them to better seal shut, reducing road noise. Outside of engineering that change, the doors posed almost no design problems—almost.
“The only problem you face designing a car with doors like this is it is immediately compared to the Countach, and that does not make us comfortable as designers, because we have to do something better,” Perini chuckles.
“We are not allowed to do just a beautiful design—we have to do iconic design.”
The Aventador’s sharp creases and planar surfaces were very much inspired by modern stealth fighter aircraft, Perini says, and the doors fit that theme as well since they flip forward like a jet canopy.
When shortly after he was tapped by Lamborghini to work on Project 112, the Countach LP500 prototype, Gandini again went with scissor doors to work around that car’s space-frame-style chassis.
They helped make the car a hit at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, but posed some problems during development.
The opening mechanism was simple enough: a single gas strut forced the doors to swing upward just more than 45 degrees to open 80 inches. But by autumn 1973, engineers gave up on trying to build a traditional two-piece side window into the door – they found it kept shattering – and went with a three-piece configuration instead.
The production LP400 bowed in 1974, and looked largely liked the prototype (though the NACA-style ducts in the doors were now painted black). Almost immediately the unique design of the doors made for some interesting owner experiences.
“It took a while to figure out the easiest way to get in and out,” explains Dow. “Personally I just slide in backwards, put my ass in the seat, then swing my legs in, and vice-versa getting out.”
The car’s poor rearward visibility, combined with those wide door sills, also led many drivers to try a new way of reversing into a parking spot: by opening the door, sitting on the sill, and looking backward over the top of the car’s rear.
By the time its successor, the Diablo, came out in 1990, the Countach and its scissor doors were already an icon. Including the scissor doors on the new offering cemented their status as a trademark Lamborghini design feature, and helped ensure that from then on they would widely be known as “Lambo doors.”
The Diablo’s one-piece, electrically powered side windows were a major improvement, and the door opening was slightly larger, too. In 2001, when the Murcielago debuted, it, too, featured scissor doors that opened even wider, as well as a 25-mm lower door sill. What will happen in the future for these iconic doors?
Everyone wants luxury, but those who can afford it should consider the new Mercedes C-class. Mercedes-Benz is vying for the luxury compact crown with the redesigned 2015 C-class sedan, equipped with new technology and features trickled down from the S-class flagship.
BMW is the market leader in the segment, with the 3- and 4-series compacts. But Mercedes-Benz executives say the C class may finally give them the edge.
The C class looks like a smaller version of the S-class sedan, and it has the optional $2,800 Intelligent Drive package of integrated safety features. They include adaptive cruise control, rear-end collision protection, Pre-Safe braking and steering, and cross-traffic and lane-keeping assist.
“Mercedes-Benz is demonstrating that we are not just going to set the standard with the S class, our goal is to set the standard in every segment — even one that might be traditionally associated with the 3 series and BMW,” said Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. “We have spent the last few generations closing that gap.”
With the new-generation C class that goes on sale Aug. 25, “we are going to set a standard for style, for interior fit and finish and standard features,” Cannon said. “We have been more of an S- and E-class company.”
To further separate the C class from the CLA sedan — the entry to the brand that went on sale last year — Mercedes made the C-class sedan about 4 inches longer and 1.5 inches wider than the previous model.
With the frame and body structure made of aluminum, it will be more agile and handle better than today’s model, said Bart Herring, general manager of product management for Mercedes-Benz USA. The redesigned C class is up to 200 pounds lighter than today’s model.
The C class will have Collision Prevention Assist Plus as a standard feature. The system senses if a collision is imminent, and if the driver doesn’t respond, it autonomously brakes the car at speeds up to 124 mph. It also can brake to avoid a stationary vehicle ahead and to prevent rear collisions.
Competing brands don’t offer this feature in this segment — or on many of their high-end vehicles, Cannon said.
Collision Prevention Assist Plus “is us throwing down the gauntlet — no one has it in the segment,” he said. “Our competitors do not have it on their highest cars. It demonstrates where we are going.”
The Intelligent Drive package is another edge, said Herring. “We have networked it to almost give the car senses to set you up to make better decisions or assist to keep you out of danger. That is cool on a $100,000 S class. Will this new technology take off? Who will be the next to adapt this technology to their line of vehicles?
The Aston Martin is a iconic car, and will continue to be with the release of this new generation. You have to hand it to Aston Martin. Its entry-level V8 Vantage may be nearly a decade old, but the British automaker never tires of rolling out ever more powerful versions. Where the original packed a 4.3-litre V8 derived from a Jaguar design and producing 380 horsepower, this latest version packs 565 hp to become the company’s quickest and fastest roadster to date, not to mention its most powerful.
Following the debut of the V12 Vantage S coupe, the new V12 Vantage S Roadster packs the most powerful iteration of Aston’s ubiquitous 6.0-litre V12 engine to date. Equipped with CNC-machined combustion chambers and hollow camshafts, unburdened of 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of excess weight and mated to Gaydon’s latest Graziano-developed Sportshift III seven-speed sequential gearbox, that engine is capable of propelling the open-top rocket to 60 (0-96km/h) in 3.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 201 miles per hour (324 kilometres per hour). That’s considerably quicker than the flagship Vanquish Volante, which runs to 60 (96 km/h) in 4.1 seconds and tops out at 183 mph (295 km/h), painting the V12 Vantage S Roadster as Aston’s most performance-focused droptop to date.
It’s also got a flatter and fatter torque curve than the previous V12 Vantage Roadster, three-stage adaptive damping, three-stage stability control and two-stage ABS, carbon-ceramic disc brakes and a lightweight exhaust derived from the pipes on the One-77. Like what you see? There are more details to digest in the press release below, including a full range of customization options from the Q by Aston Martin catalog. This new Aston Martin is going to rip up the street near you in the next year.