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?
Many Canadians have European tastes. Volvo’s V40 hatchback smashed records in European crash tests, scoring an unprecedented 98 of 100 points. But restrictive Canadian regulations mean consumers can’t buy the sporty hatchback here.
The V40 received a five-star rating in 2012 from the European New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), a consortium of seven European governments and consumer safety organizations, which organizes crash tests for European cars. Its safety features include the world’s first pedestrian airbag.
The V40 is just one of dozens of popular European models that don’t get to this side of the Atlantic because they don’t meet Transport Canada standards. In many instances, for companies such as Volvo, Audi or Mercedes, it’s not economically feasible to retest or modify a model to fit Canadian rules. Those changes can also add anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 to the retail price.
Volvo Canada president Marc Engelen scoffs at the barriers to the V40, which also effectively prevent the importation of the V40 Cross Country and the V60 plug-in hybrid (1.9 litres/100 km). He calls the government regulations “ridiculous.
“As a smaller company we are not prepared to do these investments,” Engelen says. “Maybe the European trade agreement can help, but there’s delay there, too and that doesn’t help the cause either. It’s not an advantage to the final customer.”
Meanwhile, Transport Canada standards prevent the sale of such models as the Volkswagen Scirocco (formerly sold in North America) and the Mercedes-Benz A-class hatchback.
This has been a hot button issue for Tim Reuss, president of Mercedes-Benz Canada, who has been outspoken about Canada’s regulations. Like other European manufacturers, his company is frustrated with little progress after months of lobbying.
While Canada and the EU have hashed out a blueprint for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, expected to be final in 2016, Reuss says the company has been “lobbying and pushing hard … to at least open the door to discuss standards and regulations.” He expected the process to be slow, but sees little sign of progress.
He’s advocating for “reciprocal acceptance of each other’s standards,” because that would more quickly open Canada’s doors to more models.
As Canada harmonizes its auto regulations with the United States, that sends a mixed message to European auto makers, Reuss says.
“From my perspective, there seems to be a disconnect between, let’s call it the political government and the bureaucratic government.”
Reuss says Canada’s ongoing efforts to harmonize auto standards with the United States amounts to accepting U.S. regulations. Meanwhile, “Canada politically has made it clear that they, while maintaining a special relationship with their neighbour to the south, are opening themselves up to the rest of the world. For me, that seems to be a fundamental disconnect.”
But harmonization with the United States is critical to Canadian consumer safety and expectations, says Mark Nantais, president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association. He says Canadian standards are more rigorous than the EU’s. He cites North American specifications as tougher than EU’s “limited” standards on things such as side and frontal impact occupant protection, roof intrusion strength, and fuel system integrity in side and rear collisions.
“Canada and U.S. standards are data-driven and have been shown to have public safety benefits which have resulted in regulations that are more stringent,” Nantais says, adding there are about 15 remaining standards to harmonize between the United States and Canada, where there were once many more.
“Keep in mind these companies are highly competitive and want to be leaders in sales … generally speaking,” he says.
Reuss, however, says nobody’s regulations are “better” – just “different.” Rather, the real issue is also letting innovative technology come to the market and giving consumers more choice.
“To say that the EU does not have stringent safety standards would be accusing the EU of negligence, because it’s the same government that approves and agrees with those vehicles being driven at top speeds on the German autobahn … so, come on, seriously.”
Canada’s regulations are also keeping cutting-edge technology from the marketplace, Reuss says. He points to intelligent light systems, which adapt to driving and seeing conditions, automatically dim and differentiate between an animal and a human on the road. Mercedes has adopted it in its S-Class models and other European auto makers have also integrated the technology.
We won’t see them here, Reuss says, because Canada’s regulations were written long before this technology was born. “I’m exaggerating a little bit, but it was written when all you could do was turn lights on and off – and that was the height of technology at the time.”
The A-class hatchback is another example of a model Canadians say they want, but Mercedes can’t import.
“We have very clear market research of what our customers want and we have clear feedback from our dealers from our salespeople,” says Reuss.
Reuss sees hope in the CETA trade agreement. He hopes Canada and the EU can use that mechanism to address the trade barriers that prevent the best technology from coming to Canada. When will these cars finally make it to Canada?
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!
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?
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.