Ford Fiesta Hatch vs Sedan: Which One Would You Prefer in the USA?

A couple of days ago Ford took the wraps off the new Fiesta hatch that will be officially unveiled at the forthcoming Geneva Show (see here). Unlike other European presentations where Americans are left wondering why they can’t see these cars in the States, Ford announced that the new Fiesta will come this way by 2011. The problem is that, Ford didn’t clarify which Fiesta will go on sale in the U.S.

Unless the American carmaker plans to surprise us with a crossover version, there are only two options: the 3door / 5door hatchback or the Sedan version previewed last year as the Verve Sedan Concept. Of course there’s the possibility that Ford will bring both versions, but let’s say you had to pick among these two body styles. Which one would you prefer? (Pic: Carscoop)

2009 Volvo XC60 SUV Images Leak on the Net!

Despite Volvo’s intentions to unveil the first pictures and details of the very crucial XC60 on February 20 (see here), an image gallery of all-new Swedish compact SUV/Crossover was leaked into the net today. We don’t have any technical details in our hands, but the images reveal that Volvo remained loyal to the XC60 Concept that was first seen at the 2007 Detroit Motor Show. Set to go on sale during the second half of the year, the new XC60 will compete against the BMW X3 and forthcoming Mercedes GLK and Audi Q5 SUV/Crossovers. –More images after the jump


Audi A9 Quattro: Extreme Tuning or Extreme Bad Taste?

We wonder what was going in the mind of this guy when he decided to tune his Audi A6 and give it his own personal touch. The genetically mutated Audi contains a hodgepodge of elements ranging from the headlights of an Alfa and the minuscule hood scoop to the randomly placed exhaust pipes. As if the horrendous aesthetic changes weren’t enough of a crime, the owner decided to rename his visual atrocity to the Audi A9 Quattro. He might as well left the 6 with the 9 cause that’s exactly what he did to the A6… -More pics after the jump


Video: Saab’s Icy Aero-X Concept at the ICEHOTEL in Sweden

In this video, Saab gives a tour of the its “Move your mind-room” at the spectacular ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, which is located far above the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden. The entire installation is made of ice and features, among many other things, a full scale replica of the Saab Aero X made from –what else, ice (see details and pics here). –Video after the jump

Fiat 500 Abarth to be Unveiled in Geneva

Today, Fiat sent out an e-mail to all the members of the “500 Wants You” website alerting them to note these two dates: February 18 and 19 2008. While the Italian carmaker states in the e-mail that they can’t tell us any more at the moment, they do advise us to check out the two new boxes on the home page.

One box leads to the Abarth page that contains black and white sketches of the forthcoming 500 Abarth that will apparently make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. There is no info on any mechanical details, but we’ll know more in the beginning of next week.

Thanks for the tip admin! - Link: Abarth

Knight Rider Shelby GT500KR: New Studio Shots

Just a couple of days before Michael Knight makes his comeback this weekend in NBC's "Knight Rider" television movie that will air on Sunday, February 17th at 9pm EST, Ford released a new set of studio images of the 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR that stars as K.I.T. You can check all the pics (in high-resolution of course) right after the jump. -Continued

Mercedes & Audi Warn U.S. Dealers to Stop Exports

No thanks to the weak dollar, the U.S. car market has become a very attractive market for overseas buyers looking to take advantage of the current exchange rates that favour several currencies including the Euro.

According to a report from Automotive News, Mercedes-Benz & Audi USA have discovered a significant number of cars designated for the U.S. ending up in the hands of overseas buyers. Neither company knows the exact number of exported vehicles –at least that’s what they support. While the two German luxury carmakers say that they won’t take immediate actions, they did warn their dealers that in doing this, they could be violating their franchise agreement.

Via: AN (sub. Req.)

Revised Honda S2000 with Type-S Suspension Goes on Sale in the UK

Honda’s refreshed S2000 roadster is now on sale in the UK with new suspension settings and minor aesthetic changes. The most important news concerns of course the revised suspension which is identical to that fitted to its Japanese counterpart,t the S2000 Type-S. It includes re-tuned dampers, uprated springs and thicker anti-roll bars that promise to give the roadster greater stability, agile handling and more responsive steering. There are no changes to the S2000’s high-revving 240PS 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine. -Continued

Also featuring on the 2008 S2000 are the new 17-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels and a new paint colour – Synchro Silver. On the inside, there are three new leather interiors to choose from – Black with red stitching, Brown with red stitching and Red with black sides. There is also a design change to the headrest frame which has been re-shaped to offer greater roll-over protection. The 2008 S2000 is priced from £28,050 for the Roadster and £28,600 for the GT model with detachable roof.

Rinspeed sQuba: Submersible Lotus Elise Based Concept to Make a Splash in Geneva

If there’s one thing we can say about Rinspeed, it’s that this company has a vivid imagination when it comes to creating concepts. Their latest product is a submersible prototype based on the Lotus Elise and it will make its first appearance at the forthcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The sQuba can perform a… stabile underwater flight at a depth of up to 10 meters or approx 33 feet. The concept is powered by several electric motors. Three of them are located in the rear: one provides propulsion on land, the other two drive the screws for underwater motoring. These motors are supported by two Seabob jet drives in the front, which ‘breathe’ through special rotating louvers from HS Genion (for opening and closing the water intake). –High res image gallery & details after the jump

Press Release:

Rinspeed’s Zero-Emission World Debut at the Geneva Motor Show -a Green “Fish” with Q-Factor

Thirty years after the movie thriller ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ hit the silver screen “sQuba” is the first car that can actually ‘fly’ under water.

Zumikon -“Dive it again, James!” If the situation gets too hot for the secret agent he’ll go underground -or under water. So demonstrated impressively by Roger Moore in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me” in 1977 when he dove below the waves in a sleek vehicle that moments before seemed to be an ordinary car. The only problem: The scene never really took place; it was an animation.

With the “sQuba,” the world’s first real submersible car, the movie fake now becomes reality for visitors of the Geneva Motor Show (March 6th -16th, 2008). Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht (52) is known for his extraordinary automotive creations. The acknowledged James Bond enthusiast and Swiss automobile visionary kept revisiting this scene in his mind over and over: “For three decades I have tried to imagine how it might be possible to build a car that can fly under water. Now we have made this dream come true.”

And it is this submerged stabile flight at a depth of 10 meters that sets the “sQuba” apart from military vehicles. While the latter can go under water, they are limited to driving slowly over the submerged ground. Rinderknecht: “It is undoubtedly not an easy task to make a car watertight and pressure resistant enough to be maneuverable under water. The real challenge however was to create a submersible car that moves like a fish in water.”

It also had to be a sports car that was converted into a diving dream in the facilities of Swiss engineering specialist Esoro. In a first step the combustion engine was removed and replaced by several electric motors. Three motors are located in the rear. One provides propulsion on land, the other two drive the screws for underwater motoring. They are supported by two powerful Seabob jet drives in the front, which ‘breathe’ through special rotating louvers from HS Genion (for opening and closing the water intake). The rotating outlet jets were designed to be extremely light yet twist resistant by using high-tech nano materials, so-called Carbon Nano Tubes.

It is a sure bet that the “sQuba” will steal the show from any ‘Baywatch’ beauty on the beach. And easily, too: You drive the car into the water and the car floats. That is, until you crack the door to let the water in. Immediately the “sQuba” starts on his way to the underwater world. The occupants’ breathing air comes from an integrated tank of compressed air that divers know from scuba diving. Rinderknecht: “For safety reasons we have built the vehicle as an open car so that the occupants can get out quickly in an emergency. With an enclosed cabin opening the door might be impossible.” But safety wasn’t the only reason for choosing an open-top design: With an enclosed volume of just two cubic meters of air the vehicle weight would have to increase by two tons (!) to counteract the unwanted buoyancy, giving the “sQuba” the land mobility of a turtle. Without occupants the “sQuba” surfaces automatically.

It is even capable of autonomous driving on land thanks to a sophisticated laser sensor system from the Hamburg company Ibeo -without any help from the driver or passenger.

Power is supplied by rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries. Rinderknecht: “The ‘sQuba’ is a zero-emission car as documented by the rotating license plate in the rear. It produces no exhaust emissions. The Swiss are among the world’s pioneers in the area of hydropower. The ‘sQuba’s’ filling station is the water reservoir.” It is no surprise that the vehicle features powerful yet energy-saving LED lighting technology.

3-D foil elements with embossed fish and sharkskin patterns from Wetzel Processing Group and Hornschuch add visual pizzazz and streamline the exterior. Together with styling elements from Foliatec they create a harmonious velvety matt-white appearance.

For shore leave the “sQuba” relies on a stainless coil-over suspension from KW automotive and large Pirelli tires mounted on custom-made forged light-weight wheels from AEZ with 17and 18-inch diameters. But the “sQuba” is really at home in the water. To make the occupants feel at home there as well the innovative salt-water resistant interior from Strähle

+ Hess features genuine mother-of-pearl trim and diamond-plated non-slip inlays from KGS Diamond, normally used in high-tech abrasives. After all, ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friends.’ The high-tech VDO instrument cluster and controls create a futuristic ambiance and allow controlling all vehicle functions even while submerged.

Frank M. Rinderknecht and his partners -amongst them also the fleet specialist LeasePlan have created a truly unusual vehicle and in the process have thought of everything. Even the Motorex lubricants used in the ‘sQuba” are biodegradable. For the Rinspeed boss that is a meticulousness stemming from conviction: “The ‘sQuba’ lets me be one with the elements and lets me immerse myself in a new and fascinating world -with Q factor. It is our duty to protect this world in which we are guests to the best of our ability.” Isn’t it, Miss Moneypenny? -James couldn’t have said it better himself glancing at the sporty Swiss precision chronograph from C.F. Bucherer. Eau la la -shaken, not stirred

Ford Mondeo & S-MAX: New 175 HP 2.2L Diesel Engine & Sport Versions

Ford’s “bombing” us with Geneva Show news today as after the revelation of the 2009 Fiesta & Kuga, we now have info concerning a new powertrain and a sporty version of the 'Titanium' series for both the Mondeo and S-MAX models. Starting off with the powertain news, in cooperation with the PSA Peugeot-Citroen Group, Ford has developed a new 2.2-liter turbodiesel engine that generates 175 HP at 3,500 rpm and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque at 1,750rpm (420 Nm / 310 lb-ft of transient overboost).

As for the new Titanium S sport pack, it will be available on the new Mondeo five-door and wagon bodystyles plus the S-MAX. It features a bodykit, a sport suspension, alloy wheels and sporty trim & seats in the interior. –Details and images after the jump

Press Release:


  • Powerful new 175 PS 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi performance diesel engine for Ford Mondeo, Ford S-MAX and Ford Galaxy
  • Expressive new Titanium S series extends Mondeo and S-MAX customer choice
  • New 'techno' style Galaxy Titanium model complements the classic Ghia series at the top of the range

Ford Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy customers now have even greater powertrain and series choices with the launch of a new high performance 2.2-litre diesel engine and sporty new versions of the popular 'Titanium' series.

Developed for performance, the new 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi is the largest displacement and most powerful diesel engine available in Ford of Europe's passenger cars. It gives a sustained 400 Nm of torque at 1,750rpm and 420 Nm of transient overboost provides the necessary power for brisk and confident overtaking manoeuvres. Maximum power of 175 PS is delivered at just 3,500rpm.

The engine has been developed and engineered by Ford and PSA Peugeot Citroën as part of the longstanding co-operation on diesel engines between the two companies. In its first applications with Ford, the engine has been specifically calibrated to provide performance, quietness and smoothness of operation in the company's large and luxury models – new Mondeo, Galaxy, and S-MAX.

"Exceptional quality and reliability are an accepted fact when it comes to our powertrains and this new engine is no exception," explained Nick FitzGerald, Chief Programme Engineer, Large and Luxury Products, Ford of Europe. "The power and torque available is equivalent to a much larger gasoline engine, but in diesel form gives improved like-for-like fuel economy."

New Unique Features

Delivering 400 Nm of peak torque – with a transient overboost of 420 Nm – the engine boasts two new features that are unique to this engine in the Ford line-up: A third-generation common rail and the turbo system with specifically-calibrated pedal mapping.

Third-generation common rail

This high-tech engine features Bosch piezoelectric injectors with seven-hole nozzles which use multiple injection capability and up to 1,800 bar of injection pressure.

Like other diesel engines in the Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy ranges, the diesel injection combustion process of the 2.2-litre provides five injections per combustion stroke. The time lapses between each injection are controlled electronically depending on the rpm and engine load, engine temperature and air intake temperature.

This combustion process enhances the premium feel of the vehicle, as it makes the engine very refined by reducing noise and vibration.

Turbo system and pedal mapping

A variable-geometry turbo ensures good efficiency and throttle response. Pedal map sensors that are specifically calibrated give the driver a sensitive and responsive throttle pedal feel, which contributes to an easy and convenient driving experience. The turbocharger is calibrated to offer superb responsiveness at low revs and seamless acceleration under part load conditions.

Good responsiveness at low revs contributes to good control in parking and manoeuvring situations. As the engine is switched off a throttle shut-down system lessens any vibration.

Performance and Emissions

The performance of this engine is demonstrated by its target acceleration figures; all Ford models using this engine can reach 100 km/h from a standing start in less than ten seconds.

A fully optimised combustion system also contributes to reduced emissions. The Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy models using this engine respectively emit 165, 176 and 179 g/km of CO2. "Given the power and torque, and therefore the acceleration of this engine, these figures are very reasonable indeed," said FitzGerald

The 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi engine is a Euro IV compliant engine equipped with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) which is designed and manufactured for zero-maintenance.

Uniquely, in Ford Motor Company products, the engine is equipped with an 'intelligent oil condition monitoring algorithm'. The system was developed by Ford engineers and is designed to ensure that the engine oil is maintained at optimal performance levels. An information lamp in the instrument cluster illuminates when the system recommends that the oil should be removed and replaced. This useful driver feedback is designed to give superior engine reliability and durability by tailoring the maintenance of the engine oil to the car's use. This is coupled to a 'variable' service interval of up to one year or 20,000km. Full technical specifications can be seen in the Technical Data section.

Sound Quality and Vibration

The best possible Sound Quality and Vibration (SQ&V) is an important aspect of all Ford powertrains and the new 2.2-litre diesel engine is no exception. The engine is fitted with balancing shafts to further diminish vibration.

Paired with Ford's acclaimed 6-speed Durashift manual transmission, this combination offers a powertrain with lots of torque – maximum 400 Nm at 1,750rpm – something that contributes to relatively few gear shifts and reduced driver fatigue. Twin pilot injections for the combustion process simultaneously optimise emissions, fuel economy and play a significant role in reducing the conventional noise of a diesel engine to contribute to the most pleasant acoustic behaviour.

"Conventional diesel technology is by no means dated thanks to the actions we take in developing the engines and calibrating them specifically to our range. Many drivers like the familiarity that a diesel engine gives them with the combined fuel economy, long service life and reliability and modern refinements in our portfolio where this engine will be available," explained Phil Lake, Chief Engineer, Powertrains, Ford of Europe.

Joint Ford and PSA Peugeot CitroënDevelopment

"The development of this engine has joined the skills, experience and techniques of engineers from Ford Motor Company and PSA Peugeot Citroën to achieve high goals and objectives for this engine," said Steve Adams, Ford of Europe's Vehicle Line Director for Large and Luxury cars. "Thanks to the utilisation of system engineering, and modern digital simulation, a team comprising 200 people from both companies have developed the engine in just three years. A further 300 people are now assigned to the production of this engine."

New Sporty Titanium S series for Mondeo and S-MAX

The Mondeo and S-MAX ranges have been expanded by the introduction of a new sporty Titanium S model. Based on the highly specified Titanium models, new features and elements have been added to give both cars even greater styling presence and a highly sporty character.

"The 'Titanium' series features and styling details complement perfectly the 'kinetic design' elements of both vehicles, and with over 50 per cent of customers ordering this series, we know it is a success," said Adams. "Now, with the sporty Titanium S we have added more overt styling elements and features to create a new and individual series derivative."

Exterior Styling

The Titanium S series is available on new Mondeo five-door and wagon bodystyles plus the S-MAX.

A standard, full body styling kit gives the vehicles a unique and sporty look. Side skirts and a rear spoiler are a standard feature on the S-MAX and are now offered as an option on Mondeo, and are finished in body colour.

The lower trapezoidal front grille situated in the body-coloured front bumper skirt has a lower grille frame in a contrast colour of silver or anthracite, depending on the body colour. The upper and lower grilles of the Mondeo Titanium S have a unique honeycomb design for series differentiation. A new front fog lamp kit also features bezels – on the Mondeo Titanium S models – in the contrasting shades. The body-coloured rear bumper skirt incorporates an integrated diffuser in a contrasting shade that surrounds the tailpipe finishers on the exhaust.

Tailored Technology

Standard sports suspension gives a 10 – 15mm lower ride height than the regular suspension, and the set-up is unique, offering more stability over uneven surfaces, less body roll and more direct steering thanks to the use of harder damper settings, stiffer springs and suspension bushes. The Sports suspension complements the sporty nature and agility of the Titanium S, as do the 18-inch alloy wheels.

For Mondeo Titanium S customers choosing the option of Interactive Vehicle Dynamics Control (IVDC) with Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD), the sports suspension is not required and subsequently not fitted.

Ford's enhanced Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) is also fitted as standard to Mondeo and S-MAX Titanium S models, and gives the driver the swivelling and cornering headlight functions. Additional Titanium S features have been tailored to each car line; the S-MAX, for example, gains privacy glass while the Mondeo acquires a standard Ford Power start button.

Interior Styling

Soft-touch surfaces to key contact areas and the use of piano black and brushed aluminium surfaces have already become a signature of the high quality materials and craftsmanship of the established Titanium series. With the new Titanium S, further detailed changes to interior components, materials and finishes give the passenger compartments a sporty feel that is characteristic of the new series.

A new 'Carbotex Sport' appliqué is used on the door spears and areas of the instrument panel. Piano black surface areas have been extended forward to surround the multimedia unit and in-car entertainment controls. The Sports seats are partially trimmed in leather and red thread used in a running stitch frames and divides into sections the seat squab and cushion.

The same red stitching is also applied to the gear shift gaiter, the armrest of the centre console and – for the Mondeo Titanium S – the interior door panels. The leather steering wheel trim has been divided into four areas and the positions where the driver's hands would most naturally fall are finished in a special perforated leather trim which extends around the toggle switches and thumb rests. Red stitching has been applied to the inner radius of the steering wheel in a substantial diamond design. The interior look is completed by black velour carpet mats that are edged by a red surround.

Further Personalisation

The Titanium S models still leave scope for customers to further personalise their cars through the creation of an 'S Upgrade Pack'. Applicable to both Mondeo and
S-MAX Titanium S, customers can select aluminium pedal covers, HID
Bi-Xenon units in place of the AFS headlights and Alcantara seat trim in place of the partial leather.

New Galaxy Titanium

Until now, the most luxurious Galaxy series available is the Ghia. The Galaxy Ghia model features additional chrome exterior styling, a full length overhead centre console and automatic headlights and windscreen wipers.

"Galaxy customers like the layout and technology that the car gives them but they have also been telling us that they like the modern 'techno' and contemporary elements of the successful Titanium series used in the Mondeo and S-MAX," said Adams. "What appeals is the high level of equipment, the unique styling features such as the brushed aluminium finishes, and the driver assistance features like the Ford Convers+ full colour instrument display."

Responding to this customer feedback, a new Galaxy Titanium series is placed at the same high level as the existing Ghia model in the range, and includes the same high levels of standard equipment:

  • Automatic headlights
  • Automatic wipers with rain sensor
  • 'Quickclear' heated front windscreen for most European markets
  • Cruise Control
  • Power operated and heated door mirrors with puddle lamps
  • Rear air conditioning

In addition, the technology and driver assistance features are further enhanced by new styling features; many of which will be familiar from existing 'Titanium' Mondeo and S-MAX models.

The use of brushed aluminium in areas where chrome is used on the Ghia model and machined 5-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels are the key exterior alterations.

Inside the Galaxy Titanium, sports seats finished in Alcantara trim and the integration of privacy glass enhance the interior ambience while the standard fitment of the Ford Convers+ display in the instrument cluster enhances interaction between car and driver.

Ford's Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) headlights are fitted, equipped with lights that swivel plus additional halogen cornering bulbs. Sports suspension has been added to reinforce the sportier appearance of the exterior styling.

"We believe our customers will appreciate the detail touches made to the interior and exterior of the Titanium S series in our large car range, the availability of the new Galaxy Titanium as well as the performance of the new 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi 175 PS engine." Said Adams.