Artist's Rendition of 2013 Porsche Cajun Small SUV

It's no secret that Porsche is working on a new model to further expand its range in the SUV segment. In fact, the German sports car maker not only confirmed the vehicle but also announced that it is being developed under the working name "Cajun". Further details remain unknown including of course the Cajun's styling direction and whether or not it will be a three-door (most likely) or five-door model.

Nevertheless, Teamspeed member and rendering specialist Wild-Speed has come up with a styling proposal for the Cajun. The artist designed the crossover as a three-door model with a sloping roofline incorporating styling elements from the latest Cayenne, Panamera and the 918 Spyder (notice the head lamps). You can check out the renderings in high resolution after the jump.

Source: Teamspeed & Facebook/Wildspeed via Worldcarfans


A Nissan Silva Coupe with a Schizophrenic Personality

In October of 2010 we brought you a Toyota Soarer / Lexus SC that had been transformed into an abomination with a Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM front end and a Nissan 200SX rump. It was bad, but I still liked it better than the snooze-mobile that was the ‘91 Soarer / CS.

Well, from the same website that brought us that automotive mullet comes yet another creation that’s been refashioned into something else. This time its a Nissan Silva. This particular freak of coach building features a Mercedes-Benz rear end (or at very least the taillights) and Nissan 350Z front end. The result is less than impressive.

I don’t know what’s worse – the matte white that makes the car look like it’s still in primer or the cacophony of weird vents jutting out of the plastic snap-on bodywork. Despite the owner’s best efforts, the rear bumper clearly doesn’t fit, jutting out beyond the rear wheels and necessitating the addition of those awful rear bulges. Mitsuoka could do better with a Nissan Micra and papier-mâché.

Though don’t take my word for it. Study the pictures and deliver your verdict in the comments section below.

By Tristan Hankins

Source: Farmofminds


Ayrton Senna's Nephew Bruno Signs with Lotus-Renault F1 Team

The nephew of the late three-times Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna, Bruno, has signed up with the new Lotus-Renault GP team, the British automaker announced on Monday. The 27-year old, who comes from a bad season in Formula One with the struggling Hispania team, will be a reserve driver for the 2011 season.

"It’s a really exciting opportunity from both Group Lotus and Lotus Renault GP," said Brunno Senna after the announcement. "To be able to develop my Formula One career within a World Championship winning organisation and to do so in conjunction with some hugely interesting work for such an iconic sports car company as Lotus is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Lotus has placed a great deal of faith in me and I am looking forward to beginning work on the technical side of our relationship," he added.

The British carmaker said that Bruno’s test driving role with Lotus will see him provide valuable input into all Lotus cars, both track and road.

Lotus Director of Motorsport Claudio Berro said: “We’re delighted to have Bruno on board. In his young motorsport career he’s built up a great armoury of skills and experience. He’s a fast learner and this talent combined with his ability to shift between different types of race car will make him a great asset to Lotus. Normally people like to talk about the ‘technology transfer’ between F1 and road cars but in Bruno’s case we’re opening this up to an intellectual transfer – we’re certainly going to keep him busy!"


Quick Chop: Ferrari FF Spider

While we're waiting for Ferrari to release some additional photos with more revealing views of its new four-seat, all-wheel drive, FF sports car, we thought we'd share this photoshop of a Spider version of Maranello's latest creation, made by a reader of a French car site. The chop was created by simply erasing the shooting-break-style roof of the standard FF and adding some details on the car's rear quarter. While it's pointless to pass judgment on the photoshop, it would be interesting to hear if you think a Spider version of the FF with four seats is something that Ferrari should consider building in the near future. Voice your thoughts in the comments section after the jump.

Photoshop via Autoboost

VIDEO: VW Teases its Super Bowl Commercial for the 2012 New Beetle

Volkswagen is offering us a 10-second glimpse of its new 'Black Beetle' TV commercial that will air during the Super Bowl football game next Sunday, February 6, 2011. The is the first television spot for the next generation of the Volkswagen Beetle, which is scheduled for launch in May, 2011. However, the 'Black Beetle' commercial won't reveal the car itself as it is centered on a beetle (as in the insect) that runs around the forest outperforming all the other creatures. Follow the jump to watch the teaser spot.


Jaguar Wants a Smaller Model to Compete with the BMW 3-Series & Co.

With a lineup that comprises only three models – the XK coupe and cabriolet, XF sedan and XJ flagship limousine –, Jaguar needs a smaller, more affordable car in order boost sales and successfully compete with the likes of the BMW 3-series and the rest of Germany's premium offerings such as the Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4. According to the brand’s new global director, Adrian Hallmark, the automaker is currently considering a small sports car positioned below the XF that could spawn numerous variants including a four-door sedan.

“We need different models. We need lower priced models”, said Hallmark. “Whether we do one, two or three body styles, we can still decide. But we have to be in the lower price.”

The process is still in its initial phase and it’ll take at least four years until Jaguar will bring something to the table, but Hallmark promises that the new model won’t be anything like the ill-fated, Ford Mondeo-based X-Type that was first offered a decade ago.

“We don't want to be fighting it out in the fleet business with little engines and small wheels and discounted 25 percent”, he said. “If we go into the smaller car market, we want to build elegant cars with great technology that give a sense of occasion and position us above that competition -- where Jaguar should be.”

By Csaba Daradics

Source: Autoweek

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New Honda App Allows iPhone Users to Catch Characters from TV Spot as they Appear on the Commercial

In a ground-breaking campaign, Honda has merged the worlds of iPhone Apps and traditional commercials, be they on your TV, computer screen or mobile phone. Created to celebrate the launch of the revised Honda Jazz [Fit in the U.S.], the new interactive app allows iPhone users to virtually catch animated characters as they appear on screen in the firm's new TV advert 'This Unpredictable Life' and drop them into their phones, more or less in the same way you'd use a PS3 Move or Nintendo wii motion-controller.

The Japanese carmaker said it’s the first time the so-called screen-hopping technology has been used with a commercial.

The App is called "Honda Jazz – This Unpredictable Life" and can be downloaded for free from Apple's iTunes Store. Once installed, iPhone users can begin watching the spot from their TV, or on any other device, including a PC or even a second iPhone with the app installed, and collect up to four characters and three mystery objects. Honda said that users can then interact with each of the stars of the film, for example, the toy space monkey can be made to dance by singing into the phone.

The new advertising campaign was created by Wieden + Kennedy and Nexus, the team behind the Japanese automaker's 'Hate Something, Change Something' commercial for its cleaner diesel engines in 2004.

The TV spot will debut in the UK on 1 February at around 21.45 on ITV1 and Channel 4 but for those in a rush, it is already available on YouTube. Scroll down to watch the film, and if you happen to own an iPhone and try it out, share your experience in the comments section below.


VIDEO: 2012 Nissan GT-R vs 2011 Nissan GT-R Drag Race

Back in 2009, Nissan GT-R owners had to face an odd dilemma: even though the car came with a launch control system, using it meant voiding the warranty. In the ensuing controversy, the Japanese maker simply dropped it for the 2010 model year, stating that it doesn’t want to deal with the “warranty nightmare” anymore.

However, the launch control is back on the 2012 GT-R’s equipment list in a revised form that allows customers to use it four times in a row, before shutting off in order to protect the transmission. Just like the original, the new system (LC4) launches from 4,000 rpm, but it’s better at minimizing wheel spin, making the latest and more powerful (+45HP) iteration of the Japanese sports car a lot faster compared to the 2010MY GT-R in a straight line race. Hit the break to watch the videos.

By Csaba Daradics

Source: Automobile via Youtube & Jalopnik


Audi Begins Producing A4 and A6 Models in Indonesia

Like many other automakers, Audi is constantly expanding its production network to include new countries. This time, the German premium carmaker has launched a new assembly plant in Indonesia in cooperation with INDOMOBIL /Garuda Mataram Motor, to produce the Audi A4 1.8 TFSI and A6 2.0 TFSI cars in the capital city Jakarta.

The first A4 and A6 models were delivered to Indonesian customers earlier this month, with the German company planning to assemble around 2,700 cars per year by 2015, including 2,000 A4 models, exclusively for the Indonesian market.

Audi said the Indonesian car market is forecast to grow by 15 percent this year, with sales in the premium segment expected to double over the next five years.

“After having done so in key markets like China and India, we’ve now found an outstanding partner for local assembly of our Audi models in Indonesia: INDOMOBIL/Garuda Mataram Motor,” said Frank Dreves, Member of the Board of Management for Production at AUDI AG.

"As one of the most important countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indonesia is one of Asia’s most dynamic growth regions. We’d like to contribute to this growth, since growth is an important component of Audi’s brand strategy,” Dreves said.

Top Gear USA Host to Coach Bloggers and Consumers at 2012 Ford Focus Global Test Drive Event in Spain

This young man you're looking at the portrait above is Tanner Foust and he will be on hand to teach bloggers [sic] and consumers at Ford's 2012 Focus global test drive event that will take place in Madrid, Spain from February 18 to 20. And who is Tanner Foust, we hear some of you in the USA and probably all of you outside the North American continent, ask? Well, Foust is one of the hosts of the American edition of the Top Gear show that airs on History Channel.

According to Ford, Foust is also a "rallyist, stunt driver, drift champion and television personality". No offense but we think "an over-hyped racing driver that has been shoved down our throats by PR people and certain websites because he won some low talent events like the X games rally and Formula D drift championship", is a more appropriate description that's closer to reality.

The Top Gear USA host will be joined at the Ford blogger and consumer test drive event by Justin Bell, a veteran driver who has raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Trans-Am and American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The Detroit automaker said the racing duo will "coach and assist bloggers and consumer participants in the first-ever Focus Global Test Drive program."

“Focus Global Test Drive will be a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience for the participants,” said Foust. “I’m looking forward to helping these drivers put the next-generation Focus to the test, and to benefit the driver’s charities of choice.”

And if you're curious about the "how's and why's" of the event, scroll down for Ford's full press release.

Ford Press Release:


Dearborn, Mich., Jan. 31, 2011 – Ford confirmed today that bloggers and consumers attending the Ford Focus Global Test Drive next month in Madrid will be greeted, hosted and coached by the versatile Tanner Foust, HISTORY television personality on the American edition of Top Gear. Foust brings a wealth of experience to the Global Test Drive program, with stunt driving, rally competition, three X Games gold medals and a pair of Formula D drift championships to his credit.

Teaming with 24 Hours of Le Mans, Trans-Am and American Le Mans Series (ALMS) veteran Justin Bell, Foust will host, coach and assist bloggers and consumer participants in the first-ever Focus Global Test Drive program.

Foust and Bell will help host Focus Global Test Drive participants at the National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA), near Madrid. An aeronautical research facility, INTA and its varied surfaces make an ideal location for dynamic driving events.

“Focus Global Test Drive will be a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience for the participants,” said Foust. “I’m looking forward to helping these drivers put the next-generation Focus to the test, and to benefit the driver’s charities of choice.”

At the three-day event, Feb. 18-20, 2011, consumers and bloggers will be able to experience the Ford Focus in a unique new manner. Each challenge and course will highlight the driving dynamics and technologies in the vehicle. And throughout the event, charities will benefit.

To participate in Focus Global Test Drive, friends and fans from around the world were invited to submit simple video applications explaining why they should be included in this unique behind-the-scenes event. The application process invites prospective test drivers to “start more than a car” by generating the market equivalent of $10,000 for a specific charity of their choice from the categories of hunger, education and environment/sustainability.

With Focus Global Test Drive, there is something for everyone. Ford engineers will get rapid feedback from interested customers and prospects; drivers get a first look at the new car before it goes on sale; friends get to come along for the ride of a lifetime; and deserving charities will benefit in a big way."


Mercedes-Benz Readying Baby CLS and Small SUV, will Arrive in the U.S. within the next Three Years

In order to attract younger customers, Mercedes is planning to launch several new compact models, all based on the brand’s upcoming MFA (Mercedes Front-wheel-drive Architecture) platform. These new vehicles will also be offered in North America. According to an Automotive News Europe report, the Stuttgart automaker is currently working on a 'baby' CLS four-door coupe model and an SUV, which could be joined later on by a convertible or shooting brake variant.

“We will introduce the next generation of our MFA family to the U.S.”, Joachim Schmidt, Mercedes' global sales and marketing boss, told ANE in an interview. “Two variants, maybe even a third, are planned for the U.S.”, he added.

Described by company insiders as a “baby CLS”, the coupe is said to resemble the larger CLS four-door coupe and is due in summer 2013. It will be followed a year later by a BMW X1 rival with both variants to be offered in Europe three to five months ahead their U.S. debut.

The new compact car family will also replace the European A- and B-Class models, starting with the A-Class in late summer 2012. Currently, the automaker has no plans to sell these cars in America, but could do so if consumers show interest.

“The U.S. is not the typical compact hatchback market but if the demand arises, we could react very quickly and introduce these two variants in the U.S. far quicker than in the past”, the inside source said.

Furthermore, the MFA platform could be used by Mercedes’ new partner, Renault-Nissan, for a new-entry level Infiniti model, although nothing has been decided yet, Schmidt said.

By Csaba Daradics

Source: ANE

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