Frankfurt Preview: Peugeot's 69 MPG 308 Hybride HDi Concept

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"HYBRID!" "DIESEL!" Arguments about which one's the better everyday fuel economy solution sound like old Miller Lite commercials sometimes. Next month in Frankfurt, Peugeot's going to show off its latest stab at mashing them together with the 308 Hybride HDi show car, and if there was ever a happy medium, this might be it. Due as a production vehicle in 2010, the 308 Hybrid combines a stingy-to-begin-with 110 HP 1.6L diesel with an electric motor that produces an additional 22 horsepower. Power's channeled to the front wheels through a 6-speed gearbox that can be operated in full automatic or sequential manual modes. The net result places the hybrid on essentially equal footing with the standard-production 308 2.0L diesel.

Performance numbers are basically the same, with the Hybrid delivering better in-gear acceleration than the regular diesel car. Naturally, it also boasts big-time fuel economy numbers. In the combined-cycle, it gets 69 miles to the gallon (yes, the US gallon). In urban driving, the number goes up to 78 MPG. All the usual hybrid traits are found here. At startup and at low speeds, the electric motor provides motivation, and when the diesel kicks in, the car will call upon the electric powerplant to help with acceleration when necessary. Stop-start tech is standard, of course. The 308 Hybrid concept also has a Zero Emissions mode that's designed to let the car operate freely in "heavily regulated urban centres" (hello, London!). And even when it's not running as a ZEV, its emissions output complies with the Euro 5 standards coming in 2009. The 308 hybrid emits just 90 g/km of CO2 vs the 308 2.0 diesel's 146 g/km.

All of that in a package that is nicely equipped, including a panoramic roof. If Peugeot can keep the production vehicle's pricing generally in line with the rest of the 308 range, they might find Europeans lining up, checkbooks in hand in a couple of years.

[Source: Peugeot]

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Rendered speculation: BMW building a supermini?

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According to Motor Authority, word on the wire is that BMW will be making a minicar below the 1-series that will share the current MINI platform. The car will also be front wheel drive, and cost less than the MINI, which would make it the cheapest BMW one could buy.

Apparently the car is driven by several factors, including the fact that green is increasingly seen as corporate gold. There are also regulatory issues, in light of EU fleet averages and CO2 standards -- that Z6 and hypothetical supercar are going to need some sort of frugal foil. BMW is also paying attention to Audi, which is coming out with a small car of its own, though that car is aimed at the MINI. Apparently development work is already underway. If such a car is on the way, what would it be called? The BMW Zero?

Thanks for the tip, James!

[Source: Motor Authority]

 

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New dealer sticker implemented today

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September 1 begins the era of the more informative dealer sticker, and every dealer in the nation has to participate. The new sticker on every new car and truck will show the NHTSA crash test rating, and real-world gas mileage. Giving customers on-site crash test scores will help drive technological developments at the automakers, while giving buyers the information needed to pick a safety-conscious vehicle. The modified mileage number will be lower than the previous number by 12-percent in city driving, and 8-percent on the highway. Hybrids will take an even bigger hit, with economy numbers dropping by a huge 20-percent.

More safety regulations are coming, too. Beginning todday, all automakers must have side-curtain airbags in half their vehicles weighing under 8,500 lbs. By 2009, all vehicles must have side-curtain protection. Congress must love the auto industry, they seem to have their finger prints on all kinds of ways to make cars cost more (albeit with additional safety that helps all of us), but our legislators haven't been able to come up with any ways to help automakers stay competitive so the needed updates can keep coming.

[Source: Detroit News]

 

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Reader Spy: 2009 Lincoln MKS

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Click image for a gallery of other MKS spy photos

Michigan-based reader Alan Adilman spotted something on his daily drive this week that caught his eye, and he thoughtfully snapped the pic you see above and sent it our way. Alan was unsure of what the disguised prototype was, but we're able to clear that up. It's the 2009 Lincoln MKS, which, if we had to guess, will bow in January at the Detroit Auto Show. When Ford reveals the car, expect to see Lincoln's new winged grille up front, as well as a TwinForce V6 in the top-end model's engine bay. Both were previewed on the 2007 MKR concept. Until the big day, however, it will continue skulking about Michigan looking like a Taurus wearing a couple of really extreme bras.

You can check out the other spy pics we've picked up along the way, as well as shots of the original concept in the galleries below. Thanks for the new photo, Alan!


 

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2012 Lexus GS-F to use 500-HP V10

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Well, the Lexus IS-F is really being seen as an M3 fighter in many camps, so something one size up makes sense as well. Its rumored M5-battling GS-F will need some serious hardware underhood to take on its just-right-sized Bavarian rival. Something like a 500 HP V10 would seem a good start. And that's what it will get apparently.

Of course this is still early guesswork, and by the time the car debuts as a 2012 model the benchmark may have made a move of its own, so we'll just trust Motor Trend's predictions for now. They forecast the GS-F will get the LF-A's "500-plus-horsepower, Formula 1-inspired sub-five-liter V-10." That racy mill will find its way into the all-new 2011 GS sedan, backed by a modified eight-speed automatic from the LS 460, which allows "ultrafast" manual shifting via paddles. It should be an interesting challenger to not only the M5, but to the Audi RS6, Mercedes E63 and Cadillac CTS-V as well. We'll keep you posted.

Thanks for the tip, Patrick!

[Source: Motor Trend]

 

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Hybrid concept has only one horse

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In the never-ending quest for ever more horsepower by some automakers, it's refreshing to see inventive, ecologically-friendly ideas for new propulsion systems. One firm in particular, though, might have taken the low-horsepower hybrid car to the extreme. A Dubai group is proposing that their one-horsepower vehicle supplemented by electric motors is the greenest transportation system available. Oh, wait. Not one horsepower. One horse-powered vehicle.

Called Naturcar, the concept hybrid conceptualized by Fleethorse is, as the name suggests, powered by a horse. Not pulled by a horse like Conestogas of the wild west, but powered by a horse. For now the concept is nothing but computer-generated video and renderings, but here's how it seems to work.

Passengers sit in the front of the van-sized, mostly glass vehicle, while the horse stands in back on a conveyor belt. Instead of whips and calls of "YAW!" that once were used to motivate horses. The Naturcar, however, uses electricity. No, not to shock, but to power motors on the belt that gets the horse moving. If the horse stops walking, the belt nudges it back into action. The same belt moves the animal's "exhaust" out of the horse's compartment into a holding area beneath the car.

Fleethorse has already thought of the animal cruelty charges it might incur, and has a list of all the precautions Naturcar would employ to ensure the horse's comfort and safety. Unlike its working ancestors, Naturcar's horse would be air conditioned, continually fed and watered and monitored with temperature gauges. The electric motors could even be used to pull the car up hills, sparing the horse the toil.

At first glance, Naturcar seems, well, crazy. A horse-powered car is just nuts, right? Well, yeah. It's nuts, and their ideas for the Naturbus, Naturtaxi and Naturvan are, too. But it's still refreshing to see innovative ideas.

Check out our gallery of photos from Fleethorse or watch a CG video of the Naturcar here.

 

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Real production Pontiac G8 spied, new concept logo ditched

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With RWD, crisp, modern looks, and a prodigious V8, the G8 has to be the most highly anticipated Pontiac in a generation. We're beginning to see test models in southeast Michigan, but Down Under the G8 has been captured in production trim. When comparing the production G8 in the photo above to the preproduction model we snapped-up at Woodward, there isn't a whole lot different going on, except for one small logo. It looks like the General settled on the stand-by red Pontiac logo instead of the silver decoration that was on both the concept from Chicago and the G8 on Woodward. Either that, or GM is planning on having two different logos, which is possible, since the preproduction model is a GT and the purple production model isn't. To check out more pictures from Australia on the Wheelsmag website by click the "Read" link below.

[Source: Wheelsmag]

Thanks for the tip, Gray!

 

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Adaptive damping system added to the new Ford Mondeo

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Ford vehicle dynamics manager, Norbert Kessing

Ford has announced the availability of a new adaptive damping system for the latest generation Mondeo in Europe. Although Ford is calling it an active suspension system, what it has described clearly doesn't meet the definition of a system that senses the forces on the body and wheels, and actively moves them up and down to follow the road surface.

Nonetheless, systems like this have proven very effective at offering optimized ride and handling on different road surfaces and driving conditions. The adaptive damping lets the car get better handling without a harsh ride and at a much lower cost than a true active system. Ford is calling its system Interactive Vehicle Dynamic Control (IVDC) and it includes four accelerometers at the corners in addition to yaw, pitch and roll sensors to adjust the damping on the fly. The setup will run £650 (about $1,300) in Britain and all the details are pasted in after the jump.

[Source: Ford]

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Live from the Detroit Grand Prix 2007

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Autoblog is live at the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle this morning. We're hanging out at the Acura Chalet this weekend as the track action has kicked off for the day. The IRL cars have already been out for a couple of practice sessions and the American Le Mans Series cars are doing their final pre-race warm-up right now. Keep checking back all weekend for more updates and lots of photos.

In qualifying for the ALMS race on Friday factory Porsches of the Penske team dominated the front row with the Acuras and Dyson Porsche filling in the next two rows. The big dog Audi R10s could only manage to get to the fourth row on the grid. As usual the Corvettes took the top spots for GT1 cars with the Risi Ferraris taking GT2



 

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2007 Detroit Grand Prix: ALMS Pit Lane Walk

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Since it began in the late nineties, the American Le Mans Series has made an effort to reach out to fans. One of the more popular activities during ALMS weekends is the grid walkthrough. They bring the cars out to the grid one hour before the green flag and then they open the grid to all fans. The crews and drivers all gather by the cars and fans stroll through and get close-up looks at all the racers. Check out the gallery for many shots of the cars and assorted other views.

 

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2007 Detroit Grand Prix: ALMS race action

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Click the photo of the Audi R10 overtaking the Ferrari F430 for more race action


In qualifying for the first ever American Le Mans Series race in Detroit, the LMP2 class cars put the mighty Audi R10s in their place. The diesel racers that have dominated for almost two years were relegated to the fourth row of the grid. However. once the green flag fell all bets were off. If you're a race fan and you love to see cars battling for position on the track, not to mention seeing a variety of different kinds of cars sharing it, check out the ALMS. The Detroit race ran two hours and forty-five minutes and the action never let up. If you haven't watched the race but plan to do so, stop reading now. Otherwise for results follow the jump.

Continue reading 2007 Detroit Grand Prix: ALMS race action

 

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