In our series of car cultures around the world/international street scenes we move from the car culture in Morocco to that of Monaco, the wealthy principality on the other side of the Mediterranean, the contrast couldn’t be bigger. Whereas the streets of Morocco are filled with cheap and practical transportation, sometimes decades old, living a tough but grateful life as daily workhorses, the cars in Monaco serve a much different purpose. The densely populated city-state which is enclosed by France and the Mediterranean Sea covers only 2 square kilometers (0.78 sq. Mi) and is built on a hillside. That means it doesn’t really make sense for its inhabitants to drive supercars, hypercars and top-of-the-line sports versions of regular cars, but that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Audi e-tron quattro Concept
The Audi e-tron quattro Concept previews the Tesla Model X-rivalling Audi Q6, which will be presented in early 2018. It uses the power of three electric motors; one drives the front axle, the other acts on the rear axle. Total output is 435 hp and in boost mode it can mobilize up to 500 hp and 800 Nm torque. It accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds, while its electronically governed top speed is 210 km/h. The battery’s capacity of 95 kWh should enable a range of more than 500 kilometers. With its length of 4.88 metres, width of 1.93 metres and height of 1.54 metres, it fits between the Audi Q5 and Audi Q7, and its luggage capacity is 615 litres.
Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo Concept
The Vision GranTurismo showcases Bugatti’s new design language and previews the Chiron, which should debut at the Geneva Motor Show next spring, although the Volkswagen emissions scandal could delay the new ‘Chiron’ hypercar.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class facelift
Mercedes-Benz revamped the A-Class, which features redesigned front and rear bumpers and is optionally available with LED High Performance headlamps. From the beginning of 2016 Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink will become available. The refreshed Mercedes-Benz A-Class comes with a range of no less than eight petrol engines, oddly with only two displacements: a 1.6-litre four-cylinder (A 160, A 180 , A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY Edition & A 200) and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder (A 220, A 250, A 250 Sport and A 45 AMG) engine. The A 160 with 102 hp is the new entry-level model. It consumes 5.1 l/100 km (CO2-emissions 119 g/km) when opting for the 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission, the manual version is slightly less efficient. The diesel range consists of five engines with two displacements: the 1.5-litre Renault engine is offered in the A 160 d, A 180 d and A 180 d BlueEFFICIENCY Edition, while the 2.2-litre Mercedes engine powers the A 200 d and A 220 d. Fuel consumption of the A 180 d BlueEFFIENCY Edition has been reduced slightly to 3.5 l/100 km (CO2-emissions 89 g/km). The A 220 d now offers 177 hp (+ 7 hp). The A 250 Sport now has an additional 7 hp (218 hp) over the regular A 250. Mercedes-Benz was slightly jealous seeing the Audi RS3 dethroning the A 45 AMG (“The best or nothing”, right?), so it has improved the performance of high-performance even further. The four-cylinder engine develops 381 hp (+ 21 hp) and a maximum torque of 475 Nm. Thanks to faster gear ratios, aerodynamic fine-tuning and the Dynamic Select driving mode it launches the A 45 AMG from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, 0.4 seconds than its predecessor.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé
With the Frankfurt auto show in full swing, we bring you the latest on the new models, starting with the VW Group:
Porsche Mission E – a gorgeous quasi-4-door that owes more to the iconic 959 than it does to the Portly Panamera. While the looks are unlikely to ever make production (tiny 4-doors don’t sell, just ask Aston Martin), the electric powertrain it previews sounds like it could give the Tesla Model S a run for its money. [Read more…]
There was a time when the choice of a german sports car was simple – you either got the Porsche 911 or, well, you looked elsewhere (probably Italy). The best Audi could offer you was a fast Quattro model or, later, a super-Golf called the TT; BMW dabbled with the M1 and Z8, but those cars really just made you run faster for the competition; even mighty Mercedes hadn’t really offered anything tasty since the gull-wing 300SL. But oh, my, how the times have changed – now we (or at least those with big money) are spoilt for choice with these great four options. So, which one is your poison?
#5: Koenigsegg Regera
Why is it here? Because it has more than 1,500hp from its hybrid drivetrain, because it can reach 400km/h almost 3 seconds faster than the Porsche 918 reaches 300km/h, and because it comes from a small swedish company whose name means “knife’s edge”
The other day I alluded to the Porsche 989 Panamera concept, the stillborn 4-door Porsche was considering in the early 1990s. Although that car was never officially shown to the public, its existence was a well-known fact among Porsche-files. What is less well-known is that after it ceased developing the 989, Porsche produced another concept, the 932 Panamera II, which by the looks of it aimed for a more spacious rear seat and boot.
To no-one’s surprise the Lagonda (ok, Aston Martin) Taraf will be sold in the UK, Europe, and not just in the Middle East as the company originally planned. This makes me wonder why did Aston Martin not make this car in the first place, rather than the unloved, too-small Rapide? [Read more…]
Premium large SUVs continue to progress as the segment grows 17% on the first nine months of last year. Almost 90% of this growth can be attributed to a single model, the new leader of the segment: the new generation BMW X5. The X5 almost triples its sales of the outgoing model last year, shooting up from fourth place to the top with more than 20% share of the premium large SUV segment. In second place is another model that’s been renewed and making big gains. The Range Rover Sport comes from fifth place last year to almost double its sales of the previous generation, which started sales in the third quarter of 2013.
These two have bumped the Mercedes-Benz M-Class from its distant and unthreatened leadership of last year, now down into the bottom spot of the podium. In 2015 and onwards the M-Class will be under further intensified competition as two former podium contenders will be replaced after both serving a decade or more. [Read more…]
Sales of premium midsized SUVs are up 6% or more than 12.000 units on the first three quarters of 2013, thanks to the introduction of two all-new models from Porsche and BMW.
The Audi Q5 holds on to the first place it claimed in the second quarter, but the recently refreshed Volvo XC60 continues to stay close, even outselling its German rival in September. I don’t think the XC60 will be able to pull a rabbit out of its had and finish in the segment’s first place for the first time ever, but reclaiming the second place it already held in 2009 and 2010 would be almost just as impressive considering the increased competition since.
The Range Rover Evoque led the segment in the first quarter of the year, but has fallen behind since, being outsold by the recently updated BMW X3 in the second and third quarter, although it remains firmly in third place. 2014 is going to be the third year in a row where the Evoque finishes on the third step of the podium of the premium compact SUV segment.