Geneva auto show

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Vanda reveals electric supercar

Singapore-based Vanda Electrics have revealed its first electric supercar, named the Dendrobium, at the Geneva Auto Show on Friday.

While the powertrain specifications are yet to be finalised, Vanda claims the electric supercar can generate 745kW of power, reach 0-100km/hr in 2.6 seconds and has a top speed of 321km/hr. The total weight is 1750 kilograms.

The concept EV is styled after the Singaporean Dendrobium orchid, with rear-hinged doors and a roof that imitate an unfurling flower. Williams Advanced Engineering is assisting Vanda with designing and manufacturing.

The Dendrobium is the first car manufactured by Vanda, which specialises in battery technology and electric mobility. Previous projects from the company include the Motochimp electric scooter, which is set to go on sale in Japan this winter, and the Ant Truck, a one-tonne EV hauling truck which will be produced sometime this year.

Vanda Electric CEO Larissa Tan told journalists the company is still deciding on whether to put the Dendrobium into production, and if it does, “it will be made in the tens rather than the hundreds,” with a “seven-figure” price tag.

If production goes ahead, pending a warm reception at Geneva, the first model could be on the road in 2020.

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Mitsubishi debuts new crossover SUV

Another crossover SUV debuted at the Geneva Auto Show this week. The Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross was first previewed last month as part of a line-up refresh, and finally revealed in Switzerland, and will sit alongside the ASX and beneath the Outlander in the Mitsubishi range.

The Eclipse nameplate is a revival for the car maker, and was first seen in a small sports coupe in the 1990s and 2000s. The Eclipse Crossover features a couple-like silhouette with a tapered roof, and Mitsubishi promises a sporty driving experience.

 The SUV comes with two powertrain options. The first is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine matched to a CVT automatic transmission, with an ‘eight-speed’ sport mode manual control option. The second is a 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel, which is paired to an eight-speed automatic. Power figures are yet to be confirmed by Mitsubishi. and all-wheel drive will come as standard.

Mitsubishi have said the Eclipse Cross will be on sale in the U.S. and Europe in early 2018, with a New Zealand launch date yet to be confirmed.

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VW unveil new Arteon coupe

Volkswagen has revealed the Gran Turismo Arteon at the Geneva Auto Show. The four-door coupe will join the line-up in 2017 following the end of the Phaeton last year.

The Arteon features a newly-designed front and grille with LED daytime running lights and chrome-plated crossbars, which Volkswagen have branded ‘avant-garde.’ An R-Line package offers new fascias.

A range of powertrain options will be available, starting with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 110kW of power. A 2.0-litre petrol will also be available, with either 140kW or 206kW of power.

A 2.0-litre diesel will also be offered in the Arteon, with 110kW, 140kW and 175kW power options.

The Arteon contains VW’s latest generation emergency assist system, which knows when the driver is having a medical emergency and is able to slow and move the car autonomously. Lane assist now reacts to swerving trucks, and the car’s headlights are now linked to the GPS system, and can sense and adapt to upcoming corners.

Tom Ruddenklau, general manager of Volkswagen New Zealand, says, “As our flagship model, we are extremely excited to offer our customers a premium car.”

The Arteon R-Line will be available on New Zealand shores in September 2017, and will feature the 206kW 2.0-litre engine.

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FCA merger snubbed by GM, VW

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s attempts to discuss a merger with larger car makers have been rebuffed by both VW and GM in the wake of PSA’s acquisition of Opel.

On Tuesday, Marchionne said the sale would create pressure on VW, which could prompt the German car maker to sit down with Fiat Chrysler.

VW CEO Matthias Mueller dismissed the claim at the Geneva Auto Show, telling Reuters that the company was too busy with the fallout of the emissions scandal. “We’re not ready for talks about anything,” Mueller said. “We have other problems.”

The German inquiry into the VW emissions scandal is in its final days, with German chancellor Angela Merkel set to testify amid controversy over her close relationship with former CEO Martin Winterkorn and ongoing friction with US environmental authorities.

Marchionne has been a long-term advocate for mergers between car makers, which would share the costs of research and development in the effort to produce cleaner, more technologically advanced vehicles.

“You need to achieve scale or we will end up delivering an incredibly poor return and margins on this business. We need to fix this,” he said.

Mueller’s rejection of a merger follows a similar dismissal from GM, after Marchionne said the American car maker was his preferred choice.

“We weren’t interested before, and we’re even less interested now,” GM President Dan Ammann told reporters in Geneva.

Fiat Chrysler lags behind other car makers in Europe, with a market share of seven per cent and an operating margin of 2.5, below most of its rivals.

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New Opel Insignia debuts at Geneva

The next-generation Opel Insignia Grand Sport and Grand Tourer debuted at the Geneva Auto Show, giving New Zealand drivers a glimpse into the Holden Commodore’s future under the German nameplate.

The Insignia range will feature under different nameplates worldwide; the Opel Insignia in Europe, the Vauxhall Insignia in the United Kingdom, the Buick Regal in the United States, and the Holden Commodore in Australia and New Zealand.

The Insignia is inspired by the 2013 Opel Monza concept, and GM Australia Design Director, Richard Ferlazzo, said the European team worked closely with the GM Australia team to create a vehicle silhouette reminiscent of a Commodore.

“We’ve been in discussions with Mark’s Opel team for a long time and have made sure the Commodore DNA is strong in the car,” Ferlazzo said. “Commodore influence is also strong for the interior.”

Engine options for the Insignia begin with a 1.5-litre turbo petrol producing 103kW of power and 250Nm of torque, and stretch up to a 2.0-litre turbo petrol generating 191kW and 400Nm of torque. Opel engineers and executives have promised the Holden Commodore range will contain the flagship V6 engine when it arrives in Australia and New Zealand.

The Insignia is available in both sedan and sportwagon body styles, and features various driver assistance systems, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, speed limit cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, side blind-zone alert and rear cross-traffic alert.

The next-generation Holden Commodore will go on sale in New Zealand next year.

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Lexus LS 500h hybrid unveiled

The hybrid Lexus LS 500h has been officially unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show following the launch of the petrol-powered V6 model in Detroit at the beginning of the year.

Lexus’ new LS 500h is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and two electric motors, which produces a combined 264kW matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid can achieve 0-100km/h in 5.4 seconds, and can run at up to 140km/h with the petrol engine shut off. The lithium-ion battery is 20 per cent smaller than the unit inside the LS 600h, providing an extra 25 litres of luggage space.

The powertrain is matched with the new luxury platform, which debuted in the LC coupe and features here with a longer wheelbase. The platform design allows the car’s centre of gravity to be lower and moves the mass to the centre of the chassis. Adaptive variable suspension helps to increase wheel control and steering response.

An advanced safety system features the world’s first intuitive pedestrian detection function with active steering. If the system detects a pedestrian on the road and judges a collision is imminent, it will automatically apply the car’s brakes and steer around the person, while keeping to its traffic lane.

The car is also equipped with up to 14 airbags and the all-new CoDrive support system, which provides steering control, which adjusts to driver preferences, and continuous driving support on motorways.

Details on pricing and a release timeframe are to come.

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2017 World Car Awards finalists announced

The finalists have been announced for the 2017 Word Car Awards at the Geneva Auto Show, with the winners to be awarded at the New York International Auto Show on April 13.

New York Auto Show chairman John LaSorsa said he was “proud” to host the awards with the Geneva event. “Each year, we look forward to recognising and honouring the ‘best of the best’ in the auto industry. On behalf of the New York Auto Show, we’d like to congratulate all the finalists and wish them all the best as we head into the final announcement,” he said.

The three finalists in each of the six award categories have been decided by a panel of 75 international journalists.

Last year’s World Car of the Year was the Mazda MX-5 roadster. The finalists for the 2017 World Car of the Year are the Audi Q5, the Jaguar F-PACE and the Volkswagen Tiguan. All finalists are crossover SUVs, a first for the World Car awards, and highlights the boom in popularity in the 2017 car market.

The World Luxury Car finalists are the BMW 5 Series, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Volvo S90/V90. The 2017 World Performance Car finalists are the Audi R8 Spyder, McLaren 570s and Porsche Boxster Cayman.

The World Green Car finalists are the Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model X and Toyota Prius Prime. The World Urban Car finalists are the electric BMW i3 (94 Ah), Citroen C3 and Suzuki Ignis. The Urban Car is a new category, acknowledging the importance of small, fuel-efficient city vehicles.

Finally, the World Car Design of the Year finalists are the Jaguar F-PACE, the only vehicle to be nominated twice, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet and Toyota C-HR.

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Alfa Romeo debuts SUV at Geneva

Luxury car maker Alfa Romeo will debut its first SUV at the Geneva Auto Show this week in response to the flourishing sports utility market, alongside a refreshed Giulia sports range.

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio contains four powertrain options. The first is the 2.0-litre, 205kW turbocharged petrol engine, first launched in Europe two months ago. The diesel options are largely similar, with a 132kW 2.2-litre, and a 154kW 2.2-litre engine. Both engines are married to an automatic eight-speed transmission and all-wheel drive.

At the top of the range, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio contains a 375kW 2.9-litre V6 twin turbo petrol engine, which debuted in Los Angeles last November.

The latest incarnation of the Giulia sports sedan will also be on display with a range of engine options. The first is the Giulia Veloce with a 205kW 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, automatic eight-speed transmission and all-wheel drive. The Giulia Veloce is also on display with the same 154kW 2.2 diesel engine with an automatic eight-speed transmission and all-wheel drive, as seen in the Stelvio SUV

The Guilia range tops out with the Competizione Red Quadrifoglio, equipped with a 375kW 2.9-litre V6 twin turbo petrol engine matched with an automatic eight-speed transmission.

A new version is also set to launch in Europe this month– the Giulia Super with a 2.2-litre, 133kW engine with the same automatic eight-speed transmission and all-wheel drive.

The new Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan is “weeks away” from its New Zealand debut, and the Stelvio SUV is scheduled to reach the country by the end of the year, according to Fiat Chrysler New Zealand.

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Abarth premiers new Scorpione roadster

Racing car maker Abarth will debut its new 124 Spider Scorpione at the Geneva Auto Show this week. The latest interpretation of the standard Abarth 124 Spider will also be on show.

The 124 Spider and the special-edition Scorpione has a 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine under the bonnet, delivering 125kW of power and 250Nm of torque. With a top speed of 232 km/h, the roadster reaches 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds. Two transmission options are available – a six-speed manual transmission, and the Esseesse Sporty Sequential automatic transmission.

The suspension on the Scorpione uses a double wishbone scheme at the front and a 5-arm multilink architecture at the rear, and the setup increases stability on the corners and enhances compression braking. A specific sports calibration of the power steering system has optimized steering feedback.  

The two-door 124 Spider and Spider Scorpione contain driver assistance and safety devices, including an anti-lock brake system, electronic brake-force distribution and electronic stability control.

The Abarth 124 Spider is now available in New Zealand, with prices beginning at $52,990 for manual and $54,990 for automatic models. There’s no word yet about international distribution for the Scorpione model.

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Jeep to debut new compact SUV at Geneva

Jeep is set to premiere its new compact Compass SUV at the Geneva Auto Show, as well as a range of new special-edition models.

The Compass will come with 17 different powertrain options globally and features “advanced user-friendly connectivity and safety,” according to the manufacturer. The compact SUV is the most popular SUV market segment in Europe, and the inclusion of the Compass completes Jeep’s Trailhawk line-up. Fiat Chrysler New Zealand said the Compass is set to be on sale in country at the end of the year.

Jeep is also showing three new special editions. The Wrangler Rubicon Recon is the first, with increased 4×4 capability and a front-axle upgrade and rear differential covers providing extra protection from rugged terrain. The Rubicon Recon special edition model will be powered by a 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine producing 147kW, and a 3.6-litre V-6 petrol engine generating 209kW. Both engines will be matched to an automatic five-speed gearbox.

The Grand Cherokee and Wrangler Night Eagle editions will also be debuted, with black accents and sporty exterior finishes. The Grand Cherokee Night Eagle is powered by the 3.0-litre diesel engine producing 184kW, and the 3.6-Litre V6 210kW petrol engine, both matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Night Eagle is powered by a 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine producing 147kW and a 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine delivering 209kW. Both engine options are matched an automatic five-speed transmission.

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, Cherokee Overland and Renegade, all featuring the Mopar ONE off-road customisation package, will also be on display. The package includes homologated accessories and a 2-inch lift kit to increase off-road performance.

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Range Rover Velar unveiled

The Range Rover Velar has been fully revealed at the Design Museum in London ahead of the Geneva Auto Show. The Velar will sit between the Evoque and the Sport models in the Range Rover line-up.

The Velar comes with six powertrain options. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel D180 generates 132kW of power and 430Nm of torque, and 0-100km/h takes 8.9 seconds. Fuel consumption has been rated at 5.4 litres per 100km and emissions 142g/km.

The more powerful 2.0-litre four-cylinder D240 contains two turbochargers to produce 176kW of power and 500Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0-100km/h takes 7.3 seconds, and fuel consumption is rated slightly higher, at 5.8 litres per 100km and emissions 154g/km.

The third diesel option, the D300, contains a 3.0-litre V6 engine, which puts out 220kW of power and 70Nm of torque. The D300 takes 6.1 seconds to reach 0-100km/h, and fuel consumption is rated at 6.4 litres per 100km and 167g/km. The diesel options all contain a catalytic reduction system to cut tailpipe emissions of nitrous oxide.

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder Velar P250 opens the petrol line-up, producing 183kW of power and a maximum 365Nm of torque. Acceleration from 0-100km/h takes 6.7 seconds. The enhanced 2.0-litre Velar P300 contains is the most powerful four-cylinder engine found in a Land Rover, generating 220kW of power and 400Nm of torque, with details on acceleration times to come. 

The 3.0-litre supercharged V6 P380 sits at the top of the petrol range. The all-aluminium engine contains a twin-vortex supercharger, direct injection, and dual-independent variable-camshaft timing and generates 280kW of power and 450Nm of torque, accelerating from 0-100km/h in 5.7 seconds.

All six powertrain options are matched to an eight-speed automatic transmissions and all-wheel drive.

The Velar contains six airbags and a range of advanced driver assistance systems including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with queue-assist and an adaptive speed limiter.

Coil springs with a ground clearance of 213mm is standard on four-cylinder models, with the V6 models featuring four-corner air suspension, which drops the ride height by 10mm when cruising at speeds above 105km/h. The height can be increased 46mm during off-road mode to 251mm.

The Velar’s terrain response system contains eco, comfort, grass-gravel-snow, mud-ruts, sand, and dynamic (on R-Dynamic models) modes, which adjust engine, transmission, all-wheel drive system, suspension and stability control to suit the driving conditions.

The Range Rover Velar will be available in New Zealand later this year, with prices to come.

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