Will The Lobini H1 Ever Make It To The US? [New Cars]

LobiniH1Top.jpgIt's been a while since we mentioned the Brazilian-made Lobini H1, especially since a fluctuation in currency has meant that it's not as economically viable to export the car to the US. Since we last spoke of this car it has received a slight redesign and, unlike the new Interlagos, the H1 is a car that's in production and features design from an ex-Lotus engineer, a 1.8T engine sources from Audi and a tax-induced price tag of about $96,000.

If the car ever does make it to export to the United States, the price will likely come down (original estimates were around $25,000 a pop). A cheap, Brazilian made sports car? Why not?

(Via Jalopnik.)

Rumormill: Suzuki to unveil V8-powered Kizashi 3 at NY show

Click image for hi-res gallery of the Suzuki Kizashi

Hyundai is quickly proving with its Genesis luxury sedan that a lower-end Asian automaker can play in the V8-powered big leagues, and if the reports are to be believed, Suzuki wants in. The Japanese carmaker's Kizashi concepts, unveiled in Frankfurt and Tokyo last year, proved popular enough for Suzuki to move ahead with production plans and target a late 2009 roll-out. But before it settles on what form the production version will take, Suzuki is reportedly preparing a third iteration to show at the New York Auto Show in March, and this one will be powered by a V8 driving all four wheels, compared to its turbodiesel and V6 predecessors. Whether there's any truth to the reports will become evident as we weave through Manhattan traffic towards the Javits Center, so stay tuned.

Gallery: Suzuki Kizashi Concept

Gallery: Suzuki Kizashi 2 Concept

(Via Autoblog.)

Volkswagen Advanced Activity Concept: New Taro?

Volkswagen AAC

Volkswagen used to have a pickup truck called the Volkswagen Taro back in 1989, which was essentially a badge engineered Toyota Hilux. The project was discontinued in 1996. Now Volkswagen is developing the second generation Volkswagen Taro, and it is expected to be unveiled at the end of 2009.

Volkswagen had exhibited a pickup truck concept in the early 2000s called the Volkswagen Advanced Activity Concept. It looks pretty much like the Touareg but with a pickup body form. It had an adjustable air suspension which at its highest point allows for 390mm of ground clearance, and at its lowest, 280mm.

The original Taro used a 2.4 liter Toyota diesel engine but the Volkswagen AAC used the big twin turbodiesel direct injection V10 also found in the Touareg, mated to a 6-speed Tiptronic auto and a permanent all-wheel drive system.

More photos after the jump.

Volkswagen AAC

Volkswagen AAC

Volkswagen AAC

Volkswagen AAC

Volkswagen AAC

Volkswagen AAC

Volkswagen AAC

Volkswagen AAC

(Via Paul Tan's Raves and Rants on the Automotive Industry.)

Lexus looking for successor to L-Finesse design
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Lexus LF-A roadster concept.

Lexus' L-finesse design language was meant to stand for 'Seamless Anticipation,' 'Intriguing Elegance,' and 'Incisive Simplicity.' If we put aside the marketing speak for a moment, the point of L-f was to give Lexus design a greater emotional connection with consumers. While it certainly didn't stop Lexus from selling more cars, we have a feeling that the increased number of wavy lines simply didn't resonate with the public quite like it was meant to.

Now Lexus is looking for a successor to L-finesse. Emotional connection from a purely design standpoint -- not 'I just love my Toyota!' -- has been a weak point for Japanese cars in this country. Even the GT-R, the LF-A and the last Supra, technological tour-de-forces that they are (or were or will be), and for as much emotion as they inspire, are not pretty cars. The LS is a good looking car, but we wouldn't call it inspiring. Yet Lexus has a pretty good grasp on what its customers are looking for, so while we can't imagine that whatever's coming is going to be outrageous, we can hope that it will be a little less birds and clouds and a little more visceral.

Gallery: Lexus LF-A Roadster

(Via Autoblog.)

HUMMER H2 450 scooter makes our head hurt
click above to enlarge

The Hummer brand is all about strength and capability, but for some reason the smaller and less capable the Hummer, the better it sells. Talented motorcycle sketch artist Oberdan Bezzi must have had this in mind when he penned the Hummer H2 450 scooter, because the mini-cycle would likely fit in the pickup bed of the upcoming H3T. Bezzi borrowed several Hummer design queues for his moped, including the Hummer gas cap, chunky sheet metal, and we're guessing the seven bar grille. In this instance, the 2 in H2 stands for the amount of wheels and the 450 stands for Bezzi's imaginary 450 cc powerplant.

While we love Bezzi's imaginitive drawings, we're afraid his Hummer-branded scooter made some of our neurons misfire. We don't care how knobby the tires are, scooters and mud just don't mix. Hummer doesn't make scooters for the same reason we don't see Harley Davidson-branded roller skates. Jeep did make the Compass, but we digress. We'd change that opinion, however, if Governor Schwarzenegger drove the two-wheeler to all of his public speaking engagements.

(Via Autoblog.)

HumanCar coming in April with a $15,000 price tag

The HumanCar just might be an eco-loving carpooler's dream come true. Four seats and four rowing handles (for human-powered battery charging). The unique human-powered/electric hybrid vehicle will be available this coming Earth Day for a paltry $15,000.

I say this vehicle might be a dream come true because it's a little difficult to actually understand what this vehicle is. Look at the way the company describes the HumanCar:

Fine Print: Base price $15k of Imagine[TM] LMV exotic super-human hybrid electric vehicle with BodySteer[TM] chassis..: Above concept 'ideations' of Imagine[TM] by Mr. Stephen Brand. All elements subject to change. Earth Day 2008 Roll Out. The Imagine[TM] LMV will rock the world. Get involved. Imagine[TM] Electric Hybrid Pre-Order Information - The HumanCar(R) Imagine[TM] features an exoskeletal safety cage chassis, dual electric motors, variable human power input, Body-Steering[TM] patented chassis and SyncGuideway[TM] compatibility as standard equipment. It retails for $15k base.

Huh? 'Ideations'? Trademarking the word 'Imagine'? Is all this is too clear for you, feel free to download a confusingly-laid-out PDF brochure about the HumanCar.

(Via AutoblogGreen.)

Ferrari F460 Tifosi Concept Car

Ferrari F460 Tifosi concept car was created by Atilla Tay - a Transport Design graduate from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena.

Ferrari F460 Tifosi Concept Car

Ferrari F460 Tifosi concept is a proposal for a successor to the current Ferrari F430. Based on the F460 name, Ferrari F460 Tifosi concept would be powered from a 4.6 litre, mid-mounted V8. And, like the F430, the Tifosi’s engine is visible through a glass rear hatch. The ‘Tifosi’ part of the name is taken from the Italian word for ‘fan’, and in Italy the word Tifosi is often used to describe the supporters of Scuderia Ferrari in Formula One.

Ferrari F460 Tifosi Concept

Ferrari F460 Tifosi concept is similar in size, proportion and layout to the F430, but with perhaps a slightly more slippery profile. The exterior design of the concept is inspired by the shape of DNA, using continuous flowing lines to define the surfaces. The matt black color of the concept helps to emphasize style lines of the concept.

Ferrari F460 Tifosi Car


Dragonslayer: Renault rolls out the Twingo Extreme

The Twingo still won't take you to mythical Silene, but the UK gets its own specially pimped version of the entry-level Twingo called the 'Extreme.' Think of it as a Tercel Blackhawk en français, s'il vous plaît. The Twingo Extreme consists of mostly graphics for the exterior, though there's a few extra bits of gear thrown in, too.

Power is provided by a 1.2-liter engine, and Renault throws in specially trimmed wheels, a tachometer, and foglights. Soccer Football fans will undoubtedly choose the flag of St. George graphics for the exterior, and there's also Union Jacks for the door handles and stripes or checkered flags can adorn the outside, too, all for a modest price. MINI has already shown that customization at the dealer level is a popular activity, and we hope that the rest of the driving public soon becomes as smitten with small hatchy-things as we are. If we create enough clamor, they might send us a Jerry Lewis edition or something.

Press release after the jump

[Source: Renault]

Continue reading Dragonslayer: Renault rolls out the Twingo Extreme

(Via Autoblog.)

Rumormill: Jaguar planning Porsche 911 rival
click above for more high-res images of the Jaguar F-Type Concept

It's full speed ahead for Jaguar, which seems determined not to miss a single beat even as it prepares to switch ownership from Ford to Tata. As if an all-new XJ flagship sedan weren't enough to keep the transitioning British automaker busy, rumors are now circulating that Jaguar is preparing a proper sportscar, more hardcore than the XK grand tourer.

You may recognize the image above as the F-Type roadster that Jaguar unveiled to rave reviews at the Detroit show in 2000. Unfortunately, Jag's lagging sales - and the Aston Martin ceiling - forced Ford PAG to cancel the program, but Jaguar is reportedly preparing to present the case to its new owners. However, while the F-Type would have competed with the Porsche Boxster, Jaguar is said to have its sight set on the elusive benchmark of the Porsche 911 for its newest sportscar.

(Via Autoblog.)

Porsche affixes window sticker to Cayenne GTS
click above for more high-res images of the Porsche Cayenne GTS

If you're looking to augment your garage with something more punchy than a Cayenne S, but can't afford the dilithium crystals required to power the warp engines in the delightfully obscene Cayenne Turbo, Porsche has come up with a new middle ground in the 405-horsepower Cayenne GTS. The V8 in Porsche's newest SUV is basically a massaged version of the one in the Cayenne S, but in the GTS, it can be mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox for maximum entertainment. A turbo-like front end, 21-inch wheels, air suspension with PASM, and Alcantara seating designed to hold your Brooks Brothers slacks like velcro are all part of the package, too. If you want in on the party, prepare to hand the nice man at the door at least $69,300. And remember, every time you rev the engine, an RS Spyder stirs. Porsche PR after the jump.

Gallery: 2008 Porsche Cayenne GTS

Continue reading Porsche affixes window sticker to Cayenne GTS

(Via Autoblog.)

Official BMW 1-series performance catalog leaks out
Click above for a gallery of pics.

The numero-uno forum for all things 1-series got a hold of BMW's brochure for its upcoming line of performance parts, and as suspected, much of the kit originally seen on the tii concept will be available through authorized BMW dealers.

The photos we posted last week of the modified 1-series show the same car displayed in the brochure. Unfortunately, the text is in German, but Google's translation software is here to help.

Aside from some aerodynamic body panels that are visible in the pictures, well-to-do customizers can upgrade the front brakes of their 1-series with six-piston yellow calipers squeezing 325mm drilled and slotted rotors, while two-piston calipers in the rear grab onto 320mm rotors. Three different wheel choices frame those new yellow binders, ranging from 18x7.5-inches all the way up to 19x9 inch rollers, while a new dampers, springs, stabilizer and strut tower bars are available to keep things planted at all four corners.

While we don't see an optional ECU upgrade mentioned in the brochure, BMW will be offering a new intake setup and a full exhaust to ease breathing duties, and a new short shifter supposedly reduces throws by 25-percent over its stock counterpart.

Inside, there's plenty of carbon fiber, aluminum and Alcantara accoutrements that can be applied throughout the interior, and those sports seats we've been drooling over will be available as well. The big question, however, is what's going on with the steering wheel. At the 12 o'clock position is an LCD screen that can be controlled via the two buttons flanking its sides. The display can act as a stopwatch, able to keep track of 10 different laps down to 1/100 of a second, and can record 1/8- and 1/4-mile times, saving them for later viewing, along with keeping tabs on the engine temp, positive, negative and lateral g's.

You can check out some of the pics in the gallery below.

Top tip Jack!

Gallery: BMW 1-series performance parts catalog

(Via Autoblog.)