The Black and Gold Edition

In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:

• The Lotus Exige R-GT, with a body based on the refreshed Exige S unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show last September, will be campaigned in the FIA European Rally Championship this year. Lotus International Rally, the newly formed team, is to receive seven cars this year, with three models going to privateers. The R-GT is expected to make its race debut at the Rally 1,000 Miglia in Brescia, Italy, in April. (Lotus Cars)

• According to a recent report, Nissan may resurrect the Datsun name for vehicle sales in Russia, India and Indonesia. The Nikkei reported this week that Nissan hoped to sell 300,000 Datsun-badged vehicles annually in the emerging markets. The cars would be priced close to the equivalent of $6,200. Nissan ceased using the Datsun badge in the United States in the early ’80s, but phased out its use in Asia slightly later. (Reuters)

• On Friday, Ford released fuel-economy estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency for the automaker’s Focus Electric. The purely electric hatchback, priced at $39,995, received a combined miles-per-gallon-equivalent rating of 105. Last year, the Nissan Leaf received a combined rating of 99 m.p.g.e. Ford also highlighted the E.P.A. sticker for the Focus Electric, which stated the E.V.’s range at 76 miles, 3 miles higher than the rating received by the Leaf. (Ford Motor)

• Audi, which recently announced the highest annual profit in the brand’s history, intends to campaign a diesel-hybrid version of its R18 Le Mans prototype racecar. The all-wheel-drive R18 e-tron Quattro has two electric motors mounted to the front axle, each of which reportedly generates 100 additional horsepower to support the 510-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 TDI engine. Kinetic energy recovered during deceleration would be available to the motors at speeds over 75 miles an hour. (Car and Driver)

Jaguar Reveals C-X16 Ahead of Frankfurt Auto Show

High tech, high style and hybrid power are the selling points of the Jaguar C-X19 concept, a two-seat coupe scheduled to be shown next week at Frankfurt. Jaguar had previously revealed a sketch, but no other details of the car.

The coupe, described in a news statement by Jaguar’s design director, Ian Callum, as “the most exciting car we’ve done to date,” is intended hypothetically to take on Porsche’s midengine Cayman and the Mercedes-Benz SLK. While Jaguar has not committed formally to producing the C-X16, a version of the coupe is widely expected to be revealed by the end of 2012.
Continue reading Jaguar Reveals C-X16 Ahead of Frankfurt Auto Show

Smart Previews Forvision Ahead of Frankfurt Auto Show

For all its, well, shortcomings, the Smart car has often been an ambitious workshop for forward-thinking automotive design. The Forvision concept, scheduled to have its debut in Frankfurt this month, appears to be a message from Daimler, Smart’s parent, to BMW and its “i” subbrand: two can play at this city-car-of-tomorrow game.

An advanced electric drive system is one of the older technologies applied to this laboratory on wheels. The concept’s newer features include a fully transparent glass roof that incorporates photovoltaic cells. Even in poor lighting conditions, the cells would generate enough energy to power the car’s multimedia system and three HVAC fans, Daimler claims.
Continue reading Smart Previews Forvision Ahead of Frankfurt Auto Show

J Mays: Evos Styling Will Distinguish Ford Product ‘in Four Months’

The Ford Evos concept car, which is scheduled to have its debut at the Frankfurt auto show next month, represents a near-term design strategy, said J Mays, the company’s design chief, in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

“This will appear on production cars not in four years but in four months,” he said. “We want to grease the skids in Frankfurt so that when the production versions come out people will say, ‘Oh yes, that’s what they were going for.’”
Continue reading J Mays: Evos Styling Will Distinguish Ford Product ‘in Four Months’

The Wattage-Watch Edition

In which we bring you motoring news from around the Web:

• Ahead of the Frankfurt auto show, which begins in September, Audi teased an electric urban-runabout concept this week. The car, which makes use of carbon-fiber reinforced polymer to maintain low weight and increase rigidity, has 1-plus-1 seating, with a passenger seat positioned behind the driver. A lithium-ion battery supplies power to two electric motors, which Audi brands under its e-tron banner. In the style of a Caterham 7, the wheels are positioned outside the fuselage. (Audi)
Continue reading The Wattage-Watch Edition