OFFICIAL: The new BMW 1 Series hatch

BMW 1 Series hatch (F20)

Here are the official words and images for BMW’s new world order 1 Series. For now, we’re still in rear-wheel drive mode, but don’t forget there is a front-wheel drive 1er is on the way, too.

The slightly bloated F20 1 Series is 85mm longer and 17mm wider than the E87 model it replaces. Overall height remains the same. Other measurements of note to change include the wheelbase, 30mm longer, and, significantly, the front track is now 51mm wider and the rear track has had 72mm added. All that means there’s now an extra 21mm legroom for rear seat passengers and the rear cargo area now offers 360 litres of space, up from 330 litres.

Five four-cylinder engines are offered in this initial release and, for the first time in the compact class, an 8-speed auto is available. The 135kW 120d is the quickest model announced to date and can reach 100km/h in 7.2 seconds. You can thank a generous 380Nm of torque for that.

There are two other diesel engines provided, as well. The 118d has 105kW/320Nm and reaches 100km/h in 8.9 seconds. The entry-level 116d offers 85kW/260Nm and requires 10.3 seconds to reach the speed limit. All feature common rail injection, TwinPower Turbo technology and use around 4.5 litres of diesel per 100km.

Completing the engine range is a 125kW/250Nm 118i (7.4s 0-100) and a 100kW/220Nm 116i (8.5s 0-100). Like the diesels, the petrol engines rely on forced induction and boast fuel consumption in the high 5s per 100km.

So far it looks like the new 1 Series isn’t winning many fans for its looks. We’re still convinced feelings will soften once we start seeing the 1er on the road, but tend to agree it’s certainly not the prettiest car BMW has ever made.

After the break there’s a concise press release and a massive image gallery of 85 pics to help you get used to the new look.

UPDATE: The press material released by BMW Australia only lists info on the 118i, 116i and 118d; surely giving a hint to their model plans for the F20. They’ve also offered a far more detailed press release, which has now been added below.

UPDATE 6 June: BMW Australia is expected to launch the new 1 Series some time after October this year.

Ferrari Formula 1 McLaren Red Bull Racing

2011 Monaco Grand Prix: Post-race press conference

2011 Monaco Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel has made it back-to-back wins for Red Bull Racing at the Monaco Grand Prix by claiming victory in a dramatic race overnight. His fifth win of the year, and his first on the famous street circuit, has given him a seemingly unassailable 58 point lead in the drivers’ standings. Fernando Alonso achieved Ferrari’s best result for the season to date by finishing second, ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button.

As always, Monaco provided plenty of action and gave us the first Safety Car laps of the year. The race was heading for a thrilling climax with Vettel, Alonso and Button all nose-to-tail with six laps remaining. All drivers were on different tyre strategies with Vettel, having only stopped once on lap 16, hoping to hold his track position by running 62 laps on the Prime tyres.

Vettel was somewhat forced into a one-stop strategy after the usually lightening quick Red Bull crew made a hash of his first pit stop (9.6 seconds) and followed that immediately after with a worse stop for Webber (15.5 seconds); all but ruining the Australian’s race, who did well to fight back to fourth place.

Meanwhile, in the closing stages Alonso’s tyres were fresher than Vettel’s, but still 20-odd laps old, while Button’s three-stop race meant he had the cleanest and quickest rubber of the top three.

On lap 72, while fast approaching slower traffic, the leading trio were lucky to miss a bit of kerfuffle immediately ahead of them involving Vitaly Petrov (Lotus Renault GP) and Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso). The pair crashed into the barriers and caused the second Safety Car period of the race, which quickly turned into a red flag after initial concerns over the well being of Petrov. With just six laps left to race it was first thought the race would end and Vettel would be declared the winner. Petrov was safely removed from his car and it subsequently appears he will be okay.

While Petrov was being attended to the cars formed up on the grid and under red flag conditions were able to make the most of a relatively lengthy delay by making minor adjustments to their cars if required. Crucially, this also gave teams the chance to fit fresh rubber if available to them. Ultimately, this handed Vettel the race who, after the restart, was able to hold off Alonso and Button for what looked like a comfortable win. Although, at various times all three men on the podium would have felt like they were best placed to win.

You can read what they had to say after the break. Video highlights are available at the One website.

[Pic: Ferrari]


I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

MINI Rocketman Concept

This funky little MINI Rocketman concept was one of the stars of this year’s Geneva Motor Show. We’ve previously heard a production model is likely and now we can start to put a date to MINI’s latest plans. According to Auto Express the Rocketman will launch in 2014.

Sized at around 400mm longer and 500mm wider than the original classic Mini, the Rocketman represents a genuine return to mini motoring. The final version will be MINI’s entry-level model and is expected to carry over the 3+1 seating configuration from the concept as well.

The Rocketman will draw from BMW’s i brand, too. That’s likely to mean the use of a carbon fibre shell and aluminium chassis, in order to keep weight down.

Ian Robertson, BMW sales and marketing director, explains “MINI will never produce a car under the ‘i’ brand—this is exclusively for BMWs—but the technology we are developing for the ‘i’ family of cars will certainly be made available for the rest of the BMW Group.”

[Source: Auto Express]


Ferrari Superamerica 45 ready for exclusive show

Ferrari Superamerica 45

This is the Ferrari Superamerica 45. It’s a one-off creation built for New York collector Peter Kalikow. The Superamerica 45 will make its public debut tomorrow at the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza.

At this stage the official Ferrari press material makes no mention of the engine underneath that Blu Antille bonnet. However, it is being listed as a 6.0 litre 12 cylinder on the event website. So it’s just a 599 with custom coachwork, then?

If you’ve been buying Fezzas for 45 years and have a stack of cash you can’t give away then you too can play the Fantasty Ferrari game. If you did, do you reckon you could come up with something better than this?

Top Gear

Top Gear Series 17 is going to be electric

Jeremy Clarkson & James May

UPDATE 9 June: Top Gear, Series 17 is due to start on 26 June.

Jeremy Clarkson and James May were recently spotted at the University of Lincoln chasing some free electricity. Filming a segment for the upcoming Season 17 of Top Gear the lads were caught out while driving across the UK using a Nissan Leaf and a Peuegot iOn.

It’s understood their all-electric cars had run out of battery power and laid idle in Lincoln for several hours while their lusty steeds regained charge. A brief video capturing Jeremy and James in their plight can be seen after the break.

There’s some debate as to the start date for Series 17. Some rumours are suggesting a possible premiere on Sunday 19 June. However, word straight from the source says, “No news of exactly when the new series will be on your screens, but it will be towards the end of this year.”

[Source: The Lincolnite]



MINI WRC Rally d’Italia debut in pictures


After a long build up the MINI WRC made it’s full race debut at Rally d’Italia on the weekend. Dani Sordo achieved consistent results bringing his car home in sixth place. Kris Meeke had a few teething problems and did not finish the race. Dave Wilcox, Technical Director, has a debrief on the event where he details some of Meeke’s issues.

There’s quite a break now until the MINI WRC is back in competitive action at Rally Finland (28–30 July). Dani Sordo will be back in the car this weekend, though, fulfilling promo duties at the Cornbury Park Rally Show near Oxford.

Meanwhile, here’s a small gallery of images of the two MINI WRCs from Sardinia.


Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster targets Frankfurt debut

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Mercedes-Benz has released these official images of the SLS AMG Roadster which document the car’s development from tin top to rag top.

According to Benz the SLS AMG Coupé and Roadster were created in parallel. That has given the engineers a head start in refining NVH levels, body rigidity, handling and the soft top roof.

The Roadster has completed 20,000kms of testing, half on urban roads, the other half around the Nürburgring. It will debut in production form at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September.


MINI WRC Team: Ready to go


This time next week we’ll be reflecting on the return of MINI to the world rally stage at Rally d’Italia. Can drivers Dani Sordo and Kris Meeke make an impression in the John Cooper Works WRC?

Dave Richards, Team Principal, seems quietly confident, “The MINI has performed better than we dared hope in testing and the S2000 car’s debut in Portugal was very encouraging. However, we are all too aware of the challenges ahead of us and take nothing for granted, but whatever the outcome, Sardinia will be an historic event for the entire team and everyone who has supported us to get this far.”

After the break you can see the team’s latest video and press release.

Citroen Motor Shows

Shanghai 2011: Citroën DS5

Citroen DS5

The third model in Citroën’s DS line has just been revealed in Shanghai. This time it’s the DS5. At 4.52m long and 1.85m wide with the body of a hatchback it’s hard to know what segment the French carmaker is chasing. With seating for five, the Ds5 is part family hatch, part luxury saloon and features a driving position described as being at home in a GT coupé.

Well, wherever it fits into to the ever expanding auto market categories we reckon the DS5 will look the part. It’s flowing curves and hard creases, somehow, tend to work together quite well. Even if the front end is bordering on being overdone.

The DS5 is powered by Citroën’s HYbrid4 technology and offers 200bhp of diesel-electric power. It’s driven by all four wheels and produces a low-ish 99g/km of those pesky CO2 emissions.

More from Citroën after the break.


F1 in pictures Formula 1 Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Renault

2011 Chinese Grand Prix in pictures

2011 Chinese GP

Still buzzing after the excitement of the Chinese Grand Prix? We reckon Lewis Hamilton probably is after he managed break the grip Sebastian Vettel was starting to force on the 2011 Formula One season.

Here’s 90 pics to help you relive all the action.


2012 Audi Q3 photo gallery

Audi Q3

Audi has published photos and information about its new Q3 ahead of Auto Shanghai (21–28 April). What we see is an altogether predictable result with a few tweaks here and there for good measure. That’s not to say the latest wannabe SUV is a bad thing. On the contrary, we think it looks quite smart. The slight reworking of the front end, especially the new headlight treatment, gives the current Audi face a welcome lift.

Inside, too, we suspect we’re being granted a sneak preview of what to expect inside the next-generation A3. Again, we welcome the changes made. In the Q3, at least, the central controls seem to be slightly more ergonomically placed than the current A3. The centre-dash mount display screen is also more user-friendly.

There’ll be four familiar 2.0 litre turbocharged engine choices to power the Q3; two petrol and two diesel. The TFSI engines will be available in 125kW and 155kW spec. While the TDI will initially launch with a 120kW version, with a 103kW unit to follow.

UPDATE 15 April: New pics added at end of article.

F1 in pictures Ferrari Formula 1 Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Renault

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix in pictures

2011 Malaysian GP

Already the 2011 Formula One season is looking like it could be a Sebastian Vettel procession. Thankfully, there’s still another 17 races to go; with any luck someone else will get a look in very soon. This weekend in China, perhaps?

Until then, here’s 78 images from the Malaysian Grand Prix to keep you busy.