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]


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.

Audi Ford Holden Honda Hyundai Koenigsegg Lamborghini Lexus Lotus Maserati Mazda Mitsubishi Motor Shows Nissan Peugeot Porsche Range Rover Renault Skoda Suzuki Toyota Volkswagen Volvo

AIMS 2010: Photo gallery

AIMS 2010

Here is the AUSmotive photo gallery from the Australian International Motor Show industry day. There are 128 photos in all and you can simply click on each thumbnail to access a 2000px super image.

Highlights include a couple of track specials in the form of the awesome Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and the rear-engined V6 Renault Megane Trophy. Others to look out for are the Toyota FT-86G concept, the Ford Focus RS, a trio of Lamborghini Gallardos and the highly desirable Audi R8 V10 Spyder, which looks great in all white.

Dedicated articles on the following cars can be access by clicking on the links below:

A big thank you to Daniel McKenna who joined the AUSmotive crew at AIMS and brought you many of the pictures you see here.

Audi Motor Shows

AIMS 2010: Audi A8 L

Audi A8 L

Hidden away on a mezzanine level at the Audi motor show stand is an imposing W12 powered A8 L. It’s Audi’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. A long luxo cruiser designed with opulence and luxury in mind, and not much else.

The huge lattice grille introduces a commanding presence, one which is complemented by the 20″ alloy wheels and the sheer length of the car. At 130mm longer than a regular A8 the L version has vast amounts of space for all passengers.

It’s the inside of this car, really, that completes the picture. Especially when you see the two individual rear seats facing two large entertainment screens. With electronic reclining and features such as a massage function you just know spending time in those seats would be time well spent.

The good news is the A8 L will be coming to Australia in the 2nd quarter of next year. The bad news is the 368kW 6.3 litre W12 will not be available. Australian captains of industry will have to choose from an engine lineup comprising 3.0 and 4.2 TDI diesels or a 4.2 FSI petrol engine. All are fitted with an 8-speed tiptronic transmission.

Check the pics out after the break, as far as luxo barges go, the A8 L looks like a great option.

Audi Motor Shows

AIMS 2010: Audi A1

Audi A1

Audi launched its new A1 model at the Australian International Motor Show. They say it is the next big thing. Small in size, big on features is the theory. Does the A1 deliver on its promise? We’ll need a drive before we can give a definitive answer on that, but after putting our grubby little fingers all over the car we can at least tell you what it’s like from a visual point of view.

Outside, the look is definitely Audi and the result is mostly a success. Maybe the lower lip on the lower hatch where it meets the rear window is a bit too chunky, but that’s being very picky. Overall the A1 creates a pleasing mix of fun and sophistication.

Inside, the A1 is a real success. While the new Volkswagen Polo has improved its interior look and finish taking it to an all new level, the Audi A1 raises the bar further still. The hideaway Nav screen is a nice feature. It brings a welcome level of luxury to the small car segment. The only negative, though, is the resolution of the screen lacks detail compared to the system used in the current A3 range, for example. First impressions of the seats are very positive. They get the right blend of support and comfort and feel the equal, at least, of far more expensive cars.

At launch Audi will offer two trim levels, both powered by a 90kW 1.4 TFSI engine. The Attraction, with 6 speed manual, is priced from $29,900, while the Ambition starts at $32,650. Add $2,350 to both if you want a 7-speed S tronic (double clutch gearbox).

Deliveries of the A1 will start early next year. More details from Audi when they come to hand.

Motor Shows Volkswagen

AIMS 2010: Volkswagen Amarok

Volkswagen Amarok

The reveal of the Volkswagen Amarok was one of the better executed unveilings at AIMS yesterday. Three different scenarios were presented, with a family beach holiday the most plausible. The other themes were a Dakar Rally inspired motorsport reveal and a suburban couple on their way to a romantic dinner, presumably. Although this was, perhaps, the least convincing scenario.

Interesting to note that no farmers or tradies were seen during this presentation. When you consider Volkswagen are expected to target the Hilux market quite aggressively this could be considered a questionable exclusion.

Inside the Amarok things look pretty good, for a work truck. But don’t go in expecting Golf or Passat level interiors. And whatever you do, do not, under any circumstances, choose the dual-tone grey and brown interior as seen inside the brown Amarok at AIMS. While some might consider the all grey/dark theme from the white Amarok on show a tad bland, it is, by far, the better option of the two!

The Amarok goes on sale in Australia next March and we’ll have full details as soon as Volkswagen Australia releases them. In the meantime you can see more pics from the motor show after the break.

Audi Motor Shows

Audi A1 will be on show in Sydney

Audi A1

Audi Australia has just confirmed via its twitter account that its A1 premium hatch will be on show at AIMS, which starts on Friday. More details as they come to hand.

UPDATE 14 October: Audi Australia has confirmed with AUSmotive that the A1 will have its full Australian launch at AIMS tomorrow. Customer deliveries are expected in the new year. We’ll have full details after we return from the motor show.

Mazda Motor Shows

Mazda BT-50 ute to debut down under

Mazda BT-50 sketch

Commercial vehicles aren’t usually an AUSmotive staple, but when a manufacturer sends out a funky sketch with news said vehicle will make its world premiere at the Australian International Motor Show in about a month from now then we may as well give it a plug.

So, you’re looking at a sketch for the new Mazda BT-50. If you want to see what it will really look like then put some time aside in your schedule to check out the motorshow when the lights go on in Sydney from 15 October.

Even better news for consumers, they need not refer to this BT-50 as an SUV, or even an SAV. No, better start preparing yourself for a new euphemism acronym, the ALV – Active Lifestyle Vehicle. Just the news all you pleasure-seekers out there have been waiting for!

Motor Shows Skoda

MIMS 2009 – Skoda

Skoda at the Melbourne International Motor Show 2009

Skoda kicked off their presentation at the Melbourne International Motor Show by revealing an updated Octavia range. Matthew Wiesner, Head of Skoda Australia, then introduced Australian cycling legend Phil Anderson to assist with the launch of the Skoda Superb.

Both models certainly look the part and with their Volkswagen DNA they are cars that are not short on substance.

Proving this was a Skoda Scout on display, which recently travelled over 20,000kms around Australia in six weeks.

More pics and press releases below.

Lamborghini Motor Shows

Gallardo LP560-4 drops its top down under

Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder

The Lamborghini stand at the 75th Melbourne International Motor Show, which starts next week, is going to be a good one. Making its Australian debut will be the Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder. The Gallardo is one of the finest looking supercars money can currently buy, if not the finest. And in soft top form it is just divine. That being the case, then, the sound from its 5.2 litre V10 is like divine intervention. It truly is a message from God!

With a lighter transmission, a reworked V10 engine, new suspension and updated all-wheel-drive system the LP560-4 Spyder can sprint to 100km/h in just four seconds flat. It has a top speed of 324km/h, and to keep Bob Brown happy, has dropped its fuel consumption by 18 per cent and reduced its CO2 emissions to boot.

Joining the Spyder on the Lambo stand will be the Gallardo coupé and the Murcielago LP640. The motor show’s Historic Tribute display will show off supercar royalty in the form of a 1960s Miura. I’m not sure the profile of any supercar has bettered the classic lines of this work of absolute perfection.

If you’re heading to show, make sure you check out the best Sant’Agata has to offer. I doubt you will be disappointed.

More pics after the jump. To download the press document from the 2008 LA Auto Show, including full specs; right click, save as HERE (100kb PDF).

Motor Shows News Volkswagen

Golf VI to be launched at Melbourne International Motor Show

Volkswagen Golf VI

Volkswagen’s new Golf VI will make its Australian debut next month at the Melbourne International Motor Show (27 February–9 March). In further good news for prospective Golf customers, VW Australia sources have confirmed with AUSmotive that the car will be available for purchase at Volkswagen dealers immediately after the Melbourne show.

Presumably, there are already a number of Golf VI models in the country, with a couple of models being spotted recently in Perth.

The new Golf may not be a radical departure in looks from the outgoing Golf V, but there are quite a lot of new goodies thrown into the new model that should see the Golf keep its customary position at the top of its class. There’s a new 7-speed DSG, revised engine lineup, Adaptive Chassis Control, park steering assistant and an improved ESP system to name a few. The basic underpinnings of the Golf V chassis also remain, which means the new Golf should remain an engaging and dependable drive. Safety has also been assured with the Golf VI already achieving a 5-star Euro NCAP rating.

The Golf V has proven to be an outstanding sales success for Volkswagen Australia and there should be no reason why the Golf VI cannot continue this trend.

Volkswagen Australia is still a bit coy when asked about the new GTI and its Australian release. Current speculation suggests it will be available around October this year. We shall have to wait and see.

More news on the official launch for the Golf VI as it comes to hand. In the meantime, check out this earlier post on the Golf VI which includes more images and information released last August prior to the car’s international launch.


Volkswagen Concept BlueSport picture gallery

Volkswagen Concept BlueSport

The Volkswagen Concept BlueSport made its world debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last night. It’s a stunning looking car, but perhaps the most notable feature for a car in this segment is it’s mid-mounted efficient diesel engine.

The BlueSport roadster, fitted with six-speed DSG transmission, has a 2.0 TDI with 132kW powering the rear wheels. Being a turbo diesel, there is plenty of torque, too, all 350Nm of it. The BlueSport weighs a relatively light 1200kg and is capable reaching 100km/h in a GTI-beating 6.6 seconds, along to a top speed of 226km/h. When driven more sedately Volkswagen claims fuel consumption as low as 4.3l/100km. Its CO2 emissions are 113g/km.

“The BlueSport proves to be a compact and passionate car with a clear Volkswagen signature. The car offers pure dynamics with a powerful 180 PS Clean Diesel engine that is combined with the characteristic Volkswagen philosophy of efficiency,” confirmed Volkswagen’s Chairman of the Board, Prof. Martin Winterkorn in Detroit.

The BlueSport features an Eco mode which uses stop-start technology and an energy regeneration mode to help lower fuel consumption. Although, Volkswagen are claiming a relatively small benefit of just 0.2l/100km in normal city driving.

Some of the technology in this car may new for Volkswagen, but there doesn’t appear to be anything earth shattering under the roadster’s gorgeous metalwork. Although, a mid-engined diesel sports car is kind of cool and very now.

Update: Wallpaper sized images of the Volkswagen Concept BlueSport (click an image to load 2000px super image), along with video footage and the official press release are now available below.

Update 15 January: German Car Blog suggests the BlueSport won’t hit the roads until 2012 (that’s if it goes into production). I’ve also added a small clip below from Car and Driver’s YouTube channel.