2012 Audi A3 revealed in sketch form

Audi A3 sketch

Five sketches have emerged detailing the look of the new Audi A3 hatch and sedan. Next year the third generation A3 hatch will be released; it will be the first model built on the platform which will underpin the Golf VII and many other Volkswagen Group products. In 2013 the A3 sedan will follow, which we know will be launched in the US and Germany. We can only assume the sedan model will reach other markets, but this is yet to be confirmed.

We don’t really see anything in these sketches that we shouldn’t expect. The lines have been sharpened up a bit, but really, we’re seeing an evolution of the current 8P shape here, rather than revolution. Of course, we were given a big preview of what to expect with the A3 concept “notchback” at Geneva last month.


MY11 Subaru WRX STI information

MY11 Subaru WRX STI

Subaru UK has released new info on the 2011 WRX STI. We’ll update you with local details as soon as Subaru Australia has something to say, but for now you can check out the UK release after the break.

The key points with the MY11 WRX STI are a stiffer chassis, a lower ride height with “Spec C” suspension improvements, lighter alloy wheels and enhanced exhaust note. The 300PS 2.5 litre boxer engine now meets Euro 5 emissions standards, as well.

Cosmetic changes have been made to the bumpers and the rear quarter panels have been beefed up a bit more. Inside the car, Subaru say they have improved the quality of materials along with adding some new Recaro bucket seats.

And, of course, the new WRX STI (yes, they have intentionally dropped the Impreza badging) is fast. It currently lays claim to being the fastest four-door production car around the Nürburgring Nordschleife.


2011 Volkswagen Jetta

2011 Volkswagen Jetta

Volkswagen’s all new Jetta model was launched at a live event in New York’s Times Square this morning. Following yesterday’s leaked photos there were no real surprises revealed.

The Jetta draws heavily on styling cues from the New Compact Coupé, first shown in January this year. With a better and closer look at the production model we can see the front and rear grille treatments are less aggressive than the show car. As a result the look is more restrained, or, judging by some of yesterday’s comments, a little bit boring.

Sure, the chrome detailing in the grille is a little busy. Also, the main headlight cluster is not quite as special as the show car. (Perhaps that look is being saved for xenon equipped models featuring LED daytime running lights?) But I wouldn’t call the design of the new Jetta boring. Safe, perhaps.

Overall, though, the Jetta is largely faithful to the concept model and its sharp crease lines and pleasing side profile present the market with a new model that is just that. A new Volkswagen. Indeed, the press release available below states, “the new Jetta will no longer be sharing any body components with the Golf, rather it will be a vehicle type that is just as independent as a CC or a Tiguan.”

One disappointment does lie in the new Jetta’s steering wheel. It’s a three spoke design, familiar to the Volkswagen range, but just one of the upper spokes houses steering wheel controls. Higher spec models may well have controls on both sides, but the result on the images released today looks unfinished and cheap. A slight dampener on an otherwise smart looking car.

Volkswagen Australia have confirmed the new Jetta will be on sale in Australia in 2011. As to a specific date – our educated guess would suggest local availability around 12 months from now.

There’s another 10 photos available below, along with the full European press release detailing engine choices on offer at initial launch. At the end of the article a selection of new Jetta and New Compact Coupé pics are placed side by side for comparative purposes.


Behind the scenes with Subaru at the Nürburgring

Subaru Impreza WRX STI

Following the earlier news about the Subaru Impreza WRX STI here is a behind the scenes look at Subaru’s time at the Nürburgring. The clip runs for just under four minutes and gives a bit more insight into the STI sedan setting a new Nürburgring record for a four-door car.


Mercedes-Benz Shooting Break Concept

Mercedes-Benz Shooting Break Concept

Euro wagons are cool, it’s the AUSmotive edict, and this snazzy new Shooting Break Concept from Mercedes is no exception. Inspired by the F 800 SRV, SLS ‘Gullwing’ and the 2008 ConceptFASCINATION the “four-door Coupé CLS” is set to make its public debut at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show.

Under the bonnet is a next-generation 3.5 litre V6 which pumps out 225kW (306bhp) and 370Nm of torque. There’s full LED headlights, as is the style these days and there’s even a special storage compartment in the back for your golf balls. Brilliant!

Mercedes reckon what you see here paves the way for their future design language, which means we should be seeing some very sharp looking Benzes in showrooms near you in the not too distant future.

Plenty of pics and a brief video can be seen after the jump.


Impreza STI sedan sighted at Nurburgring

Subaru Impreza STi sedan

One of the great things about living and working in Nürburg is getting to see what the manufacturers are up to during their test sessions at the famous Nordschleife. Dale from Bridge to Gantry, and also RSR Nürburg, doesn’t like to waste such opportunities. As well as his BMW ‘M1’ sighting, he also saw this Subaru Impreza STI sedan throwing its hat into the Ring, so to speak.

Apparently the driver was lapping with plenty of aggression, and interestingly, in the video clip below was also tailing an Audi TT RS. A coincidence, or something more?

[Source: Bridge to Gantry]


Subaru widens WRX appeal

MY11 Subaru WRX

Subaru will apply its top-spec STi widebody styling across entire WRX range for MY11 production. This means the flared arch look will also be introduced to the WRX sedan. Both iterations will be presented to the public for the first time at next month’s New York International Auto Show. On April Fool’s Day to be precise.

Subaru Australia Managing Director, Nick Senior says, “This design further distinguishes our turbo Impreza variants, including the Impreza WRX STI, from the normally aspirated versions, which we’re sure will please the many loyal WRX fans out there.”

The widebody Rex will be on sale in Australia before the end of 2010 and final spec and pricing will be announced closer to local launch.

From a styling point of view this is a good move. The current STi has a much more aggressive stance that its lower spec brethren. However, while Mr Senior might be right that prospective WRX owners will applaud this move, I dare say there will be a few current WRX owners crying into their beers at this news.


Volkswagen Jetta four-door sedan rendering

Volkswagen Jetta VI sedan rendering

US based site VWvortex brings us some great coverage of the New Compact Coupe, including this rendering of how they expect the next Jetta sedan will look. In fact, the report says the profile of the show car is pretty much exactly the same as the final shape for the production version of the four-door Jetta sedan, which is expected to go on sale in the US before October.

This is clearly Volkswagen’s best effort in recent years at making the Jetta a proper stand alone model, rather than simply “a Golf with a boot”. Moving away from platform sharing, to a degree, VW will rather employ component sharing across its model range. This Jetta, for example, has a wheelbase around 75mm longer than the Golf VI, but it will share components from the Polo, Passat and everything in between.

As you can see from the images of the New Compact Coupe, interior styling has also been given a hand to establish an identity of its own. Sure, it’s all Volkswagen design language, as you would expect. Now, though, the Golf and Jetta will appear as siblings, rather than identical twins in different outfits.

More on the New Compact Coupe from the Detroit show can be seen at the VWvortex gallery.

UPDATE 13 January: For more Jetta speculation head on over to The Motor Report.

[Source: VWvortex]


BMW M3 Sedan launches down under

BMW M3Sedan

The BMW M3 Sedan was recently launched to the Australian market at Phillip Island. I guess the AUSmotive invitation must have accidentally been sent to CarAdvice. That tends to happen a lot. C’est la vie. Here’s the pics all the same.

BMW M3 Range

  • BMW M3 Sedan: $145,000
  • BMW M3 Coupé: $162,901
  • BMW M3 Convertible: $176,142

More info can be read HERE and the release from the launch is shown below.


BMW confirms 330d sedan for Australia

BMW 330d Sedan

BMW Australia has confirmed news that the 330d will be available here in 2009. While exact dates and pricing are yet to be confirmed, the all new 180kW 6-cylinder diesel will be in showrooms sometime after April.

The use of turbo technology gives the oil burner a massive 550Nm of torque, available from just 1750rpm. The 330d will be available with a 6-speed automatic transmission only and the economic fuel consumption of 6.8l/100km will see the car benefit from a higher $75,000 Luxury Car Tax threshold.


Next generation Mazda3 sedan

2009 Mazda3 sedan

The LA Auto Show may not have officially started just yet, but manufacturer’s are quick to get their information to market. Of particular note to Australian readers is the reveal of the new Mazda3. Over 28,000 of Mazda’s well regarded mid-size 3 models have been sold in Australia so far this year, making the car a major player in its segment. Mazda will be hoping the new model will find as much favour with local buyers.

All the expected improvements have been made over the previous generation, with a higher level of standard equipment, improved performance and considered environmental attributes. There’s quite a lengthy press release from Mazda’s United States marketing department below, and there’s a couple of nifty points to highlight.

The new exterior design has a slippery drag coefficient of 0.29 Cd, which Mazda claims is one of the lowest in class. A nice fundamental benefit to fuel economy, if nothing else. The new Mazda family face, as adopted to the Mazda3, has a bit of a quirky look, but overall the new look is a definite evolutionary step. For the most part, the car looks quite smart. However, the extroverted front guard does look a little out of place, especially when viewing the awkward juxtaposition of creases where the front quarter-panel meets the front doors.

Bringing a touch of Japanese gadgetry to the interior is the neat interactive interior ambient lighting. From the media release, “Upon entry, illumination rises in intensity in a programmed manner. Occupants are welcomed by foot-well and door-handle lamps. Next, instrument cluster, centre stack, audio and climate controls brighten. When a driver or front seat occupant touches an audio or A/C switch, a change in illumination acknowledges that the command has been received.” A bit of a gimmick, but also pretty cool.

More pics and words after the jump.


BMW M3 Sedan & Convertible – Australian pricing

E90 BMW M3 Sedan

With the imminent arrival of the M3 Sedan and Convertible, BMW Australia has announced pricing for all three models in the M3 range. Those in the cheap seats will need to start with the Sedan where pricing begins at $145,000. The iconic Coupé starts at $162,901 and only captains of industry need apply for the Convertible—for the wife, of course—with a list price of $176,142.

The Sedan comes with quite a list of goodies, such as, an 8.8″ screen Satellite Navigation system (with TV), voice recognition, bluetooth mobile phone prep, LOGIC7 hi-fi, heated leather seats and adaptive xenon headlights.

Formula 1 technology boffins will delight at the M3’s Brake Energy Regeneration system which channels energy from overrun and braking to recharge the battery, thereby allowing maximum power to be applied. Which is just what you want when you have 309kW of power and 400Nm or torque willing you on to 100km/h in under five seconds.

The M3 Convertible shouldn’t be too hard to find in Australian showrooms as you read this, and the Sedan will be available from 22 November.