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New Alfa Romeo Mita - So cute

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These are the best pictures yet of the new Alfa Mito, which will be one of the stars of the London motor show this July.

The car is expected to go on sale in the UK from January next year, and will finally provide direct competition for BMW’s all-conquering Mini.

Mito prices will kick off around £12,000, but it will offer far more rear cabin space and boot capacity than the Mini, as well as more powerful engines.

Although the 4.1m-long car is based on the Abarth version of the Fiat Grande Punto chassis, the Mito gets unique styling inside and out, as well as substantial sports seats and a range of downsized-but-powerful turbo petrol and diesel engines.

Some Alfa sources say that the Mito will get the option of highly advanced ‘Multi-Air’ petrol engines, which dispense with a camshaft controlling the inlet valves. In its place will be individual actuators to operate the valves, allowing almost infinite control over timing and lift. The result is said to be very powerful, despite a modest 1.4-litre capacity.

Alfa sources are hopeful that the Mito will revive its fortunes in the UK market. Insiders think that the Mito could shift over 10,000 units per year in Britain, single-handedly reviving the marque.

After the Mito appears in UK showrooms early next year, the next new Alfa will be the crucial replacement for the ageing 147.

Like its predecessor the 149 will get sophisticated “multi-link suspension front and rear”, according to insiders and it is said to share very little with Fiat’s similar-size Bravo hatchback.

The 149 should be unveiled in 2009 and it should also boost Alfa sales to around 25,000 units per year, four times last year’s Alfa UK total.

A decision has yet to be made on building a new Alfa Romeo flagship model, though. It remains possible that the model could be based on the Jaguar XF chassis. Fiat Auto and Tata – Jaguar’s new owner – have very close financial and product development links.

Even further out, Italian insiders have told Autocar that the next-generation 159 is likely to be smaller and lighter than the current car, while not giving anything away in terms of interior packaging.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mitsubishi Eclipse 2008


The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse is a fine sport coupe for anyone seeking a middle-of-the-road mix of performance, comfort and style.

Powerful V6, balanced ride and handling, comfortable front seats, rockin' Rockford Fosgate stereo, cargo-friendly hatchback body.

Weak performance with four-cylinder, torque steer with V6, heavy for a sport coupe, big turning circle, small backseat.
What's New for 2008
All 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse models ordered with the optional stereo now get satellite radio as part of the deal. The Eclipse's top-end GT model receives the formerly optional 18-inch alloy wheels as standard.
2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse Vehicle Overview

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse may trace its roots to the rowdy turbocharged sport coupe of the '90s, but its formula has undergone several revisions over the years. Now in its fourth generation, the Eclipse isn't as racy as in years past, but casual sport coupe shoppers will likely find plenty to like in the Eclipse of today.
An available 263-horsepower V6 not only makes this the fastest Eclipse ever, but also the best at providing the low-end punch Americans find so satisfying. Mitsubishi also gave the Eclipse a fairly relaxed ride for daily commutes, while tuning the suspension and steering for sharp responses in the corners. It's a stretch to call this Eclipse a full-on athlete, but as a long-distance touring car, this front-wheel-drive coupe can be surprisingly enjoyable. The car's interior furthers this impression, greeting occupants with solid-quality materials, supportive seats and an especially nice optional stereo.

Much of this comfort came courtesy of the Eclipse's siblings, the Galant sedan and Endeavor SUV, whose platform underpins the Eclipse. These genetics bring some definite compromises, not the least of which is curb weight, as today's Mitsubishi Eclipse GT weighs as much as a Toyota Avalon. In addition, despite its larger size, the Eclipse retains its perennial problem of having a cramped backseat.

Because of the coupe's weight, the four-cylinder offers meager go-power, and indeed the modest-performing Eclipse GS is a tough sell over hotter sport coupes like the Honda Civic Si and VW GTI. For Eclipse buyers who can afford it, the powerful V6 is our definitive recommendation. The one drawback is that this engine delivers more torque to the front wheels than they can effectively channel to the ground, leaving the coupe's tires scrabbling for traction under full-throttle launches.

Such behavior is inevitable in a front-drive coupe with a big V6, and as a result, the Eclipse is less fun to fling around than rear-wheel-drive coupes like the Ford Mustang, Mazda RX-8 and Nissan 350Z. But when it comes down to it, plenty of people just want an engine that doesn't talk back when asked to perform, a ride that won't beat them up on the freeway, and a body that turns heads. And alongside the larger front-drive coupes in this price range -- including the Nissan Altima, Honda Accord and Toyota Solara -- the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT does merit more serious consideration. If you're willing to give on interior space, Mitsu's coupe offers more athleticism and style.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse Coupe comes in GS, GT and limited-edition SE and SE-V6 trim levels. Even on the GS, standard equipment is generous with 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, air-conditioning, a six-speaker MP3-capable CD stereo, split-folding rear seats, keyless entry, and power windows, locks and mirrors. The GT adds the V6, 18-inch alloy wheels, bigger vented disc brakes, traction control, an outside temperature display and compass.
The Eclipse's key options come in two major packages. Optional on both the GS and GT is the Sun & Sound Package, which includes a glass sunroof, a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate stereo with six-disc CD changer, satellite radio, steering wheel audio controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, outside temperature display and compass. Exclusive to the GT is the Premium Sport Package, which includes all of the above plus a power driver seat, heated leather front seats, heated mirrors, automatic climate control and aluminum pedals. The SE is essentially a Sun & Sound package-equipped Eclipse GS with cosmetic upgrades inside and out, 18-inch wheels and the GT's firmer suspension. The SE-V6 adds stability control and the cosmetic upgrades to the Eclipse GT equipped with the Premium Sport package.

Powertrains and Performance

The front-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Eclipse GS and SE have a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 162 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. Putting power to the wheels is either a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic with manual shift mode. The 3.8-liter V6 in the Eclipse GT and SE-V6 kicks it up to 263 hp 260 lb-ft, as well as one extra gear in each transmission. An Eclipse GT with a six-speed manual gearbox can hit 60 mph in 6.8 seconds and provides strong response from any speed.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse offers lots of standard protection, at least to the first two occupants. Standard side and head curtain airbags protect front riders only, and the rear seat lacks head restraints. Every Eclipse features antilock disc brakes as standard, with the GT adding traction control. The SE-V6 is the only model to come with stability control.

Interior Design and Special Features
The current Eclipse's interior rates about average in materials but above-average for style. The dash flows in a soft wave; ice blue backlighting decorates the instruments; and there are unusual details such as door releases shaped like flip phones. The Rockford Fosgate stereo arguably has best-in-class sound quality, though unfortunately lacks an MP3 player jack. Front seats are comfortable and supportive on long trips, though passengers in the cramped rear fare far worse in every way. The Eclipse does shine as a cargo hauler, however, thanks to a hatchback body style that allows for 15.7 cubic feet of cargo even before folding the backseats.

Driving Impressions
Despite its frontal weight bias and hefty curb weight, the 2008 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT is still an entertaining partner on twisty roads thanks to eager turn-in, a short wheelbase and a general feeling of composure. A well-sorted suspension strikes a successful compromise between buttoned-down handling and a smooth-enough ride. Weak points include average braking distances and a wide turning circle. We recommend skipping the four-cylinder in favor of the V6, as its muscular power band does a much better job of motivating the heavyweight Eclipse.

Monday, June 16, 2008

BMW Gina - Go Batman

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BMW's design department has been working overtime lately. Just last month, the German automaker unveiled its M1 Homage Concept at the Villa d'Este Concours on the shores of Lake Como, Italy. Now, Munich has officially taken the wraps off of a new design study called the GINA Light Visionary Model, a creation BMW says shouldn't be thought of as "just another concept car," but rather "a whole new approach to automotive design."

With its GINA (Geometry and Functions In "N" Adaptions) model, BMW set out to explore the creative freedom that might be offered with future cars while using a traditional front-mounted eight-cylinder engine and rear-drive platform. The surface of the concept features a new fabric material that BMW says is highly resistant to expansion, durable, and flexible. Underneath the covering material is a light aluminum subframe that is moveable via electric and hydraulic controls, allowing the surface itself to be reshaped according to the owner's desire. The usual elements of production cars -- doors, wheel arches, a trunk lid, engine hood, and roof -- are not present in the conventional sense. Rather, the body consists of just four components: a front panel that leads to the edge of the windscreen, two side panels (one on each side of the car), and a rear deck panel.

BMW is particularly proud of the headlights on the GINA project. When the headlights are not active, they are hidden under the car's skin. When turned on, the metal subframe moves the covering fabric skin laterally away from either side of the trademark kidney-shaped grille, exposing the double lights. Other sections of bodywork are moveable as well: the rear panel shifts to allow a spoiler to rise when traveling over a specified speed, while the rocker panels move to narrow or widen the side air intakes and extend an additional protruding rocker panel line. Even the aforementioned kidney grille is able to be widened, adding separate distinct body lines in the process.

Honda accord coupe 2008

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Most automotive magazines and consumer auto Web sites agree that at Honda, 2008 has brought out the most refined Accord Coupe ever, with new bold styling that distinguishes it from Accords of the past.

The new 2008 Honda Accord Coupe has a larger footprint than the outgoing model. Popular Mechanics notes that it's 3 inches longer, 1.5 inches wider, and a full inch taller, which makes it roomier and more comfortable, but it's still small enough to carry the designation of being a compact car. At a quick glance, the Accord Coupe does look big, but it's more of an illusion caused by the taller, longer nose. Also notably larger are the wheels; the four-cylinder models now have 17-inch wheels, while the V-6 version gets bigger 18-inch hoops. and Edmunds both point out that the Coupe's hindquarters, with a distinctive kink in the C-pillar and taillights that wrap around the side of the body, are reminiscent of the BMW 5-Series. Edmunds goes on to report that the 2008 Accord Coupe "is a genuine attention-grabber, in a sporty kind of way -- something no previous version of the Accord Coupe could be accused of." notes that at Honda, 2008 brings a Coupe with “a chiseled look that's highlighted in front by a narrow mesh grille and bulging front fenders."

Jalopnik is not as enthusiastic about the Coupe's exterior or interior esthetics, saying, "In places the 2008 Honda Accord Coupe is woefully bland, in others awkwardly edgy." While they claim that the interior is "positively posh," they're not too crazy about the grayish plastic dashboard and "cornucopia" of buttons, which are "awkwardly unintuitive" and clash with the nice leather.

Motor Trend disagrees about the Accord Coupe's cabin. "Honda has always done tight panels and high quality surfaces, but with the new Accord Coupe they've really outdone themselves." They like the look of the seamless matte finish and silver gray plastics and go on to say that "the new Accord's dash displays are MacBook Pro all the way."’s editors don’t find much wrong with the new Honda; 2008 brings, for the first time ever, a unique look and completely different body panels for the two-door. The two-door is markedly sleeker, with a sexy curve to the roof, and the bold character line, sweeping from front wheels to rear lamps, gives the coupe a sense of constant motion. The new Accord's cockpit is definitely among the best, too--the dashboard is laid out in a sort of dual-cockpit mode, and gauges and controls are particularly well placed.


The base 2008 Honda Accord Coupe features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that pumps out an impressive 190 hp and an estimated 21/31 mpg. The optional 3.5-liter V-6 with 268 hp will be on the top of the list for those who crave more performance, but despite the huge power increase, the V-6 isn't much thirstier at the gas pump. Thanks to Honda's Variable Cylinder Management system that shuts down cylinders when they're not needed, the V-6 earns an estimated 19/29 mpg.

Popular Mechanics believes that Honda will probably sell more Accord Coupes with the 190-hp four-cylinder engine, and those who opt for this package will be pleased with the engine's silky smooth operation and seamless power delivery. They also praise the Accord Coupe for its miserly fuel consumption, saying the four-cylinder Accord has "simply excellent fuel economy for a car this size."

The 2008 Honda Accord Coupe V-6 is the most powerful Accord to date; found that the majority of reviewers praise its smooth power delivery, silky smooth six-speed shifter, and sportscarlike handling. Car and Driver believes that the Honda Accord Coupe is a better machine than its No. 1 competitor, the Nissan Altima. "It's certainly fast," the reviewer notes, and even though the Accord Coupe has fewer ponies under the hood, it's quicker and has a "slick and easy to use" six-speed gearbox. Motor Trend reports that the 268-hp Accord Coupe EX-L they tested "drives like a dream." It also has 248-pound feet of torque, "and yet at WOT, there's no wheelspin or torque steer.” praises the V-6's smooth power, but knocks off a few points because "it doesn't feel as strong as its 268 horsepower rating would suggest". The V-6 Accord Coupe exhibits good acceleration, "but it doesn't blow you away with its power the way the Toyota Avalon's V-6 can."

Edmunds compares the Accord Coupe's performance to that of the discontinued Acura CL Type-S. The 2008 Honda Accord Coupe has more power, however, and the six-speed shifter and clutch mechanism "feels exactly the same" as the Acura's. They report that six-speed shifter also shares the CL's notchy feel, "and the clutch take-up is abrupt, making an Accord Coupe with its powertrain difficult to drive smoothly." They have no gripes about the Accord Coupe's power and report that even though it "is narrowly outgunned by the 270-hp Altima Coupe," the Honda's engine is "far smoother" than the Altima's VQ-Series V-6. believes the new 2008 Honda Accord Coupe is one of the best compact coupes to drive, in four- or six-cylinder guise. It handles very well, too. Though bigger, the new Accord has a lower center of gravity, thanks to Honda engineers. They've modified the double-wishbone front suspension geometry and gone with a multilink rear. The result is a very supple suspension package that seems to soak up bumps almost imperceptibly, without numbing its road feel. The new, variable gear ration steering is precise and supple, with a clear, on-center feel. At Honda, 2008 brings the Coupe standard 18-inch wheels, too.