Lamborghini Urus pictures leak to the internet

Sant'Agata, Italy: Well, this isn't going to please Lamborghini boss, Stephan Winkelmann, at all. Once again that notorious Czech website has leaked pictures onto the internet, this time of the Lamborghini Urus which was supposed to be unveiled to the public on Monday 23 April. So the suspense is gone. This is the same mob that leaked pictures of the Audi A3 early. Looks mean, sort of a cross between a Lamborghini Aventador and BMW X6. Nice! More details as they come to hand . . .

BYD reveals new Qin hybrid

Shenzhen, China: BYD has revealed its produciton car star for the upcoming Beijing motor show: the Qin. The Chevrolet Volt rivalling sedan can operate in either full electric or petrol-electric hybrid modes. The successor to the F3DM, the Qin uses BYD's latest lithium-ion battery technology, with the company's so-called LiFePo4 technology. Before it got into the car making business, BYD rose to prominence as the supplier of batteries to Nokia and other mobile phone manufacturers. BYD is expected to use the Qin to push into established world car markets, including North America.

Key facts
Engine:Turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder gasoline with electric assist
Gasoline engine power : n/a
Electric engine power: n/a
0-62mph (100km/h):  6.9sec
Top speed: 115mph (185km/h)
Battery: Lithium ion
Battery capacity: 10kWh
Electric range: 31 miles (50km)

BMW M135i to get four-wheel drive option

Munich, Germany: The boss of BMW's M division skunk works, Friedrich Nitschke, has confirmed media reports suggesting the company's upcoming M135i will be sold with a four wheel drive option in selected markets. The Subaru Impreza WRX STi chasing hyper hatch, which will come with standard rear-wheel drive when it goes on sale later this year, is powered by BMW's N55 engine - a turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder gasoline unit that is said to pump out around 330bhp and 332lb ft of torque. Bring it on Friedrich . . . bring it on . . .

Toyota bringing new concept car to Beijing

Nagoya, Japan: Toyota has issued a picture of a new concept car it plans to unveil at the Beijing motor show next week. The Japanese car maker hasn't provided any firm details but going on the blue tinge of light around the concept's badge and within its headlamps, the pictures suggest it will be a hybrid or electric vehicle of some kind.


JAC reveals new S-II SUV

Hefei, China: Jianghuai Auto Corporation (JAC) has revealed its new S-II SUV prior to the Beijing motor show. As hinted to it earlier sketches and scoop photographs, the new five-seater leans heavily on the popular Hyundai ix35 for stylistic inspiration. Still, not a bad effort overall - contemporary and, provided the price is right, realistically marketable in established markets. Details below. More pictures as they become available.

Key facts
JAC S-11
Length: 4430mm
Width: 1840mm
Height: 1660mm
Wheelbase: 2640mm
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline
Power : 120kW
Torque: 235NM
Gearbox: six-speed manual (six-speed dual clutch optional)
0-62mph (100km/h):  n/a
Top speed: 112mph (180km/h)
Consumption: 25.6mpg (9.2L/100km)

Zhongxing Urban Ark sketched

Baoding, China: Zhongxing, a fledgling commercial vehicle car maker, is set to reveal a new Kia Soul style crossover at the Beijing motor show. But it's not Zhongxing's new model that is grabbing headlines, it is its name: Urban Ark. Well, that's it's working name apparantly. We won't know if the new four door hatchback will retain it until it rolls onto Zhongxing's stand on 23 April. Zhongxing recently rose to prominence as its pick-ups trucks were used in the 2011 Libyan cival war by both the rebel and defeated government forces. (Hat tip to our friends at

Lamborghini promises "revolutionary presence" in Beijing

Sant'Agata, Italy: Lamborghini has  confirmed rumours it will show a concept at the upcoming Beijing motor show with the issuing of an invitation that not only reveals an outline of what resembles a sporting SUV in the mould of the BMW X6 but promises what the Italian supercar maker describes as a "revolutionary presence". Earlier today, reports appeared on Chinese websites suggesting the Lamborghini concept will be called Urus. The unveiling of the new car is planned for 12.30pm 23 April local time. The suspense is killing us . . .  

Mercedes-Benz G63 and G65 AMG revealed

Mercedes-Benz's new G63 AMG
Stuttgart, Germany: To hell with political correctness, eco touting figures and all that usual boring stuff car maker's pedal these days.

That's the message being sent out by Mercedes-Benz, whose increasingly active AMG performance car division has somehow managed to shoehorne the Maybach limousine's whopping great twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre V12 gasoline engine into the square shaped engine bay the 33 year old G-class to create this retro-styled military grade monster the get-outta-my-way-I'm-coming-through-right-now G65 AMG.

Subtle it ain't. But with 612bhp and an almost laughable 737lb ft of torque heading to all four wheels though a seven speed automati gearbox and three separate differentials that can be independently locked from the cabin, the G65 AMG should prove a capable desert stormer.
Mercedes-Benz claims its top-of-the-line G-class model will hit 62mph (100km/h) in 5.3sec and reach a top speed limited to 143mph (230km/h) top speed. Bring your fuel card, though. Combined average consumption on the European cycle is put at an old fashioned 13.8mpg (US), or 17.0L/100km in European currency. 

For those on a lesser budget, Mercedes-Benz has also announced the G63 AMG. It runs AMG's latest twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 gasoline engine hooked up with a seven-speed automatic 'box complete with automatic stop/start and brake energy recuperation functions not found on the G63 AMG. The lesser of AMG's two new G-class models replaces the long running G55 AMG, whose supercharged 5.4-litre V8 gasoline engine has now finally ceased production.

 The G63 AMG, which retains the G55 AMG's distinctive side mounted exhausts, packs 544bhp and 561lb ft - enough to get it to 62mph (100km/h) in 5.4sec and to a top speed limited to, one might say, a slightly disappointing 131mph (210km/h). Predicatably it's not as thirsty as the G65 AMG, though,  returning 17.0mpg (US), or 13.8L/100km.   

Footnote: The first Mercedes-Benz G-wagon model ran a 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine delivering just 89bhp. Talk about aging with grace . . .

Lamborghini SUV concept to be called Urus?

Is that a Urus we see on
 the Lamborghini badge?

Sant'Agata, Italy: We can't confirm this just yet, but whispers out of China where the Beijing motor show is set to take place next week suggest the Lamborghini SUV concept, which is planned to be unveiled in the capital city of the People's Republic, will be called the Urus.

If Lamborghini tradition of naming new models after famous bulls is anything to go by, the name certainly fits.

The Urus or Aurochs as it was more commonly known was a wild bull which inhabited parts of Europe, Asia and North Africa up until the early 1600s. It is considered the ancestor of today's domestic cattle.

MG set to unwrap new SUV concept

MG is set to preview a new compact SUV at the Beijing motor show

Shanghai, China: MG, the famed British car maker owned by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), has officially announced it will unveil a new compact SUV concept at the Beijing motor show next week.

Called the Icon, the distinctive looking four door draws its stylistic inspiration from the 
legendary MGB GT. We're still waiting for MG to funish us with detailled information but SAIC sources have told TheAutoInsider the Icon is based on the same front wheel drive underpinnings as the new MG 5.

Power is set to hail from a new in-house developed turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine, with drive sent through a six-speed dual clutch gearbox that has also been engineered by SAIC. Expect a less flamboyant version of the Icon to see production within the next two years. 

Audi adds spice to Q3 with new RS concept

Audi's quattro division has given the Q3 an extra dash of herbs
with the unveiling of the RS Q3 concept (click to enlarge)

Ingolstadt, Germany: Audi has provided the best hint yet that it will introduce a performance orientated variant of its year old Q3, with the unveiling of this new concept called the RS Q3. Developed by the German car maker's quattro skunk works - the same division responsible for all of Audi's various RS models - the cooking Q3 gets a 360bhp version of the TT RS's turbocharged 2.5-litre five pot engine shoe horned transversely under its hood. With drive running permanently to all four wheels via a seven speed dual clutch 'box, the RS Q3 is claimed to hit 62mph (100km/h) in 5.2sec and top out at 164mph (265km/h). Chassis tweaks include a one inch (25mm) reduction in ride height along with a firmer set of springs and dampers. Pumped up wheel arch flares house big 8.5 x 20-inch alloy wheels fitted with 255/30 profile rubber. We're told a production version of the RS Q3, with perhaps a little less than the 360bhp of the concept, could be in European showrooms by late 2013.  

Audi buys Ducati

Ingolstadt, Germany: Audi has purchased  Italian motorcycle maker Ducati for $1.12 billion. Ducati thus becomes the twelve brand to fall under the umbrella of the Volkswagen Group and the third under direct control of Audi after Italian supercar maker Lamborghini and struggling Spanish car maker Seat.

Mercedes-Benz Concept Sport Coupe previews new CLA - the baby CLS

Mercedes-Benz's stylish new Concept Style Coupe

Stuttgart, Germany: Mercedes-Benz has revealed its new Concept Sport Coupe ahead of the funky new four door's first public airing at the Beijing motor show early next week.

Forget the coupe name. The Concept Sport Coupe is actually a sedan with four conventionally front hinged doors and a trunk. The production version, which is due out early next year, is set to be called the CLA.