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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Surpassing Brilliance: The McLaren X1

Surpassing Brilliance: The McLaren X1

McLaren, one of the pioneers in automotive design and engineering is coming up with a new and brilliant supercar, the X1.  It is based on the Carbon MonoCell technology and this supercar is being developed for an anonymous car enthusiast who has been closely working with McLaren on this project.

MSO Programme Director, Paul MacKenzie said “One of our clients who already owned a McLaren F1, a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and now a 12C, wanted a unique car. The conversation began with our Executive Chairman Ron Dennis almost three years ago − before the 12C was even launched. The client wanted a machine that had all the capability of the 12C but wrapped in a unique body that reflected his needs and personality.’

The McLaren X1

The McLaren X1

The Birth Of X1

After receiving the unique and challenging brief from the client, McLaren began work on the conception of X1. The groundwork started during a meeting with the client, which went on for almost three hours and covered all the basic aspects of the car and its design. Frank Stephenson summarised the meeting by saying, ‘The key qualities the client desired were “timeless and classical elegance, which was some challenge.’ Both Paul MacKenzie and McLaren’s Director of Design went through a series of meetings with the client where they discussed the influences of films, fashion, design and architecture of the world of automotive engineering and subsequently on the X1. Inspiration was drawn from old legends like the 1961 Facel Vega, the classic 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance Ghia and the evergreen 1959 Buick Electra. Even Audrey Hepburn played a vital role in the design of the car, which is probably due to her unmatched charm and elegance. This process of drawing inspiration and putting it to paper was eighteen month long and the result was simply unbelievable!

The Birth Of The Supercar

Every material utilized in the making of X1 was as unique as the car itself. Its lights, wheels and engine have been developed to perfection. The X1 is not just a concept car, it is car that is designed to run at super speed and deliver excellent performance. It has been thoroughly tested and put through tests like a CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) aerodynamic test.

Its body is made with carbon and the sides have been coated with carbon fibre, which gives it a dark and metallic look. Everything from the headlights to the wheels have a unique design, which has been crafted according to the desired of the client. When Stephenson talks of the styling, he says “The attention to detail is astonishing. Neat styling touches feature throughout the design, such as the rear number plate illuminators finished in carbon, a gorgeous machined aluminum cap is used for the header tank, and carbon finishers line the engine bay”.

The X1 is a car that has been carefully developed and designed by the best of minds at McLaren. From the conception of the idea to the final product, each and every detail has been perfect.




Mini Contemplates New Small SUV Offering

BMW, the German auto company overseeing several brands, including Mini, which is renowned for its stylish little British hatchbacks/coupes,  will soon be offering brand-new types of vehicles to its dedicated drivers according to Inside Line magazine. Among the new Mini  models being considered is a sedan, a small sports car, and a small SUV, which could take the brand’s total range up to 10 vehicles. Recently, the brand introduced its seventh model, the Mini Paceman, which is a restyled, three-door variant of the existing five-door Mini Countryman.

The 2013 Mini PacemanHarald Kreuger, a recently appointed member of the Mini auto brand notes that though these models have yet to be confirmed for creation/production, they seem to make sense for the brand. He explains the idea behind a larger model Mini, stating, “A lot of customers would like to stay with the brand when they need something bigger . . . and a Volvo or a BMW will not do.” He also adds that all of the new Mini models will feature ‘go-kart handling, emotional design, exude Britishness and be profitable.”1

With the creation of its 2011 Rocketman concept, BMW also began the process of exploring a much smaller Mini, though the idea has been shelved for the moment, as the brand discovered it was too costly to make. Because the Mini models are already rather petite, building more compact models that are still profitable could be a task that’s rather impossible anytime in the near future.

The new Mini SUV would be rather similar to the current Countryman crossover, which has proven its worth (judging by sales), despite the fact that its sheer size can’t really be considered miniature (“Mini”). Currently, this sales of the Countryman make up about 30 percent of the brand’s global sales –only slightly behind sales of the traditional hatch (35 percent).

As stated, there will be a continuing emphasis on the “Britishness” of these vehicles, and Kreuger and his colleagues are considering opening a U.K.-based design center to keep this spirit alive. This certain British element is one of the Mini brand’s main selling points in the U.S. and other global markets, and it’s important for BMW to keep this intact. However, we must  note that, presently, all Mini models are designed and built in Munich, with consideration from the BMW DesignworksUSA studio located in sunny California.

Of course, production is a different story. BMW is in the process of investing an additional $1.2 billion in its Oxford, England plant. Once the project is complete, it will have the capacity to produce 250k units, though this number could increase with different work schedules. Some of the new Mini vehicles will also make their way to BMW’s Mitsubishi-Volvo Nedcar factory in the Netherlands by 2014.

For more great BMW and Mini updates, as well as news about other new SUV models, be sure to check back often right here with We’re here to keep you up-to-date on all auto industry happenings!

10 Small SUVs We Adore

There’s no getting around it; small crossover SUVs have really been taking the auto market by storm recently, and things don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. We can think of a few reasons crossovers are great: they’re more fuel-efficient, they’re lighter (and more aerodynamic), and they’re easier to maneuver on small city streets and crowded highways. With the class’ growing popularity, however, it seems rather hard to choose which crossover SUV is a perfect fit you and your family, right? Well, have no fear! is here to help. Here are our Top 8 Picks for current compact SUV models, with both luxury and non-luxury vehicles landing on the list (and in no particular order).

Top Eight Crossover SUVs Your Family Will Love:

1.2012 Volvo XC60: With excellent performance, reliability, and comfort features, this model is easily a top pick. It’s quiet, luxurious, and versatile, and it doesn’t sacrifice fashion for function.

2.2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque: One of the most stylish small SUVs on the market, this SUV can tackle any surface with its Terrain Response System. We especially like it in its 5-door variant.

3.2013 Acura RDX: Available in both FWD and AWD variations, this compact SUV has been completely redesigned for the 2013 model year. It’s outfitted with luxurious features such as heated power seats and satellite radio and comes complete with the brand’s fuel-saving Variable Cylinder Management system.

4.2012 Jeep Patriot: Gas mileage is great, power features are impressive, its base price of $15,995 is very reasonable, and it boasts the latest off-road technology. What more could you ask for?

5.2013 Mazda CX-5: With excellent safety features, a plethora of technology features, and the brand’s fuel-saving SKYACTIV technologies, the CX-5 is a great choice for a large family that embraces unique style.

6.2013 Cadillac SRX: The 2013 Cadillac SRX boasts some of the most impressive comfort and technology features available today, including the Cadillac User Experience (CUE), which is much more advanced than the MyFord Touch. Power sunroof, heated seats and steering wheel, and OnStar are all included, with the newest safety features such as forward collision alert, emergency braking assist, and a rearview camera included as well.

7.2013 Ford Escape: The new Escape features incredible cabin space, a fun personality, Ford SYNC, an innovative Travel Link navigation system, and a starting price of $21,440, which is quite impressive for such a stylish ride!

8.2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class This luxurious class of vehicles from Mercedes-Benz is actually priced quite a bit lower than other Mercedes-Benz models and come equipped with an extremely smooth ride, premium cabin materials, and all of the comfort, form, style, and functionality that drivers expect from the Tri-Pointed Star.

Of course, there are several other impressive small SUVs on the market as well, so be sure to explore our entire site for yourself to find what’s right for you! As always, is here to provide you with the latest information on the industry’s best!

New Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Spotted Testing

What do you know about the Mercedes-Benz A-Class? If you’re a big Mercedes-Benz fan, you probably know that it was originally a supermini¸ but is now a small family car. The first A-Class model was introduced in 1997, with the second-generation appearing in 2004 and an all-new third-generation model scheduled for later this year. (An A-Class Special Edition was also produced in 2009, and the A-Class E-CELL electric vehicle first premiered in 2010). Seen in both five-door hatchback and three-door hatchback form, it’s recognized as the entry-level model for the German luxury brand in the markets in which it’s sold. The all-new, third-generation A-Class is targeted toward a younger audience than its predecessors and features a radically new design reflecting the brand’s new design strategy. It has changed minimally from the Concept A-Class shown at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show.

So, how is this model connected to the new Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class? Well, the A-Class is currently in the process of spawning a vehicle in one of today’s most popular auto segments: the small crossover SUV category. Luckily for auto fans everywhere, the new vehicle has been spotted testing, and we’re here to provide some information about the stylish new ride.

Concealed under a standard Mercedes-Benz A-Class body, the new GLA-Class (as it’s expected to be officially named) is expected to arrive in Mercedes-Benz showrooms in 2014 and compete with the likes of the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque and the BMW X1. Though the model is still rather shrouded in secrecy, it was confirmed for production by Mercedes-Benz CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche at the brand’s Rastatt plant in Germany, where the new model will be built.

As far as facts surrounding the new Mercedes-Benz compact SUV are concerned, it will be based on the new four-wheel and front-wheel-drive MFA platform that currently supports the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class models. Overall, five new models, including a small shooting brake estate and a tiny version of the current Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class four-door coupe, will be based on the new compact SUV’s architecture.

Mercedes-Benz fans can expect to see both 4WD and FWD variants of the small crossover, as well as an engine lineup that’s similar to the current A-Class offerings. (These include four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines for the five-passenger model, with stop-start systems, turbocharging, and direct injection, with more powerful options available for the AMG-tuned models). Turbocharged gasoline engines could be pinned as optional for the new model, however, ranging from 94hbp to 208hbp, with the diesel engines ranging from about 81 bhp to 134 bhp. It’s unclear at the moment if the new small SUV will receive the A45 AMG’s turbocharged 2.0-litre engine, though we always hope for a bit more power for our luxury vehicles!

Of course, the new Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class will also come with the most luxurious comfort features and newest technologies available, though we wonder if it will also be considered an “entry-level” model for the brand. For more information, stay tuned here with, your guide for the latest SUV news and reviews!

General Motors Decides Hybrid SUVs and Trucks are No Longer a Priority

While most automotive brands are gearing up with new programs and vehicles aimed at the hybrid and electric markets, one auto giant is canceling its program, or so several reputable online auto news sources report. Though the 2013 Chevy and GMC trucks and SUVs are currently making their debuts, it seems that the auto company has more important matters to focus on than further developing the hybrid variants of these models. We’re not sure what pinpointed General Motors in this direction, but we’re certainly interested to see how the brand will continue to be a strong competitor without adding entries to these markets.

Currently, the Cadillac Escalade, the Chevrolet Tahoe, the GMC Yukon, and the Chevrolet Silverado share the same two-mode hybrid engine (though they also come in standard gasoline versions), so we’re certainly curious about what GM’s plans are for the future, especially since the company has been so silent concerning them.

Though we can only speculate about the reasons GM pulled the plug on its hybrid project, we sense it has something to do with the fact that the hybrid models haven’t been selling as well as the standard gasoline models, probably because their fuel economy ratings aren’t that impressive despite the switch in engine type. The two-mode hybrid system is currently rated at 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway, which certainly isn’t bad for full-size vehicles, but the combination of these numbers with the label “hybrid” just doesn’t seem to be working out well in terms of sales. Of course, the auto giant could also be making room for development of its fuel-saving ICE innovation that allows full-size trucks to achieve 25 mpg as well.

Despite the fact that we will be seeing most of the hybrid models disappear, there is word that the Cadillac Escalade hybridFeature Picture - Cadillac Escalade Hybrid could stick around, as General Motors seems to believe that wealthy drivers and celebrities like the idea of driving “green” and are less concerned with actual fuel efficiency numbers than standard drivers. This new hybrid SUV should launch for the 2014 model year (around January, we believe) which should give the automaker a good bit of time to develop a brand new hybrid variant of the popular luxury SUV.

There’s also reason to believe that GM may have taken recent criticisms by its drivers to heart, in addition to the poor sales of its current hybrid SUV and truck models. When spy shots of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado were leaked across the internet, reactions to the vehicle seemed to have a huge impact on the company’s new truck program, and we continue to see changes such as the dropped hybrid program erupting by the day. In truth, though, we’ll have to wait ten months to see what the future of the GM brand truly brings when new models debut about nine or ten months from now. Of course, has big expectations, and we’re confident we’ll see something amazing from the auto giant.

Be sure to stay tuned here for more hybrid SUV news, as well as updates about new models, technologies, and auto company initiatives. We’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date with more interesting information!

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