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Monthly Archives: February 2020

Geneva Motor Show Cancelled Due to Coronavirus

geneva motor show

The 2020 Geneva Motor Show was called off amid growing public health concerns over the spread of the coronavirus in Europe just days before its press event.

According to CNN, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health has prohibited the gathering of more than 1,000 people until at least March 15 to prevent further spread of the virus. To date, the Swiss authorities have confirmed 15 cases of the disease. The neighboring countries such as Italy and France have 650 and 38 cases while the death toll on the said countries has reached 17 and two fatalities, respectively.

“We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors’ top priority,” the show organizers said in a statement on Friday.

The 2020 Geneva Motor Show is supposed to have its media day on March 2, and then it will be open to the public from March 5 to 15. The event is attended by around 220 exhibitors, 10,000 journalists, and 660,000 visitors.

The Geneva show is highlighted by the debut of the world’s most expensive and exclusive cars. These include the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 compact sport utility vehicle, Audi A3 Sportback and Volkswagen Golf GTI. Concept cars are also set to debut in the event, and one of them is the BMW i4 electric vehicle.

Other automakers, however, have decided to lessen their presence from the show because of the virus outbreak even before the huge announcement. Toyota has earlier decided to only let its senior executives and public relations staff with responsibilities in Europe go to the event.

The cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show is just one of the major blows caused by the viral outbreak in the automotive sector. The coronavirus has also forced many car companies to shut down their production plants in China, where their biggest market lie.

2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI Comes with Serious Upgrades

volkswagen golf gti (6)

The eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI just removed its covers days before the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. The hot hatch features major upgrades in its performance and looks.

Although the base model of the Golf will not be arriving in the US, Volkswagen has confirmed that the GTI and R trims of the range will be offered there.

Here are the key features of the new Golf GTI:

Exterior

volkswagen golf gti (5)

The Golf GTI comes with a new look that distances it from its base model. Among the cosmetic upgrades include an illuminated bar with red accents above the front radiator grille. Then the car can be further customized through the new optional LED lights behind the honeycomb mesh of the front bumper. Going around, the LED taillights are now narrower in design compared to the outgoing model and a new spoiler stands out in the rear. The hatch retains its signature red brake calipers while its wheels have angular five-spoke styling.

Interior

volkswagen golf gti (14)

The cabin of the Golf GTI is highlighted by its plaid seats with red stitching and red accents, as well as its 10-inch infotainment system in the center console with 30 themes to choose from. The display can be optionally upgraded into 10.2 inches. Meanwhile, the center console features some tweaks particularly in the shift-by-wire gear selector for the DSG transmission, steering wheel, and start/stop button.

Performance

volkswagen golf gti (20)

The Europe-bound Golf GTI possesses a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine. It produces 245 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Volkswagen is yet to confirm the U.S. configuration of the auto.

The power of the hot hatch is distributed via a six-speed manual or the optional seven-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission. It utilizes a McPherson front axle and multi-link rear suspension coupled with an adaptive chassis control system. The system is also called the DCC, which adjusts the dampers instantly in varying road conditions depending on the steering input, braking, and acceleration of the driver to improve the sport and comfort drive modes of the car.

BMW i4 Teased Before the 2020 Geneva Motor Show

BMW i4 concept

BMW is set to launch its new green car at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show next month. The electric vehicle will be called the BMW i4 Concept and it boasts more than 300 miles of electric range at full charge.

Many have been eagerly anticipating a barrage of EVs from BMW starting with the i4 and i5 after the i3 made its debut seven years ago. However, it’s only now that the luxury brand has released a follow-up to its electric car.

BMW still refers to the i4 as a concept but it should be noted that the car is already due for release in the market next year. Therefore, what we will be seeing in Geneva will most probably embody all the things that the production version will offer.

The automaker claims that the i4 will be equipped with an 80 kW battery. The unit will allow the EV to reach up to 373 miles in full charge. The figures were derived from the more lenient WLTP cycle used outside the US, so it’s EPA estimate will still be somewhere above the 300-mile mark. That makes the electric car a worthy adversary to the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2 in the market. The company said that the battery of the i4 can be charged up to 80 percent in only 35 minutes using a 150 kW fast charger.

The electric motor located at each axle of the i4 will let it produce a total of 523 hp, which is enough to propel the auto from 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds. Meanwhile, its top speed will likely be limited to 120 mph.


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Top 4 Expectations from the Fourth-Generation Audi A3 Sportback

audi a3 sportback (1)

The fourth-generation model of the Audi A3 Sportback is making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The compact car is geared to compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and CLA, as well as the BMW 2 Series.

Details about the A3 Sportback are still under wraps since we’re still a few days away before the big unveiling in Geneva. However, thanks to teasers and sources within the automaker’s ranks, we already have an idea of the things to expect from the auto.

Better Design

Based on the teasers of Audi, the A3 Sportback will get a larger and more aggressive-looking front grille. The bumpers are sportier too while both the headlamps and taillights of the vehicle appear to be sleeker than the outgoing model. Moreover, the body lines of the car seem to be more detailed and sharper than the current version.

Eco-Friendly Interior

The latest teaser from Audi reveals that the upholstery and carpet of the A3 will be utilizing recycled materials. Each car has recycled materials coming from approximately 100 plastic bottles.

The eco-friendly material will be offered in a variety of colors to cater to the varying preferences of buyers. Among the offerings include car covers in Torsion steel gray complete with yellow stitching, and then another comes in Puls two-tone black and silver with Rock Gray threads. The company is also planning to include a black and red-themed version of the interior in the future.

Performance

Information about the engine of the A3 Sportback is still scarce but its maker boasts that the car will have improved driving dynamics that include a new damper technology and adaptive suspension. Furthermore, the auto will be offered in an all-wheel-drive system.

Not US-Bound

Unfortunately, the Audi A3 Sportback will not be sold in the U.S. soil. Only the sedan variant of the car will be offered in the country.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 Shown Ahead of Geneva Motor Show

mercedes-amg gla 45 (1)

The wraps of the second-generation Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 compact sport utility vehicle were just removed. The unveiling of the auto happened before its scheduled debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show in March.

Performance

mercedes-amg gla 45 (19)

The AMG GLA 45 is equipped with the same 2.0-liter turbo inline-four power unit found in the Mercedes-AMG A 45 and Mercedes-AMG CLA 45. Same as its low-stance siblings, the engine of the SUV has an output rated at 382 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. The power goes to the 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system and managed through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The setup lets the SUV sprint from zero to 62 mph in mere 4.3 seconds. Meanwhile, the maximum speed of the auto is electronically-limited at 155 mph.

The upcoming Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 S will be topping the output of the newly-released SUV model with its output totaling 415 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.

Exterior

mercedes-amg gla 45 (11)

The AMG GLA 45 distances itself from the standard Mercedes-Benz GLA with its Panamericana-styled front grille, new forged wheels, black accents, more aggressive front bumper, and AMG badges. The aero elements mostly copy the ones found in the AMG A 45 and AMG CLA 45.

Interior

mercedes-amg gla 45 (20)

Entering the compact SUV reveals twin digital displays on the dashboard with the MBUX multimedia system integrated on it. The software allows the driver to issue voice and gesture commands to the infotainment system of the auto. Furthermore, the AMG GLA 45 is fitted with all the goodies found in the AMG A 45 and AMG CLA 45 like the multi-function steering wheel, jet turbine-inspired air vents, and aluminum accents.

Lastly, the upholstery is covered in black MB-Tex and Dinamica leather with red stitching, red seatbelts, and carbon-fiber trim. Through the optional AMG Performance Package, buyers can add MB-Tex Neva Grey and Black upholstery with aluminum accents plus more leather options.

What Does Audi has in Store for the MEB Platform?

audi aime

In 2019, Audi announced that its MEB platform will be used for its small electric vehicles. Fast-forward this year, we are still waiting for the spy shots of vehicles that will be utilizing it.

According to the company’s product marketing boss Fermín Soneira Santos in his interview with Auto Express, they are yet to develop vehicles that will be riding on the MEB platform or Modularer E-Antriebs-Baukasten in German.

“It is on our horizon, yes. It’s not yet designed, but yes, we have a chance to have cars on MEB, maybe tomorrow on MEB Entry, then also the E-Tron GT. We have so many different platforms to choose from and where we can have input into,” the Audi exec told the source.

From Santos’ statement, the fate of the more affordable tiny electric cars from Audi is hanging. However, it should be noted that the expected deadline for the said EVs is still in 2023, so that’s still a long way to go.

The Audi AI:Me concept introduced at the Shanghai Auto Show in 2019 gives us a preview of what the four rings marque has in store for the MEB platform. The electric hatchback is equipped with an electric motor positioned at the rear axle. The unit produces 170 hp or 127 kW. No official figures were released about the electric range of the vehicle from its 65 kWh battery but its 2023 production version is groomed to offer at least 124-mile electric range at full charge.

Sadly, the MEB platform-based EV will unlikely be sold in the US whose market has low demand for small cars. The limited range of the electric car provides another reason why American customers may stay away from it.

Jaguar I-Pace Production Hits a Roadblock

2020 jaguar i-pace

The production of the Jaguar I-Pace electric sport utility vehicle will be temporarily halted. Jaguar Land Rover paused the assembly of the electric vehicle for a week because of supply issues with LG Chem.

According to The Times, the temporary halt in the I-Pace assembly line was caused by the LG Chem battery factory in Poland. Jaguar didn’t elaborate more on the matter.

Magna Steyr, the contract manufacturer of Jaguar for I-Pace, will stop its operations in the meanwhile as the issue is being resolved. The pause in production in the company’s Graz, Austria plant will take effect this coming February 17.

It would be the fourth time for LG Chem to be involved in the delay of an EV production. Companies like Hyundai, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz earlier hit a snag in their electric cars due to LG Chem’s failure to meet up with its commitments in supplying batteries to the said automakers. It should be noted that Mercedes’ parent, Daimler, retracted on this claim though.

On the other hand, Sam Jaffe, the managing director of Cairn Energy Research Advisors, doubts that the issue is mainly battery shortage. In his email to The Verge, he claimed that Jaguar may only be avoiding an all-too-successful EV launch. Such a scenario would potentially cannibalize the brand’s pre-existing model sales and anger its dealers. On the other end of the spectrum, it may only be the cause of a bad strategy. He finds it strange too that Jaguar, as well as Audi and Daimler, failed to sign binding contracts with battery suppliers in advance just like what Volkswagen did when it inked deals with three different suppliers to ensure that its EV’s battery demands will be met.

Jaffe also pointed out that Jaguar only sold 18,000 units of the I-Pace in 2019 during its initial run. Therefore, it is hard to imagine that the brand is experiencing problems in getting enough batteries for it.

Volvo and Geely Begin Talks for a Full Merger

geely and volvo

Geely is now looking to make a full merger with Volvo. If such plans come into fruition, it would expand the reach of the Chinese automaker in the global market.

Geely bought 99% of Volvo from Ford in 2010 for $1.8 billion in the aftermath of the financial crisis. That’s a lot lower than what the American brand spent to purchase the Swedish brand in 1999, which sums up to $6.45 billion. After the acquisition, Geely kept Volvo as a distinct brand for product diversification purposes.

Fast-forward to the present, Geely is now considering a full-merger with Volvo to save on production costs, expenditures on components as well as resources in research and development. The move could also help the Chinese brand achieve more reach worldwide.

In the past, Geely focused mainly on its home market in China. The country remains the largest market for automotive sales even though it experienced a decline last year. The merger with Volvo will let the brand make up for its dwindling sales in the troubled domestic market by getting a wider network in car exports to other major markets like Europe and the US.

Under the ownership of Geely, Volvo was able to increase its sales by 10% in 2019 compared to the prior year. The company sold a total of 705,000 vehicles within that period.

The merger is expected to bring in more funds from foreign investors too because the combined Geely-Volvo shares will be listed in both Hong Kong and Stockholm.

New Two-Door Ford Bronco Looks to Challenge the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

2021 ford bronco (1)

Ford is looking to challenge the off-road superiority of the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. Fueling this rumor are the new spy photos of the two-door Ford Bronco on the dirt.

Ford already released a teaser video of the new Ford Bronco. It shows the auto traversing the desert, and together with it is a statement that the vehicle will make its world premiere in the spring of 2020.

Previously, we have seen a four-door model of the Bronco. Then recently, Road and Track released a new set of photos of its two-door version equipped with all-terrain tires. These shut down any doubts that its maker is taking a jab at the Wrangler, which comes in four-door and two-door configurations.

Although it is questionable as to whether or not the Bronco has what it takes to dethrone the Wrangler, it will certainly get a chunk of the slice that its competitor is currently enjoying in the off-road compact SUV segment of the market.

The two-door Bronco is heavily-clad in camouflage but its stance suggests that it will likely get the same platform used by the Ford Ranger pickup. Meanwhile, its front grille will possibly adopt the styling of the Bronco R Baja racer.

The two-door Bronco seems to be hiding a removable top similar to the Wrangler as well. With that, it might also feature removable doors.

Though Ford is tight-lipped about the powertrain of the upcoming Bronco, it is expected to offer the same mechanical specs as the Ranger due to their similar platforms.

Is BMW Going Back to Formula One?

bmw sauber formula one

Jens Marquardt, Motorsport Director of BMW, has shut down rumors that they are returning to Formula One. He pointed out that the current technology being adopted in the sporting organization has no use in the development of the luxury car brand’s new vehicles.

BMW has participated in F1 since 1952. Its first outing was at the German Grand Prix. The last entry of the brand was in 2009 under the BMW Sauber team that raced its last under that season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. When asked if they are considering going back to the organization, Marquardt believes that the V6 Turbo Hybrid engine being used there has absolutely nothing to do with the marque’s series production cars at present.

“The V6 Turbo Hybrid is an engine that has absolutely nothing to do with what we do in series production,” Marquardt stated during an interview with Auto Bild.

“From an engineering perspective, I have to say: hats off to what they do in Formula One, but the technology has no relevance for the road,” he added.

Instead of F1, BMW is now focusing on its entry in Formula E. Under its BMW i Andretti Motorsport team, the brand has won two of the three races it has participated in so far during the 2019-2020 season. Marquardt said that the engineers of the BMW i electric cars are benefitting a lot from the technological insights provided by Formula E.

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