Shell and Gordon Murray Design unveil city car concept

About a year ago we brought you news on a fuel-efficient car project undertaken by Shell and Gordon Murray Design.

The result is the Shell Concept Car unveiled today, a three-seat city car that’s said to be capable of returning up to 90 mpg.

The Shell Concept Car isn’t intended for production. It’s meant to inspire thinking about maximizing personal mobility while at the same time minimizing energy use—not just on the road but also in the design and manufacturing phases.

The concept is based on the design of Gordon Murray Design’s own T.25 city car concept from 2010 and developed using iStream production principles where pre-formed parts made from lightweight composite materials are utilized. The car weighs a little over 1,200 pounds and is powered by a three-cylinder gasoline engine.

What’s unique about the Shell Concept Car, however, is that every element from the body to the rear-mounted engine to all necessary lubricants were created together. This type of design, called co-engineering, is said to dramatically reduce energy use over the life of the vehicle.

This is actually the fourth concept we’ve seen built using Gordon Murray Design’s iStream production principles. In addition to the original T.25, there’s been Yamaha’s Motive and Sports Ride concepts. So far, though, only niche sports car marque TVR has announced plans to actually use iStream for a car production.


2017 Honda Civic Lineup Embraces The Manual Transmission And Spy Shot

If you want to buy a new Honda Civic with the stronger 1.5-liter turbocharged engine and a manual gearbox, you’ll need to wait until the 2017 model year.

That’s when every single trim level of the Civic with the smooth new turbo 4-cylinder—including the new Civic Hatchback shown at the New York Auto Show this week—will offer the possibility of a manual transmission, Honda promises.

At present, you have to rather counterintuitively choose a version with the base engine, a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 158 horsepower. With the 1.5-liter turbocharged four you get Civic Si-like straight-line performance, although the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that’s now paired with this engine lacks the responsiveness this setup otherwise deserves, with the Civic’s otherwise much-improved ride and handling.

According to Honda officials, this was no intent to limit the offerings within the lineup, or to write the U.S. off as a market of drivers not at all interested in shifting their own gears. It was just part of a staggered rollout of versions, for a totally redesigned car that went on sale in many global markets, all around the same time.

“Epic redesign” put the manual on pause

“Because it was such an epic redesign of the car, we just had to space out all of the body styles, all of the variants,” said Curtis Nakamura, Honda’s product planning manager for cars. “From a cadence standpoint, we really tried to get the volume models out there first, and most people wanted automatics.”

Nakamura estimates the demand for manuals at about ten percent of total Civic sales will have manual gearboxes—so roughly in the vicinity of 30,000 to 35,000 Civic models.

That’s no trivial number, but in some other world markets, like Europe, the fractions are nearly swapped. And with the initial supply of manual transmissions for the 1.5-liter turbo more limited, Honda decided to send them to those markets first.

2016 Honda Civic Sedan (Touring)2016 Honda Civic Sedan (Touring)

The Civic Hatchback, which was technically only shown in New York as a prototype (production details for pricing and features are yet to come), will initially be offered only with the 1.5-liter turbo, which has already proven very popular in Civic Sedans, comprising more than half of sales at this point when Honda had estimated the base 2.0-liter engine to add up to about 60 percent of sales.

Slightly different to suit turbo

The manual gearbox that will go into turbo Civic models has the same fundamental design as the one that goes into 2.0-liter models, but with different gear ratios, a different flywheel, and some other minor changes for the turbo’s bulkier torque delivery.

Meanwhile, for the six-speed that’s to be offered across the lineup, Honda plans to keep it simple and has no plans for features like rev-matching in the Civic.

You vote with your purchase, so don’t forget to choose to row your own; the manual gearbox in the Civic is a great way to do that.

2018 Audi S5 Cabriolet spy shots


Audi’s new A5 is almost ready for its world debut and once again there will be multiple bodystyles and performance levels.

Today we have the first spy shots of a prototype for the new S5 Cabriolet (we’ve already seen the S5 coupe and S5 sport back). It’s also the first time we’re seeing the second-generation A5’s convertible bodystyle, which looks to be sticking with a soft-top roof.

The new A5 is expected to be revealed later this year, possibly at the 2016 Paris Auto Show in September. The S5 should follow shortly after. The cars are due in showrooms next spring, most likely as 2018 models.

2018 Audi S5 Cabriolet spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien2018 Audi S5 Cabriolet spy shots – Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

They will be based on the same MLB Evo platform found in the latest A4. This means we can look forward to some significant weight savings. Audi claims the MLB Evo-based A4 dropped as much as 264 pounds compared to its predecessor.

The S5 will feature the same turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 found in the latest S4.

We can even see an S4 Avant wagon in one of the shots. Expect the S5’s output to match the S4’s 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. An 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive should be standard.

The tamer A5 should pack the same turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder found in the latest A4. This engine is rated at 252 hp in the A4. Further down the track we can look forward to a new RS 5 likely with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 under the hood instead of the outgoing RS 5’s naturally-aspirated V-8.

2018 Audi S5, 2017 Honda CR-V, 2016 Lexus IS 200t: Today’s Car News

Audi’s next-generation S5 Cabriolet has been spotted testing at the Nürburgring and on some of the German race track’s surrounding streets and so far there doesn’t appear to be any major surprises regarding the design. The second-generation S5, along with the regular A5, will be on sale in the spring of 2017.

Another upcoming vehicle we spied today is the all-new, fifth-generation Honda CR-V. The vehicle looks to be growing in size and may offer a turbocharged engine this time around.

We’ve just taken a quick spin in the 2016 Lexus IS 200t. It’s got plenty of low-end grunt but highway response and overall performance is somewhat lacking compared to the competition.2017-Audi-S5-facelift-728x424


2017 Aston Martin Vantage GT8, 2017 Shelby GT350, Miura body in white: This Week’s Top Photos

2017 Aston Martin Vantage GT8 spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien2017 Aston Martin Vantage GT8 spy shots – Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

This big, bad Aston Martin Vintage is a new variant thought to be called the GT8. It’s a track-focused version of the Aston Martin sports car derived from the Vantage GTE racer competing in the World Endurance Championship. It’s likely to  be the last Vantage special before the next-generation car arrives.

Updated Audi S3 Sportback (European spec)Updated Audi S3 Sportback (European spec)

This week Audi took the wraps off and updated version of its A3 compact. Among the updates are revised looks, a new engine and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The sporty S3 has also been given a power boost to 310 horsepower, though this figure is for the European market and may differ in the United States.

2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R

Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] has enhanced its Mustang Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R for the 2017 model year. Key among the enhancements is the standard Track Package, previously an available option priced at $6,500. There are also some new colors like this stunning Ruby Red Metallic.

2017 Acura NSX production at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio2017 Acura NSX production at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio

This week we took a look inside Acura’s new Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio. This is where the company will build its new NSX supercar. The Honda version of the car will also be built here for worldwide sale.

Lamborghini Miura at 2016 Techno ClassicaLamborghini Miura at 2016 Techno Classica

Here’s something you don’t see every day. This is a Lamborghini Miura body in white. It’s the stripped-out frame of a Miura SV, actually. The car, chassis number 5030, is midway through a restoration process at Lamborghini’s Polo Storico classic car department and looks absolutely beautiful in its naked form.

1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale

Another classic beauty we saw this week was a 1964 Ferrari [NYSE:RACE] 275 GTB/C Speciale, possibly the most valuable car in the world!. It’s one of just three examples ever built, and the only one with a racing pedigree. The car is owned by millionaire Preston Henn and currently sitting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Mazzanti Evantra V8Mazzanti Evantra V8

You may not be familiar with Mazzanti but you will be soon. The Italian supercar marque is the maker of the 751-horsepower Evantra. The company this week announced plans for a new model, code-named the EV-R, which is claimed to be the most powerful street-legal model to come out of Italy. Yes, the Ferrari LaFerrari is about to get some local competition.

2016 Tesla Model S P90D and Boeing 737 drag race2016 Tesla Model S P90D and Boeing 737 drag race

This week we saw an exhibition drag race between a Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] Model S P90D and a Qantas Boeing 737. You can see how it all went downin this video.

Credit to

BMW X7 to Offer 4-Seat $100K-Plus Ultra-Luxe Version



BMW”s X7, which is expected to arrive in early 2018, initially was conceived as a seven-seater in order to take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class and the Audi Q7. (The smaller BMW X5 offers a third row, but it’s cramped.) Now comes word, from Automative News that BMW is planning to use the X7 to launch a limo-like ultra-luxurious variant as well, according to BMW sales chief Ian Robertson and North America CEO Ludwig Willisch.

The upper-luxury X7 will dispense with the third row—it will be a four-seater. It will also have a “distinct look.” Figure extra chrome and glitter on the outside, as well as elaborate wood and leather inside this big boy.

Expected to account for about 1 percent of X7 sales, the inspiration for the über-luxurious X7 is clear: The upper-luxury SUV segment is growing rapidly, and it promises fantastic profit margins. As soon as the Bentley Bentayga was announced, other carmakers scrambled to create more-luxurious variants of their existing or upcoming big SUVs. There’s th Range Rover Holland and Holland Edition, positioned even higher than its Autobiography models; Mercedes is said to be working on a Maybach version of the next-generation GLS; and, in perhaps the most direct parallel, Volvo just launched the four-seat XC90 Excellence—Priced at $105,895.

Then there’s the SUV that promises to be the most luxurious of all, the upcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Robertson hastened to claim that the ultimate X7 won’t share “any components” with the Roller. That’s a relief.

Courtesy of