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Here at M.N.W. we use to say that the world belongs to the people able to get excited. Well, this news is definitely exciting.
Sorry for the spoiler in the headline, but T.G. Richard Hammond won’t make the same end of the Grand Tour guests.
The most important car exposition on this side of the pond will end on March 19th 2017. Few cars just unveiled are going to last instead.
There is very a good reason to mention (again) the Mazda MX-5...the Mx-5 RF!
What a marvelous period should be living Mazda's designers and engineers. Having the opportunity to work on projects like the current Mx-5 Miata (and don't forget the forthcoming RX-9 Vision in street legal trims) shall be a thrilling privilege. Just think to those obliged to who has to work on A to B cars or minivans...
During the MX-5 Roadster project design phase, the engineers focused on the essential features to build a nimble, fun-to-drive sportscar (such as the 50-50 weight distribution, the steering wheel feeling, the extreme lightweight, and the Jimba Ittai itself).
At the New York International Auto Show Mazda revealed the Mx-5 Miata RF (retractable fastback) Mazda somehow managed to deliver a style and design masterpiece.
Keeping the maximum linearity, the Miata RF reaches a double goal:
1st the Miata Retractable Fastback differentiate pretty much from the Miata Roadster being a Targa version sort of. And it does it in a beautiful way.
2nd Even if reportedly adding 175-200 pound, the roof mechanism doesn't affect the load capability.
So it's up to you: if you desire a superlight traditional spider or you prefer the more aggressive looking MX-5 Miata Targa (ok, RF Miata) now available also with this masculine metal-like 3 layers painting?
Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Live Gallery from New York International Auto Show.
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Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport 2017 and Maserati Levante. Geneva INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SHOW 2016. There is two more things.
Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport and Maserati Levante
We could say we saved the best for last on purpose...but let's be honest, here’s the true story!
Geneva motor show is over. MNW shortlisted the most exciting premieres as usual but…
...Do you ever happen to have the feeling of having forgot something you can't remember? Something you suppose extremely noteworthy? Well, usually isn't anything special.
On the contrary, sometimes it is. Definitely!
Select a picture (here below) to read the relevant news.
MNW's choices among the international premieres at Geneva's International Motor Show 2016.
We can already say March has been incomparably prolific for the automotive industry. And we base our consideration only on how Geneva motor exposition was rich of world premieres. You could really find something for everyone there.
From MNW's point of view, the beginning of March delivered some of the most important 2016 car debuts.
Theese are Motor News World's picks.
Select a picture (here below) to read the relevant news.
Alfa Romeo Giulia production trims.
Apart the record maker Giulia Quadrifoglio (featuring the 510 hp twin turbo V6 engineered by Ferrari, check it out, here) in Geneva have been unveiled the "normal" versions of the sharp Italian sedan.
The news is that the Giulia is still extremely beautiful.
The engines will be the light and powerful in line four turbos petrol 2.0 and 2.2 diesel mated with manual 6 speed or 8 speed automatic. Aluminum has been used for the engines and for the refined suspensions, while the driveshaft is made of carbon fiber. Moreover the steering is said to be extremely direct (11.8) in order to grant an unrivaled driving pleasure thanks also to the perfect weight distribution 50:50.
Probably its the first time we find the start button on the steering wheel not on a supercar but on a “normal sedan”…but likely who thought the Alfa Romeo Giulia is a normal sedan, was wrong!
Alfa Romeo Giulia mega-gallery
The Porsche 911 R, for those who are in love with driving. A Porsche that Motor News World's crew saluted with a standing ovation.
Except for the painting, the 911R could look like another 911 or a 911 GT3 sort of. Of course except for the added lightness, the beautiful central exhaust and for the loss of the pragmatically unaesthetic GT3 rear wing.
What else? Uh, the 911R is powered by a 500 hp 4.0 aspirated flat six engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The purists are served. And "bravo!" to the Porsche engineers that courageously went for the manual transmission targeting an emotional and engaging high-performance sports cars with a maximum amount of driving pleasure. The 911 R just need a more sober paints to be perfect.
Since Fiat unveiled the standard 124 Spider, we were waiting for this Abarth 124 Spider. A version breeded with raging steroids by the legendary racing division...and the 124 Abarth finally is here! Priced at 40.000 € the Abarth 124 has been completely revamped in order to gain the right to wear the badge with the scorpion. New dedicated dampers Abarth by Bilstein, limited-slip diff and enhanced horsepower (170 hp). All wrapped in only 1060 kilograms with a front-rear weight distribution equal to 50:50. A control switch allows also the driver to turn off all the electronic controls. Good…
The Japanese manufacturer delivered a new SUV in the B-C-SUV booming segment. The most striking thing is the bold, sporty design far away from the conventional design we were used to see. Based on the new modular platform that underpins also the new Prius, the C-HR will be offered with petrol, Hybrid and diesel engines.
The car will be assembled in Toyota's Turkish plant, while the engines will come from Toyota warehouse in Great Britain.
Here at MNW we are Morgan fans. Now we are even more.
With the EV3, the Morgan 3-Wheeler style has been evolved mixing classic lines with a pinch of asymmetry and modern details. But most important, the former air cooled motorbike engine that was ouside the bonnet, has been replaced by a modern electric engine with good performances And yes, wood is still there under the bodywork.
The EV3 production will start within 2016 end and prices are said to be not far from the current 3-Wheeler.
The EV3, weights less than 500 Kilograms and while the battery pack has a range of 150 miles, the liquid cooled engine driving the rear wheel delivers 46Kw (62.5Hp) .
(I've to admit to have not already checked my bank account, but) The EV3 is the first electric vehicle that I really want to drive more than one with petrol engine, all I'd like to say: "Morgan, shut up and take my money!".
Back next year!
Production will start during first quarter of 2017.
A limited series of the DeLorean DMC-12 will be produced in Texas, USA thanks also to a singular law that looks tailored for this purpose, the "Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act".
The good news is that this glorious car with stainless steel bodywork will be back.
DeLorean Motor Company firm and its founder, Mr. DeLorean, had a difficult and weird story, but now's history.
Brace yourself for near 300 new DMC-12 with original design and a modern powertrain. DMC Vice President, Mr. James Espey, declared that the firm is in talk with two possible engine supplier for the "new“ car. We only know that one of the two is General Motors, while the other is probably Ford Motor Company. DeLorean aims to replace the original 130 hp V-6 engine with a modern power unit delivering 300-400 hp.
Due to the power increase, the new DeLoreans will feature bigger wheels, modern brakes, and a revamped interior. “No cassette player, nothing like that,” added Mr. Espey.
New DeLorean DMC-12 fist video
The Fiat 124 Spider is finally ready to reach the stores. This is already in itself a good news. What causes it to be great news however, is that this spider, inspired by the progenitor of nearly half a century ago, is really well built.
The Fiat 124 is powered by the the small displacement four cylinder turbocharged mill which pushes the basic version of the 500 Abarth. It features 1.4 cc per 140 hp and torque peak is equal to 240 Nm. But the most important news, is that the power is delivered to the rear wheels.
The Fiat 124 as you know, is built thanks to a joint venture with Mazda Motor Corporation and is built beside the MX-5 in the historic Hiroshima facility. It employs the same effective platform that underpins the new MX-5 mark IV but, as above mentioned, features the powerful Italian turbo engines.
With reference to the perfect weight distribution (50:50) and the unparalleled agility of the Japanese spider, we are curious to see the result of the inclusion of the engine made in Turin.
The car is slightly longer and heavier than the Japanese cousin because the 124 needs a longer hood in order to host its motor.
If the interior is almost identical between the Fiat and the Mazda, the exterior design and the engine’s character are the more substantial differences.
The Fiat 124 Spider design looks successful. The lines grow horizontally; the led headlights are posh, modern and expressive and contribute to give personality to this small Italian roadster. Everything is wrapped with neo-retro style. In other words, what it takes to be successful nowadays.
The market challenge and the sibling rival
The market numbers relevant to the small roadsters are not high at all. But this is due to the failure of previous shortsighted products where the RWD was traded with the lower production costs granted by the cheaper (poor) FWD platforms.
Currently the Mx-5 is the only compact rear wheel driven roadster available! And the Mx-5 is both an halo car and a sales successful car. On the other hand, the 124 Spider, is meant to be more an halo exertion for Fiat, than a high volume seller. The market response could surprise even the Italian constructor.
In order to understand the importance of such products, shall be taken into consideration Honda’s global boss, Takahiro Hachigo words reported by the British magazine Autocar: Hachigo admitted that Honda had damaged its image by “abandoning” products such as the S2000 that had a strong reputation and hardcore fan base.
We are confident that the right products have some good potential. And the Fiat 124 Spider is a true driver’s car
Will the 124 Spider be able to dare the MX-5? It will depend on a few factors:
The Reputation. Fiat needs to rebuild it for this kind of car: the original 124 Spider was born during the sixties, while Mazda has for years been synonymous of roadster with the MX-5 that is now arrived to the fourth generation.
The Performances. Performances assured by the 4-cylinder turbo are, on paper, better if compared with the atmospheric 1.5 Mazda mill. And if the Japanese can also count on a 1.8cc displacement engine, the unit by Fiat can be declined in various power release. The question is: will be just as exciting and well integrated with the car? A windy road, possibly along the coast will tell us.
Uh, the Abarth 124 Spider…has been already spotted during a roadtest! Stay tuned...
Have you ever heard of the Honda S660? The S660 is a Japanese kei car, but is truly a “town's sportscar” in the size of a Fiat 500 featuring authentic sporty technical solutions like the engine placed behind the driver, rear wheel traction and a 660cc displacement 3 cylinder turbo mill. A cvt transmission is available, but driver’s choice, a manual six speed gearbox is, for God’s sake, offered.
This small super-nice, super-small, “supercar” is already sold out! Strange? Not at all.
If for most of the people could be an unexpected result. To Motor News Word, this is the logical consequence of building a small, beautiful, unexpensive car focused on the driving pleasure.
This car could surprise everybody. Included the Honda headquarters. The small size, joined with the attractive, unique technical layout, make this car potentially sold on almost every market.
It would storm every big town’s road in Europe. And the twisty roads in general.But most important for the manufacturer, it is a low cost (=high diffusion) halo car.
While the exotic Honda NSX is not ready for the market, and a midsize supercar below the NSX is just a rumour, the Honda 660 is concrete and already a success that sold the whole production.
The news is that, even if US customers, are used to buy enormous cars, with large displacement motors, Honda America is currently considering the opportunity to deliver a 1000cc powered version to the North American market.
Even tough compared to average US car size, this tiny Honda could look like a tender, for most of the customers the Honda 660 could be a perfect second car. The 1.000.000,00 USD question is: if Honda is really evaluating the option to import this tiny car in the US, why the Honda S660 is not already available in the European market?
Marketing note: Honda is investing much to revamp the brand’s sport appeal having returned in Formula One with McLaren and Fernando Alonso.
On the other hand, a different way to get the same result is delivering true sport cars such as the exotic NSX or the S660 for instance.
Will ever take place a RWD, hatchback challange between Alfa Romeo and BMW?
For years the question was nearly: will Alfa ever come back and deliver again RWD cars? A segment C hatchback for sure would give a run for its money to the sharp BMW 1 Series.
Nowadays the issue could be reversed.
Reportedly the actual BMW 1 Series is supposed to be the last BMW RWD hatchback beacause as worldwide reported, the next generation should share the UKL platform with the new Mini models and with the sort of minivan 2 Series Active Tourer. On the other hand Alfa Romeo and Maserati CEO Harald Wester officially declared that no new Alfa Romeos will be front wheel driven any more. Point of fact, the new Giulietta will not be an exception. He added: "if others changed their mind, will be better for us".
The good news is that customers will have in any case the possibility to purchase and enjoy an RWD car in the C segment.
But there is still a chance to see a competition between the german and italian manifacturer.
BMW official, Klaus Fröhlich, boss of BMW R&D in an interview, said that there is still a chance to mantain the future 1 Series on the noble and driving pleasure oriented RWD platform. While the cheaper UKL will in any case suit the Mini roster and the BMW minivan. The final crucial decision will be taken in within the end of 2015.
Here what he said: "If rear drive, we would lose advantages of luggage space. But if one sort of customer wants space, he can get the (FWD) 2 Series Active Tourer. The 1 Series is about conquest sales, so it has to be a true BMW. We don't have to decide until the end of this year."
There are thousands of good reasons to explain why switching the 1 Series to FWD would be a bad move for BMW in the medium and long term. The almost unique technical feature of the RWD, can represent a precious asset for sales and premium brand's perception in the competitive C segment.
But the board of directors could in any case be attracted by the savings of a cost cutting policy with benefits only in the short period. How many car guys they have in the board in Munich?
Update: as per revised FCA Business Plan update (dated January, 27th 2016) the new RWD Hatchback will be ready by December 2020.