Auto blogMon, 06 Oct 2014
Going to most races means watching the action from behind a fence or from high up on grandstands, but rallying often gives spectators the chance to get closer to the competition than practically any other forms of motorsport. If people are willing to put themselves in danger, they're able to sit right at a corner exit and watch the cars hurtling toward them. However, the Jolly Rally al Colle San Carlo in Italy got a lot less jolly recently, when an out of control vehicle nearly struck a group of onlookers.
The incident occurred when a racer in a Renault Clio came into a corner too quickly and turned the embankment along the side of the road into a ramp that launched the vehicle into the group. Somehow, these folks got away with incredible luck; according to Euro Sport none of them were seriously harmed in the crash, including the woman sprayed with debris towards the end of the video. The Clio was clearly toast, though, with a wheel missing and the rear hatch caved in.
Check out the video and wonder how any of these spectators made it out alive, let alone unharmed.
Citroën has seen some success with its DS cars, announcing the line as a new, premium sub-brand. Now, it looks like French rival Renault could be set to launch its own luxury trim group, with the Clio Initiale Paris as its first entry.
With xenon headlights and unique seventeen-inch wheels as the big upgrades to the exterior, Renault also fitted a gloss-black bumper skirt and mirror caps, for a bit more exterior panache. A prominent "Initiale" badge adorns the trunk and side skirts, as well.
In the cabin, contrasting, heated, Nappa-leather-adorned seats have been fitted, while faux leather with contrast stitching can be found on the dash and door panels. Piano-black trim is added in sections, while aluminum pedals contribute a bit of extra brightwork to the space.
In the contest for ultra-high fuel efficiency, France is coming up with a seriously tough lineup of concepts. Both Peugeot and Citroën have concept cars on display at the 2014 Paris Motor Show that blend aerodynamics, low curb weights and cutting edge powertrain technologies to return 141 miles per gallon on the European cycle. And now Renault has just unveiled its fuel-saver to the world's press, showing off the Eolab, a concept hatch that promises to use only one liter of fuel for every 100 kilometers traveled.
For the math averse, that works out to about 282 miles per gallon, or a lot. Like the PSA concepts, a low curb weight is key to the Eolab's efficiency. With an overall weight at just about 2,100 pounds, the gas-electric hybrid powertrain, which can run up to 37 miles on electric power alone, isn't forced to work too hard.
While PSA based its concepts on actual production models - the Peugeot 208 and Citroën C4 Cactus - the Eolab is more of a pure concept. According to Renault, it employs "100 new, realistic technological developments" that could make their way onto French roads.
Daimler and Renault-Nissan said Friday the automakers have expanded their four-year-old alliance to include putting a Renault diesel in the Mercedes C-Class, a Mercedes gasoline engine in an Infiniti and possibly will involve automated driving technologies in the near future. At a joint Paris Motor Show press conference dubbed 'The Carlos and Dieter Show' by European media, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said the alliance between the automakers is running strong and will expand into any area that makes financial sense for both companies.
Ghosn and Zetsche said the alliance between the automakers is running strong and will expand into any area that makes financial sense for both companies.
Daimler and Renault-Nissan began their partnership in 2010 with plans to collaborate on three projects. They've since expanded that and are working on 12 projects together, including building a joint plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Renault-Nissan and Daimler are launching their first vehicles developed together from scratch: the Renault Twingo (which went on sale in September) and the new Smart Fortwo and Smart Forfour, which go on sale in November.
A one-box shape, three-rows of seating, a huge feature set and sliding rear doors: these are the elements that make up what we know as "minivan." That's a category that the Renault Espace has headlined, in Europe, for decades now. Well, until the new generation's launch at this year's Paris Motor Show, where the French automaker has - sort of, kind of - changed up the minivan formula in favor of something distinctly more crossover-flavored.
Not that family buyers are going to be devoid of function now that Espace has ditched the sliders and added a tiny bit of ride height. Renault still presents seating for seven and ample, configurable cargo space, but with this new hauler said space is presented in a more attractive and higher-design space than we've yet seen.
The forward cabin is dominated by light, with the sloping windshield meeting up with a gigantic glass roof - both serving to make the space feel open and airy. Espace drivers will see a Tesla-sized touchscreen in place of traditional instrumentation on the center stack, an elegant, leather and metal shift lever, and substantial-looking wood and brightwork just about everywhere. The instrument cluster is digital and completely configurable, too, with Renault even offering a slew of colorways for the display lighting.
In cars, as in all things, there exists a huge chasm between what is possible and what is probable. It may be possible, for example, that within a few years, we'll be zipping around town in hydrogen-powered, autonomous flying cars. But the likelihood is that we'll all be driving four-wheeled vehicles with internal combustion engines and our hands at ten and two for the foreseeable future - just as we have for generations. The same goes for the layout of those cars we drive.
It's possible for automakers to put the engine just about anywhere they want. And there are those that place them behind the cabin. But those are mostly exotics. The overwhelming probability is that the next car you buy - like the one before it, the one in which you were driven home from the hospital and every one in between - will have its engine up front.
That's what makes this new Renault Twingo so intriguing. While competitors like Volkswagen and Fiat succeeded their rear-engined hatchbacks with conventional front-engined ones, Renault has gone the opposite direction with its new Twingo, switching from a front-engine layout to a rear one. Think Porsche 911, only far, far more accessible. That is, at least, for European buyers, because Renault doesn't sell any of its models (Twingo included) in North America. So we boarded a flight for France to see if this new-old approach has merit.
This weekend will see the world's collector car crowds descend on Las Vegas, NV for one of the biggest shows on Barrett-Jackson's popular auction circuit. There are hundreds of vehicles up for bidding, ranging from a brand-new Lamborghini Aventador to a spattering of Art Deco classics and a huge swath of classic muscle cars.
While it's virtually impossible to assemble an inarguable list of the best cars coming during the three-day, 700-plus vehicle auction, we've sifted through the listings for this year's show - it was a tough assignment, we promise - and assembled a list of what we think will be some of the most interesting lots. We'll admit, it's a bit heavy on American iron, but if you browse BJ's listings, you'll come to a similar conclusion. Still, scroll down for our list of what we think will be the most interesting vehicles at the upcoming auction.
Thu, 25 Sep 2014
Don't let the shiny objects detract from the serious side of the show. Sales, fuel economy and regulations are part of the conversation.
The Paris Motor Show is one of the glitziest events on the automotive calendar. Yes, it helps that it's in the City of Light, but the glamorous surroundings only enhance the spectacular wares that automakers bring to the show. This is where Europeans debut their best new cars for the coming year, both as eye-catching concepts and in production trim.
For roughly the past 30 years, the Renault Espace has been among the definitive European minivans, but the rising tide of crossovers has put that streak to an end. The French automaker has released the first three images teasing the next-gen model, and it has confirmed the van's transformation into a CUV to debut during a press conference at the 2014 Paris Motor Show led by company CEO Carlos Ghosn.
The decision to switch the Espace from minivan to crossover shouldn't come as a complete surprise. At the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, Renault showed off the Initiale Paris concept as a CUV to preview the next Espace. While the plexiglass roof with a map of Paris didn't make it to production, the broad strokes of the shape certainly did.
Like the Initiale Paris concept, the production Espace features a sweeping arc running from its hood to the rear hatch with a fairly large greenhouse by modern standards. A massive Renault emblem dominates the front with lots of chrome accents on the grille and lower airdam. However, the back might be the CUV's best angle because of the unique shape for the rear pillar, visually interesting taillights and exhaust outlets integrated into the rear bumper. Inside, Renault promises to offer five- and seven-seat versions, both with modular layouts to rearrange to the owner's needs.
Electric cars and hybrids are here to stay, much to the apparent dismay of some auto enthusiasts, but that doesn't mean they have to represent the death of enjoyable driving. Granted, the initial run of hybrids in the US like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius weren't exactly tailor-made for aggressive folks behind the wheel, but things are clearly changing. In its latest video, Evo takes a look at three examples from Europe's new crop of electrified vehicles to show that the future of fun motoring is safe and sound.
Evo editor Henry Catchpole kicks things off with one of the most bizarre EVs of the bunch, the tiny Renault Twizy. Its low power and 50-mile-per-hour top speed might make it miles away from a hot hatch, but there's still fun to be had in extracting the most from this little city car. Next up is the Audi A3 E-Tron, which isn't technically available yet. It's a step in the right direction of eventually creating an affordable, fun-to-drive hybrid hot hatch.
However, the main event is Catchpole getting some seat time in the BMW i8. The Bimmer can really fly -literally in this case - and the butterfly-door coupe offers a clear look at the prospects for electrified sports cars. It might not have the power of hybrid supercar contemporaries like the LaFerrari or Porsche 918 Spyder, but the BMW doesn't cost nearly as much, either. See? Improved efficiency doesn't have to mean boring.