Say hello to the new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, GM’s take on the all American muscle car. This is the 6th generation model, following closely from the last generation’s “Bumblebee” design, as well as incorporating some classic design touches from previous models.
Unusually for a muscle car, this Camaro has shrunken in size. It is 57mm shorter, 20mm narrower and 28mm lower than the previous generation. Based on GM’s Alpha platform, this car has also been hitting the treadmill, shredding 90 kg off its kerb weight. This weight-saving is thanks to extensive use of aluminium.
Also of interest is the suspension set-up. The front uses a MacPherson set-up, while the rear has a new five-link system. According to GM, this new set up has made the new Camaro faster around a track than the track-orientated Camaro with the 1LE package. Gone are the days where muscle cars can only travel in straight lines then.
Now for the engines. Following in the footsteps of the Ford Mustang, the new Camaro is no longer just a V8 petrol-muncher. There is a new 2.0 litre four-cylinder, which has been turbocharged to produce 271 bhp and 400Nm of torque. This engine will enable the Camaro to hit 62 mph in just under 6 seconds, whilst also returning 30mpg.
There is also a 3.6 litre V6, producing 330 bhp and 385Nm of torque. This engine also incorporates cylinder deactivation, to help improve fuel economy. Both the four-cylinder and the V6 are available with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic.
Finally there is the Camaro SS, which has a small block V8, as found in the Corvette Stingray. This 6.2 litre motor produces 449 bhp and 616Nm of Torque. This big-boy V8 also gets cylinder deactivation, fuel injection and variable valve timing.
The interior is peculiar to say the least. It incorporates a central touchscreen with a set of toggle switches below it and a couple of air vents below that. Chevrolet designers said they wanted to create a low dashboard in order to allow for a wider looking windscreen. Somehow, I doubt this interior will please everybody.
This Camaro is sure to go down well in the US, where the following for Camaros is strong. I am not so sure about the Camaro’s popularity in Europe. It will probably be one of those cars which will be privately imported from the US. Either way, if you fancy yourself a good ol’ American muscle car, you choice just became a lot more difficult.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Last Week Today, bringing you all the week’s highlights for an easy Sunday morning read. So let’s get started!
Monday 11th May
Heard the one about the F1 car headbutting a member of the pitcrew? Well, if you haven’t, here it is. Romain Grosjean braked a little too late in the pits and ended up headbutting a member of the pitcrew right in the … gentleman’s wedding vegetables. Thankfully he was okay to carry on working and took to the incident in a light-hearted manner.
Now, on to something a little less painful. Last Monday, here at TechnoSpeak, we brought you news of Peugeot’s new textured matt paint, which, while costing exactly the same price as Peugeot’s pearlescent colours, also provides slightly more resistance to minor scratches and is more hardwearing than other types of matt paint.Check out Peugeot’s new matt paint here.
Tuesday 12th May
Autocar reported that Lotus plans to make a hardcore track-day sports car, with rumours suggesting it went round the Nurburgring in just over 7 minutes. This means it is just a few seconds slower than the hypercar holy trinity, the LaFerrari, the P1 and the 918. Tipped to hit showrooms next year, it should carry a price in the region of £70,000. Here is the full story on Lotus’ new track-day sports car.
Check out CNET’s first look at the new LG Watch Urbane! Quite the looker, isn’t it?
Wednesday 13th May
GSMArena report on potential news that the upcoming Apple iPhone 6S will be in Rose Gold. Apparently, this is a colour. This news is coming from analysts, so take the news with a pinch of salt. Here is the full story.
Thursday 14th May
TopGear.com, you know the one, they used to have three magnificent presenters, which the BBC decided they could do without (yes I am still bitter, I will never get over it), have shown a video of the new Audi TT Clubsport. In case you didn’t know, this mad one-off has 592bhp, more fins and gills than a catfish and now a frankly mind-blowing soundtrack to match the mad power and fins. Check out Audi’s five-cylinder symphony of rage here.
AutoExpress reports on some rumours that Peugeot will release a competitor for the VW Passat CC within the next couple of years. Dubbed the 408 GT, it is a four-door coupe which, according to the renders made by AutoExpress, will be heavily influenced by the Exalt concept car. According to reports, it could be based on the 308’s EMP2 platform, and use also a mix of the same four-cylinder motors found in the 308 as well as a potential hybrid version. Details on the hybrid powertrain are scarce at the moment though. Check out the 408 GT here.
TheVerge reports that Google may start testing new “buy buttons” which will live in ads when you search for something. If say you want to buy a new hammer, because you have a Jeremy Clarkson attitude to DIY, you would type in the word “hammer” in Google Search, and within the ads which pop up in the search results, there would be a button allowing you to buy that eight-pound sledge hammer you have always wanted, without breaking the bank. Here is the full story on Google’s “buy buttons”.
Now for your viewing entertainment, a shark riding a bear whilst carrying a machine gun.
Peugeot has quietly shown off a new textured matt paint, which has a granular feeling to the touch. It will be available to the public on the newly updated Peugeot 208, which we reported on a few weeks back. Check out the revised 208 here.
This newly-patented paintjob still uses the same method of the primer, base colour and anti-corrosion chemicals, but adds a different type of lacquer. This new lacquer contains tiny particles of silica, which give the colour its matt finish, and a second substance, which Peugeot is calling “micro-balloons of polyamide”, which give the paint its textured finish.
Besides looking and feeling nicer, this matt paint is easier to look after than the ones currently available on the market. It is more hard-wearing and easier to care for than traditional matt paint, whilst also providing more resistance to micro-scratches.
For the moment, this new textured paint will be available in two colours, namely Ice Grey and Ice Silver, but if these prove popular, we might see more colours on the way too. It is also the same price as Peugeot’s ordinary pearlescent colours (at least in the UK) at £645, which is a nice touch.
Alternatively, you can opt not to go for this matt paint, and go for the new “Orange Power” colour option mentioned in the link above.
This article has been a long time coming. As a petrolhead and budding Alfist, Alfa Romeo has tested my patience, and the patience of many Alfa Romeo fans, on several occasions. Endless rumours, promises and failed attempts at taking on the Germans, have made us weary.
Like a jealous lover, Alfa Romeo more than tests your patience with its insecurities. We have had Alfas that have failed to live up to their heritage, promises left unfulfilled and endless delays. Back when the 159 was removed off the market, we were promised by Alfa that a replacement, the rather beautifully named Giulia, would be in showrooms by 2012. The world rejoiced! A new car which harks back to a name from the 60s, a car that was legendary in its status!
Sure enough 2012 arrived, but the Giulia didn’t. We were then promised that definitely, by 2014, we would get to see the Giulia, along with a new Spider that will be based on the next generation Mazda MX-5. Once again the world was excited. A Mazda MX-5 with Alfa Romeo engines and design? Sign me up!
So here we are, in 2015, and what exactly have we got? None of the above. The showrooms are awash with Giulietta and MiTo hatchbacks, which lets be honest, are rather long in the tooth, especially now. In the last year or so we did get the rather lovely 4C sportscar, which provided a glimmer of hope for the Duchess of Milan. While it is a beautiful looking car, with promising sportscar credentials, it is not the car the world waiting for. So what happened?
It is no secret that Alfa has been going through a huge crisis. Last year they sold 74,000 cars worldwide. They were planning to sell close to 300,000 by this year. What makes matters worse is, the more time has passed the more Alfa’s rivals have taken the lead, leaving the Milanese brand very much behind.
Plans were revealed in May 2014, which promised a monumental shake up in the entire company structure, taking it back to the glory days of sports saloons and iconic design. Having read the presentation,it is a truly astonishing plan. Fiat want to pump 5 billion Euros into Alfa for the development of new models over the next 5 years. They proposed the concept of a “skunkworks” project, where Alfa will no longer be based on bits from other cars in the Fiat group. The brand will have a secluded area to work on new projects, away from the pressure of the Fiat accountants. They have even got a test track to help with the development of these new cars. This place is so secluded that not even the entire Fiat board of directors know where all this work is happening, just to give the team as little distractions as possible. It only recently transpired that these “skunkworks” are taking place in a factory belonging to Maserati, on the edge of Modena.
The plan itself claims that by 2018, Alfa will have launched two SUVs, a D-Segment car, a variation of that D-Segment vehicle, an E-Segment flagship, a replacement for the Giulietta, a Spider and a front-engined two-seat coupe to take on the F-Type. Most of these new models, as far as we know, will be based on the new rear-drive “Giorgio” platform with the option of all-wheel drive. Engines will be predominantly made up of four and six-cylinder motors, with outputs of between 180 and 500 bhp.
This sounds all fantastic, if it were not for one small thing. At this stage, all this talk of rear wheel drive, skunkworks, powerful, small-capacity engines are all nothing but rumours and an intricate game of marketing. It is the stuff petrolheads want to hear. However, this is not the first time we have heard fantastical rumours coming from Alfa Romeo. About ten years ago, we were promised a 166 GTA Q4. This was meant to be powered by a 4.2 litre V8, kicking out 390 bhp to all four wheels. It was meant to be Alfa’s flagship to take on the M5. It was canned.
Then there was the 159 GTA. Another brute to take on the Germans, this time with a turbocharged V6. This also did not see the light of day. More recently, there was the MiTo GTA, a 237 bhp hot hatch to give the Mini Cooper S a bloody nose. Guess what? We never got that either.
What I am trying to say is that, while Alfa tells us what we want to hear, rarely does it actually deliver. Right now, more than ever, Alfa needs to make their new cars competitive. It is do or die right now. Everything is against them. Their competitors have never been stronger. Not only does it have the German trinity to deal with, its also got Jaguar, Volvo, Lexus and Infiniti dipping their toes into the executive pool. Somehow Alfa must rise above their competition, rise above BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar, Lexus and Infiniti, and make cars to prove to the world that they are not just remarketed Fiats. They must show the world that Alfa has a heritage, a heritage stronger than the rest.
Judgement day is coming. On the 24th of June, Alfa will unveil a new car, the much rumoured Giulia, to the world. Right now, we know little to nothing about it, even its name is an uncertainty. What we do know, is that it carries not only the burden of its forefather’s history, but also the burden of all the promises of its designers.Come June 24th 2015 we will see if Alfa still has a place in this world.
Maserati CEO, Harold Wester, has categorically stated that there will not be a smaller SUV to slot underneath the soon to be launched Levante SUV.
The Levante is scheduled to be revealed next year at the Detroit Motor Show and go on sale later in the year. While there were rumours that Maserati would consider expanding their SUV line-up to include a smaller, Macan-sized vehicle to fit within their range. However, these rumours have been quashed by Harold Wester, CEO of Maserati. He states that such a car is not on Maserati’s agenda because it would clash with other brands, such as the upcoming Alfa Romeo SUVs and Jeep’s products.
The Levante will provide huge sales leap for Maserati, as the SUV is a growing segment which no manufacturer can afford to ignore. While purists may not like these sort of vehicles, they do bring in massive profits for manufacturers to use in other, more interesting areas. With this reasoning in mind, I tend to think that Harold Wester could eventually go back on his word and in fact offer a Macan-sized car.
Time will tell if such a car will hit roads or not. However, the fact that Porsche has opted to enter such a segment of the market is quite telling. While what Wester says is technically true, VW seems to be managing quite well to market the Tiguan, Q5 and Macan in such a way that none is tip-toeing over the other’s customers. I see no reason why the Fiat Chryser Group cannot do the same. The Jeep would be the more utilitarian end of the market, targetting the Tiguan and Land Rover Discovery. The Alfa SUVs would focus more on the BMW X1/X3, Audi Q3/Q5 market and Maserati could tackle the high end, sportier segment of the market, currently only occupied by the Macan.
I am willing to bet that Maserati will change its tune once the Levante hits the market and the sales start climbing. For now, we will just have to make do with waiting for the Levante and the Alfieri.
Last Week Today: Bazooka-Wielding Kittens & Turbocharged Aston Martins
Welcome to the third edition of This Week Today, your weekly summary of all the news you may have missed. Lets start the week with an update from those crazy Frenchies over at Peugeot.
Monday 20th April
Peugeot revealed to Autocar that their popular RCZ Coupe shall not be replaced once the current generation has ended its production lifespan. This is due to a dramatic cut back of models of the PSA group. Peugeot chiefs have stated they intend to focus their energies on their core models, rather than creating niche models. Unfortunately the RCZ is classified as a niche product and will be axed, probably between 2016 and 2017. For more information on this terrible news click here.
In other news, GSMArena reports that Nokia may make a comeback in a big way. A report from Re/code states that in 2016, Nokia aims to return to the mobile phone market. The prevailing thought seems to be that they will follow the N1’s footsteps and stick to Android. Here is the full story.
Tuesday 21st April
Marques Brownlee published his review of the Samsung Galaxy S6, and is nothing short of amazing. Check out the full review here.
Chinese manufacturer Qoros has revealed a plug-in hybrid SUV at the Shanghai Motor Show, in a bid to further establish themselves as a legitimate carmaker which can take on larger manufacturers. It aims to show off a new design direction as well as attract youngsters to their brand. Click here to read more.
Wednesday 22nd April
Google launches a new mobile network currently aimed at Nexus 6 users for the moment. Called Project Fi, the key selling point is that users of the network will only pay for the data actually used. This is TheVerge’s full story on Project Fi.
Thursday 23rd April
AutoExpress has revealed that the next Aston Martin, what many are referring to as the DB11, will get a turbo power option when it is available to the public in the near future. The article also shows some interesting spy shots of a camouflaged Aston taking on the Nurburgring. Check out turbo heaven right here.
GSMArena report that Samsung’s next smartwatch will have a circular screen. GSM claim the new smartwatch, which will be sold as the Gear A, will be equipped with an Exynos 7420 chip, 3G connectivity and wireless charging. Here is the full story.
Friday 24th April
Reviews of the new Jaguar XE, one of Jaguar’s most important new models to be launched in recent years, have hit the internet in a big way. Unsurprisingly both AutoExpress and Autocar have given this big cat five stars in this initial test review. Autocar claims the XE is “Every bit the contender that it needs to be.”, whilst Autoexpress claim “This could well be the new class leader.” High praise indeed. This is AutoExpress’ review of the XE and here is Autocar’s verdict on the XE.
This week the Shanghai Motor Show has opened its doors to the world. If I am honest, I was not expecting anything particularly exciting, because all the cars there are either vehicles designed exclusively for the Chinese market or else Chinese copies of European cars. This year, however, Peugeot Sport has gone and created something truly incredible.
Here it is, and it is call the Peugeot 308 R Hybrid Concept, and I will not mince my words here, it is awesome. Peugeot Sport, makers of the 908 Le Mans racer, the RCZ R and 208 GTi 30th Anniversary, have taken the 1.6 litre engine from the RCZ R, wedged two electric motors on the front and rear axle, to result in a car producing 493 bhp. 0-62 mph happens in 4.0 seconds and power is sent to all four wheels. Quite simply, WOW.
The R Hybrid has four driving modes, Hot Lap, Track, Road and ZEV. The “Hot Lap” mode uses all of the car’s available resources, pushing out all 493 bhp from the petrol engine and both electric motors, while “Track” mode uses only 395 bhp, making use of just rear electric motor and the petrol engine. Whilst in “Track” mode, the front electric motor acts as a booster under hard acceleration. “Road” mode uses the petrol engine, supplemented by the rear electric motor for acceleration, amounting to 296 bhp. “ZEV” is when the car runs just off the electric motors. Peugeot has not given a range for pure electric travel, and I don’t blame them. Nobody cares about the “ZEV” mode. If you are interested, the batteries will charge fully on a fast charger in 45 minutes.
The exterior shouts performance, with massive air vents painted white. Peugeot’s new signature sports paint scheme has made a reappearance, this time in a rather fetching blue and matte black combo. The paint apparently has tiny glass particles, which gives the car that extra shine. Interestingly, the paint used is normally only used on French race cars, which is also a nice touch.
The interior is a clear adaptation of the ordinary 308’s interior. There are new tan sports seats, and a new fabric lining the dashboard. It looks less like a concept flight of fancy and more production ready. Could we see a 500 bhp Peugeot in the near future?
Sadly no, this car will remain a concept. However, the big heads at Peugeot have said that a more powerful 308 is coming, presumably using the 276 bhp 1.6 litre engine out of the RCZ R, and will probably be called the 308 GTi. The hybrid technology could also see the light of day too. Carlos Tavares has stated that future performance Peugeots will use electric motors to supplement the performance of the petrol engine. All of which is cracking great news.
Expect to see the 308 GTi within the next few months, and in the mean time, spend your every waking hour praying and hoping this R Hybrid makes production. I want one more than I want my next breath.
Citroen has taken its polarising C4 Cactus and created a bold new concept car, called the Aircross Concept. The Aircross Concept points to a new range of crossovers following this new design, in a bid to separate itself from the rest of the competition.
This new design shown on the Aircross will be used on a family of new crossovers, ranging from a Mini Countryman-sized car, up to a seven-seater SUV. Citroen knows that this new design will not please everyone, and will be an either love it or hate it kind of car. However, this is exactly what Citroen wants. Through this new design language, Citroen is trying to establish itself as a separate brand, distinct from both Peugeot and DS. Citroen knows that sportiness is not a character trait of Citroen, but that design flair is. Cars like the CX, the GS, the 2CV, the SM and C6 are all cars known for their outstanding design, and Citroen would like to continue along that line of great design.
Based on PSA’s latest EMP2 platform, which underpins the entire range of Peugeot and Citroen’s mid to large cars, the Aircross is almost exactly the same size as the Land Rover Discovery Sport in terms of length and height but is narrower than the Discovery.
At the moment this car is purely a concept, so the powertrain is based on current technologies found on current PSA roadcars, but tarted up a bit for the glitz and glam of the Shanghai Motor Show. Under the bonnet of the Aircross is a 1.6 litre petrol engine producing 218 bhp, mated to a 95 bhp electric motor mounted on the rear axle. The electric motor is powered by a lithium ion battery pack which is said to recharge in three and a half hours from a domestic socket. This powertrain also features a ‘boost’ function which calls on the full 313 bhp during heavy acceleration. 0-62 mph is claimed to be 4.5 seconds, and is said to emit just 39 g/km of CO2 and return 166 mpg. Whether this powertrain will ever reach production is uncertain, but the numbers certainly are appealing.
Inside there is the usual flair of very little buttons, brightly coloured interior fittings and upholstery and several million screens dotted throughout the interior of the car. If the Aircross does go into production, expect an interior more akin to the interior of the C4 Cactus than to this concept.
No mention of when this car is slated for production, but expect to see a more roadworthy vehicle to hit showrooms in about 12-to-18 months.
Last Week Today: Hipster Doctors, Exploding Cars & All In Between
Welcome to Last Week Today, a new segment for Techno-Speak, where we bring a quick summary of all the news stories we wrote about as well as some other interesting articles written throughout the week by some of our favourite websites.
Apple employees Get 50% discount on Apple watch. Read the full story here.
Drive interviews Ben Hsu, founder of www.japanesenostalgiccar.com, to discuss some awesome Japanese classic cars, as well as highlighting some of his favourite Japanese classics!
Derek Smith, creator of the original Top Gear, which was first broadcast on BBC Midlands in 1977, passed away at the age of 87. Rest in peace, creator of one of the finest motoring programmes the world has ever seen.
Apple Watch reviews hit the internet in a big way!
Tesla debuts new entry level 70D Model S, with 514 bhp and a 240 mile range. The 70D replaces the previous entry level Model S, the 60, adding an extra electric motor and a bigger 70kWh battery pack. The new 70D will come at a $5,000 premium the Model S 60. Here is Autocar’s full story on the new entry-level Model S.
Aston Martin and Henrik Fisker have come to an agreement regarding the Thunderbolt concept, a redesigned version of the Aston Martin Vanquish. It was agreed that Mr.Fisker would not build the car and Aston Martin would not pursue legal action. Here is the full story.
The fourth generation of the ladies-who-lunch Lexus has landed at the New York Motor Show. The new RX is slightly longer, slightly wider and slightly taller than previous generations and its design has also been updated to be in line with the rest of the Lexus range. The new design incorporates a massive spindle-grille, flared wheel arches and pointier headlights. Also, something went wrong with the C-pillar of the new RX. Lexus claim its design flair. I suspect it is the designers losing the will to live. …