Ferrari showed off its all-new Pininfarina-designed California model at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. This car is a GT model with a front-mounted eight-cylinder engine. Its most notable feature is a retractable hard top, although it features plenty of innovations for Ferrari. Its V-8 uses direct fuel injection and is mated to a new seven speed double-clutch transmission. Cabin tech features Bluetooth cell phone integration, an iPod connector, and hard drive-based navigation.
At the 2008 Paris Motor Show, Hyundai displayed a hybrid version of its Santa Fe small SUV. This hybrid powertrain uses a 2.4-liter gas engine complemented by a 40 horsepower electric motor that generates 151 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission delivers this combined power to the wheels. But the real innovation in Hyundai's hybrid system is the use of a 270 volt lithium polymer battery pack. Hyundai says that lithium polymer has greater energy density than lithium ion, can take more recharging cycles, and is cheaper to manufacture. In the Santa Fe Hybrid, this system returns … Read more
Although we've seen a trend toward small cars at the Paris Motor Show from traditional economy car companies, entrants from BMW and Audi signify that the trend is important enough to interest these premium car companies. BMW showed off the X1 small SUV concept, while Audi came to the show with its A1 city car concept. Mini also enters a new small car at the show, but its concept is actually bigger that its current model line-up, showing Mini has nowhere to go but up.
Honda has revived the Insight moniker to create a Prius-fighting hybrid that says to Toyota, "Anything you can do, I can do cheaper.
What happens when you let Scandinavians design a convertible? Well, for one, you end up with the very successful Saab 900 convertible, which launched in 1985. Saab has taken another shot at it with the 9-X Air, a concept vehicle unveiled at the 2008 Paris Motor Show that uses a unique convertible soft top, plus quite a few other good concept car touches.
Lexus peels the top off the IS model, creating a new four-seat convertible for the under 50 demographic. Now that the top has been popped, what other variants of the IS convertible will we see in the future?
Ferrari unveiled the California, its first retractable hardtop convertible at the 2008 Paris Auto Show. Is this front-engined car a Ferrari for poseurs?
Nissan shows off two new cars at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. The Pixo is a small city car powered by an economical gas engine, while the Nuvu looks like it's from outer space. The Nuvu is a concept powered by an electric drive.
After much badgering by DIYers and energy activists, Toyota relented and built a plug-in version of its Prius hybrid, showing it off at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. Noting that the Prius' hybrid system let it run on electricity only during low speed driving, a few DIYers hacked their Priuses to run longer and at higher speeds on electricity, keeping the batteries charged by plugging them in overnight and achieving over 100 mpg in some cases. For a long time, Toyota refused to acknowledge the benefits of plugging in, but now has seen the light, sort of.
The plug-in Prius … Read more
Suzuki showed off a couple of hydrogen-powered vehicles at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. One was based on the relatively new SX-4 model, and the other, in good Suzuki style, was a motorcycle concept called the Crosscage. Both vehicles use electric motors to drive their wheels, and fuel cells combining hydrogen and oxygen to generate the electricity to run those motors. Suzuki has previously built three fuel cell vehicles based on different models.
The base SX-4 is a small, all-wheel-drive car with an economical engine. As the current Suzuki FCV, it gets a 68 kilowatt motor which most likely only … Read more