Volkswagen to resurrect Lupo name-plate

Volkswagen’s new city car, internally known as ‘Up’, will be sold as the Lupo. The Lupo city-car will also be available as an Audi, Seat and Skoda, by 2015 as part of Volkswagens go-getting target to take global market leadership by 2018.

With the Brazilian-built Fox to be withdrawn, the newcomer will be the entry-level car in Volkswagens line-up when it reaches the UK in 2012. It will be manufactured in Slovakia and is the first model in an extended range of modern small cars, which Volkswagen officials call the New Small Family (NSF).

Initially created with a space-saving rear-engined/rear-wheel drive design, the new car has been comprehensively reworked during its three-year development procedure. Financial concerns have required the platform to be switched to front-engined, front-wheel drive that VW says will allow it to use existing engine and gearbox combinations without any major penalty in overall packaging.

The new Lupo will elongate to no longer than 3,445mm in length, 1,628mm in width and 1,495mm in height; approximately 525mm shorter, 54mm narrower but 33mm taller than the Polo 3dr.

In the VW line-up, the Lupo will be placed above cheap offerings like the Nissan Pixo, Suzuki Alto & KIA Picanto but beneath Polo in order to draw both first-time car buyers and those looking for a second car. The latest hint suggests that the entry-level Lupo will have a sticker price of £8,200 (€9,700) in the UK, thus competing directly with the Fiat 500, Citroën C1, Ford KA, Peugeot 107, Renault Twingo, and the Toyota Aygo.

Keeping with the newcomers ‘back to basics’ theme, the Lupo is intended to be sold with a restricted range of engines during the early sales stage. The Lupo will be released throughout Europe in Summer 2011 (as a 2012 MY) using two engines; a 65bhp naturally aspirated 1.0 litre 3 cylinder petrol engine and a 1.2 TDi CR 75bhp 4 cylinder engine, with the latter potentially offering in excess of 80mpg and emitting less than 80g/km in Bluemotion variant.

The 5dr Lupo will launch in Spring 2012, with an all-new 85bhp turbocharged 1.0 litre TSI 4 cylinder petrol engine. In the pipeline is an electric variant, dubbed E-Up that’s being built with Audi and is expected to reach European dealerships by Winter 2012, with U.S sales predicted in early 2013. A shooting-brake model, similar to that of the Up Lite concept is likely to be sold.

Read More

2011 BMW X3

The all-new 2011 BMW X3 will be among the most economical and fuel-efficient mid-sized SUV’s when it arrives in the UK in late November. The entry-level 2.0 litre 181bhp manual X3 xDrive20d will offer combined fuel economy figure of 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km, 147g/km with automatic transmission. The X3 eclipses the Audi Q5 2.0 TDI 170 by 4.8mpg and 14g/km.

The new SUV is bigger than the outgoing model. The 2011 X3 is now measuring at 4,648mm, more than 75mm longer, width decreases by 4mm at 1,855mm and height rises by 14mm at 1,675mm. The wheelbase is also bigger by 15mm to 2,810mm, enough to increase by boot by 70 litres, to 550 litres.

As well as the 181bhp 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder diesel in the xDrive20d, BMW will add a 3.0 litre 302bhp, turbocharged straight six petrol dubbed xDrive35i, rivalling directly with the Land Rover Freelander 3.2i T6, Audi Q5 3.2 FSI Quattro and Volvo XC60 3.0 litre T6. The xDrive35i will emit 204g/km and will return around 32.1mpg combined and will be mated to a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission.

The diesel will come with the choice of either a 6 speed manual or an optional ZF-engineered 8 speed automatic. Both gearboxes offer a standard stop-start function and operate with the brake energy recuperation system.

More X3 variants are in the pipeline; a 254bhp 3.0 litre xDrive28i petrol and a 201bhp xDrive23d twin-turbocharged, 4 cylinder diesel. These engines are due in Summer 2011. A FWD is available, however, no rear-wheel-drive is planned for the UK, although BMW is still considering launching the model in North America.

Production of the new X3 will take place at BMW’s Spartanburg facility in North America alongside the X5 and X6. Prices in the UK start from £30,490 and for that, you get 17” alloy wheels, x6 airbags, stop/start, cruise control, front & rear fog lights, DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) w/ hill-start assist & hill-descent control, heated windscreen, gear-shift efficiency indicator, tyre pressure warning system, front & rear parking sensors, automatic rain & windscreen sensor, leather interior w/ 60:40 split folding rear seats, roof-rails, automatic climate control, ambient lighting, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and multi-function leather steering wheel as standard.

Read More