Lotus Designs Smart Fortwo Sized All-Electric Mini Car Concept

From the make-believe world of 'What if...' comes our next story on a concept proposal for an all-electric mini car from Lotus. However, what makes this project stand out from the usual independently styled concepts is the fact that it was actually designed by Lotus. See, Automotive Engineer magazine asked the British sports carmaker to come up with a concept vehicle to show how far city car design could go.

The result is an extremely compact-sized mini car equipped with a 37kW-strong electric motor. Like many other EVs, power is provided by a 10kW lithium-ion battery pack which is positioned under the floor and can be recharged in three-and-a-half hours through a standard household 13A plug. The vehicle would have a range of around 50 km or 30 miles while it would be able to reach a top speed close to 65mph or 105km/h.

At just 2,600 mm or 102.4-in. in length, 1,600 mm or 63-in. wide, 1,700 mm or 67-in. in height and with a wheelbase of 2,000 mm or 78.7-in. the Lotus designed mini is roughly the same size as the two-seater Smart Fortwo and quite smaller than the 3+1 seater Toyota iQ.

Nevertheless, Hethel's designers say that mini can seat up to four people, albeit the two rear passengers will most likely feel like a pack of sardines. Alternatively, the rear seats can be folded to provide a luggage space. Driver and passengers would enter the car through a pair of sliding side doors.

The mini car would use an aluminum spaceframe in the floor while according to Russell Carr, head of Lotus Design, the body would be pressed aluminum or composite materials, depending on the sales volume.

Lotus points out that the design for the mini car was completed in approximately two weeks instead of the typical concept phase that lasts between three and six months, meaning that the project is a more of a rough sketch than anything else. And just to prevent any sort of rumors, the magazine says that vehicle wasn't designed as a Lotus city car but as a concept that could be developed for a third-party automaker.

Via: Automotive Engineer

New Cut-Price MINI First with 75HP 1.4-Liter Petrol Engine

MINI's UK division is lowering the bar once again with the release of a new entry-level gasoline model called 'First' that is priced at £10,950 OTR or £1,395 less than the MINI One. Available only in three-door hatch form, the First is equipped with a detuned version of the 95HP 1.4-litre petrol engine currently found in the One that produces 75 horsepower and is linked to a six-speed manual gearbox.

The MINI First can accelerate from zero to 100km/h (62mph) in 13.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 109mph or 175km/h while returning a combined fuel economy of 53.3mpg UK (5.3lt/100km or 44.3mpg US).

Even though the whole point of the First is its low price, nevertheless MINI does offer a variety of special packages that you can check out in detail below.

Available Packages for MINI First

Design Package


  • 3-Spoke Sport Leather Steering Wheel
  • Heated Mirrors and Windscreen Washer Jets
  • Mirror Caps in Body Colour
  • Chrome Line Interior
  • Chrome Line Exterior

Tech Package


  • Multi-function for steering wheel
  • 3-Spoke Sport Leather Steering Wheel
  • Passenger Airbag Deactivation Switch
  • Radio BOOST CD
  • CD Preparation
  • Basic Bluetooth with USB Audio

Salt Package


  • Floor Mats in velour
  • Passenger Seat Height Adjustment
  • Storage Compartment Pack
  • Front Fog Lights
  • On Board Computer
  • Interior Lights Pack

VIDEO: New Audi A5 Sportback in Motion

Here's the first video of the all-new Audi A5 Sportback that joins the ever-expanding cast of the so-called four-door coupes or if you prefer, sport sedans with coupe-like styling details such as slick rooflines and frameless doors. Scheduled to arrive in European showrooms in September, the latest addition in Audi's A4 - A5 family will offer buyers an initial choice of six engines - three diesel and three gasoline, ranging from 170HP to 265HP. At least for now, Audi says that the A5 Sportback won't be coming to the U.S. market. Watch the video after the jump.

Ferrari F430 Spider Tuned up by Inden Design

Moving on to its next project, German tuner Inden Design has presented a new sports package for the Ferrari F430 Spider. Performance-wise, changes are limited to a new stainless steel-made sport exhaust system and a reworked ECU that up the output of the 4.3-liter V8 engine to 525 HP, a 35 horsepower increase over the factory figure. The kit also includes a sport spring set that bring the F430 Spider a few millimeters closer to the ground as well as new 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 325/25 R20 high-performance tires.

In typical Inden Design fashion, the tuner dresses up the F430 Spider with a new bodykit that comprises of a new front spoiler, side-flaps and a carbon-fiber rear diffuser.

For the interior, the German tuning firm offers various upgrades including special leather trims for the dashboard, the center console, the door panels and the steering wheel covers.

Toyota Announces Auris Hybrid for European Market, Sales to Start in Mid-2010

Toyota has confirmed plans to launch a full-hybrid version of its Golf-sized Auris hatchback for the European market in mid-2010. According to the Japanese firm, the Auris Hybrid will be built at its UK-based facility in Burnaston, Derbyshire. The company did not release any technical information but chances are that the Auris will make use of a similar, if not the same, hybrid drivetrain system to the new Prius that combines a 1.8-liter gasoline engine with two electric motors.

"With today's announcement, Toyota has taken a significant step forward in ensuring that full hybrids become more accessible to a wider range of customers," said Tadashi Arashima, CEO and President of Toyota Europe. "Such efforts are crucial if we are to see more low-carbon vehicles on European roads," he added.

In other words, it's safe to assume that the Auris Hybrid will be priced much lower than the Prius, giving Honda's newly introduced Insight Hybrid a run for its money.

The Auris is Toyota's proposal in the all-important for the European market C-segment rivaling the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, Renault Megane, Ford Focus and Opel Astra. It was launched into the European market in the Spring of 2007 replacing the three- and five-door hatchback variants of the Corolla. Since then, it has sold over 370,000 units across the continent.

The Auris is offered with various powertrains in Europe including the newly introduced 101HP 1.33-liter gasoline engine that returns 5.8lt/100km or 40.6mpg US in the European cycle and a range-topping 2.2-liter turbo diesel with 175HP for the sporty Auris SR180 (pictured here) that returns an average of 6.0lt/100km or 39.2mpg.

Classic Find: BMW 2002 Turbo with Only 20k Miles

BMW 2002 TurboAs well as bringing you the latest auto news from around the world, we also like to take a break from time to time to share with you some classic finds like this extremely rare 1975 BMW 2002 Turbo that we discovered on a Japanese dealer site. Built essentially as homologation special, the 2002 Turbo was launched at the 1973 Frankfurt Motor Show with production lasting a little over a year.

BMW 2002 TurboOverall, just 1,672 examples of the 2002 Turbo rolled off BMW's production line between 1973 and 1975 making the specific model one of most sought after bimmers by collectors and fans of the marque alike. This particular 2002 Turbo is listed as having only 33,000km or about 20,000 miles on the odo.

The crown-jewel of the 2002 Series was not only BMW's first road-going model fitted with a turbo, but it was also the first production car in Europe to feature a turbocharged engine. The 2.0-liter forced-induction four cranked out 170 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 240Nm or 177 lb-ft of torque.

Equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox, the rear-wheel drive Bavarian coupe could reach 60mph (96km/h) from standstill in around 7.5 seconds and go on to a maximum speed of 210km/h or 131mph.

If you're getting a bit of that '2002' nostalgia feeling, just click here to check out our special post on the forefather of the modern day 3-Series Coupe.

Link: Bingo

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