The new Toyota Prius gets edgy, Honda creates a MotoGP-powered track car, Jaguar Land Rover has its eyes on green car tech and more.
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The New Prius Gets Edgy
Ahead of Frankfurt, Toyota released images and info for the fourth-generation Prius. It loses the tall, wedge-like shape of the old version and is lower, wider and longer, and the edges are much sharper than before. Interior and cargo space has also grown. Besides the new looks, fuel economy has improved by 10 percent, giving the Prius 55 mpg. That’s pretty good, but as economy cars get better milage and EVs become more common, the Prius is starting to look like a tougher sell, even with the new upgrades.
Ariel Atom, Eat Your Heart Out
Honda’s doing its damnedest to quash claims from enthusiasts that they’ve lost their sporting edge: the new NSX is coming out (any day now), they’re bring the Type-R to the US and now they’ve unveiled the 2&4, a minimalist, lightweight track car. The 2&4 is propelled by Honda’s MotoGP engine, a 999cc V4 that puts out 212 horsepower at 13,000 rpm (the 2&4’s redline is 14,000). Honda looked to their 1965 RA272 F1 car for design inspiration, and while we don’t recall that car having the 2&4’s off-center “floating seat,” the 2&4 is nonetheless a lust-worthy machine.
India Saves the Italians
It’s long been speculated that Indian auto manufacturer Mahindra would buy fabled Italian design house Pininfarina, but now reports are saying Mahindra is ready to seal the deal; allegedly the only two matters being worked out are the final sale price and matters related to Pininfarina’s debt. Pininfarina hasn’t been profitable for 10 of its last 11 years of operations; it’s high time somebody save the legendary firm.
British Racing Green
Producing eco-friendly cars seems low on Jaguar Land Rover’s list of priorities, but the British automaker just released info on three new environmentally minded concepts: the Concept_e MHEV, a “mild hybrid” Evoque; the Concept_e PHEV, a plug-in hybrid Range Rover Sport; and the Concept_e BEV, a fully electric platform with a 70-kilowatt lithium ion battery.
Does This Mean We Get More Long-Wheelbase Cars?
For the past few years, China has been the healthiest market for car sales (prompting manufactures to sell special-edition and exclusive long-wheelbase cars there), but a stock-market rout this summer has caused sales to drop, causing US sales numbers to inch above Chinese sales for the second month in a row. Though the disparity for August is not particularly large (1.58 million units sold in the US versus 1.42 million sold in China), these last couple months are the first time since 2009 that the US bought more cars than China.
Rossi Stays Ahead of the Pack
Changing weather conditions at the San Mariano MotoGP race led to a lot of pit stops and bike swaps and an overall chaotic race. Jorge Lorenzo was in second place when he crashed out, causing teammate and rival Valentino Rossi to increase his lead over Lorenzo in the 2015 standings by 11 points, despite missing out on the podium and finishing fifth in the race. Meanwhile, Marc Marquez managed to snag a win, keeping his hopes at beating out Lorenzo and Rossi for the 2015 championship alive. As it stands, Rossi leads the overall season with 247 points, Lorenzo is in second with 224 points and Marquez is in third with 184.
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