Fiat 500 F1 Limited Edition

Posted in Fiat

Prior to the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying sessions on Saturday, September 27, Fiat has organized the “500 Drive” event, which will involve 12 Fiat 500 “F1TM Limited Edition” cars being driven around the same track by celebrities. No word yet on the participating celebrities but the brand new 5.067km circuit on the streets of Singapore will be the first ever Grand Prix to be held at night, and the same goes for the 500 Drive celebrity race.

The 12 vehicles, which have already been reserved for customers, feature chrome trim and exclusive “F1TM Limited Edition” livery. The cars are equipped with the standard 100 bhp (74 kW) 1.4 16v engine which can reach a top speed of 182 km/h and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.5 seconds.

Alfa Romeo 147

Posted in Alfa Romeo


Gorgeous Italian styling, perky engines and fun handling should make the 147 extremely desirable. Sadly patchy dealer service, steep depreciation and flaky reliability counter the positives


You can’t help but be won over by the looks of this car. There aren’t many family hatchbacks that command as many admiring glances from other road-users. Both three and five door versions are available. All but entry-level TS models have well-sculpted alloys, which look like they could have been an aftermarket purchase. The new Sport and Q2 models boast 17-inch 5 spoke alloys, white satin wing mirrors, a roof spoiler and a menacing looking chrome exhaust pipe.


The Alfa is similarly stylish inside, although the cabin ambience is let down by the use of hard and scratchy plastics. Fortunately the driving position is spot on, while front passengers get plenty of leg and headroom. Sadly those in the rear aren’t quite as well catered for, while boot space is limited at 1,042 litres with the bench folded flat. Throughout the range the Alfas comes well equipped, although some more advanced features offered by the competition are lacking. Sat Nav is an expensive option, making it a rare find on used cars. However, it’s worth considering leather trim and metallic paint.


Both the 1.6 and 2.0 petrol engines are strong and characterful units, delivering 120bhp and 150bhp respectively. The sprint from standstill to 62mph takes 10.6 seconds in the 1.6-litre car, which is 1.3 seconds slower than the bigger engined model. Diesel fans get the refined 1.9-litre JTD unit with either 120bhp of 150bhp. Both versions get healthy doses of mid-range torque, making for rapid in-gear acceleration. Both oil burners will return around 48mpg.

Driving experience

The 147 manages to live up to its feisty looks when it’s on the move. The steering is direct and well weighted, while crisp gearchanges come courtesy of the excellent manual transmission. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the slow-shifting Selespeed semi-auto gearbox. Overall ride quality is good, although big bumps send a shimmer through the bodyshell, highlighting the Alfa’s age. Flagship models get the excellent Q2 limited slip differential, which significantly improves front-end grip. It can be specified as an option on lesser models.

Ownership Costs

As with all Alfa’s, steep depreciation is a significant issue, with no model retaining more than 37 percent of its value after three years. However, this does mean that second hand buyers are likely to pick up a bargain. The diesel versions represent the best value, with lower fuel consumption and C02 figures – the 1.6-litre petrol can only manage 34.4mpg and falls into tax band F meaning hefty annual VED bills.


The 147 only manages a lowly three star EuroNCAP rating, despite featuring six airbags, while ESP is only standard on range-topping 2.0-litre petrol and diesel Lusso models. Remote central locking, an alarm system and immobiliser are, however, standard across the range. All diesel versions produce less than 160g/km of C02, dropping them into VED band D. The petrol models are less impressive, churning out 194g/km and 211g/km for the 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre respectively.

Hamann Aston Martin V8 Vantage Revealed

Posted in Aston Martin, BMW
Well known for its tuning endeavors with BMW, MINI, Ferrari, Porsche, Land Rover and Lamborghini, German tuning house Hamann Motorsport has added Aston Martin to that list with the V8 Vantage Coupe and Roadster. Hamann makes no mention of engine performance upgrades but instead has focused on optimized aerodynamics and handling.

The body kit consists of a lower front bumper fascia with 2-piece side spoilers, side skirts, rear deck lid spoiler and three-piece diffuser with rear center spoiler which attaches to existing rear bumper fascia. Also, for the Le Mans GT look a roof mounted air scoop is available. Alternatively, a front lip spoiler is available for attachment to the standard front bumper fascia. All body components are available in fiber glass or in matte carbon.

Mechanically Hamann offers a stainless sport exhaust system good for an extra 20 hp, three-piece Hamann EDITION RACE 21-inch wheels and special chassis springs which lower the centre of gravity of the V8 Vantage by 30 mm at the front axle and by 20 mm at the rear axle.

For the interior Hamann offers an aluminium pedal set including a foot rest and floor matts made of threaded pearl velour. If desired, bespoke leather trim and equipment is available on request.

[Correction: Hamann offers an ECU upgrade for the Vantage 4.3-liter and 4.7-liter V8 producing 358hp (283 kW) and 426 hp (313 kW) respectively, for an increase of 23 hp (17 kW) and 30 hp (22 kW). Torque is increased by approximately 25 Nm and 30 Nm. Top speed is increased to 290 km/h (series 283 km/h) and 295 km/h (series 288 km/h).]

Alfa Romeo at the 2008 Paris International Motor Show

Posted in Alfa Romeo

The same values lie behind the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, a veritable piece of poetry in motion that is remarkable for the sculpted and finely modelled surfaces that provide ideal attire for the engineering and mechanical excellence of this extraordinary car. The Alfa 8C Competizione is also the technical and stylistic template that will be used to create all the Alfa Romeo cars of the future, beginning with the Alfa Romeo MiTo, ‘the sportiest mini’ that packs sensual style, agility and technical excellence made for driving satisfaction into a length of just 4 metres.

The concept of the Alfa Romeo stand at the 2008 Paris International Show arises out of this perfect marriage between design and technology. The exhibition area is dominated by a huge sculpted structure that reflects the taut lines and smooth, sparse lineaments of the Alfa 8C Competizione. This work of architecture is enhanced by an enormous Led Wall projecting evocative images of the brand, all set off to perfection by an imposing wall in Racing Red that provides an ideal backdrop to the lithe, unique design of the cars, making them the unquestionable stars of the show. All the cars on show are also in Racing Red, except for the Alfa 8C Spider, which appears in the attractive Mother of Pearl White shade. Another exhibit on the stand is a 33 Daytona (1968), a gorgeous car that renders homage to the brand’s glorious sporting tradition while also emphasising the values of engineering and emotion shared by all Alfa Romeo cars of the past, present and future.

The scene-stealing exhibition area also perfectly expresses Alfa Romeo’s main mission: industrial design of vehicles with state-of-the-art mechanics and engineering, featuring contemporary lines and shapes, that embody the concept of design in motion and emphasise the qualities of comfort, sportiness, elegance and power intrinsic to the Brand.

All the spotlights will naturally be turned on the latest addition to the family: the Alfa Romeo MiTo. With this car, Alfa Romeo wishes to offer a new generation of Alfa aficionados ‘the sportiest mini’. Their new baby is an up-to-date, innovative car that evokes, by its name alone, the glorious past of a brand that has written some of the most important pages of motoring history. The name MiTo has great evocative resonance and was chosen to mark the deep-seated link between the past and future of the brand: between Milan, the city of design that brought to the car’s style into being, and Turin, which will be responsible for its industrial production. A decision that highlights the brand’s strong desire to consolidate its Milanese roots. The site deliberately chosen for the car’s presentation this June was the fairytale Castello Sforzesco in Milan where it is said that nearly 100 years ago a young designer found the inspiration for the Alfa Romeo logo when he saw a serpent carved onto the Filarete tower.

Five Alfa Romeo MiTo cars are present at the Paris show, all in the Selective specification: three come with a Sport Pack and are powered by the spirited 155 bhp 1.4 Turbopetrol engine while the other two are equipped with a 120 bhp 1.6 JTDM unit. All are equipped with the Confort Pack.

A second focus of the stand is an area dedicated to the exclusive Limited Edition Alfa Romeo supercars: Alfa 8C Competizione (introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 2006) and the Alfa 8C Spider, two sports cars that have had collectors and fans swooning with desire throughout the world and falling over themselves to place thousands of orders for both cars in just a few days. Five hundred of the cars have been produced by the Alfa Romeo Style Centre and are remarkable for their moulded surfaces that provide ideal attire for Alfa Romeo’s engineering and mechanical excellence: a slender line that expresses all the beauty of a veritable piece of poetry in motion that harks back to the brand’s glorious past while also carrying forward its attributes of engineering and emotion into the future.

The Alfa 8C Competizione and Alfa 8C Spider are equipped with a mighty 4.7 litre 8 cylinder engine that develops 450 bhp, teamed with a 6-speed robotised gearbox, and immediately turn heads due to their unmistakeable Italian elegance, an absolutely unique and unrepeatable style that promises the satisfaction of a sporty drive with full respect for Brand traditions.

The French motor show will also see the debut of the sporty TI version of the Alfa Brera that is due to go on sale in autumn 2008. TI stands for Turismo Internazionale, a name that Alfa Romeo gave only to the best equipped cars with the most sophisticated engineering.

The Paris show also welcomes the return of the Alfa 159 – saloon and Sportwagon – with a new 2008 range that offers some new additions in terms of style, specifications and equipment. The spirit of the two cars naturally remains unchanged: the Alfa 159 MY 08 is a prestige saloon that combines sophisticated Italian styling with the elegant sportiness typical of Alfa Romeo.

Meanwhile, the Alfa 159 Sportwagon MY 08 revisits and reinterprets the concepts of Italian style, performance and handling typical of a true sports car, adding flexibility of use and the versatile use of space typical of prestige station wagons. Two cars are on show in Paris: the 159 MY 08 in a TI specification with the powerful 260 bhp 3.2 V6 engine and front wheel drive with a 6-speed manual gearbox and an Alfa 159 Sportwagon MY 08 in the Selective specification and equipped with a 200 bhp 2.4 JTDM 20v and Q-Tronic gearbox. It should be remembered that the Alfa 159 MY 08 models (saloon and Sportwagon) – and also the new Brera and Spider range – were the first to introduce the Electronic Q2 system that offers all the attributes of a front wheel drive and a 4×4 drive with significantly increased road holding, traction and stability during over-run. At the same time, it lessens understeer during acceleration and steering wheel interference.

Visitors to the show can also pick up information material to find out about products on offer from Fiat Group Automobiles Financial Services, a captive finance company created as a joint venture partnership between Fiat Group Automobiles and Crédit Agricole. The company backs Fiat Group Automobiles, in Italy and Europe, with a single mission: to support the sales of Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Fiat Professional and Abarth branded cars by offering innovative financial products incorporating high added value services that are aimed at the dealer network and also private and fleet customers.

Source: Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 8C GTA

Posted in Alfa Romeo
After these spy shots of the Alfa Romeo 8C, totally without camouflage, the GTA hypothesis must be re-examined. With anything from a birthday present to collectors’ requests possible, this example needs to be considered carefully, but we think the magic GTA letters can be re-visited.

The two parallel stripes you can see are meant for protection when loading and unloading this vehicle. But while this can be considered a very insignificant detail, the Fiat Auto test plate, clearly visible in the second photo (after the jump), for us confirms that this is without a doubt the Alfa Gran Turismo Alleggerita.

Fiat Abarth 500 esse esse revealed

Posted in Fiat
The first official images of the production Fiat 500 Abarth esseesse (SS) have made their way onto the Web and as suspected, it’s as racy as a hot hatch can get.

The esseesse is fitted with a full body kit consisting of a new front fascia, lower side skirts and a redesigned rear bumper housing a diffuser and pair of chrome exhaust tips, while 17-inch (?) wheels and a small spoiler round out the appearance package.

Inside, a set of bolstered buckets keep drivers planted in the bends and expect a revised IP, red trim and Abarth logos emblazoned into the dash. No engine specs have been released yet, but expect the turbocharged 1.4-liter to put around 160 hp through a six-speed manual before it reaches the front wheels through a Q2 Torsen C limited slip differential.

All the details will be revealed next week when we make the trek across the Atlantic to cover the Paris Motor Show. Stay tuned.