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Mercedes May Launch New X-Class Microcar

Germans turning to French alliance partner Renault for help.

by on Mar.19, 2013

Mercedes is looking to follow the lead of key competitors like BMW and Audi.

It may require an alphabetic revision, but Mercedes-Benz is reportedly working up a new model line that would slot somewhere between the maker’s current bottom-end A-Class and the Smart car produced by parent Daimler AG.

Designed to take on competitors like the Audi A1 and a front-drive BMW model now under development, Mercedes is expected to turn to its French alliance partner Renault to help develop the small car. The X-Class would be targeted at the growing market for high-mileage microcars and be offered in a mix of body styles.

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Production of the new line is expected to begin around 2018, according to Germany’s AutoBild magazine, with the X-Class expected to come in at a base price of around €20,000, or $26,000 at current exchange rates. That would create a serious challenge for the maker, something Mercedes apparently will address by turning to one of its partners for assistance.

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First Look: Audi A1 Clubsport Quattro

Who says small has to be slow?

by on Jun.01, 2011

This pint-sized Audi is no econobox.

Anyone who equates small cars with underpowered econoboxes better take a deep breath before checking out the Audi A1 Clubsport Quattro.

Though technically a concept vehicle, the subcompact muscle car unveiled at Audi’s annual gathering in Worthersee could very well – many will hope – be a sign of things to come.

The show car starts out as a conventional Audi A1, the Volkswagen subsidiaries smallest offering.  But there most resemblances end.  For one thing, the Clubsport gets the signature Audi all-wheel-drive system, Quattro, which is not currently offered in the A1 line.  That’s only the beginning.

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The pint-sized fury 2.5-liter turbo inline-five goes through what might be called “extensive tuning.”  By the time the maker’s gearheads finished up, they were able to squeeze a screaming 500 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque out of the little package, a jaw-dropping 200 hp/liter, a specific output that would be the pride of many a race team.  Power is directed through a 6-speed manual gearbox to all four wheels.

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Delphi Opens Up With New Infotainment System

Open architecture strategy lifts limits on upgrades.

by on Sep.10, 2010

Delphi makes a big score with the new Audi A1.

Auto industry officials often talk about adopting Silicon Valley’s rapid pace of innovation, and nowhere is that more critical than in the growing world of onboard electronics.

Consumer electronics companies measure product lifecycles in months, not years, and open architecture software is a key reason this is possible.  Traditionally, automakers have stuck with proprietary technologies which may have to be completely rewritten or redesigned from one model to the next.

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But Delphi Corp., the big supplier that has largely shifted from old-style parts to high-tech electronics, is racking up a big score as it begins to supply a new open-source infotainment system to Audi for the German maker’s new luxury minicar, the A1.

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