AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS

The Cars of 2012 - The Europeans

The Cars of 2012 - The Europeans image

Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: | posted January 02, 2012 12:47

What the Philippines can expect from the Old World

The challenges the industry have faced 2011 are done and 2012 has just begun. To celebrate the new year, we take a look at what new car models the Philippines can look forward to over the next 12 months.

First up are our European friends. Over the last few years, more and more brands from the Old World have come in, and this year more brands and even more models are set to make their local debuts.

Let's see what the upper classes can enjoy in the coming months.

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MERCEDES-BENZ

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From the three-pointed star comes the roadster version of their modern reinterpretation of the classic (not to mention iconic) gullwing 300 SL, with the SLS AMG Roadster.

Of course, being a convertible, the new SLS AMG Roadster doesn't have the signature gullwing doors, having gone with the conventional mechanisms. The SLS Roadster will also be powered by the same engine in the SLS coupe: a 6.2 liter V8 that outputs 571 horsepower.

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Also on the list for Mercedes will be the new B-Class, an all new model that was revealed at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2011. The new B-Class has been thoroughly improved, and gets a variety of engines that run on diesel or gasoline and range from 1.6 to 1.8 liters in displacement.

Mercedes's line up has already been fully updated internationally, and the list continues with the M-Class, which has been refined and restyled further to reflect the brand's new design language.

Expect more updated and upgraded models from the tri-star brand.

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BMW

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Having just launched the 1-Series locally, BMW is on the up and up. The brand, under the leadership of Asian Carmakers Corporation, has had an excellent 2011 with strong sales and increased market share.

For 2012, well, things are looking even better for the Bavarian brand, as ACC-BMW is getting ready for the launch of the all new 3-Series. The next generation model, revealed to the world late last year, promises even better driving dynamics, efficiency and practicality. The new car gets BMW's latest technologies such as EfficientDynamics, Twin Power Turbos, among other things.

The new 3-Series, codenamed F30, is set for its international launch next month.

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MINI

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In 2011, MINI departed from their conventional 3-door hatch form factor and built their first ever 5-door “mini” SUV with the Countryman. For 2012, we can expect that MINI will continue to try new things as British United Automobiles, the local distributors of the MINI brand, are slated to release their new MINI Coupe.

The MINI Coupe is the first car for the brand to have a 3-box design (the front end being 1 box, the passenger compartment another, and one more as the trunk). The roof is lower than usual, and the tailgate (as with the 2-box 3-door version) has been replaced with MINI's first trunklid. The rear seats are also gone, making this a true 2-seater coupe.

The engine will be a 1.6 liter turbocharged motor for the S model, while the JCW, or John Cooper Works models will be the fastest production MINIs to date with 208 horsepower and a top speed of 240 km/h.

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PORSCHE

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Porsche have just released their latest 911 at the recently concluded Frankfurt Auto Show.

The new generation 911, the Type 991, comes with a long list of technical improvements in handling, rigidity, power and efficiency. The 991 is actually an all new platform for the 911 line, being only the 3rd all new platform since the original model nearly 50 years ago.

The car is now longer with its wheelbase extended by 100 millimeters, but the height of the vehicle has been reduced. The all-new, lightweight body is an intelligent aluminum-steel construction giving a significant proportion of the weight reduction of up to 45 kg.

To complement the new exterior design, the Porsche designers created an interior inspired by the Porsche Carrera GT, with more driver oriented details and touches.

A new range of engines, both more powerful and more efficient, find their way into the 911 line. The 911 Carrera gets a 350 horsepower 3.4 liter flat 6 engine, which when mated to the PDK dual clutch transmission consumes just 8.2 liters per 100 kilometers on the NEDC format. The 911 Carrera S variants get a more powerful 400 horsepower flat 6, and can accelerate to 100 km/h in just 4.3 seconds for the PDK variant.

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LAMBORGHINI

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Well, for the first time, Lamborghini will officially be in the country courtesy of PGA Cars Inc., the same company behind Porsche and Audi in the Philippines. The new Lamborghini showroom and dealership will be at Bonifacio Global City, right next to the Audi dealership.

Lamborghini Manila will be led by the Italian super sportscar maker's two models: the V10-powered Gallardo and the new V12 Aventador supercar. In Lambo's tradition, both cars are named after famous fighting bulls, with the Gallardo being in production since 2003 and the Aventador being a new 2011 model for the brand.

The Aventador is as supercar as can be. The car features the signature wedge shape of the Lamborghini brand; a shape that has been pioneered by the Countach of the 70's and 80's. The new car gets a 6.5 liter V12 engine mounted amidships and drives all four wheels. The engine is capable of 700 horsepower, making it the most powerful car officially sold in the country when the dealership opens.

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AUDI

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The list won't be complete without Audi. Last year, the brand, under the custodianship of PGA Cars, launched several refreshed models like the A8, the V10-powered R8 and the all new A7 (which we liked).

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For 2012, Audi has a lot in store, but headlining their year will be the launch of the Q3. We got a chance to get a preview of the upcoming model last month as a German-spec Q3 crossover made an Asian tour with PGA's new dealership in Ford Bonifacio being one of the stops.

The new Q3 will most likely be competing with the BMW X1 and Volvo XC60 (more or less) when it arrives later on.

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BENTLEY

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The cat is out of the bag for PGA Cars, as the company known for bringing in premium (Audi) and sports cars (Porsche) is already confirmed to bring in ultra-luxury brand Bentley... one of only two brands that can rival Rolls-Royce for luxury (the other one being Maybach, Mercedes's ultra-luxury arm).

Bentley Philippines' line up is still unconfirmed, though currently the British carmaker is manufacturing 6 distinct models, all hand assembled. For saloons, Bentley has the 6.0 liter, W12-engined Continental Flying Spur and the 6.75 liter V8 Mulsanne.

Bentley also has two coupes with the Brooklands Coupe (limited to just 550 units) and the Continental GT and GTC, both of which are powered by a 6.0 liter W12 engine.

Last on the list is the Bentley Azure, a 2-door grand touring convertible driven by a 6.75 liter turbocharged V8.

When Bentley arrives, their cars will undoubtedly be the most luxurious, officially available cars in the local auto market.