Remember the Fiat Uno of 1980′s Europe? Maybe not, but it was a popular boxy little car with low costs and lots of rust. To it’s credit it was the first to set the trend for tall, airy small cars that continues to this day. Anyway, Fiat found that the cheap and cheerful Uno was a big seller in South America where it continued to sell long after it’s demise in Europe. Finally the Brazil built car has had a thorough redesign and has now launched as the no frills ‘Novo’ Fiat Uno based (along with the Fiat 500C) on the modern Panda platform.
Luckily for those South Americans, Fiat is testing the water with a convertible concept based on the Uno. The two seater Uno Cabriolet has modified roadster style bodywork and a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine producing an impressive 152 horsepower. It’s strictly a showcar for now but it could be the shape of things to come.
Venturi may not be a household name and even within motoring circles it isn’t a brand that crops up very often. However they have been around for over 25 years and not only put the first (that we know of) electric sportscar into production they also have the world land speed record for an electric powered vehicle to their name. Impressive stuff but the company produce cars in such tiny quantities that you would be lucky to ever see one on the road even if you knew what you were looking for.
The Venturi Fétish was launched 6 years ago and now has had a thorough redevelopment to boost performance and usability. A new 300hp motor will take it from 0-100 kmph in 4 seconds knocking a second of the journey compared to the previous car. The battery system is also updated expanding the range to 340 kilometres. The body styling and interior have also apparently been redesigned but frankly we are struggling to see a difference. That’s not bad news though. We liked it before and it hasn’t dated.
If you want to get your hands on the new 2011 Venturi Fétish you will need time on your hands. Each car is made by hand and to order in the Principality of Monaco, takes 12 months to complete and costs 300,000 € + VAT.
Lotus made a splash at this year’s Paris Motor Show with a selection of 6 new concept vehicles. The car that tickles our interest the most is a luxury convertible grand tourer. The lines are gorgeous and the sporting intent clear but there’s no denying that this is a break away from the brand’s lightweight, back to basics heritage. This is more Ferrari California than Lotus Elise.
The Elite has an electrically folding hardtop roof which makes it a 4 seat convertible… at a pinch. Rear seat passengers would have to be willing to tuck their knees under their chins. Power would come from Lexus/Toyota’s 5 litre V8 engine from the Lexus ISF supercharged and reworked to produce up to 612 bhp. To keep the carbon-counters happy there will be a formula one inspired KERS system regenerating the braking power as additional electric propulsion.
Clearly Lotus see a more profitable future selling to the wealthy rather than the enthusiast. The big changes are a drive to make the brand profitable again and to do this they need to sell more cars. If this is anything to go by, there is much to look forward to.
The Paris Motor Show marks the introduction of two new Porsche convertibles. Each a further addition to the already crowded 911 line.
First up is the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. Filling the gap between the 911 Carrera S and hardcore 911 GT3 in the non-turbo side of the range. Confusing? Yes but we can see this car being a big seller. It has the extra level of performance without loosing its everyday usability. Performance is middling in the range as you would expect with a 408 hp version of the 3.8 litre flat 6 engine. Prices are yet to be released but Porsche say that it will have an “economic advantage” over the GT3.
Also shoe-horned into the bulging 911 range is a Speedster version. Powered by the same 408 hp engine as the GTS it seems to offer much the same package but with a more bulbous rear designed to evoke the rather prettier 1950s classic 356 Speedster. This one has the PDK dual-clutch transmission as standard (it’s an option in the manual GTS), unique styling and the knowledge that production will be limited to 356 cars.
Ferrari announced their latest convertible car, the Ferrari SA APERTA at the 2010 Paris International Motor Show. That’s the good news; the bad news is that every one of this special series model of which a strictly limited number of 80 will be built have already been sold. So even if you have the means, unless you are one of the chosen few of Ferrari’s favourite customers you will be left struggling to pick one up on the used market in a year or so.
Ferrari chose to build 80 SA Apertas in celebration of Pininfarina’s 80th anniversary. The SA nomenclature also pays homage to both Sergio and Andrea Pininfarina whose company and work have been linked to the most successful road-going cars ever built at Maranello.
Based on the 599 coupe, the chassis has been edesigned to deliver a standard of stiffness comparable to the fixed roof car and with a negligible weight difference. A light soft top is designed to be stowed away for only the most unpleasant of weather conditions making this a true roadster rather than a pampering cruiser.
Under the bonnet lies the impressive 661 hp V12 engine from the 599 GTO but performance figures or the now inconsequential price have yet to be released.
The Volkswagen Eos hardtop convertible has been updated to reflect the latest styling theme of the brand. Specifications of the car will alter slightly but basically the changes are little more than skin deep. External updates include redesigned headlights incorporating LED daytime running lights, new grille, two-piece LED taillights and a redesigned bumper with a new diffuser. While inside there are the latest set of gadgets including a multi-function display with colour display, remote light control, light assist, and the second generation of Park Assist, keyless locking, keyless access and remote light control.
The updates will help to keep the car a top seller in the 4 seater hardtop convertible class at least for now.