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>>> 27th November 2002:  Carcenarno Grandturismo and Italdesign Brera to receive offical blessing in Bologna
click here for more detail of the Carcenaro Lancia Grandturismo at the Bologna Motor ShowItaldesign's Alfa Romeo badged Brera concept car which will hit production in 2004 and the Carcenaro designed Lancia Thesis based concept car are both to receive official blessing by taking pride of place on the Alfa Romeo and Lancia stand's respectively at the Bologna Motor Show which opens next weekend.

It is a turn of the circle from the Paris Motor Show six weeks ago when both cars were tucked well way from the Fiat Group's display. Since Paris Alfa Romeo have had a change of heart and the Brera four wheel drive 2+2 "Grand Tourer" coupe is to form the basis of an €80,000 sports car which will go head to head with the Porsche 911, hitting the showrooms in late 2004.

Meanwhile the Thesis based "Grandturismo" coupe concept, designed by Carcenaro with significant imput from Lancia Centro Style, which made a low key premiere in Paris, takes, according to a Lancia press release issued today, "pride of place on the Lancia stand".

>>> 27th November 2002:  second off-road Fiat prototype to be unveiled in Bologna, the Doblo Sandstorm
the offroad rally Fiat Doblo Sandstorm prototype will make its first public appearance at the Bologna Motor Show, click here for further detailAlongside the Fiat Simba in Bologna comes the Doblo Sandstorm, an offroad "Paris-Dakar"-style racer with four wheel drive and improved suspension and raised ride height. 

All this sits on 16in wheels fitted with 215/85 tyres. The braking system has been beefed up with four pot callipers and vented discs at the front. Fiat have revealed little further detail on any plans they may have for the Sandstorm.

The Bologna Motor Show, Fiat's only show this year, opens a week on Saturday and runs until the 15th December.

>>> 26th November 2002:  Alfa Romeo to display 3.5-litre SuperTouring based concept 156 GTAm in Bologna
Alfa Romeo are to display an Alfa 156 GTAm concept car at the Bologna Motor Show which is a pilot car that is the outcome of a double challenge: to convert a racing car into an on-road vehicle and also to improve on an engine that is already one of the best around for performance and power. It has been developed by Fiat's competition arm, N-technology, out of this year's European Touring Car Championship winning Alfa 156 GTA.

The capactity has been increased from 3200 to 3548 cc, while the bore is 97 mm and the stroke is 78 mm. Compared to the 3.2 litre engine on the conventional GTA, the 3.5 V6 24v unit fitted to the Alfa 156 GTAm develops 300 bhp at 6800 rpm and is combined with a 6-speed gearbox and a self-locking viscous differential. 

Externally, the vehicle is distinguished by its black colouring and also because the big racing spoiler has been replaced by a more discreet outlet lip that nevertheless still improves the 156's aerodynamic flow. The body wings and bonnet have also been changed: now they are made out of composites that help lighten the car by 30 kg compared to the racing version. The light alloy wheels are 8 x 19" while the tyres are 235/35ZR19. The sports ride set-up is also new and has been developed with a view to the lighter body and on-road application. Hence height-adjustable oleopneumatic shock absorbers by Bilstein with Eibach springs with helpers. Compared to the 156 GTA, the front brakes on the 156 GTAm come with bigger Brembo calipers and discs with a diameter of 330 millimetres.

Alfa Romeo have not revealed whether this prototype will be any more than a one-off concept or if limited production is being considered. 

>>> 26th November 2002:  Fiat mini off roader prototype to break cover at Bologna Motor Show
the Fiat Simba mini off roader prototype will make its first public appearance at the Bologna Motor Show, click here for further details of the SimbaFiat are to launch a prototype "mini-off roader" at the Bologna Motor Show which opens on the 7th December. The Fiat "Simba" is expected to be based on next year's Panda/Seicento replacing "New Small". Apart from being fitted with a viscous coupling 4x4 drivetrain Fiat are giving little away.

Fiat claim that the Simba will be multi-purpose, "small yet able to combine the idea of roughing it up with the comfort and performance of a conventional car." It will be fitted with typical offroad equipment including larger headlamps, spotlights and a roof mounted spare wheel.

>>> 22nd November 2002:  Fiat and the City of Turin launch ground breaking car sharing scheme
the Fiat Stilo is one of the models available as part of the Turin car sharing scheme, click here for more detailsFiat and the City of Turin launched a ground breaking car sharing scheme yesterday. Members of the Car City Club can use cars available in special parking lots located throughout the urban area 24 hours a day. Vehicles can be booked by telephone and usage is recorded in a personalised magnetic card. Cars can be picked up and dropped off in any of 11 parking spots, a number that will be increased to 18 by this time next year.

In this initial phase 16 cars will be available to members, distributed over three models: Punto, Stilo and Multipla. In the near future Lybra, Doblò and Ducato models will be added.

Car City Club is the result of the Turin Town Council's efforts in the field of sustainable mobility and it is the first company to be set up since signature in January 2000 of letters of intent between the Ministry for the Environment and Italy's major municipalities to launch a national car sharing scheme. The Company is owned 51% by ATM (the Turin Mobility Agency that operates in both the collective and individual mobility sectors), 33% by Savarent (a Fiat Auto company operating in the vehicle rental and fleet management sectors), and with the remaining 16% owned by Capi (a cooperative active in the transport services management sector). 

>>> 21st November 2002:  Ferrari luxury 4-door 456GT "Grand Tourer" replacement to boast 500 bhp
the Ferrari 456GT will be replaced with an all new model in 2004Ferrari plan to replace the long serving 456 GT four seat "Grand Tourer" in 2004 with an all-new car boasting power output raised to 500 bhp from an increased capacity engine. The engine will be either 5.6 or 5.7-litre depending on the final results of evaluation testing at Maranello.

The new car will be called a Ferrari 560/570 and draw on a Ferrari zone city name. Imola, Monza, Bologna, Mugello or Fiorano are candidates. The 560/570 will be slightly larger than the current car with emphasis on increasing the "Grand Tourer" aspect of the car, increased luxury and ride smoothness capability. 

>>> 21st November 2002:  Maserati Quattroporte prototype seen out road testing again
More images of a disguised Maserati Quattroporte prototype spotted leaving the Ferrari factory at Maranello have emerged. The Quattroporte, due to be unveiled late next year, is Maserati's rival to the Mercedes S-class, BMW 7-series and new Jaguar XJ. 

The flowing lines of the scale model first unveiled by Maserati at the "Artedinamica" exbibition in Tokyo earlier this year are clearly visible on this prototype. The swoops of the front and rear doors are easily traceable, but the front end is boxed off and gives few clues.

>>> 21st November 2002:  Maserati to build supercar based on Ferrari Enzo
The Ferrari Enzo will form the basis of Maserati's new 6000GT sportscarMaserati are to build a supercar based on Ferrari's new F1-technology derived Enzo. It is believed that the project, to be known as the 6000GT, is significantly advanced and should be launched by the end of next year. The car will be a virtual clone of the Enzo, being expected to make use of the 660 bhp 6.0-litre V12 engine and F1-style gearbox.

The project's schedule is being pushed by Maserati's tight schedule of using the 6000GT to enter sportscar racing in 2004. Next year Maserati will begin race development testing with an Enzo chassis, while the first prototype 6000GT will hit the tracks later in the year. The race project is around six months down the line, and will move into a brand new purpose-built unit on the Modena site before Christmas. Maserati will field a factory team, while selling customer examples.

The 6000GT will probably see a production run around the same as the Enzo's 399 units. With the Enzo's original production run being extended from 349 to 399 cars to try to satisfy demand, it is expected that the large number of potential customers who have not been catered for will be channelled towards the Maserati. The 6000GT will be a much more polished and luxurious car than the no-compromise Enzo, and will be targeted at the US to assist in raising Maserati's profile as the marque revises upwards its sales targets for North America.

Price is expected to possibly be around €400,000 compared to the Enzo's €660,000.

Meanwhile Ferrari are considering developing the 575M for next year's FIA GT Championship after strong customer interest. The project is still under consideration, and giving the green light in December would only leave a few months to get the car ready for the start of the 2003 season.

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