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February 2010 Archives

February 1, 2010

Honda Admits that the Insight is Too Small to Compete with the Prius

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Honda released the Insight hybrid last spring and hoped to sell 90,000 units in its first year in the US, but sadly only 20, 572 Insights were sold. Meanwhile the Toyota Prius, the Insight's main competitor outsold the Insight seven-to-one. Now Honda's Vice President, Koichi Kondo recently stated in an interview the reasons the Insight has been a disappointment, "I think we compromised too much on size in pursuing fuel efficiency" for the U.S. market, he said.

According to Kondo the Insight is too small and there isn't enough room in the back seat for US customers. Lower gas prices also hurt hybrid sales last year, which is also hurting the development of the upcoming Fit Hybrid.

"There are plenty of people who think that the current Fit meets their needs already" with its fuel efficiency, he said. "A hybrid version might seem expensive. Our engineers are really struggling."

The Fit hybrid is supposed to go on sale by the end of the year.

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Toyota Announces Plan for the Recalled Sticky Pedals

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Toyota has announced its plan to fix the 2.3 million cars it has recalled due to the the sticking accelerator pedals. In addition to the recall Toyota has suspended sales of eight models due to this problem. Toyota's fix is a precision-cut steel reinforcement bar will be installed into the pedal assembly that will reduce the surface tension between the friction shoe and the adjoining surface.

"Nothing is more important to us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive," said Jim Lentz, president and Chief Operating Officer, TMS. "We deeply regret the concern that our recalls have caused for our customers and we are doing everything we can - as fast as we can - to make things right. Stopping production is never an easy decision, but we are 100% confident it was the right decision. We know what's causing the sticking accelerator pedals, and we know what we have to do to fix it. We also know it is most important to fix this problem in the cars on the road."

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VIDEO: Matt Lauer Interviews Toyota's Jim Lentz on the Today Show

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Toyota has officially announced how it will fix its sticking accelerator pedals and now Toyota's US President and COO Jim Lentz is making the media rounds. His first stop was The Today Show.

Check out the video after the jump.

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All-New 2011 Hyundai Sonata Starts at $19,195

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Hyundai has announced the pricing for the all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata starts at $19,195 and will hit dealers in the next few weeks. The all-new Sonata ditches the old model's boring three-box design for a much "sexier" silhouette. Besides the new styling, the other big news is that the Sonata is no longer going to have an available V6 engine. Slow sales of the V6 model prompted Hyundai to not offer it on the new generation. Instead at launch the Sonata's only engine offering is Hyundai's new direct injected 2.4-liter inline-four that puts out 198 horsepower (SE puts out 200-hp). The 2.4L can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

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February 2, 2010

20th Anniversary Mazda MX-5 to Debut in Geneva

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Mazda's popular roadster, the MX-5 has been around for two decades and to celebrate it's 20th anniversary, Mazda is going to unveil a special edition 20th anniversary MX-5 in Geneva.

The 20th anniversary MX-5 will only be available in Europe and only 2,000 units will be produced. The exterior will feature a chrome grille, door handles and headlight fascia, along with silver-look fog lamp frames, specific 17-inch alloy wheels and 20th Anniversary logos. There will be three colors to choose from: True Red, Crystal White Pearl and, specific for this edition, a new Aurora Blue.

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2011 BMW Alpina B7 Starts at $122,875

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BMW has announced the pricing for the 2011 BMW Alpina B7, which is headed to the US this spring. The 2011 Alpina B7 starts at $122,875 and $126,775 for the extended wheelbase model.

The Alpina B7 is powered by BMW's turbocharged 4.4L V8 with 500 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque. It reaches 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

The 2011 BMW Alpina B7 will debut at the Chicago Auto Show this month.

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Geely to Protect Volvo's Luxury Image

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The deal between Ford and China's Geely is almost complete. Geely is set to close the $2 billion deal for Volvo this month and Geely plans on running Volvo as a separate entity to protect its luxury image.

"We want to be careful not to damage the Volvo brand," said Freeman Shen, Geely's vice president for international operations. "We don't want the image of a luxury car made in a third world country. We want the image of a European luxury car, albeit owned by a Chinese owner."

Geely is planning on building a Volvo plant in China, but it's main operations will not be moved there.

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2012 Dodge Durango/ Magnum Patent Drawings Surface

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Chrysler is working on a new larger crossover for the Dodge brand and the US patent drawings of the 2012 crossover have leaked. It's been speculated that Dodge may ditch the Durango name and use the retired Magnum name for the new crossover. The 2012 Dodge Durango/ Magnum is expected to use an extended version of the 2011 Grand Cherokee's platform. This also means that the Dodge version will likely get the same 3.6L V6 and 5.7L V8 engines as the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

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2011 Ford Edge to Debut with Four-Cyl EcoBoost Engine in Chicago

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Next week Ford is going to unveil the new 2011 Ford Edge. Like the recently unveiled Lincoln MKX, the Ford Edge is going to get a facelift. According to the latest reports and spy photos the Edge will be new from the A pillar forward. But the big news is that the Edge will be Ford's first vehicle to get the new four-cylinder EcoBoost engine.

The new 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder is expected to put out the same power as a 3.0L V6, but get better gas mileage. The 3.5L V6 will still be offered.

In addition to the new EcoBoost engine, the Edge will also be the first Ford vehicle to feature the MyFord Touch system, which replaces most of the traditional gauges with computer screens.

Expect more details from the show.

Continue reading "2011 Ford Edge to Debut with Four-Cyl EcoBoost Engine in Chicago" »

Honda Accord Steals the Top Sales Crown from the Camry

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It seems the media is having a field day with all of Toyota's problems related to the unintended acceleration recall. The January sales totals are finally trickling in and the news continues to not be good for Toyota, who was forced to stop selling eight of its models at the end of the month.

Thanks to the recall Toyota's best-selling Camry lost its title last month as the best-selling car in the US to the Honda Accord. Camry sales fell last month by 24 percent to 15,792 units. Meanwhile Honda managed to move 19,022 Accords (20,759 including the Accord Crosstour), which was a gain of 14.7 percent. Nissan also outsold the Camry with its Altima, which sold 18,636 units, a 31.8 percent increase. The Chevy Malibu had the largest gains last month with sales up 76.5 percent to 16,439 units.

It remains to be seen if the Camry will rebound from the disappointing month.

Continue reading "Honda Accord Steals the Top Sales Crown from the Camry" »

VIDEO: Brett Favre Featured in Hyundai's Super Bowl Commercial

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We're only a few days away from the Super Bowl this weekend and Hyundai has released an announcement about what commercials it plans to show during the broadcast. This year marks the third year in a row that Hyundai has featured commercials for the event. This year one of the commercials will feature Vikings quarterback Brett Favre getting an MVP award ten years from now.

"The Super Bowl is not only a showcase for great football, but also for the most significant advertising, reaching an estimated 95 million viewers in the U.S.," said Joel Ewanick, vice president of marketing, Hyundai Motor America. "Following in the footsteps of our 2008 and 2009 Super Bowl focused on the new Genesis and Genesis Coupe, we are focusing this year's Super Bowl campaign on the all-new 2011 Sonata, the most significant new model introduction in our history."

Check out the commercial after the jump.

Continue reading "VIDEO: Brett Favre Featured in Hyundai's Super Bowl Commercial" »

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars in January 2010 Were...

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The first month of 2010 is officially over and the final sales numbers have come in. It was a crazy month for Toyota since it was forced to stop selling eight models a few days before the end of the month, which definitely hurt its final sales numbers.

But enough about that. Here are the top ten best selling vehicles from last month. The Honda Accord took over the number one best-selling car spot from the Camry, which dropped to number 7 on this list. It's also interesting to note that with the exception of the two best-selling vehicles on the list, the Ford F-Series and Chevy Silverado the rest of the vehicles on the list are all sedans (the Accord Crosstour was lumped into the Accord's sales). Both the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V are missing from the list this time.

Check out the full list after the jump.

Continue reading "Top 10 Best-Selling Cars in January 2010 Were..." »

February 3, 2010

Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Kia Sportage Unveiled

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Kia has officially unveiled the third generation 2011 Sportage, which will be officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month. Compared to the previous two generations, the new Sportage is finally a stylish crossover that borrows many styling cues from the larger Sorento.

The Sportage is built on the same platform as the Hyundai Tucson, so even though Kia has yet to release official specs for the Sportage, it is expected to be powered by the same 2.4L four-cyl. The 2011 Kia Sportage will arrive this fall.

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All-New 2011 Infiniti M Starts at $46,250

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Infiniti has announced the pricing for the all-new 2011 Infiniti M. The 2011 Infiniti M37 starts at $46,250, which is powered by the 3.7L 330-horsepower engine. The all-wheel-drive M37x starts at $48,400. Both models come with Infiniti Drive Mode Selector, power-folding side view mirrors, Active Noise Control, RearView Monitor and
Enhanced Intelligent Key memory.

The V8 powered M56 starts at $57,550 and is powered by a 420-hp 5.6L V8. The M56x starts at $60,050. The M56 ad M56x come with the same features as the M37 models, but the $3,350 premium package is standard. This package includes, the Infiniti Hard Drive Navigation with 8-inch VGA color touch screen, Bose® 2-channel 10-speaker premium audio system, 9.3GB Music Box® hard drive, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth®, Climate controlled front seats and Heated steering wheel.

Continue reading "All-New 2011 Infiniti M Starts at $46,250" »

Japanese Government Tells Toyota to Test Prius Brakes for Defects

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Toyota can't seem to get a break right now. The Japanese government has ordered Toyota to investigate a possible brake defect in the new third-generation Prius after receiving 14 reports of brake trouble.

According to Kenji Sato, a transport ministry official in charge of recall policy, owners have complained about momentary loss of braking power at low speeds. 10 of the 14 complaints occurred in January. In the US, NHTSA has received 111 complaints about the brakes on the 2010 Prius. The drivers have been complaining about their vehicles unexpectedly surging forward or losing braking power after driving over a pothole or other uneven surface.

The Prius is equipped with regenerative brakes, which significantly improve gas mileage on hybrids by recharging the car's batteries with energy from the wheels. It's unclear if there is a problem yet with the regenerative braking system. The third-generation Prius received an overhauled regenerative brake system, which is different from the previous Prius.

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February 4, 2010

Toyota Admits Prius had Braking Problems

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It's never ending. Yesterday it was reported that the current Toyota Prius is now under investigation after numerous complaints about its brakes. Today Toyota admitted that there was a design flaw with the brakes on models sold before the end of January. Apparently drivers were feeling a momentary lag in braking when traveling over uneven surfaces. Toyota has since fixed the issue, but did not notify owners about the problem.

It's not known if Toyota is planning a recall.

Continue reading "Toyota Admits Prius had Braking Problems" »

February 5, 2010

2011 Ford Shelby GT500 to be Unveiled on Monday

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Ford is going to officially unveil the 2011 Shelby GT500 on Monday, which will get a new SVT performance package and a more powerful V8 engine.

The 2011 Shelby GT500 will still be powered by the same 5.4L V8, but with an extra 10 horsepower, for a total of 550. A new lighter aluminum block should help improve handling and fuel economy numbers. The SVT performance package includes visual changes such as skinnier hood stripes and a solid body stripe on the side. It also features 19-inch wheels in the front and 20-inch wheels out back and upgraded springs and shocks. The final drive ratio has been upgraded to 3:73 from the the base GT500's 3:55.

Other new options for the 2011 GT500 include the glass roof for the coupe and two new colors (Race Red and Ingot Silver Metallic).

The shot above is from a teaser reel.
Expect more details on Monday.

Continue reading "2011 Ford Shelby GT500 to be Unveiled on Monday" »

Next Camaro and Cadillac CTS to Move to Alpha Platform...CTS Coupe and Wagon Dead

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GM's upcoming rear-wheel-drive model plans were recently unveiled to the Automotive Press Association Thursday afternoon, which outlines GM's plans to move to more common, global platforms. GM most likely preferred that these plans were not made public, but too late...

The next Camaro, due out in 2014, is going to switch to the global Alpha platform that GM is developing for the new BMW 3 Series fighter, codenamed Cadillac ATS. The new Alpha platform is also going to be the basis for the next Cadillac CTS, which is due out in 2013 as a 2014 model. What's interesting is that at this time the CTS coupe and wagon will be discontinued. The next CTS is also expected to grow in size as it becomes Cadillac's mainstream luxury car.

Continue reading "Next Camaro and Cadillac CTS to Move to Alpha Platform...CTS Coupe and Wagon Dead" »

February 6, 2010

2011 BMW X5 Gets Turbo Power and a Facelift

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BMW has unveiled the refreshed 2011 X5, which gets new gas powered engines and a small facelift. Both of the gas engines in the X5 are new. The xDrive35i is now powered by the same single turbocharged N55 six-cylinder that is also available in most of the BMW range. It reaches 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds. The xDrive50i is now powered by the 400-hp twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8. It reaches 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Both the gas engines are now mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The diesel xDrive35d doesn't get any changes under the hood for the new year.

On the outside the lower front fascia has been restyled with larger air intakes. The rear bumper also gets a slight restyle.

The 2011 BMW X5 will debut at the New York Auto Show in April and sales will start shortly after that.

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February 8, 2010

GM is Considering a Four-Door Cruze Based Coupe and Cruze SS

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We're still waiting for the introduction of the Chevy Cruze in the US, which will happen in the third quarter of this year, but new reports are coming out that GM is considering introducing other models based on the Cruze's platform.

The Cruze is based on GM's Delta platform and according to Motor Trend, GM is thinking about creating a four-door coupe based on the same platform. Think of it as Chevy's version of the Mercedes CLS or VW CC. It would share the same wheelbase and powertrains, but with a sleeker roof that would sacrifice some rear headroom. It would also be priced higher than the regular Cruze.

In addition to a four-door coupe, GM is also considering an SS version of the Cruze, which would be powered by the turbocharged 2.0L Ecotec engine.

Continue reading "GM is Considering a Four-Door Cruze Based Coupe and Cruze SS" »

Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S Puts Out 530-HP

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Porsche has unveiled the 2011 911 Turbo S, which builds upon the 911 Turbo, but adds even more power thanks to two exhaust gas turbochargers. Power has been bumped up to 530 horspower adn 516 lb-ft of torque. The 3.8L engine is mated exclusively to the seven-speed Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) dual clutch transmission.

In addition to the increased horsepower, the 911 Turbo S gets all high-tech components available only as options on the "regular" 911 Turbo, standard.

The 911 Turbo S reaches 0-62 mph in 3.3 seconds, 0-124 mph in 10.8 seconds, and has a top speed of195 mph. Porsche also claims that even though the 911 Turbo S has more power than the 911 Turbo, it doesn't consume more fuel.

The 2011 911 Turbo S will go on sale in the US later this year.

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Dodge Celebrates 40 Years of the Challenger with the Challenger Furious Fuchsia Editions

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To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Challenger, Dodge is going to release 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic and Challenger SRT8® Furious Fuchsia editions.

The Dodge Challenger R/T Classic Furious Fuchsia edition features dual throwback A-line body-side R/T stripes in Matte Black or Bright White, Challenger" fender badges in classic script, large 20-inch polished-aluminum heritage wheels, a body-color rear spoiler, functional hood scoop and bright racing style fuel-filler door.

The 425-hp Dodge Challenger SRT8 Furious Fuchsia edition features white leather SRT performance seats with Furious Fuchsia accented stripe, unique 20-inch SRT forged-aluminum wheels with Satin Black accents, serialized dash plaque indicating the limited production series of 400 and retro-inspired chromed quad-exhaust tips.

The pricing for the 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic in Furious Fuchsia Pearl Coat is $35,140, while the high-performance SRT8 model is $45,150 (both prices include $725 destination).

Continue reading "Dodge Celebrates 40 Years of the Challenger with the Challenger Furious Fuchsia Editions" »

2011 Ford Shelby GT500 Loses Weight and Gets More Power

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Following the introductions of the more powerful Mustang and Mustang GT, Ford has unveiled the 2011 Shelby GT500, which benefits from a new aluminum engine and improved handling.

For 2011 the Shelby GT500 is powered by a 550-hp 5.4L V8 with 510 lb-ft. of torque. IN addition to the increased horsepower, the new engine is 102 pounds lighter than previous cast-iron engine. The new lighter engine improves fuel economy (15 city/ 23 highway), therefore the gas guzzler tax has now been eliminated.

"The SVT team continues to push the performance standards of the Shelby to even higher levels and better refinement," said Jost Capito, director of global performance vehicles and motorsports business development. "All the changes we made reflect a desire for even better handling and outstanding driving dynamics - from weight savings to improved balance."

The addition of Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS), a new optional SVT Performance Package, enhanced convertible rigidity and a lowered ride height contribute to improved driving dynamics and handling.

Continue reading "2011 Ford Shelby GT500 Loses Weight and Gets More Power" »

February 9, 2010

Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall of 2010 Prius and Lexus HS 250h Models

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Toyota has officially announced the voluntary recall of 133,000 2010 Prius and 14,500 2010 Lexus HS 250h vehicles to update software in the vehicle's anti-lock brake system.

Some owners have complained of inconsistent brake feel during slow and steady application of brakes on rough or slick road surfaces when the ABS is activated in an effort to maintain tire traction. The recall will allow Toyota to update the software in the affected vehicles. Toyota claims that this recall does not affect the first and second generations of the Prius.

"We're committed to doing everything we can - as fast as we can - to restore consumer trust in Toyota, and these recalls are part of this effort," said Jim Lentz, President and Chief Operating Officer, Toyota Motor Sales. "We regret the inconvenience this recall will cause to Prius and HS 250h owners, and will do our best with the support of our dealers to make sure that it is conducted in the most trouble-free manner possible."

In addition to the Prius and HS 250h, Toyota has also announced a voluntary recall of some early 2010 Toyota Camry models to inspect inspect for a power steering hose that may be in contact with a front brake tube. This contact could lead to a hole in the brake tube and cause a brake fluid leak, increased brake pedal stroke and greater vehicle stopping distance.

Continue reading "Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall of 2010 Prius and Lexus HS 250h Models" »

2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric Brings All-Electric Driving to Fleet Customers

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Ford has officially unveiled the 2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric, which features an all-electric powertrain that will be available for fleet customers.

The 2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric will use a Force Drive electric powertrain manufactured and integrated by specialty upfitter Azure Dynamics. It has a range up to 80 miles on a full charge and will be rechargeable using either 240-volt or standard 120-volt outlets.

"Transit Connect Electric exemplifies how we are leveraging our relationships as well as our hybrid and advanced powertrain programs to bring energy-efficient technologies from the laboratory to the street," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "Not only is this an ideal vehicle for eco-conscious fleet operators, it is an important part of Ford's future."

In addition to the Transit Connect Electric, Ford is also planning on introducing the Focus Electric in 2011, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in 2012 and a next-generation hybrid in 2012.

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Toyota Reportedly Chooses A Different Design for the FT-86

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According to Publication Holiday Autos, Toyota has decided to move forward with a different design for the upcoming FT-86 that is different than we saw at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show and the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon. It is being reported that Toyota has chosen a new alternative design by Toyota's North American design studio (Calty Design Research). The new design has yet to be unveiled, but the sketch above should provide some hints of the new design direction.

It seems that the original design was rejected the month after it was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show. The new design is said to have less aggressively carved and curved surfaces, will feature increased overhangs. It will also have a higher front fascia. Although the design has changed the wheelbase and overall dimensions are the same.

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Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Audi A1 Officially Unveiled

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Here's your first official look at the 2011 Audi A1, which draws inspiration from the 2007 Metroproject Quattro.

The smallest car in the Audi lineup occupies a small space that is only 155.5 inches long, 68.5 inches wide and 56 inches tall. It is powered by a choice of two gasoline or two diesel engines. The two diesel engines are both 1.6L units with one putting out 90-hp and the other 105-hp. The two gasoline engine options are either a 1.2L or 1.4L unit with the smaller putting out 86-hp vs 122-hp for the larger engine. There is an optional seven-speed S tronic (dual clutch) transmission, but Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive is not being offered at launch.

Check out the really long press release after the jump. The 2011 A1 will officially be unveiled next month at the Geneva Motor Show.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Audi A1 Officially Unveiled" »

Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Volvo S60 Puts Out 300-HP

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The 2011 Volvo S60 is set to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month. Volvo has already released photos of the new midsize sedan, but now we have even more and more details of what we can expect when it hits showrooms.

The all-new S60 is bigger than the model it replaces with a nearly 2.5-inch increase in wheelbase. This directly impacts rear leg room with a 2.0-inch increase.

Under the hood of the S60 T6 is a more powerful version of the engine in the XC60. The turbocharged 3.0L puts out 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft. of torque. it only takes 6.2 seconds to reach 0-60 mph and has a top speed of 155 mph. All T6 models come standard with Volvo's all-wheel-drive system.

The S60 is also going to feature Volvo's City Safety system, which automatically brakes if the driver fails to react in time when the vehicle in front slows down or stops - or if he or she is driving too fast towards a stationary object. The system can lessen or even entirely avoid low-speed rear-end impacts at speeds up to 18 mph.

The 2011 S60 will arrive late 2010 in the US.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Volvo S60 Puts Out 300-HP" »

2011 Ford Edge Unveiled with Ford's New 2.0L EcoBoost Engine

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At this year's Chicago Auto Show, Ford is set to unveil the new 2011 Ford Edge, which gets new styling inside and out, plus the availability of three different engines. Like it's cousin the Lincoln MKX, the 2011 Edge gets a new front fascia and revised rear end. Inside the Edge get's Ford's new MyFord Touch driver connect technology, which replaces traditional vehicle buttons, knobs and gauges with LCD screens and five-way controls like those found on cell phones and MP3 players.

Under the hood, the 2011 Edge will have a choice of three different engines, one of which is Ford's new 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cyl. Ford claims that the new 2.0L will be 30 percent more fuel efficient than the V6 was in 2006, but will have the performance feel of a V6. The second engine is the 3.5L V6, which gets (Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing, or Ti-VCT) and now puts out 285 horsepower and 253 lb-ft. of torque. The Edge Sport is powered by the 3.7-liter V-6 with 305 horsepower and 280 ft-lb. of torque. All three engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2011 Ford Edge will be will be available this summer.

Continue reading "2011 Ford Edge Unveiled with Ford's New 2.0L EcoBoost Engine" »

February 10, 2010

Nissan Confirms the Juke Crossover for the US

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Nissan has officially confirmed that the Juke crossover is going to be offered in the US this fall. The European version of the Juke will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month, while the US-spec. Juke will debut at the New York Auto Show in April. The Juke was inspired by the Qazana concept car and according to Nissan is it's a sporty alternative to traditional small hatchbacks.

Continue reading "Nissan Confirms the Juke Crossover for the US" »

2011 Hyundai Azera Gets a Facelift and More Horsepower

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Hyundai is on a roll with refreshing their entire lineup. After the recently introduced Tucson and Sonata comes a refreshed 2011 Azera. The new Azera, which is having its debut at the Chicago Auto Show benefits from a slight facelift and revised engines.

The 2011 Azera is available with either a 3.3L or 3.8L V6 engine. The 3.3L puts out 260 horsepower and 233 lb-ft. of torque, while also getting 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The more powerful 3.8L V6 puts out an estimated 283 horsepower and 263 lb-ft. of torque, while getting 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Both engines are mated to a new six-speed automatic transmission. With more focus on fuel economy, Hyundai has added a fuel economy indicator in the 2011 model. The "Eco Indicator" displays a green light to indicate when driving habits are contributing to good fuel economy.

The exterior of the 2011 Azera gets new headlights, taillights and foglights in addition to new bumpers, wheels and a revised trunk lid. The 2011 Azera will be available this spring.

Continue reading "2011 Hyundai Azera Gets a Facelift and More Horsepower" »

2011 Chevy Silverado Heavy-Duty Pickups Get Beefed Up

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Although the 2011 Chevy Silverado Heavy-Duty pickups do not look much different on the outside, GM has heavily revised the pickups under the skin, where it matters in this class. The 2011 Chevy Silverado Heavy-Duty pickups benefit from by all-new frames and strong suspensions for maximum capability, which contributes to segment-best towing (20,000 lb / 9,072 kg) and payload (6,335 lb / 2,873 kg).

The trucks are either powered by a Vortec 6.0L gas V8 that is mated to a strengthened version of the Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission or a new Duramax 6.6L diesel mated to an Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission. The 6.6L diesel is expected to have more horsepower and torque, while returning the best fuel economy in its class.

The 2011 Chevy Silverado HD pickups will be available this summer.

Continue reading "2011 Chevy Silverado Heavy-Duty Pickups Get Beefed Up" »

Chicago 10': Honda Odyssey Concept Previews the Next Odyssey

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Honda has used the Chicago Auto Show to show off the Odyssey Concept, which is pretty close to what we can expect to see when the next-generation Odyssey is released by the end of the year.

The Odyssey has been the best-selling minivan in the US the past two years, but that doesn't mean that Honda is going to play it safe with the next model. The concept moves away from the current conventional minivan styling with its low and wide stance. Honda claims that the concept is 1-inch lower and 1.4-inches wider than the current Odyssey, which gives it a sleeker, stronger and more dynamic presence.

Honda didn't release any specifics about what we can expect under the hood of the new Odyssey, but did state that the 2011 Odyssey is expected to achieve an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 19 city/28 highway.

Continue reading "Chicago 10': Honda Odyssey Concept Previews the Next Odyssey" »

2011 VW Touareg Officially Unveiled

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With all the news at the Chicago Auto Show today, it's a surprise to see that VW released the details for the next-generation Touareg a month early, before its debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

The 2011 Touareg looks similar to the current generation but body has been sculpted more for a bit more style. The front end of the Touareg gets the same treatment as the recently introduced Golf. One of the biggest complaints about the current generation was how overweight it is. Weight reduction was one of the main goals with the next generation so VW has lowered the body weight by 460 pounds.

In addition to the new styling and reduced weight, the new Touareg also gets a hybrid option. The hybrid combines the supercharged and direct injected 3.0-liter V6 with an electric motor and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Continue reading "2011 VW Touareg Officially Unveiled" »

Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Nissan Juke Officially Unveiled

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Nissan's newest crossover, the Juke has been officially unveiled before its public unveiling next month at the Geneva Motor Show.

Nissan describes the Juke as being part SUV and part sports car. It's design is based on the Qazana concept. The Juke was created at Nissan Design Europe (NDE) and refined at Nissan's Design Center (NDC) in Japan.

"It takes the best elements of an SUV and sports car and combines them," says Pierre Loing, Vice President, Product Planning, Nissan Europe. "It's roomy yet compact, robust yet dynamic and practical yet playful. These are qualities that seem to contradict each other, yet come together in Juke to create something that's genuinely unique."

The small crossover is available with either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. In Europe there will be a choice of three engines: a 1.6L Direct Injection Gasoline turbocharged engine with 187-hp, a 113-hp 1.6-liter and a 110-hp 1.5L dCi commonrail diesel.

It's not known what will power the US version. The US-spec Juke is going to be unveiled at the New York Auto Show in April.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Nissan Juke Officially Unveiled" »

Chicago 10': 2011 Toyota Avalon Gets a "Redesign"

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Toyota has unveiled the 2011 Avalon at the Chicago Auto Show, which according to Toyota has been "redesigned" for the new model year. Most of us would hardly even notice the changes.

The 2011 Avalon gets new headlights and taillights, new lower and rear fascias, a new grille and restyled alloy wheels. The interior has also been redone with a new instrument panel with highly readable Optitron gauges. On the Limited the front seats feature ventilation systems and an enlarged perforation area to help keep them cool. Bluetooth is now standard and each of the three available audio systems can control iPods seamlessly using switches located on the steering wheel and display track information stored in the device. The DVD navigation system has also been revised.

The 2011 Avalon is powered by a 268-hp 3.5L V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It gets 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg highway on the highway.

The refreshed 2011 Avalon will arrive this spring.

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February 11, 2010

Geneva 10' Preview: Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid Ditches Batteries for a Flywheel

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Porsche is set to debut the 911 GT3 R Hybrid at the Geneva Motor Show next month. But before you think this 911 hybrid is set up like the popular Prius, think again. Porsche has developed a flywheel system that is unlike the conventional battery-based electric systems that other hybrids use. The flywheel gathers kinetic energy during braking to supply power to two electric motors that are connected to the front wheels.

The flywheel can spin up to 40,000 rpm and is mounted where the passenger seat normally would be. The electric motors provide a burst of 161 horsepower to the front wheels, while the 480-hp 4.0-liter flat six-cylinder powers the rear wheels. The electric motors are engaged by pressing a button on the steering wheel. Porsche claims that the system provides better acceleration out of corners and during overtaking.

In addition to being unveiled next month in Geneva, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid will also be at the Nürburgring 24 Hours on May 15.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid Ditches Batteries for a Flywheel" »

2011 Ford Explorer to Get Ford's 2.0L EcoBoost Engine

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Ford unveiled the 2011 Ford Edge at the Chicago Auto Show, which is Ford's first application of the much talked about 2.0L EcoBoost engine. It looks like the Edge will not be the only vehicle getting the new engine for 2011. During Ford's press conference it was confirmed that the new unibody 2011 Ford Explorer will also be available with the EcoBoost 4-cyl engine when it is released by the end of the year.

Ford has yet to provide any horsepower numbers for the 2.0L EcoBoost, but Ford claims it will have the performance feel of a V6.

Stay tuned...

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Honda Ridgeline to get a Makeover for 2011

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The Honda Ridgeline is one of the oldest vehicles in the Honda lineup, only the Element is older. So for the 2011 model year the Ridgeline will be getting a makeover that will include aerodynamic and powertrain improvements as well as better fuel economy.

According to Vicki Poponi, Honda's assistant vice president of product planning, "a new Ridgeline "is coming in '11, for the 2011 model year."

Sales of the Ridgeline have dropped off significantly. Last year Honda sold 16,464 Ridgeline pickups, down from 33,875 a year earlier.

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February 14, 2010

Nevermind...No New Honda Ridgeline for 2011

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Last week Vicki Poponi, Honda's assistant vice president of product planning, was quoted as saying that there would be a new Honda Ridgeline for the 2011 model year, but now it looks like that claim is false.

Honda has released a statement about the Ridgeline, ""American Honda apologizes if there was inaccurate information shared at the Chicago Auto Show about the Honda Ridgeline pickup. I can confirm that there will be no significant change to the Ridgeline through the 2011 model year."

So it looks like the Ridgeline will continue to be one of the oldest vehicles in Honda's lineup. Honda hopefully has a plan for the pickup, since its sales have dropped by 50 percent.

Continue reading "Nevermind...No New Honda Ridgeline for 2011" »

2011 BMW M3 Photos Released with Details About the New Competition Package

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Here are the first official photos of the 2011 BMW M3, which get's slight styling updates for the new year. The 2011 M3 gets restyled taillights and slight tweaks to the front fascia. For 2011 there is a new Competition (ZCP) Package that is available on the coupe and sedan. The package includes a 10 mm lowered suspension, 19x9" alloy wheels and a new EDC sport mode. The Competition Package adds $2,500 to the price of the M3.

The 2011 M3 is powered by a 420-hp 4.0L V8 that can be mated to either a six-speed manual or the double-clutch transmission. In Europe the M3 will now have start-stop technologyt that reduces emissions by 8%.

Continue reading "2011 BMW M3 Photos Released with Details About the New Competition Package" »

Ford's Mark Fields Confirms New Small Mercury in 2011

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Mark Fields, Ford President of the Americas unveiled plans to launch a new small car for the Mercury brand in early 2011 during a meeting with U.S. dealers at the annual National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Orlando, Florida.

The new small Mercury will be built off the same platform that is also the basis for the new 2012 Ford Focus. The small Mercury is one of ten models that Ford is planning on building off its global small car architecture. It's been a question for years if Ford was going to eventually kill off the Mercury brand since Mercury hasn't had a completely new product in years. When the new small Mercury launches, Mercury will only consist of the Milan, Mariner and whatever the small car is named.

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February 15, 2010

Geneva 10' Preview: Redesigned Toyota RAV4 Leaked

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Next month Toyota is going to unveil a redesigned Euro-spec RAV4 at the Geneva Motor Show.

The RAV4 gets a new front end that is basically the same front fascia as the Japan only Vanguard, which is actually the long-wheelbase version of the RAV4. The updates include a new grille, reshaped bumper and a revised hood. Styling updates are expected on the inside as well.

Under the hood the 2.0L engine is going to receive tweaks to make it more efficient and to reduce C02 emissions. Toyota hasn't stated if this front-end will appear on the US-spec version.

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UK-Only Honda Civic Type R Mugen 200 Unveiled

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Honda has unveiled a very limited edition Civic Type R with exclusive Mugen equipment that is only available in the UK.

The Honda Civic Type R Mugen 200 features Mugen front and rear bumpers, 19-inch wheels, a limited slip differential and Mugen badging. Unfortunately there aren't any modifications under the hood so paower remains at 200 horsepower. As the name suggests only 200 units will be made.

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Geneva 10' Preview: 5 by Peugeot Provides a Hint of What to Expect

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Peugeot has released full photos of the "5 by Peugeot" concept that is going to be unveiled next month at the Geneva Motor Show. The concept is said to provide a hint of the future design direction of Peugeot and the automaker's future ambitions in the large luxury vehicle segment.

The 5 by Peugeot is powered by Peugeot's HYbrid4 technology, which features a 2.0L engine in the front of the car that is mated to an electric motor that powers the rear wheels. The setup creates an all-wheel-drive setup and puts out a total 200 horsepower.

Expect the 5 by Peugeot to be the inspiration for the next 508.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: 5 by Peugeot Provides a Hint of What to Expect " »

February 16, 2010

2011 MINI Countryman Starts at £16,000 in the UK

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Mini's newest and largest model, the Countryman is going to go on sale in the UK before it hits our shores early next year. Mini has announced that the Countryman will have a starting price of £16,000 when it goes on sale in the UK this September.

For £16,000 you can buy yourself the Countryman One, which has a measly 98 horsepower and takes 12.7 seconds to reach 0-62 mph. The more powerful Cooper model starts at £17,510 and the 184-hp Cooper S starts at £20,810. We will most likely only receive the Cooper and Cooper S models, when the Countryman goes on sale here. The UK also has two diesel powered options, the One D and Cooper D that start at £17,000 and £18,810, respectively. Only the Cooper D and Cooper S models are available with all-wheel-drive.

Continue reading "2011 MINI Countryman Starts at £16,000 in the UK" »

Hyundai Adds a Navigation System to the Elantra

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Hyundai has announced changes to the mid-2010 Elantra, which includes an available navigation system. An all-new Elantra is expected soon, but to keep the current model competitive, Hyundai has added a touchscreen nav system that also features Bluetooth connectivity. The navigation is available on the GLS and SE models, which list for $17,995 and $19,845, respectively when equipped with the nav.

In addition to the newly available navigation system, the Elantra gets a new waterfall grille, rear chrome trim, a high mileage, low price "Blue" edition, and improved fuel economy estimates.

Continue reading "Hyundai Adds a Navigation System to the Elantra" »

Porsche Panamera and Panamera 4 V6 Models Unveiled

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Following the introductions of the V8 powered Panamera S, the Panamera 4S and the Panamera Turbo models, Porsche has announced the addition of the V6 powered Panamera and Panamera 4 models.

The V6 powered Panamera models, which will be unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show in April, are powered by a 300-hp 3.6L V6 mated to the seven-speed PDK dual clutch gearbox.

The Panamera and Panamera 4 are going to start at $74,400 and $78,900, respectively.

Continue reading "Porsche Panamera and Panamera 4 V6 Models Unveiled" »

Restyled 2011 Lotus Elise and Elise SC Unveiled

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Lotus has released official photos and stats for the restyled 2011 Elise and Elise SC models.

For 2011 the Elise gets a new front end that is reportedly more aerodynamic, which helps the car achieve a four percent reduction in Coefficient of Drag (Cd). Outback the engine gets a new "twin-spine" engine cover and there is a new a more aggressive diffuser in addition to the re-sculpted rear bumper.

The Elise is powered by Toyota's 1.8L four-cylinder with 189 horsepower and 133 lb-ft. of torque. The Elise SC is more powerful with 218-hp and 156 lb-ft. of torque.

The 2011 Elise and Elise SC will be available this summer.

Continue reading "Restyled 2011 Lotus Elise and Elise SC Unveiled" »

February 17, 2010

Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible

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Bentley has released details on the 2011 Continental Supersports Convertible, which will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. Bentley claims that the Continental Supersports Convertible is the "fastest and most potent drop-top Bentley ever." It is powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W12 that puts out 621 horsepower and 590 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic and puts the power to the ground via a rear-biased all-wheel drive system. It can reach 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and has a top speed of 202 mph.

The 2011 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible will be available this summer.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible" »

Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Jaguar XKR Becomes the Fastest XK Ever

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The latest 2011 Jaguar XKR that is set to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show will be the fastest XK to date. The 2011 XKR will now be able to reach a top speed of 174mph up from 155mph in addition to the styling updates. There will also be two new optional performance and styling packs: Speed Pack and Black Pack that will be available on the XK and XKR.

The Speed Pack allows drivers to extend the top speed from 155mph to an electronically limited 174mph thanks to a unique engine and transmission recalibration. To maintain stability with the Speed Pack the coupe uses a revised front aerodynamic splitter and larger rear spoiler to provide increased balance and a reduction in lift. Every XKR with the Speed Pack will come with body-colored side sills and rear diffuser, and a chrome finish to the window surrounds, upper and lower mesh grilles, side Power Vents and boot lid finisher. Red brake calipers with a Jaguar 'R' logo sit inside 20-inch Kasuga alloy wheels.

The optional Black Pack is only available with the Speed Pack and is available in Ultimate Black, Polaris White or Salsa Red and features 20-inch gloss black Kalimnos alloy wheels.

The XKR Coupe featured at the Geneva Motor Show pairs both the optional Speed and Black Packs, which also sports optional Piano Black veneers on the dashboard and red brake calipers.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Jaguar XKR Becomes the Fastest XK Ever" »

February 18, 2010

2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Turbo to Debut in New York

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The recently introduced 2011 Hyundai Sonata is going to get two additional variants that will be unveiled at the New York Auto Show in April. According to Head of Product Planning, Scott Margason, "Look out for the Sonata Turbo and Hybrid at the 2010 New York Auto Show."

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is already on sale and is powered by a 198 horsepower 2.4L direct-injected 4-cylinder. The SE model puts out 200 horsepower. Hyundai has no plans to offer a V6 in the Sonata.

Continue reading "2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Turbo to Debut in New York" »

200-HP Honda CR-Z Type R Reportedly in the Works

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Honda's newest hybrid, the CR-Z has failed to impress, but it looks like Honda is working on a more powerful version, a CR-Z Type R. The 2011 CR-Z that Honda debuted at the Detroit Auto Show last month is powered by a 102-hp 1.5L mated to a 20-hp electric motor for a total 122 horsepower. If the rumors are correct Honda is going to bump the power of the 1.5L up to around 150-hp and the electric motor will get a bump as well up to 50-hp for a total output of 200-hp. This will improve the CR-Z's 0-60mph time by as much as three seconds. There were rumors that Honda would put the Civic Type-R's 2.0L under the hood of the CR-Z, but because the coupe was designed as a hybrid, it must keep the same layout.

According to sources the CR-Z Type R will go on sale in late 2011.

Continue reading "200-HP Honda CR-Z Type R Reportedly in the Works" »

February 19, 2010

GM to Invest Almost $500 Million in Next-Gen Ecotec Engines

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GM has announced plans to invest $494 million to produce the next generation Ecotec engines. The investment will also create nearly 550 jobs.

There will be three plants involved in the investment, Tonawanda, NY; Defiance, OH and Bay City, MI. At the Tonawanda plant, GM plans to invest a whopping $425 million, which is where the engines will be produced. In Defiance, GM will invest $59 million and the Bay City plant will get $10.5 million.

"GM is transforming its product portfolio to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, and the next generation Ecotec engine is an integral part of that transformation," said Denise Johnson, vice president - labor relations. "The investment in state-of-the-art four-cylinder engines is another example of GM's commitment to replace larger-displacement engines with more compact, advanced four-cylinder engines that optimize fuel savings and performance. We look forward to working with our union partners at these three plants to make this investment a success."

Currently the Ecotec engines come in 2.0, 2.2 and 2.4L displacements.

Continue reading "GM to Invest Almost $500 Million in Next-Gen Ecotec Engines" »

2011 Hyundai Sonata Named IIHS Top Safety Pick

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The all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata has just earned the Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. According to the IIHS a Top Safety Pick must get the highest rating of "good" in all three crash tests (front, side and rear) and be equipped with electronic stability control. 2011 marks the first year that the Sonata has received the IIHS honor.

Expect more Sonata news at the New York Auto Show in April when Hyundai unveils the turbo and hybrid variants.

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Geneva 10' Preview: VW CrossPolo Unveiled

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VW has unveiled the CrossPolo, which is the fourth Polo model after the base Polo, Polo BlueMotion and Polo GTI. The five-door CrossPolo starts with the base Polo and beefs it up with a higher ride height (15 mm) and black plastic molding around the wheel arches, side sills, and bumpers. The CrossPolo also gets 17-inch alloy wheels and silver anodized roof rails.

The CrossPolo can be outfitted with a choice of three gas and three diesel engines, which can be mated to either a six-speed manual or optional seven-speed DSG transmission.

VW has announced that the Polo will be sold here, eventually, but hasn't committed to a date. The CrossPolo will arrive in VW dealers in Germany at the end of May right before sales start in the rest of Europe and Japan.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: VW CrossPolo Unveiled" »

February 20, 2010

Geneva 10' Preview: Mercedes-Benz F800 Style a Preview of the Next CLS

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The Mercedes-Benz F800 Style concept is going to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month. Mercedes describes the F800 Style as a research vehicle that shows the future of premium automobiles with its efficient drive systems and emotive design. While that is true, what we're actually looking at here is a preview of what we can expect to see as the next-generation CLS.

The F800 Style seats five and features an all-new multi drive platform which accommodates electric drives with fuel cells (enabling ranges of almost 375 miles) as well as the use of Plug-in Hybrids that can drive for up to 18 miles solely on electricity.

"We are dedicated to reconciling our responsibility for the environment with practical customer utility in a fascinating automobile," says Dr. Thomas Weber, the Daimler Board of Management member responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. "The new F800 Style research vehicle combines this commitment to providing the leading innovative drive concepts with our traditional Mercedes strengths in the areas of design, safety, comfort, and outstanding performance."

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: Mercedes-Benz F800 Style a Preview of the Next CLS" »

February 21, 2010

Geneva 10' Preview: Infiniti to Debut New 3.0L Turbo Diesel for EX, FX and M

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Diesels still aren't that big of a deal here in the US as they are in Europe, so Infiniti has announced the debut of a new 3.0L V6 turbo-diesel that will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.

The 3.0L turbo-diesel will be mated to a seven-speed automatic and in the EX30d it can reach 0-62 mph in 7.9 seconds and the FX30d reaches the same speed in 8.3 seconds.

"The new diesel engine allows us access to a far greater sector of the market without compromising on our core values. More than that, it's an exceptional engine, with impressive torque from very low revs helping to deliver progressive, linear acceleration with none of the typical disadvantages of unwanted noise and vibrations."

"By creating a bespoke sporting diesel, we have been able to maintain the combination of performance and luxury expected from an Infiniti with the added bonus of lower emissions and improved fuel economy. It's a win-win position," said Jim Wright.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: Infiniti to Debut New 3.0L Turbo Diesel for EX, FX and M" »

Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Sales Exceed Expectations

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Ford touts the F-150 SVT Raptor as the "first-ever high-speed off road performance truck" and this spring it will also become the most powerful half-ton pickup on the market thanls to a new 411-hp 6.2L V8. Ford has announced that the F-150 SVT Raptor is exceeding sales expectations with over 5,300 orders already placed.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the popularity of the F-150 SVT Raptor," said Mark Grueber, F-150 Marketing manager. "Orders have exceeded our expectations. The truck is so popular that we actually wound up building more 5.4-liter V-8 models than we had originally anticipated. The order banks are now open for the all-new 6.2-liter V-8, and the orders keep rolling in."

Most of the orders have come in from the Southwest and Texas. Tuxedo Black has also been the top color by accounting for 52 percent of all orders.

Continue reading "Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Sales Exceed Expectations" »

February 22, 2010

New York 10' Preview: 2011 Kia Magentis Sketches Released

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Kia has released a few sketches of the upcoming 2011 Kia Magentis midsize sedan that will debut at the New York Auto Show in April. The Magentis is the European version of the Optima sedan that we have in the US.

Kia claims that the new sedan will be longer, wider and lower than the current model. In addition it will have a longer wheelbase for more interior and luggage space.

Expect more details from the show.

Continue reading "New York 10' Preview: 2011 Kia Magentis Sketches Released" »

Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Audi RS5 Brochure Images Leaked

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We're about a week away from the Geneva Motor Show, but images from the brochure for the 2011 Audi RS5 have already leaked onto the internet.

It's not yet known what will power the RS5, although its been rumored that a twin-turbo V8 will be used.

Stay tuned...

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Audi RS5 Brochure Images Leaked" »

Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S "Awards Edition"

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Maserati is going to unveil the Maserati Sport GT S "Awards Edition" at the Geneva Motor Show.

Six years after the initial launch of the Quattroporte, Maserati has decided to celebrate the success of the model with the Quattroporte Sport GT S "Awards Edition", which is based on the Quattroporte Sport GT S. The exterior of the "Awards Edition" is colored in a pearlescent metallic grey with a golden hue. It also features 20'' Multi Trident dark grey rims with satin finish with hand-polished brake callipers both at the front and rear.

The interior features Poltrona Frau leather and perforated Alcantara seats. The interior also features special brushed alumminium door sills and Piano Black satin-finish wood moldings.

The Quattroporte Sport GT S "Awards Edition" will be available in the UK as a special order in the second half of 2010, as model year 2011.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S "Awards Edition"" »

Geneva 10' Preview: MINI Countryman Gets Connected

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Mini is going to debut its new Mini Connected system at the Geneva Motor Show. According to Mini the Mini Connected system is an all-new, world-first in-car entertainment solution. The system uses a USB interface to allow maximum integration of the iPhone into the in-car audio and infotainment system.

All the functions integrated in the Mini courtesy of the Apple iPhone are activated and controlled using the vehicle's own operating system.

The Mini Connected system will debut as an option on the 2011 Mini Countryman.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: MINI Countryman Gets Connected" »

February 23, 2010

Chrysler Recalls 312,000 Minivans to Fix Airbags

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Yay for more recalls. Chrysler has just announced a recall of 312,442 2005-2006 Town & Country, Grand Caravan and Caravan models. According to the press release the front crash airbag sensors may crack under certain environmental conditions and allow water to enter the sensor. The announcement lists the coldest states in the US as places where the minivans are most effected. If water does enter the sensor the sensor could become inoperative causing the airbag light to come on and worst case the airbag may not work in a crash.

Chrysler is going to fix the effected models with new front airbag sensors.

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GM to Add Another Cruze Shift to Keep up with Expected Demand

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GM is expected to announce today that a third shift is going to be added at its Lordstown plant in Ohio that will produce the new Chevy Cruze. The 40 mpg Chevy Cruze is a critical model for GM's recovery and is expected in showrooms in the third quarter of 2010.

This announcement means that the once idled plant will now be working round-the-clock.

Continue reading "GM to Add Another Cruze Shift to Keep up with Expected Demand" »

VIDEO: Autocar Interviews Senior Designer of the Toyota FT-86

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As we wait patiently for the much anticipated Toyota FT-86, Autocar has posted an interview with the senior designer of the concept, Jaromir Cech.

Regarding the design of the final version, Cech claims that the bonnet is a little low and will likely be raised for the production car to meet pedestrian crash protection legislation. The production version is expected to be powered by Subaru's 2.0L flat four mated to a six-speed manual transmission with a conventional rear-wheel-drive layout.

Check out the video after the jump.

Continue reading "VIDEO: Autocar Interviews Senior Designer of the Toyota FT-86" »

2012 Chevy Aveo Official Pictures Show Up

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At the Detroit Auto Show in January, GM showed off the Chevy Aveo RS concept, which was a preview of what to expect for the next-generation Chevy Aveo. The first official photos have shown up of the new subcompact.

The 2012 Chevy Aveo is going to ditch its rental car looks for something that is much more competitive. In either sedan or hatchback form the new Aveo should a good competitor to the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta.

Stay tuned for the official unveiling.

Continue reading "2012 Chevy Aveo Official Pictures Show Up" »

Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Lexus CT 200h Images Leaked

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It looks like the guys over at World Car Fans has got their hands on the official brocure for the Lexus CT 200h that is supposed to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.

The CT 200h retains much of the styling from the LF-Ch concept and measures 170 inches long, 69.5 inches wide and 56 inches tall. It is powered by a 1.8-liter VVT-i four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to an electric motor that is powered by nickel-metal hydride batteries. The engine and electric motor send the power to the front wheels via a E-CVT (electrically-controlled continuously variable transmission).

Expect more details from the show next week.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Lexus CT 200h Images Leaked" »

BREAKING NEWS: Hyundai Halts Sales of the 2011 Sonata

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How come there are so many recalls right now? Hyundai has just announced that it has halted sales of the new 2011 Sonata after an issue with the front door-lock modules was discovered. Some of the units can stick under certain circumstances. The 2011 Sonata just went on sale a two weeks ago, so luckily there are only 5,000 units in US inventory and only 1,300 have been sold.

According to Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson the malfunction occurs only in situations where the front-seat passengers try to open their doors from the inside while simultaneously holding down the lock button (who does that?). If that happens the interior door handle will not return to its normal position and passengers will not be able to exit the car. If the lock button is pressed again the situation will correct itself.

Hyundai is going to replace the front-door lock mechanism on affected vehicles.

Continue reading "BREAKING NEWS: Hyundai Halts Sales of the 2011 Sonata" »

February 24, 2010

Geneva 10' Preview: Honda 3R-C Concept is Just a Little Weird

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Honda has released a preview of the 3R-C concept that will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. The concept looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. It only has three wheels and it only has room for one passenger. The 3R-C is battery powered with its electric drivetrain mounted low in the chassis to keep the center of gravity low. It also has a clear canopy that covers the driver's seat when it is not in use. When it is in use the canopy becomes an enveloping windshield. The high sides of the provide protection for the driver.

The 3R-C was designed by European designers at Honda's Research and Design facility in Milan.

Continue reading "Geneva 10' Preview: Honda 3R-C Concept is Just a Little Weird" »

Geneva 10' Preview: Mansory Rolls Royce Ghost is Over the Top with 720-HP

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Rolls Royce has let automobile refiner Kourosh Mansory individualize the Rolls Royce Ghost to create the Mansory Ghost. The Mansory Ghost is immediately distinguished by its Gold and Blue exterior. The exterior is mainly painted in blue with the gold accentuating the grille and side skirts.

The modifications are not only on the outside since the Mansory Ghost gets a bump in power to 720-hp up from 570-hp in the Ghost. The extra horsepower accelerates the car from 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds.

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GM May Kill the Canyon and Colorado Pickups

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GM's Vice Chairman Bob Lutz recently spoke to journalists in Los Angeles where he spoke about GM's strong portfolio. But he failed to mention the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups. PickupTrucks asked him what the future holds for the small pickups and he said:

"It's uncertain at this point," Lutz said. "They may well [go away]."

GM has yet to announce a plan for its small pickups. Last year Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said that GM plans to end production at its Shreveport plant in 2012 where the trucks are produced.

It looks like the GM pickups may be on their way out following the Ranger and Dodge Dakota pickups.

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Lexus GS-F to Get Detuned LFA V10 Engine in 2013

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Lexus is planning on taking on the BMW M5 with the GS-F, which will be powered by the LFA's V10 engine. The GS-F is expected to arrive in 2013 with a detuned version of the LFA's 4.8L V10. Engineers are currently working on bringing the engine size down to 4.6 liters with a final output around 450-hp.

In addition to the V10 engine, the GS-F will also be fitted with Toyota's first torque vectoring differential, which is similar to the system used on BMW's M cars. The system actively apportions drive between the rear wheels to improve handling.

A new SC is also due in mid-2014, which will be a hybrid with a 5.0L V8 mated to an electric motor.

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Toyota Planning New Prius Variants in 2011, Lexus IS-Based Plug-in Hybrid and RAV4 Hybrid

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Toyota is going to continue with its plans to create a Prius family with new Prius-based models in spring 2011 with the launch of a new wagon and minivan that will use the nickel hydride battery launched in the CT200h. The wagon and MPV will be followed up by a Prius coupe that will compete with the Honda CR-Z.

The models will all be powered by Toyota's 1.8L VVT-i hybrid system as it will soon be Toyota's core hybrid powertrain. There are also rumors that Toyota will launch a hybrid sports car, which will be a rear-wheel-drive plug-in based on the next-gen Lexus IS. It will be badged as a Toyota.

In Spring 2012 a hybrid RAV4 is also expected as Toyota plans to add hybrid variants to all of its models.

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BREAKING NEWS: China's Tengzhong Unable to Complete Hummer Deal...Brand to Wind Down

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GM has just announced that China's Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co., Ltd. (Tengzhong) was unable to complete the purchase of the Hummer brand.

"One year ago, General Motors announced that we were going to divest HUMMER, as part of focusing our efforts on Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac going forward. We have since considered a number of possibilities for HUMMER along the way, and we are disappointed that the deal with Tengzhong could not be completed," said John Smith GM vice president of corporate planning and alliances. "GM will now work closely with HUMMER employees, dealers and suppliers to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner."

GM is not going to start winding down the brand, just like it did when the Saturn deal fell through. Even though a similar announcement was released at one point about Saab, it's doubtful that there will be an 11th hour deal for Hummer.

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Geneva 10' Preview: Hyundai Reveals Diesel-Electric Hybrid i-Flow

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Hyundai has released the first image of the new i-flow concept, Hyundai's first diesel-electric hybrid that is going to be unveiled next week at the Geneva Motor Show.

Hyundai claims that the i-flow previews a future D-segment contender from Hyundai. The hybrid system is made up of a 1.7L turbocharged diesel mated to an electric motor that is powered by Hyundai's Lithium Ion-Polymer battery. The whole system is mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

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Geneva 10' Preview: Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid Features Two Electric Motors

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Lotus has announced the Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid concept which puts out over 400 horsepower via two electric motors and one small gas engine. Like the Chevy Volt, the Evora 414E Hybrid concept features a small engine that actually doesn't send power directly to the wheels. Instead the small 1.2L three cylinder engine recharged the lithium polymer battery pack that is responsible for powering the two electric motors. Each rear wheel has its own electric motor and puts out 204-hp and 295 lb-ft. of torque. The Evora 414E Hybrid also showcases a brand new technology from Lotus Engineering, a sports mode that simulates a 7 speed, paddle shift transmission that combines exceptional driver involvement for a hybrid sports car and optimized energy recuperation.

Dr Robert Hentschel, Director of Lotus Engineering said: "Innovation has always been at the heart of Lotus and is needed now more than ever. The Evora 414E Hybrid is the perfect demonstration of Lotus Engineering's core competencies: lightweight architectures, efficient performance, electrical and electronics integration and driving dynamics. The technology demonstrator represents an encapsulation of the advanced technologies that Lotus Engineering continues to develop to overcome the current environmental challenges facing the automotive industry and showcases the future direction that the sector is taking and why Lotus Engineering is perfectly placed to lead the technological development in this area."

Lotus has only released one teaser image of the concept. Expect more details next week...

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February 25, 2010

Geneva 10' Preview: 2011 Porsche Cayenne Officially Unveiled

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Ok here it is, the first official shots of the all-new 2011 Porsche Cayenne. If you hated the last one you will most likely not like this one either since it keeps the same basic shape, but with some updates that brings its styling more inline with the other Porsche models. It is 1.9 inches longer and has an extra 1.6 inches has been added to the wheelbase. The good news is that all models from the entry level Cayenne V6 to the 500-hp Cayenne Turbo have improved performance and are more fuel efficient.

The big news is the introduction of the Cayenne S Hybrid. The system combines the supercharged V6 with an electric motor and nets 380 horsepower and 427 lb-ft. of torque. The Cayenne S Hybrid can travel a short distance on electric power alone. The unique thing about the hybrid is that it has the ability to cruise at high speeds on electricity alone. The gasoline engine can be completely switched off at speeds up to 97 mph.

Non-hybrid models are more fuel efficient thanks to a weight reduction. The Cayenne S is 400 lbs lighter.

The entry level Cayenne is powered by a 300-hp 3.6L V6 mated to the new eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission. The Cayenne S is powered by a 400-hp 4.8L V8 and the Cayenne Turbo is powered by a 500-hp 4.8L twin-turbocharged V8.

The Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo will go on sale in July with the rest of the models being introduced this fall.

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2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty's 6.7L V8 turbo Diesel Puts Out 390HP and 735 lb-ft of Torque

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Ford has released the specs for the 2011 F-Series Super Duty. The 2011 Super Duty starts with the all-new 6.2L V8 with 385-hp and 405 lb-ft. of torque, which is 85 more horsepower and 40 lb-ft. more torque than the current 5.4L V8. The more exciting news is the introduction of the all-new 6.7L Power Stroke V8 turbocharged diesel that puts out 390-hp and 735 lb-ft. of torque. Ford also claims that the engines has class leading fuel-economy. Both engines are mated to a new 6R140 heavy-duty TorqShift® six-speed automatic transmission.

The new powertrains give the 2011 F-Series Super Duty class leading towing capability of 24,400 pounds and best-in-class payload capability of 6,520 pounds.

"The 2011 Super Duty offers the widest array of solutions for the widest array of heavy-duty work truck customers," said Chris Brewer, chief engineer. "The Super Duty lineup offers a variety of bodystyles and powertrains, from diesel and gasoline engines, each with a new six-speed transmission, to pickup trucks and chassis cabs, each with the towing and payload capabilities that define Super Duty."

Continue reading "2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty's 6.7L V8 turbo Diesel Puts Out 390HP and 735 lb-ft of Torque" »

2012 Buick Regal GS May Not End up Being All-Wheel-Drive

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GM has yet to officially confirm the 2012 Buick Regal GS, but judging by all the buzz surrounding the model, it's a for sure thing.

Bob Lutz, GM's Vice Chairman, recently spoke to Inside Line about the Regal GS and stated that there have been numerous discussions debating whether the car should have all-wheel-drive. GM is trying to decide if it is worth the extra cost and added weight. Lutz didn't provide any details about what will power the GS, but he did say that they were less than overwhelmed with the performance of Opel's turbo V6. Which means that when the Buick Regal GS does arrive, it may be powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder instead.

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Geneva 10' Preview: Lexus CT 200h Officially Unveiled

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We've already had our first look at the Lexus CT 200h thanks to a brochure leak earlier this week, but here is our first official look at the new Lexus hybrid hatchback that is going to be unveiled next week at the Geneva Motor Show.

The Lexus CT 200h is powered by a 1.8L VVTi engine mated to an electric motor. The car is capable of driving in EV mode for up to 1.2 miles at speeds up to 28 mph.

The CT 200h has retained much of the styling of the LF-Ch concept that debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year.

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February 26, 2010

BMW Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid Officially Unveiled

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BMW has unveiled the its next hybrid model, the Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid, which will be BMW's third hybrid after the ActiveHybrid X6 and ActiveHybrid 7 Series.

The 5 Series ActiveHybrid is powered by the straight-six gasoline engine with TwinPower Turbo technology, eight-speed automatic transmission, and electric drive. The electric motor develops a maximum output of 40kW and offers a boost function, supporting the gasoline engine in generating particularly dynamic drive power for an even more sporting driving experience in the car. The full hybrid system allows for all-electric driving in city traffic as well.

The BMW 5 Series ActiveHybrid will be unveiled alongside the new 5 Series Sedan at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

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Ford Gets Almost 11,000 Orders for the New 2011 Mustang

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Ford has announced that the automaker has received almost 11,000 orders for the new 2011 Mustang in the first month that orders were taken, which is triple the orders for the 2010 Mustang during the same time period.

Of all the orders, 50 percent are for the V6 models, which are now powered by a new 305-hp 3.7L DOHC V6. The engine gets an estimated 30 mpg on the highway, which is a 25 percent improvement over the 2010 model.

"The new engine transforms Mustang," Ling said. "Everything people love about the car lives on, and now under the hood is a V-6 engine that uses premium technology to deliver the power, the feel, the fuel efficiency, even the sound of the best sports cars in the world."

The 2011 Mustang GT is now powered by a 5.0-liter four-valve, Ti-VCT V-8 engine that puts out 412 horsepower and 390 lb-ft. of torque, while getting 25 mpg on the highway.

Nine percent of the orders are for the Shelby GT500 models, which are powered by an all-new aluminum-block 550-hp 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 engine.

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Mugen-fied 2011 Honda CR-Z Attempts to Make a Sportier Hybrid

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Honda has boasted that the upcoming 2011 CR-Z hybrid will put an end to the belief that hybrids aren't sporty. While although that has yet to be proven by the media, Honda's performance division, Mugen has released what modifications will be available for the new hybrid.

A new bodykit, roof-mounted spoiler, custom grille with LED lights in addition to several carbon-fiber accessories and alloy-wheel designs will be available. Inside there is an available Mugen gear shifter, revised instrument clusters and Mugen floormats.

The 2011 Honda CR-Z will hit dealers in the second half of 2010.

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2012 Lexus LFA Starts at $375,000

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Lexus has announced the pricing for the 2012 LFA supercar. For a whopping $375,000 you can get one, which isn't including the delivery, processing and handling fee.

That price is sure to go even higher when you select options like the Lexus Navigation System, Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound system and Lexus Enform™ with Safety Connect.

Only 500 LFAs are expected to be produced with production starting in December.

The 2012 LFA is powered by a 4.8L V10 that generates 552 horsepower at 8,700 rpm and 354 lb.-ft. of peak torque at 6,800 rpm. The engine is mated to a six-speed Automated Sequential Gearbox (ASG) with paddle shifters. It is capable of reaching 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 202 mph.

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