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March 2010 Archives

March 1, 2010

Ford to Invest $155 Million to Build New 2011 Mustang V6 in Cleveland

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Ford has announced plans to invest up to $155 million and add 60 jobs at its Cleveland, Ohio plant that will build the new 3.7L V6 for the 2011 Mustang. The new 3.7L V6 puts out 305 horsepower and also gets 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

"Ford is absolutely committed to delivering class-leading fuel efficiency with every new vehicle we introduce, and this investment in Cleveland provides further proof," said Bill Russo, director of manufacturing for Ford's powertrain operations.

Last week Ford announced that the automaker has already received over 11,000 orders for the 2011 Mustang, with half of those for the new V6 model.

"Mustang is completely transformed with this new engine," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "Everything people love about the car is still there 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 coupes in the world."

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New 537-HP 5.5L V8 to Replace 6.2L in the Mercedes S63 AMG

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Details have been released about the new twin-turbo 5.5L V8 that is going to replace the 6.2L V8 in the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG this summer.

The new 5.5L V8, codenamed M157, is smaller than the outgoing 6.2L V8, but it produces more power and torque, while being more fuel efficient. It puts out 537 horsepower compared to 518-h and puts out 590 lb-ft of torque compared to 464 lb-ft. for the 6.2L. There will also be a performance package upgrade available that will increase the output to 571-hp. The new S63 AMG will reach 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds and has a governed top speed of 155 mph. The performance package model has a top speed of 186 mph.

"With the new AMG V8 biturbo engine and the AMG SPEEDSHFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission, we are confronting the challenges of the future and focussing on fuel consumption and exhaust emissions even more intensively than before. Our new high-performance engine shows that AMG occupies a leading position in terms of both efficiency and our brand commitment to "performance," says Volker Mornhinweg, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

The new 5.5L V8 is based on the upcoming twin-turbo 4.6L V8 that will also be offered later this year.

Continue reading "New 537-HP 5.5L V8 to Replace 6.2L in the Mercedes S63 AMG" »

Tesla and TAG Heuer Team up To Create the Tag Heuer Tesla Roadster

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Tag Heuer, luxury Swiss watchmaker and Tesla have teams up to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the watchmaker. The 2010 Tag Heuer Tesla Roadster will premiere at the Geneva Motor Show this week.

The one of a kind collector's car is painted in Foucault Field Gray and features a TAG Heuer Meridiist mobile phone as well as a one-fifth second Heuer Limited Edition Stopwatch.

"TAG Heuer has a rich history and expertise with the world's most prestigious racing teams -- but this is the first ever partnership we've forged with an electric sports car company," said Jean-Christophe Babin, President and CEO of TAG Heuer. "We believe that high-performance drivers are increasingly searching for products that are efficient, socially responsible and stylish. TAG Heuer and Tesla are two of the few companies arleady achieving these ideals today."

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Geneva 10' Preview: Porsche 918 Spyder Plug-In Hybrid Concept Unveiled

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On the eve of the Geneva Motor Show, Porsche has unveiled a new concept car, the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid concept.

The 918 Spyder concept looks like a new Carrera GT and is powered by a 500-plus horsepower V8 and electric motors on the front and rear axle with a total output of 218 horsepower. Porsche claims that the concept can reach 0-62 mph in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 198 mph all while getting 78 miles per gallon.

The concept has four different drive modes, which are selectable by a button on the steering wheel. E-Drive mode runs the car under full electric mode, with a range of 16 miles. Hybrid mode uses both the electric motors and the gas engine as a function of driving conditions and requirements, offering a range from particularly fuel-efficient all the way to extra-powerful. Sport-Hybrid mode uses both the electric motors and gas engine with a focus on performance. In Race Hybrid mode the drive systems are focused on pure performance with the highest standard of driving dynamics on the track.

The 918 Spyder concept is the third hybrid model that Porsche is going to unveil at the show, alongside the Cayenne S Hybrid SUV with parallel full-hybrid drive, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car.

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Geneva 10' Preview: 2012 Ford Focus Wagon Debuts

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Ford has announced that it will unveil the 2012 Ford Focus Wagon at the Geneva Motor Show, which starts tomorrow. The Focus Wagon is the fifth model out of at least ten from Ford's new global C-car portfolio.

"Our next generation of C-cars shows how Ford is using its global resources to develop at least ten new models or derivatives from the same platform globally," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of Product development. "The Focus wagon is the next model to be revealed, and is particularly significant for the European market as more than a third of our C-car customers here prefer a wagon bodystyle."

In Europe, Ford expects that the Focus wagon will account for at least one-third of all sales.

It hasn't been announced if the wagon will be offered in the US.

"As with all of the models in our new global C-platform portfolio, there is scope to offer this dynamic wagon additionally in other markets around the world, provided the business case and customer demand exist," said John Fleming. "We see this as an integral part of our global next-generation Focus line-up, and we're eager to hear the reaction to what we believe is a very stylish and distinctive car."

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GM Kills Plans for the Volt-Based Cadillac Converj

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GM has killed plans for the Cadillac Converj, which was based on the same platform as the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid to focus on cheaper plug-in hybrids for the brand.

GM decided that the Converj wouldn't have enough amenities and electric range to appeal to buyers and to produce a profit. Two months ago, GM's Bob Lutz claimed that the Converj was in GM's product plans. The problem was that by adding the amenities that Cadillac buyers demand, the weight of the car would have increased, thereby reducing the range that it could travel on electricity alone. The added amenities would have also significantly raised the overall price of the car. GM has yet to release the pricing for the Volt, but it's expected to be in the $40k range.

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Audi A8 Hybrid Concept Has a 4-Cyl but Has Power Like a V6

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As expected, Audi has unveiled the A8 Hybrid "concept" at the Geneva Motor Show. Audi claims that the A8 has power like a big V6, but the fuel economy of a modest four-cylinder. It's powered by a 2.0L TFSI engine that is mated to an electric motor. The total output is 245 horsepower and 354 lb-ft. of torque. The hybrid can reach 0-62 mph in 7.6 seconds and has a top speed of 146 mph, yet it manages to get 38 mpg on the EU cycle.

The A8 Hybrid can operate on fully electric power up to 40 mph and above that speed the combustion engine supplies all the power, while the electric motor supplies onboard users and recharges the battery.

Audi has labeled the A8 Hybrid Concept as a "near-production" concept car.

Continue reading "Audi A8 Hybrid Concept Has a 4-Cyl but Has Power Like a V6" »

March 2, 2010

Geneva 10': Audi A1 e-tron Concept Hints at a Future Small Electric Car

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Audi unveiled the first e-tron electric concept supercar last fall in Frankfurt and now Audi has unveiled the A1 e-tron concept. The A1 e-tron is being labeled as a Mega City Vehicle with a powerful electric motor that provides zero-emission driving in the city. It's not a full electric vehicle since there is a Wankel engine on board that acts as the range extenders that recharges the battery. he driver can also turn the range extender on and off as necessary with the push of a button.

The electric motor, which powers the front wheels is rated at 61 horsepower, with peak power of 102-hp and 110 lb-ft of torque is continuously available and peak torque is 177 lb-ft. The electric motor is mated to a six-speed transmission. The concept accelerates from 0-62 mph in 10.2 seconds and has a top speed of more than 80 mph. The Audi A1 e-tron can drive up to 31 miles on the battery alone and the range extender engine provides an additional 124 miles of driving.

The first e-tron to come to market will be a sports car based on the R8 sometime in 2012 followed by a smaller model based off the upcoming R4, then finally the A1 e-tron will be available.

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Geneva 10': 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo 570-4 Superleggera Debuts

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Lamborghini has taken the wraps off the 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo 570-4 Superleggera, which is the new top model in the Gallardo lineup and is the successor to the Superleggera (Italian for superlight) that launched in 2007.

Compared to the Gallardo LP 560-4, the Gallardo Superleggera is 154 pounds lighter, which is largely thanks to the use of carbon-fiber on the exterior and interior of the car, which saved 88 lbs. The car is powered by a 5.0L V10, which puts out 570 horsepower. It accelerates from 0-62 mph in 3.4 seconds and reaches 124 mph in 10.2 seconds and has a top speed of 202 mph. The V10 engine is mated to the six-speed e-gear transmission operated via steering wheel paddles.

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GM Recalls 1.3 Million Cobalts and G5s to Fix Power Steering System

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GM has announced a recall of 1.3 million Chevy Cobalts and Pontiac G5 models to replace a motor in the power steering system. The affected models were built from 2005-2010. The motors need to be replaced due to the fact that over time they can fail.

"After our in-depth investigation, we found that this is a condition that takes time to develop. It tends to occur in older models out of warranty," said Jamie Hresko, GM Vice President of Quality. "Recalling these vehicles is the right thing to do for our customers' peace of mind.

"While greater steering effort under 15 mph may be required, if the customer experiences loss of power steering assist, it is important to note that the vehicle can still be safely controlled because the customer can still steer the vehicle," Hresko said. "When the condition occurs, both a chime will sound and a 'Power Steering' message will be displayed."

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Geneva 10': Ferrari 599 HY-KERS is One Green Ferrari

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Ferrari has unveiled the 599 HY-KERS vettura laboratorio (experimental vehicle) at the Geneva Motor Show, which is based on the 599 GTB Fiorano equipped with an advanced new hybrid transmission.

In the concept the electric motor puts out more than 100 horsepower and is mated to the rear of the dual-clutch 7-speed transmission. It operates through one of the transmission's two clutches and engages one of the two gearbox primary shafts. Thus power is coupled seamlessly and instantaneously between the electric motor and the V12. The electric motor is powered by lithium-ion batteries that are flat and positioned below the floorplan of the car. This has resulted in an even lower center of gravity. The electric motor and batteries have also gotten rid of the traditional starter motor and battery.

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Geneva 10': 2011 Alfa Romeo Guiletta Unveiled

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The 2011 Alfa Romeo Guiletta has debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. The five-door hatchback features a new "Compact" architecture and will be available in five different models: two Quadrifoglio Verde versions fitted with the 235 HP 1750 TBi, two Distinctive versions with 170 HP 2.0 JTDM and a Distinctive version fitted with the 170 HP 1.4 MultiAir Turbo petrol.

The 2011 Alfa Romeo Guiletta will be available starting in May.

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March 3, 2010

Ford Outsells GM and Toyota in February

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As we begin the third month of 2010, February has come to a close and the sales numbers have come in. The big news for most of February was the tragedy that has overcome Toyota, which resulted in a significant nine percent sales decline due to the recall issues. Although Toyota had a very difficult month, some automakers enjoyed a nice increase over the same period in 2009. Ford was one of those automakers with a great month that resulted in sales that topped both GM and Toyota last month. Ford posted a 43 percent increase in sales last month, although much of the gain is attributed to a 74 percent jump in fleet sales.

Many analysts predicted that Toyota's problems would have improved sales for Ford and Honda, but although Honda's sales were up 13 percent last month, it was not the case. Most would be Toyota buyers simply waited on the side lines. GM's sales rose 12 percent compared to February 2009, but its sales were slightly down from January.

"The February results demonstrate that not only are the recent Ford product offerings being well-received, but also that GM is still suffering from post-bankruptcy syndrome," said Jack R. Nerad, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

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Geneva 10': Aston Martin Cygnet Concept Debuts

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Aston Martin officially unveiled the Cygnet Concept at the Geneva Motor Show. If it looks somewhat familiar to you, it's because the Cygnet is the result of a partnership with Toyota. The Cygnet is actually a Toyota iQ minicar that has been heavily modified by Aston Martin.

"Many of our customers have a need for a small car for urban and city use," said Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez. "The Cygnet Concept brings intelligence, innovation and artistry to the small car market. The Cygnet Concept represents the natural choice for those customers looking for a premium commuter car. Our past, our future and our backbone will always remain sports cars, but the Cygnet Concept will support this by offering our customers a greater degree of freedom in the urban context."

The Cygnet is expected to enter production at the end of this year or early next year.

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Mazda Recalls 2010 CX-9 Due to Seat Heater Issue

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Mazda is issuing a recall of the 2010 CX-9 crossover to due to faulty seat heaters. Under extremely cold conditions the seat heater control circuit could overheat and fail due to insufficient electrical grounding. If this happens the seat heater could cause the seat cushions to burn or there is a risk of a fire. To fix the issue, dealers will install an additional ground harness on the seat heater control system.

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March 4, 2010

2011 Ford Mustang V6 Officially Gets 31 MPG on the Highway

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Ford has announced the official EPA numbers for the 2011 Ford Mustang V6, which gets 31 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in the city. This marks the first production car in history that has over 300 horsepower and that also manages to get over 30 mpg on the highway.

The 2011 Mustang is powered by a new 3.7: V6 with 305 horsepower that is mated to an available six-speed automatic.

"Advanced powertrains like our Ti-VCT V-6 and six-speed automatic really speak to the future of Mustang," says Barb Samardzich, Ford vice president of Global Powertrain Engineering. "We've proven that, using technology, Ford can deliver both power and fuel economy."

Ford has already received over 11,000 orders for the 2011 Mustang, with half of those orders for the V6 model, which goes on sale this spring.

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New York 10' Preview: 2011 Lexus CT 200h Will be Sold in the US

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Lexus has confirmed that the 2011 Lexus CT 200h, which was officially unveiled in Geneva this week, will have its US debut at the New York Auto Show. Originally it was thought that Lexus would not sell the CT 200h in the US, but now the 5-door hybrid hatchback will be Lexus' second dedicated hybrid alongside the HS 250h.

"When the all-new Lexus CT 200h enters the market it will be the only hybrid vehicle in the emerging premium compact segment," said Mark Templin, Lexus Division group vice president and general manager. "The CT 200h combines luxury features, eye-catching styling, and driving excitement that we know will attract a whole new buyer to the Lexus brand."

The Lexus CT 200h is powered by a 1.8L 4-cyl mated to an electric motor with nickel-metal hydride batteries. It features four selectable drive modes and in electric-only mode it can travel up to 1.2 miles at speeds up to 28 mph.

The Lexus CT 200h will debut on March 31 and go on sale in the US in early 2011.

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March 5, 2010

BMW M1 Isn't Going to Happen, But a 135is is a Possibility

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It had been rumored for a while that BMW was working on an M1 version of the 1 Series, but Inside Line received word from a source at the Geneva Motor Show that it isn't going to happen.

Instead the source said that if a more powerful 1 Series is released it will be a 135is like BMW has done with the Z4 and 3 Series coupe. So this fall it is expected that BMW will release a 135is that will be powered by the more powerful version of the twin-turbo N54 inline six-cylinder with a more aggressively tuned suspension.

Continue reading "BMW M1 Isn't Going to Happen, But a 135is is a Possibility" »

2011 Toyota Avalon Starts at $32,245

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Toyota has announced the pricing for the "redesigned" 2011 Toyota Avalon. The 2011 Avalon XLS starts at $32,245, while the Avalon Limited starts at $35,485.

The 2011 Avalon gets a facelift with a wider grille and new headlights in the front and out back there are new taillights. The interior has been upgraded with new standard features like Bluetooth, music streaming, XM satellite radio. The Avalon XLS has a standard nine-speaker audio system, while the limited has a 12-speaker 660-watt JBL audio system.

Both models of the 2011 Avalon are powered by a 268 horsepower 3.5L V6 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Avalon gets 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.

Continue reading "2011 Toyota Avalon Starts at $32,245" »

March 9, 2010

Lexus Announces IS 350C F-Sport Special Edition Pricing

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Lexus has announced the introduction of the very special edition IS 350C F-Sport model. Lexus is only going to produce 100 units at a starting price of $57,500.

"The F-Sport Special Edition builds on the IS 350C and takes the fun of the convertible up another notch," said Mark Templin, Lexus Division group vice president and general manager. "The F-Sport accessories on this car were precision engineered specifically for this vehicle, allowing us to provide sport-tuned performance without sacrificing ride quality."

The special edition 2010 IS 350C is equipped with performance and styling enhancements from the Lexus F-Sport accessories line. It receives 19-inch alloy wheels, front and rear brake upgrades, and F-Sport grille, new shocks and springs and F-Sport logos on the floor mats and shift knob.

The model is only available in two colors, Tungsten Pearl or Obsidian.

"The IS 350C F-Sport Special Edition is a unique package of style and excitement. With only 100 units available nationwide they'll sell out fast to customers who want power, performance and a little more fun under the sun," said Templin.

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GM Looks Globally for the Design of the Next Corvette

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GM is currently looking for the new design for the next-generation Chevy Corvette and for the first time ever, GM design studios from all over the world have submitted design studies for the next-generation. Last year GM's vice president of global design, Ed Welburn invited GM's 10 styling studios to submit design proposals.

"Some were absolutely phenomenal," Welburn said. "There is a lot to pick from. The direction that we take is very important, and the decision has not been made."

Global input on the design of the next Corvette is one of the steps GM is taking to make the car more appealing to European buyers and young buyers that favor imports models.

"We have challenges in the States with the Corvette," Welburn said. "The average age of the customer is really rising."

Last year Corvette sales dropped 48 percent from 2008.

Continue reading "GM Looks Globally for the Design of the Next Corvette" »

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon to Debut in New York

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Acura has confirmed that the new 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon will debut at the New York Auto Show at the end of this month.

The TSX Sport Wagon will go on sale this fall and be sold alongside the TSX sedan. The TSX sedan is available with either a 4-cylinder or V6, but it hasn't been the engine lineup for the Sport Wagon has not been announced.

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VIDEO: Officer in San Diego Helps Stop Runaway Toyota Prius

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Yesterday a California Highway Patrol officer helped stop a runaway Toyota Prius on a San Diego County freeway. The Prius had reached 94 mph after the car's accelerator became stuck, but luckily the officer was able to bring the car safely to a halt.

In what is worse news for Toyota, the owner of the Prius, James Sikes, said that he took his Prius to an El Cajon dealership for repairs after receiving a recall notice, but he was turned away.

"I gave them my recall notice and they handed it back and said I'm not on the recall list," Sikes said.

Sikes called 911 around 1:30 pm after accelerating to pass another vehicle on Interstate 8 when he realized that he could not control the Prius.

"I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car and it did something kind of funny ... it jumped and it just stuck there," the 61-year-old driver said.

"As it was going, I was trying the brakes ... it wasn't stopping, it wasn't doing anything and it just kept speeding up," Sikes said, adding he could smell the brakes burning he was pressing the pedal so hard.

Eventually a patrol car pulled alongside the Prius and the officers told Sikes to push the brake pedal to the floor and pull the emergency brake. A steep upgrade also helped slow the vehicle. Once the car slowed to 50 mph SIkes turned off the engine and coasted. The officer eventually maneuvered his car in front of the Prius as a precautionary block.

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March 15, 2010

2011 BMW 5 Series Touring Officially Unveiled

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BMW has officially unveiled the wagon version of the new 5 Series. The 2011 5 Series Touring looks very close to the sedan, unlike the 5 Series Gran Turismo variant.

In Europe the 5 Series Touring gets two diesel and two gasoline engine choices. The least powerful is the diesel 520d Touring with 184-hp. The diesel 530d Touring puts out 245 horsepower. The two gasoline options are the 204-hp 523i Touring and the 306-hp 535i Touring. An eight-speed automatic transmission is optional with all of the engines.

Unfortunately it doesn't look like the US will be getting this new 5 Series wagon, instead we have to make due with the 5 Series Gran Turismo.

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New York 10' Preview: 2011 Kia Optima Unveiled

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The 2011 Kia Optima is going to make its debut at the 2010 New York Auto Show.

The next-generation Optima, also known as the Magentis, is longer, wider and lower than before. It also features a coupe-like profile and Kia's new bold "tiger" family face.

The 2011 Optima will officially be unveiled on April 1 and will go on sale this fall.

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Lexus LFA Nürburgring Track Edition Comes in a Funky Orange Color

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Lexus is set to release a track version of the LFA supercar, dubbed the Nürburgring edition. The track-spec model features a fixed rear-wing, large front spoiler, a stiffer suspension, lightweight alloy wheels and an extra 10 horsepower. It will also be available in four colors, one of which is this orange pictured here.

Expect more details soon.

Continue reading "Lexus LFA Nürburgring Track Edition Comes in a Funky Orange Color" »

VIDEO: SNL Pokes Fun at the Runaway Prius

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Here's a funny video of an Saturday Night Live skit making fun of the current Toyota unintended acceleration issues.

Continue reading "VIDEO: SNL Pokes Fun at the Runaway Prius" »

Hyundai's Consumer Loyalty Passes Honda and Toyota

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Kelley Blue Book has released the latest Market Intelligence Data, in which Hyundai has taken the top spot, passing both Toyota and Honda in brand loyalty among shoppers on kbb.com.

Comparing February 2010 data to Q4 2009, Hyundai had the greatest increase in loyalty with current Hyundai owners looking at new models within the brand increasing by 10.4 percent to 56.3 percent. This puts Hyundai in the top spot, up from third in Q4 2009. Honda continues to hold the second spot with 55.8 percent, while Toyota has fallen to the number three spot at 53.3 percent.

"Hyundai is clearly benefiting from 'a perfect storm' - a result of introducing passionate new products like the 2011 Sonata and 2010 Tucson, while Honda's mainstream vehicles like the CR-V and Accord are a bit stale in the marketplace and Toyota is experiencing a huge consumer perception crisis," said James Bell, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com. "To sustain this momentum, Hyundai should continue to promote its attractive new-vehicle lineup, solid warranty offer and strong price-points to new-car shoppers. Hyundai's main challenge in the near future will likely come from domestic automakers like Ford and GM as they gear up for battle over buyers starting to look for a change from 'Camry-land.'"

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March 16, 2010

2011 Ford Mustang GT Puts out 412-HP and Gets 26 MPG Highway

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The 2011 Ford Mustang GT gets a new 412-hp 5.0L V8 and when it's mated to the six-speed manual transmission it gets 26 mpg on the highway, giving it the best fuel economy in its class. The six-speed manual GT gets 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway and the six-speed automatic gets 18/25 mpg. In comparison the Camaro SS gets 16/24 mpg with the manual and 16/25 with the automatic.

Ford has also announced that the 305-hp Mustang GT gets 19/31 mpg.

Continue reading "2011 Ford Mustang GT Puts out 412-HP and Gets 26 MPG Highway" »

Honda Recalls 400K Odyssey and Elements to Fix Braking Issue

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Honda has issued a recall of 344,000 Odyssey and 68,000 Elements to fix an issue with the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA). Honda claims that owners have complained about brake pedals that feel soft and a longer pedal travel that requires more pressure to bring the vehicle to a stop.The condition seems to worsen over time. The problem is that some VSA modulators are letting in a small amount of air during the VSA self-check mode. Over time the air will accumulate can can lead to the soft brake pedal issue.

Continue reading "Honda Recalls 400K Odyssey and Elements to Fix Braking Issue" »

March 17, 2010

GM Shows off New Head-Up Display Technology

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Currently vehicles that feature "head-up display" technology generally display important information like vehicle speed, navigation directions, etc. on small part of the windshield, but GM's new system is going to go even further.

GM is currently working on a new system that would use data collected from vehicle sensors and cameras to project images generated by compact ultra violet lasers directly onto the entire windshield.

"We're looking to create enhanced vision systems," says Thomas Seder, group lab manager-GM R&D. His team is working with Carnegie Mellon University and The University of Southern California, as well as other institutions, to create a full windshield head-up system leveraging night vision, navigation and camera-based sensor technologies to improve driver visibility and object detection ability.

"Let's say you're driving in fog, we could use the vehicle's infrared cameras to identify where the edge of the road is and the lasers could 'paint' the edge of the road onto the windshield so the driver knows where the edge of the road is," Seder said.

The system would help alert drivers of objects that may exist in the road or beyond their normal vision.

It's not known when this technology will actually make it into production, but don't expect it anytime soon.

Continue reading "GM Shows off New Head-Up Display Technology" »

2011 Scion xB Gets a Refresh

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The current generation Scion xB is getting a little old, so for 2011 the xB is getting a refresh inside and out. On the outside the 2011 xB gets a more aggressive front end with a restyled bumper, headlights and grille. Out back the taillights get a small refresh, which basically involves the integration of the rear backup lamp, which was formally not integrated.

Inside the front seats have been redesigned with larger bolsters. There is also a new center console with a sliding armrest.

The 2011 xB starts at $16,000 for the manual and $16,950 for the automatic model.

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March 18, 2010

Lease the $375,000 Lexus LFA for $12,400 a Month!

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The Lexus LFA supercar is one pricey car. Lexus has announced the pricing for the 552-hp LFA that has a base price of $375,000. It's already been reported that you cannot actually buy the LFA, instead you only have the option to lease the vehicle for 24 months. But don't get too excited, it's not a simple lease payment that you see advertised on TV, the LFA can be leased for a whopping $12,398.44 a month. After 24 months that will total $297,562.56 worth of payments. After 24 months you can finally buy the car for an additional $93,750.

Just wait, it gets even crazier, since the LFA is also only available through Lexus' 1Pay 24 month program, which means that you have to prepay all lease payments in one lump sum to be able to drive the car home. That's in addition to multiple credit checks.

The good thing is that if you are able to actually qualify for one and afford it, you will be getting one of the only 500 units that are going to be produced.

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Porsche and Lincoln Lead in 2010 Dependability Study

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J.D. Power and Associates has released the results of its 2010 long-term dependability study. The study measures problems with vehicles that are three-years old (2007 models). Overall dependability is determined by the level of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality.

This year Porsche leads the overall nameplate rankings, followed by Lincoln, which improved by six rank positions from 2009. The rest of the top five nameplates are Buick, Lexus and Mercury.

Regarding specific models, Toyota took home the most awards with four segment awards, Honda took home three and Lincoln received two awards.

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GM Unleashes More Images of the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition

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Last week GM revealed the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition, but at the time only two photos were released, but now GM has released more.

The 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition features black headlamps and mirrors, a ZR1-style body color spoiler, body color door handles, carbon fiber raised hood, and black carbon fiber rockers and splitter. Brembo carbon ceramic brakes with specific dark gray metallic calipers and black 20-spoke 19-inch front/20-inch rear wheels are also included.

"For track use, the Z06 Carbon is the best balanced Corvette yet. It combines the lightweight and naturally-aspirated Z06 engine with the road-holding and braking of the ZR1," said Tadge Juechter, Corvette Chief Engineer. "For technical tracks like Laguna Seca, the Z06 Carbon could shave up to three seconds off the Z06 lap time."

The Corvette Z06 Carbon will be available in two colors: Inferno Orange and the all-new Supersonic Blue.

"Designed to further incorporate technology developed through racing, the Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition is a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Corvette's first race in the 24 Hours of LeMans," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet General Manager. "With a limited production of 500 units, this car is a must-have for the true Corvette collector and driving enthusiast."

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March 19, 2010

Next VW Beetle to Draw Inspiration from the Ragster Concept

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VW is hard at work on the replacement for the Beetle, which will be previewed as a concept car at the Los Angeles Auto Show at the end of this year. According to sources the next Beetle is going to get a reworked chassis as it will share its drivetrain with the next Jetta. It's also expected to have a longer wheelbase and wider tracks, which should improve some of the complaints with the current model's interior.

In terms of styling, some insiders claim that the 2005 Ragster concept can be seen as a hint of what we can expect for the next Beetle. The design will continue to feature elements of the original Beetle with its rounded headlights and taillights and separate wings over each wheel, but the roofline is expected to be less rounded.

In the US the Beetle will be powered by the 170-hp 2.5L five-cylinder engine. A hybrid is also in the works.

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March 22, 2010

Ford to Attempt to Go 1,000 Laps Around Bristol Motor Speedway on a Single Tank in 2011 V6 Mustang

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Ford is determined to prove that the 2011 Mustang V6 is the most fuel efficient pony car. Last year Ford proved that the Ford Fusion Hybrid could travel over 1,000 miles on a single tank and this year, Ford is set to do a similar challenge with the new Mustang.

This time Ford is going to take the 2011 Mustang V6 to the Bristol Motor Speedway, where a team of Ford engineers will prove that the Mustang can circle the half-mile NASCAR bullring at least 1,000 times, which is more than 500 miles. The 2011 Mustang V6 gets 19 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

"We all know how much fun it is to drive Mustang, but in today's market it's also about fuel economy," said Jamie Allison, director, Ford North America Motorsports. "By going 1,000 laps or more on one of NASCAR's most popular tracks, we expect to show that when it comes to Mustang, you can be mean and green."

Fans can have a chance to win a new Mustang by entering the national sweepstakes in which they can guess the total number of laps that the Mustang will complete. The grand prize winner will be randomly selected from all those who correctly guess the number of laps completed during the Challenge and will take home a 2011 Mustang V-6 coupe.

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Porsche has No Plans for Baby SUV

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Porsche has already unveiled the new 2011 Cayenne SUV that will go on sale this summer, but the automaker has no plans to build a smaller SUV. Insiders recently told Autocar that there is already evidence that the Audi Q5 is stealing sales from the larger Q7, so Porsche does not want the same thing to happen to the Cayenne. The Cayenne currently accounts for up to 50 percent of the automaker's profits.

The 2011 Cayenne will go on sale in July and be available either with a 300-hp 3.6L V6, 400-hp 4.8L V8 or a 500-hp 4.8L twin-turbocharged V8. A hybrid Cayenne is also going to be introduced with a combined 380 horsepower.

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New York 10' Preview: 2011 Kia Optima Interior

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Last week, Kia officially unveiled the all-new 2011 Kia Optima, which is set to debut at the 2010 New York Auto Show on April 1. Now we have a preview of what we can expect on the inside.

Kia has yet to release any specifics about the new Optima other than stating that it will be longer, wider and lower than the current generation.

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New York 10' Preview: Lexus Officially Confirms the CT 200h is Coming to the US

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Lexus officially unveiled its second dedicated hybrid, the CT 200h at the Geneva Motor Show and at the time it wasn't confirmed if the US would be receiving the new hybrid. Well today Lexus has officially confirmed that the CT 200h is headed to the US.

The Lexus CT 200h will have its official unveiling at the New York Auto show and will hit US dealerships in early 2011.

"The CT 200h is expected to lead the class in fuel economy and deliver low emissions, but the CT 200h isn't just about being a hybrid, it's about having fun," said Mark Templin, Lexus division group vice president and general manager. "The stylish CT 200h has an attitude and driving dynamic unlike any other Lexus hybrid. It will excite eco-conscious, young consumers and symbolize urban, luxury living."


The CT 200h is powered by a 1.8L four-cylinder mated to the Lexus Hybrid Drive technology, which in this case includes two electric motors and a CVT. There are also four selectable drive-modes: Normal, Eco, Sport and EV. Normal. Official EPA numbers haven't been released yet.

Expect more details from the show.

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New York 10' Preview: 2011 Subaru WRX Gets New Wide-Body Design

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Subaru has decided to give the popular Impreza WRX models a similar wide-body design like that of the WRX STI for the 2011 model year. The new wide-body design gives the WRX a 1.5-inch increase in front and rear track.

In addition to the new wider track, the 2011 WRX gets firmer rear subframe bushings and wider 17-inch wheels.

"The new wide-body designs mark another major step on the continuous evolution of the WRX to give driving enthusiasts an even more compelling all-wheel drive performance package," said Tom Doll, executive vice president and COO of Subaru of America, Inc.

The 2011 WRX models are powered by a 265-hp turbocharged 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that is mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

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March 23, 2010

Ferrari 458 Italia to be Next Autobot in Transformers 3

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Last week the first US-market Ferrari 458 Italia was auctioned off at a charity event for $530,000 in which the proceeds went to help relief efforts in Haiti. Transformers director Michael Bay was at the event where he acknowledged that the Ferrari 458 Italia would become the newest Autobot to join Transformers in the Transformers 3.

The Ferrari 458 Italia is powered by a 4.5L V8 that puts out 570-hp and 398 lb-ft. of torque. It's mated to a dual-clutch seven-speed transmission and reaches 0-62 mph in 3.4 seconds with a top speed of 202 mph.

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Porsche Attempts to Build Business Case for 918 Spyder

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Porsche unveiled the 918 Spyder hybrid concept at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month and now the automaker is trying to build a business case to put the two-seater into production.

Porsche is reportedly working with its global dealer network to put together a list of prospective buyers. If Porsche can get enough buyers for its new halo car, it would help build a business case to produce it. In 2000 Porsche did a similar thing with the Carrera GT when it approached dealers after the concept was unveiled at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show. Four years after its unveiling it was delivered to a few lucky buyers.

Porsche hasn't announced what the 918 Spyder would cost if it does get the green light, but it is expected to cost more than the Carrera GT.

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GM Hints at More Powerful Camaro V6 to Beat Mustang

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The 2011 Ford Mustang V6 is finally getting a much needed power boost thanks to a new 305-hp 3.7L V6, which means that it now has more power than the 2010 Camaro V6. On top of that, the Mustang also gets better gas mileage. But now it looks like the Mustang's lead may be short lived according to Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette marketing manager John Fitzpatrick.

The 2011 Mustang puts out exactly one more horsepower than the Camaro V6 305 vs 304, but according to Fitzpatrick, that could soon change. The Camaro SS already has a power advantage over the 2011 GT at 426-hp vs 412-hp. When asked if Chevy is going to respond to the numbers challenge in the next couple of years, Fitzpatrick told Automobile, "you might see it sooner than that." Details on the 2011 Camaro are expected in the next few weeks. It shouldn't be that hard to beat the Mustang's horsepower numbers, but we'll have to wait and see if Chevy can also match the Mustang's 31 mpg on the highway.

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March 24, 2010

Cadillac XTS Gets the Green Light for 2012

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GM unveiled the Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. The large sedan was a preview of an upcoming flagship sedan for Cadillac and now according to sources the sedan has been given the green light.

The XTS flagship will replace the aging DTS and STS models in the Cadillac lineup. The final design of the XTS is expected to be virtually unchanged from the concept, which also includes the interior.

GM is expected to release a plug-in hybrid version of the XTS, which would be powered by the 3.6L V6 and plug-in hybrid system that was originally developed for the Saturn Vue. A twin-turbo 3.6L is supposedly also in the works.

The XTS Platinum Concept was powered by a 3.6L V6 mated to a plug-in hybrid system that put out a combined 350 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque.

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2010 Buick LaCrosse with Ecotec 2.4L Starts at $26,995

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GM has announced that the 2010 Buick LaCrosse is now available with the 182-hp Ecotec 2.4L four-cylinder engine.

"As Buick continues its transformation, new products like the 2.4L-powered LaCrosse CX are helping us reach all-new customers," said Craig Bierley, Buick's product marketing director. "It gives them a fuel-efficient option that's simply not available with the competition."

The 2.4L LaCrosse CX starts at $26,995 and gets an estimated 30 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in the city. GM has also announced that the 2011 LaCrosse will only be available with either the 2.4L or 3.6L V6. The 3.0L V6 is going to be discontinued.

Continue reading "2010 Buick LaCrosse with Ecotec 2.4L Starts at $26,995" »

New York 10' Preview: All-Wheel-Drive BMW Alpina B7 xDrive to Debut

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BMW unveiled the Alpina B7 at this year's Chicago Auto Show and now BMW is going to unveil a second B7 model equipped with BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system.

The Alpina B7 xDrive will be available in either standard and long-wheelbase editions. The 2011 BMW Alpina B7 starts at $122,875 for the standard wheelbase and $126,775 for the extended wheelbase, but BMW has yet to announce the pricing for the xDrive models.

The Alpina B7 is powered by a 500-hp twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8.

Continue reading "New York 10' Preview: All-Wheel-Drive BMW Alpina B7 xDrive to Debut" »

March 25, 2010

Honda Launches Sporty Honda Fit aka Jazz Si in Europe

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The second-generation Honda Fit is definitely the sportiest of the subcompacts currently on the market, but it would be nice if Honda would release a more powerful version. Well Honda has just announced the introduction of the Honda Jazz Si (aka Fit) in Europe. But don't get too excited. It's not the normal Si trim that we are used to with the Civic, which gets more power and body and suspension tweaks. The Jazz Si basically gets new 16-inch wheels, a chrome sports front grille and a rear spoiler. Blah! Inside the Si label has been attached to the floor mats, boot lid and glove box. The Jazz Si is also only available with a manual transmission.

In Europe the Jazz is available with either a 1.2L or 1.4L engine. The Jazz Si goes on sale April 1.

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March 28, 2010

New York 10' Preview: 2011 Infiniti QX56 Images Leaked

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The first images of the all-new 2011 Infiniti QX56 have leaked onto the web right before its official debut at the New York Auto Show.

The 2011 Infiniti QX56 is a rebadged version of the Nissan Patrol that is sold in the Middle East. It's expected to be powered by the same 400-hp 5.6L as the Patrol.

Expect more details from the show this week.

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New York 10' Preview: 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Leaked

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The Mercedes-Benz R-Class is the often forgotten model in the Mercedes-Benz lineup. Poor sales and an identity problem have plagued the model, but for 2011 the R-Class is getting a much needed facelift.

The front end of the 2011 R-Class gets new headlights, a larger grille and a revised hood. The rear gets less changes with new taillights and a revised bumper.

Check back for more details from the show this week.

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Ford Reaches Agreement to Sell Volvo to Geely for $1.8 Billion

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Ford has announced today that it has finalized an agreement with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Company Limited to sell Volvo for $1.8 billion.

Ford is not going to retain any stake in Volvo since Volvo will be 100 percent owned by Geely. Ford will continue to supply Volvo with powertrains, stampings and other vehicle components. Part of the sale also includes that Ford will provide engineering support, information technology and access to tooling for common components.

"Volvo is a great brand with an excellent product lineup. This agreement provides a solid foundation for Volvo to continue to build its business under Geely's ownership," said Alan Mulally, Ford's president and CEO. "At the same time, the sale of Volvo will allow us to further sharpen our focus on building the Ford brand around the world and continue to deliver on our One Ford plan serving our customers with the very best cars and trucks in the world."

The sale is expected to close in the third quarter of 2010.

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New York 10' Preview: 40-MPG Chevy Cruze Eco and RS Package Unveiled

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It's surprising that the Cruze is still not on the market in the US with all the press that GM has surrounding it. This week, GM is going to unveil the high-mileage Cruze Eco and the RS trim package.

The Cruze Eco is powered by the 1.4L Ecotec turbocharged engine that when it is mated to the six-speed manual transmission gets an estimated 40 mpg on the highway. To achieve greater fuel economy the Cruze Eco features a A lower front grille air shutter that closes at higher speeds to improve aerodynamics and opens at lower speeds to optimize engine-cooling airflow, the upper grille has more "closeouts" to improve aerodynamics, lower front air dam extension, lowered ride height and unique 17-inch wheels with ultra-low rolling resistance tires.

"The Cruze Eco delivers hybrid-like efficiency without the price tag," said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president Chevrolet marketing. "Along with the Volt electric vehicle, it demonstrates how Chevrolet is working to bring new products to market that range from gas-friendly to gas-free."

The RS package adds a sportier touch to the LT and LTZ trim levels with unique fascias, rocker moldings, rear spoiler and fog lamps.

The 2011 Chevy Cruze will go on sale in the US this fall.

Continue reading "New York 10' Preview: 40-MPG Chevy Cruze Eco and RS Package Unveiled" »

New York 10' Preview: 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon Debuts

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Just in case you've always loved the Cadillac CTS-V sedan, but have always needed a little more room in the cargo area, GM has officially unveiled the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon.

The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon is powered by the same 556-hp 6.2L V8 as the sedan that can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. It also features Magnetic Ride Control, Brembo brakes and Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 performance tires mounted on 19-inch forged aluminum wheels.

"The CTS-V Sport Wagon is a natural extension of both the V-Series and the CTS lineup, offering an uncompromising performance car to enthusiasts who want the extra room of a wagon," said Don Butler, vice president for Cadillac marketing. "The V-Series Sport Wagon is another hallmark of the dramatic presence and power of Cadillac vehicles."

The Sport Wagon offers 25.4 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and and 58 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, double the available space in the sedan.

The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Sport Wagon will be available late this year.

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March 29, 2010

Chrysler to Push up Introduction of 2011 Chrysler 300 to end of 2010

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Chrysler's current product portfolio is definitely in need of new models, but other than the new Jeep Cherokee in the next few months and the Dodge Durango later this year, it's not looking that great this year for Chrysler. Well now it looks like Chrysler is going to push up the launch date of the redesigned Chrysler 300. It was originally planned that the new sedan would be introduced in early 2011, but the Wall Street Journal is now reporting that it will be introduced this November.

The Chrysler 300 was once a hot-selling model for the brand, but it has remained largely untouched since its introduction in 2004.

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Mazda to License Hybrid Technology Used in the Prius

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Mazda and Toyota have reached an agreement for to supply Mazda with the hybrid technology that is used in the Toyota Prius. Mazda plans to combine the technology with its next-generation SKY engine. The resulting hybrid vehicle is slated for a 2013 introduction.

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345-HP Ford Focus RS500 Unveiled

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To mark the the end of current Focus RS production, Ford of Europe has unveiled teh limited-edition Ford Focus RS500. The model is set to debut at the 2010 Leipzig Motor Show in Germany on April 9 and the RS500 highlights the strictly-limited production run of 500 individually-numbered vehicles.

The Ford Focus RS500 is powered by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder that puts out 350 PS and 460 Nm of torque (345 horsepower and 339 lb-ft.). It also comes in a unique matte black 'foil' paint finish with matching alloy wheels.

"We were determined to mark the end of production for the current and acclaimed Focus RS with something even more special," said Joe Bakaj, Ford of Europe's vice president for Product Development. "From its stunning looks to its intoxicating performance, we have no doubt that the RS500 will be appreciated and quickly snapped up by performance car enthusiasts.

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Lexus Officially Confirms the Nürburgring Package for the LFA

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Lexus has officially released the details of the Nürburgring package for the LFA supercar, which is aimed at improving the car's track performance. Horsepower has increased from 552-hp to more than 562-hp from the 4.8L V10 engine and gear shifts have been cut to just 0.15 seconds. This yields a 0-62 mph time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph.

In addition to the power upgrades, the Nürburgring package includes a larger front spoiler, side fin-type spoilers and a new fixed rear wing to provide greater downforce. The suspension has also been modified.

Only 50 LFAs will be available with the Nürburgring package out of total 500 units to be produced.

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March 30, 2010

New York 10' Preview: 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Brings Back the Wing

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It looks like the wing is back! Subaru has released a teaser photo of the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI that is going to be unveiled at the New York Auto Show this week. Currently the WRX STI is only available in the five-door body style, but for 2011 the sedan version returns...

Stay tuned for more info this week.

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Nissan Leaf Starts at $32,780, but as Low as $25,280 After Tax Credits

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Nissan has announced the pricing for the Nissan Leaf EV that is going to officially go on sale at the end of the year. The Nissan Leaf is going to start at $32,780, but is eligible for a federal tax credit of $7,500, which will bring the price down to $25,280.

Nissan is going to start taking orders next month and if you want to lease the Leaf, it starts at $349 a month for 36 months.

Check out the press release for more info...

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Nissan Releases a Teaser Photo of the Next-Generation Quest

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Although Nissan decided to drop the Quest minivan from its lineup for the 2010 model year a replacement has been in the works. Nissan has released a teaser photo of the next-generation Quest that will be released in early 2011.

Nissan hasn't released any specifics about the next Quest other than stating it "is the perfect vehicle for buyers needing the size, safety, functionality and comfort that a minivan has to offer, without sacrificing style or driving pleasure."

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New York 10': 2011 Nissan Juke Debuts

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Nissan is set to debut the 2011 Nissan Juke crossover at the New York Auto Show tomorrow, but today we have more details about the small crossover.

The 2011 Nissan Juke is smaller than other small crossovers like the Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson. It's curvy styling with its round headlights and turn signals integrated into the front fenders is definitely going to get some people talking. It's powered by a turbocharged 1.6L 4-cylinder engine with over 180 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque. The engine can be mated to either a CVT or a six-speed manual transmission. The Juke also features a torque vectoring all-wheel-drive system that can split torque up to 50:50 between the front and rear wheels and can also can split torque from side-to-side across the rear axle.

"JUKE is about to carve out a unique space in the rapidly growing compact crossover/hatchback segment with its combination of striking design, agile handling and driving pleasure and user friendly technology," said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, NNA. "Add in the convenience, versatility and high seating positioning of a traditional compact SUV - and pricing that is expected to start at just under $20,000 - and you've got a vehicle unlike any other in its class."

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New York 10': 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Becomes the Most Fuel-Efficient Luxury Sedan

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Lincoln is debuting the 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which is set to become the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in the US.

"Lincoln's hallmarks are design, technology and comfort. Now, Lincoln also delivers the best fuel efficiency of any luxury sedan in America," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas.

Like it's Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan Hybrid siblings, the Lincoln MKZ hybrid is powered by a 2.5L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder mated to an electric powertrain. The setup puts out 191 horsepower and yields at least 41 mpg on the highway, which tops its nearest competitor the Lexus HS 250h. The MKZ can also travel up to 47 mph in electric mode compared to only 25 mph in the Lexus.

The 2011 MKZ Hybrid will go on sale later this year.

Continue reading "New York 10': 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Becomes the Most Fuel-Efficient Luxury Sedan" »

March 31, 2010

New York 10': Suzuki Cancels Plans for V6 and Hybrid Kizashi, But Introduces Kizashi Sport

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Suzuki has canceled plans for V6 and hybrid variants of its new Kizashi midsize sedan. The V6 was reportedly expected to be borrowed from GM, but since GM has since sold the shares it had in Suzuki, those plans have been scrapped.

Although GM no longer has a stake in Suzuki, VW now does, so it's a possibility that Suzuki could borrow something from VW. In the meantime Suzuki has unveiled the 2011 Kizashi Sport at the New York Auto Show. The new sport variant is only offered on the Kizashi GTS and SLS trim levels. Although the sport trim doesn't add anything extra under the hood, it includes a more muscular front fascia, body side sill extensions, lower body side moldings, a rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels and a 10mm lower ride height.

Continue reading "New York 10': Suzuki Cancels Plans for V6 and Hybrid Kizashi, But Introduces Kizashi Sport" »

CEO Marchionne Claims Chrysler Will Break Even in 2010

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Chrysler is in dire need to new product, but Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne recently told a group of reporters that Chrysler is on track to break even this year. He is confident that Chrysler will sell 1.1 million vehicles in the US this year. Additionally Marchionne also said that Chrysler will not get into the incentive war, by boosting the incentives on its vehicles.

The all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is expected to enter production on May 3, with sales starting in late June or July. By 2014 more than half of Chrysler's vehicles will be built on Fiat platforms. It was also reported earlier this week that Chrysler is moving up the introduction of the new 300 to the end of this year instead of early next year.

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Chrysler Begins Production of the 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X

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Chrysler has kicked off production of the 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit.

The Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X is the ultimate Viper, which is powered by a 8.4L V10 with 640 horsepower and 605 lb-ft. of torque.

"The 2010 model year is going to be unique for the Dodge Viper in many ways both on and off the track, so to kick it off with production of our ultimate special-edition Viper ACR-X is our way of paying tribute to the performance engineering expertise of our SRT team, combined with the passion and dedication of Viper Nation, to keep the tradition going strong," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, Dodge Brand. "With its amazing on-track performance, the Viper ACR-X is going to seriously turn the heads of all road-racing enthusiasts, whether it is the grassroots driver all the way up to the professional."

The 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X starts at $110,000.

Continue reading "Chrysler Begins Production of the 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X" »

New York 10': 2011 Infiniti QX56 Starts at $56,700

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Infiniti has officially unveiled the all-new 2011 QX56 SUV at the New York Auto Show. The large eight-passenger SUV is now built on the same chassis as the Nissan Patrol.

"We're excited to be here in New York for the global debut of the Infiniti QX, a world-class vehicle that spotlights Infiniti's inspired design, performance, technology and craftsmanship," said Ben Poore, vice president, Infiniti Business Unit. "The new QX gives us an incredible presence in full-size performance luxury SUVs - perfect for buyers seeking style, comfort, roominess and driving exhilaration."

The 2011 Infiniti QX56 is powered by a 400-hp 5.6L V8 that is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Infiniti claims that horsepower has increased 25 percent and fuel economy has increased by 10 percent compared to the 2010 model.

The new QX56 will be available this summer starting at $56,700 for the QX56 2WD and $59,800 for the eQX56 4WD.

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New York 10': 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Unveiled and Gets 37/39 MPG

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As promised, Hyundai has unveiled the hybrid version of the 2011 Sonata at the New York Auto Show.

"The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the new kid on the block, but it's not a follower," says John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. "Its full parallel hybrid configuration and breakthough lithium polymer batteries offer a new take on traditional hybrid design, while its unique design sets it apart from the mid-size hybrid pack."

The 2011 Sonata hybrid, features unique styling to set it apart from the non-hybrid models and to improve its fuel economy numbers. It features an all-new front fascia, more aerodynamic bumpers and rocker panels, and new alloy wheels. The taillights are also new with a more sci-fi feel than the regular Sonata. The changes helped lower the drag coefficient from .0.28 to 0.25.

Now for what's underneath the hood. First Hyundai is not using a CVT like its competitors and instead uses a six-speed automatic transmission. The electric motor generates 40.2 horsepower and 151 lb-ft. of torque, which is less than the Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry hybrids. Hyundai claims that the Sonata hybrid can travel up to 62 mph in EV mode. The electric motor is mated to a 169-hp 2.4L engine, which leads to a combined 209-hp, which is more than the Camry and Fusion hybrids. The Sonata hybrid is also the first hybrid in the US to use a lithium polymer battery pack.

Hyundai predicts that the Sonata hybrid will get 37 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway, which tops the Camry at 33/34, but is a little short of the Fusion's 41 mpg highway number.

Hyundai hasn't announced the pricing for the Sonata hybrid.

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New York 10': 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Debuts with 274-HP

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In addition to the Sonata hybrid, Hyundai has also unveiled the new Sonata 2.0T in New York.

The 2011 Sonata 2.0T is powered by a 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged gasoline direct-injection (GDI) engine that puts out 274 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged engine is only available with a six-speed automatic transmission. The good news is that the engine does not require premium fuel and the Sonata 2.0T gets an estimated 34 mpg on the highway.

"The Sonata 2.0T is a great example of what our Blue Drive product strategy is doing for consumers," said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. "Think about it - more horsepower than any of our V6 competitors, with better gas mileage than any competitive 4-cylinder model. We're not fans of compromising at Hyundai, and the Sonata really demonstrates this aspect of our business approach."

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New York 10': 2011 Scion tC Gets More Power and More Aggressive

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Scion has unveiled the all-new 2011 Scion tC in New York.

For 2011 the Scion tC gets all-new aggressive styling and more power under the hood. It is now powered by a 2.5L four-cylinder that puts out 180-hp, which is 19 more than the 2010 model. The engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The second-generation tC now also rides on a new platform with a new suspension that rides lower than before. 18-inch wheels and large 16-inch disc brakes are also now standard.

Inside the "driver-focused" cockpit has three-spoke steering wheel that features a flat bottom. An AM/FM/CD/USB audio system that features eight speakers is also standard.

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New York 10': 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon Hits the Stage

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Acura has officially unveiled the 2011 TSX Sport Wagon, which is essentially the same thing as the Euro only Honda Accord Wagon.

The TSX Sport Wagon is powered by the 2.4L four-cylinder mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters. Acura estimates that it will get 30 mpg on the highway. Unfortunately Acura has no plans to offer its SH-AWD system in the TSX, so buyers have to make due with front-wheel-drive. Acura also hasn't stated if the V6 from the sedan will eventually be offered in the wagon.

The TSX Sport Wagon will be available late in the fall.

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2011 Mazda2 Starts at $13,980 and Hits Showrooms this Summer

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Mazda has announced the pricing for the much anticipated 2011 Mazda2 hatchback. The Mazda2, which shares its platform with the Ford Fiesta is going to start at $13,980 when it hits showrooms this July.

The Mazda2 will be available in two trim levels, the entry level Sport and top grade Touring. Both trim levels are powered by a 100-hp 1.5L four-cylinder that can be mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. Even though the Mazda2 starts under $14k, it comes standard with traction control, 15-inch wheels, power windows, locks and mirrors, air conditioning and a four-speaker stereo. If you step up to the Touring model, which starts at $15,435 you get upgraded seat fabric, 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights and an upgraded stereo.

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