July 2010 Archives

Porsche 918 Spyder Gets the Green Light

porsche 918 spyder concept_fr.jpg
Porsche proved that it could design a hot hybrid sports car with the 918 Spyder Concept at this year's Geneva Motor Show. Shortly after it was officially unveiled rumors started to circulate that Porsche would eventually produce it. Well it has officially received the green light from Porsche's board.

According to a statement from Porsche, "Reflecting the overwhelming response from the public and customers to the Concept Study, the Supervisory Board gave Porsche's board of Management the mission to develop a production model based on the car already presented."

The 918 Spyder Concept is powered by a 3.4L V8 that puts out more than 500 horsepower. The engine is also mated to two electric motors that are located at the front and rear axles that together put out an additional 218-hp. It can reach 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of 198 mph. The concept can also travel up to 16 miles in full electric mode.

2011 Chevy Volt to Require Premium Fuel

GM officially announced the pricing for the 2011 Chevy Volt this week, with a starting price of $41,000. GM has boasted about the fact that the Volt can travel up to 40 miles without using any gasoline, but now comes word that the gasoline range extender requires premium fuel.

The fact that the Volt requires premium fuel seems a bit odd considering that the gasoline engine is only 1.4 liters and barely puts out 80 horsepower. GM has not provided any insight into why this is the case...

GM has officially announced the starting price for the 2011 Chevy Volt, which starts at $41,000 before any federal income tax credits. After the max credit of $7,500, the Volt will set you back $33,500. But if you dont want to buy the Volt, GM has also announced a special 36-month lease offer for the Volt at $350 a month with $2,500 due at lease signing.

"The Chevrolet Volt will be the best vehicle in its class...because it's in a class by itself," said Joel Ewanick, vice president of U.S. marketing for General Motors, who made the announcement at the Plug-In 2010 conference. "No other automaker offers an electrically driven vehicle that can be your everyday driver, to take you wherever, whenever. The Volt will be packed with premium content and innovation, standard."

Initially the Volt will be available to customers in California, New York, Michigan, Connecticut, Texas, New Jersey and the Washington D.C. area.

Ford Kills the Explorer Sport Trac

Now that the new Explorer has switched over to a unibody SUV, that means that one model is getting the axe, the half-pickup, half-SUV Sport Trac.

After a decade being sold next to the Explorer, the Sport Trac is officially dead.

Toyota FT-86 is Still on Track for Nov 2011

Toyota recently held a very private press event where the JDM only Noah and Voxy minivans were being displayed by G's, the sports division of Toyota Japan. Although the event was meant for the minivans, the FT-86 did come up in conversation.

According to 7Tune, who was luckily enough to get an invite, the Toyota FT-86 is still on for a November 2011 introduction. Dr. Shigeyuki Hori, Project General Manager for the Sports Vehicle Management division and Kazuo Okino claimed that the recent reports of a 2013 introduction are false. Pricing is expected to start at 2.5 million yen (around $29,000 USD) for the mid-level FT-86. The base model is expected to be closer to the $20,000 mark.

The final design of the FT-86 is supposed to remain virtually unchanged from the concept. Lastly it has also been confirmed that Toyota has no plans for a hybrid version of the FT-86.

2011 Ford Explorer Starts at $28,190

Yesterday Ford officially took the wraps off the all-new 2011 Explorer and Ford has already launched the online configurator which details all the pricing.

The Explorer will be available in three trim levels: base, XLT and Limited.

-Base: $28,190 (FWD), $30,190 (AWD)
-XLT: $31,190 (FWD), $33,190 (AWD)
-Limited: $37,190 (FWD), $39,190 (AWD)

The 2011 Explorer can be powered by either the 290-hp 3.5L V6 or a new 237-hp 2.0L turbocharged 4-cyl. Pricing has yet to be released for the 4-cylinder, but it's expected to be priced higher than the V6 powered Explorer.

2011 Audi A7 Images Leaked

Audi is scheduled to officially unveil the A7 Sportback today, but that hasn't stopped the first official photos from being leaked out.

Audi's new four-passenger four-door coupe has stayed very close to the concept and is largely based on the next-generation A6.

Stay tuned for more details...

Well here it is! After what seemed like month's of weekly teaser photos, Ford has officially unveiled the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer.

"The all-new Explorer will deliver today's SUV buyers the attributes they really want and value, and a few they might not even have dreamed of," said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. "We're proud to introduce the new Explorer to customers and fans around the world today and pleased to begin a whole new era that blends strong SUV fuel economy and performance."

20 years after the first Explorer was introduced, the all-new Explorer is completely different and ditches the old-school body-on-frame design for a more modern unibody structure that it will share with the Taurus, Flex and Lincoln MKS and MKT. In addition to the new unibody structure, the 2011 Explorer will also be available with Ford's new 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. The 2.0L puts out 237-hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. The standard engine will be the 3.5L V6 engine that puts out 290-hp and 255 lb-ft. of torque. The V6 is mated to a six-speed automatic and according to Ford will get more than 20 percent better fuel economy compared to the outgoing Explorer V6.

The Explorer will be available with either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. Although some may criticize the fact that Ford is switching to a unibody design for the Explorer, Ford remains committed to its off-road going ability with a new intelligent 4WD system, which features a terrain management system. Drivers only have to turn the console-mounted knob to select the proper setting among snow, sand, mud and normal modes.

The Explorer will be available in three trim levels: base, XLT and Limited. Standard features include the MyFord driver connect technology including 4.2-inch LCD screen, MyKey™ owner control feature, power windows and locks, media hub and a telescoping steering wheel.

Ford's Chicago plant will start building the Explorer later this year with sales starting early next year.

2012 Dodge Durango/Magnum Revealed on Twitter

Chrysler has yet to officially unveil the 2012 Dodge Durango (which may get a name change to Magnum), but thanks to a handy camera phone and the internet we have our first unofficial photo of the new SUV.

The overall design is pretty simple and close to the drawings that surfaced a while back. The new Dodge SUV will hit the market in early 2011 and it is expected to be powered by Chrysler's new Pentastar 3.6L V6 and the 5.7L Hemi V8.

Mitsubishi Lancer Earns Top Safety Pick Award

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given the 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer its top safety award. The Mitsubishi Lancer was also the first Mitsubishi to ever pass the new roll-over test.

In order for a vehicle to be named a top safety pick it must earn the highest rating for front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection.

All-New 2011 BMW X3 Officially Unveiled

BMW has officially unveiled the all-new 2011 X3. The all-new X3 is larger, taller and wider than the current generation. It borrows styling cues from the new 5 and 7 Series models, but still manages to look somewhat similar to the current model.

Compared to the current generation the new X3 is half an inch taller, over 3 inches longer and 1.1 inches wider. In the US the X3 will be available either as the X3 xDrive28i, which is powered by a 3.0L inline six-cylinder with 240 horsepower or the X3 xDrive35i that is powered by the turbocharged 3.0L inline-six with 300 horsepower. The xDrive35i reaches 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and has a top speed of 150 mph when its equipped with the optional Sport package. The engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The all-new BMW X3 will arrive in US showrooms by the end of 2010.

Subaru Wants to Ditch its "Quirky" Image

Subaru has a very loyal, but somewhat small following in the US. Subaru's are constantly known for their great engineering (all-wheel-drive, boxer engines), but styling has always been something simply described as "quirky." In the past few years Subaru has been one of the few brands to actually remain strong and to actually gain more market share in the harsh economic climate. But now Subaru has decided that it wants to broaden its appeal.

Osamu Namba, the newly hired manager from a small independent styling studio, stated, "We want to broaden the appeal to make it accessible to more than a small, loyal crowd. We need to add a more contemporary element."

Although Subaru styling as always been behind Subaru's engineering, sales have actually increased with sales up 35 percent through June this year. This will most likely be Subaru's second straight year of record sales. But Subaru hopes to do even better with models that are more eye-catching.

Namba's goals are to keep Subaru's utilitarian spirit, but to add a stronger overall presence with a more pronounced front fascia, more defined bumpers and a stronger side accent line.

"We have to show the function through design with simple, clean lines," says Namba, who counts the compact, no-frills Renault 5--remembered in the United States as American Motors' Le Car--among his all-time favorite rides. "I want a very simple design that exhibits strength."

New Smaller Maserati Sedan Set to Debut in 2014

Motor Trend is reporting that Maserati is currently working on a new smaller sedan that will go head to head with the BMW 5 Series/ M5, Mercedes CLS/AMG and Cadillac CTS/CTS-V. The new sedan will be smaller than the current Quattroporte and should debut sometime in 2014 as a 2015 model.

The new sedan would strengthen Maserati's brand visibility and make it more relevant in its luxury segment. The sedan would start just above $68,000, which would put it around the price range of the V8 models from BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes. The top model would cost about 20 percent more.

A new Quattroporte is planned for 2013.

GM Allows Corvette Buyers to Build Their Own Engine

GM has announced the new Corvette Engine Build Experience, which takes the delivery process of the Corvette even further than just seeing where your new Corvette was built. The new hands-on program allows customers who order a 2011 Corvette Z06 or ZR1 the option to help assemble their car's LS7 or LS9 engine at the GM plant in Wixom, Michigan.

"Corvette owners are some of the most passionate - and most involved - enthusiasts in the industry," said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president, Chevrolet marketing. "The Corvette Engine Build Experience offers customers an unprecedented opportunity to participate, hands on, in creating the car."

The Engine Build Experience costs $5,800 bucks.

VW Files Design Patents for Jetta Coupe...Confirmed?

Patent drawings of the upcoming VW Jetta Coupe have surfaced, which provides more evidence that VW is indeed going to release a coupe version of the new Jetta.

VW unveiled the New Compact Coupe Concept at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year and as these drawings show, the Jetta coupe is going to remain pretty true to the concept. The production version gets a new grille and fog lamps. Out back the dual exhausts are now visible.

Head over to Carscoop to see all the drawings.

2011 BMW Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo Puts Out 507-HP

Following the introduction of the Alpina B7, BMW has released the official details of the 2011 Alpina B5 Bi-turbo, which is based on the 2011 BMW 5 Series.

The Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo s powered by a twin-turbo 4.4L V8 that puts out 507-hp and 516 lb-ft. of torque. The twin-turbo is mated to a ZF 8-speed sport automatic transmission. It reaches 0-62 mph in 4.7 seconds and has a top speed of 191 mph.

In addition to the upgrades under the hood, the Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo also gets an upgraded suspension with shorter springs and unique control arms.

BMW Releases 1 Series M Coupe Teaser w/ Video

The speculation can finally end, BMW has released the first teaser of the upcoming M version of the 1 Series coupe. From here on out it will officially be referred to as the BMW 1 Series M Coupe.

BMW hasn't confirmed what will power the 1 Series M coupe, although it's been rumored to be the same twin-turbo in the 135, but with the horsepower being upgraded to around 335.

The 1 Series M Coupe will start arriving in dealers in the second quarter of 2011

2011 Mercedes-Benz CL63 and CL65 AMG Photos Hit the Web

Last week Mercedes unveiled the 2011 CL and now the first photos of the CL63 and CL65 AMG models have leaked onto to the internet.

The CL63 AMG is powered by a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 with 544-hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. It also rides on 19-inch wheels. The more powerful CL65 AMG is powered by a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 biturbo that puts out 630-hp and 737 lb-ft of torque.

Ford has announced that the new 2011 Lincoln MKX has been officially rated at 19 mpg city and 26 mpg on the highway, with a combined fuel economy of 21 mpg by the EPA. Those numbers put the 2011 MKX at the top of its class.

The 2011 MKX is powered by a 305-hp 3.7L V6.

"The Lincoln MKX doesn't sacrifice power to receive its great fuel economy," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president, Global Product Development. "Our engineers were able to deliver an increase in power and torque in a fashion that reflects the luxurious driving experience that Lincoln is known for."

Nissan Releases More Teasers of 2011 Quest Minivan

Nissan has released more teaser photos of the next-gen 2011 Quest minivan that is set to go on sale in early 2011. It looks like the minivan segment is going to get a new lease on life with the recently introduced Toyota Sienna and the upcoming Honda Odyssey this fall.

The 2011 Nissan Quest will officially debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show this December.

Smart Upgrades the ForTwo Will Anyone in the US Care?

Smart has given its small (very small) ForTwo a refresh, but here in the US the ForTwo hasn't really been flying off dealer lots, so will any of the changes help it?

The new ForTwo will be available this fall and gets new exterior colors, including a new matte finish. The the front spoiler, side skirts and the rear apron can also be painted in the body color on request. The front end also gets new LED daytime driving lights and new 15-inch alloy wheels are also part of the refresh.

Inside the interior has been redesigned featuring a full fabric-covered instrument panel, which has also been redesigned with new gauges.

Smart didn't change much in regard to the engines and transmissions, although the 60-h and 70-hp engines are now cleaner.

Nissan has been slow to jump on the hybrid bandwagon and has relied on technology from Toyota. But Nissan is finally ready to get serious about hybrids and has developed its first in-house system. Even better, according to the latest reports the Nissan Fuga Hybrid (Infiniti M) will be Nissan's first hybrid and will have nearly double the gas mileage of the gasoline version.

According to Koichi Hayasaki, chief engineer of Nissan's rear-wheel-drive hybrid system."Typically, carmakers say the fuel economy improvement on their cars using a 'strong' or 'full' hybrid system is roughly 30 percent, while for 'mild' hybrids, it's 15 percent."

Nissan's hybrid system will differ from its competitors by featuring twin clutches and a lithium-ion battery pack.

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe Headed to Dealers Ahead of Schedule

GM announced today that the much anticipated Cadillac CTS Coupe has entered production at Cadillac's Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant. The 2011 CTS Coupe joins the sedan and sport wagon and officially stats at $38,990.

2011 Volvo V60 Sports Wagon Officially Unveiled

Although many buyers in the US loathe wagons, Volvo has continued to sell them. Fortunately the boring square Volvo wagons of the 80s and 90s have given way to much "sexier" models like the 2011 V60.

The 2011 V60 "sports wagon" is the wagon version of the S60 sedan. Volvo is going to offer the V60 with a series of engines, including a new 2.0L turbocharged direct-injected GTDi 4-cyl with 203-hp. There are also 1.6L GTDi engines and five-cyl turbodiesels being offered. The range topper is the 3.0L 304-hp engine that powers the T6 version that gets the wagon to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds.

Volvo claims that no less than 90 percent of V60 production will be sold in Europe. It's not known what versions of the V60 US buyers will get.

2011 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Officially Unveiled

Here's the first official shots of the 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class. Mercedes unveiled the revised coupe today, which gets upgrades on the outside and under the hood.

The most significant change is under the hood of the 2011 CL550, which gets a new 4.6L twin-turbo V8 that puts out 429-hp and 516 lb-ft. of torque. The 2010 model only put out 382-hp. Although the power has increased, the fuel economy has actually improved by 10-15 percent. The CL550 can now reach 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds. The CL600 is still powered by the 5.5L V12, which puts out 510-hp and 612 lb-ft. of torque.

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