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November 2010 Archives

November 2, 2010

SEMA 10': Chevy Unveils Four Versions of the 2011 Camaro

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Chevy has unveiled four Camaros that it plans to unveil at SEMA.

The Camaro Red Flash SS Show Car features a Red Jewel exterior color accented with gray heritage stripes and 21-inch wheels. Under the hood it has a Chevy air intake kit and outback there is an accesssory exhaust kit. "The Camaro Red Flash is the opposite of a 'sleeper' on the street," said Adam Barry, lead designer. "From every angle, it looks and sounds like the high-performance sports car it is. It's a model for the enthusiast who doesn't want to hide his performance aspirations."


The Camaro SSX Track Car Concept transforms the Camaro SS into a closed-course track car. "The SSX concept explores taking Camaro's excellent street performance and extending it into a road course context," said Chris Perry, vice president, Chevrolet marketing. "The car expresses Camaro performance while also signaling Chevrolet's new commitment to developing and offering a portfolio of performance parts for racing enthusiasts."

The Camaro XM/ Accessory Appearance Package provides a look at new accessory and appearance options that can be customized on the Camaro 1LT model. "The XM Accessory Appearance Package is all about affordable style," said Russ Clark, director, Chevrolet product marketing. "Our intent was to create a special, customized model - including 21-inch wheels - that could be had for around $30,000, a popular price point for today's Camaro buyer before they add accessories."

The Camaro Synergy Series 2011 show car is the second Synergy model after the 2010 Synergy Green special-edition car. The 2011 Synergy model contains a mix of exterior and interior accessories that are not available on any other Camaro, which includes the gray interior with red accent stitching. "The Synergy Series reflects the strong response consumers have consistently had toward Camaro," said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. "At the same time it provides an example of how Chevrolet is renewing its commitment to expanding accessory offerings."

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SEMA 10': Toyota Sienna Swagger Wagon Supreme...It's an Uber Long Sienna

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Toyota "Swagger Wagon" video has managed to get over 7 million views and to pay a tribute to the success of the new Sienna minivan and the video, Toyota has created the Sienna Swagger Wagon Supreme. The Sienna Swagger Wagon Supreme is being unveiled at SEMA, which is basically a lowered and stretched 2011 Sienna.

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SEMA 10': 2011 Honda CR-Z MUGEN...Only 300 Will be Made

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Honda is debuting twelve modified 2011 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid coupes at the SEMA show in Las Vegas.

Although Honda has unveiled the CR-Z equipped with MUGEN accessories, Honda only plans on producing 300 complete kits for the 2011 CR-Z. The package includes: a full MUGEN body kit; a front grille; a rear wing spoiler; 17-inch "XJ" aluminum wheels; sport mats; a unique black aluminum shift knob and a billet aluminum oil-filler cap.

"With the CR-Z sport hybrid coupe, drivers can achieve the great efficiency of a hybrid car without giving up the fun that many demand from a sporty car," said Bruce Smith, vice president of Parts Operations for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "The combination of greener practicality with style and fun makes this vehicle a perfect fit for young, environmentally conscious buyers looking to further personalize their cars."

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November 3, 2010

SEMA 10': Toyota Prius PLUS Performance Package...A Slightly Sportier Prius

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This year's SEMA show saw the debut of lots of "sporty" hybrids. Just like Honda with the CR-Z, Toyota has unveiled the Prius Plus Performance Package which features several accessories that attempt to make the Prius a little sportier.

The Prius PLUS Performance Package starts with a seven-piece body kit that also comes with a rear diffuser. 17-inch forged wheels are also included. The handling is also improved thanks to sport-tuned lowering springs and a rear sway bar.

Toyota will be offering the Prius PLUS Performance Package in limited quantities in April.

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VW Golf Cabrio to Return in 2011

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Currently VW has the Eos and New Beetle droptops in its lineup, but long before either of those models were born, VW had the small Golf Cabrio. It's been a while since the last Golf Cabrio was produced, but it looks like it's coming back next year.

Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG recently announced plans to bring back the Golf Cabrio during a visit to Osnabrück, formerly a Karmann assembly plant. VW plans to begin production next spring of the Golf Cabrio. The rebirth of the Golf Cabrio does not mean the Eos is dead. A restyled version of the Eos is expected to be unveiled at the LA Auto Show later this month.

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November 4, 2010

2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 Debuts with 470-HP

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Not to be out done by the Camaro and Mustang, Chrysler has unveiled the 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, which is powered by a 392-cubic inch HEMI V8.

The Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 outs out 470-hp and 470 lb-ft of torque that can be mated to either a five-speed automatic or an available Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual transmission. It's expected to reach 0-60 mph in the high 4-second range and the quarter-mile in the high 12s. Automatic equipped models have Fuel Saver technology, which allows the engine to operate on four cylinders or use all eight cylinders when needed.

To kick off the new model 1,492 Inaugural Edition models will be produced with exclusive exterior and interior content. The exterior on these models can come in Deep Water Blue with standard Stone White stripes or Bright White Clear Coat with standard Viper Blue stripes. The Challenger SRT8 392 Inaugural Edition rides on standard 20-inch SRT exclusive wheels. Inside there are standard Smooth Pearl White leather seats with dual blue stripes and blue stitching. There is also an exclusive, serialized "Inaugural Edition 392 HEMI" dash plaque, showing the sequential build number from 1 to 1,492.

The standard 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 starts at $42,555.

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2012 Buick Regal GS Officially Unveiled Before LA Debut

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Earlier this year GM surprised us with the unveiling of the Buick Regal GS show car and a few months later GM confirmed that the GS would be produced. Well today GM has released the first official photos and specs for the 2012 Buick Regal GS, which is going to be officially unveiled at the LA Auto Show later this month.

The 2012 Buick Regal GS is based on Europe's Opel Insignia OPC and shares much of its exterior styling like the large air intakes. But unfortunately under the hood the Regal GS does not get the same 325 hp V6 as the Opel. Instead the Regal GS is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L with 255-hp and 295 lb-ft. of torque. The Regal GS also doesn't get all-wheel-drive like the Opel.

The 2012 Regal GS is slated to hit showrooms in the third or fourth quarter of next year.

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November 5, 2010

2012 Mazda5 to Debut at LA Auto Show

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Earlier this year we got our first look at the new Mazda5 at the Geneva Motor Show. Now Mazda has confirmed that the US-spec version of the Mazda5 will debut at the LA Auto Show later this month.

The 2012 Mazda5 adopts Mazda's new Nagare design language. Under the hood it will be powered by a 157-hp 2.5L four-cylinder that can be mated to either a manual or automatic transmission. Inside there's an all-new interior that still fits up to six people.

The Shinari design concept will also be unveiled at the LA Auto Show. The Shinari concept was originally unveiled at this year's Paris Motor Show. The concept is supposed to be our first glimpse at Mazda's new design language.

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BMW Vision EfficientDynamics to be Produced in 2013

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BMW has officially announced that it plans to build a fully road-ready technology showcase vehicle based on the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept.

The BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept debuted in Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009 and is powered by a 1.5L 3-cyl turbo diesel that is mated to a hybrid synchronous motor at the front axle. A full-hybrid engine at the rear axle gives the concept a final output of 328-hp. It reaches 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds and gets 62.5 miles per gallon. The concept also featured wing doors and a 2+2 seating setup inside.

BMW hasn't announced production numbers or a price range, although it will be released in 2013 and don't be surprised to see a price around $200k.

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November 7, 2010

Audi Teases Next-Gen A6...Production Starts by end of 2010

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Audi recently released two photos that showcased the new models produced at it its Neckarsulm plant, which included the R8 Spyder, A8, A8 L and A7. Audi also listed the next-generation A6 as a new model that will be produced at the plant and in this picture it it's seen covered in a white sheet.

So although the white sheet does a good job of hiding any major details for the new A6, we at least know that the next-gen A6 is on its way...

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November 8, 2010

VW Jetta R in the Works?

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VW is looking to expand its R performance range. At the recent Jetta launch in Munich, VW showed off a version of the Jetta powered by a 3.6L V6 mated to a six-speed DSG and 4Motion all-wheel-drive. Although an R version of the Jetta hasn't officially been signed off on, its a possibility.

VW's R&D chief, Ulrich Hackenberg recently stated that a Jetta R is being evaluated, "If there are customers asking for it, we will do it," he said. "It wouldn't be a problem for us. The Jetta's platform can take four-wheel drive."

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Chrysler Posts Operating Profit of $239 Million for Q3

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Chrysler has announced a third-quarter operating profit of $239 million due in large part to a 5.2 percent increase in revenue from Q2 to $11 billion in Q3.

The good news from Chrysler is largely due to all of the new products that are being released. Sales in Q3 jumped up by 20 percent.

Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer of Chrysler Group LLC stated, "A year ago, Chrysler Group laid out clear and concise five year financial goals and after three consecutive quarters of better than forecasted results, we are not only living up to our commitments but we are also exceeding our 2010 financial objectives.

"Chrysler's financial success is dependent upon the vehicles we design, build and sell. In a mere 16 months, the Company is delivering 16 all-new or refreshed products led by the critically acclaimed all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and including the Fiat 500, signaling the return of the Fiat brand to the U.S. and Canada. We are committed to ensuring that every new vehicle this company launches has the same high quality and technological advances as the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Our 2010 accomplishments are just the beginning of building Chrysler Group into a vibrant and competitive auto maker," Marchionne added.

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Mercedes-Benz Confirms Production of the CLS Shooting Brake

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Mercedes-Benz has officially confirmed that the CLS Shooting Brake concept will enter production in 2012. Production will take place at Mercedes-Benz Plant in Sindelfingen.

The CLS Shooting Break concept was unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show earlier this year. The production version will be powered by the same engines as the CLS sedan.

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November 9, 2010

US-Spec Mitsubishi i-MIEV Unveiled Before LA Debut

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Mitsubishi has released three photos of the all-electric US-spec i-MIEV, which is larger than the Japanese and European versions. It's actually 11.2 inches longer, 4.3 inches wider and 0.2 inches taller than the JDM version. It also has different front and rear bumpers.

Inside the i-MIEV features a two-tone color scheme. Mitsubishi is targeting an on-sale date near the end of 2011 with prices starting below $30,000.

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Jeep Grand Cherokee Platform to be Used for a Maserati SUV

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The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee launched in June and its been a success for Chrysler with sales up 291 percent in October from a year ago. Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both Chrysler and Fiat recently stated that he is looking to expand the use of the Grand Cherokee's platform.

The new Dodge Durango that goes on sale next month uses the same platform as the Jeep, but this platform may also be extended to other Chrysler and even Fiat vehicles. Marchionne has discussed possibly developing a Maserati SUV based on the Grand Cherokee.

Any new models that use this platform will eventually be assembled at the Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit that builds the Grand Cherokee and Durango.

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Honda CR-Z Wins Car of the Year Japan 2010-2011

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The Honda CR-Z hybrid may not be exactly what we hoped for in the US, but the small hybrid has been awarded the Car of the Year Japan 2010-2011 by the Japan Car of the Year Executive Committee.

Takanobu Ito, President and CEO, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. stated, "We are very proud that the CR-Z has been selected from the strong contenders of new models as the Car of the Year Japan 2010-2011. This award shows that the public has accepted Honda's aspiration to supply exceptional environmental performance in a fun-to-drive hybrid car at an affordable price, as well as Honda's desire to spread the joy of owning and driving a car. We also believe that this award for the CR-Z reflects the true value of the combined efforts of our business partners and the many others who supported CR-Z development and production. Going forward, Honda intends to bring more joy to an even larger number of customers."

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Jeep Wrangler to Get Pentastar V6 for the 2012 MY

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Chrysler's CEO Sergio Marchionne recently confirmed that the Jeep Wrangler is slated to get Chrysler's new 3.6L Pentastar V6, but it won't happen until the 2012 model year.

The Pentastar V6 debuted first in the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and is now making its way through the rest of the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models. Unfortunately even though the 2011 Jeep Wrangler got a significant upgrade to its interior, buyers will have to make due with the underpowered 202-hp 3.8L V6 for another year. The Pentastar V6 puts out anywhere between 283-hp and 305-hp depending on the vehicle.

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Production Version of the Honda New Small Vehicle Concept to Debut in Thailand

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Honda is going to unveil the production version of its New Small Vehicle Concept at the Thailand International Motor Expo later this month. The concept was originally unveiled in New Delhi earlier this year.

The New Small Vehicle Concept is set to go on sale in India and Thailand in 2011 with a small $10,000 price tag. Since Honda loves to unveil concept models that are pretty close to the production version, you can expect the final version to look pretty close to this. Honda hasn't announced what will power the small car and what the actual name will be. It's unknown if Honda plans on introducing it in other markets.

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VIDEO: Audi Q5 Hybrid Revealed Ahead of LA Unveiling

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Audi has released the first official details of the 2011 Audi Q5 hybrid before its official unveiling at the LA Auto Show. Outside there aren't really any changes to differentiate it from the the non-hybrid Q5 other than a new set of wheels.

Under the hood is what counts and the Q5 hybrid is powered by a 2.0L TFSI engine with 208-hp that is mated to a 44-hp electric motor. The Q5 hybrid reaches 0-62 mph in 7.1 seconds and has a top speed of 138 mph. It can also travel up to 1.9 miles on electricity alone.

Expect more details from the show...

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2011 Hyundai Elantra Almost Unveiled Before LA Auto Show

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The all-new 2011 Hyundai Elantra is going to be officially unveiled next week at the LA Auto Show, but we got a little tease of the new Elantra despite Hyundai's PR guy Dan Bedore's attempts at trying to cover it up.

Even though this is a "sneak peek" of the 2011 Elantra we actually already know what to expect since the Elantra is sold as the Hyundai Avante in Asia and that model has already been unveiled. There will probably only be minimal changes to the Elantra.

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Ford to Build New Small Lincoln SUV in Louisville

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It's being reported that Ford is going to build a new small Lincoln SUV at the Louisville Assembly plant next year. Ford is finally focusing on Lincoln now that it is no longer being overshadowed by Volvo, Land Rover and Jaguar.

The new small SUV would be built alongside the Ford Escape and would be smaller than the current Lincoln MKX. It would mainly compete with the Lexus RX, which currently leads the small luxury SUV segment.

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November 10, 2010

LA 10' Preview: 2012 Range Rover Evoque Five-Door Unveiled

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The three-door Range Rover Evoque was officially unveiled in September at the Paris Motor Show and now we have our first look at the five-door version that is going to be unveiled in LA next week.

The five-door version of the Evoque remains true to the original LRX concept and will be powered by the same 237-hp 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder as the three-door. The five-door also has a slightly taller roof than the three-door.

The 2012 Range Rover Evoque will be available in fall 2011.

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Chrysler Announces the Pricing for the 2011 Chrysler 200 and Town & Country

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Chrysler has announced the pricing for the new 2011 Chrysler 200 sedan and the reworked Town & Country minivan.

The Chrysler 200 effectively replaces the really bad Sebring in the Chrysler lineup. It gets new front and rear fascias and a much needed interior upgrade from the Sebring. The base LX model starts at $19,995, Touring at $21,995 and the top model, the Limited starts at $24,495. The good news is that in addition to the standard 2.4L four-cylinder, the 200 is also available with Chrysler's Pentastar V6, which puts out 283-hp.

For 2011 the Town & Country minivan gets a refresh on the outside and a new interior. The Town & Country also has the 3.6L Pentastar V6 as the standard engine. Prices start at $30,995 and go all the way up to $39,475 for the Limited model.

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LA 10' Preview: Toyota Teases the RAV4 EV

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Earlier this year Toyota and Tesla announced plans to work together on future electric vehicles and this summer Toyota revealed that a RAV4 EV was in the works using Tesla's technology. Next week the Toyota RAV4 EV will officially be unveiled at the LA Auto Show.

The RAV4 EV uses the body of the RAV 4, while Tesla has supplied the electric powertrain. Toyota has released two teaser images while we wait for the official unveiling next week. The RAV4 EV is slated to go on sale in 2012.

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2012 Ford Focus Named Official Car of 2011 CES

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Ford has announced that the all-new 2012 Ford Focus has been named the official car of the 2011 International CES show that will be held in Las Vegas on Jan 6-9, 2011.

"We welcome Ford, Alan Mulally and the new Focus to the 2011 International CES," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), producer of the International CES. "Vehicles such as the Focus are built with the latest technologies that address consumer demand for on-the-go innovations."

The 2012 Ford Focus starts at $16,270 and is available either as a sedan or a five-door hatchback. It's powered by a 160-hp 2.0L engine and is expected to get 40 mpg.

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Is This What the 2012 VW Golf Cabrio Will Look Like?

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Last week VW announced plans to reintroduce the VW Golf Cabriolet next year.

The very talented Jon Sibal created this rendering of what the Golf Cabrio could look like when it is released. What do you think?

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November 11, 2010

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Gets Special TracKey for Full-Race Calibration

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Already excited about the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 with its 440 horsepower? Well it just got even more cool since Ford just announced that the Mustang Boss 302 will come with two keys, one of which is a new "TracKey."

The red TracKey differs from the standard key with a black Boss logo because when used it activates the TracMode powertrain control software making the Mustang Boss 302 a competition-ready track car. The TracMode software alters more than 200 engine management parameters, increasing low-end torque.

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"From an engine management standpoint, we've done just about everything possible to give TracKey users a full race car experience," explains Jeff Seaman, Mustang powertrain engineer. "It's not for use on the street - for example, the deceleration is set up to preserve the brakes, and the throttle response is very aggressive. A skilled driver on a closed course will really appreciate the benefits."

Continue reading "2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Gets Special TracKey for Full-Race Calibration" »

2011 Chevy Cruze Eco Officially Gets 42 MPG on the Highway

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GM has some good news to announce this morning. The 2011 Chevy Cruze Eco officially gets 42 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in the city (manual transmission).

42 mpg puts the Chevy Cruze at the top of its class beating out the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. The Chevy Cruze Eco even gets better gas mileage on the highway than the hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.

To achieve the 42 mpg rating the Chevy Cruze Eco is powered by a 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission. The 1.4L puts out 138-hp and 148 lb-ft. of torque. Automatic equipped models get 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. GM needed to do more than just use an efficient engine to get this kind of gas mileage, so the Cruze Eco uses new technology like a lower front grille air shutter that closes at higher speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag and opens at lower speeds to optimize engine-cooling airflow. Ultra-low rolling resistance 17-inch Goodyear tires are also used to reduce drag.

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LA 10' Preview: Porsche to Unveil New Mid-Engine Sports Car

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Porsche has announced that a mid-engine sports car will be unveiled at the LA Auto Show next week alongside the new 911 models, the 911 GTS and the 911 Speedster.

There is no official word on what the "mid-engine sports car" will be, but there have been rumors that Porsche is going to unveil a Clubsport version of the Cayman. The Clubsport Cayman would be a more hardcore version of the Cayman and would be powered by a 333-hp 3.6L flat six. The Clubsport version would also be lighter than the Cayman S.

Looks like we will have to wait until next week to find out...

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2011 Kia Sedona Gets a New Grille and More Power

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Although for years minivans have had a stigma attached to them, they seem to be making a comeback. Toyota, Honda and Chrysler all have new minivans for 2011. Although Kia has the Sedona minivan, it's only making slight changes to its minivan for the new year.

The 2011 Sedona gets the new corporate grille and LED turn indicators have been added to the mirrors. The only other big change is under the hood where the Sedona benefits from Kia's 3.5L V6 that puts out 271-hp up 27-hp from the old engine. The 3.5L is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The base Sedona LX starts at $24,595.

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GE To Buy 25,000 EVs by 2015, 12,000 From GM

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General Electric has announced plans to add 25,000 electric vehicles to its fleet through its Capital Fleet Services business by 2015.

GE plans on converting at least half of its 30,000 global fleet and will partner with fleet customers to deploy a total of 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015. The company plans to initially buy 12,000 vehicles from GM, starting with the Chevy Volt. Other vehicles will be added as manufacturers expand their electric vehicle portfolios.

"Electric vehicle technology is real and ready for deployment and we are embracing the transformation with partners like GM and our fleet customers," said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. "By electrifying our own fleet, we will accelerate the adoption curve, drive scale, and move electric vehicles from anticipation to action.

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LA 10' Preview: GM Unveils Chevy Camaro Convertible on Facebook

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GM is set to officially unveil the Chevy Camaro Convertible at the LA Auto Show next week, but it looks like it's released a few photos on Facebook.

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There isn't really anything that we weren't expecting here. One of the photos does show the convertible with the top up. The Camaro Convertible will be available with either the 312-hp V6 or the 426-hp V8 with prices starting around $30,000. Sales will kick off in March.

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November 12, 2010

Lamborghini Gives the Sesto Elemento the Green Light

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The Lamborghini Sesto Elemento concept car was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show and now Lamborghini has given the green light to the concept according to French automotive program Auto Moto's website.

The Sesto Elemento (Sixth ELement) concept was powered by the 570-hp 5.2L V10 from the LP 570-4 Superleggera. The engine is mated to standard all-wheel-drive. 0-62 mph is reached in a very short 2.5 seconds and the concept has a top speed above 200 mph.

Production is going to be limited to only 7-10 units with pricing around $3.44 million.

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Detroit 11' Preview: Hyundai Teases the 2012 Hyundai Veloster

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Hyundai is set to reveal the 2012 Veloster at the Detroit Auto Show this coming January. It's going to be the production version of the Veloster concept that Hyundai has been showing off for a while now.

According the latest reports and rumors the Veloster will be powered by a 1.6L 140 horsepower engine and will get 40 mpg. There are rumors of a more powerful version with around 200-hp.

Expect more details from the show...

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Gran Turismo 5 To Go On Sale Nov. 24th

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Sony has announced that Gran Turismo 5 will finally go on sale on Wednesday, November 24th.

Grant Turismo 5 features over 1,000 cars, including NASCAR cars, the Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4, and Lexus LFA.

"Gran Turismo 5 is an ambitious project, with challenges and complexities which have made it our version of the Apollo Space Program!" commented Kazunori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital Inc. "When we created the original Gran Turismo back in 1997, we wanted to set a completely new precedent for the racing genre. With the technological leap onto PlayStation 3, our objective with Gran Turismo 5 was to create another great revolution which would not only satisfy our own high expectations, but would meet or even exceed the anticipation of the fans. Satisfying the loyal Gran Turismo followers is at the heart of all of our efforts, which is why it was such a difficult decision to delay the release of the game, and one which we did not take lightly. I can only apologize to everyone for making you wait so long, and I hope that when you try out the wealth of driving experiences available in Gran Turismo 5, you will not be disappointed."

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November 13, 2010

LA 10' Preview: 2011 Hyundai Elantra to Get 40 MPG

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Hyundai is going to officially unveil the 2011 Hyundai Elantra at the LA Auto Show this coming Wednesday. But in the meantime little details about one of Hyundai's best-selling models have been leaking out.

It looks like all the new compact sedans are getting 40 mpg or more and the 2011 Elantra will now be included in that list. The Elantra will get 40 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in the city. That puts it head to head with the 2012 Ford Focus and right behind the Chevy Cruze Eco that gets 42 mpg on the highway. The difference between the Cruze and the Elantra is that every Elantra will get 40 mpg, while only the Cruze Eco with a manual transmission achieves the 42 mpg rating.

The Elantra will be powered by a 1.8L four-cyl that puts out 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft. of torque.

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2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible to Debut at New York Auto Show

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Last week Chrysler announced the pricing for the 2011 200 sedan, which is basically a reworked Sebring. Chrysler has yet to debut the replacement for the Sebring Convertible, but reportedly it's going to be unveiled at the 2011 New York Auto Show.

At the New York Auto Show this coming April, Chrysler will unveil the 200 Convertible. Details haven't been released, but it's expected that the 200 Convertible will be powered by the same 2.4L four-cylinder or the optional 3.6L V6 as the 200 sedan.

Continue reading "2012 Chrysler 200 Convertible to Debut at New York Auto Show" »

November 14, 2010

LA 10' Preview: 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Unveiled on Facebook

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Wow it looks like it's becoming a reality, Nissan has unveiled the all-new Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet on Facebook.

According to Nissan, the Murano CrossCabriolet "delivers the open-air exhilaration of a convertible while extending the versatility of the Murano in exciting new ways."

We'll see...

Continue reading "LA 10' Preview: 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet Unveiled on Facebook" »

November 15, 2010

2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist Gets 37 MPG on the Highway

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GM has unveiled the 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist, which increases the fuel economy of the 2.4L LaCrosse by 25 percent.
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The Buick LaCrosse with eAssist is basically a hybrid with its 115 volt lithium-ion battery and 15-kilowatt electric motor that is mated to the 2.4L four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. The electric motor has 15-hp and assists the engine during acceleration and allows the engine to shut down during certain deceleration conditions. Thanks to the new eAssist the 2.4L Buick LaCrosse gets an estimated 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. Even better news is that the eAssist is standard on all 2012 Buick LaCrosses powered by the 2.4L. GM has yet to announce the pricing, but its expected to start around $30,000.

"The LaCrosse with eAssist technology is the latest example of how this successful car - with sales up more than 200 percent for the year - is shaking up the segment and reinventing Buick," said John Schwegman, vice president of Buick marketing. "It is the smart choice for those who want great fuel economy and performance in a luxury vehicle, with excellent value - the LaCrosse with eAssist will cost thousands less than competitors with similar technologies."

Continue reading "2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist Gets 37 MPG on the Highway" »

2011 Hyundai Elantra Officially Unveiled

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At this point "officially unveiled" doesn't really seem all that exciting for the 2011 Hyundai Elantra. It's not that Hyundai's newest sedan doesn't look much better than the previous-gen Elantra, it's just that we've already seen so many photos of it. But anyways...

The 2011 Elantra is here. It features similar styling as the larger Sonata, which is good thing, since the Sonata has been such a success. It will be powered by an all-new 1.8L four-cylinder with 148-hp and 131 lb-ft. of torque. It's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and gets 28 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

Expect more info from the LA Auto Show later this week...

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Honda to Stop Selling the Civic in Japan

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According to japan's Nikkei, Honda is going to stop selling the Civic sedan in Japan once the current inventory runs out.

Sales of the once popular Civic have plunged in Japan due to the growing popularity of MPVs and compact vehicles. In October Honda only sold 182 Civics and 207 Civic Hybrids. Honda had originally planned to continue selling the Civic Hybrid in Japan, but slow sales have prompted Honda to stop selling all of the Civic models.

Although the Civic is no longer going to be available in Japan, it is still selling well in other markets. Next year Honda is planning on introducing an all-new Civic.

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Lamborghini Reveals New 6.5L V12 Engine to be Used in Murciélago Successor

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The replacement for the Murciélago hasn't been revealed, but Lamborghini has taken the wraps off what will power it. Today Lamborghini is showing off its new 6.5L V12 and a new transmission.

The new 6.5L V12 puts out 700 horsepower and 509 lb-ft. of torque.

"This new power unit is not only the crowning glory of our product range, it is also part of our enormous investment in the future of the Lamborghini brand," says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini.

In addition to the new V12, Lamborghini also unveiled a new transmission it's calling the Independent Shifting Rod (ISR) transmission. It features dual shifting rods and shifts up to 50 percent faster than a dual-clutch transmission.

Continue reading "Lamborghini Reveals New 6.5L V12 Engine to be Used in Murciélago Successor " »

November 16, 2010

Motor Trend Names 2011 Chevy Volt "Motor Trend Car of the Year"

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Motor Trend has given it's 2011 Car of the Year award to the Chevy Volt.

"The Volt absolutely delivers on the promise of the vehicle concept as originally outlined by GM, combining the smooth, silent, efficient, low-emissions capability of an electric motor with the range and flexibility of an internal combustion engine," said Angus MacKenzie, Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. "It is a fully functional, no-compromise compact automobile that offers consumers real benefits in terms of lower running costs."

"The more we think about the Volt, the more convinced we are this vehicle represents a real breakthrough," said Mackenzie. "The genius of the Volt's powertrain is that it is actually capable of operating as a pure EV, a series hybrid, or as a parallel hybrid to deliver the best possible efficiency, depending on the user's duty cycle. For want of a better technical descriptor, this is world's first intelligent hybrid. And the investment in the technology that drives this car is also an investment in the long-term future of automaking in America."

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Detroit 11' Preview: Toyota Prius MPV Interior Teased


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Toyota has released another teaser of the upcoming Prius MPV, which will be unveiled at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show in January.

This teaser gives us a glimpse of the interior of Toyota's next hybrid...

Continue reading "Detroit 11' Preview: Toyota Prius MPV Interior Teased" »

2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible Officially Unveiled

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GM has officially released photos and stats for the 2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible, which is going to be unveiled at the LA Auto Show this week.

"The launch of the new convertible opens Camaro design and performance to a new set of potential customers," said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. "The 21st century revival of Camaro is tremendously popular, so it's a natural to now expand and elevate the product range in new directions."

The 2011 Camaro Convertible comes standard with the 312-hp V6, while the SS version is powered by the 426-hp 6.2L V8. The engines can be mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

Pricing will start at $30,000 when the convertible hits dealerships this coming February.

Continue reading "2011 Chevy Camaro Convertible Officially Unveiled" »

2011 Toyota Corolla Gets a Facelift

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Toyota is bringing a refreshed 2011 Corolla to the LA Auto Show.

For 2011 the Corolla gets a revised front and rear fascias. According to Toyota the Corolla's design was created with input from styling studios in Turin, Italy. The changes include revisions to the front bumper, radiator grille, front lower grille, headlamps, trunk lid, rear license garnish, rear combination lamp and the rear bumper.

The Corolla is still powered by the same 132-hp 1.8L four-cylinder that can be mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The five-speed gets 28/35 mpg while the automatic gets 26/34 mpg.

Continue reading "2011 Toyota Corolla Gets a Facelift" »

2011 Acura TSX Gets a Small Facelift and More MPG

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For 2011 Acura is introducing the TSX Sport Wagon and today Acura announced the changes for the sedan.

The 2011 Acura TSX gets a new front fascia, revised chin spoiler, new fog light garnish assembly and an updated grill. The rear gets updated taillights. Inside the 2011 TSX has a revised center console, darker trim pieces and new garnishes on the steering wheel. Rear seat passengers now will also be a little more comfortable with the addition of heating/cooling vents mounted at the rear of the center console. The available navigation system gets a new LED backlit screen, improved functions, Song by Voice user interface and a 60 GB hard drive. Lastly the interior is now quieter thanks to a ew acoustic glass front windshield, even thicker side glass, increased use of sound-deadening insulation, improved floor mats and new underfloor covers.

Under the hood the 2.4L and 3.5L engines are both more fuel efficient with the 2.4L getting up to 22/31 mpg and the 3.5L getting 19/28 mpg.

The 2011 TSX will be available at the end of the month starting at $29,610.

Continue reading "2011 Acura TSX Gets a Small Facelift and More MPG" »

LA 10': 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Unveiled

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Mercedes-Benz has officially unveiled the 2012 CLS63 AMG the day before the kick off of the 2010 LA Auto Show.

The AMG version of the new CLS is powered by a 5.5L twin-turbocharged V8 that puts out 518 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque. If you check off the AMG Performance Package the engine puts out 550-hp and 590 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a seven-speed "Speedshift" MCT automatic transmission. It only takes 4.4 seconds for the CLS63 AMG to reach 0-60 mph and 4.3 seconds if its equipped with the AMG Performance Package.

"The new CLS63 AMG writes the next chapter in the success story created by the CLS55 AMG and CLS63 AMG, which have been amazing our customers around the world since 2004," says Ola Källenius, General Manager of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. "The CLS63 AMG is a unique, high-performance automobile - it sets new bench- marks in design, performance and efficiency."

The 2012 CLS63 AMG will hit dealers in the summer of 2011.

Continue reading "LA 10': 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Unveiled" »

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid to Get Lithium-Ion Batteries

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The current Honda Civic has done well for Honda, but next year Honda will release an all-new Civic.

The 2012 Civic will be more of an evolutionary redesign, which has been proven by the various spy photos that have been floating around. According to Inside Line, Honda is going to significantly improve the Civic Hybrid in hopes of taking sales away from the popular Toyota Prius. The next Civic Hybrid will use Honda's current IMA hybrid system, but the gas engine will move up to 1.5 liters from the current 1.3 liter engine. The hybrid will also be Honda's first hybrid to get lithium-ion batteries, which will significantly improve the hybrid's "electric only" range.

The 2012 Civic is expected to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January with sales starting in Q1 of 2011.

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November 17, 2010

LA 10': 2011 Porsche Cayman R Loses Some Weight

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Porsche has unveiled the 2011 Cayman R, which is the rumored Cayman Clubsport.

The Cayman R is a faster and lighter version of the Cayman thanks to aluminum doors, lighter seats and the deletion of other items like a radio, air-conditions and storage compartments. In total the Cayman R lost 121 pounds. There is a little more power from the 3.4L engine, which now puts out 330 horsepower. The Cayman R reaches 0-60 mph in about 4.7 seconds, which is .2 seconds faster than the base Cayman S.

Continue reading "LA 10': 2011 Porsche Cayman R Loses Some Weight" »

LA 10': Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept Revealed

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Cadillac is kinda known for producing large vehicles like the Escalade SUV, but it's latest concept car is the complete opposite. The Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept packs luxury and Cadillac style in a small package.

The very small Urban Luxury Concept measures 151 inches long and has a wheelbase just over 97 inches. Although those numbers aren't very big, the interior isn't as tiny as you would expect thanks to a 68.1 inch stance and a height of almost 57 inches.

"While small in size, this concept is an exploration of what Cadillac could be in the future, as the brand continues to focus on redefining industry standards for advanced vehicle design and integrated technology," said Don Butler, vice president for Cadillac marketing.

The concept is powered by a hybrid system that uses a turbocharged 1.0L three-cylinder engine. GM projects that the fuel economy of the concept is 56 mpg in the city and 65 mpg on the highway.

Continue reading "LA 10': Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept Revealed" »

2011 Kia Optima Starts at $18,995

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Kia has announced the pricing for its all-new Optima sedan that will hit dealerships with a starting price of $18,995 for the Optima LX equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.

"The all-new and highly anticipated Optima delivers an outstanding combination of value, eye-catching design and premium-level amenities that will continue Kia's ongoing brand transformation and attract new buyers to our showrooms," said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO, KMA and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia. "With an aggressive starting price and a strong ALG rating, the 2011 Optima provides consumers with an outstanding value proposition and builds on the increased awareness and consideration our recent new products such as the Soul, Forte, Sorento and Sportage have generated."

The base LX Optima comes standard with an AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat audio system, power windows, power door locks, dual exhaust with chrome tips, and a cooling glove box. The LX Optima equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission starts at $20,495 and adds alloy wheels, cruise control and an Active Eco System for fuel-efficient driving. If you're excited about the 2.0L 274-hp turbocharged model, the Optima EX starts at $24,495.

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2011 Fiat 500 to Start at $15,500 in the U.S.

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The online configurator for the 2011 Fiat 500 is up and reveals that the pricing for the US model starts at $15,500.

There are three versions of the Fiat 500:

-Fiat 500 Pop: $15,500
-Fiat 500 Sport: $17,500
-Fiat 500 Lounge $19,500

Playing around with the site and you'll notice that it's hard to get the price over $22,000. Definitely a good thing...

Continue reading "2011 Fiat 500 to Start at $15,500 in the U.S." »

LA 10': Subaru Impreza Design Concept Finally a Nice Looking Impreza...

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Subaru is known for its great engineering, but it has never really produced anything that would be labeled as "beautiful" or "good looking." But...it looks like Subaru is fixing that...

Subaru has unveiled the Impreza Design Concept that is debuting at the LA Auto Show this week. Although its being labeled as a "concept", Subaru claims it gives us a hint of a future Subaru (hopefully the next Impreza).The design of the concept shows off Subaru's new "Confidence in Motion" design and brand strategy. According to Subaru the Impreza Design Concept conveys a sporty and lively "four-door coupe" style.

A 2.0L naturally aspirated Boxer engine with a Lineartronic™ Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) powers the concept. If this is what we can expect for the next Impreza, lets hope it gets here soon!

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LA 10': Nissan Ellure Concept...The Sedan Re-Imagined

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According to Nissan the Ellure Concept that was unveiled at the LA Auto Show is "The Sedan Re-Imagined." The concept sedan comes at a time when buyers are moving more towards coupe and crossover SUV alternatives, it is meant to show Nissan's vision of it's next-generation sedans.

"While not intended as a preview of any upcoming production model, Ellure confirms Nissan's intention to be a strong player in the sedan segment for many years to come," explains Shiro Nakamura, senior vice president and chief creative officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (NML), who supervised the global design effort. "As an expression of our long-term vision for the next generation of great Nissan sedans, Ellure allows us to introduce a new sedan concept - one that honors the sedan's unmatched daytime functionality, yet has a more emotive, almost hidden ambience that comes to life after dark. It's an ideal fit for the needs of its projected owners, women in their '30s and '40s with a sense of sophistication and rebellion."

The Ellure is powered by a supercharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with Intelligent Dual Clutch Control (one motor/two clutch design with lithium-ion battery) and a 25 kW electric motor, matched with an Xtronic CVT and front-wheel drive.

Continue reading "LA 10': Nissan Ellure Concept...The Sedan Re-Imagined" »

LA 10': Fourth-Generation 2011 Nissan Quest Unveiled

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2011 is becoming the model year where nearly every minivan on the market is being redesigned. Nissan has unveiled the fourth-generation Nissan Quest minivan at the LA Auto Show.

The 2011 Quest is based on the same"D-platform" as the Maxima and Altima. It features a long 118.1 inch wheelbase and a length just over 200 inches. It's powered by a 3.5L DOHC V6 that puts out 253 horsepower and 236 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a standard Xtronic CVT.

The Quest is available in four models: S, SV, SL and LE. Inside the Quest features standard fold-flat 2nd and 3rd row seats and a rear storage well.

"The all-new Nissan Quest 'gets' parenting. While minivans remain one of the most maligned symbols of adulthood, where some see them as a surrendering of youth and fun, Nissan sees the minivan as a celebration of family life - not only for moms on weekdays, but for fun times with the entire family on weekends," said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. "We view Quest as a reward to parents for doing just that - parenting."

Continue reading "LA 10': Fourth-Generation 2011 Nissan Quest Unveiled" »

2012 BMW 650i Convertible Officially Unveiled

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BMW has unveiled the 2012 650i Convertible, although it didn't show up at the LA Auto Show. The 2012 650i Convertible is pretty close to the 6 Series Coupe Concept that was unveiled in Paris.

The 650i Convertible is powered by BMW's twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 that puts out 400 horsepower and 450 lb-ft. of torque. The engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. It only takes 4.9 seconds to reach 0-60 mph and the convertible has an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Just in case you care, BMW has yet to release the EPA figures.

Instead of employing a heavy folding hardtop, BMW chose to stick with the traditional cloth top for the convertible. It only takes 19 seconds to open and 24 to close it. The top can be operated at speeds up to 25 mph.

The 2012 BMW 650i Convertible will hit US dealers in the spring of 2011.

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LA 10': Honda Fit EV Concept Previews 2012 Production Version

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Those of us hoping for a hybrid version of the Honda Fit in the US can move to Europe, since it's not coming here. But if you want something better, Honda has unveiled the Fit EV Concept, which previews the production version coming in 2012.

The concept that was shown at the LA Auto Show doesn't look much different from the gas powered version except for a slightly revised front and rear fascias. When the Fit EV is released in 2012 it will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and coaxial electric motor. The high-density motor is derived from the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle. The Fit EV will have a top speed of 90 mph and be able to drive up to 100 miles on a single charge. There is also a 3-mode electric drive system that has been adapted from the CR-Z hybrid that can help maximize the driving range.

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LA 10': 2012 Nissan GT-R Gets A Facelift and More Power...0-60 MPH in Under 3 Secs!

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530 horsepower, 488 lb-ft. of torque and 0-60 in less than three seconds! Can I have two please! Nissan took the wraps off the revised 2012 GT-R at the LA Auto Show today.

The 2012 Nissan GT-R gets a facelift, but more exciting is that the twin-turbocharged 3.8L V6 engine now puts out 45 more horsepower for a final total of 530. The facelift has improved downforce by 10% and the the coefficient of drag reduced to 0.26, from 0.27. The larger fascia and grille openings help improve stability and air resistance inside the engine compartment. The revised rear fascia features a lower center of gravity than the previous design, created by using a sculpted lower section and extended length.

Inside the 2012 GT-R gets new carbon fiber trim and upgraded materials. The Black Edition adds custom red-trimmed Recaro seats, red and black interior trim and a dark headliner.

Pricing for the 2012 GT-R starts at 89,950 and will hit dealers in early 2011.

Continue reading "LA 10': 2012 Nissan GT-R Gets A Facelift and More Power...0-60 MPH in Under 3 Secs!" »

LA 10': 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Unveiled...Kia's First Hybrid

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Kia's all-new Optima is about to hit dealers with a starting price of $18,995 and now Kia has unveiled the hybrid version of the Optima, the third Optima model.

The Optima Hybrid uses the same system as the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which is a 2.4L engine mated to an electric motor that is powered by a lithium polymer battery.

"Kia Motors is aggressively expanding its green car investments and R&D in much the same way we committed ourselves to the quality and design innovations over the last decade that have fueled our dramatic brand transformation," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. "By adding our first-ever hybrid in the U.S. to the Optima lineup we are providing consumers with three powerful and fuel-efficient powertrain choices, and continuing Kia's philosophy of offering stylish, value-packed vehicles with outstanding fuel efficiency."

Pricing for the Kia Optima Hybrid will be announced closer to its on-sale date, which is early next year.

Continue reading "LA 10': 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Unveiled...Kia's First Hybrid" »

November 18, 2010

LA 10': Toyota RAV4 EV Unveiled and Powered by Tesla

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Toyota and Tesla have teamed up to create the new Toyota RAV4 EV that has debuted at the LA Auto Show.

The Toyota RAV4 EV is basically a RAV4 with the heart of a Tesla. Tesla developed the powertrain, which includes the battery, electric motor, transmission and software. The RAV4 EV also features unique front and rear fascias, 18" alloy wheels and comes in a special pearl white paint. Inside it features a smart key system with push button start, combination synthetic leather and fabric seating surfaces and a DVD navigation system. The good thing is that the cargo area of the RAV4 EV remains the same size as the gas powered RAV4.

Toyota and Tesla are still working on the final specifications of the RAV4 EV, but it will have a target range of 100 miles in actual road driving patterns, in a wide range of climates and conditions. Also even though the RAV4 EV is about 220 pounds heavier than the RAV4 V6, it will reach 0-60 mph nearly as quickly.

The RAV4 EV will hit the market sometime in 2012.

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LA 10': Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante...Lighter and Faster

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Lamborghini has unveiled the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante, which it describes as "less weight, more fascination."

To create the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante, Lamborghini's engineers started with the Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder. They managed to shave off 143 pounds from the regular convertible by using exterior and interior components made from carbon-fiber.

The Spyder Performante is powered by a 5.2L V10 that puts out 570 horsepower and reaches 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 201 mph.

Continue reading "LA 10': Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante...Lighter and Faster" »

Ford Reduces Stake in Mazda to 3.5 Percent

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Ford has announced that it is going to reduce its stake in Mazda from the current 11 percent down to 3.5 percent.

"Ford will remain one of Mazda's largest shareholders with a 3.5- percent stake, and both companies are committed to continuing our strategic partnership which spans over 30 years," says Mazda's Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, Takashi Yamanouchi. "Mazda and Ford will continue to collaborate on areas of mutual benefit such as key joint ventures, joint projects and exchange of technology information."

The change is expected to take place tomorrow. By selling 7.5 percent of its stake in Mazda, Ford will become more flexible. Ford plans to remain one of Mazda's largest stake holders.

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Hyundai Previews the Next-Gen 2012 Grandeur/ Azera

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Hyundai is on a roll by redoing it's whole lineup. The new Sonata is a hit and this week Hyundai officially unveiled the new Elantra. Now Hyundai has released renderings of what we can expect from the next Azera, also known as the Grandeur outside of the US.

The Azera is larger than the Sonata and will borrow styling cues from the other new Hyundai sedans (fluidic sculpture).

Expect the new Azera to arrive sometime next year as a 2012 model.

Continue reading "Hyundai Previews the Next-Gen 2012 Grandeur/ Azera" »

GM Goes Public Again...Stock Price Debuted Over $35

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This morning GM celebrated its return to the NYSE for the first time since the automaker emerged from bankruptcy last year.

Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson and other top GM members visited Wall Street this morning to witness the event in person. Shares quickly hit $35, which is higher than the initial $33 that the shares were priced at Wednesday evening. By late morning the shares were trading at $35.58.

The Federal Treasury is selling of more than 400 million shares of GM, which will reduce its stake in GM from 61 percent to 33 percent. In order for the government to break even the remaining shares will have to be sold for an average of $50 a share.

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LA 10': 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is So Weird

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It was a long standing rumor that Nissan was working on a convertible version of the Murano crossover. No one really believed it, but it's here. Nissan unveiled the 2011 Murano CrossCabriolet at the LA Auto Show this week.

The Murano CrossCabriolet is being labeled as the world's first all-wheel-drive crossover convertible, but is that a good thing? It has room for four, the styling of the Murano transformed into a two-door convertible and all-wheel-drive capability. Love it or hate, it's here with a starting price of $46,390.

Continue reading "LA 10': 2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet is So Weird" »

November 19, 2010

2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK to Get Bluetec Diesel

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Although it seemed like all the news this week surrounded hybrids and electric vehicles, some automakers are still committed to producing diesel powered models.

Mercedes-Benz wants to increase the number of diesel models it offers so its smaller models will soon be offered in diesel versions. Mercedes-Benz USA President Ernst Lieb recently told Ward's Auto that a diesel version of the GLK crossover will be offered in the US in 2012. Additionally the next C-Class will be offered with a diesel when it arrives in 2013.

Both models will be powered by a 2.2L four-cylinder diesel engine that uses Mercedes Bluetec trademark.

Currently Mercedes-Benz offers Bluetec diesel engines in the ML and GL-Class SUVs, R-Class crossover and the 2011 E-Class.

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2011 Ford Transit Connect XLT Premium Wagon Unveiled

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Ford has unveiled a new version of the Ford Transit, the Ford Transit Connect XLT Premium Wagon that makes turns the Transit Connect into a more comfortable small van.

"Since Transit Connect arrived here as the 'ultimate tool' for small business proprietors, we've heard requests from potential personal-use customers," said Rob Stevens, chief nameplate engineer for Commercial Vehicles. "Buyers looking for a taller wagon with seating for five passengers and generous cargo space have shown significant interest in Transit Connect."

Ford has yet to announced the pricing.

Continue reading "2011 Ford Transit Connect XLT Premium Wagon Unveiled" »

2011 Chrysler 300 Teaser Photos Show up on the Web

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For the 2011 model year Chrysler is revising its entire lineup, which is a good thing. We've already seen the new 200 and Town & Country minivan, but Chrysler has yet to unveil the changes to the 2011 300. Kicking Tires has posted several teaser photos of the next 300.

These photos don't completely show off the new 300, but we can see that the 300 is going to get new LED headlights and a grille that is similar to that of the new 200 and Town & Country.

The 2011 300 will be officially unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

Continue reading "2011 Chrysler 300 Teaser Photos Show up on the Web" »

November 21, 2010

VW Chief Confirms Microbus is Back On

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Back in 2001 VW excited fans with the unveiling of the Microbus concept at the Detroit Auto Show. It was supposed to be produced, but it never happened. Now according to Auto Express, plans are back on to bring the Microbus concept to life.

VW's chief designer, Klaus Bischoff recently told Auto Express that he feels its part of his job at VW to bring the Camper back. According to Bischoff the original plans to produce the Microbus were called off because of cost and not lack of public demand. VW is now trying to decide how bold the car should be, if it should be a traditional MPV or something more flexible and versatile.

If this is all true we may see a concept by 2012.

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November 22, 2010

2011 Audi RS 3 Sportback Officially Unveiled

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Audi has officially unveiled the 2011 Audi RS 3 Sportback. The RS 3 Sportback is powered by a turbocharged 2.5L five-cylinder engine that puts out 340 horsepower and 331 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a seven-speed S Tronic dual-clutch transmission and the quattro all-wheel-drive system.

On the outside the RS 3 is distinct from the lesser powered A3 models thanks to its xenon headlights, and larger front air intakes, prominent sill panels and a large roof spoiler. Inside the sport seats are upholstered in Fine Nappa leather with silver contrasting stitching and the leather multifunction sports steering wheel is flat-bottomed.

The 2011 RS 3 Sportback will start at 49,900 Euros in Germany and there is no word if it will make it to this side of the Atlantic.

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Acura NSX is Reportedly Back on Using Accord Parts

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Honda has been teasing us for a while with a successor to the much loved NSX even coming close to releasing a new sports car, until the economic meltdown hit in 2008. At that time it was believed that the NSX was dead, but its now being reported that Honda's engineers didn't completely bury the project.

According to the latest reports Honda is still working on a successor to the NSX, but it will not be the V10 powered sports car we'd seen lapping the Nurburgring. It looks like Honda is now working on a greener sports car that will be powered by either the 2.4L or 3.5L V6 from the Honda Accord. Using the Accord as the basis for the NSX will keep costs down. Engineers will basically swap the front and rear around creating a rear/mid-engined sports car. The NSX will also use Acura's SH-AWD system that will be rear-wheel-drive biased.

If these rumors are true expect to see the next NSX as early as 2014.

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Pontiac G8 to Return to the US Badged as a Chevy?

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Pontiac is dead, but one of its last models, the G8 may return to the US badged as a Chevy.

Austalia's Holden Commodore was the basis for the Pontiac G8 and when GM decided to kill off Pontiac, the G8 was also buried. According to Drive, senior engineer for General Motors, Al Oppenheiser, confirmed that talks are under way to sell the Commodore inthe US as a Chevy sports sedan.

"We are definitely looking at that, although we have made no official announcement as yet," Oppenheiser said. "We are definitely looking at doing something with Holden for the retail market."

Another unnamed source confirmed that the deal has been approved.

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Oprah Reveals Silhouette of 2012 VW Beetle

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Oprah has unveiled the silhouette of the all-new 2012 VW Beetle on the episode of her "Favorite Things" and then shocked the audience by giving away each audience member a 2012 Beetle.

Oprah currently owns a New Beetle and approached VW about having the Beetle, one of her favorite things, featured in the special show.

"Oprah Winfrey and the Volkswagen Beetle are two American icons, so when the "Oprah" show approached us with this incredible opportunity to share her Beetle experience with deserving viewers, we instantly wanted to be a part of it," said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "Our all-new 2012 Beetle exemplifies power, styling and sophistication, and is an automotive icon reinvented to create the new shape of performance."

Oprah has apparently seen the new 2012 Beetle, but audience members won't be able to see it until VW reveals it sometime next year. It was rumored that VW was going to unveil it that the Detroit Auto Show in January, but it looks like we will have to wait a little longer until next Spring to see it.

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2011 Nissan Leaf Gets Official 99 MPG Rating

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Nissan has announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given the electric Nissan Leaf a best-in-class 99 miles per gallon (MPG) rating. The 2011 Nissan Leaf has a combined rating of 99 mpg or which can ben broken down to 106 mpg city/ 92 mpg highway. The official EPA range for the Leaf is 73 miles, which i sbased on the five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls.

"We're pleased the label clearly demonstrates the Nissan LEAF to be a best-in-class option, reflecting that it's a pure electric vehicle, uses no gas, has no tailpipe and has zero emissions," said Scott Becker, senior vice president, Finance and Administration, Nissan Americas. "The label provides consumers with a tool to compare alternative-fuel vehicles to those with a traditional internal combustion engine and allows them to make an informed purchase decision."

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November 23, 2010

VIDEO: Subaru Impreza Design Concept in Motion

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Subaru unveiled the Impreza Design Concept at the LA Auto Show last week and now Subaru has released a video of what the concept looks like in motion.

The Impreza Design Concept is a hint at a future Subaru model. It's powered by a 2.0L naturally aspirated Boxer engine mated to a Lineratronic CVT.

Check out the video after the jump...

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GM Unveils First Baojun Model in China

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Gm has unveiled the first Baojun 630 passenger car in China that is a result of the joint venture between SAIC, GM and Wuling (SGMW). Baojun is SGMW's new brand of passenger cars that will be sold throughout China.

The first model, the Baojun 630 was developed in China using GM technology and is powered by a GM powertrain.

"We carefully studied the market and customers," said Kevin Wale, President and Managing Director of the GM China Group. "Quality, design, fuel economy and durability were made a focus to appeal to local car buyers, particularly first-time buyers in the nation's second- and third-tier markets."

Sales of the Baojun 630 will start in early 2011 and it's expected to start around $7,000.

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Car and Driver 's 2011 10 Best Winners Announced...

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Car and Driver has announced top 10 best cars of 2011. As usual the BMW 3 Series and Honda Accord are on the list, but there are some newcomers as well like the Hyundai Sonata and Chevy Volt.

Check out the list after the jump....

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Ford Focus Coupe in the Works?

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Ford's all new Ford Focus will be here early next year and although Ford has unveiled the sedan and five-door versions of the Focus a three-door or coupe version was missing.

Rumors are beginning to circulate that Ford is working on a coupe version of the new Focus that will be unveiled in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Auto Express recently had an interview with Ford's European design boss Martin Smith who suggested that a concept would be unveiled in Detroit.

"Our plan was always to get the basic Ford product line-up successful," he said. "Now we have done that, we can start to build more exciting products - and we'll show how we're going to do this at Detroit."

An industry insider claims that Ford's designers have been hard at work on the Focus coupe concept. The concept will based off the Focus ST and will have the same 247-hp turbocharged 2.0L under the hood. It will also be front wheel drive, but will have a wider track than the Focus ST.

Stay tuned...

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BMW 1 Series M Coupe to Have 451 Horsepower?!

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The 1Addicts forum that loves to post about the BMW 1 Series and the upcoming M version has posted that the standard M coupe will have 340 horsepower. Even more interesting is that the site seems to have stumbled upon information that suggests that a special US version will have 451 horsepower!

Does that seem possible? Probably not considering that the larger M3 only has 414 horsepower. Looks like we will have to just wait and see...

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November 24, 2010

McLaren MP4-12C Starts at €200,000

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McLaren has announced the pricing for the McLaren MP4-12C, which starts at €200,000 in Germany and £168,500 in the UK.

The McLaren MP4-12C us the first supercar from McLaren and is powered by a 592-hp twin-turbo 3.8L V8. McLaren says the 12C will be available in 17 different colors and will have a choice of 14 interior trims.

Antony Sheriff, Managing Director of McLaren Automotive said: "When we embarked on this challenge to design, develop, build, sell, and service the world's most exciting and high-quality high-performance sports cars - from a brand new factory at our Formula One headquarters - we knew expectations would be high. To deliver a true McLaren sports car, and, frankly, a reason to exist amongst great competition, it was clear we needed a unique concept that offered tangible advantages. With a unique carbon chassis as the foundation, and a powerful, but highly efficient McLaren engine at its heart, the 12C offers staggering value: no other carbon-based car can compete at this price-point, or with the 12C's technology and performance."

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2011 Chevy Volt Officially Gets 93 MPG, 37 MPG and 60 MPG EPA Rating

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GM has announced the official mpg ratings for the 2011 Chevy Volt. The EPA has rated the 93 MPG (equivalent), which is when the battery is fully charged and during the electric-only range. When the Volt's electricity is "used up" it gets 37 mpg. The two numbers combined (electricity and gasoline) the Volt gets 60 mpg.

The Volt's official electric only range is 35 miles and the total range is 379 miles (344 gasoline driving).

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Lamborghini Sesto Elemento to be Track-Only

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We were all excited when reports surfaced that Lamborghini had given the green light to the Sesto Elemento, but now it looks like Lamborghini is going to produce the model in limited numbers, but only for track use.

The Sesto Elemento is extremely light (2200 lbs) thanks to the use of a new material, called forged carbon. According to Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann, due to its unique construction and lack of airbags, the model will only live on the track.

Winkelmann also told Autocar that no more than 20 units will be built.

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2011 Chevy Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition Starts at $90,960

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GM unveiled the 2011 Chevy Corvette Z06 Carbon Limited Edition back in March and now we have the starting price of the limited edition Corvette, $90,960.

The Carbon Limited Edition version of the Corvette Z06 has black headlights and mirrors, a ZR-1 style body color spoiler, carbon fiber raised hood, and black carbon fiber rockers and splitter.

Fully loaded it goes for $99,925...

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2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Beats the Toyota 4Runner in Consumer Reports Test

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The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is doing well for the new Chrysler. Consumer Reports recently pitted the new Grand Cherokee against the Toyota 4Runner and the Grand Cherokee took home the title.

The Grand Cherokee received a "very good" rating, while the 4Runner only received a "good" rating. The Jeep's ride, quietness and interior won it points over the 4 Runner. The 4Runner received dings for its on road performance.

The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is powered either by a 290-hp 3.6L V6 or a 360-hp 5.7L V8. Prices start at $32,995.

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November 25, 2010

2012 Mazda5 Starts at $19,990

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Mazda has announced the pricing for the all-new 2012 Mazda5 that goes on sale in January. Pricing for the Mazda5 will start at $19,990.

The 2012 Mazda5 will be offered in three versions, the Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The base Sport comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, power mirrors, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers. Stepping up to the Touring ($21,990) you will get a five-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, sport side still extensions, rear liftgate spoiler, fog lamps, Bluetooth, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The top of the line Grand Touring ($24,670) adds a power moonroof, xenon (HID) headlights, heated door mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated front seats, in-dash 6-disc CD changer, and leather-trimmed seats.

The Mazda5 is powered by a 157-hp 2.5L four-cylinder that can be mated to either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission.

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Aston Martin Revises the Vantage GT4 for 2011

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Aston Martin Racing has launched a new Vantage GT4 for 2011. The Vantage GT4 is based on the V8 Vantage and is powered by a remapped 4.7 liter engine.

For 2011 the Vantage GT4 gets a new splitter that increases downforce at the front of the car, as well as channeling cooling air to the brakes and radiator. Outback the GT4 gets the V12 Vantage's larger boot 'flip', which works together with a new carbon fiber diffuser and rear underfloor to create an area of low pressure under the rear of the car, to increase downforce. For the first time buyers can choose a race-developed Bosch ABS and traction control system.

Aston Martin Racing has built and sold more than 80 Vantage GT4s in the last two years.

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November 26, 2010

2012 Hyundai Azera: First Official Photos Released

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Last week Hyundai released the first teaser photos of the all-new Grandeur/ Azera and now we have the first official photos of the all-new sedan.

The all-new Azera gets Hyundai's "fluidic sculpture" design language like the new Sonata and Elantra. It will still be front-wheel-drive and slot in between the Sonata and the Genesis in the Hyundai lineup.

Expect more details soon...

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Mercedes-Benz Biome Concept to Go Against BMW EfficientDynamics in 2015

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Autocar has learned that Mercedes-Benz plans on producing a mid-engined eco supercar to go against the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics. The Mercedes-Benz Biome concept is a preview of the new supercar that will be released in 2015.

The concept was developed at Mercedes' Californian design studio.

"There are elements within the design that could easily be progressed and developed for production. We were conscious during its development to ensure it wasn't too limited or edgy. It had to be do-able without any significant changes," says Hubert Lee, head of the California design studio.

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November 29, 2010

2011 Ford Explorer Orders Double Expectations

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The once popular Ford Explorer is all-new for 2011 and Ford already has about 15,000 orders, which is double Ford's original projection. The new Explorer ditches its old school body-on-frame design for a unibody platform that it will share with the Taurus, Flex and the Lincoln MKS and MKT.

The Detroit News reports that the orders include 3,000 retail orders, 7,500 dealer orders and more than 4,500 from companies. Almost half of the orders are for the top of the line $40,000 Limited Explorer and two-thirds are opting for four-wheel drive.

Production of the 2011 Explorer kicks off this Wednesday at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant.

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VW Kills Plans for 2 Cylinder Engines in the Up City Car

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According to Autocar, VW has decided to not use two-cylinder engines in its Up city car that is expected to be released next year. VW has been downsizing its engines seen by its three-cyl gasoline engines, but R&D chief Ulrich Hackenberg thinks that downsizing is nearing its limits.

"Improvements can now only be made in performance and economy, not in making the engines any smaller," he said. Instead, the Up will make use of three-cylinder engines that "will really advance the technology and make strong use of it", he said.

Although VW has decided against producing a two-cylinder, Fiat has with its new two-cylinder TwinAir engine.

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2011 Nissan Leaf Named Euroean Car of the Year

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The electric 2011 Nissan Leaf has received the 2011 European Car of the Year award and it's the first time an electric vehicle has won the award.

The Nissan Leaf beat out 40 other models from brands such as Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Ford, Opel/Vauxhall and Volvo to take home the award.

"The jury acknowledged today that the Nissan LEAF is a breakthrough for electric cars. Nissan LEAF is the first EV that can match conventional cars in many respects," said Håkan Matson, President of the Jury, Car of the Year.

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All-New Buick GL8 Officially Unveiled for China

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GM has released the first official photos of the all-new Buick GL8 in China. The new GL8 builds on the original GL8 and will be released in January.

"The new GL8 was developed by Shanghai GM in cooperation with the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) in Shanghai with the specific needs of our customers in mind," said Terry Johnsson, Shanghai GM Vice President of Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. "It offers everything that consumers have come to expect from Buick, including a dynamic, smooth, quiet and comfortable ride. Like its predecessor, the new GL8 is the right product at the right time."

Under the hood buyers can choose from a 2.4L four-cylinder or a 3.0L V6. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

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Porsche Cajun SUV Officially Confirmed for 2014

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Porsche has finally confirmed a long standing rumor that it will build a new SUV that will be smaller than the current Cayenne.

The new small Cajun SUV will be used as a way for Porsche to bring more new and even younger customers to the premium brand.

The Porsche Cajun will arrive for the 2014 model year.

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Audi TT GT4 Unveiled in Shanghai

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Audi has unveiled the GT4 concept, which is based on the Audi TT. The TT GT4 is intended to extend Audi's new modular customer sport program from 2012 forward.

The TT GT4 is powered by a 340-hp TFSI engine that is mated to Audi's S-tronic transmission with a differential lock. The interior has been gutted to make room for a roll-over cage and the hood, doors and trunk lid are made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic.

Audi plans on selling the TT GT4 for 120,000 euros in Europe. It also plans on selling the model in Asia, but no plans have been announced about the US.

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Next-Gen 2014 Lexus IS to be Based on the Toyota FT-86?

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The Toyota FT-86 is still not out (sadly), but there are rumors that Toyota is working on other models that will be based on the same platform. According to Road & Track, the next-generation Lexus IS will be based on a stretched version of the FT-86 platform.

Toyota boss Akio Toyoda wants to improve Toyota's image with a renewed focus on sport, so the next IS is expected to be sportier than the current model. According to the latest reports the next IS, which isn't due until 2014 will be powered by a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder and a 3.6L flat six-cylinder. Seems kinda fishy since neither of those engines are currently offered in the IS. The Lexus IS F will continue to be powered by a V8.

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November 30, 2010

Honda Unveils New BRIO Prototype in Thailand

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Honda has unveiled its new BRIO prototype at the Thailand International Motor Expo, which is the prototype of the New Small Concept that was unveiled earlier this year.

Honda is going to develop unique versions of the BRIO prototype for emerging markets like Thailand and India. The model will go on sale in March 2011 in Thailand and sometime later next year in India.

"Honda would like to expand the joy of mobility to more customers in Thailand, India and other Asian countries through the introduction of a new small vehicle with compact and highly efficient packaging by utilizing our own experiences cultivated by motorcycle business here in Asia," said Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor.

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2012 Audi A6 Photos Leaked

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Audi is going to officially unveil the all-new Audi A6 tomorrow, but of course that isn't stopping the photos from leaking today. Autoblog.nl has posted a full set of photos.

Overall the styling is what was expected and not a huge departure from the current A6.

Check out the photos after the jump and come back tomorrow for the official unveiling...

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2011 Honda Insight Gets a New Entry Level Model... Will it Help Sales?

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Honda has announced the changes/ upgrades to the 2011 Honda Insight hybrid. Since the current Insight was released it's sales have been a disappointment, since it isn't as fuel efficient as the Toyota Prius. It's only going to get worse for the Insight with the release of the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt. So for 2011 Honda has announced a new entry level Insight that starts at $18,795 after the destination charges have been added.

What do you get with this new entry-level Insight? Not much. The base Insight, which is strictly just called "Insight" comes with remote entry and a basic audio system, which only has 2 speakers! eww. If you want cruise control, a USB audio interface, center armrest storage console and floor mats you will have to move up to the Insight LX. The Insight EX now has standard steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

The Insight is powered by a 1.3L gasoline engine and a 10-kilowatt electric motor. It gets 40/43 miles per gallon.

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2012 Audi A6 Officially Unveiled

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Here it is, the all-new 2012 Audi A6. The all-new Audi A6 will debut in early 2011 and gets styling that is very similar to the larger A8.

In Europe the 2012 A6 will be available with a choice between two gasoline and three diesel engines, which put out between 177-hp and 300-hp. A hybrid version is also going to eventually be introduced that combines a 211-hp 2.0 TFSI engine with a 45-hp electric motor. The A6 Hybrid can travel up to 62.14 mph on electricity alone.

The all-new A6 will go in sale early 2011. Stay tuned for the US specs...

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