February 2011 Archives

Geneva 11': Toyota FT-86 II Concept Unveiled...It's Almost Here!

It seems like we've been waiting forever for the production version of Toyota's new rear-wheel-drive coupe. Toyota has unveiled the FT-86 II concept at the Geneva Motor Show.

Toyota and Subaru have teamed up to create two rear-wheel-drive coupes, both of which are being unveiled in Geneva. The FT-86 II is a clear evolution of the FT-86 that debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show in fall 2009. According to Toyota, the FT-86 II concept is the closest thing yet to the production version that is expected to go on sale in 2012.

The FT-86 II gets a new front bumper and revised headlights with LEDs compared to the original concept. The wheel arches are now more pronounced and there is a rear spoiler. Under the hood the FT-86 II is powered by a 2.0L boxer engine.

Subaru is also going to be unveiling its Boxer Sports Car Architecture concept in Geneva, which is a preview of the Subaru coupe.

Geneva 11': Toyota Yaris Hybrid Concept Takes on the Fit Hybrid

Not to be outdone by Honda, Toyota has taken the wraps off the Yaris hybrid HSD concept, which will officially hit dealers in the second half of next year. The Yaris hybrid HSD concept is based on the new Yaris aka Vitz that was previewed late last year.

The Yaris hybrid HSD concept differs from the regular Yaris with more aggressive front and rear fascias,18-inch alloy wheels and slimmer door handles and side mirrors. Expect more details to come...

Geneva 11': Mazda Minagi Concept Previews Upcoming CX-5

It's widely known that Mazda is currently working on a new smaller crossover that will slot in below the CX-7 in Mazda's current lineup. This week Mazda is showing off the Minagi concept in Geneva, that is basically a preview of the new small crossover.

The Minagi concept combines the new Kodo styling language of the Shinari concept with Mazda's new next-gen Skyactiv engine and transmission. The production version of the Minagi, the CX-5 could be released as early as this fall. According to some sources, the production version will be slightly smaller than the concept.

VW Guigiaro Go! and Tex Concepts May be the Future of VW

Giorgetto Giugiaro created the final design for the original VW Golf/ Rabbit and Scirocco, two cars dominated VW design in the late 70's and 80s. Italdesign Giugiaro is now owned by VW and created the two concepts you see here, the Go! and Tex.

Giorgetto Giugiaro stated "We conducted a research study imagining the Volkswagens of the upcoming future, cars for the most part designed for the city with our highly personal interpretation, for our debut within the Group."

The Go! concept is a small MPV that places an emphasis on passenger space and efficiency with a wheelbase that is the same as the Passat. The Tex is the more fun model of the two. The Go! gets its power from VW's Blue-e-motion EV system, while the Tex uses a plug-in hybrid system.

Audi A3 Sedan Concept Leaked on Eve of Geneva Debut

Is it worth even calling them leaks anymore? It seems like right before every auto show photos of upcoming models leak out before their official debut. Oh well... Here is your first look at the A3 sedan concept, that yes, has leaked before it's official debut in Geneva.

The A3 sedan concept previews a new sedan version of the next-generation A3. It's overall styling isn't anything too surprising, since it shares much of its styling traits with its larger family members. What is exciting, is what lies under the hood of this concept. The A3 sedan concept is powered by a turbocharged five-cylinder that puts out 408 horsepower.

2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Finally Official

After several photo leaks and much speculation, the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 has been officially unveiled in Geneva.

The Aventador is powered by a 690 horsepower 6.5L V12 that is mated to the new ISR (Independent Shifting Rod) transmission. All of that power is put to the ground via Lamborghini's Haldex 4-wheel drive system. It reaches 0-62 mph in 2.9 seconds and has a top speed of 217 mph. Even with all of the power on tap the Aventador is 20 percent more fuel efficient than the Murcielago.

There will be 13 different exterior colors available, including three matte colors.

What does it cost? Around $380,000.

VW Bulli Concept is New Take on the Microbus

The original VW bus debuted 60 years ago in 1950. In Germany it was known as the Bulli, but here in the US it was called the Microbus. Years later in 2001, VW took the wraps off the Microbus concept, which excited everyone just as much as the New Beetle in the 90's. Unfortunately VW's management killed any plans for the concept to enter production.

Fast forward to 2011 and VW has released another take on its original microbus, the Bulli Concept. The Bulli Concept has a face that recalls the Microbus concept, but is attached to a much smaller concept. The new concept is more compact than the concept from 10 years ago and is powered by an electric motor. Under the hood the Bulli is powered by a 113-hp electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. It's able to travel up to 186 miles between charges. When it is recharged at a "electric refuelling station" the charging process only takes an hour. Although the Bulli can travel up to 186 miles, it takes 11.5 seconds to reach 0-62 mph and has a top speed of 87 mph.

Although the concept is being shown off with an electric motor, it can also incorporate VW's small 1.0L and 1.4L gas and diesel engines.

There's no word yet if the Bulli will be produced.

Ford B-Max Debuts in Geneva

Ford has officially unveiled the new B-Max minivan that rides on the same platform as the Fiesta.

The very compact B-Max features styling that is similar to the larger C-Max, but features a unique design that deletes the traditional B-pillar. Instead the B-pillar is integrated into the front and twin rear sliding doors. The B-Max is 4.3 inches longer than the Fiesta 5-door.

Under the hood the B-Max is powered by a new 1.0L three-cylinder EcoBoost gas engine. The small turbocharged engine features start/stop technology, direct fuel injection and twin independent variable cam timing.

MTM Audi R8 Unveiled with 777 Horsepower

MTM plans on unveiling their latest version of the Audi R8 V10 Biturbo at the Geneva Motor Show this week.

The MTM Audi R8 Biturbo puts out a massive 777 horsepower and 655 lb-ft. of torque from its twin-turbocharged V10. It reaches 0-62 mph in 3.0 seconds and has a top speed of 218 mph.

In addition to the MTM R8 Biturbo, MTM is also bring a version of the TT RS to the show that puts out 472 horsepower.

Xenatec Maybach Cruiserio Coupe Unveiled Ahead of Geneva Debut

Xenatec is going to debut the Cruiserio Coupe at the Geneva Motor Show this week. The large coupe is based on the Maybach 57 S and was designed by Xenatec designer Fredrik Burchhardt.

The exterior of the coupe is two-tone matte finish that has been applied by hand in several layers to create a shimmering brass tone. The interior features non-dyed buffalo leather plus dark nappa leather in expresso brown. The footwells are also lined in blackberry colored alcantara.

There's no word yet on how much this coupe will actually cost.

2012 Ford Focus Officially Rated at 40 MPG on the Highway

Ford has announced that the 2012 Focus has been officially rated at 40 mpg on the highway. That's great news for Ford and Ford fans, since the 2012 Focus is among the top of its class now.

It's great news that the Focus gets 40 mpg, but just like the 2012 Civic, not every model is able to achieve that number. The 2012 Focus with the SFE (Super Fuel Economy) package with the six-speed automatic transmission is the only model that gets 40 mpg. It features 16-inch steel wheels with aero wheel covers, active grille shutters, high-efficiency tires, four-wheel disc brakes and a rear spoiler.

Hyundai can still celebrate the fact that even though the Focus with the SFE package gets 40 mpg, all versions of the Hyundai Elantra can achieve that number.

Geneva 11' Preview: Fiat 500 by Gucci...the Ultimate Accessory

Fiat and Gucci have come together to create a very special Fiat 500. The new Fiat 500 by Gucci is going to debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week. The special edition Fiat 500 was created to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Gucci.

Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini stated, "In the 50s, the Fiat 500 created a style revolution when it first hit the road. It quickly became the must-have car of its time. Travelling in style has also been at the heart of Gucci ever since Guccio Gucci founded his company as a producer of leather trunks, suitcases and handbags in 1921."

The 500 by Gucci is available in either white or black and features special chrome accents, 16-inch alloy wheels and Gucci's signature stripe down the side of the car. Inside Gucci's logo has been applied to the B-pillar and the seats.

Sales are expected to start in Europe in April, but there is no word if it will come to the US.

Project Kahn is Working on a Modified Aston Martin Cygnet

Still scratching your head wondering why Aston Martin decided to rebadge the Toyota iQ minicar, to create the Aston Martin Cygnet? Most of us are... But it looks like Project Kahn is currently working on a modification kit for the mini Aston Martin.

Project Kahn has released a single photo of a modified Cygnet. Project Kahn is in the middle of developing new kits for the Cygnet and is holding brainstorming sessions about it.

We're still waiting for BMW to officially unveil the next M5, but in the meantime the guys over at Alpina have created the B5 BiTurbo Touring, which is based on the new 5 Series Touring.

The Alpina B5 Touring is powered by the same 4.4L V8 as the sedan, but in the B5 Touring the engine puts out 507 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. 0-62 mph is reached in 4.8 seconds and the wagon has a top speed of 187 mph. Other additions include a new aero kit and 20-spoke wheels. BMW has no plans for an M5 wagon, so this is your only choice if you were waiting for one.

Geneva 11' Preview: 2012 Saab 9-5 SportCombi is a Stylish Wagon

Saab has released more photos of the 9-5 SportCombi ahead of its debut in Geneva next week.

The 9-5 SportCombi is pretty much the same as the 9-5 sedan with a more versatile rear. This means it will likely have the same four and six-cylinder turbo engines. Saab's XWD all-wheel-drive system will also be available. Sales are expected to kick off later this year.

Geneva 11' Preview: First Look at the Chevy Cruze Hatchback

GM has released three official photos of the upcoming Chevy Cruze Hatchback (HB5) that will be officially unveiled next week in Geneva.

The Cruze hatchback remains very close to the concept that was unveiled late last year. When it is released it will be powered by the same engine lineup as the sedan. Unfortunately GM has not announced any plans to bring it to the US.

Geneva 11' Preview: Lamborghini Aventador Photos Leaked

Lamborghini has yet to officially unveil the Aventador supercar, which is set to debut next week, but that hasn't stopped the photo leaks. Here are two photos to hold you over until it's officially unveiled.

2012 Infiniti M Hybrid Starts at $53,700

Infiniti has announced the pricing for the 2012 M Hybrid, which starts at $53,700. Infiniti claims that the M Hybrid is the "Only Vehicle in America to Offer More Than 350 Horsepower, 30+ MPG Fuel Economy."

The Infiniti M Hybrid is powered by Infiniti's 3.5L V6 that is mated to a 50 kW electric motor, which puts out a total 360 horsepower. It's estimated to get 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

"We're excited to be able to bring in the new Infiniti M Hybrid - with its exceptional blend of power, efficiency, style, luxury and technology - at an M.S.R.P. of under $54,000," said Infiniti Vice President Ben Poore. "Competitively priced, though with little real direct competition, we expect the M Hybrid to continue the strong sales momentum the new Infiniti M Sedan has been experiencing since its launch in the 2011 model year."

Saab has a refreshed 9-3 for the 2012 model year that will be unveiled next week in Geneva. In addition to the new 9-3, Saab has also announced the limited edition Saab 9-3 Convertible Independence Edition.

The Saab 9-3 Convertible Independence Edition celebrates the first anniversary of Saab's independence from GM and the 25th anniversary of Saab's first convertible. The limited edition convertible is based on the Aero trim model and is only available with the 180-hp 1.9L turbo diesel mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It's further distinguished on the outside by an amber orange metallic paint and five-spoke 18-inch wheels. Inside there are parchment sport leather seats, a carbon fiber look leather finish on the instrument panel and an orange stitched leather steering wheel.

Only 366 units will be produced.

Smart ForSpeed Concept Looks Sportier Than the ForTwo?

Smart is going to be showing off the Smart ForSpeed next week at the Geneva Motor Show, but in the meantime we have several photos of the concept to hold us over.

The Smart ForSpeed concept is powered by a rear-mounted 41 horsepower electric motor that can propel the concept from 0-37 mph in 5.5 seconds and has a top speed of 75 mph. At least it only takes 45 minutes to charge the concept up to 80 percent and it can travel up to 85 miles on a single charge.

Lexus has released a new set of photos of the LFA Nürburgring Package ahead of its debut in Geneva next week.

The Nürburgring package is meant to celebrate the LFA's wins at the Nürburgring 24 Hours race and will only be available on 50 of the total 500 LFAs to be produced. The package adds a 10 hp increase bringing the final total to 562 horsepower from the V10 engine. To improve the car's track performance the package includes modifications on the outside, such as a larger front spoiler, fin-type side spoilers, a canard fin and a fixed rear wing.

The exterior can only be painted in atte black, black, white or orange, with interiors finished in black and red, black and purple and all-black. The Nürburgring package adds another $70,000 on top of the $375,000 base price for the LFA. If you also want it in matte black, you will need to add another $20,000 on top of that...

2012 Saab 9-3 Gets a Facelift

Saab is giving the 9-3 a facelift for the 2012 model year and here are the first two official photos of the new 9-3.

The 2012 Saab 9-3 gets a refreshed exterior with new headlights that adopt the "ice block" headlight effect introduced on the 9-5. The grille and front bumper have also been restyled and outback the SAAB wordmark replaces badging on the chrome trim. Inside the cabin gets a makeover with a new titanium metallic-effect trim.

Under the hood more efficient gas engines deliver an average combined cycle improvement of 4% in fuel consumption. The 2.0L gasoline engine puts out 163 horsepower or 220 horsepower (10 HP increase) depending on which model you choose. Saab continues to offer the 1.9L diesel in Europe that puts out either 130, 160, or 180 horsepower.

Have you been missing the Golf Cabriolet in the VW lineup? Well it's back! Here are the first official photos of the Golf Cabriolet that is going to be unveiled in Geneva next week.

Based on the current generation Golf, the Golf Cabriolet seats four and has an electric canvas roof. The canvas roof takes only 9.5 seconds to be raised or lowered and can be operated at speeds up to 18 mph. Unlike past Golf Cabriolets, the new one does away with a fixed central rollbar and instead gets a pop-up system that is similar to the Eos.

Speaking of the Eos, the Golf Cabriolet is smaller and will slot below it in the VW lineup. In Europe the VW Cabriolet will be powered by a range of diesel and gas engines. Sales will begin this summer in Europe. VW hasn't announced when it will be offered in the U.S.

Geneva 11' Preview: Jaguar XKR-S Unveiled with 550-HP

Jaguar is set to debut the Jaguar XKR-S at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

"The XKR-S is a bold and exciting new model for Jaguar," said Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar's new Global Brand Director. "We expect to attract both loyal and new Jaguar driving enthusiasts who still want the comfort, opulence and class only a Jaguar can offer, combined with inspirational performance."

The Jaguar XKR-S gets an even more powerful supercharged V8 that now puts out 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft. of torque. It reaches 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph.

2012 Aston Martin Virage and Virage Volante Unveiled

Aston Martin has officially unveiled the 202 Virage and Virage Volante, which are based on the brand's VH architecture. The Virage and Virage Volante are going to slot in between the DB9 and DBS in the Aston Martin lineup.

Since the Virage sits in between the DB9 and DBS it is the perfect balance of the two. The car remains understated and luxurious like the DB9, but has more power and increased performance. It's powered by a 6.0L V12 engine that puts out 490 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Virage and Virage Volante are going to be officially unveiled in Geneva next week, but the models are already on sale. Pricing will be announced at the show.

Mini continues to expand its lineup with new models like the Countryman SUV and Clubman. Both of those models took the Mini line into "larger" territory, but it looks like Mini is also thinking about returning to its roots. Mini has unveiled the Rocketman Concept, which at just over 11 feet long, is smaller than the current Mini Cooper and features a unique 3+1 seating setup.

The Mini Rocketman isn't only a smaller Mini, it's also lighter thanks to the use of carbon fiber, which is visible at the front of the concept and around the doors. It's carbon spaceframe construction and small size allow the concept to average fuel consumption of just three liters per 100 kilometers (94 mpg Imperial), which is approximately 78 mpg on the US cycle.

Geneva 11' Preview: Subaru Boxer Sports Car Architecture Teased

The Geneva Motor Show is almost here, just one more week to go. Until then we get to see several previews of what we will see at the show. Subaru has set up a website for its new RWD car (FT-86) that its developed with Toyota and that will be unveiled at the show.

The site features a teaser of the boxer engine that will power the new coupe.

Stay tuned...

Geneva 11' Preview: Lamborghini Shows off the Aventador's Chassis

Lamborghini has released a photo of the rolling chassis of the new V12 Aventador super car that is going to be officially unveiled in Geneva next week.

We've already seen the new 700 horsepower 6.5L V12 engine that will power the super car and now we have a look at the chassis, which uses a lot of carbon fiber. Thanks to the use of carbon fiber, the chassis only weighs 324 lbs.

Come back for more next week...

Geneva 11' Preview: Jeep Grand Cherokee Gets a New V6 Diesel

Chrysler is going to be unveiling a new diesel powered Jeep Grand Cherokee in Geneva next month.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is getting a new V6 diesel engine that is built by VM Motori and that was developed together with Fiat. The 3.0L V6 uses Fiat's MultiJet II system and a single turbocharger. It will be available in two versions, with the most powerful version putting out 241 horsepower and 406 lb-ft. of torque. The lesser powered model puts out 190 horsepower and 324 lb-ft. of torque.

It isn't known if this diesel will be offered in the US.

GMC Granite Reportedly Approved for Production...Again

GM officially unveiled the GMC Granite concept at the Detroit Auto Show last year and by the summer there were reports that the Granite had been approved for production. Of course GM's PR team officially killed those rumors, but now there are reports that the concept has been given the green light.

The latest sources claim that the GMC Granite has been green-lighted and that it will go into production with the suicide doors featured on the concept. Don't expect to see it in dealerships anytime soon, since it's not expected until the 2013 or 2014 model year. The Granite will be based on the same platform as the Chevy Orlando, Volt and Cruze. It's most closely related to the Orlando, which is not coming to the US.

Volvo is about to debut the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid at the Geneva Motor Show. The V60 diesel plug-in hybrid that will be unveiled at the show is pretty much a production ready model and will be launched in 2012.

The V60 plug-in hybrid is powered by two drivetrains at each end of the vehicle. A 2.4L five-cylinder turbodiesel with 215 horsepower and 324 lb-ft. of torque sits at the front of the wagon, while a 70 horsepower electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack power the rear axle. The V60 plug-in hybrid can reach 0-62 mph in 6.9 seconds.

By the press of a button the plug-in hybrid can be operated in three different modes: Pure, Hybrid and Power. In Pure mode the car runs on as much electric power as possible and can drive up to 32 miles on electricity alone. Hybrid mode is the default mode whenever the car is started. In hybrid mode the car can travel up to 746 miles. In power mode the two drivetrains combine to maximize the total power output.

Geneva 11' Preview: Maserati GranCabrio Sport Unveiled

Maserati has taken the wraps off the GranCabrio Sport that will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

The four-seat convertible GranCabrio Sport is a more powerful version of the GranCabrio, which is powered by a 450 horsepower 4.7L V8 that is mated to a ZF six-speed automatic transmission. The six-speed transmission features MC Auto Shift software to yield a faster gearshift response. The suspension has also been upgraded with a revision of the Skyhook active-suspension system, which features sportier tuning and also adopts upgraded brakes.

The GranCabrio Sport will go on sale this summer.

Toyota Announces the Plural of Prius = Prii

The Toyota Prius is about to become four models with the upcoming release of the Prius Plug-in, Prius V and the compact Prius C. Just in case you were wondering what the plural of Prius would be, Toyota has officially chosen "Prii."

Toyota actually held a vote on the official plural name for the Prius at the Detroit Auto Show in January and unveiled the winning word at the Chicago Auto Show. More than 1.8 million votes were cast and Prii managed to beat out Prius, Priuses, Prium and Prien.

"Community has always been a big part of the Prius brand, so it was only fitting that we invite the online communities to participate in the plural discussion," said Colin Morisako, advertising manager for Toyota. "The people have spoken-Prii will be the accepted term used to describe multiple Prius vehicles going forward."

BMW i Sub-Brand Launched...BMW i3 and i8 to be Released in 2013

BMW has been working on a new range of eco friendly vehicles like the Vision EfficientDynamics supercar for a while. It wasn't known how BMW planned on naming its "green" vehicles until now. BMW has just announced a new sub-brand, dubbed the BMW i.

The BMW i sub-brand will focus on "developing sustainable mobility solutions." The first two models will be launched in 2013 as the BMW i3 and BMW i8. The i3 will be the production version of the MegaCity and the i8 the VisionEfficient Dynamics. Both models will be produced at BMW's Leipzig plant.

It's been known for a while that Audi intends on releasing a sedan version of its next-generation A3. Audi has just released a few sketches of the A3 sedan concept that will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

The A3 concept is a preview of what the next A3 will look like. It packs five-cylinder engine with 408 horsepower that is mated to a seven speed S tronic transmission and Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

Expect more info in two weeks.

2013 Chevy Cruze to Get a 2.0L Diesel in the US

GM is set to offer its first diesel powered passenger car in the US since 1985 in 2013. Sources are claiming that GM is currently working on a new diesel engine for the Chevy Cruze that will be offered for the 2013 model year.

The Chevy Cruze is currently sold all over the world and outside of the US it is offered with both gasoline and diesel engines, but currently only gasoline engines are offered in the US. Not much is known about the diesel that will be offered in the US, other than the fact that it will be a 2.0L. In Australia the Cruze is offered as the Holden Cruze and the diesel powered Cruze CDX has a 2.0L diesel that puts out around 147 horsepower and 235 lb-ft. of torque. It's not known if the US will get this same engine, but it would make sense...

All BMW 4-Cyl Engines will be Turbocharged

BMW recently unveiled its new turbocharged 2.0L engine in the X1. The 2.0L engine is expected to be offered in several BMW models. According to Autocar, BMW plans on using a turbocharger on every version of the 2.0L. Each of BMW's 4-cyl engines will be based on the 2.0L aluminum block, but with different turbochargers and engine management.

The first model we will see with the four-cylinder is the X1. The four-cylinder is also expected to be offered in the next 3 Series as well as the Z4.

In the X1 the four-cylinder in the X1 xDrive28i puts out 245 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque.

Jaguar is going to unveil the Bertone 99 (B99) concept in Geneva next month. Jaguar has teamed up with Bertone to create the concept car that is said to be a preview of a new entry level model from Jaguar.

Bertone design director Mike Robinson stated, "Jaguar is looking at a new design direction and a small car -- and we think this is the right style, with a very light glasshouse and the visual weight concentrated on to the wheels."

The small Jag, which is in the early stages of development will compete with the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 models.

2012 Honda Civic Officially Unveiled...Kinda Boring?

Honda has officially unveiled the all-new 2012 Civic.

The 2012 Civic looks pretty much the same as the concept versions we saw in Detroit, which means that overall the new Civic does not look that much different than the current generation. Honda is playing it safe with the next Civic, which may not be a good idea with all the new competition from Ford, Hyundai and GM.

The 2012 Civic continues to only be offered in two body styles (coupe and sedan). For 2012 there is a new version of the Civic, the Civic HF, which is the most fuel efficient version of the Civic, besides the Civic Hybrid. The Civic HF is powered by a 1.8L engine and gets 41 mpg on the highway. The most fuel efficient model, the Civic Hybrid is now powered by a larger 1.5L engine and a lithium-ion battery pack. It gets 45 mpg on the highway, which is an improvement from 41 mpg for the 2011 model.

The standard Civic sedan and coupe are powered by a 1.8L with 140 horsepower and gets 39 mpg on the highway. Honda is also going to continue to offer the natural gas powered Civic, which gets a seven percent improvement in fuel economy compared to the current model.

The most exciting Civic, the Civic Si returns for 2012 in both body styles and is now powered by a larger 2.4L engine and a new six-speed manual transmission. The 2.4L engine puts out 200 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque.

The 2012 Civic will be available this spring.

2012 Mazda3 Gets Mazda's New Skyactiv Engine and Transmission

Mazda has announced that the 2012 Mazda3 will be the first Mazda model to get the brand's new Skyactiv engine and transmission.

Mazda's new Skyactiv engine and transmission provide higher torque at low- and mid-range engine speeds, which results in better drivability and higher fuel economy. In addition to offering the new engine and transmission in the Mazda3, the 2012 Mazda3 gets refreshed with new front and rear bumpers with a redesigned front grill, fog bezels and front headlamps. There are also new 16-inch and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The 2012 Mazda3 is going to debut at the 2011 Canadian International AutoShow.

Hyundai has released the first official photos of the Euorpean-spec i40 wagon that will debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Just in case it looks a little familiar to you, the i40 is basically a European version of the Sonata that we have here in the U.S. Hyundai is going to release the i40 wagon before the sedan version in Europe. What's not known is if the i40 wagon will eventually be sold in here in the U.S. as a Sonata wagon.

We'll have to wait and see. Would you want Hyundai to bring this to the U.S.?

Bentley is hard at work on the development of three new models, which will borrow technology from Porsche.

The first model will be a five-door coupe version of the Contintental GT. It was originally thought that the five-door would be based on the same platform as the Audi A7 and upcoming A9, but instead it is going to be based on the next-generation Panamera. Power will come from a revised W12 engine with around 600-hp, a new turbocharged 4.0L V8 and a diesel.

Next is a crossover that will be based on the Porsche Cayenne. The Bentley crossover would be based on the Porsche, but would have the same engines as the five-door coupe.

The last model is a new coupe that would fit in below the Contintental GT in the Bentley range. It would mainly compete with the Maserati GranTurismo and Mercedes SL63 AMG.

We're going to have to wait a bit to see any of these models, which won't arrive until the next Panamera in 2015.

Bill Ford Jr. Confirms Turbocharged Mustang on the Way

There has been some speculation for a while that Ford's EcoBoost line of turbocharged engines would eventually find its way under the hood of the Ford Mustang. Well we now have confirmation that it's going to happen.

Ford chairman Bill Ford Jr. spoke to an audience at Princeton last night and luckily he invited a few questions. A Jalopnik reader was on hand and asked the chairman if Ford had plans to offer an EcoBoost engine in the Mustang. Bill Ford Jr. confirmed that an EcoBoost engine will be offered in the Mustang, but he stopped short of giving any other details.

So now we get to speculate if Ford is going to offer its turbocharged 3.5L V6 or the smaller 2.0L four-cylinder. Just in case you're wondering if a Mustang has ever been offered with a turbocharged engine, in 1984 Ford produced the Mustang SVO. The Mustang SVO was powered by a turbocharged 2.3L that put out 175 horsepower.

Stay tuned...

Geneva 11' Preview: Land Rover Range_e Diesel Plug-In Hybrid to Debut

The 2011 Geneva Motor Show is almost here. Land Rover has announced plans to bring four models to the show the: Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition, Discovery 4 'Landmark' Limited Editions and the Electric 'Range_e', that you see here.

The Electric 'Range_e' diesel hybrid plug-in prototype is based on the Range Rover Sport and is powered by a 3.0L TDV6 diesel and electric motor that is mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. The driving range of the Range_e is almost 700 miles and the SUV can drive up to 20 miles on electricity alone.

Geneva 11' Preview: 2012 Porsche Panamera S Hybrid Unveiled

Porsche is set to debut its second hybrid model, the Panamera S Hybrid at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

The 2012 Panamera S Hybrid is powered by a supercharged 3.0L V6 that puts out 333 horsepower and that is mated to a 47 horsepower electric motor. The total 380 horsepower accelerates the Panamera from 0-62 mph in 6.0 seconds and it has a top speed of 168 mph. It can drive on electricity alone up to 1.24 miles and up to speeds as high as 53 mph. The Panamera S Hybrid also has a "sailing" mode that allows the system to disengage the gas engine at speeds up to 103 mph when its coasting along on the highway.

Sales of the Panamera S Hybrid are expected to start in Europe this summer with sales in the U.S. kicking off sometime after that.

Next-Gen 2012 BMW M5 to be Automatic Only

We've been seeing spy shots of the next-generation BMW M5 for a while now. What we are learning now is that the M5 will be the first M5 that will only be available with an automatic transmission. This means no manual or twin-clutch option will be available.

The next M5 is going to be powered by a turbocharged 4.4L V8 that will be mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic with a manumatic option. Apparently the torque rating of the 4.4L V8 was too high for BMW to use the Getrag M Dual Clutch Transmission (M DCT) in the new M5. BMW

GM Working on Next-Gen 2014 Colorado and Canyon Pickups

The small pickup market isn't what it used to be and today is largely only dominated by the Toyota Tacoma. Ford is actually ditching the market with the upcoming death of the Ranger in the US. But it looks like GM still sees demand in the segment since sources are now reporting that work has begun on the next -generation Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups.

The current Colorado and Canyon will end production in June 2012 at GM's Shreveport plant, but that doesn't mean that they are dead. PickupTrucks is reporting that work has already begun on the next-generation 2014 Colorado and Canyon that will be based on GM's all new GMI 700 body-on-frame global small truck platform. The new platform is expected to be unveiled at he 2011 Thailand International Motor Expo in Bangkok. When the new Colorado and Canyon launch production is expected to shift to GM's Wentzville plant that currently builds the full-size Chevy Express and GMC Savana vans.

Pagani Huayra Officially Confirmed for the US Later this Year

Pagani is going to officially bring its Huayra supercar to the US this fall. Yup that's right, for the first time ever Pagani is going to be sold in the US through a dealer network beginning later this year.

The Zonda's successor, the Huayra supercar is definitely an Italian exotic with its gull wing doors and a 700 horsepower turbocharged V12 engine.

"We are thrilled at the opportunity to represent the Pagani brand in the United States and we look forward to the successful launch of the Huayra," said Horacio Pagani, the company founder.

Pagani is going to announce the official plans to unveil the Huayra in the U.S. at a later date.

Chrysler's Pentastar V6 to get New Eight-Speed Transmission First

Chrysler has already acknowledged plans to add a new eight-speed automatic transmission to some of its models. Now according to the latest sources, the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 equipped with the Penastar V6, will be the first recipients of the new transmission.

The 2012 model year Charger and 300 V6 models will be the first Chrysler models to get the transmission, while the Charger R/T, 300C, Challenger R/T, and SRT8 versions of all three models will continue to have the five-speed automatic. It isn't completely known why Chrysler is choosing to launch the transmission with the lesser powered models first, but it is being speculated that it may be so that any technical issues can be sorted out before it is offered with the more powerful Hemi V8. Another possibility is that the new eight-speed automatic may make a larger fuel economy improvement in the V6 compared to the V8, which would make more of a statement.

Geneva 11' Preview: Infiniti Etherea Concept Unveiled

Infiniti has just released the first photos of the Etherea entry-level concept that is going to be officially unveiled in Geneva next month.

According to Infiniti the Etherea Concept "blends elements of coupe, sedan, hatchback and even crossover in one highly sculptural, near-mono volume form." The concept gives us a glimpse of what a new entry level model from Infiniti could look like. The concept is very compact with a length that is only a few inches longer than a Nissan Versa.

The Etherea concept will be officially unveiled on March 1.

Geneva 11' Preview: Chrysler Ypsilon Supermini Unveiled

Next month Chrysler and Lancia are going to debut the new Ypsilon supermini that will be badged as a Chrysler in the UK.

The Ypsilon is based on a stretched version of the Fiat 500's platform. The five-door will be available with the choice of three engines, a 65-hp 1.2L, a 95-hp 1.3L diesel and a 85-hp two-cylinder TwinAir gas engine.

Lancia is also going to be unveiling a rebadged Chrysler 200 in Geneva, that will be badged as the Flavia in addition to the 300 based Thema.

Geneva 11' Preview: Chrysler 300 Gets Rebadged as the Lancia Thema

Here's your first look at the Lancia Thema and yes if you think it looks a lot like the new Chrysler 300, you would be correct. The Lancia Thema is essentially a Chrysler 300 with a revised grille and bumpers.

Other than the small exterior styling changes, the Thema is not different from the 300. It will be available with either Chrysler's 3.6L Pentastar V6 or a new 3.0L V6 turbo diesel that comes in two versions and is being supplied by Italy's VM.

The Thema will officially go on sale in Europe this October.

After several photos leaks and a spot in a super bowl commercial, the official unveiling of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe is finally here. If you've been saddened by the lack of the CLK in the Mercedes lineup and can't quite afford the entry price for the large E-Class coupe, well then this might be just what you've been wishing for.

"By extending the C-Class portfolio, we are consciously targeting new customers," says Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Head of Sales and Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Cars. "The new model is youthful, stylish and expressive. What we are offering is an exceptionally sporty way to enter the world of the Mercedes-Benz coupe."

The 2012 C-Class coupe will be offered with two engine options, the 201-hp turbocharged 1.8L that powers the C250 and the 304-hp 3.5L V6 that sits under the hood of the C350. Both engines are mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission. If you need more power, the AMG version is expected to be unveiled in April at the New York Auto Show.

Toyota FT-86 to be Called Scion FT-S?

We all wish that Toyota would finally release the much talked about Toyota FT-86 and its Subaru brother. Until then the speculation about the two coupes continues...

The latest rumor is that the production version of the Toyota FT-86 will be officially dubbed the Scion FT-S. Yes that's right, the Toyota FT-86 will officially carry a Scion badge. It's official debut is slated for the New York Auto Show in April...finally! Although before that another concept version is confirmed for the Geneva show...hmmm.

Other reports are also suggesting that the rear-wheel-drive coupe will be powered by a 2.5L rather than the 2.0L that is under the hood of the concept version. The Subaru version will also be differentiated from the Scion version by being all-wheel-drive. The Subaru version is expected to debut in Geneva next month.

Toyota is said to be starting a major Scion marketing push with the FT-S being aimed at the drifting community.

Geneva 11' Preview: 2012 Kia Rio Unveiled

Now that everything has been unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, the next big show is the Geneva Motor Show, next month. Kia is going to be unveiling an all-new Kia Rio at the show and here is your first look at the small car.

The new Rio adopts Kia's latest design language and looks much better than the current generation. The front end is dominated by huge headlights, aggressive lower air intakes and the Kia corporate grille. The Rio has grown a bit, since it is now longer, wider and lower, which translates to more interior room.

Expect more details soon...

More Leaked Photos of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe

Here are some more photos of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe, which is set to be officially unveiled in Geneva next month.

The 2012 C-Class coupe features styling that is similar to its sedan brother. It's roofline is 1.6 inches lower, but it rides on the same 113 inch wheelbase. the C-Class coupe will be offered with the same engines as the sedan as well, which includes the new 201-hp 1.8L in the C250 and the 302-hp 3.5L V6 in the C350. The top Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG coupe will debut at the New York Auto Show in April.

Stay tuned...

2012 Hyundai Accent to Debut in New York

Hyundai is on a roll right now with revamping its entire lineup. The all-new Elantra is rolling out now and next up is the next-gen Accent. The all-new 2012 Accent will be officially unveiled at the New York Auto Show.

The all-new Accent will be offered in sedan and hatchback variants when it's released later this spring. According to Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik, the next Accent will get 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, which is an improvement over the current generation that gets 36 mpg on the highway.

Stay tuned...

Geneva 11' Preview: 2012 Lexus LFA Nurburgring Package

Lexus unveiled the LFA Nurburgring Package last year, but the 2011 Geneva Motor Show will be the first time that the public will get to see the car.

The limited production Nurburgring increases the final output of the 4.8L V10 engine to 562 horsepower and cuts the gear shifts in the six-speed sequential transmission to just 0.15 seconds. It has a top speed of 202 mph and reaches 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds. Only 50 LFA models will be available with the package out of the 500 units Lexus plans to build.

The starting price of the LFA is $375,000, but if you want to add in the Nurburging Package, you will need to add another $70,000 on top of that.

Geneva 11' Preview: BMW Vision ConnectedDrive Concept Unveiled

BMW has unveiled a new two-seat roadster concept, the Vision Connected Drive concept ahead of its world premier in Geneva next month.

This could be a preview of a new smaller roadster from BMW that has been rumored for quite a while. But in addition to that the concept also shows off new technology that could one day be offered in BMW's production models. The ConnectedDrive name refers to current and future methods of mobile networking in a particularly focused way. BMW claims that the comfort, safety and the infotainment experience in the vehicle can be precisely optimized by the innovative functionality, individually tailored to suit the requirements of both the driver and passenger.

Hyundai unveiled the 2012 Veloster at the Detroit Auto Show last month and now unveiled the Veloster Rally car that is the result of Hyundai's partnership with Rhys Millen Racing (RMR) and Red Bull.

The Veloster Rally Car weighs just under 2,700 pounds and is powered by a 500-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The engine is mated to a six-speed transmission and all-wheel-drive.

"We feel the Veloster is a perfect fit for X Games and the U.S. Rallycross Championship series as we expand our motorsports efforts," said Mike O'Brien, vice president, Product and Corporate Planning, Hyundai Motor America. "The all-new 2012 Veloster is a playful, fun to drive car and thanks to Rhys and his team we're excited to introduce it to racing fans ahead of its launch this summer. I teamed up with Rhys' father, Rod, nearly twenty years ago for Hyundai's original Pikes Peak rally program, so it is great to be back in the sport again with his son inspiring a new generation."

Chicago 11': 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata Special Edition

Mazda has now produced 900,000 MX-5 Miatas and to celebrate the milestone and the 22 years that the MX-5 Miata has been produced, Mazda has unveiled a new Special Edition model.

The 2011 MX-5 Miata Special Edition gets an exclusive interior with gray door trim and heated leather seats with gray stitching, a black leather-wrapped parking brake and steering wheel with contrasting gray stitching, chrome treatments to the air vents and instrument cluster as well as aluminum pedals on the manual transmission equipped MX-5 Miata. The Special Edition MX-5 Miata is only available in Sparkling Black Mica or Dolphin Gray Mica.

Only 750 units will produced with prices starting at $30,925.

BMW X6 Gets an Optional Three-Seater Rear Seat

One of the biggest drawbacks of the current BMW X6 is that it only sits up to four passengers. This spring BMW is going to change that by offering a a three-seater rear seat option.

The new rear seat is available on BMW X6 models except the ActiveHybrid X6, but you can get it with the X6 M. The new rear seat does away with the extra storage space in the center of the seat on the four-seater X6. The five-seater X6 is also optionally available in Nevada and Exclusive Nappa leather as well as BMW Individual Merino leather, encompassing the entire color range. Other changes to the X6 and its X5 brother include the availability of new 20-inch alloy wheels, an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters and the addition of BMW Apps feature to the BMW ConnectedDrive package.

Geneva 11' Preview: Suzuki to Show off Swift S-Concept

Suzuki has released a teaser photo of the Swift S-Concept that will debut in Geneva next month.

The Swift S-Concept is based on the Swift, but features a "more sporty and exciting" design theme. Suzuki hasn't released any other details about the concept.

Stay tuned...

Chicago 11': 2012 Acura TL Gets a Less Offensive New Face

Acura's current TL is anything but pretty. Although it has a nice interior and drives great, many people have not been able to get past the ugly exterior. For 2012 Acura has addressed some of those concerns with, what it is calling a refreshed TL with new front and rear fascias.

The front of the TL, which received most of the criticism gets a new toned down version of Acrua's current grille and the rear of the TL gets a few changes that are not as obvious. Under the hood the TL is still powered by the same 3.5L and 3.7L engines, although the automatic transmission now has six gears, which improves the fuel economy numbers. The SH-AWD TL gets new optional 19-inch wheels and the HDD navigation system has been upgraded to 60 GB. A new Advance Package adds things like cooled seats and blind spot information system.

The new TL will launch later this year.

Chicago 11': 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 Packs 550-HP

GM has officially taken the wraps off the most powerful Camaro, the Camaro ZL1, which borrows its name from the 1969 Camaro ZL1.

"Camaro ZL1 is about high-tech performance and design, and is a type of car no one has ever brought to this segment previously," said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. "It's the most technically advanced Camaro ever, so we've chosen a name from the most elite and exclusive Camaro in history."

The 2012 Camaro ZL1 is powered by a supercharged 6.2L LSA V8 that puts out an estimated 550 horsepower and 550 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission that features a twin-disc clutch. The Camaro ZL1 is also equipped with a dual-mode exhaust system which alters the sound level and character in response to engine rpm. The suspension has been revised and features Magnetic Ride Control, which includes driver selectable modes (Tour and Sport). To help stop all that power the Camaro ZL1 features advanced track-capable braking system, developed with Brembo. It features large 14.6 two-piece front rotors and 14.4 inch rear rotors. Lastly the Camaro ZL1 is the first Camaro to get electric power steering.

The Camaro ZL1 gets a unique front fascia and an aluminum hood with a raised carbon fiber insert. the front fascia includes a front splitter and new vertical fog lamps. The hood features front-mounted air extractors that direct air precisely over the car and increase downforce. The rear of the ZL1 includes a diffuser and spoiler. new 20-inch aluminum wheels are lighter than the 20-inch wheels on the Camaro SS.

All of the Camaro exterior colors will be offered with the ZL1, but black is the only interior color.

Hyundai has unveiled the changes to the Genesis sedan, the sedan that proved that Hyundai could play well in the luxury arena. The big news for 2012 Genesis sedan is an all-new R-Spec trim level that comes with an all-new direct-injected 5.0L V8.

The new 5.0L V8 is Hyundai's most powerful engine ever and puts out 429 horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of torque. The 5.0L V8 is mated to a new in-house eight-speed transmission. The new transmission helps the 5.0L V8 get 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, which is very close to the 17/26 numbers that the 4.6L V8 gets. In addition to the new engine, the R-Spec model gets more aggressive chassis tuning with larger stabilizer bars and unique 19-inch alloy wheels. The front brake rotors have also increased in size from 13.0 inches to 13.6. The R-Spec will be differentiated from the lesser powered models with unique headlights, badging and will only be offered in three colors: Black Noir, Titanium Gray, and Platinum Metallic. 2012_hyundai_genesis_sedan_3.jpg

The 3.8L V6 has also been upgraded with direct injection, which boosts final output to 333 horsepower from 290 horsepower. Peak torque also rises from 262 lb-ft. to 291 lb-ft. All Genesis models get a few design updates as well for the 2012 model year, this includes a new grille with a more aggressive front fascia and new headlights with LED accents. The standard 17-inch alloy wheels have been freshened and there are new taillights.

Infiniti released a single teaser photo of a new entry-level concept that will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month, earlier this week. The official details of the concept remain scarce, but according to sources that spoke with Motor Trend, the concept dubbed "Etheria" will actually be a two-door coupe. The two-door coupe will be the first project from the new partnership between Nissan-Renault and Mercedes-Benz. If the sources are correct the coupe will be based on the same platform as the next-gen Renault Megane and Nissan Tiida and will be powered by Mercedes' 202-hp 1.8L CGI turbocharged 4-cyl engine.

Nissan has released a preview of the ESFLOW concept that the company plans on unveiling in Geneva next month. The ESFLOW is a rear-wheel-drive two-seater that has a similar shape like the 370Z, but is a pure electric vehicle.

The concept is meant to show that it's possible to create an electric car that is actually fun. The ESFLOW concept uses the same lithium-ion battery pack as the Nissan Leaf, but it has twin electric motors, one at each rear wheel. The motors independently control the left and right rear wheels and have enough power to propel the concept from 0-62 mph in under 5 seconds.

Chicago 11': Camaro Z28 is Actually the Camaro ZL1

We've been talking about the upcoming Chevy Camaro Z28 for a while now, but it looks like the official name is going to be the Camaro ZL1. The Chevy press conference in Chicago hasn't happened yet, but this quick shot taken from the floor (by a Camaro5 forum member) shows off the new ZL1 emblem.

The 2012 Camaro ZL1 will be powered by a 6.2L Supercharged V8 LSA engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Expect more info soon...

Dodge has announced limited production 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic and SRT8 392 models that are featured in a new Green With Envy exterior color.

The new Green With Envy color pays tribute to some of more wild paint colors of Dodge's past like the "Sublime" and "Green Go" Dodge Challengers from the 1970's. The Dodge Challenger R/T Classic Green With Envy is powered by a 375-hp 5.7L Hemi V8 and starts at $35,785. The Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 Green With Envy is powered by a 470-hp 6.4L Hemi V8 and starts at $44,875.

Production of both models will begin this month.

Just in case you haven't heard, Dodge has an all-new Durango for 2011. While we've already seen the new Durango, Dodge has just announced a new Heat package for the 2011 Durango. The Dodge Durango Heat features all the style of the V8 powered Durango R/T, minus the Hemi V8.

The Durango Heat is being labeled as a new affordable performance package for the all-new 2011 Dodge Durango. It's powered by Chrysler's new 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 295-hp and gets up to 23 mpg on the highway. The Durango Heat shares the R/T's performance-biased engineering, including its suspension tuning, steering, 20-inch wheels, a 20-mm lower ride height, and tuned dual-exhaust.

Inside the Durango Heat is only available with two rows of seats, making it the lightest Durango model. The 2011 Dodge Durango Heat starts at $30,295

Chicago 11': 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 Packs 465 HP Under the Hood

The 2011 Chicago Auto Show has kicked off and here we go... Chrysler has announced that the Dodge Charger SRT8 will return for the 2012 model year and along with that announcement is our first look at the new Charger SRT8.

For 2012 the Charger SRT8 returns and builds upon the recently introduced Charger. Under the hood is a new 6.4L HEMI V8 that replaces the 6.1L V8 HEMI. The 6.4L puts out an estimated 465 horsepower and 465 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with standard paddle shifters. Although the new 6.4L puts out more power than the old 6.1L, the new engine is more fuel efficient thanks to Chrysler's Fuel Saver technology and a new adaptive valve exhaust system. The suspension is now an adaptive damping suspension that has "Auto" and "Sport" settings that uses vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and lateral acceleration, to automatically tune the suspension for specific conditions.

Chrysler claims that the Charger SRT8 has a top speed of 175 mph and reaches 0-60 mph in the "high 4-second range."

The 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 will be available this fall.

Chicago 11': 2012 VW Jetta GLI Unveiled and Starts at $23,495

VW has announced the debut at the 2012 VW Jetta GLI, which will be officially unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show this week.

The 2012 Jetta GLI is powered by VW's turbocharged 2.0L that puts out 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a standard six speed manual transmission, but the DSG automatic is available and has steering wheel mounted paddles shifters. EPA figure haven't been released, but VW expects the Jetta GLI to get 31 mpg on the highway with the manual and 32 mpg on the highway with the DSG automatic.

In addition to the turbocharged engine, the Jetta GLI also gets a track tuned suspension, four wheel disc brakes with red calipers, and the XDS cross differential system that debuted on the VW GTI, that helps prevent inside wheel spin during cornering.

The Jetta GLI is available in three trim levels, the Jetta GLI has a starts at $23,495. The GLI Autobahn, starts at $25,545 and adds 18" alloy wheels, sunroof, dual zone climate control, heated Leatherette seats and the Fender audio system. The top of the line Jetta GLI Autobahn with Navigation adds a navigation system and keyless access with push-button start technology and starts at $26,445.

Chicago 11' Preview: 2011 Toyota Matrix Gets a Tiny Facelift

The 2011 Chicago Auto Show kicks off this week and although Toyota has nothing big planned for the show, a refreshed 2011 Matrix will be there.

Toyota has given the 2011 Matrix a very small facelift, which includes new front and rear bumpers, restyled alloy wheels and the addition of one new color, Spruce Mica. Inside there are new seats fabrics and the gauges on the instrument panel get new silver ornamentation.

Matrix buyers can choose between two engines under the hood, the 132-hp 1.8L or the 158-hp 2.4L that is standard in the Matrix S. The 1.8L can be mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, while the 2.4L can be mated to either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic. The Matrix S can also be equipped with all-wheel-drive.

2012 Subaru Impreza to Debut in New York?

Subaru is set to launch a new Impreza sometime this year for the 2012 model year and our first look at the new Impreza may come as soon as the New York Auto Show. Subaru unveiled the Impreza Concept at the LA Auto Show last November, but at that time Subaru did not announce when we could expect a new Impreza.

Tom Doll, Subaru of America executive vice president, recently confirmed that the new Impreza will launch this August in the U.S. and Japan. It's expected that Subaru will use the upcoming New York Auto Show for the official unveiling.

Chicago 11' Preview: 2012 Acura TL Teaser Released

Acura is going to be unveiling a refreshed 2012 TL at the Chicago Auto Show this week. Acura hasn't released any details for what we can expect other than this photo that was released today. The current generation TL has received a lot of criticism due to it's ugly nose, so we're hoping that the refresh will mainly focus on that. This teaser photo doesn't really reveal much though, since it's just a shot of the rear.

Stay tuned for the unveiling in a few days.

Honda Fit Overtakes Toyota Prius for the Top Sales Crown in Japan

For 20 months straight the Toyota Prius was the best-selling car in Japan, but last month the Prius lost that title to the Honda Fit.

Last month the Honda Fit took the top spot, which it hasn't held in almost two years. Honda Fit sales were up 14 percent in Japan in January, with about half of them being the Fit hybrid.

2012 Buick Regal eAssist Officially Gets 26/37 mpg

At the LA Auto Show last year GM unveiled the 2012 Buick LaCrosse with GM's fuel saving eAssist technology. The eAssist technology is expected to be offered on many other GM models and now it's been applied to the 2012 Buick Regal.

The 2012 Buick Regal with eAssist will be officially unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show this week. In the Regal the eAssist system as been mated to the Regal's 2.4L four-cylinder. The eAssist system uses a 115V lithium-ion battery and a small 15 horsepower electric motor. Regenerative braking and automatic start/stop also help the Regal get 26 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

Other changes to the Regal with eAssist include new 17-inch alloy wheels and tires with lower rolling resistance, an eco mode for the air conditioning system, an eco gauge on the instrument panel to that continuously responds to driving behavior, and a powerflow readout in the 7-inch infotainment screen.

The 2012 Buick Regal with eAssist will go on sale this fall.

The Chevy Impala's platform dates back to 1988 and although the current Impala is getting a tad bit old, we still have a few more years until an all-new Impala is set to debut. In the meantime GM is going to update the 2012 Impala with GM's 3.6L V6 that will be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2012 Impala is slated to get a version of the 3.6L V6 that is known internally as the LFX, which is slated to be introduced in several 2012 GM vehicles, including the Chevy Camaro. It's not known what other changes GM has planned for the 2012 Impala, although sources are stating that the only change is the engine.

An all-new Impala isn't expected until sometime in 2013 as a 2014 model.

Chicago 11' Preview: Updated 2012 Hyundai Genesis to Debut

Hyundai is going to unveil an updated version of the Genesis this week in Chicago.

The 2012 Hyundai Genesis is going to get a refresh and be more powerful thanks to a 429-hp V8 engine, according to Hyundai CEO John Krafcik. Sales of the refreshed 2012 Genesis will start in March with prices between $45,000-$50,000.

Geneva 11' Preview: Infiniti to Unveil New Entry-Level Concept

Infiniti has just given us a very short preview of what we can expect to see at the Geneva Motor Show next month. It looks like Infiniti is exploring the idea of introducing a new model that will sit below the current G line in the Infiniti lineup. Infiniti is going to unveil a new concept car at the show that is a preview of a smaller Infiniti. Infiniti claims that the car "will be completely different to anything currently offered by our rivals."

Stay tuned...

Chicago 11' Preview: GM to Unveil Chevy Camaro Based Model

GM is going to unveil new model based on the Chevy Camaro's platform at the Chicago Auto Show this week, according to General Motors North American President Mark Reuss.

Reuss didn't provided any other details about the vehicle. So basically all that we know now is that it will be a front engined/ rear-wheel-drive vehicle. Maybe the Camaro Z28 or a sedan?

GM is also going to unveil a second vehicle at the show as well...

Ferrari Releases New Photos of the FF Playing in the Snow

Ferrari has released a new set of photos of the four-seater FF driving in the snow.

The four-wheel-drive Ferrari FF seats four and is powered by a 651-hp 6.3L V12. It will officially debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Enjoy the photos...

Honda Has Restarted Work on a New Acura NSX

This is great news for any Honda/ Acura loyalist, Honda president Takashi Ito recently announced that the automaker has begun work on a new NSX.

If you remember, back in 2008 work on a new NSX was stopped to the economic collapse. Now that the economy is showing signs of improvement and with the introduction of other Japanese supercars like the Lexus LFA and Nissan GT-R, there seems to be a market again for the NSX.

Although Ito confirmed that Honda has restarted work on a new NSX, there is no word on when it will be released.

Geneva 11' Preview: Toyota Yaris Hybrid Teaser Revealed

Toyota is going to unveil a concept version of its upcoming Yaris hybrid in Geneva next month.

This teaser image gives us a glimpse of the front end of Toyota's smallest hybrid. The front end will feature different headlights with LED strips than the model that was recently revealed as the Vitz in Japan. The Yaris hybrid is expected to go on sale in 2012. It's expected to be powered by a smaller engine than the 1.8L that is used in the Prius.

Stay tuned...

Chicago 11' Preview: Five Axis Project Lexus CT 200h

Lexus has released a preview of a modified version of the CT 200h that will be unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show next week, dubbed the Five Axis Project Lexus CT 200h.

The Five Axis Project Lexus CT 200h is meant to show that hybrids can be aggressive and sporty. The CT 200h that will be on display at the show will feature a Five Axis custom widebody conversion, JDSU "Dark Passage" paint, and custom black accents. It also has a TEIN Flex coilover suspension system and custom 19-inch FIVE:AD forged wheels.

Will this model ever be produced? Nope, but Lexus does plan on offering accessories that will make the model "sportier."

Geneva 11' Preview: VW Officially Releases 2012 Tiguan Photos

VW has officially unveiled the first photos of the refreshed 2012 Tiguan following yesterday's photo leak.

The changes to the 2012 Tiguan bring the styling more in line with the rest of the new VW lineup. It's new face is similar to the new Passat and Touareg. The front end gets new LED lights as well as the twin-bar grille. The rear gets LED as well and a revised bumper. The engine lineup will remain unchanged, which means that in the U.S. the Tiguan will continue to be powered by the 2.0L 200 horsepower engine.

The good news for Europe is that the pricing will remain unchanged, hopefully that will be the case here as well.

Geneva 11' Preview: 2012 VW Tiguan Facelift Leaked

Here's your first picture of the restyled 2012 VW Tiguan. It looks like the baby VW SUV is going to get new styling to bring it closer in line with the larger Touareg.

The 2012 VW Tiguan will debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

Spy Shots: 2012 Honda Civic Exposed?

It's hard to tell from this front end shot, but this Civic is not exactly the same thing that we currently have driving around in the U.S. According to Notícias Automotivas, these shots of a car carrier carrying Honda's destined for the US, are our first shots of the production version of the next-generation 2012 Civic.

Honda unveiled concept versions of the Civic at the Detroit Auto Show last month and upon close examination these shots look close to the concept versions. What do you think?

Head over to Notícias Automotivas to see the rest of the shots.

Cadillac is going to offer a special edition version of the CTS-V, that has been named the Cadillac CTS-V Black Diamond Edition.

The CTS-V Black Edition starts with the the CTS-V and adds an exclusive tri-coat paint, also called "Black Diamond." Black Diamond is a dark tri-coat paint that is embedded with SpectraFlair Bright Silver pigment. Instead of simply containing small bits of metal, the SpectraFlair pigment in Black Diamond uses aluminum flakes encapsulated in a glass-like substance called magnesium fluoride. The paint has a diamond-like sparkle as light hits it from different angles.

The CTS-V Black Edition also comes with Satin Graphite 19-inch wheels with yellow Brembo brake calipers, and Recaro seats and Midnight Sapele wood trim on the inside.

The Black Diamond Edition, available in the CTS-V Sedan, Coupe and Wagon models with a starting price of $69,190.

2012 Porsche Boxster S Black Edition Unveiled

Following the introduction of the 911 Black Edition, Porsche has unveiled the 2012 Boxster S Black Edition.

The 2012 Boxster S Black Edition has an all black exterior with a black body, black convertible top and black-painted 19-inch Boxster Spyder design wheels. The black colored theme continues on the inside, where everything is black with aluminum and stainless steel used as accents.

The Boxster S Black Edition also gets a small bump in horsepower, ten more to be exact. The 3.4L flat-six now puts out 320 horsepower. When it's mated to the the PDK transmission, the Boxster S Black Edition reaches 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds and has a top speed of 170 mph.

The 2012 Boxster S Black Edition starts at $65,200.

McLaren MP4-12C Enters Production

The production of the McLaren MP4-12C has kicked off at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking, England. McLaren plans on producing 1,000 MP4-12Cs in 2011, with most of the units coming from its bespoke new £40 million McLaren Production Centre, which is expected to be finished in May.

The McLaren MP4-12C is powered by a 592-hp 3.8L V8 twin-turbocharged engine.

Pricing starts at $229,000 in the U.S.

Toyota May Drop the Price of the Prius

The Toyota Prius is currently Japans best-selling model and since its image is changing in Japan, Toyota may eventually lower the price of the Prius.

According to Nomura Research Institute Ltd., the image of the Prius has changed since it was introduce over 10 years ago. It's high volume sales have now made car buyers see it as a "friendly" brand instead of a "leading edge" brand according to a recent survey conducted by Fumikazu Kitagawa of Nomura's global automotive practice. Since the Prius is seen as "friendly" it is now competing against cheaper models like the Honda Fit.

Kitagawa stated, "As the Prius becomes more of a mass-market car, it may be time to think about lowering the price."

Toyota cut the production cost of the third-generation Prius that was introduced in May 2009 by 30 percent from the earlier version. For the fourth-generation Prius, Toyota hopes to cut the cost of the car's hybrid system by half.

2012 Honda Civic Si to Be Powered by a 2.4L Engine?

Honda's all-new 9th generation Civic will be in showrooms this spring and although Honda unveiled concept versions of the new Civic at the Detroit Auto Show, we don't know what changes lie under the hood. Temple of VTEC is now reporting that the Si model will get a bump in power due to a change to a 2.4L four-cylinder engine instead of the 2.0L that currently powers the Si models.

The 2.4L is expected to be very close to the 2.4L engine that powers the Acura TSX and although it's displacement is larger than the 2.0L, horsepower numbers are expected to be close in the 200-210 hp range. The larger displacement engine does mean that the torque output should increase. Currently the 2.4L TSX mated to an automatic transmission has 201 hp and 170 lb-ft. of torque.

In case you are wondering about the lesser powered Civic models, it looks like they will continue to be powered by the same 1.8L that is currently in the 8th generation models. Of course it should be more fuel efficient.

What Were the Top-10 Best Selling Cars in January 2011?

The first month of 2011 is already over and the sales numbers are here. Most of the automakers saw increases last month of the same period last year, with the exception of a few like Lincoln and Chrysler.

The top 10 list is pretty much the same as last month with a few models moving up and down the list, like the Honda Accord for example, which is now trailing behind the Camry and Altima.

Check out the list after the jump.

GM to Debut Buick Regal Hybrid in Chicago

According to Wards Auto, GM is going to unveil a hybrid version of the Buick Regal at the Chicago Auto Show next week.

The Buick Regal is going to get a mild hybrid system that is similar to the 2012 Buick LaCrosse. The Buick LaCrosse with eAssist gets 25 percent better fuel economy than the current 2.4L LaCrosse. In the LaCrosse the mild hybrid system mates a 115 volt lithium-ion battery and 15-kilowatt electric motor to the2.4L four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. The LaCrosse gets 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway. The hybrid version is expected to get similar mpg numbers.

Unlike the LaCrosse, the hybrid version of the Regal will not be the base powertrain.

Geneva 11' Preview: Production Chevy Cruze Hatchback to Debut

GM has announced plans to officially unveil the production version of the Chevy Cruze hatchback at the Geneva Motor Show, next month.

A concept version of the Cruze hatchback was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show last year (above). The production version is expected to be very close to the concept thanks to the trademark photos that were leaked. The only significant changes will be to the fog lights, taillights and alloy wheels.

Just in case you love the idea of a Chevy Cruze hatchback, it's not slated to come to North America, well at least for now.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Official Details Released

Here are the official details for the revised 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.

Under the hood the the 6.3L V8 engine is unchanged and puts out 451 hp. If you want a little extra power you can add the optional AMG Development Package, which bumps up that number to 481 hp. The 6.3L V8 is now mated to the seven-speed AMG Speedshift. Also a new power steering pump that helps improve fuel economy by about ten percent.

On the outside, the revised C63 AMG gets a revised grille, lower apron and special AMG daytime running lights that recall those found on the SL63 AMG high-performance roadster. The rear of the C63 AMG gets a new AMG rear apron with a black diffuser insert with three pronounced fins.

The 2012 C63 AMG will hit U.S. dealerships this fall.

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