April 2011 Archives

2013 Chevy Malibu to Be Built and Sold in Korea

GM has just announced that the recently unveiled 2013 Chevy Malibu will be built and sold in Korea. The Malibu will be Chevy's first midsize sedan to be sold globally and will be sold in almost 100 markets around the world.

"Adding Korea as a key sales market for the new Malibu further increases the brand's global presence and continues our growth path while increasing our car offerings to consumers in Korea," said Russ Clark, Chevrolet Product Director.

GM has also stated that interest around the Malibu is growing in Korea with about 30,000 members of Malibu-related internet clubs.

The all-new Malibu was unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show earlier this month, where it was named the "Most Eye-Catching Car."

Cadillac's last convertible, the XLR ended production in 2009 and who doesn't remember the Allanté convertible from the early 1990's? Well it looks like Cadillac is working on a new 2012_cadillac_cts_grille.jpg convertible and this time it won't be an expensive convertible out of reach to most buyers. This time Cadillac is working on a convertible that will start at a much lower price point and that will be based on the upcoming Alpha platform, which is the basis for the 2013 ATS sedan and next-generation CTS.

Instead of just developing a droptop version of either the ATS or CTS, Cadillac is going to position the convertible between both models and give it unique styling. Unlike the BMW 3 Series and Lexus IS convertibles, the upcoming Cadillac convertible will have a softtop like the Audi A5.

Expect the new Cadillac convertible to launch in late 2013 as a 2014 model.

VIDEO: 2012 VW Beetle Caught Hanging out in Texas

Here's a quick video of a 2012 VW Beetle prototype hanging out in Laredo, Texas. What was it doing there? Who knows...

Lincoln Buyers Favor All-Wheel-Drive

Lincoln has released data that supports the fact that its buyers are becoming increasingly more interested in all-wheel-drive equipped models. Every one of Lincoln's models is available with all-wheel-drive and it looks like lots of Lincoln buyers are choosing it.

So far in 2011, 72 percent of Lincoln MKT crossover buyers have opted for the all-wheel-drive version and 62 percent of MKX buyers as well. Lincoln's sedan models also have all-wheel-drive and 46 percent of MKS shoppers chose that version, while 25 percent of MKZ sedans are leaving the dealer with power going to all four wheels.

We're seeing the number of customers choosing all-wheel drive increasing steadily as drivers appreciate the benefits," says C.J. O'Donnell, Group Marketing Manager for Lincoln. "More than half of our crossover customers are enjoying the reassurance that all-wheel drive delivers, such that once they have experienced it, they don't want to give it up.

"We see all-wheel drive as a core technology option for the entire Lincoln line-up, both today and for the future."

VIDEO: 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 Shows off on the Track

Porsche has taken the wraps off its hottest street legal 911, in the form of the 911 GT3 RS 4.0. It's powered by a naturally aspirated 4.0L flat six-cylinder with 500 horsepower and 339 lb-ft. of torque. All of that power combined with a diet plan help the 911 GT3 RS 4.0 lap the Nurburgring-Nordschleife in 7 minutes and 27 seconds.

Porsche is only planning on building 600 units with prices starting at $185,000.

Videos are always better than photos, so Porsche has released a nice 4 minute video all about the 911 GT3 RS 4.0. Enjoy...

VIDEO: Lamborghini Aventador Hits the Road Outside of Rome

Love the new Lamborghini Aventador and only wish that you had the chance to get behind the wheel of one? Who doesn't, but while you save up every penny possible, enjoy this video of two Aventadors hitting the road in Italy...

Ford F-150 EcoBoost Beats Sales Expectations

The Ford F-150 is available with a turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost engine, that packs V8 power, without the lower fuel economy of a V8. Thanks to the high gas prices, sales of F-150 models equipped with the EcoBoost engine have exceeded expectations.

Marc Lapine, consumer marketing manager for Ford Motor Co told the Automotive News, "We had a sales forecast but it has jumped up a little faster than we thought." The EcoBoost engine is now accounting for 36 percent of F-150 sales.

The cost of the EcoBoost engine ranges from $750 to $1,750 depending on which F-150 you choose. Ford dealers currently only have a 13 day supply of F-150s equipped with the turbocharged engine.

The 3.5L EcoBoost engine puts out 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque. It's rated at 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway and can tow up to 11,300 pounds. To compare:

-The 5.0L V8 puts out 360 horsepower, gets 15/ 22 mpg and can tow 10,000 pounds.

-The 3.7L V6 with two-wheel-drive has 302-hp, gets 17/23 mpg and can tow up to 6,100 pounds.

2012 Chevy Corvette Gets an Upgraded Interior and New Tires

GM has announced the changes to the 2012 Chevy Corvette. The changes for 2012 are meant to improve the Corvette's on-track performance and on-road comfort.

The Z06 and ZR1 models will get even better performance thanks to new optional Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Zero Pressure tires. The tires are "competition-oriented" and are optimized for warm, dry conditions and increase the cornering and handling capability of the two-highest performing Corvette models. The tires are matched with all-new aluminum Cup-style wheels in satin black or machined finishes. When combined with the Corvette's Performance Traction Management (PTM) technology that manages torque delivery for maximum performance - the tires are expected to help set new benchmarks for Corvette performance. Engineers estimate an 8-percent gain in maximum lateral acceleration, to more than 1.1g, and improved braking distance.

The Z06 Corvette now gets Magnetic Selective Ride Control and an optional carbon fiber hood. 2012_chevy_corvette_centennial_edition_int_new.jpg The standard manual transmission for the ZR1 gets taller gearing in fifth and sixth gears, which improves highway fuel economy by 2 mpg.

Inside all 2012 Corvettes get a new seat design and steering wheel. The seats have larger bolsters on the seat back and cushion areas. Microfiber suede seat inserts are optional. In 2012 the Corvette also gets a new nine-speaker Bose audio system.

Volvo Drops Plans for New Flagship Sedan

Volvo unveiled the Universe concept in Shanghai earlier this month. The sedan was supposed to be a preview of a future Volvo flagship, but now it looks like those plans have been put on hold.

Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby told reporters, "It's not in our midterm or long-term strategy right now."

Geely Holding Group purchased Volvo last year from Ford and Geely Chairman Li Shufu has been pushing for a more upscale Volvo to compete with the German brands, like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. That plan is now dead.

"It is too early to enter the S-class-size market," Jacoby said. "We are concentrating with our new products on our core segments."

Zagato has taken the wraps off the new TZ3 Stradale, a month after it was confirmed that the car was being developed. The TZ3 Stradale is part of a celebration by Zagato to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Alfa Romeo.

Since the TZ3 Stradale is meant to pay tribute to Alfa Romeo, you would think that it woudl largely be based on an Alfa model, but instead the TZ3 Stradale is actually based on the Dodge Viper ACR with a carbon fiber body. "Bellezza necessaria" is the inspiration of this car which matches for the first time an American power train with an Alfa Romeo.

The first TZ3 Stradale was delivered to the US Alfa Romeo and Zagato collector Eric King. The next two will are headed to Japan and Europe. After that there will only be six examples left, since only nine are being built.

VIDEO: Check out the Sounds of the Toyota FT-86/ Scion FR-S

Here's your first chance to hear the 2.0L boxer engine that is under the hood of the Toyota FT-86/ Scion FR-S concepts. The guys over at FT-86club have posted a video, which contains the official sounds of the engine and exhaust of the FR-S concept, which should be the same for all three concepts, since they all featured the same engine.


2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 Official Photos Released

Here are the first official photos of the 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0.

The GT3 RS 4.0 is basically a street-legal GT3 RSR and is powered by a naturally aspirated 4.0L flat-six cylinder engine. The GT3 RS 4.0 puts out 500 horsepower, which is 45 more horsepower than the race car and 50 more horsepower than the GT3 RS.

The GT3 RS 4.0 gets a unique front fascia and a GT3 inspired rear wing. On the inside the navigation system is gone, but racing seats and a rear-seat rollcage have been added.

2012 Hyundai Veloster Deliveries to Start this Week

Labor disputes in South Korea can be blamed for the delay of the 2012 Hyundai Veloster. Hyundai has said today that it will begin delivering the Veloster coupe this week.

The Hyundai Veloster three-door coupe was officially unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. It features a unique coupe design with one door on the driver's side and two doors on the passenger side of the vehicle. The Veloster is powered by a 1.6L four-cyl that puts out 138 horsepower and 123 lb-ft. of torque. The engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. It's also expected to get around 40 mpg on the highway. A more powerful version is also reportedly planned, with rumors circulating that a turbocharged version will generate 208 horsepower from its 1.6L engine.

Sales of the Veloster will kick off first in Europe and sales in North America will commence later this year.

Team Lotus Buys Sportscar Maker Caterham Cars

The name Caterham may not be all that recognizable here in the U.S., but Team Lotus has officially announced the purchase of the sportscar manufacturer. Caterham is known for building lightweight track cars off the Lotus Seven chassis.

In addition to building cars off the Seven chassis, Caterham has also been working on the SP/300R prototype, which is also expected to make it to production, thanks to the new cash infusion from this sale. caterham SP:300R.jpg

Tony Fernandes, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin, the men behind the Team Lotus Formula 1 squad, bought out Caterham's owner Corven Ventures.

To celebrate the new ownership, Caterham is going to build a limited run of Team Lotus Special Edition Sevens. Only 50 units will be built with 25 going to the UK and the remaining 25 headed to Caterham's export markets. The package can be applied to any of the Seven variants and includes the Seven being painted in the famous green and yellow colors of Lotus and will come with a raft of bespoke Team Lotus additions.

Opel has released the first official photos of the 2012 Opel Astra GTC ahead of its official unveiling on June 6th and before it takes the stage in Frankfurt later this year.

The Astra GTC is based on the Opel GTC concept car that was unveiled in October 2010. The production version will be a five-seater, three-door sporty compact car. The production model is currently undergoing final development.

Full details about the Astra GTC will be released on June 7th, with the production model debuting on September 15th, at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio Starts at $19,500

Fiat officially unveiled the convertible version of the Fiat 500, the 2012 500c in New York last week.

The Fiat 500c retains the full doors and framed windows from the hardtop 500, but has a full cloth top that can be lowered at speeds up to 60 mph. Think of the design of more as a panoramic sunroof than a full convertible design like the Mini. The top can also be opened partially, acting like a large sunroof.

Fiat has announced that the pricing for the 500C will start at $19,500 for the entry-level Pop model. If you were hoping for a droptop Sport version of the 500c, you're out of luck. The 500C will only be available in the Pop and Lounge variants. The 500c is powered by the same 101-hp 1.4L MultiAir four-cylinder as the 500. When it's mated to the five-speed manual transmission, the 500c gets up to 38 mpg on the highway.

Australian pop singer, Kylie Minogue is now promoting the 2012 VW Golf Cabriolet. Her first commercial for the Golf Cabriolet has already started airing in Germany.

Matthias Becker, VW Germany marketing manager stated, "Kylie Minogue supported us in a special advertising campaign for the new Golf convertible. She fits perfectly in every respect to this vehicle: both are true style icons with millions of fans." 2012_VW_Golf_Cabriolet_fr_new2.jpg

The commercial shows Kylie Minogue behind the wheel of a 2012 VW Golf Cabriolet driving with the top down, while eating strawberries from a basket on the front passenger seat.

There's no word yet when we can expect the Golf Cabriolet in the U.S.

In November 2009 Chrysler/ Fiat unveiled a plan that outlined its product plans for the next five years, which included a Chrysler-badged subcompact and compact for the U.S. market.

Now it looks like Chrysler has decided to change the plans it outlined a year and a half ago. Chrysler/ Lancia brand president Oliver Francois recently spoke to Car and Driver and revealed some bad news. The B-segment Chrysler model is dead. The B-segment model would have competed with the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta and been a rebadged version of the new Lancia Ypsilon. The Ypsilon is based on an extended version of the Fiat 500's platform, but Chrysler and Fiat felt the two models are too similar to both be sold here.

Francois also brought some bad news about the upcoming Chrysler compact sedan that would have gone head to head with the Ford Focus and Honda Civic. It looks like plans for that model have been put "under review" indefinitely, which basically means it's probably not going to happen. Although Chrysler isn't going to get a compact sedan, it looks like Dodge is still expected to get a compact car to replace the Caliber.

The 2012 Honda Civic has officially launched with a starting price of $15,605. To launch the new Civic Honda's long time ad agency, RPA has come up with the "To Each Their Own" ad campaign.

There are five different Civic variants, well seven if you count the coupes. RPA has come up with five different Civic owners. The tag line of the campaign is "We're all different. That's why there are five different Civics."

The five different Civic owners include a ninja, zombie salesman, a luchador, a woodsman and a monster.

Check out the commercials after the jump. Do they make you want to run out an buy a new Civic?

2011 Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf Named Top Safety Picks by IIHS

Both the 2011 Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf have received the highest safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This was the first-ever U.S. crash test evaluation of plug-in vehicles.

The Volt and Leaf earned the top rating of good for front, side, rear, and rollover crash protection. 2011_chevy_volt_iihs.jpg

"What powers the wheels is different, but the level of safety for the Volt and Leaf is as high as any of our other top crash test performers," says Joe Nolan, the Institute's chief administrative officer.

"Eco-minded drivers keen on switching to electric would do well to buy a Leaf or Volt for highway driving instead of a low-speed vehicle if they're at all concerned about being protected in a crash," Nolan says.

This year alone, the IIHS has named 80 cars as Top Safety Picks.

BMW M5 Concept Interior Photos Leaked

BMW unveiled the M5 concept, but only the exterior was unveiled. The first photos of the interior have leaked online. The M5 isn't expected to be officially unveiled until the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, but the concept version is a preview of what we can expect.

These photos of the interior give us a small peek. The interior looks like it's going to have a mixture of Alcantara and leather, the steering wheel gets tri-color stitching and you can see the shift lever for the M-DCT dual clutch transmission.

It's been years since Honda killed the NSX and work was started on a new one before the economic meltdown. Back in 2008 Honda killed work on the new NSX, but it looks like plans are back on. The prototype that was being tested before its death in 2008, was a front-engine model with a V10 under the hood. It looks like the NSX that is currently under development will not be getting that engine. Instead Honda is working on a hybrid setup for the NSX.

Honda president Takanobu Ito recently confirmed that Honda is working on a new NSX. Ito spoke to reporters at the Shanghai Motor Show and stated that Honda wants to build a car that would be fun to drive and at the same time environmentally friendly. Ito didn't provide any other details about the next NSX, but it's expected to be positioned as a high-performance counterpart to the Honda CR-Z.

The current generation Mitsubishi Eclipse has been around since 2006, so it's nearing the end of its cycle. Unfortunately after four generations, this Eclipse will be the last one.

Mitsubishi is planning on ending production of the Eclipse after the 2012 model year and no replacement is planned. Mitsubishi has announced a new SE special edition, which marks the end of the coupe that has been produced since 1989. All trim levels of the Eclipse are available with the SE package. The package includes black side mirrors, 18-inch dark finish alloy wheels, "SE" decals, plus a bunch of high-end standard features that can be found on the Eclipse GS-sport version.

The Eclipse can be powered by either a 162-hp 2.4L four-cylinder engine or a 265-hp 3.8L V6.

Shelby Looks for a Younger Crowd with the Mustang Shelby GTS

Shelby fans can rejoice that Shelby has announced the spiritual successor to the Ford Shelby GT that was built from 2007-2008. The Shelby GTS is available as a post-title package for the 2011-2012 Ford Mustang and is available on either the V6 or V8.

"The Ford Shelby GT was introduced in 2007 as an agile, reliable and affordable muscle car," said John Luft, president of Shelby American Inc. "It dominated its SCCA racing class and was a popular canvas for enthusiasts to create their dream Shelby. Our Shelby GTS picks up that mantle and expands upon it with a choice of V6 or V8 power for a new generation of Shelby enthusiast who wants a car built just for them."

"The V6 Mustang is a particularly good platform for the Shelby GTS," noted Shelby American vice president of operations Gary Patterson. "It's even lighter and more nimble than the GT. And the V6 Shelby GTS makes about as much horsepower as the V8 in the Ford Shelby GT, but with better fuel economy at a lower price."

The package starts at $9,995, not including the base car, which means that buyers can get into one for about $32,000. The package includes Ford Racing handling pack including new springs, tuned stabilizer bars and front strut tower brace, Borla exhaust system, Shelby / Baer brakes, unique front fascia, a unique deep draw hood featuring classic Shelby design and Shelby LeMans stripes and side stripes. Buyers can also choose to add a Shelby supercharger, 6 piston brakes, 18' or 20' wheels and a Watts link rear suspension.

Honda CR-Z Mugen to Put out Almost 200-HP

Honda's CR-Z hybrid "sports coupe" has a shape that brings back fond memories of the Honda CR-X, but due to its lack of power, it's pretty disappointing. The guys over at Mugen are reportedly working on a fix for the CR-Z that will add some much needed power.

CAR is reporting that Mugen Euro is working on a Mugen CR-Z that will have honda_cr-z_mugen_sketch_rear_new.jpg a supercharger attached to the standard 1.5L four-cylinder. The final output will be 197 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, which is a nice bump up from the current combined total of 122 horsepower. Mugen Euro is also hoping that the induction and exhaust upgrades will also help improve the CR-Z's fuel efficiency, which is currently only 39 mpg on the highway.

Other changes to the standard CR-Z include an increase in track width, lightweight alloy wheels, bigger brakes and front and rear five-stage adjustable dampers. Mugen is also working on reducing the overall weight of the CR-Z.

The CR-Z Mugen will debut at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed in July. The chances of this model coming to the U.S. are pretty slim.

2011 Nissan Leaf Named 2011 World Car of the Year

The 2011 Nissan Leaf has officially been named the 2011 World Car of the Year at the New York Auto Show. The leaf beat out other models like the Audi A8 and Aston Martin Rapide.

"It is a great joy that the world's first, mass-marketed electric vehicle, the Nissan LEAF, has won the prestigious award of 2011 World Car of the Year," said Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn. "This accolade recognizes Nissan LEAF, a pioneer in zero-emission mobility, as comparable in its driving performance, quietness and superb handling to gas-powered cars. And it validates Nissan's clear vision and the values of sustainable mobility that we want to offer to customers around the world."

The World Car Awards jurors observed that, "The Leaf is the gateway to a brave new electric world from Nissan. This 5-seater, 5-door hatchback is the world's first, purpose-built, mass-produced electric car. It has a range of over 100 miles on a full charge claims Nissan, takes around 8 hours to recharge using 220-240V power supply and produces zero tailpipe emissions. Its low center of gravity produced sharp turn-in with almost no body roll and no understeer. The good news? It feels just like a normal car, only quieter."

The Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG is getting a new smaller engine for the 2012 model year, which will help it compete with its main competitor, the BMW M5.

The 2012 E63 AMG is ditching the naturally aspirated 6.2L V8 for Mercedes' new twin-turbocharged 5.5L V8. The new engine can produce either 518-hp or 550-hp with the available Performance Package. The big news is that the new engine is 22 percent more fuel efficient based on the European driving cycle. The 5.5L V8 is mated to the AMG Speedshift MCT 7-speed transmission.

It only takes up to 4.4 seconds for the E63 AMG to reach 0-60 mph and it has a top speed of either 155 mph or 186 mph.

Mercedes-Benz has also upgraded the interior of the 2012 E63 AMG. The interior gets a new AMG Performance steering wheel, which is flattened at both the top and bottom.

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG will be available this fall.

New York 11': 2012 Jaguar XK Gets a Small Facelift

Jaguar's XK coupe and convertible are getting a mild refresh for the 2012 model year. Both models are having their world debut at this week's the New York Auto Show.

The overall refresh is very subtle and there aren't any changes under the hood. The changes include new slimmer headlights with LED daytime running lights. The grille has also been restyled and is now larger. The front bumper has also been restyled. Out back the rear is also mildly restyled with new LED taillights.

New alloy wheels and exterior colors complete the changes to the 2012 Jaguar XK.

VIDEO: Get Up Close and Personal with the Scion FR-S Concept

Toyota gave the world its first look at the Scion FR-S Concept, yesterday in New York. Toyota has released two videos of the Scion FR-S Concept, but too bad neither of them show the car in motion.

At least you can get an even closer look at the concept.


The Fiat 500 is just starting to trickle into US dealerships, but if you desire more open-top driving, Fiat has unveiled the 2012 500c. The 500 Cabrio (500c) takes everything that you love or maybe hate about the 500 and pulls the top back.

"Perfectly timed with the warm weather and excitement of spring, the new 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio expands our product lineup while paying homage to the brand's rich heritage of open-air cabrios that deliver style, value and driving enjoyment," said Laura Soave, Head of FIAT Brand North America.

The Fiat 500c features a cloth top that can be lowered at speeds up to 60 mph. Unlike most convertibles, the 500c still retains the side profile from the 500. Meaning that it keeps the window frames and conventional side pillars. If you don't want the top all the way down, the top can be opened partially to act as a large sunroof.

The Fiat 500c is powered by a 101-hp 1.4L four-cylinder but it looks like the 500c will only be available in the Pop and Lounge variants. If you were hoping for a Sport version of the 500c, you are out of luck. The good news is that if you opt for the five-speed manual version, you will get up to 38 mpg on the highway.

The fourth-generation 2012 Subaru Impreza has been unveiled in New York.

The all-new Impreza was previewed by the Impreza concept that was unveiled late last 2012_subaru_impreza_4.jpgyear. The new Impreza is powered by a smaller 148-hp 2.0L boxer engine that can be mated to either a five-speed manual or a CVT. According to Subaru, the 2012 Impreza is the most fuel-efficient all-wheel-drive car in America with an estimated 27 mpg city and 36 mpg on the highway.

The 2012 Impreza rides on a longer wheelbase , which is 104.1 inches compared to 103.2 for the outgoing Impreza. The length and width of the new Impreza remain the same, but thanks to redesigned door panels, the Impreza offers more interior room. Rear seat passengers will enjoy almost two extra inches of legroom and the cargo volume in the trunk and cargo room in the five-door have increased.

Subaru hasn't announced when the 2012 Impreza will hit dealerships.

2012 Mazda3 Gets 40 MPG Thanks to New SkyActiv Engine

The 2012 Mazda3 is getting a nice bump in fuel efficiency thanks to Mazda's new SkyActiv-G engine and SkyActiv transmissions.

The current Mazda3 only manages to get up to 33 mpg with its non-direct injected 2.0L, but thanks to the new engine the Mazda3 now gets up to 40 mpg. The direct-injection SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter engine puts out 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft. of torque. The engine can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic SkyActiv transmission. The SkyActiv engine is available on either the sedan or five-door, but the current 2.0L will still be around, but only on the sedan. The MZR 2.5-liter engine is also still available.

The Mazda3 can now take on the new competition from the Focus, Cruze and Elantra. Mazda has also given the 2012 Mazda3 a slight refresh inside and out. The restyled front fascia tones down the smiling grin that everyone hated on the current Mazda3.

New York 11': Scion FR-S Concept Continues to Tease Us

Toyota has released yet another concept version of the upcoming and highly anticipated FT-86. This time the concept is badged as a Scion and has been dubbed the Scion FR-S concept. At your first glance, the Scion concept doesn't look that much different than the Toyota FT-86 II concept that we saw in Geneva.

The FR-S Concept, which stands for front-engine, rear-wheel drive sport and is inspired by the AE86 generation of the Corolla. The concept is powered by a 2.0L flat-four that is mated to a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.

"Scion is always experimenting with new things," said Jack Hollis, Scion vice president. "The brand is iconic with the xB, adrenalized by the tC, and groundbreaking with the iQ. The FR-S will expand the brand into yet another new dimension that I know it is truly destined for."

Let's hope this is the last concept that we will see of this. Bring us the production model!

Nissan's Versa is all-new for 2012 and it's been officially unveiled in New York. The all-new Versa now rides on Nissan's new "V" platform, "V" for versatile. It has the same identical wheelbase and width as the last-generation Versa, but it is now 1.2 inches lower in height (59.6 inches) and 0.6 inches shorter in overall length (175.4 inches). The more compact engine/ transmission design allowed Nissan to shorten the front end and give that extra length to the rear with a 2.7-inch increase in rear overhang, which has lead to a bigger trunk.

The Versa is powered by the second-generation 1.6L HR16DE 4-cylinder engine. The new engine is lighter and more compact. It puts out 109 horsepower and 107 lb-ft. of torque. The engine can be mated to a five-speed manual or CVT transmission. The 2012 Versa Sedan equipped with the CVT is estimated at 30 mpg City, 37 mpg Highway and 33 mpg.

The 2012 Nissan Versa maintains its low starting price, with a starting price of $10,990.

The 2013 Chevy Malibu now holds the title as the most fuel-efficient Chevy midsize sedan, ever with the introduction of the Chevy Malibu ECO. GM officially unveiled the all-new Malibu at the Shanghai Motor Show earlier this week, but today the Malibu is debuting in New York.

The all-new Malibu is going to launch with a new 2.5L four-cyl that puts out 190 2013_Chevy_Malibu_Eco_2.jpghorsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. Chevy is going to follow Hyundai's play with only offering four-cyl engines in its midsize sedan. A turbocharged four-cyl is expected to launch at a later date. In addition to the 2.5L and upcoming turbo 4-cyl, Chevy also has the Malibu ECO, which is an eAssist-equipped model that is expected to get 26 mpg city and 38 mpg highway. The Malibu ECO is powered by a 2.4L four-cylinder mated to the eAssist mild hybrid system.

The 2013 Malibu is expected to launch early next year.

New York 11': 2012 Hyundai Accent Officially Unveiled

Hyundai's newest model has been unveiled in New York, the 2012 Accent. The fourth-generation Accent debuts with Hyundai's "Fluidic Sculpture" design language in five-door and sedan versions.

The 2012 Accent is powered by a 138-hp 1.6L GDI "Gamma" engine that is mated to six-speed automatic or manual transmissions. Hyundai claims that the Accent is the first subcompact car to use direct injection. It gets 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, which is up to 18 percent better than the outgoing model. It's now more fuel efficient than the Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit.

The Accent will be offered in three trim levels, four-door GLS, five-door GS and the "sporty" five-door SE. Pricing is going to start at $12,445 for the GLS, while the SE will go for $16,795 when it hits dealers this summer.

Next-Gen Mercedes-Benz A-Class Confirmed for the U.S.

Mercedes-Benz is currently showing off the A-Class concept in New York, which is a preview of what we can expect from the next-generation A-Class. Although the current A-Class has been on sale in Europe for quite a while, it hasn't ever been offered in the U.S. Well according to Car and Driver, that will change with the next model.

The guys over at Car and Driver have confirmed that the next A-Class will be offered here. Of course it the A-Class won't look exactly like the A-Class concept, but the production version is expected to borrow cues from the front end of the concept. A three-door A-Class will most likely not be offered here, but we can expect a five-door hatchback and a CLS-style sedan version. The A-Class will compete with the next Audi A3 which will be offered as a hatchback and sedan. The A-Class will start below the C-Class and will most likely borrow the new 1.8L from the C250, with the 3.5L as a possibility.

2012 Honda Civic Starts at $15,605...on Sale Now

The all-new 2012 Honda Civic is now officially on sale and has a starting price of $15,605. Prices range from $15,605 for the Civic DX coupe and go all the way up to $26,750 for the Civic Hybrid with a leather interior and navigation system.

"For nearly forty years, Civic has earned its outstanding reputation by consistently 2012_Civic_website.pngdelivering high levels of reliability, fuel efficiency, fun driving character and value beyond what's expected in the segment," said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. "The all-new 2012 Civic improves in multiple ways with even more models to best meet individual preferences and budgets."

The 2012 Civic lineup includes a sedan, coupe, HF sedan with 41 mpg on the highway, Si sedan and coupe, the hybrid sedan and the natural gas powered Civic.

Scion FR-S Concept Photos Leaked before Official Debut

Toyota is set to release another concept version of the Toyota FT-86 at the New York Auto show this week. But unlike the previous concepts, the newest one wears a Scion badge, which provides more proof that the production version will eventually be a Scion. The Scion FR-S concept is supposed to debut today, but the first photos have leaked online.

The Scion FR-S looks close to the FT-86 II Concept that we saw in Geneva. The front end of the FR-S concept doesn't have the large LED accents of the FT-86 II concept, which isn't a bad thing. Of course this is still mainly a concept. Note the rear end...

Expect more info and photos later today.

2012 Volvo S60 R-Design and XC60 R-Design Get More Power

The 2012 R-Design versions of the Volvo S60 and XC60 are getting a small boost in horsepower and torque. Both the S60 R-Design and XC60 R-Design will be powered by Volvo's T6 turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. The engine will put out 325 horsepower and 354 lb-ft. of torque compared to the standard T6 engine that only generates 300-hp and 325 lb-ft. of torque.

Volvo has also added a strut tower brace under the hood and shortened the front and rear springs. Spring stiffness is also up 15 percent. Volvo is also including its Corner Traction Control system with torque vectoring. The system essentially brakes the car's inner driven wheel when cornering and at the same time transmits more power to the outside wheel. The system is supposed to reduce understeer.

The S60 R-Design starts tat $42,275 and the XC60 R-Design starts at $43,150.

New York 11': 2012 Kia Soul Gets a Refresh

Kia has revealed the changes to the 2012 Soul, which is having its world debut today in New York. The 2012 Kia Soul gets a few styling updates and some changes under the hood.

Under the hood the Soul has two different engine choices. The base engine is the new 1.6L GDI that puts out 135 horsepower and gets 28 mpg city and 34 mpg on the highway. If you want more power, the 2.0L four-cylinder puts out 160 horsepower and gets 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. The 2.0L can be mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

The front end of the Soul is now enhanced with projector headlights and LED daytime running lights. The front and rear bumpers have also been restyled. Inside the Soul gets Kia's new "UVO" hands-free communication and infotainment system. There is also a new Premium Package that adds heated front seats, leather seats, a navigation system and automatic climate control.

New York 11': 2012 Kia Rio Sedan Officially Unveiled

Kia gave us a preview of what to expect with the next-generation 2012 Rio in Geneva this past march, with the 2012 Rio hatchback. Now Kia has unveiled the sedan version of the all-new Rio.

Michael Sprague, vice-president, marketing & communications, KMA stated, "The all-new Rio brings Kia's successful combination of world-class styling, outstanding fuel economy, advanced technologies and tremendous value to the smallest and most economical vehicle in the Kia line-up."

The 2012 Rio sedan has the same front end as the hatchback, which is definitely not a bad thing. The Rio sedan is longer, lower and wider than the current generation. The Rio will be powered by a 135-hp 1.6L GDI four-cylinder engine in the U.S. The Rio is expected to get 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.

2011 Jeep Wrangler Mojave Pays Tribute to the Mojave Trail

The 2011 Jeep Wrangler Mojave is a special edition Jeep Wrangler that pays tribute to the rugged Mojave Trail. Being that the Mojave Trail is in the desert its only fit that the Wrangler Mojave feature a desert-themed exterior and interior.

The Wrangler Mojave is based on the Wrangler Sport model. The outside features a body-color hardtop and fender flares, "Mojave" and lizard decals on the hood and rear, and the Sahara model's side steps. The Wrangle Mojave also gets the Wrangler Rubicon tire and wheel package with 17-inch wheels with 32-inch tires.

Inside the Wrangler Mojave gets dark saddle leather seats with a lizard logo embossed on the front seats. Driftwood accents surround the vents, front-passenger grab handle, steering-wheel spokes and door-handle inserts.

The new 2011 Jeep Wrangler Mojave is available in Sahara Tan, Bright White and Black and starts at $29,195.

New York 11': 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Officially Unveiled

When Chrysler unveiled the all-new 300 last fall, there was one model missing, the SRT8. Well here it is... Chrysler is showing off the 2012 300 SRT8 this week in New York.

The SRT8 variant of the 300 adopts the more refined style of the new 300, but takes it even further. Under the hood of the 300 SRT8 lies the 6.4L HEMI V8 that also is under the hood of the Grand Cherokee SRT8. The V8 puts out 465 horsepower and 465 lb-ft. of torque, which is 40 more horsepower and 45 lb-ft. over the old 6.1L V8. It's expected to reach 0-60 mph in the high 4-second range and the quarter mile in the high 12 seconds range. It has a top speed of 175 mph and manages to stop from 60-0 mph in 120 feet thanks to the massive brakes (14.2 inch rotors in the front and 18.8 inch in the rear). The engine is mated to a five-speed automatic with paddle shifters. 2012_chrysler_300_srt8_17.jpg

You would think that the added power would cost you even more at the pump, but think again. Chrysler claims that the new SRT8 is 25 percent more fuel efficient than the old model. An active valve exhaust system allows the engine to only use four-cylinders over a wider rpm range.

A new Adaptive Damping Suspension system has been added uses a wide range of on-road and driver inputs - such as vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and lateral and vertical accelerations - to automatically tune the suspension for specific conditions when necessary. Drivers can also choose between "Auto" and "Sport" settings to quickly change the suspension settings.

Inside the 2012 300 SRT8 gets a new leather wrapped, heated, SRT steering wheel. Carbon fiber interior trim pieces have been integrated into the instrument panel and there are new racing style brake and gas pedals. The instrument panel features a 8.4-inch color display that shows performance figures like 0-60 mph times and steering angle, vehicle yaw angle, horsepower, and torque outputs along with engine gauges.

New York 11': 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Packs 465-HP

The ultimate Jeep Grand Cherokee is here in the form of the 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8. The most powerful Grand Cherokee is powered by Chrysler's 6.4L HEMI V8 that puts out 465 horsepower. 0-60 mph comes in a quick 4.8 seconds and the SUV has a top speed of 155 mph. The HEMI engine is accompanied by an adaptive damping suspension and an all-wheel-drive system that has five modes: Auto, Sport, Tow, Track and Snow options.

To make sure it stands out compared to the Grand Cherokee that soccer mom is driving, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 sits one inch lower and gets a unique front fascia, 20-inch wheels and dual exhaust out back. All of that power is brought to a stop thanks to the Brembo brakes.

Inside there are Napa and suede leather seats embroidered with the SRT logo and a SRT leather-wrapped steering wheel.

2013 Ford Taurus Officially Unveiled with 2.0L EcoBoost Engine

Ford has refined the Taurus for the 2013 model year. Ford claims that the 2013 Taurus gets better fuel economy, has more technology an enhanced design and sharpened driving dynamics.

The big addition for the 2013 model year is the addition of the 2.0L EcoBoost to the Taurus. The Taurus will be the first car in Ford's North American lineup to offer the new turbocharged four-cylinder. It puts out 237 horsepower and 250 lb-ft. of torque. It will get at least 31 mpg on the highway. If you still want a V6, the 3.5L V6 now puts out 290 horsepower. Both engines are mated to six-speed automatic transmissions.

There are more changes than just what's under the hood. The 2013 Taurus also gets refreshed front and rear fascias. The Taurus gets a more muscular hood and larger wheels to give it a more sporting appearance.

Inside the Taurus is available with Ford's SYNC system with MyFord Touch. Multicontour seats with Active Motion help to reduce driver and first-row passenger fatigue with a subtle rolling massage pattern and a new heated steering wheel will keep your hands from freezing on those cold days.

The 2013 Taurus is set to go on sale in early 2012.

Ford is giving the Ford Taurus SHO a refresh for the 2013 model year. There had been some speculation that Ford would increase the SHO's power, but that is not the case.

"The Taurus SHO has always followed the original formula of stealthy sleeper, and the new model is no exception," said Gordon Platto, chief designer. "We wanted to keep the subtle, understated, yet sporty elegance, but at the same time we knew it was time to even more fully differentiate the Super High Output model from other Taurus series models."

Instead of giving us more power, the refreshed SHO gets revised front and rear fascias. The front mesh grille differentiates the SHO from the lesser powered Taurus models. A new SHO Performance Package adds even more "sport" to the SHO with its sport-tuned suspension with unique dampers and springs, performance brake pads and unique track-tuned calipers, 20-inch machined and painted wheels mated to 245/YR20 performance summer-compound tires and Electronic Stability Control track mode with true off.

The SHO continues to be powered by the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 with 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Buick and GMC IntelliLink Connects Your Smartphone to Your Car

Buick and GMC are getting a version of the MyChevrolet system called the Buick/GMC IntelliLink. The IntelliLink system is similar to Ford's SNYC.

IntelliLink uses Bluetooth or USB to connect the driver's smartphone to a new 7- or 8-inch, high-resolution, full-color touch screen display radio. The system allows smartphone control via voice activation and steering wheel-mounted controls. It also enables streaming stereo audio from the phone through services like PANDORA Internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio.

"Today's tech-savvy consumers expect more from their cars' infotainment systems," said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president of Buick Marketing. "They want a system that allows them to customize their in-vehicle experience with smartphones and other portable media devices. The availability of IntelliLink on every Buick sedan in 2012 and every Buick model in 2013 takes connectivity and media personalization to a new level."

Owners that don't have a smart phone can still connect to the system via system a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone, USB flash drive or digital audio player.

The Buick IntelliLink system will be available on the 2012 Regal, LaCrosse and Verano models. The 2012 Terrain will be the first vehicle to offer GMC IntelliLink.

2012 Cadillac CTS Gets a More Powerful 3.6L V6 and a New Grille

It may only be the fourth month of 2011, but we're now getting our first look at the 2012 model year models. Cadillac has announced the changes to the 2012 CTS.

The 2012 CTS gets an upgraded 3.6L V6 that now puts out 318 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque report, which is up from 304-hp and 273 lb-ft. of torque. Although there is more power, the fuel economy will remain the same at 18 city/ 27 highway.

In addition to the upgraded 3.6L V6, the 2012 CTS also gets a redesigned front grille with new premium finishes that highlight the intricacies of a new frame and mesh combination. The Wreath & Crest logo also has sharper colors and raised ridges between the colors.

The 2012 Cadillac CTS will be available this summer.

Nissan has officially unveiled the 2012 Tiida hatchback, which is our first look at the all-new Nissan Versa, which will also be unveiled later this week in New York.

The 2012 Tiida gets what Nissan describes as "premium and agile styling", combined with class leading comfort. The Tiida is powered by the same 1.6L four-cylinder as the Nissan Versa. Although a more exciting Tiida will be introduced in the Chinese market, when the Tiida turbo is introduced. Nissan hasn't released any specifics about the turbocharged engine, but it could very well be the same turbocharged engine that powers the Nissan Juke.

Shanghai 11': Audi A3 e-tron Sedan Concept

Audi is set to unveil its newest e-tron model, the A3 e-tron concept in Shanghai. The A3 e-tron concept is a four-seat sedan that is actually a plug-in hybrid instead of a full electric vehicle.

The A3 e-tron concept is powered by two powerplants, a 211-hp 1.4L TFSI four-cylinder engine and a 27-hp electric motor. The system puts out a combined 238 horsepower and the concept can reach 0-62 mph in 6.8 seconds and has a top speed of 144 mph. The electric motor is powered by lithium-ion batteries that are located behind the rear seats. The concept can travel up to 34 miles on electric power alone.

The A3 e-tron concept borrows its chassis from the current RS 3 Sportback, which should mean it is actually fun to drive.

Shanghai 11': Subaru XV Concept is an Impreza Crossover

The Subaru XV Concept has been officially unveiled in Shanghai. The XV Concept shares its platform with the new 2012 Impreza.

The compact crossover concept is a preview of the next-generation XV that is sold in some markets and its also a preview of what we can expect from the 2012 Impreza Hatchback. The XV Concept will likely be the successor to the Impreza Outback Sport.

The XV Concept is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder boxer engine mated to Subaru's all-wheel-drive system.

Volvo is using this year's Shanghai Motor Show to unveil its newest concept, the Concept Universe. The Concept Universe is a large sedan witha "human-centric design language."

According to Volvo, Scandinavian Design is about understanding and caring about people. Volvo wants to be the brand that best incorporates what buyers of modern luxury cars want.

The Concept Universe features a coupe-like roofline combined with design cues from past Volvos. "Just like fine luxury goods, this design feels handcrafted and durable enough to stand the test of time," says Peter Horbury, Vice President Design at Volvo Car Corporation.

"The Concept Universe offers the world a sneak preview of what people can expect from our next top-of-the-line sedan," says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.

Infiniti Releases Sketch of Upcoming JX Crossover

Infiniti has released a single sketch of its future crossover, the Infiniti JX that will go on sale next spring.

The Infiniti JX crossover will feature three rows of seating for seven passengers and according to Infiniti it "pushes the boundaries of what a luxury crossover can be." The Infiniti styling theme is present in the JX with a "crescent cut" greenhouse design influenced by the Infiniti Essence concept car.

The JX concept will be unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance this August.

2013 Chevy Malibu Officially Unveiled

GM has officially unveiled the 2013 Chevy Malibu, which is having its world debut at the Shanghai Motor Show.

The all-new Malibu gets all new styling inside and out. According to GM, the exterior of the Malibu "carries DNA from its sister vehicles, the Camaro and Corvette, to bring a sporty sensibility to the family sedan segment." The new Malibu gets a wider stance, with broad shoulders. It actually has a 4.5 inch shorter wheelbase than the outgoing model, but is more than 2 inches wider. Inside there is almost 4 cubic feet more space, thanks to the increased width.

Under the hood of the 2013 Malibu lies an all-new 2.5L Ecotec four-cylinder engine with direct injection. It puts out 190 horsepower and 180 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic.

"The current Malibu has left an award-winning impression and changed the way people think about Chevrolet. It redefined what an American midsize car could be," said Rick Scheidt, vice president, Chevrolet Marketing. "This all-new Malibu delivers on the intangibles of today's Malibu but gives customers even more: more style, fuel efficiency, content and features, craftsmanship, and dynamic capabilities rivaling high-end sedans."

VW Confirms Beetle R and Beetle Convertible in 2013

VW officially showed off the all-new 2012 Beetle to the masses today. The all-new Beetle is longer, lower and wider than the current model and more importantly, much sportier. Could a guy one day say, "I want a Beetle" without being shunned by all of his friends? Well it could happen, especially with the latest announcement that VW is planning an even sportier R version.

The 2012 Beetle will be available with both diesel and gasoline engines, which includes the popular 2.0 turbo. 2012_volkswagen_beetle_side.jpg But if 200 horsepower isn't quite enough for you to forget about the girly Beetle currently sitting in VW dealerships, VW has an even more powerful version in the works, the Beetle R. VW hasn't confirmed what will power the R version of the Beetle, but it's expected to be a more powerful version of the 2.0L turbo, in the form of the 265-hp version that powers the Golf R. Yup and not like the Euro-only Beetle RSi, the Beetle R is going to come to the U.S.

It's not yet known when the Beetle R will be released, but at least you have the 2.0T version for now. The convertible Beetle is also expected in 2013.

Chrysler has decided to unveil the S versions of the 2011 Chrysler 200 sedan and convertible ahead of their official debut in New York this week.

The S models of the 200 line are meant to bring some added style to sedan and convertible. Olivier Francois, President and CEO, Chrysler Brand - Chrysler Group LLC. stated, "These vehicles are built with an unmistakable attitude and a signature style; and you could say the same of New York itself. The attitude may be 'Imported from Detroit,' but it's definitely at home on Park Avenue."

To get a bit more style, the S models get a unique front grille with an S model-only Chrysler winged badge with a black background, body color mirrors and door handles, black background headlamps and 18-in. aluminum wheels with dark painted pockets and "S" badging. The interior gets a perforated leather steering wheel, heated front leather seats with Digital suede inserts and an embroidered "S" on the front head rests, suede door trim bolsters, a black headliner and a standard Boston Acoustic sound system.

The 2011 Chrysler 200 S starts at $32,490 and the 200 S Convertible will arrive later this spring.

2012 Cadillac CTS 3.6 Loses its Manual Transmission

Cadillac has a few changes in store for the 2012 CTS. The changes will be modest, which will include a refreshed grille. But one thing will be missing from the CTS equipped with the 3.6L V6, the optional manual transmission.

An insider recently confirmed to Inside Line that the CTS 3.6-liter Performance and Premium models are expected to be available only with a six-speed automatic. If you must have a manual transmission, the base 3.0L CTS and the top CTS-V models will still be available with the manual.

GM has yet to officially confirm the change and what caused it, but it's likely due to a low take rate for the manual equipped models.

BMW Brings 4Cyl Back to the U.S. with the 2012 BMW Z4

BMW has made it official. After years of not offering four-cylinder powered models in the US, this fall they will return. The first model to get the new four-cylinder will be the 2012 Z4 sDrive28i.

The 2012 Z4 sDrive28i will be powered by a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo 4-Cylinder. It generates 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. Both of those numbers are higher than the outgoing normally aspirated 3.0L six-cylinder. Even though it has more power, the new four-cylinder is also 20 percent more fuel efficient when its mated to the new eight-speed automatic transmission.

Shanghai 11': Buick Envision Concept Officially Unveiled

GM has officially unveiled the Buick Envision Concept in Shanghai. The Envision Concept merges Buick's global design language with Chinese aesthetics for the SUV segment.

"The Envision was developed jointly by Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC)," said Shi Hong, Director of Buick Marketing at Shanghai GM. "It introduces the development direction for Buick's future SUV products for the market."

The Envision Concept is powered by GM's PHEV plug-in hybrid system. A 2.0-liter SIDI direct injection turbocharged engine is mated to a pair of electric motor generators and an eight-speed transmission. The electric motors get their power from a lithium-ion battery and solar panels on the roof also help add more juice.

According to Ed Welburn, GM Vice President of Global Design, "The Envision has inherited Buick design DNA and taken the Buick global design language to a new height. It makes a significant statement for Buick styling and technology, and will influence upcoming models from the brand."

2012 Dodge Avenger R/T Debuts with a Sportier Suspension

Dodge has announced the return of the Dodge Avenger R/T for the 2012 model year. The 2012 Dodge Avenger R/T is going to have its official debut at the New York Auto Show this week.

The 2012 Dodge Avenger R/T is powered by Chrysler's 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 283 horsepower that is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The big changes to the R/T model are what the engineers have done to the suspension. Chrysler's engineers tuned the Avenger's suspension specifically to the R/T model. They increased roll stiffness by 18 percent, and spring rates by 17 percent in the front and more than 12 percent in the rear. Front strut damping rates are increased 15 percent, rear strut damping rates are increased almost 20 percent and the rear stabilizer bar diameter is 2 mm larger, increased from 19 mm to 21 mm.

"The Avenger R/T makes driving a mid-size car a really fun, engaging experience," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, Dodge Brand - Chrysler Group LLC. "The Avenger R/T offers performance design cues both inside and out, as well as unique handling characteristics and a sport-tuned suspension. It's a vehicle that is ready to earn its stripes as part of the Dodge performance family of vehicles."

Mazda Confirms New Compact Crossover to be Named CX-5

We already knew this, but Mazda has officially confirmed that its upcoming compact crossover will be called the Mazda CX-5.

Mazda gave us a sneak peak at what we can expect the CX-5 to look like with the Minagi Concept that was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, last month. The crossover will be the first Mazda to incorporate Mazda's new design theme, 'KODO - Soul of Motion.' The design theme debuted on the Shinari concept.

The CX-5 will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September, with sales starting in early 2012.

2012 VW Beetle Officially Unveiled... Big Improvement!

VW has officially unveiled the all-new 2012 Beetle and it's a huge improvement over the current model. We've seen spy photos and even a sneak peak on Oprah's show, but the final look is definitely better than we expected.

According to VW the new Beetle moves away from the current design, which dates back to 1998 and instead draws styling cues from the original Beetle and the Beetle Ragster concept that debuted in 2005. The new Beetle is longer, wider and lower with a more "masculine" appearance.

In the UK the Beetle is going to be offered with three gas engines and one diesel. The gas engines range from the very small 1.2L TFSI up to the range topping 2.0L TFSI. The diesel is a 1.6L. It's not yet known which engines will be offered in the US, but hopefully the 200-hp 2.0L TFSI and the 105-hp 1.6L diesel will make it over here.

The new Beetle will go on sale in the US this fall and in the UK in early 2012.

2012 Honda CR-V to Debut this Week in New York

We're still waiting for the all-new 2012 Honda Civic to reach showrooms, which is supposed to happen later this month. Honda's other all-new model for the 2012 model year will be a new CR-V. While we don't know much about the new CR-V, it's expected to debut at the New York Auto Show, this week. If the all-new CR-V does debut this week in New York, expect it to be debut in concept form, which as usual will be very close to the production version.

Nissan Leaf NISMO RC Takes the Leaf to the Track

Nissan is set to unveil a racing variant of the Lead electric car this week at the New York Auto Show. Although the Leaf NISMO RC prototype uses many components from the Leaf, it has very little in common with what you can currently get at your Nissan dealer.

The Leaf NISMO RC prototype uses the same lithium-ion battery design as the production Leaf and although it's missing rear doors, a rear seat and a trunk, there is still a family resemblance between the two models.

"Combining the talents of NISMO, Nissan's world renowned motorsports group, and engineers behind some of the company's Super GT and FIA GT1 race teams, the Nissan LEAF NISMO RC will serve as a rolling laboratory for the accelerated development of EV and aerodynamic systems, as well as a platform for the development of new green motorsports series," said Carlos Tavares, chairman, Nissan Americas, speaking at the New York International Auto Show.

The Leaf NISMO RC features a full carbon fiber monocoque body. The three-piece body has removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and taillights and driver-adjustable rear wing. It has a 3.9-inch shorter wheelbase, is 0.8 inches longer and 6.7 inches wider than the regular Leaf. It only rides 2.4 inches above the ground compared to 6.3 inches for the Leaf and at 2,068 pounds, it's 40 percent lighter. The exterior is painted in a 4-coat Pearl White paint with blue NISMO/Zero Emission graphics.

The Leaf NISMO RC is powered by a 80kW electric motor that puts out 107 horsepower and 207 lb-ft. of torque. It only takes 30 minutes to charge it up to 80 percent using the quick charging port located inside the rear cowl. It reaches 0-62 mph in 6.85 seconds and has a top speed of 93 mph.

GM Trademarks "Crossvolt"... A Crossover Volt is on the Way

GM has officially trademarked the name "Crossvolt." It's already known that GM plans on releasing a MPV or crossover based on the Chevy Volt, so this could be the official name.

GM unveiled the Chevy Volt MPV5 concept at the Beijing Motor Show last year. The Volt MPV5 concept was powered by the same powertrain as the Volt, a 16 kw lithium-ion battery pack and a 1.4L engine. When its fully charged, the Volt MPV5 concept can travel up to 32 miles on battery power alone and a full 300 miles with the engine running.

GM Releases Another Pic of the 2013 Chevy Malibu

GM has released a second full photo of the 2013 Chevy Malibu ahead of its world debut on Monday at the Shanghai Motor Show.

Stay tuned for the full unveiling on Monday.

Hyundai Gives us a Sneak Peak at the 2012 Accent at Coachella Live

The New York Auto Show is almost here and we can't wait for all the models that are set to debut at the show. One of the models that we're expecting to see is the all-new 2012 Hyundai Accent.

Hyundai is apparently showing off the new Accent at Coachella Live this weekend and here's a sneak peak of the new car at the event.

It's clear that the new Accent will adopt Hyundai's newest design language, which has already been applied to the Elantra and Sonata. Stay tuned for the official unveiling on April 20th.

Opel has an even faster version of the Insignia OPC, the Insignia OPC Unlimited. The Unlimited version of the Insignia OPC is faster due to the removal of the electronically-restricted top speed. The Insignia OPC Unlimited has a top speed of 168 mph compared to 155 mph for the regular Insignia OPC.

"We are responding to frequently expressed customer wishes," says Alain Visser, Vice President Sales, Marketing and Aftersales at Adam Opel AG. "Insignia OPC buyers are generally experienced and responsible drivers who want to enjoy the full technical possibilities of their car." opel_insignia_opc_unlimited_2.jpg

It's powered by a turbocharged 2.8L V6 that pumps out 325 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. The Insignia OPC Unlimited can reach 0-62 mph in six seconds and the power is put to the ground via an all-wheel-drive system.

The Opel Insignia OPC Unlimited is visually distinguished by a blue Brembo logo and a newly-designed tachometer and speedometer.

Prices begin at 48,605 euros (in Germany).

2013 Dodge Viper Coming in Late 2012 With Stability Control

Dodge engineers are hard at work on the next-gen 2013 Dodge Viper. The new Viper is currently being tested, using a 2010 chassis as the test subject. What are they testing here? Well for the first time ever the Dodge Viper is going to get stability control.

Dodge didn't give any other details about the new Viper that will debut at the end of next year. It's expected to put out somewhere between 600-700 horsepower, but it's not yet known what engine will be under the hood.

More images of the Buick Envision Concept have leaked ahead of its official debut next week in Shanghai.

The Envision concept is a plug-in hybrid crossover. The Envision is a stylish two-door crossover that may give us a hint at what we can expect from the next Enclave. The design features aesthetics that are meant to appeal to the Chinese market that adhere to Buick's "dynamic, fluid, quiet and comfortable" design essence.

The Envision will officially be unveiled on April 18th.

2011 Hyundai Equus Earns IIHS Top Safety Pick

Hyundai's newest $60,000 flagship sedan, the 2011 Equus has received the Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Equus received the highest rating "good" for front, side, rollover and rear crash protection. To receive the award a vehicle must receive the top rating in all tests and have electronic stability control, which is standard on the Equus.

The Equus joins Hyundai's other Top Safety Picks: the Sonata, Genesis, Tucson and Santa Fe.

Refreshed 2012 Kia Soul to Debut in New York

Next week Kia is set to debut the four-door version of the 2012 Kia Rio and an updated 2012 Soul. 2011_kia_soul_fr_new.jpg

According to Kia the 2012 Soul will be updated "with significant power and fuel efficiency upgrades under the hood." The 2012 Soul will get a new six-speed transmission, which will help it get close to 35 mpg on the highway. The updated Soul will also get a few exterior updates including new LED projector headlamps.

Stay tuned for all the info in a few days...

Saab Wants to Use the Mini Platform for the Saab 9-1

According to sources Saab is currently trying to bid to buy the rights to the outgoing Mini platform. Saab is trying to secure the rights to a small car platform that it can use to compete in the premium compact segment.

Saab has already secured a deal to buy Mini's 1.6L turbocharged engine, but now Saab bosses want the old Mini platform. BMW is set to begin phasing out the current Mini platform at the end of 2012 when an all-new Mini, codenamed F56, launches. The next Mini is said to use a new front-wheel-drive platform that is being developed by BMW. The new platform will be the basis for the next Mini and a new small BMW that will go head to head with the Audi A1.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Confirmed to Get a Diesel by 2013 in the US

Yup its been confirmed that the Jeep Grand Cherokee is going to get a diesel engine in the US and it will happen between now and 2013. The Grand Cherokee is slated to get the same 3.0L V6 turbo-diesel engine that was recently introduced in Europe.

The 3.0L V6 puts out 237 horsepower and 406 lb-ft. of torque. It's not yet known if a six speed manual version will be offered in addition to the five-speed automatic gearbox. An eight-speed automatic is also in the works.

The 3.0L is built by VM Motori in Italy. Towing capacity is expected to be just over 7,700 pounds.

Chevy Previews 2012 Sonic with Z-Spec Accessories

The "much loved"...haha, Chevy Aveo is dead and is being replaced by the more stylish and hopefully much better Chevy Sonic. Chevy is debuting its new line Z-spec line of accessories for the Sonic at the New York Auto Show next week.

The Z-spec package includes a ground effects package with revised front and rear fascias and side skirts. The package also includes an exhaust finisher a spoiler and your choice of either 16 or 17-inch wheels. Buyers can also choose to have their Sonic with specific wraps like the dot matrix pattern on the Sonic you see here.

Pricing hasn't been announced.

Fiat has announced 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio will be offered in the U.S. just in time for spring.

The Fiat 500 Cabrio features a premium dual-layer power-operated cloth top that can be lowered at speeds up to 60 mph. At first glance the 500 Cabrio looks very similar to the 500 coupe, since it still retains the fully framed side windows. The 500 Cabrio still has room for four passengers and the top is available in three different colors.

Although Fiat claims that the 500 Cabrio will be available this spring, an official launch date hasn't been announced.

Shanghai 11' Preview: Peugeot SxC Concept Unveiled

Peugeot is going to be unveiling the SxC Concept in Shanghai next week, which is a preview of an upcoming crossover.

SxC stands for "Shanghai Crossover Concept" and is meant to show off Peugeot's newest design language and emphasize how important the Chinese market is for Peugeot. Peugeot plans on releasing at least one new model every year in China.

Under the hood of the concept is Peugeot's HYbrid 4 technology. The system consists of a 218 horsepower turbocharged 1.6L gasoline engine powering the front wheels and a 71 kW (95 horsepower) electric motor powering the rear wheels.

Chrysler to Sell Natural-Gas Vehicles in the U.S. by 2017

Chrysler is planning to start selling natural-gas powered vehicles by 2017.

Bob Lee, Chrysler's vice president for engine and electrified propulsion systems stated, "The technology is very actively being worked on."

Fiat, which currently owns 30 percent of Chrysler, currently has natural-gas powered vehicles in Europe. Chrysler is looking at the possibility of bringing that technology to the U.S. Fiat and Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne likes natual-gas engines because they cut emissions and are cheaper than other competing technologies.

It's not known which Chrysler models will get the new natural-gas engines, but the Ram trucks are a possibility.

"I'm eager and very interested to see what we can do with CNG in our truck applications," Diaz said.

2013 Chevy Malibu First Official Photo!

Well here it is! Following what seemed like several photo teasers and videos, here's your first look at the all-new 2013 Chevy Malibu.

The all-new Chevy Malibu is set to debut at the Shanghai Motor Show and GM will hold a special web event on April 19th to show off the new car.

"We are expanding the reach beyond mainstream product introductions typically seen at auto shows. We are using the latest technologies available to us like no other automaker has done before to introduce this all-new, important car for Chevrolet on continents around the world," said Russ Clark, product director at Chevrolet. "Broadcasting in HD will help us make sure the world gets a good look at the all-new Malibu."

The 2013 Chevy Malibu is set to go on sale in early 2012. Expect more photos and details from the show next week.

Yesterday Audi officially unveiled the 2012 Q3 ahead of its debut in Shanghai. The Q3 will slot in below the Q5 in Audi's crossover lineup and shares its platform with the VW Tiguan. Although Audi gave all the details for the new Q3, there wasn't any mention about a US-spec version. Well according to Audi spokesman Brad Stertz, Audi is still deciding if the crossover will be offered in the U.S.

If the Q3 does come to the US it will compete with the Mini Countryman, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Juke and the soon to be released BMW X1. One of the main reasons why Audi should bring the Q3 here is to compete with the X1.

The Q3 is being offered with three different four-cylinder engines, although if it does come to the US the most likely engine will be the 2.0L TFSI with 211 horsepower.

Do you think Audi needs to bring this car to the U.S.? If you're in the market for a small crossover, would you consider the Q3?

New York 11' Preview: Scion Teases FT-86 Based Concept w/ Video

The New York Auto Show is almost here. There have been lots of teasers and previews of what we can expect from the show next week. Toyota has just announced that there will be a Scion concept vehicle at the show and it looks like it's going to be based on the FT-86 concept. There were rumors circulating earlier this year that the FT-86 concept would end up being a Scion under the name FT-S.

Check out the quick video after the jump.

Chrysler Unveils 370-HP 2011 Mopar Charger

Chrysler already released a sketch of the 2011 Mopar Charger, but now we have the official details.

The 2011 Mopar Charger will be powered by a 5.7L Hemi V8 with 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft. of torque. A specially calibrated engine controller matches maximum engine power and transmission shifting to the differential. The V8 is mated to a five-speed automatic with the latest generation "Pistol Grip" shifter combined with Auto Stick. It's capable of reaching 0-60 mph in in the low five-second range. 2011_mopar_charger_unveil.jpg

To enhance the Mopar Charger's handling, larger front 30mm solid stabilizer bar and rear 20mm solid stabilizer bars have been added. Cross-car braces have also been added and are located at both the front and rear shock towers.

20-inch five-spoke wheels with Goodyear F1 Supercar 245/45ZR20 tires put all that power to the ground. The Mopar Charger is only available in a "Pitch Black" finish. It also gets a pair of specific Mopar Blue racing stripes running from the front air dam across the hood and over the roof ending at the bottom of the rear fascia. The interior features unique Katzkin leather seats that are stitched in Mopar Blue thread.

Only 1,000 units will be built, with 900 coming to the U.S at a starting price of $39,750.

Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to Replace the DBRS9

Aston Martin Racing has announced that the new Vantage GT3 race car, which is based on the V12 Vantage road car will be ready for competition in 2012. The Vantage GT3 will effectively replace the DBRS9 that launched in 2006 at Le Mans.

The Vantage GT3 will be powered by a lightweight dry-sumped 6.0 litre V12 engine mated to a race semi-automatic paddle shift Xtrac gearbox and the latest race-developed ABS and traction control systems. Aston Martin hasn't finalized the exact specifications, but has set a target weight of 1250kg (2,755 pounds) and horsepower around 600.

The first car will be completed this July.

2012 Chevy Impala to Get New 3.6L V6

GM hasn't officially announced the changes to the 2012 Chevy Impala, but according to GM sources, the Impala is going to get some upgrades for the new year. 2011_Chevrolet_Impala.jpg

The 2012 Impala will say goodbye to the 3.5L and 3.9L V6 engines and will instead be powered by a 287-hp 3.6L V6. The 3.6L will be mated to a six-speed automatic.

In addition to the new engine, the Impala is expected to get some cosmetic changes to keep it fresh for a few more years. The 2012 Impala will get a new grille, fog lamps and a revised rear end. Inside there will be new color schemes and wood trim pieces. We won't get our first look at the official changes until the car is unveiled in May or early June (2011 model pictured here).

VW Unveils New Crafter Work Van

VW has announced the introduction of the new Crafter work van ahead of its start of production later this summer. The new Crafter is debuting five years after the first model was unveiled at the Commercial Vehicle Show.

The Crafter was developed with Mercedes-Benz and is based on the Sprinter chassis. Although it is based on the same chassis as the Sprinter, it is powered by VW engines. The new Crafter will be powered by VW's 2.0 TDI engines and are expected to reduce fuel consumption by 33 percent.

"The Crafter is already great to drive, has plenty of carrying ability with good environmental credentials, so enhancements to running costs and payloads are guaranteed to prove very successful and attract new customers," said Matthew Bowden, Head of Operations, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

GM has officially unveiled the changes to the 2012 Chevy Camaro. For the 2012 model year the Camaro gets a more powerful V6 engine, a new performance suspension for SS coupes and interior improvements.

The 3.6L V6 now puts out 323 horsepower, which is 11 more horsepower than the 2011 engine. The new engine is 20 pounds lighter than the old engine and even though there is more power, the 2012 Camaro will still get 30 mpg on the highway.

A new FE4 suspension is being added for the SS coupe. The FE4 package includes retuned front and rear dampers, new solid front (23 mm) and rear (24 mm) stabilizer bars and 20-inch aluminum wheels with P245/45R20 front/P275/40R20 rear tires.

"Our objective was to create a more precise sport suspension for the SS coupe, with greater road-holding capability," said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. "We applied lessons learned from extensive track testing to better refine the suspension geometry for flatter cornering, a more neutral balance during hard turns, and minimized understeer at the limit."

The inside of the 2012 Camaro also gets upgraded with a revised instrument panel appearance, with new instrument graphics and trim, as well as a new steering wheel design and a power lift feature for the front passenger seat. The steering wheel is also new and there is a new Rear Vision Package that includes a rearview camera system and an auto-dimming mirror.

NADAguides Announces its "Must Consider" List for 2011

NADAguides, a provider of vehicle pricing and information has announced its annual "Must Consider" vehicle list for 2011. The list consists of vehicles that may not be at the top of consumers' minds, but that should definitely not be overlooked. The vehicles that are part of this year's list possess a combination of quality engineering, design and features, great performance and excellent fuel efficiency.

This year's list consists of...

Shanghai 11' Preview: Rolls-Royce Makes a Mini

Mini is going to be unveiling a very special Cooper S at the Shanghai Motor Show next week. The "Mini inspired by Goodwood" was developed under the guidance of the Rolls-Royce designer team. The exterior and interior design features were developed at the Rolls-Royce Design division in the southern English town of Goodwood.

On the inside the dashboard, including the surrounds of the central instrument and the air vents, the centre console, carpet surfaces, the Lounge leather seats, the roof lining as well as the door, side and body pillar cladding boast the exclusive Rolls-Royce color Cornsilk. The dashboard and door handle surfaces, which are manufactured in Goodwood and are finished in Walnut Burr. The Mini Inspired by Goodwood also boasts Cashmere roof linings, sun visors and rear storage tray as well as foot mats boasting a deep-pile lambswool quality also featured in current Rolls-Royce models.

Under the hood is the turbocharged 1.6L that puts out 184 horsepower. The engine cane be mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. It will reach 0-62 mph in 7.0 seconds.

Mini has confirmed that the Goodwood edition will be produced starting in spring 2012. Only 1,000 units will be produced.

2011 Scion tC Gets Five-Star Crash Test Rating

The all-new 2011 Scion tC coupe has received the highest five-star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The Scion tC comes standard with eight air bags including driver and front passenger airbags, seat-mounted side airbags, driver and front-passenger knee airbag, and side curtain airbags.

In addition to the eight standard airbags, the Scion tC also comes standard with other safety features like ABS, traction control, vehicle stability assist and Smart Stop technology.

2012 Audi Q3 Officially Unveiled Ahead of Shanghai Debut

Here's your first official look at Audi's newest and smallest crossover, the 2012 Q3. The Q3 is slated to have its world debut at the Shanghai Motor Show, but Audi has been nice enough to release all the photos ahead of the show.

The Audi Q3 is now Audi's smallest crossover in Audi's lineup, which includes the Q5 and Q7. It's based on the VW Tiguan, but gets Audi's distinctive styling, with a coupe-like profile. Audi managed to keep the weight in check by the use of aluminum for the hood and wraparound tailgate. The base Q3 only weighs 3,300 pounds and to improve its fuel efficiency, it has low drag coefficient of just 0.32.

Audi is going to offer three different four-cylinder engines for the Q3, one TDI and two TFSI units, with horsepower numbers ranging from 140-hp to 211-hp. The two most powerful engines will be mated to a seven-speed automatic and Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system. We have to wait to see which engines make it to our side of the world.

The Audi Q3 will be built in Martorell, Spain near Barcelona and will go on sale in June. The basic price in Germany for the basic version will be 29,900 euros.

Lexus has taken the wraps of the LF-Gh hybrid concept ahead of its world debut at the New York Auto Show, later this month. LF-Gh, which stands for Lexus Future Grand Touring Hybrid.

"For this concept, Lexus designers studied characteristics that are often considered contradictory and difficult to execute together," said Kengo Matsumoto, general manager, Lexus Design Division, Toyota Motor Corporation. "The captivating design of the LF-Gh concept examines the possibility of balancing what are normally opposing qualities, such as style and functionality."

The design of the LF-Gh concept takes the Lexus L-Finesse design language in a new direction with a bolder, more distinct projection of what a premium car could become in a modern world.

Although Lexus is calling this new concept a "hybrid", no details have been released about what lies under the hood. There also aren't any full photos of the interior, although Lexus claims that the interior will hint at a future all-new Lexus interior.

Lexus claims that the LF-Gh is only a concept, but you can expect to see some of these design elements on future Lexus models.

2012 Cadillac SRX Gets More Powerful 3.6L V6

Cadillac has announced the changes to the 2012 SRX crossover. For the 2012 model year the SRX will get a more powerful 3.6L V6 that will replace the current 3.0L. The new engine brings more power to the SRX in the form of 300 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque, which is 35 more horsepower and 37 more lb-ft. of torque than the old engine. The 3.6L V6 will be the sole engine in the 2012 SRX, replacing both the 3.0-liter V6 and 2.8-liter turbocharged V6.

Other changes to the 2012 SRX include, standard Bluetooth phone connectivity on all models, a heated steering wheel on the luxury, performance and premium trim levels and door lock switches on the driver and passenger door panels.

Next-Gen Audi A3 to be Offered with Electric and Hybrid Versions

Next year Audi is set to release an all-new A3. Yesterday we got our first official peak at what the new A3 will look like, with the release of a few teaser sketches. The next-generation A3 is going to be offered in three-door, five-door, sedan and cabrio versions. 2013_audi_a3_hatch_sketch.jpg

In addition to the four different bodystyles, Audi is also going to offer up to six different power options under the hood of the new A3. Audi gave us a preview of one of the options with the A3 e-tron concept, which will lead to a full electric version of the A3. There will also be hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions available in addition to the gasoline and diesel powered models. Audi is also considering a natural gas powered A3.

The 2013 A3 is expected to be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September and will hit showrooms in the second half of next year.

Wards Auto Picks its Top-10 Best Car Interiors for 2011

Wards Auto has announced Ward's 10 Best Interiors list for 2011. Editors drove 51 vehicles that were all-new or featured significantly upgraded interiors in determining the 2011 winners. This year's top ten list consists of a sport sedan, three economy cars, three luxury brands, an SUV and a family sedan. 2011_hyundai_elantra_int.jpg

"We've never evaluated so many vehicles for any awards competition in the past, which tells us every auto maker wants the freshest, highest-quality interior possible for all the vehicles they sell," Ward's AutoWorld Editor-in-Chief Drew Winter says. "Auto makers are so focused on the smallest details that it's hard to find a bad interior these days. Still, some are better than others, and we're recognizing the best of the best."

2013 Chevy Malibu Launch Date Moved Up to Early Next Year

GM is moving up the launch date of the next-gen 2013 Chevy Malibu to early 2012, which is about four months earlier than was originally planned. GM originally planned on launching the all-new Malibu in mid-2012, but CEO Dan Akerson wanted the launch date pushed forward, according to GM spokesman Dave Darovitz.

"Mr. Akerson requested we study the program to see if we can move quicker and faster," Darovitz said.

The 2013 Chevy Malibu will be GM's first global midsize car and will be sold in over 100 countries. It will be officially unveiled later this month at the Shanghai and New York auto shows.

Next Ferrari 599 to be Fastest Ferrari Ever with 700 HP

Next year Ferrari is going to replace the 599, with a replacement that could have up to 700 horsepower.

According to one insider, "If you look at where we went from the F430 to the 458, and from the 612 Scaglietti to the FF, it is not hard to see where we want the next 599 to be. We are not looking for a small step."

Another source claims that it's entirely possible for the next 599 to have 700 horsepower, since the motor in the FF puts out 651 horsepower, which is 120 more than the old 612 Scaglietti.

The next 599 will be powered by a version of the 6.3-liter V12 that is also currently used by the FF. The engine is based on the original 599/ Enzo engine and is capable of 850-hp in the FXX Evoluzione.

Although the FF has all-wheel-drive, the next 599 will stick with a rear-wheel-drive setup.

Subaru has released a preview of the XV concept that it is going to unveil at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month. According to Subaru the XV Concept "is a design concept car that defines a new generation of crossover vehicle, blending exceptional SUV practicality with a fashionable form."

Subaru says that "Enjoyment and Peace of mind" are the core theme of the concept and that it is designed for people that are looking for a vehicle offering looks, benefits and a packaging that stretch beyond those from the populated crowd of existing crossover models.

Audi Releases Teasers of the Upcoming R8 GT Spyder

Audi has confirmed plans for the R8 GT Spyder and has released a few sketches to hold us over until its officially unveiled.

Last month Audi announced the pricing for the R8 GT coupe that starts at $196,800. You can expect the Spyder version to be powered by the same 560 hp 5.2L V10 FSI engine as the coupe. Although since the Spyder is not quite as aerodynamic as the coupe, its top speed is a little lower at 193 mph, six less than the coupe.

It's expected that Audi will limit the production of the R8 GT Spyder to similar numbers as the coupe, which is 333. The Spyder version is also expected to cost even more than the coupe.

Alfa Romeo US Launch Pushed Back Until 2013

Alfa Romeo's expected return to the US market has been delayed at least half a year. It was expected that the brand would return sometime in 2012 with the 4C sports car and Giulia sedan, but it looks like there is a delay because Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is not happy with the design of the cars.

According to the latest reports, Marchionne is mainly unhappy with the design of the Giulia, which is supposed to replace the Alfa Romeo 159 and be offered as a sedan and wagon. Marchionne is not happy with the design proposals for the Giulia, so the launch is being delayed from late 2012 to mid-2013. This delay will especially hurt Alfa Romeo in Europe, which desperately needs the new model.

Marchionne is also not happy with the Chrysler team that has been tasked with turning the Guilia into the replacements for the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger, which are also due in 2013. All three models will share the same platform and powertrains.

Although the Giulia is being delayed, plans are still on track for a Alfa Romeo SUV that will be produced in late 2012 or early 2013. It will be based on the replacement for the Jeep Compass/ Patriot.

2013 Audi A3 Sedan and Hatchback Sketches Released

Three sketches of the next-generation Audi A3 have been released. Audi gave us an official preview of the next A3 with the A3 Sedan Concept at the Geneva Motor Show last month.

These sketches give us an even closer look at what the production version of the A3 sedan and hatchback will look like when they are released sometime in 2012. The overall styling of the new A3 is an evolution of the current design, which will be sportier than the current A3. Inside the A3 will get a new MMI controller and a thin pop-up screen.

The next A3 will continue to share its platform with the VW Golf. It's expected that the A3 will debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, next March.

Audi A3 e-tron Prototype Brings Electric Power to the A3 Lineup

Audi continues to show off its e-tron electric system in all its vehicles. The latest model to get the e-tron treatment is the A3.

The A3 e-tron prototype is powered by an electric motor that powers the front wheels. The electric motor gets its juice from mid and rear mounted battery packs and puts out out 134 horsepower and 199 lb-ft. of torque. It accelerates from 0-62 mph in 11.2 seconds and has a top speed of 90 mph. The 26.5 kWh lithium-ion battery is capable of powering the electric motor up to 90 miles on a single charge. It will take up to nine hours to recharge the system using a standard 110-volt power outlet, but only four hours using a 400-volt rapid charger.

For the most part the A3 e-tron looks the same as the gasoline and diesel powered A3 models, but the A3 e-tron gets a new instrument cluster, heated windshield, and a low consumption A/C system.

Audi's first production electric model will be the R8 e-tron in 2013. There's no word when the A3 e-tron will enter production.

2011 BMW Z4 GT3 Race Car Gets Updated

The BMW Z4 GT3 race car launched in March 2010 and achieved its greatest success in January 2011 when Claudia Hürtgen, BMW works driver Augusto Farfus, Tommy Milner and Edward Sandström won the Dubai 24 Hours for Team Schubert. For the new race season, BMW engineers have fine-tuned the aerodynamics of the BMW Z4 GT3 to improve the car's performance. A modern ECU408 takes over the engine management, while the Power400 electronic control unit is responsible for controlling all the actuators

Unlike the production version of the Z4 that is powered by a six-cylinder engine, the GT3 car is powered by a 4.4L eight-cylinder engine that puts out 480 horsepower.

The Z4 GT3 is available for 315,000 euros.

Jeep CEO States that Diesels Could be Offered in the U.S.

Jeep CEO, Michael Manley stated this week that there is a possibility that diesel engines could be offered in the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Grand Cherokee in the US and Canada within in two or three years.

Diesel engines could help improve Jeep improve its overall fuel economy numbers.

Manley stated, "Diesel in some of our models makes absolute sense, but I still have to make sure there is a sufficient marketplace here to make it make sense from a business perspective."

2013 Chevy Malibu Interior Teased

GM is set to unveil the all-new 2013 Chevy Malibu in Shanghai later this month.

Late last month GM released a teaser of the back end of the new Malibu and now we have a shot of the interior. It's hard to tell that much from this photo, but you can see that GM's new MyLink infotainment system will be offered in the new Malibu. 2012_chevrolet_malibu_rear_teaser.jpg
The 2013 Malibu is only going to be offered with four-cylinder engines and will be built on the same Epsilon II platform as the Buick Regal.

Hold tight for the official unveiling later this month on April 18th.

2012 Hyundai Veloster to Get 208-HP Turbocharged 1.6L

When Hyundai officially unveiled the 2012 Veloster earlier this year, it was confirmed that it would get an optional turbocharged engine. Although the thought of the Sonata's turbocharged 274-HP engine being wedged under the hood of the Veloster would have been great, it will not be the case. Hyundai is instead going to use a turbocharged version of its new 1.6L.

The 1.6L will use a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct injection to generate 208 horsepower. The new turbocharged engine will be available in the Veloster next year. Expect more details from the New York Auto Show, this month.

Land Rover unveiled the Electric Range_e concept in Geneva last month. The concept was a diesel plug-in hybrid, based on the Range Rover Sport. It features a 3.0L TDV6 diesel that was mated to an electric motor and an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox. It could travel up to 20 miles in full electric mode and travel just under 700 miles on a single tank. The concept was obviously a preview of things to come.

Land Rover's Global Brand Director, John Edwards recently spoke to Inside Line in which he confirmed that a series of new hybrids over the next few years. Land Rover "will introduce a top-down strategy," focusing on the larger models "where the greatest consumption gains are to be made."

The first model to be released with a hybrid will be the new 2012 Range Rover, that will get a hybrid version in 2013. A plug-in hybrid version will debut in 2014. The initial hybrid models will be Land Rover's higher end models. Since Land Rover is employing a top-down strategy it is unlikely that a hybrid version of the new Evoque will be released.

Jaguar is also expected to use the new technology as well.

BMW is Set to Released an All-Wheel-Drive M5

Earlier this week BMW took the wraps off the M5 Concept, which is pretty much the same thing that will eventually show up in showrooms. The all-new M5 ditches its current V10 engine for the same turbocharged 4.4L V8 that is wedged under the hoods of the X5 M and X6 M.

BMW's head of R&D, Albert Biermann recently spoke to Autocar about the new M5 and the overall M division. He confirmed that the 4.4L V8 will also make its way under the hood of the M6 coupe and convertible and even the four-door GranCoupe, which is BMW's answer to the Mercedes-Benz CLS. He also confirmed that an all-wheel-drive M5 is in the works.

"There will be some all-wheel-drive surprises on M cars in the future," says Biermann.

The decision to offer an all-wheel-drive M5 is to satisfy demand in areas where the all-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz AMG and Audi RS models are selling well.

Spy Shots: 2012 Jaguar XF Exposed Before Shanghai Debut?

Last month Jaguar announced that the 2012 XF would be available with a new 2.2L diesel engine. Jaguar even released a few spy photos of the refreshed XF. Now it looks like the first leaked photo of the new 2012 XF has shown up on the internet...

The 2012 XF will debut at the Shanghai and New York auto shows this month. Stay tuned...

Ram has officially renamed the Adventurer truck that was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show, the Ram 1500 Express.

The Ram 1500 Express comes standard with the 5.7L HEMI V8 engine that puts out 390 horsepower and 407 lb-ft. of torque.

"We're excited about the addition of this new model to the Ram 1500 lineup," said Fred Diaz, Ram Truck President and CEO and Head of National Sales - Chrysler Group LLC. "There's nothing that compares to the high-performance value represented by the Ram 1500 Express. Ram 1500 Express combines great looks and MPG along with HEMI horsepower, torque, towing and payload, all at a fantastic price. It gives the youth or first-time truck buyer an opportunity to show off a great looking ride, with unsurpassed V8 entry-level capability, in a tremendous value-priced package."

The Ram 1500 Express is set apart from the other Ram models by a body color grille, body-colored front fascia and body-colored rear fascia with chrome-tipped dual exhausts. The 1500 Express also has fog lamps and 20-inch aluminum wheels.

How much does it cost? According to Chrysler the Ram 1500 Express will start at $23,830 and will arrive in dealerships in the second quarter of 2011.

Chevrolet is was founded 100 years ago by racing pioneer Louis Chevrolet and to celebrate it has announced the the 2012 Chevrolet Centennial Edition Corvette.

The 2012 Centennial Edition package will be available on all Corvette models - including Grand Sport, Z06 and ZR1. The package comes exclusively in Carbon Flash Metallic, with satin-black graphics and unique Centennial Satin Black wheels and red brake calipers. The interior gets an Ebony leather-wrapped instrument panel and doors complimented by red stitching on the steering wheel, seats, console and shifter.

The 2012 Chevrolet Centennial Edition Corvette will go on sale this summer. Before it reaches dealerships, Chevrolet will auction a Corvette Z06 Centennial Edition at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in West Palm Beach, Fla., on April 9, with the proceeds to benefit the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer.

Audi Q3 Sketches Released Ahead of Debut in Shanghai

Audi has confirmed that the Q3 crossover will debut at the 2011 Shanghai Motor Show later this month. To tease us, Audi has released a few sketches of the Q3.

The Q3 looks to get some of its inspiration from the Cross Coupe Quattro concept that was unveiled in 2007. It will share its platform with the VW Tiguan, which means it will also share the same powertrain options as the Tiguan.

VIDEOS: See More of the Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class

Mercedes-Benz released photos yesterday of the Concept A-Class that is going to be unveiled in Shanghai later this month. The Concept A-Class is a preview of what we can expect from the next A-Class that will be released next year. The next-generation A-Class is going to ditch its current one box (kinda boring) styling for something that is completely different and much more striking. It will be a direct competitor to the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3.

Here's three new videos of the concept that give you an even closer look.

2012 Audi Q3 to Debut in Shanghai

It's being reported that Audi's newest and smallest crossover will debut this month at the Shanghai Motor Show. The new crossover, that will be built by Seat will go head to head with the BMW X1 and upcoming Range Rover Evoque.

It's not official what wil power the new crossover, but it's expected that the 2.0L four-cylinder turbocharged TFSI engine will be one of the engines.

Expect more details soon...

Last month BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer confirmed that BMW would be showing off a plug-in hybrid version of the 5 Series sedan at the Shanghai Motor Show. Here's the first photo of the plug-in hybrid that is based on the long wheelbase version of the 5 Series that is sold in China.

The 5 Series plug-in hybrid has been developed exclusively for the Chinese market and is the result of a joint effort between BMW and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. The hybrid is powered by a parallel hybrid system that consists of a 215 horsepower engine that features BMW's TwinPower turbo technology and a 94 horsepower electric motor. The 5 Series plug-in hybrid can travel up to 46 miles in full electric mode and up to 37 mph. The plug-in hybrid can travel another 248 miles once the battery has been depleted thanks to the gasoline engine.

BMW has confirmed that a production version will arrive in 2013. This version of the 5 Series plug-in hybrid is not expected to be offered in the U.S., but the technology could eventually be offered.

Shanghai 11' Preview: Mercedes-Benz Concept A to Debut

Here's a preview of what we can expect from the next-generation Mercedes-Benz A in the form of the Concept A. The Concept A is going to debut at the first at the Shanghai Motor Show later this month, followed by a US debut at the New York Auto Show that is also this month.

The Concept A shows that Mercedes plans on taking the next A-Class in a completely different direction than the current generation. The current A-Class has a one-box profile and was designed with a unique sandwich type platform, but the next A-Class will use a more conventional front-wheel-drive layout. The overall design of the concept is closer to the overall shape of the BMW 1 Series and VW Golf. The design of the Concept A obviously gets its styling cues from the F800 Style concept.

The Concept A is powered by a 210-hp turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder gasoline engine. The engine is mated to a dual-clutch transmission and puts the power to the ground via the front wheels.

The next-generation A-Class will go on sale in Europe in 2012, but it is still up in the air if it will ever be offered in the U.S.

Toyota Sells One Million Prius Hybrids in the U.S.

Toyota has officially sold one million Prius hybrid vehicles in the United States since it was introduced in 2000.

This is the third milestone for Toyota, since Toyota announced last October that it had sold two million Prius vehicles worldwide and last month Toyota officially sold three million hybrid vehicles worldwide.

"Since the Prius went on sale eleven years ago not a year has gone by when it hasn't been the number one selling hybrid vehicle in the U.S," said Bob Carter, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager. "Prius has become synonymous with the word hybrid and as we see fuel prices starting to rise again, it has accounted for more than 60 percent of hybrid passenger car sales so far this year. Prius paved the way for hybrids and while it is still the hybrid leader in sales and fuel economy, I'm proud to say that since its introduction, 13 other auto brands have seen the benefits of hybrid technology and joined the hybrid market."

Shelby has announced plans to unveil its new Super Snake package for the 2012 Ford Shelby GT500 at the New York Auto Show.

The 2012 Ford Shelby GT500 with the Super Snake package puts out a whopping 800 horsepower from its supercharged 5.4L V8.

"With more horsepower, the 2012 Shelby GT500 Super Snake is a strong performer both on the road and the track," noted Gary Patterson, vice president of operations at Shelby American. "This Super Snake will deliver the driving experience that enthusiasts expect from the Shelby brand."

The Super Snake package also includes a new sport suspension, Borla exhaust system, Alcoa 20-inch wheels and Baer six-piston brakes.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but it will be under $100,000.

Earlier this week it was reported that Nissan is going to unveil the next-generation 2012 Nissan Versa at the New York Auto Show that takes place later this month. The JDM counterpart of the Nissan Versa, the Nissan Tiida was recently spotted in a parking lot in China.

The Nissan Tiida is virtually identical to the next-generation Nissan Versa that we will officially see later this month. The Tiida is also based on the same platform as the Sunny. The spy photos show a Tiida with a 1.6 liter direct injection gas engine, which is also used by the Juke. It's doubtful that we will get that engine in the Versa.

Subaru has announced plans to official debut the all-new 2012 Subaru Impreza sedan and five-door models at the 2011 New York Auto Show. At the LA Auto Show last year, Subaru showed off the Impreza concept, which we hope was a preview of the production model.

Subaru has released one photo of the 2012 Impreza that you see here, unfortunately it's only a photo of the side profile. Subaru claims that the new Impreza will deliver up to 36 mpg on the highway, which will make it the most fuel efficient all-wheel-drive car in the U.S.

Stay tuned for the official unveiling later this month...

Ford has announced the introduction of the new Focus ECOnetic, that will debut at the Amsterdam Motor Show, next week.

The Focus ECOnetic is going to go on sale in Europe next year and is expected to use less than 3.5 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, which is equal to 80 mpg on the European cycle.

"The Focus ECOnetic is a testament to our company's relentless drive for technological innovation and commitment to environmental leadership," said Gunnar Herrmann, Ford's global C-car vehicle line director. "It's also going to be a great car to drive."

The Focus ECOnetic is powered by a 1.6L diesel engine that features a new injection system and turbocharger for even better fuel efficiency. A unique aerodynamic package with an Active Grille Shutter, ultra-low rolling resistance tires and a revised final drive ratio also improve the cars efficiency and reduces its CO2 emissions. The Focus ECOnetic also uses Ford Auto-Start-Stop, Smart Regenerative Charging, Ford Eco Mode and has a shift indicator light.

The Focus ECOnetic will be available in Europe in either the five-door or wagon bodystyles in early 2012.

I'm sure that most of you have seen the new ads for the new VW Jetta that tout the fact that the new sedan only starts at $15,995. VW has managed to lower the price for its popular sedan, but of course that has come at a cost. Many reviews have been published about the new Jetta and they aren't exactly great. Consumer Reports recently released the results of a VW Jetta review. VW Jetta fans should stop reading now...

The newly redesigned Volkswagen Jetta now ranks last among the 11 small sedans that have been tested by Consumer Reports.

"The new Jetta is unimpressive," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, CT. "In an effort to bring the car's starting price down, VW cheapened the previous Jetta's interior and suspension, making it less sophisticated and compromising handling."

The Jetta now ranks below the new Chevy Cruze, which now ranks mid-pack among the 11 small sedans tested. The top sedan according to Consumer Reports is the new Hyundai Elantra.

Chrysler Releases a Sketch of the Mopar 11' Charger

Chrysler has released a single sketch of the Mopar 11' Charger that is going to be officially unveiled later this month.

"After the success of our Mopar '10 Challenger, we moved on to the iconic Dodge Charger and added even more performance," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group's service, parts and customer-care brand. "As a new company, we will continue to leverage the heritage of the Mopar brand at every turn."

Chrysler hasn't announced what will be under the hood of the Mopar 11' Charger, so expect more details soon.

Lexus is set to unveil the LF-Gh hybrid concept at the New York Auto Show later this month. To get us ready for the official debut, Lexus has released two teaser photos of the new concept.

The LF-Gh, which stands for Lexus Future Grand Touring Hybrid. According to Lexus the concept "sets out to redefine the premium grand touring sedan." The overall design will be an evolution of the Lexus L-Finesse design philosophy that has been used by Lexus since 2001. Lastly the concept should be a preview of what we can expect from the next-generation GS.

Stay tuned for the official unveiling on April 20.

Ford has an all-new Ranger, but unfortunately it isn't coming to the U.S. If you weren't already jealous enough of those countries that will be getting the new Ranger, Ford has released a video of the Ranger undergoing extensive water testing. This video shows that the Ranger can go deeper into water than any other pickup in its segment. It has the best in class water-wading capability of up to 31.4 inches.

2012 Nissan Versa to Debut in New York

The 2012 Nissan Versa is expected to debut this month at the New York Auto Show and be based heavily on the Nissan Sunny.

The Nissan Sunny was unveiled last year at the Guangzhou Auto Show and is said to be the basis for the next-generation Versa. The next-Versa will share most of the body work and mechanicals with the Sunny we see here. 2012_Nissan_Versa_sketch.jpg

Nissan hasn't said much about the new Versa other than a single sketch that was released last October. Nissan has stated that it plans to unveil a new small car at the New York Auto Show, but no other details were given.

The 2012 Versa will go on sale later this year and will be built on Renault-Nissan's B platform that is the basis for the Nissan March/Micra and the Sunny.

BMW is Considering an M Version of the X1?

BMW has M versions of the X5 and X6 crossovers, but what about its smaller crossovers like the X1 and X3? Well it looks like BMW is considering an M version of the X1. BMW is currently studying the idea of putting a 320-hp turbocharged six-cylinder under the hood of the X1.

The X1 M would put out a little more power than the top engine in the larger X3. It would also get an M body kit and an upgraded suspension.

Does BMW really need an M version of the X1?

Audi Quattro Concept Gets the Green Light

Last fall Audi took the wraps off the Quattro Concept at the Paris Motor Show. Now according to company sources the concept is getting the green light for production.

Audi has reportedly built a single prototype that is based off an S5 for Audi's board members to evaluate before the coupe gets the go-ahead. Insiders claim that the 408-hp Quattro will be ready for a launch in 2013 and will be based on a version of Audi's aluminum spaceframe chassis.

The Quattro Concept was originally unveiled to celebrate 30 years of the Audi quattro system. The production version will come in weighing over 600 pounds less than an RS5, but with a similar powertrain.

2012 Audi A7 Starts at $59,250

Audi has announced the official pricing for the 2012 A7, which will start at $59,250 when it starts reaching showrooms later this month.

The five-door Audi A7 features coupe-like styling and seats four. The A7 is powered by a 3.0L TFSI V6 supercharged engine that puts out 310 horsepower and is mated to an 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system is standard and the A7 gets 18 mpg city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Shanghai 11' Preview: BMW M5 Concept Officially Unveiled

This weekend we got our first official look at the BMW M5 Concept ahead of its debut at the 2011 Shanghai Motor Show. Today BMW has released the first official photos of the concept, which is pretty much the 2012 M5.

The 2012 M5 is based off the current 5 Series sedan, but gets the total M treatment. Large air intakes dominate the front end and feed air to the turbocharged V8. The concept rides on lightweight 20-inch black wheels fitted with tire size 265/35 ZR20 at the front and 265/35 ZR20 at the back.

The 2012 M5 will be powered by a version of the twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 that is currently in the X5 M and X6 M, although it will put out more power. BMW claims that the new V8 will have more power than the outgoing V10 and get at least a 25 percent improvement in fuel consumption and emission levels. The V8 is mated to a seven-speed M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic.

BMW hasn't released any photos of the interior or the official specs, so expect more details when the M5 Concept is officially unveiled on April 19.

2012 BMW M5 Concept Leaked Before Shanghai Debut

The 2012 BMW M5 Concept was not expected to be revealed until the Shanghai Motor Show later this month, but it looks like the first photos have been leaked. An embargoed press event in Germany this week gives us our first look at the concept, which is pretty much what the production version will look like.

The 2012 BMW M5 will be powered by the twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8 that is in the X6M, although it will have more power. The engine will be mated to a seven-speed DCT and a six-speed manual is still a possibility.

Stay tuned for the official unveiling in a few weeks.

Jeep to Debut Two Moparized Jeep Wranglers in Moab

Jeep and Mopar have teamed up to create two Moparized versions of the Jeep Wrangler at the upcoming Moab Easter Jeep Safari.

The Jeep Wrangler "Renegade" and Jeep Wrangler "Pork Chop" are just two of six new vehicles that will be displayed at the 45th annual event in Moab, Utah April 16-24.

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

March is over and here's the list of the Top-10 best selling cars last month.

The auto industry continues to improve with most of the automakers posting sales increases over March 2010. Ford had a great month with its sales (Ford and Lincoln) up 28% and managed to sell more vehicles than all of GM's brands combined. Out of the top-10 list only two models sales declined from the same period last year, the Toyota Camry and Corolla. Camry sales came in behind the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima making it the third best-selling midsize sedan.

Check out the full list after the jump...

Bugatti 16C Galibier Sedan Reportedly Gets the Green Light

Back in 2009 it was reported that the Bugatti 16C Galibier was going to be produced, but now two years later it looks like it's a for sure thing. It's being reported that VW has officially given the thumbs up to the Galibier.

The 800 horsepower four-door Bugatti is expected to go for $1.4 million. The Galibier is powered by a 8.0L 16 cylinder engine that is mated to an eight-speed transmission. It's expected to have a top speed somewhere around 220 mph.

It's not yet known when the first Galibier will be produced.

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